Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD 03-37

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed by the Queen's Printer.

Available on INTERNET at http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

Third Session

THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2003

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS 3079
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks.: Barr Settlement Road - Upgrade,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3080
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. J. Muir 3080
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Retiring Members - Tribute, The Premier 3081
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1564, Leg. Assembly - Staff: Support - Thank, Hon. R. Russell 3085
Vote - Affirmative 3086
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 57, Labour Standards Code, Mr. D. Dexter 3086
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1565, Sackville-Cobequid MLA: Best Wishes - Extend,
Mr. D. Dexter 3086
Vote - Affirmative 3087
Res. 1566, MacEwan, Paul/Smith, Jim/MacAskill, Kennie: Political
Contribution - Recognize, Mr. Manning MacDonald 3087
Vote - Affirmative 3088
Res. 1567, Vecchio-Ozmon, Angela: Admiration/Respect - Express,
Mr. D. Hendsbee 3088
Vote - Affirmative 3089
Res. 1568, Kleiker, Margo: Death of - Tribute, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3089
Vote - Affirmative 3089
Res. 1569, Insurance: Liberal Plan - Benefits, Mr. P. MacEwan 3090
Res. 1570, Connell, Jessica: Bowling Medal - Congrats., Mr. F. Chipman 3090
Vote - Affirmative 3091
Res. 1571, WCB - Cdn. Firefighters: Auto. Assumption - Exclusion,
Mr. F. Corbett 3091
Res. 1572, Health: Technologists - Crisis, Dr. J. Smith 3092
Res. 1573, Banook Canoe Club: Anniv. (100th) - Congrats., Hon. T. Olive 3092
Vote - Affirmative 3093
Res. 1574, Auby, Karen: E. Hants Mun. Vol. Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3093
Vote - Affirmative 3094
Res. 1575, Sigut, Florence: Sancta Barbara Award - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Boudreau 3094
Vote - Affirmative 3095
Res. 1576, Sports - Cabot Trail Relay Race: Organizers/Participants -
Congrats., Mr. K. MacAskill 3095
Vote - Affirmative 3096
Res. 1577, Fuller, Shawn: Baseball Career - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 3096
Vote - Affirmative 3096
Res. 1578, Juno Beach Ctr. - Recognition Day (06/06/03):
Gov't. (N.S.) - Declare, Mr. D. Dexter 3097
Vote - Affirmative 3097
Res. 1579, Sports - Boston Hockey Showcase: Team Atl. -
C.B. Participants, Mr. D. Wilson 3097
Vote - Affirmative 3098
Res. 1580, Didkowsky, Marie: NSAERC Scholarship - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3098
Vote - Affirmative 3099
Res. 1581, MacNeil, Ruth/Sara Vickers: Queen's II Golden
Jubilee Medal - Congrats., Mr. B. Boudreau 3099
Vote - Affirmative 3100
Res. 1582, Agric. & Fish.: Beef Ind. - Protect, Mr. M. Samson 3100
Res. 1583, Lunenburg Day Care Ctr.: Anniv. (30th) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker 3101
Vote - Affirmative 3101
Res. 1584, Caldwell Rd. Elem. Sch. - DARE Prog.: Participants -
Congrats., Mr. K. Deveaux 3101
Vote - Affirmative 3102
Res. 1585, Sysco - Parts Sale: Zoom Dev. Ltd. - Pol. Effects,
Mr. P. MacEwan 3102
Res. 1586, Boutilier, Carson: Efforts - Commend, Hon. C. Clarke 3103
Vote - Affirmative 3103
Res. 1587, J.L. Ilsley HS - Youth United Day: Organizers - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3104
Vote - Affirmative 3104
Res. 1588, Commun. Serv. - RRSS Strike: PC Gov't. -
Response Condemn, Mr. W. Gaudet 3104
Res. 1589, MacDougall, Martin - Tae Kwon Do: Accomplishments -
Congrats., Mr. Manning MacDonald 3105
Vote - Affirmative 3106
Res. 1590, Tennyson, Dr. Brian: UCCB Alumni Teaching Award -
Congrats., Mr. D. Wilson 3106
Vote - Affirmative 3107
Res. 1591, Legge, Alex: Cdn. Science Fair - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 3107
Vote - Affirmative 3107
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 388, Insurance - Rates: Reduction - Delay Explain, Mr. D. Dexter 3108
No. 389, Insurance - Solutions: Ind. Onus - Explain, Mr. M. Samson 3109
No. 390, Insurance - Costs: VON - Effects, Mr. J. Holm 3110
No. 391, Fin. - Balanced Budget: Prem's. Statements - Veracity,
Mr. M. Samson 3112
No. 392, Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Cent. Serv. Bldg.: OH&S Order -
Non-Compliance, Mr. W. Estabrooks 3114
No. 393, Health - Drug-Monitoring Prog.: Support - Provide,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3115
No. 394, Sysco - Parts Save: Zoom Proposal - Update, Mr. P. MacEwan 3116
No. 395, Commun. Serv. - RRSS Strike: Min. Tactics - Explain,
Mr. J. Pye 3117
No. 396, Commun. Serv. - Goldenberg Case: Action - Details,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3119
No. 397, Educ. - Student Debt Reduction Prog.: Implementation -
Time Frame, Mr. D. Wilson 3120
No. 398, WCB: Dorsey Rept. - Recommendations Non-Implementation,^
Mr. F. Corbett 3121
No. 399, Tourism & Culture: Signage Policy - Criteria, Mr. K. MacAskill 3123
No. 400, Health - Nursing Homes: Assess. Process - Delay Explain,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3124
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 2:04 P.M. 3127
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 3:03 P.M. 3127
CWH REPORTS 3127
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 52, Cosmetology Act 3128
No. 1, Firefighters' Compensation Act 3129
Hon. R. Russell 3129
Mr. F. Corbett 3129
Mr. M. Samson 3130
Mr. D. Wilson 3131
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3131
Hon. R. Russell 3132
Vote - Affirmative 3132
No. 3, Personal Property Security Act 3132
No. 28, Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act 3133
Hon. A. MacIsaac 3133
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3133
Hon. A. MacIsaac 3134
Vote - Affirmative 3134
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 50, Interior Designers Act 3134
Ms. M. McGrath 3134
Mr. M. Samson 3135
Ms. M. McGrath 3135
Vote - Affirmative 3136
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Private and Local Bills Committee, Mrs. M. Baillie 3136
Private and Local Bills Committee, Mrs. M. Baillie 3136
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 3:26 P.M. 3137
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 3:29 P.M. 3137
CWH REPORTS 3137
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 36, Financial Measures (2003) Act 3138
Hon. N. LeBlanc 3138
Mr. G. Steele 3138
Mr. M. Samson 3143
Hon. R. Russell 3149
Vote - Affirmative 3150
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 29, Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Act 3150
No. 34, Riverport District Fire Protection Act 3150
No. 35, An Act to Incorporate the Truro Golf Club 3150
No. 37, Hantsport Memorial Community Centre Financial Assistance
(2003) Act 3150
No. 40, Sisters of Saint Martha Act 3150
No. 44, Chipman Corner Cemetery Company Act 3150
No. 47, Associated Alumni of Acadia College Incorporation Act 3150
No. 48, Lunenburg Common Lands Act 3150
No. 51, Crosbie Memorial Trust Fund Act 3150
No. 54, Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia Act 3151
No. 55, Maritime Oddfellows' Home Incorporation Act 3151
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 32, Farm Machinery Dealers and Vendors Act 3151
No. 53, Massage Therapy Act 3152
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 9, Municipal Law Amendment (2003) Act 3152
Mr. H. Epstein 3152
Hon. R. Russell 3154
Vote - Affirmative 3154
No. 45, Insurance Act 3155
Hon. R. Russell 3155
Mr. D. Dexter 3155
Mr. M. Samson 3160
Mr. B. Boudreau 3166
Hon. R. Russell 3168
Vote - Affirmative 3170
No. 17, Justice Administration Amendment (2003) Act 3170
No. 43, Members' Retiring Allowances Act 3170
HOUSE RECESSED AT 5:26 P.M. 3171
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:03 P.M. 3171
ARRIVAL OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR 3171
BILLS GIVEN ROYAL ASSENT:
Nos. 1, 3, 9, 17, 28, 29, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37 3172
Nos. 40, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 50, 3172
Nos. 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 41 3173
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again at the call of the Speaker 3174
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1592, Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd.: Long-Term Exporter Award -
Congrats., Hon. G. Balser 3175
Res. 1593, Oland Brewery: Cdn. Market Dev. Award - Congrats.,
Hon. G. Balser 3175
Res. 1594, Apple Valley Foods Inc.: Export Growth Through
Partnership Award - Congrats., Hon. G. Balser 3176
Res. 1595, Farmers Co-Operative Dairy: Export Growth in
Sales Award - Congrats., Hon. G. Balser 3176
Res. 1596, Covey Island Boatworks: Export Growth Through
Prod. Dev. Award - Congrats., Hon. G. Balser 3177
Res. 1597, Parks, Angela: E. Hants Vol. of Yr. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3177
Res. 1598, Cory, Joann: E. Hants Vol. of Yr. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3178
Res. 1599, Fenton, Verna: E. Hants Vol. of Yr. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3178
Res. 1600, Lyghtle, Iris: Educ. Wk. Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3179
Res. 1601, Northern Yacht Club - Sea Cadet Prog.: Training Base -
Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 3179
Res. 1602, Cousins, Erica: 4-H Award - Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 3180
Res. 1603, MacLeod, Ryan et al: Jr. High Debating Champs -
Congrats., Hon. C. Clarke 3180
Res. 1604, Scott, George: Hon. HS Diploma - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 3181
Res. 1605, Nat. Res.: New Helicopter - Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 3181
Res. 1606, Health - Harbourview Hosp. Seniors' Day Prog.:
Anniv. (20th) - Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 3182
Res. 1607, Educ. - Sir Charles Tupper/LeMarchant-St. Thomas Schools:
Toyota Grant - Congrats., Hon. J. Purves 3182
Res. 1608, Wickwire Winter Carnival: Organizers - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Morash 3183
Res. 1609, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Malay, Carla et al: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3183
Res. 1610, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Fancy, Clare: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3184
Res. 1611, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Smith, Ken: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3184
Res. 1612, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Anderson, Bob: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3185
Res. 1613, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Hawkesworth, Theresa:
Efforts - Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3185
Res. 1614, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Ivany, Susan et al: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3186
Res. 1615, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - LeBlanc, Brett: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3187
Res. 1616, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init.: Thimot, Sharon: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3187
Res. 1617, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Smith, Greg et al: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3188
Res. 1618, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - McKiel, George et al: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3188
Res. 1619, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Whynot, Reid et al: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3189
Res. 1620, S. Shore Communs. Init. - Muron, Joanne: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3189
Res. 1621, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Smith, Debby et al: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3190
Res. 1622, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Silver, Peter et al: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3190
Res. 1623, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Selig, Wade: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3191
Res. 1624, S. Shore Safe Communs. Init. - Sawler, Jane: Efforts -
Encourage, Mr. K. Morash 3192
Res. 1625, AIMS: Fisher Award - Congrats., Mr. K. Morash 3192
Res. 1626, Blanding's Turtle - Protection: Bowater - Commend,
Mr. K. Morash 3193
Res. 1627, Fine Arts Dance Sch. - Recital: Success - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 3193
Res. 1628, Williams, Cameron: Can. Science Fair - Congrats.,
Hon. D. Morse 3194
Res. 1629, Hellesoe, Cynthia - Esteem Theme Game: Success -
Congrats., Hon. T. Olive 3194
Res. 1630, UCCB Alumni - Hfx. Chapter: Launch - Congrats.,
Mr. Ronald Chisholm 3195
Res. 1631, Saunders, Jim: VON Vol. Award - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 3195
Res. 1632, Anna. Co. Ground Search & Rescue: Commitment - Applaud,
Mr. F. Chipman 3196
Res. 1633, Blades, Jennie: Birthday (106th) - Congrats., Mr. C. O'Donnell 3196
Res. 1634, Blades, Jennie: Birthday (106th) - Congrats., Mr. C. O'Donnell 3197
Res. 1635, Brannen, Luke: Can. Science Fair - Congrats.,
Mr. C. O'Donnell 3197
Res. 1636, Caldwell, Rev. Blake: Retirement - Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 3198
Res. 1637, Insurance - Liberal Leader: Plan - Value, Mr. D. Dexter 3198
Res. 1638, Insurance - Lord Plan: Liberals - Research, Mr. F. Corbett 3199
Res. 1639, Bent, Jared/Johnson, Lauren: 4-H Awards - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Taylor 3199
Res. 1640, N.S. 4-H Night - Awards: Recipients - Congrats.,
Mr. B. Taylor 3200
Res. 1641, Keltic Lodge - Departures Magazine: Getaway List -
Inclusion Congrats., Hon. Rodney MacDonald 3200
Res. 1642, Tattrie, Melissa: 4-H Award - Congrats., Mr. W. Langille 3201
Res. 1643, Comeau, Gaston: PM Teaching Award - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 3201
Res. 1644, Brennen, Louise: Can. Science Fair - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 3202
Res. 1645, Cameron, Janice: Can. Science Fair - Congrats.,
Hon. G. Balser 3202
Res. 1646, Sicky, Ryan: Graduation - Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 3203
Res. 1647, Conrad, Chad - Chester-St. Margaret's Benefit: Efforts -
Applaud, Mr. J. Chataway 3203
Res. 1648, Ward, Alex - Transplant Candidate: CBS - Commend,
Mr. J. Chataway 3204
Res. 1649, Fraser, Gail - Hon. Deg.: Acadia Univ. - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 3204
Res. 1650, Jones, Marshall/Jeremy Miller: IWK Fundraising -
Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 3205
Res. 1651, Stout, Doug: Vol. of Commun. - Congrats., Mr. J. Chataway 3205
Res. 1652, Nowe, Richard: Silver Postmark Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 3206
Res. 1653, Leroux, Adam: Bantam Athlete of Yr. Award - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Chataway 3206
Res. 1654, Windsor Elem. Sch. - Curriculum Night: Participants -
Congrats., Hon. R. Russell 3207
Res. 1655, MacKinnon, Tammy: Outstanding Special Olympian (2002) -
Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 3207
Res. 1656, McNeil, Jay: Can. Science Fair - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 3208
Res. 1657, McNeil, Jenna: Can. Science Fair - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 3208
Res. 1658, Atkinson, Kate: Can. Science Fair - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 3209
Res. 1659, Lamothe, Natalie: Can. Science Fair - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 3209
Res. 1660, Oxford Baptist Church: Anniv. (127th) - Congrats.,
The Speaker 3210

[Page 3079]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 22, 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, I would like to bring to the attention of the honourable members some special guests who are in the Speaker's Gallery today. There are eight Grade 10 students from Oxford Regional High School who are actually taking a Grade 11 course. They are here with their teacher, Mr. Keith Hunter, and with their chaperones, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Clark. They are here visiting the House today to watch the last day of the proceedings of this session - maybe (Interruptions) If the government's good.

They have had a tour of the Legislature and they are going to spend the rest of the afternoon in the city. I would ask the students, their teacher and the chaperones to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House, please. (Applause)

Before we begin the daily routine, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Dartmouth North:

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Community Services and the government act in a responsible manner and bring a resolution through binding arbitration to the ongoing dispute at the Regional Residential Services Society.

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

3079

[Page 3080]

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of 32 residents of the Barr Settlement Road in my constituency. The operative clause is, "We the residents of the Barr Settlement Road petition the Minister of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, the Honourable Michael Baker, to act without delay in effecting much needed upgrades to our road, in order to reduce and eliminate the flat tires, broken struts, holes in exhausts, fuel tanks and other parts of our vehicles that we've been forced to tolerate from traveling over this deplorable road." I have added my name in support.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

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

Bill No. 52 - Cosmetology Act.

Bill No. 53 - Massage Therapy Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

Mr. Speaker, a request that permission be sought to add these bills to the order paper for today so they can be dealt with in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[Page 3081]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. JOHN HAMM (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, this may be my last opportunity to formally speak in this House before the next provincial general election. As I have long stated in this fourth year of our government, I will put my mind to election timing after this sitting of the House, towards an election in the second half of 2003. But in the event that this is my last chance before the next election, I would like to pay tribute to a number of members in our House - members who have stated they will not re-offer in the next election.

I could think of no more fitting a member to pay tribute to than the member for Cape Breton Nova, the dean of this House. First elected to represent his constituents in 1970, the member for Cape Breton Nova will not be remembered for any one political Party. (Laughter)

AN HON. MEMBER: Here he is. (Applause)

THE PREMIER: The member for Cape Breton Nova will be remembered for his devotion to his constituents, and he will be remembered for his ever unique interventions on behalf of his people on the floor of this House. We have never seen the kind of member as the member for Cape Breton Nova, and we will never see his kind again.

In 1919, Vladimir Lenin said, "Victory in war goes to the side whose people has greater reserves, greater sources of strength and greater endurance." I can think of no member in this House with greater reserves, sources of strength and endurance than the member for Cape Breton Nova. (Applause) I will truly miss his resolutions. (Standing Ovation)

Which brings me to our retiring members from the so-called class of 1984, each representing one of the official Parties in this House. To the member for Dartmouth East, a fellow physician, thank you for your service to the people of Dartmouth, thank you for your service to your fellow members of the Liberal Party, and thank you for your work for all Nova Scotians in a number of challenging portfolios, ranging from Community Services to Housing, Municipal Affairs to Health and Justice. (Applause) I know I speak for all members of the House when I wish the member for Dartmouth East and his wife, Linda, the very best as they re-enter private life.

Now to the member for Sackville-Cobequid, perhaps the most articulate in defining the differences between the Orange team, the Red team and the Blue team. Indeed, the member for Sackville-Cobequid is perhaps the only person in this place to wear the title of the NDP's gas man as a badge of pride. (Applause) Seriously, the NDP would not have

[Page 3082]

served as Nova Scotia's Official Opposition for so long and so well in Nova Scotia without the years of work of the member for Sackville-Cobequid. (Applause) Strong opposition helps make better government. Put simply, the New Democratic Party would not have been a strong Opposition without the efforts of the member for Sackville-Cobequid. Please thank Diane and your family for allowing you to make a difference in Nova Scotia.

To another member of the class of 1984, the one member whose constituents provided him with a time-out from 1993 to 1998, the member for Argyle, the Minister of Finance. His experience, his commitment, his leadership, helped make history in Nova Scotia, not one, but two balanced budgets after 40 years of red ink. The accomplishment of the member for Argyle is so important that no government, regardless of political Party, would dare return our province to the road of deficit spending. So to the member for Argyle, the Minister of Finance, my colleague and my friend, his wife, Grace, and the family, on behalf of all Nova Scotians, we thank you. (Applause)

[12:15 p.m.]

And what can be said about the 15 years served by the member for Victoria, be it the forceful advocate for communities ranging from St. Ann's to Meat Cove, or as a Minister of Natural Resources in the former MacLellan Government, the member for Victoria was there working hard, quiet but effective, the epitome of a member of this House who put his constituency first. (Applause)

From the class of 1984 and 1988 to a former Leader of the Official Opposition, may I mention the member for Halifax Atlantic. For 12 years the member for Halifax Atlantic has worked hard for what he believed in. While there were many highs and lows in his public life, the member for Halifax Atlantic should be applauded for putting his wife, Paula, and their daughter, Jessica, first because when we look back on life, it truly doesn't matter whether one is able to build a Party to historically high heights, as the member for Halifax Atlantic was able to do, what's truly important is family and I applaud the member for Halifax Atlantic for putting his family first. (Applause)

Putting family first was never a question for the member for Pictou West. My dear friend from River John was faced with a personal tragedy which none of us in public life would ever want to face, the diagnosis of a terminal illness of their spouse in the midst of a general election campaign. Irrespective of this sad fact of life, the member for Pictou West soldiered on. She worked hard as a candidate and earned the support of the people of Pictou West. She mourned the loss of her husband, Bill, and she rolled up her sleeves and got to work on behalf of her people. Thanks to that unselfish effort of the member for Pictou West, her people have received a new high school, more dollars for schools, more books, more support for health care and more money for roads. The member for Pictou West set aside the challenge of a great personal loss at the outset of her term. She overcame the sad occasion

[Page 3083]

and got on with the job at hand - delivering results to the people of Pictou West. (Standing Ovation)

As I conclude my statement, let us all pay tribute to the work of those MLAs who have decided to leave this House. Nova Scotians in Lyons Brook, in Sackville, in Tusket, in Dartmouth, in Baddeck, in Whitney Pier and in Spryfield will remember their work. (Applause)

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it is with a great deal of pleasure I join in the opportunity to, I guess first to respond to the ministerial statement of the Premier, but to add our voices to what was said. It's very much the case that we would like to be associated

with all of the things that he has had to say because we know in this Party that everyone who comes to this House brings with them their own perspective and their own experience and they apply that every day to the work that they do. It's a valuable contribution to our communities, it's a valuable contribution to our province.

In this House, people watch us sometimes during Question Period, they see heated exchanges, they see us fight these battles on terms that we try to define in our own way. I've heard it said from time to time that we are political enemies. Well, I think that the truth is that we are opponents, we are adversaries, but I don't believe that we are enemies.

The work that these people have done over their lives exemplifies all of the things that are best about our system of government. The idea that you can loyally oppose the government, that you can bring forward and ask every tough question and that that has an appropriate place in this House. So, while I believe that we may be opponents and adversaries, we leave this House with a great sense of fellowship for those who have decided that they will not seek re-election. We are truly the inheritors of a proud tradition, each of us in our Parties recognize the values that are put forward by our members when they bring them here. We will be poorer for the fact that they have decided not to re-offer. I want to add our congratulations to them and our best wishes that whatever they do in the future, may they have great success. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Liberal caucus and our Leader, Danny Graham, I'm pleased to rise and honour those MLAs for whom today is their last day, or could be their last day in the House. All of these MLAs come from different walks of life and from different political spectrums. Yet, when they entered the Legislature, they were all united with one goal - to represent the needs and the wishes of their constituents. They all did so effectively.

[Page 3084]

To the honourable member for Pictou West, you have served your constituents with honour and dignity, the true Pictou County way. You undoubtedly brought your passion for people to your caucus table. Indeed, this passion was shown daily in the Legislature.

To the honourable member for Argyle, you brought a true spirit of determination and great talent to whatever role you played as a member of this Legislature. M. Le Ministre - comme député Acadien ta toujours eu la cause acadienne à coeur et ton travail ici à l'Assemblée a rendu notre communauté acadienne en - Nouvelle Écosse bien plus forte.

To the honourable member for Halifax Atlantic, you led a Party to great electoral gains. This speaks volumes for the member's leadership abilities and we thank him for his contribution to the political process.

To the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid, you will be remembered in this Chamber for your great oratory skills. Your ability to digest issues and bring forward sound reasoned arguments are a testament to your dedication, not only to your constituents, but to the public service as well.

To my colleague, the honourable member for Victoria, you are a true gentleman. Your ability to bring to our caucus table issues impacting not only your constituents, but those of all rural Nova Scotia, has been invaluable. However, the member for Victoria's talents will best be remembered in his role as Minister of Natural Resources. The honourable member's dedication to bringing forward endangered species legislation and his tireless work on a sustainable forest strategy has indeed made Nova Scotia a better place in which to live.

To my colleague, the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova. Your dedication to your constituents and solving their problems has never been, nor will ever be, matched in this Legislature. There were never problems that were too big or too insignificant for this member to solve. The member for Cape Breton Nova will, however, be best remembered on the floor of this House for not only his command of many languages but as well his detailed knowledge and respect for the British parliamentary system.

To my colleague, the honourable member for Dartmouth East. You are perhaps the greatest example today translating your passions and previous profession into actions and results. Your passion for children was shown during your tenure as Minister of Community Services with such achievements as amendments to the Children and Family Services Act, increases in daycare spaces at times when money was tight and commitments you made to honour the profession of social work. As Minister of Health, completion of the Telehealth Network, the development of Cancer Nova Scotia and your determination to recruit specialists through alternate forms of payment have all indeed made Nova Scotia a better place in which to live. Mr. Speaker, did I forget to mention that the honourable member was a great constituency person who cares deeply about the people he represents.

[Page 3085]

So, in closing, to all colleagues, on all sides of the House, please accept our best wishes in the times ahead. Whatever road life takes you, I'm certain that all of you will continue contributing your skills and talents to make Nova Scotia an even better place in which to live. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, it certainly has been a great honour to serve in this historic Chamber, Nova Scotia's House of Assembly, and to be here as the representative for the wonderful people of Pictou West. It certainly wasn't my intention to become an MLA, however it was with the encouragement of my late husband, Bill, and our area's steering committee that I let my name go forward for the Progressive Conservative nomination for Pictou West. With the help and loyalty of many fine people we won the seat back which allowed me to represent the good people of my constituency.

During my term here I feel that I've worked long and hard on behalf of my constituents. I've met many great and extraordinary people under many different circumstances, all of which have enriched my life and made my decision to retire both bitter and sweet. I want to thank you for letting me say these few words and allow me to salute my Premier for whom I have great respect and my colleagues who have been most gracious and kind and helpful to me. To the caucus staff who have looked after me so well, as well to all the members and the staff of this House, who've made these past four years such an incredible experience. I will certainly never forget my friends and my time here. Thank you so much. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1564

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

Whereas the Third Session of the 58th General Assembly is drawing to a close; and

Whereas members of the Legislative Assembly could not conduct their business without the assistance and support of the staff of this Chamber; and

Whereas these staff members always go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the House business runs as smoothly as possible, and we can all recognize that; (Laughter)

[Page 3086]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank all staff including Richard Ramsey and Charlie Whalen; the administration staff under the direction of Ms. Jocelyn Scallion; Operations Manager Mike Laffin, Peter Theriault and their efficient staff of Pages and Messengers; the staff of the Office of the Legislative Counsel; the Legislative Committees Office; and Hansard, under Robert Kinsman's direction; the very able crew of Legislative Television; our tireless Legislative Library staff of Margaret Murphy, Sandy Cook, and their most learned Library staff; our legal advisors of the Office of the Clerk; and a special thanks to Patsy Gallant, for sitting with us for one last season; and also thanks to our Sergeant-at-Arms, Noel Knockwood; and to all members of the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, for their loyal support to all members.

I apologize for the length of the resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[12:30 p.m.]

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. (Standing Ovation)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 57 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 246 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Labour Standards Code to Improve Labour Standards. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1565

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

[Page 3087]

Whereas our friend, the MLA for Sackville-Cobequid, was elected nearly 19 years ago and spoke in this House for the first time on March 1, 1985, when he urged a fair funding formula for education; and

Whereas during his first five days in this Chamber, he also urged action to provide affordable housing, release of the agreement to subsidize Pratt & Whitney, improvement of services to women, and the immediate construction of needed schools in Sackville; and

Whereas he has kept on talking and getting results on the things that matter to Sackville residents and all Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that in the event today is his last opportunity to say a few words in this House, members wish the member for Sackville-Cobequid well in his future endeavours to improve his community and his province.

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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1566

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

Whereas Liberal MLAs Paul MacEwan, Jim Smith, and Kennie MacAskill are retiring from political life and completing their last session in the House of Assembly; and

Whereas these three long-serving Liberal MLAs have contributed greatly to the province, the people they serve, and to the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Paul, Jim and Kennie will be remembered by all for their distinguished service and their dedication to making Nova Scotia a better province;

[Page 3088]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the incredible political contributions of Paul MacEwan, Jim Smith, and Kennie MacAskill, to the Province of Nova Scotia and thank them for their dedication to their constituents and to all Nova Scotians.

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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1567

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

Whereas at 38 years of age Halifax resident Angela Vecchio-Ozmon has shown exceptional strength and courage as she has fought a very public battle with terminal breast cancer; and

Whereas upon discovery of a life-threatening illness many people lose all hope, but this mother of two has tirelessly fought to extend her life as much as possible and, in doing so, has become a spokesperson for living life to the fullest; and

Whereas Ms. Vecchio-Ozmon has chronicled her battle with the disease on Angela's Journey, a television health series broadcast on CBC TV's Health Matters and has also delivered her encouraging message through speaking engagements and cable TV programming around the province;

Therefore be it resolved that every member of this House join me in expressing our great admiration and respect for Ms. Angela Vecchio-Ozmon, who has exhibited courage, strength and a remarkable ability to continue to help others with her incredible presence and message of hope, she is truly an inspiration to us all.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3089]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1568

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

Whereas on Thursday, May 8, 2003, Margo Kleiker peacefully left this world, surrounded by her family and friends; and

Whereas throughout her life, Margo brought warmth, joy, comfort, courage and sage advice to her vast network of women and men for whom she cared; and

Whereas Margo's many talents and accomplishments, too numerous to list here, include the co-founding of the Breast Cancer Survivors' Dragon Boat Team called, Bosom Buddies;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend our deepest condolences to Margo Kleiker's husband, Ian, her daughters, Molly and Sandra, and to all those who were privileged to have spent time in her warm and wise company.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 3090]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1569

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 Liberals are the first Party to "come out of the blocks with a plan to address soaring insurance premiums", to quote today's Daily News; and

Whereas yesterday, Liberal Leader Danny Graham "unveiled what is really the first detailed plan by any Party to lower and stabilize (insurance) rates on a sustainable basis", to quote today's Chronicle-Herald editorial; and

Whereas "Liberal Leader Danny Graham unveiled an auto insurance plan Wednesday that would put a cap on pain and suffering damages . . . and reduce rates by 15 per cent", to quote paragraph one of today's Chronicle-Herald's front page headline news story;

Therefore be it resolved that the press coverage of yesterday's Liberal insurance plan reflects reality, identifies who the Leader is on the insurance issue, and opens the door to other Parties to follow the Liberal lead, if they wish.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1570

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

Whereas Jessica Connell, 18, has recently captured the gold medal in the Senior Girls Single Division at the Youth Bowling 5 Pin Nationals, held in Saskatchewan; and

Whereas Ms. Connell is a Grade 12 honour student at Middleton Regional High School and has been accepted into Acadia for the Fall of 2003; and

Whereas her accomplishment is made more significant as it is the first gold medal that Nova Scotia has won at the Youth Bowling 5 Pin Nationals;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud Jessica Connell on the receipt of her gold medal at the Youth Bowling 5 Pin Nationals, and congratulate her on being the first Nova Scotian to receive it.

[Page 3091]

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. 1571

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

Whereas federal government departments, agencies and Crown corporation who choose coverage under the Workers' Compensation Act are self-insured and pay WCB an administrative fee to process claims; and

Whereas this means that the provincial government and the other employers who foot the bill for the workers' compensation system pay not one penny for claims made by federal workers; and

Whereas the Minister of Environment and Labour could have included federal firefighters at no cost under amendments to the Workers' Compensation Act to provide automatic assumption, but he passed up the opportunity to provide those workers with additional job protection;

Therefore be it resolved that this House express its dismay to the Minister of Environment and Labour for his failure to provide federal firefighters with additional protection under the Workers' Compensation Act.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

[Page 3092]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1572

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

Whereas last evening, the Minister of Health was met by a group of medical technologists, on her way to a nomination meeting in Antigonish, who were expressing frustration over the minister's lack of concern about the pending crisis in their profession; and

Whereas the current Minister of Health and the former Minister of Health stand and stood in their place daily saying they have a plan for health care and it is working; and

Whereas it is quite obvious their plan did not include training and recruiting valuable allied health professionals like medical technologists, an issue identified in the Department of Health as one requiring attention;

Therefore be it resolved that the people of Nova Scotia recognize that this government has not only failed to appropriately plan for the health care needs of Nova Scotians, but they still have their blinders on when it is clear they are approaching a pending crisis with regard to the number of medical technologists in this province.

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 Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1573

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

[Page 3093]

Whereas the Banook Canoe Club, the oldest canoe club in Canada, will celebrate its 100th Anniversary this year; and

Whereas many prominent Dartmouthians have worn the crimson and white club colors, including former Mayor Sydney Russell Urquhart, and two members have represented Canada at the Olympics, Chris Hook in the 1960s and Mikal Apostal in the 1990s; and

Whereas the club has hosted three world championships and 900 members currently represent the club in a wide variety of activities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Banook Canoe Club on 100 years of service in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1574

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

Whereas volunteerism is one of the most important fabrics of society and thus community life; and

Whereas Ms. Karen Auby of Mount Uniacke has been consistently active in volunteering her talents, skills and time to worthy causes in her community; and

Whereas Karen Auby was honoured on April 30th in Rawdon by the Municipality of East Hants for her much appreciated work as a volunteer;

Therefore be it resolved this House of Assembly congratulate Karen Auby on receiving her award and for her commitment to serving the community of Mount Uniacke.

[Page 3094]

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 Sackville-Cobequid on an introduction.

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to introduce guests in the west gallery today. The lady whom I'm about to introduce, a Sackville resident and a friend for a number of years, was telling me that she had never been to the Legislature, but she wanted to find out exactly how it operated and I told her that today would be the last day that we would probably be sitting this Spring session. So she has decided to come in and to see the proceedings of the House. So I would like to ask Wendy Piercey to please rise and receive the warm welcome of the members of this House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I certainly welcome our guest to the gallery today.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1575

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

Whereas Florence Sigut, a resident of Coxheath, Cape Breton, was honoured when she received the Order of Sancta Barbara, the patron saint of miners; and

Whereas she was presented this prestigious award which recognizes the important role played by women in the promotion of mining communities; and

Whereas the conference was held last week at the annual meeting of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum in Montreal; and

Whereas Florence Sigut is the second Nova Scotian to receive the Order of Sancta Barbara Award;

[Page 3095]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Florence Sigut for her lifelong commitment to the mining community and congratulate her on her achievement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria.

RESOLUTION NO. 1576

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

Whereas the 16th edition of the Cabot Trail relay race will be held this weekend in Victoria and Inverness County; and

Whereas this year the race has attracted 65 teams with a total of 1,105 participants; and

Whereas participants in this year's race come from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Maine, Massachusetts, the United Kingdom and the Grand Cayman;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the organizers and all the participants for making the Cabot Trail relay race such a successful 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.

[Page 3096]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

[12:45 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1577

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

Whereas Shawn Fuller announced his retirement from senior baseball last night in Truro after a 15-plus-year career; and

Whereas Shawn Fuller has been a member of the Truro Bearcats for three years and was an integral part of the team's 2002 Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League championship season; and

Whereas Shawn Fuller, in addition to demonstrating outstanding baseball skills, was a leader in the clubhouse and exemplified, in very good measure, all of the positive qualities one would desire in a high-level competitive athlete;

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate Shawn Fuller on his outstanding senior baseball career and for being a positive example of the word 'sportsmanship'.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to requesting waiver of notice, I want to say he's a fine gentleman, a little misguided in his political leanings, and I've worked on that for three years without much success.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

[Page 3097]

RESOLUTION NO. 1578

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

Whereas the Juno Beach Centre project was developed by a group of World War II veterans who participated in the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944, and the subsequent battles in Normandy and throughout western Europe; and

Whereas the Juno Beach Centre at Courseulles-sur-Mer in Normandy will provide recognition of Canada's military and civilian contributions during the Second World War and preserve for future generations the knowledge of the contributions of that generation and honour the gifts of valour and freedom they gave to all Canadians; and

Whereas the Minister of Canadian Heritage has designated the Juno Beach landing site to be the site of national historic significance to Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that the Government of Nova Scotia declare June 6, 2003, a day of recognition commemorating the opening of the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy.

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. 1579

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

Whereas six Cape Bretoners will dress for Team Atlantic at the 17th annual New England College and NHL Prospect Hockey Showcase beginning this Saturday in Boston; and

[Page 3098]

Whereas Jimmy Fahey, Franklin MacDonald, David MacBurnie, Kenzie Sheppard, Lance Gillies and Brent MacSween will all be participating this weekend; and

Whereas this is an opportunity for these players to display their talent to New England prep schools and college hockey scouts;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish Jimmy, Franklin, David, Kenzie, Lance and Brent all the best in the upcoming weekend.

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 Transportation and Public Works.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I have a resolution here which I've managed to mislay. So I will let another member go while I find it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1580

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

Whereas the pursuit of scientific studies and research is one of the often unsung cornerstones of our modern and prosperous civilization; and

Whereas the study of agricultural science results in enormous benefits to people all over the world; and

Whereas Ms. Marie Didkowsky of West Gore, who studies at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, was awarded a prestigious post-graduate scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, one of only six in Canada;

[Page 3099]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Marie Didkowsky of West Gore on her post-graduate scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and wish her well in her future career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1581

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

Whereas the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal is awarded to citizens who exemplify the dedication to the well-being of others within their communities, as well as their country; and

Whereas the 4-H Club is a community-based organization which aims to enrich the growth and development of rural youth; and

Whereas Ruth MacNeil, general leader of the Northside 4-H and Sara Vickers, member of the Northside 4H club, have both been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee medal for their timeless devotion to the club and its causes within the community;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Ruth MacNeil and Sara Vickers on receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee medals for their hard work and dedication in the community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3100]

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. 1582

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

Whereas the beef industry is very important to the agricultural mix in this province and our economy; and

Whereas now is the time for cooler heads to prevail in order to secure a healthy beef industry in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the knee-jerk reaction of the NDP to ban Alberta beef is the greatest overreaction to a crisis since the Health Minister told Nova Scotians to avoid Toronto because of SARS;

Therefore be it resolved that the government take every possible step to protect the beef industry based on solid evidence rather than the campaign of NDP fear which would wind up hurting the Nova Scotia beef industry as well as the industry in other parts of Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

[Page 3101]

RESOLUTION NO. 1583

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

Whereas the ability to receive quality child care in your community is very important to all parents; and

Whereas the residents of the Town of Lunenburg and surrounding area have been privileged to have the Lunenburg Day Care Centre operating in their community for 30 years; and

Whereas the Lunenburg Day Care Centre has, since opening its doors in February of 1973, been dedicated to providing a caring and nurturing environment to the children of the community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate and thank the Lunenburg Day Care Centre for the dedicated service it has provided to the children of its community over the past 30 years.

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. 1584

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

Whereas DARE, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program is designed to educate and protect children from the dangers of drugs; and

[Page 3102]

Whereas the DARE program operates in the school system with the support and sponsorship of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and

Whereas at an awards ceremony in June, students and teachers from Caldwell Road Elementary School Grade 6 classes will be honoured with DARE awards for their successful participation;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the Grade 6 students at Caldwell Road Elementary School and commend Constable Pat Tardiff of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Principal Dave Naugler and teacher participants Keith MacKay, Janice Murray and Evelyn MacMullen for their efforts in the delivery of the DARE program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1585

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

Whereas while the Liberals are busy advancing remedies on the insurance problem, the Tories are busy disposing of Sydney Steel Corporation's producing units to Zoom Developments Ltd. of India; and

Whereas the plan the Tories have allowed to develop with Zoom is to take the Sysco plant apart piece by piece, ship all the numbered parts to India and have them reassembled there like a large-scale jigsaw puzzle; and

Whereas this plan to disassemble Nova Scotian industries and reassemble them in India constitutes the heart and soul of the Hamm plan for a greater Nova Scotia;

[Page 3103]

Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House, the Hamm plan, which the Tories seems to be zooming away, is more than enough to zoom them off the political landscape in the near future. I rest my case.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 1586

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

Whereas a story of triumph over cancer, 8-year-old hockey enthusiast and player, Carson Boutilier of the Northside, is truly an inspiration to us all; and

Whereas Carson is a past beneficiary of the Children's Wish Foundation, a former poster child for their campaign, has appeared in one of their television commercials with East Coast pop band, Great Big Sea; and

Whereas Carson must once again continue his battle against cancer, young Mr. Boutilier was featured in the Northside District Minor Hockey Novice program's, Hockey Kids Against Cancer tournament, as the event's guest of honour and ceremonial official for the dropping of the puck;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Carson Boutilier on his strength to overcome hardship and thank him because his brave efforts are an inspiration to us all.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 3104]

RESOLUTION NO. 1587

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

Whereas bullying has become one of the paramount concerns in many communities and schools throughout the province; and

Whereas a group of students at J.L. Ilsley High School have declared today, May 22nd, Youth United Day, and will host an all-day conference focused on bullying; and

Whereas the conference will examine what the students have identified as 36 root causes and solutions to bullying and features over 50 different presenters;

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate J.L. Ilsley High School, Vice-Principal Terry Quinland, student organizers John Gurney, Brittany Coughlan, Heather MacLeod, Roy Dempsey, and all those involved for this co-operative effort to identify strategies to tackle this important social issue.

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. 1588

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

Whereas the Minister of Community Services on a daily basis refuses to accept the fact that he has a role to play in resolving the strike between th employees of RRSS and their employer; and

[Page 3105]

Whereas yesterday employees were cautiously optimistic that there would be a reason to go back to meet with the conciliator, an action that has now been proven to be nothing but a tactic by this government to avoid negative media attention on the last day of the Legislature; and

Whereas while the conciliator has called the parties back, he has not been provided with any support from the Minister of Community Services in the form of additional resources so that he can get to work and settle this 42-day-old strike;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House condemn the Tory Government for their callous attitude to our most vulnerable citizens and condemn their complete disrespect for the RRSS employees that has been displayed to date.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1589

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

Whereas Martin MacDougall of Sydney will undergo the testing required to obtain his 5th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, earning him the status of Master; and

Whereas in Mr. MacDougall's 22-year career he has competed in world championships, world cups and Pan-Am Games and numerous Canadian competitions; and

Whereas Mr. MacDougall, owner and instructor of East Coast Tae Kwon Do, will take this test with several of his students hoping to reach their next level, which takes five years of study and training to accomplish;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature recognize the 22-year commitment made by Martin MacDougall and wish him every success in his upcoming examination.

[Page 3106]

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. 1590

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

Whereas Dr. Brian Tennyson has been awarded the 5th Annual University College of Cape Breton Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award; and

Whereas in 1966 Dr. Tennyson arrived in Cape Breton to teach history at the then Sydney Campus of St. Francis Xavier University; and

Whereas during his 37 years of teaching Dr. Tennyson has championed the integration of Mi'kmaq cultural values into the UCCB curriculum, and has been Director of the Centre of International Studies from its inception in 1978;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dr. Brian Tennyson on being awarded the UCCB Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award for the year 2002-03.

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 3107]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

[1:00 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 1591

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

Whereas the Canada-Wide Science Fair has recently taken place in Calgary; and

Whereas six Nova Scotian students received honourable mentions at the prestigious fair, three bringing home medals; and

Whereas Alex Legge was one of those receiving an honourable mention, a Grade 9 student at Bayview Community School in Mahone Bay, he participated in the intermediate biotechnology division;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all the participants in the Canada-wide Science Fair and wish them all the best in their future best 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.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Oral Question Period will begin at 1:00 p.m. and end at 2:00 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

[Page 3108]

INSURANCE - RATES: REDUCTION - DELAY EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier who has taken responsibility for skyrocketing insurance rates. This is widely expected to be the last sitting of the Legislature before a general election and the Premier has decided that drivers in this province must wait until after the expected election before the Legislature takes any action to lower auto insurance rates. The government's 4th Anniversary is fast approaching, so my question is very simple. Why did the Premier decide to do nothing to lower auto insurance rates during his four years in office?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can remind the member opposite that we have a plan to address insurance rates. One of the key parts of that plan, of course, is the Insurance Bill that is before this House - and I would expect to be passed very shortly - which will allow the minister responsible then to go ahead by regulations and to start moving towards a more equitable insurance rate system for the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, well, maybe the Premier is trying to learn from Bernard Lord's failure. His Tory cousins legislated prior approval of rates above a predetermined level, limited benefits for accident victims, a review of discriminatory rate setting and a stronger consumer advocate. It sounds like the Third Party's plan. It didn't work and it was so bad that the New Brunswick Tories dropped their own plan and made a whole new set of promises on Tuesday night. Since the Premier claims that within two weeks he will have a plan to lower auto insurance rates, why won't he commit himself to providing drivers with those lower rates right away?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government will be in a position by way of regulation once the Insurance Bill is passed, to do exactly what the member opposite is asking the government to do. However, unlike the position of the New Democratic Party, because if we took all of the advice that they give us, we would now have a situation in Nova Scotia whereby the meltdown would have resulted in tens of thousands of Nova Scotians being refused insurance and we were not about to embark on that kind of a process. What we're doing is slow and deliberate and we'll come up with the right answers.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, if the Premier had taken our advice, hundreds of thousands of Nova Scotians would have the lowest and fairest auto insurance premiums in the country. But you know something, the Premier is the only Party Leader who can take action now instead of simply making promises. That is the privilege of power, it is the responsibility of governments. If the Premier truly believes that he has a plan that will lower rates, he would introduce that plan, hold the public hearings and deliver those rates. If the Premier won't actually lower rates, if the Premier will ignore the fact that the lowest and fairest rates come from driver-owned non-profit plans at no cost to the taxpayer, he'll just make another Tory promise. So my question is, when did the Premier decide that he would not take action to lower auto insurance rates before his government's 4th Anniversary?

[Page 3109]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is quite correct when he said that there are privileges of power but there are also responsibilities of power. One of the responsibilities of power is not to do anything that will in fact have a negative effect on the people of Nova Scotia. Had we listened to the advice of that Party, today we would have had a total meltdown of the insurance industry in Nova Scotia and tens of thousands of Nova Scotians would not be able to access any form of automobile insurance.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

INSURANCE - SOLUTIONS: IND. ONUS - EXPLAIN

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, "Strong Leadership . . . . a clear course", four years later, here we are with the insurance question nowhere near being addressed by this government. We know from the URB report that the government would be justified in considering making structural changes to the current automobile insurance system in Nova Scotia, yet instead of offering any meaningful solution on the issue, the Premier suggested that the insurance companies, on their own, should be the ones to solve this problem, rather than his government leading the charge. What this Premier doesn't seem to understand is that government has a responsibility to help Nova Scotian drivers experiencing high insurance rates, and the people of Nova Scotia have waited four years for action from this majority government. My question to the Premier is, can the Premier explain why he thinks it's up to the insurance industry to come up with solutions to the insurance problem faced by Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it's not only the insurance companies that we have turned to, we have turned to Nova Scotians, anyone who has a responsible answer to a conundrum. I think it's only fair, because from time to time the members of the Third Party have been critical of government, from time to time we can be critical of them. I have a constituent who has just been informed of a 250 per cent increase in her automobile insurance costs, same car, no accidents and an unblemished record. What use is a 15 per cent rate reduction to somebody who has just been served an increase of 250 per cent?

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, "Strong leadership . . . . a clear course", and what do we get today? The white flag of surrender by this government. This government is now saying, four years, a majority government, and we are bankrupt of any ideas and bankrupt of any solutions to deal with this problem. We're asking for the help of everyone. Criticize our plan if you want, but at least we had the fortitude to table our plan during the sitting of this House, something neither the government nor the socialist Party has had the fortitude to do. We did not have to hide, after the House rises, to be able to come forward with our plan. In fact, we called it for debate yesterday. This government has had four years to deal with this issue. The URB has clearly said there are problems and government would be justified in fixing that. (Interruptions)

[Page 3110]

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

The honourable member for Richmond has the floor.

MR. SAMSON: The socialists are particularly loud today, Mr. Speaker. I ask the Premier, can the Premier explain why his government failed Nova Scotians by refusing to bring forward a long-term solution to the insurance problem during this sitting of the Legislature, so that Nova Scotians throughout this province could get some real relief today from the rate shock that they are experiencing?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can remind the member opposite that we have been working on a solution now for almost a year and a half. They came out with their plan yesterday. The member opposite has hardly any credibility when he accuses the government of being slow off the mark. Slow off the mark is looking at a problem that has been there for a year and a half and coming out with a solution yesterday.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, so, we've come out with our plan. You've had four years, majority government, all the staff at your hands, the entire Civil Service at your disposal, all the money from the Treasury Board to go out and do your polling, access to all sorts of experts, access to civil servants who have years of experience in dealing with this, and yet you have the audacity, Premier, to say that we're late in coming forward with a plan. At least we put our plan forward, we called it for debate, and we presented it to Nova Scotians. What we get from this government, as I said, is the white flag, asking simply to freeze rates with no plan in sight. I ask the Premier, with the enormous costs, present and future, of a government-run system, can the Premier indicate to Nova Scotians whether his supposed insurance plan is one that will risk Nova Scotians' financial future?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the biggest danger, of course, to the financial future of the province would be not to re-elect this government. What I can say is that the member opposite has an issue. We must solve this problem without jeopardizing the financial future of the province. We are determined to do that. That's why we're going slowly and deliberately, to come out with the best and most effective way to address the insurance rate problem here in Nova Scotia and, at the same time, not putting the province at severe financial risk. We will do that, with the discussion paper, with the consumer advocate and with the piece of legislation that we hope the House will see fit to pass before the end of the current day's sitting.

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

INSURANCE - COSTS: VON - EFFECTS

MR. JOHN HOLM: Mr. Speaker, this is such an important topic, I think I will get into this as well and direct my question to the Minister of Environment and Labour, who is,

[Page 3111]

as my helpful Leader likes to refer to, the minister responsible for sky-high insurance rates. Yesterday the Leader of the Official Opposition pointed out to the government that nurses in Nova Scotia can't afford the sky-high insurance rates in this province. Today the Nova Scotia Victorian Order of Nurses has made the situation even more clear. The organization says high insurance costs are making operations and each visit more expensive. In the end, these rates will force the cost of home care up. The Premier says they're going so slow that they are virtually in neutral. I want to ask the minister, why are you and your government stalling on this very important issue?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it's passing strange that the member for Sackville-Cobequid should accuse the government of stalling. We came forward within a matter of days of the opening of the House with a bill, to pass through this House, that would give us effective control over the insurance industry and insurance rates. The people who have been stalling are sitting on the benches over there.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister must think that May 1st is a fluid date, because the bill will be effective back to May 1st, whether it passes today, tomorrow or yesterday. It's your bill and you should know that. The Victorian Order of Nurses also says that skyrocketing insurance rates are affecting their ability to recruit top professionals. They say that since field staff are required to have their own vehicles, increased costs make the VON a less attractive option. That's them saying it, and I will share their letter with the minister. They say that some nurses qualified for community-based care may seek employment somewhere else. Mr. Minister, skyrocketing insurance rates are an added strain that our health care system just can't afford. Mr. Minister, how much longer are you going to force Nova Scotians to pay for your inaction?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, certainly, the high cost of insurance is affecting not only the VON but is affecting all Nova Scotians, and I like to think that this government on this side of the House, at least, represents all Nova Scotians who are suffering from high insurance rates. I repeat my charge that at the present time, the government cannot do anything until that bill is passed.

MR. HOLM: Mr. Speaker, the minister might expect a rookie to believe that, but I'm sorry, I can't buy it. I haven't even seen the draft regulations that would be going along with this bill, plus the legislation won't give the government the power to do half of that which they say that it will. Home care is an essential part of our health care system, whether the minister likes to acknowledge that or not. Nurses in this province have said high insurance rates are an extra cost that they just simply can't afford. The Victorian Order of Nurses says it's an added cost they may be forced to pass on.

For weeks, the Minister of Environment and Labour has been doing a lot of talking and making an awful lot of excuses, but has been doing nothing, so I'm going to direct my final question to the Minister of Health. Since your colleague, the minister responsible for

[Page 3112]

skyrocketing insurance rates, has done nothing to help in this regard, are you prepared to provide some extra funding to our health care system to account for the impact of the skyrocketing insurance rates? (Interruptions)

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please. Order. You can almost say that that was the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid's final, final supplementary. (Interruptions)

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I would refer that question to the Minister of Finance.

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if this will be my last answer. I do want to say that we, as a government, have come up with a plan that we think, when implemented, will deal with this situation. It won't be dealt with overnight. I want to point out that the NDP's suggestion to any problem is to throw money at it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

FIN. - BALANCED BUDGET: PREM'S. STATEMENTS - VERACITY

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on November 19, 1999, the Premier of this province introduced a Ministerial Code of Conduct. The Ministerial Code of Conduct clearly makes it a violation of ministerial responsibility to knowingly mislead or deceive this House or allow an agent of the government to do likewise. In fact, the first section says ministers must be truthful and forthright. I wish to turn the Premier's attention to Hansard, April 17, 2001, where the Premier of this province said, "Mr. Speaker, what I will confirm is that a year from now this government will introduce a balanced budget, and from that day onward the debt of this province will no longer grow."

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians know, too painfully well, that that was just not a true statement. My question to the Premier, keeping in mind his own Ministerial Code of Conduct, which was in effect at the time of that statement, is, was it the Premier's intention to provide false statements in this House, or did he simply not understand what he was talking about?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government is very proud of its record, two successive balanced budgets after 40 years of red ink. (Applause) As well, the government will be coming forward with a commitment it made back in 1999 to deliver, to the people of the province, a debt-reduction plan that will have specific targets that will indicate, very specifically, what will happen over the next term of this government, if in fact this government is re-elected. This government is fiscally responsible, it has advanced the fiscal capacity of this province immeasurably over the last four years, and we're not through yet.

[Page 3113]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the Ministerial Code of Conduct says ministers must be truthful and forthright. Since the Premier made that commitment, the debt of this province has grown by $200 million, yet the Premier, who said he would respect Nova Scotians, still will not admit why he said what he said in April 2001. We take this issue very seriously. The debt of this province is an issue that all Nova Scotians take very seriously.

Based on this Premier's own Ministerial Code of Conduct, we have asked, through a letter, the commissioner to rule as to whether the Premier, in these statements, has actually breached his own Ministerial Code of Conduct. Today is an opportunity for the Premier to either retract that statement that he made or admit to Nova Scotians that even with his so-called balanced budget, the debt of this province has continued to grow, and when the Premier made this statement it was clear in their own budget lines the debt would continue to grow until 2005.

My question, again, to the Premier is, could the Premier explain why he said the debt would stop growing in 2002, when his own budget of 2001 clearly indicated that the overall debt of this province would continue to grow under his administration?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is very creative. On the other hand, the facts speak for themselves. When we came to office, despite their claiming to have a balanced budget, in fact, the Liberal Government was running a $500 million deficit on that particular year. That was a tremendous challenge for us as government, but over the next three years, despite that hidden deficit, we were able to bring in a balanced budget that we promised the people in 1999. We promised the people in 1999 that during the course of this mandate that we would have a debt reduction plan in front of them and that will be done before we call on the Lieutenant Governor to issue the Writ. We have kept our commitments to the people of Nova Scotia and we will run on that record.

MR. SAMSON: So, before the House rises, no debt-management plan as promised, no information on the state of our public pensions, no insurance plan; before the House rises, none of the important issues that affect Nova Scotians. Mr. Speaker, the Tory Party has tried to run on the credibility of the Premier. Mr. Premier, you, sir, stated in this House that under your government the debt of the province would not grow. We know that that is not correct. You know that that is not correct. Your own code of conduct calls on you to be honest and forthright. That clearly cannot be the case when you said it would not grow and it has. So I ask the Premier again, will you take this opportunity today to admit to Nova Scotians that you were incorrect when you stated that the debt would not grow and that, in fact, under your administration the debt will continue to grow in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the people of the province were quite aware of the financial situation of the province back in 1999, I believe that was one of the reasons we were elected. The member opposite can be very creative in what he brings to the attention of the House. What we said to the people of Nova Scotia is - and I again refer to a page the

[Page 3114]

member opposite fails ever to report to the House and this is Page 18, and this is what we were saying back in 1999 - the government will, if elected "Establish practical targets for reducing the provincial debt which has increased by almost $3.6 billion during six years of Liberal Governments." That is a commitment and it is a commitment that we will keep.

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

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

OH&S ORDER - NON-COMPLIANCE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. On Tuesday of this week I asked the minister about air quality issues at the Central Services Building on 6176 Young Street. His answer shows that basically he didn't know that building owners have specific responsibilities under our Occupational Health and Safety Act. He also said that he didn't know of any violations. Well, today I'm tabling a copy of the May 15, 2003, compliance order issued to your department by the OH&S Officer, Shelley Gray. This document indicates no less than four violations of our occupational health and safety laws.

So, Mr. Minister, will you explain why your department is breaking the law and why after six days of these orders being issued, you weren't even aware of non-compliance?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to answer that question for the honourable member. I can assure the honourable member that steps had been taken before the honourable member ever asked the question to remedy the difficulties with that building. The building in question is safe and there are ongoing actions by the department to ensure the building remains safe for the workers.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, air quality concerns at this building go back as far as last summer. Mr. Minister, your department knew about them but you didn't tell the people working there about these concerns as you're required to do by the law. I'll table some internal Transportation and Public Works e-mails that clearly reveal your own H&S expert was frustrated by the lack of co-operation by your property management staff. On May 14th, Mr. Minister, this expert wrote, and it is included in this e-mail: This is a clear violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and must be corrected at once! Mr. Minister, you've dropped the ball. Will you apologize to those working at this building on Young Street for letting them down, for not living up to your statutory responsibilities?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that we at the Department of Transportation and Public Works, take very seriously occupational health and safety issues. I can assure you that proper steps have been taken and will continue to be taken to protect the workers' health and safety in that building.

[Page 3115]

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this minister's department, in many areas where workplace hazards are a constant challenge, this minister has that ultimate responsibility. Many look to that department and that minister to lead by example, to inform the workers and to treat them fairly. Mr. Minister, will you commit today to taking immediate steps to ensure that all divisions within the department that you're responsible for, will learn by these mistakes? Will you personally admit that you have much to learn from these mistakes and that such failures to comply in the future will not happen under your watch in that department?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the honourable member for that question. I can assure you that while there's always something to learn, with respect to this particular matter, the department has taken very seriously the concerns of those who work there. I can also tell you that meetings of a user's committee have been set up in the building to ensure that all information about the safety of the workplace is communicated to the workers.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - DRUG-MONITORING PROG.: SUPPORT - PROVIDE

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Health. Prescription drug use across this province is a growing concern. Yesterday we learned that the provincially-funded, drug-monitoring program receives little funding and cannot do the job required. There are a number of drugs that are winding up on the street that have also been linked to increased crime. OxyContin is a drug of particular concern, prescriptions for this drug are high in Cape Breton, an area that has seen a consistent increase in crime rates for the last three years. I want to ask the minister - it's clear the drug- monitoring program needs to be improved - are you prepared to immediately provide the necessary support to address this serious situation?

HON. JANE PURVES: Mr. Speaker, the prescription monitoring program is a very good one. It does make sure that the drugs that are on the list are kept track of. While the government would certainly be prepared to look at putting more resources into a particular program, I would not want to let anyone in this House or any Nova Scotian think that even the best monitoring program, the best funded monitoring program in the world is not going to put an end to the problem of addiction in our society. Thank you.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, with the growing power of some of the narcotics that are being prescribed, we need adequate monitoring. The prescription monitoring program does not receive enough funding to do a comprehensive job. Under the present system we can expect, if it isn't improved, to see more prescription drugs reach the street and that needs to be addressed. This is a very serious issue, it warrants a commitment from this government. I want to ask the minister, what is her plan to address the immediate needs of Cape Breton with respect to this issue?

[Page 3116]

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Halifax Needham knows that Nova Scotia has the only prescription drug-monitoring program in Atlantic Canada. The issue here, of course, and has been for many, many years, even before prohibition there was such a thing as prescription drug abuse. This is an important step, but the problem is the number of people in our society who become drug addicts, whether it's alcohol addicts, or prescription drug addicts, or illegal drug addicts, that is the issue that we must get at and must solve and it will not be accomplished only through prescription drug monitoring.

[1:30 p.m.]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I agree with the minister that addictions in our community, our society, our province, are a serious problem, but I'm trying to get at a specific problem and the minister is avoiding answering questions with respect to this specific issue. Prescription drug abuse is not going to go away, it will only get worse, but OxyContin is being heavily prescribed in Cape Breton and drug abuse in that community is increasingly being linked to crime so we need to take action on this issue. My question to the minister is, when can we expect a comprehensive plan from your government with respect to this specific issue?

MISS PURVES: Mr. Speaker, we know that this particular drug is being prescribed more in Cape Breton than the rest of the province and that is the particular drug that is making the news today. A few years ago the issue was dilaudid in Pictou County. There is a very serious problem in our society and past societies of people needing to be out-of-it and government action on this one drug in Cape Breton is not going to solve the problem of drug addiction in our society.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova. (Interruptions)

SYSCO - PARTS SAVE: ZOOM PROPOSAL - UPDATE

MR. PAUL MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, the other members bring up the subject of my concern, yes. (Laughter) I want to ask the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, who also answers for Sydney Steel Corporation to the House, if he could bring the House up-to-date on Zoom Developers, Ltd. of India's purchase of the Sydney steel plant for, I believe, some $4 million and the plans to dismantle it piece by piece - number all the pieces - and then put them back together in the proper order in India so they can make steel over there and sell it to us. Could he confirm that that is indeed the Conservative plan for the future of Nova Scotia?

HON. GORDON BALSER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member bringing the question forward. He has had a number of opportunities, always late in Question Period, it is a significant issue. He's well aware of the situation with regard to Zoom. We canvassed the world to try to find a buyer for the electric arc furnace prior to that. As one of our

[Page 3117]

commitments, we attempted to find a buyer who would continue to operate that facility. That wasn't possible. We moved forward with a plan that was well-thought-out and reasoned. We're now about 60 per cent of the way through decommissioning and that's within 18 months of having made the final decision. So we're moving forward and the Zoom proposal is the best proposal, it will see a return on the investment. We will not recover the entire investment, but then again, for approximately 30 years that operation continued to run in a deficit position, accumulating about $3 billion to the debt of this province.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, assuming that what the minister has just said is so, I would like to ask him through you, how was the price of $4 million established and what relationship did it bear to the appraised value of the facility that was being sold?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in my previous answer, we canvassed the world to try to find a buyer. The reality is that the steel market has been depressed. It's very, very difficult to make that work. Zoom, an India-based company, has decided they would like to acquire that asset. They will put it where they can get a return on their investment and it's not up to us to dictate where that should be.

MR. MACEWAN: Mr. Speaker, that didn't really answer my question because it didn't tell us whether $4 million represented the value of the plant, or was it a reduced value, or perhaps an inflated one over the true appraised value of Sydney Steel. Now, he's saying that they canvassed the globe and Zoom was the best that they could find. I could mention some other possible candidates that were expressing interest. I can mention, for example, Transmet of Ekaterinburg, Russia, formerly Sverdlovsk. I would like him to know, if it is not known to the minister, that Transmet was interested in operating the Sydney steel plant on-site. Why would a bidder who would be interested in operating a plant on-site in Sydney be considered objectionable, versus one that wanted to take the plant down piece by piece and ship it overseas?

MR. BALSER: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows that electric arc furnace, when it was newly installed, was worth some $293 million. Is that close to $4 million? It is not and I think the member opposite realizes that. But when you are selling things in a decommission you have to take what the market will bear - $4 million was the best offer. It certainly is a far cry from the $40 million annually we put in that plant as a subsidy, as I said earlier in response to a question, contributing some $3 billion to the debt of this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

COMMUN. SERV. - RRSS STRIKE: MIN. TACTICS - EXPLAIN

MR. JERRY PYE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. What a charade his government put the Regional Residential Services Society workers through yesterday. What a terrible trick he pulled. When he was confronted

[Page 3118]

yesterday he told the workers he would find a solution, then he left it to the RRSS lawyer to say that that solution involved the same offer. My question to the minister is, why are you employing these tactics and are you trying to break the union?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I think we have been fairly consistent on this and I would suggest to both parties, that the place to resolve this is at the bargaining table. The RRSS and the union, NSGEU Local 66, have to get back to the bargaining table, that is the only place where they are going to resolve this.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, he told workers one thing to their face and then left it to the RRSS lawyer to tell them the other. This government has shown it is not only unfair but it is underhanded. It is a lesson the paramedics learned, it's a lesson that seniors learned, it's a lesson that nurses and other health care workers have learned. My question to the Minister of Community Services is simple, is your government going to deal fairly with these workers or are you going to continue to insist that RRSS keep the same offer on the table?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I think that it's incumbent on any minister to always be consistent in the message. I would challenge the member opposite to go through Hansard and check the statements I have made and others of this government have made on this issue. We have been consistent, we have been fair with this sector, we have put substantial new resources into it, and we have always been above-board and respected the collective bargaining process.

MR. PYE: Mr. Speaker, that minister led them to believe something different yesterday. The NSGEU President said this morning that this government's actions in the past 24 hours are insulting. What is worse, she said, you are playing a game, rather than trying to negotiate a deal. It is now obvious this government has lost the trust of RRSS workers and their union. It is obvious arbitration is the only solution to the impasse this government has created. My question to the minister is, why won't the minister finally do the right thing and order arbitration to settle this mess his government has created?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, in Nova Scotia we have a collective bargaining process. The union and the employer understood the labour laws when they got involved with these negotiations. When they decided to withdraw their services they knew that there was no provision for binding arbitration. We are respecting the collective bargaining process and we encourage both sides to get back to the table, because that is the only place where they can bring about a resolution to this issue.

[Page 3119]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

COMMUN. SERV. - GOLDENBERG CASE: ACTION - DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is also to the Minister of Community Services responsible for housing. Ken Goldenberg is a 35-year-old constituent with limited mobility due to a degenerative muscular condition, which eventually will lead to his requiring a wheelchair. Mr. Goldenberg currently lives in an apartment on the second floor of a building without an elevator or a lift. Since 2000, Mr. Goldenberg has provided your department with multiple documents from physicians, physiotherapists and other health care professionals indicating that he needs assistance from your department for an accessible unit, but yet there has been no satisfactory solution. Mr. Minister, my question to you is, what are you prepared to do to help Mr. Goldenberg find accessible housing?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for bringing it to my attention. I would suggest that in cases involving individuals, which I am not able to discuss here on the floor of the Legislature, I would encourage any member of any Party to bring it to me privately, and I will try to look into it and get an answer for them. I would certainly be prepared to do that for the member opposite, if she would provide me with that information.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I know the minister doesn't like to talk about these cases on the floor, but I have had much correspondence with the minister, the former minister and with the department. Mr. Goldenberg is getting frustrated, and he wants this matter raised here on the floor. That minister's department has offered the 35-year-old a unit in seniors' housing, has offered him a unit that's accessible on the inside but not on the outside, and an additional $100 in rent supplement to the measly $212 that he gets to rent an apartment, so he would have $312 to go looking in Halifax for an accessible unit. These aren't solutions. My question to the minister is, what are you prepared to do to offer a real solution to Mr. Goldenberg?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, what I am hearing from the member opposite is that, in fact, there have been discussions going on between the Housing Authority and her constituent. As I said in my first answer, if she wants me to intervene and ask questions on behalf of one of her constituents, as I would for any member of this House, that it would be appropriate to apprise me of the concerns, and I would do what I can to look into the situation for them, as I try to do for other members when they bring these matters to me under those circumstances.

[Page 3120]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I have my file with me today, and I will provide it to the minister. I would ask the minister for a full and immediate review of this file, and to have officials from your department meet with Mr. Goldenberg to find an appropriate solution in a timely fashion. This has gone on for three and a half years.

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I would be very pleased to accept that file. As I said previously, I will have staff look into it and hopefully bring this to a satisfactory conclusion.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

EDUC. - STUDENT DEBT REDUCTION PROG.:

IMPLEMENTATION - TIME FRAME

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I don't want the Education Minister to go home feeling neglected, so I will direct my question to the Education Minister today. Over the past several months what we have seen from this government are a lot of pre-election announcements that don't solve the real problems facing Nova Scotians. If you consider when this government announced their Student Debt Reduction Program, with the claim that it would help students with Nova Scotia student loans pay off their debt when they graduate, what this government failed to mention is that no student will benefit from this program until next year. Again, nothing more than an empty promise to get through an election.

My question to the minister is, can the minister explain why he thinks he could mislead students in this province before an election, when he knew full well the program wouldn't help any student until the 2004-05 budget year?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, obviously the plan, as it was announced, indicated quite clearly when the plan would begin. The honourable member knows full well that had we not inherited a budget deficit of $500 million when we came to office, it would not have been necessary to hold back assistance.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, if I've said it once in this House, I've said it a thousand times, they have been in government for four years, four long years, four very long years for the people of Nova Scotia.

[1:45 p.m.]

I'd like to ask the Premier, this Premier and his government know the reality they have to face at the polls when they go there in the second part of 2003, is that they failed post-secondary students by not treating them as stakeholders in this province's future. The students won't forget that this government misused the Millennium Scholarship funding. This government cancelled the Loan Remission Program to start with and the four years they went without a Loan Remission Program was because of this government. So my question

[Page 3121]

to the Premier is, he can't escape those facts so could he please tell Nova Scotian students why he deliberately chose not to treat post-secondary education as a priority?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we have actually focused on post-secondary education in this province. For example, if you look at the record of the previous government, when they reduced funding to universities to $175 million every year. Since we became government, we have been able to increase that. Our current increased commitment to universities this year is an additional $6 million to make our total payment in the realm of $207 million. In addition, we have formulated an expansion program for post-secondary community college students in this province - a $123 million commitment - that will result in 2,500 more seats for community college students right across Nova Scotia; 1,000 new seats here in metro, 1,500 in rural parts of Nova Scotia. The most ambitious increase in post-secondary education opportunities in my lifetime.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, my suggestion, with all due respect to the Premier, is to remove the rose-coloured glasses. Student debt, student debt, student debt. That's what students are faced with now. He continues to talk about how this government is helping students, but before the next election, the Premier better see the reality for what it really is. This Premier and this government were in office and students are now worse off than they were four years ago. So my final question for the Premier is, could he please explain to the students of Nova Scotia, who after going without a Loan Remission Program for four years, who lost out on additional student assistance funding and took on more debt, why this government feels very comfortable in mistreating students?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, yes, it is a problem. One of the cost drivers for tuition fees was the diminished funding provided by the previous government to universities. We addressed that issue very effectively. We are increasing funding to post-secondary education institutions and in particular our universities. In addition, we made a very specific commitment to students in the province that we would introduce a debt reduction program that will allow at least a 30 per cent reduction in student debt by way of the Student Debt Reduction Program. We've exceeded that. We have, in fact, introduced a Student Debt Reduction Program that will allow a student if they fully apply and qualify for all of the reductions of over 40 per cent, over 40 per cent of that student debt can be remitted as a result of the actions of this government.

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

WCB: DORSEY REPT. -

RECOMMENDATIONS NON-IMPLEMENTATION

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Environment and Labour. The minister well knows it's been over a year now since the Dorsey report has been completed and on his desk and a previous minister's desk. It's been

[Page 3122]

largely ignored except for a few focus groups and so on. One of the largest recommendations of the Dorsey report, as the minister well knows, are the 271 workers from the infamous window period that have been left out because of chronic pain. The Dorsey report recommends that these people get their due compensation. So I want to ask through you, Mr. Speaker, what will the minister do to explain to these injured workers why he refuses to provide compensation as recommended in the Dorsey report?

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member is well aware that I'll be bringing forward to this House in the Fall after the next election amendments to the Workers' Compensation Act which will implement most of the major recommendations of the Dorsey report.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I know he's wrong on one and I doubt if he'll do the other. What I want to say to this minister, it was the injured workers in this province that suffered greatly in the 1990s with changes to workers' compensation. There was never, ever a change for the better of the injured worker - it was always a freeze or a fence put around them. These 271 workers have been dealt with extremely harshly, and I believe it's incumbent on the government to do something today, not in some future period when no one knows who's going to be sitting on that side of the House. Will the minister show the injured workers their concerns, or this government's concerns, and be compensating these 271 injured workers today?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I can say heaven help the injured workers if that crowd across the road ever occupies this side of the House. I have met with these organizations from around the province, and I can tell the honourable member that we are moving and we are moving towards implementation of the Dorsey report; however, I am sure that, as he realizes, you cannot create legislation overnight.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, the champion of the workers over there realizes that his government has had this report for over a year. It's not a matter of doing something overnight, it's doing something to substantially help injured workers who have been hurt in this province to feed their families. That's what we're talking about here. We're not talking about some airy-fairy concept of are we going to get elected or are we not, are you going to help injured workers? Mr. Minister, will you commit today, fully aware that this will be of no cost to the government, we know WCB is funded not by government but by the employers, to provide compensation to the 271 injured workers with chronic pain, as the Dorsey report asks?

MR. RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is putting forth some idiotic (Interruptions) instruments of (Interruptions) financing that only the NDP could understand. The NDP think you can spend money without affecting something you haven't got. I can tell the honourable member opposite that if you raised the workers' compensations contributions, it does have an effect on the economy of this province.

[Page 3123]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria.

TOURISM & CULTURE: SIGNAGE POLICY - CRITERIA

MR. KENNETH MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Tourism and Culture, and it's with regard to the tourist attraction signage policy. It has been known for some time that Nova Scotia needed a new signage policy, and in some cases it may be working. On 100-Series Highways, different businesses, like Cape Breton Resorts, are posted on provincial highway signs. I wish to table the attraction policy where it indicates that advertising costs organizations anywhere from $2,400 on the exit signs, and as much as $12,000 for aluminum posted structures. On Highway No. 105 in Cape Breton there's a sign that advertises Cape Breton Resorts, owned by a well-known Conservative businessman- five separate businesses owned by the same person are listed. Could the minister indicate whether or not Cape Breton Resorts meets the criteria, and how much this costs the company?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member that the work that our department does very closely with the industry is work that we feel is very important to the growth of the tourism industry, but as such that the signage policy falls under Transportation and Public Works, I will refer that to my colleague, the Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I will take the member's question under advisement. I am not aware of the signs he is referring to, and clearly couldn't be anticipating his question.

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the ministers for their replies. I am asking the question so that Nova Scotians get a better understanding of the policy, so save me the partisan bluster, my concern is that smaller operations and more seasonal operations are left behind by this policy and my question to the minister - whichever minister - does the minister feel that access to the 100-Series Highways signage is accessible for smaller businesses with less deep pockets than those who own the Cape Breton Resorts?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows that signage policy has always been very difficult and it involves a number of criteria, obviously safety being a paramount consideration, but also the tourism industry in Nova Scotia itself has had a great deal of concern about the proliferation of highway signs along our 100-Series Highways. We have worked very closely in developing this highway signage policy in order to take up the concerns of Nova Scotia's tourism industry. We do not want this to become Las Vegas. We do not want every road in the province to be flashing with lights, and that involves making some choices about where signs get put and where they don't get put.

[Page 3124]

MR. MACASKILL: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister, but the point I'm trying to make is that the smaller businesses are left out. If you have the money, you can advertise on provincial signs. My concern is for the smaller businesses that can't afford the high cost of highway signage. So I will ask the minister again, what is the government doing to ensure that smaller businesses have better access to signage along the highways so they can compete with the larger businesses and organizations?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious question and I can assure you the government and my department are very interested in working with small business, but I think it's important to note that the present policy is a lot more fairer to small business than the former situation was. Don't forget that before, you had to put up huge signs a great distance from the highway, which small business never were able to afford. The present policy, in fact, does afford an opportunity for small business to have signs on highways, where before, if you didn't have tons of money, you just couldn't be visible on a 100-Series Highway.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - NURSING HOMES:

ASSESS PROCESS - DELAY EXPLAIN

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my office receives a call every few weeks from a woman who is caring for her husband in their home. Every time she calls she asks, have they changed the rules for nursing homes yet? I want to ask the Premier, how can you allow seniors to continue living in fear of the financial assessment process when it means putting off getting necessary care?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member's voice didn't carry well across the House, but I believe she was asking about care in the nursing homes of the Province of Nova Scotia. If that was her question, I can say that I have visited many, many, many of the nursing homes in Nova Scotia. In my previous life I had weekly, if not more frequent, visits to two very significant homes in my area and I can say that the care in those nursing homes is second to none. We do look after the seniors in our nursing homes very, very well. There should be no complaint about the level of care.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it wasn't a question about the level of care in homes. This is a family that can't get into the nursing home because of this government's policy. The reason this senior is calling is because she's afraid. She lives in fear of the financial assessment process even with the changes in November, 2002. Mr. Premier, in spite of your minor tinkering with the system, this senior is pushing herself beyond her limits to care for her husband until she sees meaningful change. I ask the Premier, why didn't your government bring fairness to the long-term care system when you had the chance?

[Page 3125]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one of the immediate things we did do was change the assessment process. It was one that had been carried on back in the days when municipalities were responsible and then, of course, the responsibility transferred to the provincial government, but we have significantly improved the assessment process as one of the initial steps to improve the way in which we deal with Nova Scotians going into nursing homes who have the resources to pay for their own care.

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

I have several introductions.

The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to introduce to the House, three visitors, Martha Crosbie, her son Brian Crosbie and David Chisholm. Martha, Brian and David are here to offer their personal thanks to all three Parties for their support of the Dr. Jack Crosbie private bill that I put forward. It's an historic bill, Martha tells me, the first that establishes a trust fund to help those who suffer from addiction. David is well known to the House as the brother of Robert Chisholm. (Interruption) Right, Robert is known as David's brother. I would ask the three of them to stand, and please give them a warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[2:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

MS. MARY ANN MCGRATH: Mr. Speaker, we're joined in the Speaker's Gallery today by some 19 members of the Association of Interior Designers of Nova Scotia. They have followed the progress of their bill, Bill No. 50, Interior Designers Act, with great anticipation, through the House. They are hopeful to see it pass into law today. I would ask them to stand. I will introduce Kelly Moore, President of IDNS; Kara MacGregor, Past-President of IDNS and Heather Corrigan, and the rest of the members of their association. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure today to tell you that the largest group in our gallery today comes all the way from Glace Bay. (Applause) It's a particular pleasure when a group travels from as far away as Glace Bay to come and see how this House operates. I would like to introduce to you the Grade 9 class (Interruptions) It's okay, I will understand.

[Page 3126]

MR. SPEAKER: Obviously all members are pretty excited about your introduction, about the people being here.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. WILSON: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to introduce the Grade 9 class from Morrison Junior High School. At one time, Morrison was a senior high school and produced some great people, I may say, who graduated from the senior high. Joining us today is the Grade 9 class, and they are accompanied by Brian Spencer, Brian McKinlay, Denise Breene, Cheryl Galagher and Linda MacRae. I would ask all the members to please wish them a warm welcome to our House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today, and all members as well. (Interruptions)

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I knew the member for Glace Bay in another life, and I could tell some stories about Morrison but I won't. In spite of him, it is a fine institution. In the east gallery there are four members, one from the HRM Fire Department and three from the Cape Breton Regional Fire Department, and I would like to introduce them. It's Chris Camp from the Halifax department, Mark Bettens, Whyley Mulvihill, and Charles Long. They are here today to watch the proceedings, and hopefully the passage of Bill No. 1 with certain amendments. We would like to welcome them to the House and give them the fitting applause. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome these very valuable firefighters to the gallery today.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: 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: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The motion is carried.

[Page 3127]

[2:04 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Kevin Deveaux in the Chair.]

[3:02 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. 45 - Insurance Act.

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

Bill No. 29 - Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Act.

Bill No. 34 - Riverport District Fire Protection Act.

Bill No. 35 - An Act to Incorporate the Truro Golf Club.

Bill No. 37 - Hantsport Memorial Community Centre Financial Assistance (2003) Act.

Bill No. 40 - Sisters of Saint Martha Act.

Bill No. 44 - Chipman Corner Cemetery Company Act.

Bill No. 47 - Associated Alumni of Acadia College Incorporation Act.

Bill No. 48 - Lunenburg Common Lands Act.

Bill No. 51 - Crosbie Memorial Trust Fund Act.

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

Bill No. 52 - Cosmetology Act.

Bill No. 53 - Massage Therapy Act.

and recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House without amendment.

[Page 3128]

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. 9 - Municipal Law Amendment (2003) 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.]

[With the total consent of the House, the motion is to move the bills considered in the Committee of the Whole House today through to third reading.]

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD 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: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read for a third time.

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

[Page 3129]

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

Bill No. 1 - Firefighters' Compensation Act.

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am absolutely delighted to move third reading of Bill No. 1. This is a bill that all members of this House contributed to. It's a bill, I think, in which, as I said yesterday, has made this session well worth the effort, because we have done something that is truly significant for both volunteer firefighters and for the paid firefighting services of this province.

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, I am delighted to move third reading of Bill No. 1.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to lend my voice to the minister's sentiments, because it is a very worthwhile piece of legislation. It certainly is one that puts us, in some respect, when it comes to protecting our firefighters at or near the head of the pack, as they say.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Nova Scotia leads the way.

MR. CORBETT: Nova Scotia leads the way, the Minister of Justice tells me. Well, let's hope. This is worthwhile legislation, it's one that clearly defines us as a province that values the work that our firefighters do, both paid and unpaid. That's an extremely important message to send out there. Sometimes we come in this House and say very nice words and do very little in the way of action. This one is words and action. I appreciate the work of all the members in this House as everyone tried to put this bill forward in a positive manner and it was done in an appropriate way. I think the people are better off for it - and not just the families of firefighters, but Nova Scotians in general who were so well served by these fine women and men.

So I thank the minister for bringing this forward and let's move forward to getting it passed. Thank you.

[Page 3130]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and say a few words on Bill No. 1. I, too, agree that this is a very important step in recognition of the dangers both our paid and volunteer firefighters put themselves in in order to provide for public safety that each and every one of us enjoy.

I had the privilege of sitting in on the Law Amendments Committee on behalf of our caucus and hearing some of the presentations made there. Anyone who heard the presentations made by Captain Harris and by others at the Law Amendments Committee certainly had to be moved and appreciate exactly what some firefighters have been going through in battling cancer which, in Captain Harris' case and in others, has been basically due to their employment. These are healthy people who worked hard to stay fit and yet find themselves having to battle the ravages of cancer. I think what we've done here is taken an important step in dealing with that.

We're pleased that the government has seen fit to provide retroactivity in this legislation back to 1993, which is an important step, if not for financial means for some of those affected. The message that we heard was an important step for at least recognizing that those outside the system, who had to leave the fire service because of their cancer, this was a means of recognizing that it was their workplace that caused the cancer they are fighting today. That was a very important element to all of them.

I do want to again take this opportunity to remind the minister that there are a great deal of volunteer fire departments throughout this province who do not subscribe to the Workers' Compensation Board because they do not feel they can afford the rates that they're being charged. It is my understanding that most, if not all of the volunteer fire departments in my county, for example, do not use workers' compensation because they simply feel they cannot afford the benefits. It is an important issue. I hope the minister will take it under consideration to review if there is anything that can be done through workers' compensation to address some of the funding issues.

We want to see with this bill all of our volunteer firefighters and all of our paid firefighters enjoy the benefits of this legislation. Anything we can do to make that happen. I think we've taken an important step today, but more has to be done to address some of the concerns raised around rates by a great number of volunteer firefighters. I'm sure no one in this House wants to see any time in the future that a firefighter would not receive these benefits because their department did not feel they could afford workers' compensation rates.

It is an issue that I hope the government will take seriously and look into to see if it can be addressed. But with that, certainly our caucus is pleased to lend our full support to this bill and look forward to providing immediate relief as soon as possible to those affected by this. I think it is sending out a great message to our paid and volunteer firefighters that we

[Page 3131]

do appreciate the service they do, the fact that they do put their lives at risk for our personal safety. This is an important step for all elected members to send a message out that we appreciate what they're doing and we are prepared to give them the protection necessary due to the dangers of their profession.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON: Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to add my voice, very quickly, to those who are speaking and, of course, praising this legislation. Sometimes it hits close to home. I know that in my own constituency, in my own area of Glace Bay, last night, some friends of ours, unfortunately, lost their home due to a fire. As usual, the firefighters were there when needed. I am very proud that we have moved toward this stage where, hopefully now, if they need the help of this province, we have decided as legislators that we will be there for them as well.

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak, and to agree, in this case, with the legislation that is coming through. As I said I would do it rather quickly, I just wanted to add those comments. Thank you for the time.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to offer a few words in support of this bill in third reading. You will recall that the other day, when we were debating this bill, I had an opportunity to speak in second reading, and I suggested, at that time, two things, does the bill go far enough. I said at that time that I didn't think so, but it's a start. It is, it's a meaningful start. It's something that we can all support in this House, but it's a bill that has to be improved in the future. We must not lose sight of the fact that firemen in this province deserve our attention not only on this day, in third reading of a bill, but they should not be forgotten every day in this House for the work they do in our communities.

I want to pay particular tribute to some of the firemen who are here today, sitting in the gallery. I have been out for a while, so I don't know whether they have been introduced or not. Certainly, I would tell you that some of the people I know, like Whyley Mulvihill, Charlie Long, and Mark Bettens, and others in the fire department that I am most familiar with go far and above the call of duty in dealing with not only firefighting situations in our communities but also in terms of public service in the communities. I would be remiss if I didn't remind legislators of that fact, that wherever there is something going on in a community that needs people to volunteer, that needs the support of people in the community, the firefighters are always there.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, I happened to be in the Sydney Shopping Centre, and Whyley Mulvihill was selling hotdogs down there, only the way Whyley can do, and you can't say no to Whyley when he is selling something. It was for a good cause. He

[Page 3132]

and Joe Pike were there. (Interruptions) Oh, I bought one, don't worry, and he got the money out of me too, I will tell you that.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say in conclusion that I am a tremendous booster of the firefighters in all our communities throughout Nova Scotia. Again, I would ask these gentlemen to stand and receive the recognition of the House for the last time before this House adjourns, because I think it's only appropriate that we pay tribute to these people who give their lives to help other citizens in our communities. I would ask them to rise. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Again, welcome to our guests in the gallery, welcome to all our guests in the gallery today.

The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 1.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to wind up the debate on the bill by closing the bill and endorsing the comments of all members of the House. As I said before, I think we're doing good work when we look after those, in particular, who protect our property and our lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year.

Mr. Speaker, you are appreciated. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 1. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. (Applause)

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 3.

Bill No. 3 - Personal Property Security Act.

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 3.

[Page 3133]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 3. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed. (Applause)

The honourable Government House Leader.

[3:15 p.m.]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 28.

Bill No. 28 - Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read a third time.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 28, Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, this is a bill which has made its way through the various important parts of how we pass legislation in this House. I did have the opportunity at the Law Amendments Committee to be able to listen to three different presentations on this topic and I think it's a model of consultation. I would like to point out to the minister involved that Carol McCulloch has much more to offer on this topic, a topic of real concern when it comes to making sure, Mr. Speaker, as you're aware, the average age of tradespeople around this province is 45 or more and that's a concern for me. It's a concern for people throughout Nova Scotia, but I want you also to know the concern that was brought up when we were going through the various stages was the youth pre-employment program which has to have much more credibility.

I'm going to support this piece of legislation and this caucus is going to support it too, but I would hope that the minister be made aware of the fact that the apprenticeship program will grow in credibility. It will grow in acceptance, particularly in the public school system with a more proactive approach to recruiting young men and women into the apprenticeship program, and it's not something we should take for granted. The pre-employment program, and the example of another province that I brought to the attention of this House is the

[Page 3134]

Province of Alberta, Mr. Speaker, that's an example that the minister and his staff should have a look at because that's the sort of important example from another province that we could benefit from on this apprenticeship bill.

So with those comments, Mr. Speaker, I will wrap up. I would like to thank those presenters before the Law Amendments Committee. It's an important piece of legislation. It is not as perfect as it should be. If the suggestions that we have brought forward in committee would have been accepted, it would have had my full endorsement, but at this stage it's something, as a school administrator and as an MLA, I can live with.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: I just want to close debate on the bill and I thank honourable members for their support of the bill. I do want to point out to all members of the House that the Apprenticeship Training Board in fact did not feel prepared to accept the responsibilities that were being suggested by the amendments opposite. We do in fact accept the concerns that have been expressed and we will be watching the progress very carefully.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 28. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 50.

[PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING]

Bill No. 50 - Interior Designers Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin.

MS. MARY ANN MCGRATH: Mr. Speaker, I simply rise in my place to thank the members for their support of the bill and to close debate and move third reading of Bill No. 50, the Interior Designers Act.

[Page 3135]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, just very briefly, I want to commend the member for Halifax Bedford Basin for bringing forward this legislation and, more importantly (Interruptions) They weren't expecting that one, I will tell you that.

More importantly, what I do want to point out is that as members of the Legislature we often have different organizations and groups that come before us, asking for legislation to be passed. Unfortunately, we have had experiences here where what we were led to believe was legislation that was fully endorsed by these associations and groups was just not the case. I want to tell you, in my four years, I can't think offhand of a group, a private group, that has worked harder with this Legislature and with all members than the interior designers who have been here throughout the entire process, throughout each of the different readings, the Law Amendments Committee and, at the end of the day, I think that we have passed good legislation, hopefully legislation that is not going to come back because there wasn't the support. I think they did do their full work, they did meet with the different caucuses beforehand. I think it's an example, we would hope, that other organizations would follow.

Mr. Speaker, I think it would be a good time for even members of the House, considering the amount of time they have spent here, to take this opportunity to congratulate the executive and the directors of the Interior Directors Association, who have been here all along to see the passage of this legislation. I would ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome of this House before the legislation goes through. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I would certainly like to add, and welcome our guests as introduced by the honourable member for Richmond, they have certainly conducted themselves with a lot of dignity, grace and patience. I think all members in the House are very proud of our guests in the gallery.

The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, in closing, I commend the member for bringing the legislation forward. It's an example of how legislation works well, and how members of this House can work well with outside organizations in the spirit of co-operation. With that, I certainly lend our caucus' full support to this legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Bedford Basin to close debate.

MS. MARY ANN MCGRATH: Mr. Speaker, again, I want to thank the members for their comments and support. I would move third reading of Bill No. 50.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 50. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 3136]

[The motion is carried.]

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

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

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MRS. MURIEL BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

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

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

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

[Page 3137]

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

Mr. Speaker, before you leave the Chair, I would ask for the concurrence of the House that these bills move to the Committee of the Whole House today.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[3:26 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Chairman Mr. William Dooks in the Chair.]

[3:29 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. 54 - Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia Act.

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: When shall these bills be read a third time?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Now.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 3138]

[3:30 p.m.]

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 36.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance. (Interruption)

HON. NEIL LEBLANC: Mr. Speaker, they're asking for the question already. Obviously, we've had considerable debate on this, it's entering third reading on the Financial Measures (2003) Bill. This is the bill that puts into effect many of the changes that were announced in the budget. It's a requirement to fulfill the provisions of the budget and, of course, some of the major things are the tax reductions that we, as a government, had committed.

It is a twofold approach, Mr. Speaker, one of which is a cash refund to taxpayers - people who pay income tax in this province - of $155. The second part of it is a structural change to income tax which will take effect on January 1, 2004. There are other changes that are in here which are also positive, along the lines of raising the annual limit for small businesses in our province. I have outlined those in my previous debates. I don't intend to repeat them at this level. There are also some provisions in here which are to deal with the casino in regard to the potential of the contract being terminated. We think this is permissive in nature. It's something that we hope will never be used. However, it's important that we, as a province, are prepared to deal with it within the 30-day window that is offered within the contract. We've had some debates on this in this House many times over the last number of weeks and I imagine there will probably be some more debate before this bill becomes completed, but I want to thank all members for participating in that debate. With those few words, I move third reading of Bill No. 36.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I do want to take a few minutes today to put on the record some thoughts about the Financial Measures (2003) Bill which, of course, is the final piece of the 2003-04 Budget. It's a disappointing budget because it ends up being more about this government's image than about substance; it has more to do with them getting re-elected than doing the right thing. In only four years this government has made the

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very quick transition from doing what they thought was right to doing what they thought would get them re-elected, and there's a big difference between those two things.

Now, like Conservative Governments before them, especially the Buchanan Government, they think that being re-elected is an end in itself and, that, by itself, is a good thing. It's disappointing to see a government so quickly run out of ideas because this is, after all, a budget and a Financial Measures (2003) Bill based on illusions. They want us to believe that the debt is under control, but it's not. It's not. It's not. The debt's still growing with this Financial Measures (2003) Bill and this budget. It's still growing by $100 million a year. Next year we will be paying more to service the debt than we've ever paid in Nova Scotia's history. Yet this government wants to spin the illusion that the debt's under control, but it's not. Nobody can be happy when nearly $1 billion a year is being sent out of the province to banks and bond holders just to pay interest on the debt. The trend is in the wrong direction - it's heading up.

The deficit has not been controlled. The deficit is based on an illusion. This government keeps saying that they've balanced the budget two years in a row, but they haven't. The Public Accounts for last year aren't even going to come out until after the next election so we don't know if it's balanced yet. This year, all we have to mention is just things that have been in the news in the last couple of days - the district health authority deficits are going to throw the budget out of whack. You know they're there, they were there under the Liberal Government, they've been there under this government. This government is adopting the same stunt that the Liberal Government did, which is not approving the budgets until later in the year.

So what are the true DHA budgets? We don't know, they haven't been approved yet. Yet the government is claiming that the budget is balanced even though the DHAs want $40 million more than the government's giving them. The first big surprise that will greet the new government - whoever they are - is going to be the pension plan valuations. This government decided that they would abandon the method of valuing pensions for this budget because they knew it would throw them into the red by tens of millions of dollars. Tens of millions of dollars. So they simply snapped their fingers, waved their wand and said, we're going to account for it differently.

That doesn't change what's happening underneath the surface. That doesn't change the fact that we don't know what the true value of those pensions is, although we know it will be less. But the minister said the new valuations would be available in June - I don't expect them to be available until after the election, whenever that is. I do not believe that this government will table the pension plan valuations until after the election is over because they know it's going to burst the balloon, the myth of the balanced budget. And it's going to do it very quickly.

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Another illusion on which the Financial Measures (2003) Bill is based on is that taxes are going down because of this budget, but they're not. They're going up. They're going way up. They're going up by tens of millions of dollars, both on the personal side and the corporate side. This after a government who over its term has increased taxes and user fees in the order of $300 million - $300 million and they want us to believe that taxes are going down as a result of this budget. But every single tax line in the budget is going up except for the personal income tax line.

Why is that? It's because we have a government that is so morally and politically and intellectually bankrupt that the best that they can do is send out a cheque just in time for an election. They're going to send out 438,000 cheques just before an election and that is what four years of Tory Government have brought us. That's what four years of Tory Government have brought us, that they're reduced to the pathetic sight of sending out cheques with the Premier's signature on them just before an election.

This is a government that through its term has relentlessly raised regressive taxes and user fees, which everybody pays. They focused on the taxes that hit rich and poor equally, those who have and those who have not equally. But when it comes time for relief what do they do? They pick the income tax system to provide their relief. They say that if you don't pay provincial income tax - it doesn't matter if you pay federal income tax - you're not a taxpayer and so you don't get to share in these $155 cheques.

What the government doesn't want to talk about is that these are cheques that make distinctions not just on income, because of course they do that, 300,000 Nova Scotians of working age, taxpayers, every single one of them, are going to get nothing. They're going to get nothing. Because this government has defined them out of existence and says that they're not taxpayers. But not only does it make distinctions based on income, but they also make distinctions based on age and gender and geographic location. If you look at the demographic of where these cheques are going to go, it's the elderly and the young that are left out - all taxpayers. It's women who are left out, all taxpayers. And it's people in the poorest parts of the province that are left out. These are all the people who need it the most. I've heard it said before and I'll say it again, one of the tests of any government is who they're willing to leave behind. It's very clear from this scheme who this government is ready to leave behind.

Then we get to that other feature of the Financial Measures (2003) Bill - the casino smoking exemption. A provision that has no place in a Financial Measures (2003) Bill, but it was put there in order to minimize debate, in order to make sure that it was a matter of confidence in the government, in order to make sure that as a separate bill it couldn't get the kind of attention that it deserves.

So we have this very peculiar objectionable law, a misguided reaction to a misreading of the casino contract that exempts one corporation and one corporation only from the law of general application. How did we come to this? In a province where the Premier apparently

[Page 3141]

has a moral objection to shopping on Sundays, we now have an outlaw oasis on the Halifax waterfront where people can smoke and drink and gamble 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. How, exactly, did we come to this? Where, despite what the contract says, about the safety of patrons and employees being an overriding consideration, despite what the Capital Region Medical Officer of Health says, despite what the Medical Society of Nova Scotia says, despite what the Canadian Cancer Society says, despite what brave people like Andrea Skinner and Tim MacDonald, who made very powerful personal presentations to the Law Amendments Committee say, despite what all these people say, the Premier of Nova Scotia shrugs his shoulders and says, we had no choice.

The Premier, who has all the powers of government at his command. The Premier who can make his backbenchers vote for anything just because he tells them to. The Premier who has a Civil Service thousands of people strong, all the resources of the Department of Justice, all the resources of the Department of Justice, all the resources of the Department of Health, suddenly is helpless in the face of a contract, whose clearest reading is that the casino is not exempt and must not be exempt. He says, we have no choice.

But of course they have a choice. Of course they do. That's the grandest illusion that the Financial Measures (2003) Bill is based on, the grandest illusion of this whole budget is they have no choice. Of course they have choices. They're just making bad choices. They had a choice to deal with the long-term care issue in Nova Scotia, and they haven't done it. Over the long weekend I was in the home of a constituent who is beside herself. She's in despair because her husband is in a nursing home, he has Parkinson's, and in the one year that he's been there, the per diem rate has gone up 30 per cent. It has gone up over $30 a day in one year. She says to me, what good is it that they're going to do something by 2007, because I am going to be in the poor house by then. That's what's really happening out there to today's Nova Scotian families.

I want to talk a little bit about a news release that the Nova Scotia Council on the Status of Women sent out today. This is something that I don't think this government understands when it tries to pass things like this budget and this Financial Measures (2003) Bill. It talks about the changing face of Nova Scotia families. The Council on the Status of Women says, young people are delaying both marriage and childbearing. Common-law relationships are increasing, family size is diminishing. Divorce is increasing, single parenting is on the rise. One in every four families is led by a single parent, the overwhelming majority of which are women.

Children are living with their parents longer than in the past, and with the continued aging of Nova Scotia's population, increasing numbers of Nova Scotians are living alone. It goes on to note that women remain the primary caregivers to children and are increasingly parenting on their own, and they're also the most likely to provide care for seniors. Women represent the majority of seniors who live alone or in health care institutions.

[Page 3142]

I don't think this government understands the changing face of Nova Scotia families, because if they did, the Financial Measures (2003) Bill would include something about long-term care costs. This government would be dealing with the issue of lower, fairer auto insurance rather than just pushing it off to pass the election. They would be dealing with the issue of crumbling schools and special education, poor national test results. Oh yes, the government has choices to make, they're just making the wrong choices.

We have a health care system in trouble. No one believes - I don't think even the Tories on that side believe - that people feel the health care system is in better shape today than it was when they took office four years ago. We have an issue recruiting and retaining health care professionals, not helped at all by the callous way the government dealt with health care professionals in Bill No. 68, only two years ago. We have long waiting times, growing longer. We have local issues, like Shelburne. What's the member for Shelburne going to say in the next election about the shorter hours in their emergency room? And that's only one issue, one local issue among many. Go out there and try to convince people that the health care system is better than it was when you took office four years ago. See if you can convince them. Seniors' Pharmacare has gone up and up, until an election year when they freeze it.

[3:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, if this government understood what's really happening out there, this bill, this budget would do more about that. We have a government that is bereft of any kind of plan in the environment, no action on home heating fuel, no action on HST on the necessities of life. Just more taxes, more user fees, bad choices, a budget and a Financial Measures (2003) Bill based on illusions about things that aren't happening. So, today, this bill will pass because we know the government backbenchers will vote for this, just as they voted for everything else they have been told to vote for over the past four years. They know they're going to go out on the doorsteps with a message of prosperity, which is not true.

The Minister of Economic Development is going to go on the doorsteps in Cape Breton, where the participation rate is 50.8 per cent. Half the adult population has given up on even looking for work, never mind finding work, and he's going to tell them they're prosperous. The unemployment rate today is higher than it was when this government took office. Student debt is growing at a pace faster than the income of graduates. There is real poverty in my constituency, and I am sure in the constituencies of many others. I'm talking about real, grinding, children-going-hungry poverty. It is a tragedy and a shame that that still exists in Nova Scotia today, but it does. What's this government doing about that? Nothing. They're pushing people off their welfare rolls and saying, go find a job, it's good for you.

Mr. Speaker, any province where children are going hungry, and they do in my constituency and if any member on that side wants to doubt it, I will take you there, I will show you, any province where that's happening can't be proud, can't say that the work is

[Page 3143]

done, can't say that prosperity is here. Yet, the Conservative Government is about to go on the doorsteps of Nova Scotia saying exactly that. The true test of a government is who they're willing to leave behind, and now we know. We know who they're willing to leave behind.

Mr. Speaker, it's a shame. That's why neither I nor my caucus can support this Financial Measures (2003) Bill, this budget built on illusions, this budget that leaves far too many Nova Scotians behind.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise to speak a few words on Bill No. 36, Financial Measures (2003) Bill. As you are aware, I have had the opportunity to speak on this piece of legislation on different occasions to try to raise some of the concerns that Nova Scotians were bringing to our attention about this legislation in the hope that the government might want to rethink some of the decisions and the actions that they are taking. Not surprisingly, the government has chosen not to address any of those concerns, and to move forward with the exact same piece of legislation as they brought in.

Mr. Speaker, I have said numerous times here in this House that I think Bill No. 36 is the ideal example of how this government is completely out of touch with Nova Scotians and how they have completely failed to address the priorities of Nova Scotians. When one of the main platforms in this bill is nothing more than a crass attempt to curry favour and to convince Nova Scotians, through their own tax dollars, to vote for Tory candidates with the issuance of $155 cheques, ironically, on the eve of an election.

Mr. Speaker, at first the Premier and the Minister of Finance said, we've been thinking of this for quite some time. This is something we were planning to do for some time. They started hinting that there were some problems with Revenue Canada, changing the tax rate, and that's why the cheques went out. Lo and behold, after persistent questioning by our caucus, the Minister of Finance admits that the proposal to send out cheques to Nova Scotians on the eve of an election came from Cabinet, not an outside independent source that came and said, there are financial benefits to doing this and here is the best way of doing it. It is Cabinet.

Mr. Speaker, were they doing this in the best interests of Nova Scotians or were they doing this in the best interests of the Tory Party? Nova Scotians will soon have the opportunity to pass judgment on that. I would tell you that surprisingly, I haven't seen one example of where the government or the Minister of Finance have been able to come out and say, here is an independent financial source that is going to say that our economy will benefit over the long term by the issuance of these cheques.

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Mr. Speaker, it has even been suggested by some financial analysts that the sending of these cheques, this one-time payment going out all at once into the economy, will actually have negative effects, in the long term, on the economy by driving up inflation. Now what does this $155 cheque, who does it go to? Many Nova Scotians, who need this money, are now sitting at home thinking they are going to receive this cheque because, at the end of the day, the $68 million that the government now has to spend, where did that come from? Well it came from higher insurance rates, it came from higher home heating oil, it came from insurance rates on homes, it came from the extra 2 cents a litre on gas that this government brought in last year, that brought them $25 million.

So the average Nova Scotian out there thinks they are going to receive this cheque, but lo and behold, although they have paid all of these taxes and contributed to the revenues of this province, the Minister of Finance and the Premier say, you are not good enough.

AN HON. MEMBER: No cheque for you.

MR. SAMSON: No cheque for you because we don't consider you good enough and we've done the polling which basically tells us we can kind of ignore you and still get re-elected. That's what makes this so much of a crass attempt by this government. And what you hear, Mr. Speaker, whether it is going to high school functions, whether it is going to church on Sundays, whether it is going to the grocery store, what Nova Scotians are saying, especially those who we know will receive the cheque, are saying I don't need this, give it to someone who actually needs it. Give it to the single mother who is working but making under $20,000, and has a couple of children, but will not be receiving this. Give this to the senior who is having to pay the high cost of auto insurance rates, the high cost of gasoline, and is on a fixed income. Or, give it to the person who is on disability, who can no longer work and therefore can no longer pay provincial income tax.

That's what Nova Scotians are saying because, as I said from the start, this is a prime example of how this government is out of touch with Nova Scotians because just look at the Nova Scotia fabric. The Nova Scotia fabric: for example, what was our response to the 9/11 tragedy? Nova Scotians were lining up, going out of their way, to try to assist these strangers, bring them into their homes, feed them, drive them, because that is the Nova Scotia way. When your neighbour is chopping his wood, you don't just drive by, you go out there and you lend him a hand. That is the Nova Scotia way. When you know that the lady across the road doesn't have anyone to mow her lawn, when you are done with yours, you take your mower and you go across and you mow her lawn. That is the Nova Scotia way.

For Nova Scotians to be told that their government is now going to send out a cheque of $155 only to a privileged few, and not to those who need it most, that's not the Nova Scotia way and that's where this government misread Nova Scotians. What is going to happen, Junior may get the cheque, but if Ma and Pa and Grandma don't get the cheque, he is not voting Tory because that's just going to make him upset, even though he is getting the

[Page 3145]

cheque. If Ma and Pa aren't getting it, or if Grandma and Grandpa aren't getting it, he's not voting Tory. That's where the government went wrong. That's where the crassness of their attempts here to use taxpayers' money to get re-elected, that's where it went wrong.

But, Mr. Speaker, I know the Minister of Finance has the opportunity to close this debate and to have the final word, so I would hope that the Minister of Finance might be able to make a commitment to us. There is no surprise that most of us here in this House today expected about a month ago that, at this time, we would be on the campaign trail. Everything pointed to that but, all of a sudden, the brakes were put on. It has been suggested by some, we know in the Budget Address that the Minister of Finance said these rebates cheques of $155 would be mailed out to Nova Scotians in late June, early July. That's what he said in his Budget Address.

Now to my question to the Minister of Finance which I hope he has an opportunity to answer when he ends this debate. Will he guarantee today that those cheques, although we do not agree with them, will actually be sent out in late June or early July? Or, as many suspect, will the government hold them back to better suit their election timing? So, if I'm mistaken, if I'm wrong in that, here's the opportunity for the Minister of Finance to put that issue to rest and make a clear commitment on that.

This government has come out and said, we need to give a 10 per cent tax cut. They said they would do that in their blue book. They say they're keeping a blue book commitment but they're conveniently overlooking the number one commitment they made before they made the 10 per cent tax commitment, that they would live within their means, that they would not increase the debt, that they would not spend more in a year than what they took in in revenue. That is a fundamental promise which they broke. Not only have they broken it, they flaunt the fact that they have broken it. The Minister of Finance says, I borrowed in the past, I'm borrowing today and I'm going to borrow tomorrow and I make no apologies for it. Well, he makes no apologies, but he will not be there to face the wrath of the electorate that has had enough of this Tory Government and the fact that they've continued to add to the debt of this province.

We've already indicated that the fact is when you really look at this proposed 10 per cent tax cut, without ending bracket creep, without keeping the actual rates in check with inflation, that this 10 per cent tax cut is an artificial cut to say the least. It is smoke and mirrors at the end of the day, is what it truly comes down to.

They announced a 10 per cent tax cut. One would expect that the chambers of commerce and the businesses are going to come out and say what a wonderful thing this is. Yet, what do we see from the Halifax Chamber of Commerce with its 2,000 members? They come out and clearly say that they don't support the tax cut. They said it's not the right time to give a tax cut. Nova Scotia is already competitive, we don't buy the government's argument that we need a tax cut. More importantly, we don't buy the argument that it's the

[Page 3146]

right and proper thing to give a tax cut at a time when a government tables a budget saying that they will spend $118 million more than what they've taken in revenue, which will be added to the debt.

Nova Scotians' knowledge and interest on the debt of this province from five years ago to today has made remarkable progress. Our caucus this session has focused on educating Nova Scotians as to the status of the debt, educating Nova Scotians to the fact this government has increased the debt under its watch. In fact, we've even been able to discover that this government under its plan would continue to see an increase in our debt until the year 2013. This is a government, as I said, that is out of touch with the priorities of Nova Scotians.

As I said, Nova Scotians are telling us that it's time to pay today, not tomorrow. As I use the line from a famous, well-known Acadian fish merchant who had in his little convenience store the famous sign behind his cash register, "I've trusted too many to my sorrow, so pay today, not tomorrow." That is what Nova Scotians and that is what our caucus is saying to this government.

The Premier and the Minster of Finance will stand in their place and refer back to 1993. They say that's a fair comparison - 2003 to 1993. This government has $1 billion more in revenue per year than the government had in 1999. Yet, now, the other day in the House the Premier got up and said, look at what we've been able to do through poor economic times. Poor economic times? This government has enjoyed the benefit of tremendously successful economic times. They have seen money coming from Ottawa hand over fist. They have seen revenues increase at an unprecedented rate, yet the Premier stands and says poor economic times. Who does he think he's kidding? Who does he think he's kidding? But what is the purpose of doing that? Again, Mr. Speaker, it's to confuse Nova Scotians and to try to make it look like they've gotten good government rather than the fact that what they've had is a government that has wasted opportunities to bring Nova Scotia forward.

[4:00 p.m]

Mr. Speaker, one of the major planks in this legislation, again, is the disappointing way this government has acted on the smoking issue, once again by rushing in here to bring legislation to allow casinos to have smoking. The presenters who have come in, Nova Scotians who have passed judgment on this, clearly say that they do not agree with the government's position that they would lose at arbitration and that they need to bring this exemption in. The Canadian Cancer Society, the Medical Society of Nova Scotia and others have said put smoking as a health and safety issue and you will win. The problem is, after the Smoke-Free Places Act, after the fact that most municipal units in this province have surpassed this government with stronger legislation, they continue to fail to recognize smoking as a health and safety issue.

[Page 3147]

Mr. Speaker, our caucus from day one, under our Leader, has made it very clear that we support a 100 per cent ban of smoking in all public places at all times. There has never been any confusion about our position. The same cannot be said for the government or the socialist Party.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this year, this government with $1 billion in additional revenue, the Minister of Finance still asks to add $118 million to the debt. That's $118 million that we know of today. What the Minister of Finance, as he leaves this House, still refuses to tell Nova Scotians is what is the exact state of our public pension plans. The Minister of Justice and others say, well, the plan, how did your RRSP do, and we're in bad economic times. It's irrelevant how any of our RRSPs did because that is our money. What is important is that the Minister of Finance is responsible for the people of Nova Scotia's money, those who work in our Civil Service who have contributed to this plan, the teachers in this province who have contributed to their plan, and the fact that it is this government that has been responsible for the management of that.

If there is nothing to hide, Mr. Speaker, why will the minister simply not come forward with the information. I would submit to you that there is information there they just do not want Nova Scotians to see until they go to the polls. We've also learned that the district health authorities are once again, after having overspent $17 million last year, saying they want an additional $40 million more than what has been proposed by the government.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier came in and said to Nova Scotians, I will fix health care. He has not used the word fix and health care in the same sentence again in the last four years, other than what was in the blue book, because this government has not fixed health care. The Minister of Health now likes to say that they have made improvements and enhancements. That is what it has come down to now.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, Nova Scotians are asking more and more questions about the budget tabled. If the members of the government side believe that by leaving this House, there will no longer be any questions about their budget, they are sadly mistaken. More and more the credibility of this budget is being questioned by Nova Scotians. More and more information is coming forward which shows that this budget is based on false assumptions and is not taking into account certain fiscal realities of this province. I don't want to say too much more on that, other than to tell you and tell government members to stay tuned because there is more information coming out on their budget. Another government in recent times which tried to pass a budget on false assumptions and on false figures was quickly termed as having a fudge-it budget.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we might have to find a new term for Nova Scotia's budget, but it certainly is along the very same lines and I would tell you, more to come, and stay tuned for that. What the members on the government side have to realize is that they will be the

[Page 3148]

ones at the doorstep, not the Minister of Finance, and they will be the ones having to explain why their budget is not what they presented to Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, as I said before, this government has increased fees on Nova Scotians to the point that they have you from the time of birth to the time of death. From your birth certificate to your death certificate, this government has raised fees. Have they raised fees for the purpose of simply recovering the cost of administering these systems? No, they have raised these fees for the purpose of taxation and for generating additional revenue above and beyond the cost of delivering the service.

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you, as I said, Bill No. 36 is a prime example of how this government's priorities just do not reflect the needs and priorities of Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians will have the opportunity, as this government goes to the polls, to pass judgment on that. I look forward to that opportunity, and I look forward to going to the homes of those individuals who have not received the $155 cheque, who have been told that they were not good enough by this government, and who this government has clearly turned their backs on.

With those comments, as I have said numerous times and as has been said before me, this is a majority government, they will be able to pass this legislation. There is nothing we can do to prevent that but, at the end of the day, we have made it quite clear that this is a government of missed opportunities, this is a government that did not take action at a time when it could have, in times of good economic facts in this province and, at the end of the day, Nova Scotians, who are the overall losers in this, our children and our grandchildren, who the Premier said he would not mortgage their future, he has mortgaged more and continues to do so with no end in sight. We will leave this House, we will leave the debate on this bill without a debt management plan that we were told we would see, without a plan for insurance, without a plan to deal with many of the issues facing Nova Scotians.

At the end of the day, it is Nova Scotians who will have the final say, whether they believe that the mediocre government that they have received is good enough for Nova Scotia, whether they accept the fact that a government that is now admitting that it is bankrupt of ideas and bankrupt of solutions for Nova Scotia's most pressing issues is good enough. At the end of the day, I don't think it is good enough, Mr. Speaker, and we hope to present an alternative to Nova Scotians that will show them that we need a government that will clearly take the opportunities presented, take advantage of them for the best interests of Nova Scotians, and will move our province forward as a result of that. With that, I will wrap up my comments on Bill No. 36, Financial Measures (2003) Bill, with the hope that the Minister of Finance will take the opportunity in his closing comments to address some of the issues that I have raised.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Environment and Labour it will be to close the debate on Bill No. 36.

[Page 3149]

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 36.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 36. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

A recorded vote is being called for.

Ring the bells until the Whips are satisfied.

[4:08 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER: Are the Whips satisfied? The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 36, Financial Measures (2003) Act. The Clerk will call the roll. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[4:15 p.m.]

YEAS NAYS

Mr. Rodney MacDonald Mr. Corbett

Mr. Christie Ms. Maureen MacDonald

Mr. Baker Mr. Dexter

Mr. Russell Mr. Holm

Mr. LeBlanc Mr. Manning MacDonald

Mr. Muir Mr. MacAskill

Miss Purves Mr. MacEwan

Mr. Balser Mr. Wilson

Mr. Parent Mr. Samson

Ms. McGrath Mr. Steele

Mr. Ronald Chisholm Mr. Deveaux

Mr. Olive Mr. Estabrooks

Mr. Morse Mr. Epstein

Mr. MacIsaac Mr. Pye

Mr. Clarke

Mr. DeWolfe

Mr. Taylor

Mr. Dooks

[Page 3150]

Mr. Langille

Mr. Chataway

Mr. Hendsbee

Mrs. Baillie

Mr. Carey

Mr. Morash

Mr. Barnet

Mr. O'Donnell

Mr. Hurlburt

Mr. Boudreau

THE CLERK: For, 28. Against, 14.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Private and Local Bills for Third Reading.

PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, with the consent of the House I would move that these bills be now read for a third time en bloc.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

Bill No. 29 - Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Act.

Bill No. 34 - Riverport District Fire Protection Act.

Bill No. 35 - An Act to Incorporate the Truro Golf Club.

Bill No. 37 - Hantsport Memorial Community Centre Financial Assistance (2003) Act.

[Page 3151]

Bill No. 40 - Sisters of Saint Martha Act.

Bill No. 44 - Chipman Corner Cemetery Company Act.

Bill No. 47 - Associated Alumni of Acadia College Incorporation Act.

Bill No. 48 - Lunenburg Common Lands Act.

Bill No. 51 - Crosbie Memorial Trust Fund Act.

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: The motions are carried.

Ordered that these bills do pass. Ordered that the titles be as read by the honourable Government House Leader. Ordered that the bills be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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 Environment and Labour.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 32.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third 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 the bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

[Page 3152]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 53.

Bill No. 53 - Massage Therapy Act.

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 53.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 53. Would all those in favour of the motion, please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Would you please call Bill No. 9.

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, thank you, so late on a pleasant day . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable members take their seats? It's very difficult to see what's happening on the floor with so much noise.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, so late on a pleasant day and so far into our proceedings, I should start with an apology for being obliged to take a few minutes to explain what it is that we're going to do with Bill No. 9.

[Page 3153]

I want to start out by observing that in the end our caucus will, in fact, vote in favour of third reading of this bill. I do feel it necessary, however, to point out and put on the record some reservations that I have with respect to a few clauses in the bill. It's important that these be on the record for the benefit of a variety of observers who are particularly interested in municipal affairs.

Before I move to that I would like to offer my thanks to the honourable minister for the co-operation he has shown me in the course of debate over this bill. I originally had a number of questions with respect to Clauses 65, 69 and 71. He was able, through consultation with his staff and through meetings with me, to clarify the details of the purposes of these clauses and therefore we were able to move past them without any difficulty. So I would like to thank the minister for having done that.

I would, in addition, like to thank the minister for having agreed to an amendment that I proposed for Clause 57. The minister was dealing in Clause 57 with an issue of notice to owners of land surrounding developments. He was pleased to agree to an amendment I made that would extend equal rights of notification to tenants living in the surrounding area. So, again, thanks to the minister for agreeing to that amendment.

It's necessary now to look, however, at a couple of clauses that are problematic in the bill. One is Clause 49 and one is Clause 50. I'm not going to take a lot of time to detail the problems I have since I did mention them at second reading, but I did want the UNSM, in particular, to have the opportunity to think in future about this type of clause.

Clause 49 deals with unsightly premises. I suppose I should say that it's not just the UNSM but the minister's staff and his department who should also think about this problem. The difficulty, of course, is the absence of objective standards for determining questions of what is unsightly. This problem of aesthetics, when to it comes to municipal planning, is a vexed one, the answer is not always obvious. The problem with respect to our existing Municipal Government Act and with respect to this portion of it, that adds to the regulatory powers of municipalities, the power to deal with landscaping is one on which the courts have had occasion to rule in various places in Canada in recent years. I regard the process of lawmaking as an interactive process between this Legislature and the courts.

When the Legislature originally passes laws, the courts then have the opportunity to rule on these laws as to their constitutionality and as to how they're to be interpreted. When the courts speak, we should listen. When we have the opportunity to pass further laws that deal with the same subjects we should craft those laws so as to build upon what the courts have said. I think this is a failing of Clause 49 and a failing of the sections of the Municipal Government Act that deal with unsightly premises. I'm forced to predict that there will be serious problems with respect to bylaws that are passed under the authority of Clause 49. I suspect that they will be struck down by the courts unless they are very objective in their

[Page 3154]

absolute wording. It is quite possible, under the authority we are giving to municipalities, for them to put in place objective standards, but we should have required it of them.

With respect to Clause 50, the other problem part of this bill, several members of my caucus have spoken to this provision. This is the provision that puts in place the possibility of a lawsuit initiated by a municipality against one of its own councillors. This is not a desirable set of circumstances. This is in fact a very undesirable set of circumstances. This is exactly the kind of power that lends itself to abuse. I hope that no municipality will ever be moved to use it in an abusive way. It is easy to imagine circumstances in which a majority on a council may be able to use the resources of the municipality in order to start a lawsuit against an unpopular member of council. In those circumstances it wouldn't be required for the municipality, in the end, to win the lawsuit for those majority of councillors to be successful in their objective which would be to intimidate and cause problems for the minority councillor. Let me say that this is very undesirable and it is not, I think, the kind of provision that we should have put into law.

I hope that the staff of the minister's department and the UNSM and HRM councillors who originally asked for this amendment will turn their minds to alternative ways to dealing with the problem. In no way do I deny that there might be a problem on some councils from time to time with respect to disclosure of what might legitimately go on at in camera meetings. The question is how to deal with it and a lawsuit is not always the right answer. In fact, in this case a lawsuit is exactly the wrong answer. So those are the problems and reservations I have with respect to this bill and, with that said, in the end Bill No. 9 deals with a number of measures, particularly those having to do with the conduct of municipal elections, that will be very useful. Overall the bill is a useful attempt at dealing with a whole variety of municipal questions and in the end our caucus will be voting in support of the bill as a whole. Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Government House Leader, it will be to close debate on Bill No. 9.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 9.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 9. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

[Page 3155]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 45.

Bill No. 45 - Insurance Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 45.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to take a few minutes to comment on this bill because I think it is an important piece of legislation before the House. I want to begin by saying about this bill, that this is simply a stop-gap measure on behalf of the government. It is in fact without any real substance. It does not have the power to deal with discriminatory practices by the insurance companies and it will be ineffective in controlling rates, but having said all of that, it is the only piece of legislation before this House that makes any attempt to try to deal with the problem. So, of course, rather than vote against it, we will in all likelihood vote in favour of it, but it does not achieve what the government believes that it will do.

The problem with it is that the government has never come to grips with the real problem which is that the delivery system for a compulsory product in this province - insurance - is broken and I say that not merely because it's an observation that I have made based on the present circumstances. I say this because that is what is said to me, Mr. Speaker, by individuals who are senior executives with insurance companies, by people who were brokers who have been in the practice of providing insurance for many, many years and in addition, my own experience with the industry over the years. So that is the problem.

[4:30 p.m.]

You first must come to the conclusion that the delivery system itself is broken and what we have here is legislation which is not going to fix the skyrocketing rates. It's not going to fix the discriminatory practices in the rating books. It is not going to help people who are finding themselves needlessly placed in Facility Association. It is not going to decrease the number of people who find themselves driving without insurance because they feel they have no choice. None of that is going to happen as a result of the bill that's before the House this afternoon and I think that is entirely unfortunate. It means that as a legislative body we have failed in our responsibility to the people of this province.

[Page 3156]

Two years ago this Party embarked on a detailed examination of the insurance industry and of the delivery system here. We have developed comprehensive reports. We did it in consultation with thousands of Nova Scotians. We spoke with seniors, with youth, we spoke with those in the taxi industries, those who have businesses and have fleets of vehicles. We dealt with the coalition against no-fault, we dealt with insurance brokers themselves. We dealt with the lawyers who make up the tort reform group on behalf of the CBA. We dealt with all of those people who were interested in the product that was being delivered in this province through the insurance industry. As a result of that we first published a report that was a comparison of auto insurance premium rates across the country. Then in the second round we looked at the rating practices and published a report with respect to the fairness of the rating practices across the country. In both of those reports we came to the inescapable conclusion that the fairest and lowest auto insurance premiums in the country exist in those jurisdictions that have driver-owned, not for profit auto insurance programs.

That suggestion has not been seriously questioned by anyone. In fact, they stand on their own, driver-owned insurance is simply the best available system for delivering the insurance product. There is little doubt that this is the best system for delivery but like the present system, driver-owned insurance systems span the spectrum. There is, for example, in Manitoba a no-fault system, there is in British Columbia a pure tort system, in Saskatchewan they have a blended system where you can choose no-fault or tort. The public insurance corporations span the same spectrum that the private companies span. So the real question is not whether or not we should have a driver-owned insurance corporation, the real question is which driver-owned insurance corporation we should have in this province. That is what we should be struggling with and not with the question of whether or not there should be such a system in this province and that in fact is what we have been trying to do.

There is no question that the opponents of a driver-owned, not for profit system will say absolutely anything to try to discredit it. They will make up things, they will say things that are grossly untrue. For example, there was in the paper today a letter from a broker in Cape Breton, I think it was Sydney Mines, that said that Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation had received a subsidy of some kind, I think $90 million he said. This was an absolute fabrication and in fact the $90 million that he's talking about came out of the rate stabilization fund that came from the premiums established by the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation. To show you what an incredible misinterpretation this was is that that $90 million, $81 million of it was used to give Manitoba a break of $100 per policy for each of their drivers. A far cry from the misinformation that some people will put out there.

The other thing that's interesting about it is that in Manitoba, for example, the insurance brokers in that province, originally when they brought in public insurance, opposed it. But now they are very, very happy with the Public Insurance Corporation, because they continue to be the point of sale for that product and last year the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation paid out some $29.1 million in commissions to independent brokers in that province. So it not only works for the customers, it works for the brokers as well.

[Page 3157]

I must say that sadly the Premier also joined in the misinformation campaign around public insurance, saying that the driver-owned programs were only no-fault. I pointed out earlier that that's not true, that there's a wide spectrum of systems, and really the decision to be made is what system best fits our province. For example, B.C. presently has a full-tort system, but Manitoba, which now has a no-fault system, for more than 20 years had a tort system. Saskatchewan, for more than 40 years, had a tort system. So, Mr. Speaker, there's no reason, as suggested by the Third Party, that there has to be intervention in the manner of no-fault in this province.

The Premier also tries to tell people that these systems are somehow taxpayer funded. He knows this is incorrect, and he knows it's incorrect because the premiums for auto insurance in the province are set in order to cover all the costs associated with the insurance program. They can't lose money. He also misses the larger point when he says these things are taxpayer funded, because who does he think is paying the insurance premiums that they're being gouged for now? Are they some mystery group out there? All the people who have to pay these skyrocketing insurance rates are taxpayers. But instead of paying it into a driver-owned fund, which is subsequently being used to invest in our own province and is being used to ensure that we get the lowest and fairest premiums, the money they're paying is going to the head offices of multinational corporations in Europe. It's going to shareholders around the world, people who don't live in this province and have no interest in what they have to pay for insurance.

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the government thinks and contrary to what the Third Party thinks, driver-owned programs are not a mirage that are simply going to go away because they close their eyes and shake their heads. Driver-owned programs are not some kind of miracle that can only appear on the Prairies. Driver-owned programs are efficient, effective delivery models for a compulsory product that would work just fine in this province if they were given a chance to do so.

Mr. Speaker, I don't have a lot of time on this, but I do want to spend a few minutes dealing with the proposal we saw yesterday from the Third Party. It has a number of components, one of which is a 15 per cent rate reduction. Well, 15 per cent of what? Is it 15 per cent of an insurance premium that's already gone up? I think the Premier used the expression 250 per cent - but 15 per cent, let's just use the average of 66 per cent. So a 15 per cent increase is okay, or is it 15 per cent of what the URB says is the next step, which is an additional 43 per cent increase in insurance premiums. These questions haven't been answered .

I want to say - and my friends, my colleagues here in the Third Party will no doubt take great exception to it - that I take what they say very, very seriously because the reality is that the Third Party has been a government of this province - they are the former government of this province - and the public opinion polls are saying that there is absolutely no doubt that they are going to be a competitive force in the upcoming election. So what they

[Page 3158]

are setting out now is what they would do if they were government so, Mr. Speaker, we must pay close attention to what they say.

We cannot afford to allow them to make statements that are patently I was going to use the word ridiculous, but I would like to be kinder than that - are just patently not true and get away with it. They can't do that. The proposal of the Third Party is a recipe for a continuation of a system that will guarantee that the people of this province will be gouged again and again and again with higher insurance premiums - I mean, for example, they talk about the review of any increase over 5 per cent by the URB. Now, what in Heaven's name good is that? The URB just did a review of premiums that have gone up by 66 per cent and said that was just fine and they said there may be another 43 per cent increase, so what good does a review by the URB do?

So again, Mr. Speaker, it is very much the case that we have to pay attention to what they say. They say they are going to allow the discriminatory practices to be reviewed by the URB. Why? Why in Heaven's name would you do that? Discrimination on the basis of age, on the basis of marital status, on the basis of gender, is simply wrong and should not be allowed to stand. Why would you have to take it to the URB? Why would you have to take it to the URB? It should be ended and it will be ended. It will be ended if we have anything to say about it. The discrimination against seniors and against youth will be ended. The Third Party also proposes a consumer advocate and I want to congratulate them for this because that's the one piece of their plan that makes sense, but it is also the one piece of the plan that they took from us. So, as I say, that's why it makes sense.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, and I think most disastrously, most disastrously, about the Third Party's plan is this: They talk about the restriction of compensation for injury. Nova Scotia is notorious for having the lowest soft tissue injury awards in the country already - that's the first fact that they ignore and the second fact that they ignore is this: The Nova Scotia courts have already set limits on soft tissue injuries. They lay it out in court case after court case, they say what it is that you are able to receive for moderate injuries, for severe injuries, for mild injuries in soft tissue cases. Those caps already exist. What they are going to do is wipe out any compensation whatsoever. So when they say it's restricted benefits, let's be clear about what they mean.

They mean that they are going to wipe out compensation for people who have suffered severe injuries, Mr. Speaker. In some cases soft tissue injuries can be crippling and disabling and can lead to a lifetime of pain, can lead to a loss of people's jobs, a loss of their livelihood, a loss of their ability to be able to spend time with their families, and what they do in this is they trade on stereotypes about whiplash injuries. That's what they want to do, they don't want to recognize the reality that soft tissue injuries can be tremendously disabling.

[Page 3159]

I've got to tell you, Mr. Speaker, why I'm so profoundly disturbed by this. It's for the simple reason, you know since the year 1215, at Runnymede, one of the foundations of liberty has been the idea that citizens have the right to take their disputes to an impartial adjudicator, to a judge, or to a jury of their peers in order to have the decisions affecting their persons properly determined. I do not believe that we should arbitrarily, without any discussion with the citizenry, decide that we are going to restrict the ability of individuals, who can be seriously harmed, to have any recourse before the courts.

I find this offensive to the very nature of our institution of justice, and I do not think that we should allow the Third Party to get away with simply saying this is what we're going to do and we're going to trade on these bizarre - well, they're not bizarre, everybody has a story about the whiplash malingerer who got X number of thousands of dollars for little or nothing, and they're going to trade on that kind of a stereotype to take away the civil rights of people who can be severely injured and who can have their lives profoundly affected, and the lives of their families. We cannot allow this to happen without them explaining exactly what it is that they intend to do.

[4:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I wanted to lay that out because I think it's important that over the course of that time - this is the prelude to the upcoming election - we have to have this discussion around insurance. I think that if the Party is going to put forward a plan such as this, then they have to be prepared to say what it means to people. I can tell you this is almost exactly the same program that Bernard Lord set out before the election campaign in New Brunswick. Do you know what happened? He set out these things and the insurance companies moved in the next month and increased insurance rates. He actually put into practice what is suggested by the Third Party, and the result was that insurance premiums continued to rise in price. That turned out to be a disaster for him, electorally, and what he had to do was scramble to come up with another proposal over the course of the election campaign. We saw it come out just a few days ago.

The examination of this is important because it is important to the people of this province. I am going to end by just simply saying that the problem with this program, the same as the problem with what has been done by the government, is that they fail to recognize that the delivery system for insurance in this province is broken. Mr. Speaker, we are going to pass this bill today, but I want you to know and I want every member of this House to know that you should make no mistake that a new government, an NDP Government will act to see that Nova Scotians get the lowest and fairest auto insurance premiums in this country. (Applause)

[Page 3160]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to say a few words on Bill No. 45. With democracy comes responsibility. We hear from the Leader of the NDP, saying that others are criticizing his position, a position we have yet to actually see on paper, with misinformation. He then stands in his place and he talks about our plan, spews out misinformation upon misinformation upon misinformation and then finishes it by saying, well, I hope they can clarify some of these points, after having made all of these accusations about our plan, all unfounded, not based on any sort of fact. Yet, at the end, after making all of those accusations, he comes out and says, well, maybe they can clarify it. How about asking first, we could have told you.

The big difference between us, - and I know this aggravates them - the big difference between our plan and theirs is that we actually have one, and we've shown it to Nova Scotians, we've shown it to members of this House, we've called it for debate here in this House, we've allowed the government to pass comment on it, we've allowed the NDP to pass comment on it. Yet where is their plan? That, they cannot answer. I will tell you, it's coming. When? It's coming as soon as this House rises. Will we be given the same courtesy, to debate it here as the elected members of this House, this important issue affecting Nova Scotians? No. They will go out on Monday - it's my understanding - when they know the House won't be in session and then they will come out with their plan.

So when they criticize the government, Mr. Speaker - big glass house. When they say the government won't release their plan, they haven't done it either. That's the point. Nova Scotians are seeing that here today. That's what I know frustrates the Leader of the NDP, and it probably frustrates the government too. At the end of the day, we did disclose our plan.

Mr. Speaker, what's so confusing about our plan for the socialist Party and even for government, is that it involves original thought. It involves looking at the Nova Scotia situation and bringing forward a Nova Scotia solution. Public insurance, government-run insurance, the NDP would have us believe it's their original thought. Now, we all know that's not true. They openly admit they're just taking an idea from other provinces, and yet they still won't tell us what their idea will look like. Will it be no-fault? Will it be the tort system?

The Leader of the NDP told the press and told Nova Scotians it would cost $2 million start up to run this system. I want to see on Monday if he sticks to that figure. Another thing he told us, a loan of, I believe, $235,000 is all he would need to set up the system and run it. He said that. He said that's all it would take here in this province and he said it would be repaid in the first year. So let's see on Monday if that's all it takes to run this system.

[Page 3161]

We have a province that has an overall debt which is approaching $12 billion. A Party that would come forward and say that they want government to take over an industry which could expose the taxpayers of Nova Scotia to more money added to our debt, is just irresponsible. Government after government throughout this country have been saying that the taxpayer has no business being involved through the government in business. We're seeing it, time and time again, everywhere, where Crown Corporations are being sold off, where governments are saying we should not be involved in private industry, we should not be involved in business.

We see it from this government where this government got elected and said, if elected, we are going to sell off Sysco. Why? They said, government should not be running a steel business. Government has no place in there. Then, the government turns around and says - the Minister of Finance in fact - sells what little interest we had left in the offshore again saying we have no business being in the offshore. But, then they turn around, they wave the white flag with this bill saying we are bankrupt of any ideas or solutions on the insurance question and one day the minister responsible and the Premier say we're not for government-run insurance. The next day, well, maybe we'll have a look at it. Then the next day it's going to cost $300 - $500 million and then the next day the Premier says I want to look at an Atlantic plan for insurance.

The plan that we have put forward, that we have called for debate here in this House, that we have shown Nova Scotians, we have shown the elected members of this House, would bring forward immediate action. No one has disputed that. Not one person has said it won't bring immediate action. I ask you, if you were to propose the establishment of a government-run system, how long would it take to set it up. A week? A month? Six months? A year? Two years?

We all know that you wouldn't be able to put in place a Crown Corporation overnight so where is the immediate relief for Nova Scotians? Where is the immediate relief? What we put in place was a plan that brings a balance. It's a plan that builds on the basis that competition is good. If we go with the socialists - first it's insurance - we already know they want to regulate the gas industry so that's next; we're going to have regulation at the pumps - they've already made that clear - so that's another industry being regulated. One only has to wonder what else are they going to regulate?

We already have a government in place that has put so much red tape on our offshore that the companies are going home. They're turning their backs on Nova Scotia saying, we've had enough. So this government itself has enough to be blamed for, for having too much regulation. Now we have a Party that is saying put us in power and we will regulate more. We won't be cutting red tape, we're going to be adding it in an unprecedented way. That's just not what Nova Scotians want. What we have here is a plan, as I said, that would bring balance in it. I want to address some of the misinformation provided by the Leader of

[Page 3162]

the socialist Party. There was quite a bit of misinformation and I will try to deal with them as quickly as I can.

Our plan would look at whiplash injuries, minor whiplash injuries, non-permanent injury basis. When you look at the level of damages being awarded in Nova Scotia, one of the items of damages that we have here in Nova Scotia which many other Canadian provinces don't is that we have an additional item called general damages, also referred to as pain and suffering. It is damages above and beyond the loss incurred by an individual as a result of an automobile injury. As I said, there are a number of provinces that do not even offer this, we do offer it. What we have asked and what we have looked at in examining the report brought down by the URB and examining the different evidence that has been provided, what we've been able to do is identify that if we can establish a scale for these minor type of injuries of a non-permanent nature, that on that basis then the insurance industry would be able to reduce rates.

In no way, shape or form, how foolish it would be to suggest that we would ask the URB to set these types of scales in place and that the industry wouldn't have to react accordingly. What we are saying is that this plan would bring an immediate 15 per cent across-the-board reduction, that's right off the bat. More important than that, what it does is puts in place the framework that will continue the reduction in rates that we have seen by bringing stability to our industry. At the end of the day I am going to again have to use the example and I hope the Leader of the socialist Party is listening intently when I say to him, if you've got a car with two flat tires, even though you change the driver, you still have a car with two flat tires. We have a problem in our insurance industry. We have to try to address the concerns that are there and address them today. This plan clearly puts in place a system to do that. As I stand in my place today, if there are any of the socialist members or government members that want to get up and say that we have a better plan, then all I ask is have the courtesy to stand here and say here is the plan, compare it. Here is ours, you've seen it, Nova Scotians have had an opportunity to see it, the press have had an opportunity to see it.

If we were to believe what the socialist Party has to say, or even the Minister of Environment and Labour's reaction on this, then why the editorials today in the papers? Why is the media not ridiculing the plan brought forward? Why are Nova Scotians not saying that this is not appropriate? What we have is the media saying this is a reasonable plan. The other thing that they are pointing out, this is at least the first Party that's brought forward a plan, that's the other point. Second, we have the industry that is clearly saying that this plan is workable, we can do the reduction because this plan will bring forward balance. At the end of the day the amount of debate that has taken place on this bill, we know what Bill No. 45 is meant to do, it is meant to buy time. It is meant to try to give the government some more time to try to come forward with a solution.

[Page 3163]

We've had a government in place, a majority government. I keep saying majority because as you well know I had the opportunity to serve in a minority government and I know how challenging an experience that was and how difficult it was to be able to do long-term planning and to be able to address some of the important social issues without knowing if there would be unanimous support throughout the House for some of the initiatives we were bringing forward. You know yourself that that was not an easy task and I don't think that anyone would say that minority government is an easy task, especially the situation we were in. In this case you have a strong majority government, there is no fear that they're going to bring forward a plan that they're going to fall on. So they have had the opportunity. I say strength in numbers not strength in their abilities that they've shown to Nova Scotians, I mean strength in numbers. So, they've had lots of opportunity to be able to deal with this issue, to be able to provide a solution to this that they could present to Nova Scotians before this House rises. That would be the responsible thing to do.

[5:00 p.m.]

If we are to believe the socialist Party, they said they've been working on this for two years, two years, and I stand here today closing debate on Bill No. 45. It's 5:00 p.m. - what are we at today? - it's May 22nd and still no plan to put forward to Nova Scotians, no plan to have debate here in the House. The Leader of the Official Opposition has asked questions about our plan. I've answered I believe, or have tried to answer some of his questions, because I can do that about our plan, yet they could not do that about theirs. We don't know if their plan will involve no-fault. (Interruptions) To see the member for Halifax Chebucto . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. SAMSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. When I heard the member for Halifax Chebucto react to our plan yesterday, well I had flashbacks - and you would remember this time when he was Finance Critic and we were a minority government and his reaction to our budget, you will remember well, 1998, our first budget. The Minister of Finance hadn't walked through the door, the Finance Critic for the socialist Party, the member for Halifax Chebucto, saying we're not going to support this budget. He hadn't seen it - he hadn't seen it. The next year, 1999, after being ridiculed by everyone for reacting without even seeing the budget, again the minister hadn't walked through the door of this Chamber, and he says we're not voting for it, we're not supporting it, we haven't seen it.

So yesterday we bring forward a plan that involves original thought. What happens? The member for Halifax Chebucto says the sky is falling, the sky is falling, the sky is falling. These Liberals are confusing us with an original thought. They are confusing us by looking at the Nova Scotia situation and bringing forward a Nova Scotia solution, a solution that

[Page 3164]

could be put in place today. It doesn't involve cutting and pasting from another province, it doesn't involve trying to put in place systems that were initially put in provinces 20 and 30 years ago and applying them to today, using the same logic and using the same amount of money.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians do not want to go down the road where a plan will be put in place that will put the Nova Scotia taxpayer financially at risk. A government-run system for Nova Scotia is not a solution. It will not address the problems of Nova Scotians today. One can only guess at how long it would take to put in place. It wasn't Mr. Forgeron that (Interruptions) It's Nova Scotians who have said that we do not want to see a government that's starting new Crown Corporations and taking over industries.

Mr. Speaker, it is irresponsible. Bill No. 45 is nothing more than a temporary measure by a government that is waving the white flag and saying that they are surrendering, that they are bankrupt of any ideas or solutions to this. I can say today, before I take my place, that our Leader and our Party did the responsible thing by bringing forward a plan that this House could look at, that this House could debate, and that Nova Scotians could look at; that was the responsible thing to do. Our Leader made a commitment that our plan would be tabled before the House rose and we did table that. At the end of the day, regardless of what garble we get from the socialists, they still do not have a plan today. They cannot present it to this House; they cannot present it to Nova Scotians. They're telling us to wait until the House rises where we can go hide somewhere on a Monday and try to make everything well in our little socialist world.

Mr. Speaker, that is not responsible. I could stand in my place and say we have a plan and we have shared it with Nova Scotians in a responsible manner. We didn't have to wait and hide until the House rose. As for the government, they fall in that same category. The fact that the have not presented a plan either on insurance, either on debt management which we were told we would get, either on the state of our pensions and how they plan to deal with it, I would submit to you, all of it has been irresponsible acts by this government, but Bill No. 45 at the end does bring in a freeze - it is but a temporary measure. I want to, just before closing, and I started off, as soon as I started talking, by saying democracy brings with it liberties, but it brings with it responsibility.

Now, I have got to tell you, you know yesterday the Minister of Community Services stood in his place to speak on the issue of insurance, and he read from a fax that he said he had from, I think he said it was Economical Insurance.

Mr. Speaker, for a Minister of the Crown, who has responsibilities to this House, after the questions today about the code of conduct, to be honest and upright with Nova Scotians, to stand in this House, and that's why I wanted him to table it, because I said, I would like to see, he puts quite a rosy picture on what the Economical Insurance Group has to say. I am curious if that is actually a proper reflection of what they had to say. He read certain passages

[Page 3165]

in here, saying that because of the government's actions they were actually putting a freeze. He said that Economical is going even further than the government, because we said May 1st, they're going back to April 1st. That's what he said.

Mr. Speaker, let's be a little more specific. What they have said is that they will go back to April 1st for personal insurance that is new business, not existing clients, new business. The minister knew that. He didn't read that part. For renewals, the date is not April 1st, it's June 1st and July 1st for renewals, not May 1st, not even the date this government ordered. That's what they're doing for renewals. He didn't read that. Let me see what else he didn't read. He said, here it says "The Economical Insurance Group is disappointed with the government's proposed restrictions, as it will prevent us from adequately pricing our products. However, we will respect the decision and comply with the legislation." I think he only read the second sentence of that paragraph, didn't read the first one.

Now, what else does it say? It says "In restricting insurance companies' ability to set prices, the government is focusing on the outcome of the problem - rate increases - instead of the causes, such as escalating soft-tissue injury claims." The minister didn't read that either.

AN HON. MEMBER: Did Don Forgeron give you that?

MR. SAMSON: No, the Minister of Community Services. Had you been listening, you would have heard that that's who tabled this in the House here yesterday.

Mr. Speaker, what else? Maybe the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage will hear this one. What else did he not read? Well, he didn't read this, it said, "Without the ability to apply adequate pricing to our product, the gap between The Group's income and expenses will continue to widen. This will generate further losses for The Group - losses that are becoming increasingly difficult to sustain." He didn't read that. He missed that, I guess.

Mr. Speaker, what it says at the end of the day is that this is nothing but a short-term measure to freeze rates and just delay the inevitable. Unless the government addresses the problems within the industry, a freeze is nothing but a temporary measure. The URB came back and said, government would be justified to address the problems within the industry, not just trying to freeze rates. That is why, as I close, you can criticize it, and that's part of our democratic system, and you may not like it, especially some of the members of the other Parties, but I can stand in my place and say, we have a plan. (Interruption) The member for Timberlea-Prospect says take it to the doorsteps. Well, see, I can go out tonight and take it to the doorsteps, our plan. He can't do that with his. All he can take is misinformation, propaganda that has come from their Party, and a complete lack of a plan.

[Page 3166]

Mr. Speaker, as we close today, I just want to say - I hear the member for Timberlea-Prospect mocking the candidate who will run against him, any person who puts their name forward for public office should not be mocked. Many in this House and many in other elected offices have mocked those who will run against them, only to their peril. The members of the socialist Party may want to take heed to some of the statements they are making because, at the end of the day, someone might actually remind them of some of the mockery they made about candidates running against them and how they may have to eat the words they have said.

As I close, as I wanted to say, Bill No. 45 is a temporary solution. It doesn't address the problems, it does not give Nova Scotians what they have asked for. We have tabled a plan, it is something that Nova Scotians can look at, examine and pass judgement on, something that neither the socialists have done or the government has done. I am proud of that fact. At the end of the day, we will all go forward into the election. I know we have our plan, it will be up to the other Parties to decide what they are going to do. This is not a simple issue. It is one that affects Nova Scotians everywhere, from one end of the province to the other, from all socio-economic groups, some more disadvantaged than others.

This is a plan that could bring immediate action, unlike the government's Bill No. 45, which is nothing but a temporary freeze which is just delaying tomorrow's problem. It is one more example of where the government has failed to solve today's problem with a Nova Scotian solution. Instead, they leave our problems for another day for someone else to deal with. That is one of the main points of this government, that Nova Scotians will clearly have the opportunity to judge them on at the doorstep. Thank you.

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

MR. BRIAN BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I know time is short for debate on this bill. I'm not going to tie the bill up because I believe it's an important piece of legislation to move forward. I'm not going to comment on the plan of either Party - I think that's for the electorate of Nova Scotia to decide who has the best plan. I think they will do that, they'll be reviewing that very clearly during the next election, but sometimes I get a little baffled in here as an MLA listening to the debate because at least, in my opinion, the only option the minister had . . .

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

MR. BOUDREAU: . . . I believe the only measure that the minister had that was available to him was to impose the measures that he has under this bill. I am confident that this minister - I've expressed my disappointment that the government didn't act sooner or at least go in this direction sooner than they did, but I think earlier on they obviously mishandled the situation, for whatever reason. But, it is at the point now where I've

[Page 3167]

mentioned this issue many times in the House. There are 600 per cent increases this year in automobile insurance. There are homes being affected, there are businesses being affected. Actually, volunteers are being affected with community events and assets that they own. This is an issue that really affects each and every Nova Scotian.

Just this morning I spoke to an individual on the phone. It was the husband of a husband and wife team that both work, the gentleman indicated that because of the increases in the insurance rates and the fuel prices during the last year, that this working family had to cancel their vacation this year in order to pay their bills. This certainly affects not only the seniors and people on fixed incomes, it affects working people. It's affecting not just automobiles, it's affecting homes also so it's a very important issue.

One point I'd like to bring up is that I'm a little frustrated by the length of time that this bill did take to clear through here. I believe if the Opposition Parties had supported this bill and allowed the minister to put the regulations in place while this House was sitting, then the Opposition members, the Parties, and I, would have had an opportunity to debate the regulations in this House before the House rose. So, I believe the delay of the bill actually hampered our ability as members of the House to really question the minister with regard to these regulations.

Finally, it's no secret, throughout Atlantic Canada, this is an issue that's affecting all of Atlantic Canada. Newfoundland and New Brunswick, in particular, have been struggling with this issue for two or three years now and I think in reviewing and doing some research and some of the work that they both have been doing on this issue, then I would suggest that they're having a hard time as well dealing with this situation.

Given the ability of the minister, he certainly has the experience, he has the knowledge, he has the ability, now we have to see it come forward. The Premier has chosen this minister - after a shuffle approximately five or six weeks ago - because, I believe, he recognized this issue is going to be a vital issue throughout the election process, which is about to begin in Nova Scotia. Certainly it will happen during this year between now and September, would be my guess.

So, in closing I just want to say that I believe the minister can come up with the solution for all of Atlantic Canada if he puts the effort into it, if he's serious. I'm looking forward to seeing these regulations put in place, hopefully the minister will consult with the industry who has indicated that they're willing and able to participate and to provide whatever they can to the process that hopefully will find solutions for Nova Scotians, and not necessarily for large corporations that make millions of dollars and invests their money on the stock market. In any event, it is too important an issue for me to tie it up any longer. I will take my place and I'm encouraging all Opposition members to support this bill, to provide the minister the avenue that he says he needs in order to fix and find a solution for Nova Scotians.

[Page 3168]

[5:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Environment and Labour, it will be to close debate on Bill No. 45.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to close debate on Bill No. 45, the Insurance Act, and I'm not going to be long, but I just would like to bring to the attention of the House, how pleased I am that we have finally got the authority that we need to act on the matters affecting Nova Scotians with regard to automobile insurance.

Mr. Speaker, I've listened to both the Opposition Parties and have paid attention to what they have suggested. Some of their suggestions have been valid and acceptable, some have not, but there are some things that I feel I should just mention in passing, and one is the persistence of the Leader of the Official Opposition in talking about a driver insurance plan. I don't know where this driver plan exists. I know that there are several publicly owned, that is government-owned, ones that are owned by the government in power, that type of insurance, and they're not driver-owned, they're owned by the province in question.

Mr. Speaker, there has been considerable comment from the Opposition about the low rates in those provinces that have - I almost said driver-owned insurance plans, but publicly owned plans, and it is not an easy matter to simply say that one is cheaper than another, because they're entirely different plans from what we normally accept as insurance plans. For instance, in provinces that have government-run insurance, if you're injured in an accident, the Department of Health plan for that particular province looks after the costs of the medical services. In Nova Scotia and other provinces that have private insurance companies, if you have an accident and you're injured, or somebody is injured because of your driving, those charges are charged to the insurance company, not to the general public of the Province of Nova Scotia, and that makes one heck of a big difference insofar as what the insurance companies are responsible for.

In this province, Mr. Speaker, you could have violations insofar as driving is concerned and it does not affect the cost of your driver's licence. In the Province of Manitoba you pay more for your driver's licence if you've had an accident, if you've incurred a loss, if indeed you've incurred infractions of the Motor Vehicle Act. The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition is a lawyer and he advertises in the Yellow Pages of the telephone directory as a litigation lawyer. He says we're not going to have no-fault, we're not going to have tort caps in this province. But they do in the Province of Manitoba, but he doesn't want that. He wants his crumb from litigation as well as promoting a government-run system.

[Page 3169]

Mr. Speaker, that's all I have to say about their scheme. We are looking at all schemes though, including that one that came forward from the Opposition. It's not to say that we're going to accept it, but we're looking at it. With regard to the Liberal plan, the first thing that really struck me about their plan was, actually there were two things, one was that any increase over 5 per cent would have to go through the Utility and Review Board, now that's a wonderful idea. If I owned an insurance company, I would say that's a great idea. I will apply for 4 per cent and I will get my 4 per cent, then three months later I will go back and get another 4 per cent and three months later I will go back and get another 4 per cent and so on, because there is nothing in their plan that says that they can only apply once a year.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I've been listening to the minister and it's very important to not provide this House with misinformation. The fact is that a 5 per cent increase would automatically trigger a hearing. Even under 5 per cent the consumer advocate would have the ability, if he feels it's inappropriate, to trigger, (Interruption) he or she sorry, to trigger a hearing even if it is under 5 per cent. So, I'm sure that the minister would not want to be misleading this House. I just wanted to make sure he was provided with that information. That mechanism is in place for under 5 per cent also to trigger a hearing if it's an unwarranted increase.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Obviously that's not a point of order, it's clarification of the facts for the House. I'm sure there will be lots of opportunity in the future to debate those issues.

The honourable Government House Leader.

MR. RUSSELL: The other thing that I found quite hilarious was to talk about a 15 per cent reduction when it's up to the insurance companies to say what the 15 per cent reduction is, what the limits are, where the money is coming from. It is completely unworkable under that format. There is nothing wrong with trying to find a 15 or 20 or 25 per cent reduction in the cost of insurance and that is what we're going to do. We're going to first of all ensure that insurance companies operate fairly, fairly, with all people by having underwriting rules that do those things that we've been talking about in here. We can do that now because finally we have this bill almost passed and we've got regulatory powers.

We will come through with a plan that will work. We will come through with a plan which will in time either stabilize or reduce insurance rates. Now it is ridiculous to talk about reducing insurance rates unless you know what you're talking about because there are so many variables in the insurance industry procedure for coming at a rate. You have to have a plan, you have to a plan that is transparent. We will have that plan and I'm delighted to move third reading of Bill No. 45.

[Page 3170]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 45. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

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

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move third reading of Bill No. 17.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third 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 do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the last bill, Bill No. 43.

Bill No. 43 - Members' Retiring Allowances Act.

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

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to move third reading of Bill No. 43.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 43. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 3171]

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, before we can move to the closure of the House, I would ask that the House recess until 6:00 p.m., to allow for the administration of the bills and so on.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The House will recess until 6:00 p.m.

[5:26 p.m. The House recessed.]

[6:03 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor is without.

MR. SPEAKER: Let Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor be admitted.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]

[The Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Myra Freeman, preceded by her escort, and by the Sergeant-at-Arms, bearing the Mace, entered the House of Assembly Chamber. The Lieutenant Governor then took her seat on the Throne.

The Sergeant-at-Arms then departed and re-entered the Chamber followed by the Speaker, the Honourable Murray Scott; Chief Clerk of the House, Roderick MacArthur, Q.C.; Assistant Clerk, Arthur Fordham, Q.C.; and Assistant Clerk, Neil Ferguson.

The Speaker, with the Sergeant-at-Arms on his right and the Clerk on his left, took up his position at the foot of the Speaker's Table.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: It is the wish of Her Honour that the ladies and gentlemen be seated.

[Page 3172]

MR. SPEAKER: May it please Your Honour, the General Assembly of the Province has, in its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the General Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour's Assent.

THE CLERK:

Bill No. 1 - Firefighters' Compensation Act.

Bill No. 3 - Personal Property Security Act.

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

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

Bill No. 28 - Apprenticeship and Trades Qualifications Act.

Bill No. 29 - Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Act.

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

Bill No. 34 - Riverport District Fire Protection Act.

Bill No. 35 - An Act to Incorporate the Truro Golf Club.

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

Bill No. 37 - Hantsport Memorial Community Centre Financial Assistance (2003) Act.

Bill No. 40 - Sisters of Saint Martha Act.

Bill No. 43 - Members' Retiring Allowances Act.

Bill No. 44 - Chipman Corner Cemetery Company Act.

Bill No. 45 - Insurance Act.

Bill No. 47 - Associated Alumni of Acadia College Incorporation Act.

Bill No. 48 - Lunenburg Common Lands Act.

Bill No. 50 - Interior Designers Act.

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Bill No. 51 - Crosbie Memorial Trust Fund Act.

Bill No. 52 - Cosmetology Act.

Bill No. 53 - Massage Therapy Act.

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

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

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

In Her Majesty's name, I Assent to these Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Your Honour, having been graciously pleased to give your Assent to the Bills passed during the present Session, it becomes my agreeable duty on behalf of Her Majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects, Her faithful Commons of Nova Scotia to present to Your Honour a bill for the Appropriation of Supply granted in the present Session for the support of the Public Service and to request Your Honour's Assent thereto.

THE CLERK:

Bill No. 41 - Appropriations Act, 2003.

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR:

In Her Majesty's name, I thank Her loyal subjects, I accept their benevolence and I Assent to this Bill.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.]

[The Lieutenant Governor left the Chamber.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour, the Speaker.

[The Speaker took the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask all members now to join me in the singing of our national anthem.

[The national anthem was sung by the members.]

[Page 3174]

MR. SPEAKER: Please be seated. Just before I recognize the honourable Deputy Premier, I want to take the opportunity to thank all the members for their co-operation as I sat in this Chair for the last four years. Little did I ever believe when I entered this Chamber five years ago that I would sit in this Chair, at least for this long. I can tell you it's been quite an experience, a lot of good memories and I appreciate the co-operation of all members. I would like to say that the latest rendition of O Canada I think is a little better than last year and a little better than the year before. Maybe soon we can take it on the road. Anyway, thank you to all the members. (Applause)

Again, I do want to thank all members and I want to wish all of you and your families a very safe and happy summer. Hopefully we'll see each other back here sometime later this year.

The honourable Deputy Premier.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of all members, I think we would like to pass on our congratulations to you for the service you've given to this House over the past four years. (Standing Ovation)

Now, Mr. Speaker and members of the House of Assembly, I move that this General Assembly be now adjourned to meet again at the call of the Speaker.

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

The motion is carried.]

MR. SPEAKER: We stand adjourned.

[6:14 p.m. The House adjourned.]

[Page 3175]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1592

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Agriculture and Fisheries)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Export Achievement awards were introduced in 1984 to celebrate the accomplishments of Nova Scotia exporters and to recognize the contribution that Nova Scotia companies, big and small, make to the provincial economy; and

Whereas Nova Scotia Business Inc., in co-operation with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, hosted the 19th Annual Export Achievement Awards on May 15, 2003 at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Oxford Frozen Foods Limited, a company that began as a family-run business in a small Nova Scotian town, has since grown to become an industry leader in supplying wild blueberries to the world and have been awarded the 2003 Long Term Exporter distinction;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Oxford Frozen Foods Limited as this year's recipient of the Long Term Exporter award.

RESOLUTION NO. 1593

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Agriculture and Fisheries)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Export Achievement awards were introduced in 1984 to celebrate the accomplishments of Nova Scotia exporters and to recognize the contribution that Nova Scotia companies, big and small, make to the provincial economy; and

Whereas Nova Scotia Business Inc., in co-operation with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, hosted the 19th Annual Export Achievement Awards on May 15, 2003 at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Oland Brewery has been awarded the 2003 Canadian Market Development distinction for achieving a 30 per cent increase in export sales last year. By marketing Oland Brewery's Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale brand product as a Nova Scotia experience,

[Page 3176]

sales grew from more than $16 million in 2001 to $28.5 million last year and the forecast is for the trend to continue;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Oland Brewery as this year's recipient of the Canadian Market Development Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 1594

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Agriculture and Fisheries)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Export Achievement awards were introduced in 1984 to celebrate the accomplishments of Nova Scotia exporters and to recognize the contribution that Nova Scotia companies, big and small, make to the provincial economy; and

Whereas Nova Scotia Business Inc., in co-operation with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, hosted the 19th Annual Export Achievement Awards on May 15, 2003 at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Apple Valley Foods Inc., of Kentville, Nova Scotia has been awarded the Export Growth Through Partnership distinction for their efforts in identifying a niche market in sugar-free apple pies and by using a non-competing U.S. baker to distribute its product, posting a 75 per cent increase in business from 2001 to 2002;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Apple Valley Foods Inc., as this year's recipient of the Export Growth Through Partnership award.

RESOLUTION NO. 1595

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Agriculture and Fisheries)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Export Achievement awards were introduced in 1984 to celebrate the accomplishments of Nova Scotia exporters and to recognize the contribution that Nova Scotia companies, big and small, make to the provincial economy; and

Whereas Nova Scotia Business Inc., in co-operation with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, hosted the 19th Annual Export Achievement Awards on May 15, 2003 at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia; and

[Page 3177]

Whereas Farmers Co-operative Dairy have been awarded the Export Growth in Sales award for applying new technology to existing products making them winners internationally. Recent investments to both their processing and packaging equipment have given the company opportunity to expand beyond Nova Scotia's borders to export markets in Mexico, India and the Caribbean Islands. Sales for Farmers products have boomed from $500,000 in 2001 to $2.2 million last year;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Farmers Co-operative Dairy as this year's recipient of the Export Growth in Sales award.

RESOLUTION NO. 1596

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Agriculture and Fisheries)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Export Achievement awards were introduced in 1984 to celebrate the accomplishments of Nova Scotia exporters and to recognize the contribution that Nova Scotia companies, big and small, make to the provincial economy; and

Whereas Nova Scotia Business Inc., in co-operation with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, hosted the 19th Annual Export Achievement Awards on May 15, 2003 at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Covey Island Boatworks of Petite Riviere has been awarded the 2003 Export Growth through Product Development distinction for diversifying and creating a presence in both the commercial and pleasure boat markets. The company has received accolades from renowned yachting magazines and clients for developing hand-crafted custom yachts and have increased export sales by 200 per cent last year from about $1 million to almost $3 million.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Covey Island Boatworks as this year's recipient of the Export Growth through Product Development award.

RESOLUTION NO. 1597

By: Mr. John MacDonell (Hants East)

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

[Page 3178]

Whereas volunteerism is one of the finest activities of the human race; and

Whereas Ms. Angela Parks has lent her time and talents to organizations that benefit many people all over Hants North; and

Whereas Ms. Parks was honoured on April 30th in Upper Rawdon by the Municipality of East Hants for her many selfless and appreciated contributions of her time and efforts;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Angela Parks on being named an East Hants Volunteer of the Year and thank her for her years of volunteer effort throughout Hants North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1598

By: Mr. John MacDonell (Hants East)

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

Whereas volunteers hold together many community organizations without which our society would be immensely poorer; and

Whereas Mrs. Joann Cory is one of those volunteers who is an integral member of many organizations in her community of East Gore, filling positions for the East Gore United Church, the Hants North Food Bank and the Women's Institute, to name but a few; and

Whereas Mrs. Cory was honoured by the Municipality of East Hants on April 30th in Upper Rawdon for her many volunteer contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Joann Cory of East Gore on being named an East Hants Volunteer of the Year and thank her for her years of volunteer effort in her community.

RESOLUTION NO. 1599

By: Mr. John MacDonell (Hants East)

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

Whereas volunteers are vital to building and maintaining a healthy, well-functioning community; and

[Page 3179]

Whereas Ms. Verna Fenton of Kennetcook has been a central figure in much of the fundraising, organizing and general helping out of a great number of worthy organizations and causes in the area over the years; and

Whereas Ms. Fenton was honoured on April 30th in Upper Rawdon by the Municipality of East Hants for her valued and much appreciated impact on the Village of Kennetcook;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Verna Fenton of Kennetcook on her award as an East Hants Volunteer of the Year and thank her for the many good deeds she has performed so selflessly for her community.

RESOLUTION NO. 1600

By: Mr. John MacDonell (Hants East)

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

Whereas physical education is vital to the healthy development of our students; and

Whereas Mrs. Iris Lyghtle of Noel Shore has worked for many years as a physical education instructor for three elementary schools in her area, and has also spent many hours outside the school day instructing students to their benefit; and

Whereas Iris Lyghtle was recently honoured with an Education Week award for her dedication and efforts in physical education;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Iris Lyghtle on her award and on her lifetime achievement of improving the physical activity levels of many students in the Hants North area.

RESOLUTION NO. 1601

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas sea cadets from seven of the eight squadrons in Cape Breton will now get their sailing training at the Northern Yacht Club; and

[Page 3180]

Whereas the club's facilities are ideal for training because of its central location, security and the ideal training waters off North Sydney; and

Whereas the sea cadets started training in early May and will continue with their training through June, when the program takes a break for the summer to make way for the club's junior sailing program held in July and August;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the sea cadets on finding such a fine facility to conduct their training, and congratulate the Northern Yacht Club on having their sailing season extended thanks to the sea cadet program.

RESOLUTION NO. 1602

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the 4-H organization focuses on developing well-rounded, responsible and independent citizens whose members participate in technical skill development, club projects, and other fun club activities like camping, public speaking, travel, conferences and much more; and

Whereas Erica Cousins, the Cape Breton representative, was awarded with the Leonard Best Memorial Award as the Nova Scotia provincial 4-H hostess for 2003 after competing in impromptu speech and interview competitions; and

Whereas Erica truly embodies the 4-H motto: "Learn to do by doing";

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Erica Cousins on her 4-H success and wish her well in all her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1603

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Junior High Debating Championship has recently taken place at Sherwood Park; and

[Page 3181]

Whereas one of the host teams, comprised of Ryan MacLeod, Tim Malcolm, and Blair MacDonald, took the title with an impressive 5-0 record; and

Whereas the three were invited to a special presentation where they received pins to recognize their accomplishment from Nova Scotia's Lieutenant Governor, Myra Freeman;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ryan MacLeod, Tim Malcolm, and Blair MacDonald on their achievements at the Nova Scotia Junior High Debating Championship and wish them continued success in their futures.

RESOLUTION NO. 1604

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Economic Development)

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

Whereas after 54 years, Toronto resident George Scott has finally received his Nova Scotia high school diploma at Glace Bay High School awards night; and

Whereas in 1948 the Holocaust survivor arrived in Glace Bay and, although he attended Morrison High School, he left the community before he could graduate; and

Whereas the 73-year-old moved to Glace Bay at age 18, after his liberation from a concentration camp in Dachau;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating George Scott on his receipt of his honorary high school diploma, and express our admiration for his incredible courage and determination to overcome tremendous odds.

RESOLUTION NO. 1605

By: Mr. John MacDonell (Hants East)

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

Whereas helicopters are invaluable tools in the arsenal of the Department of Natural Resources; and

Whereas the Department of Natural Resources Shubenacadie base, has used a helicopter for firefighting, surveillance, search and rescue, and many other functions for many years with great effect; and

[Page 3182]

Whereas Mr. Ross Wickwire and Mr. Bob Cansfield, DNR helicopter manager and chief engineer respectively, recently flew a new helicopter up from Phoenix, Arizona, to replace their old one;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the staff of the Natural Resources base at Shubenacadie on their new helicopter and wish them continued success in carrying out their many duties on behalf of the public.

RESOLUTION NO. 1606

By: Hon. Jane Purves (Health)

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

Whereas this year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Seniors' Day Program at Harbourview Hospital in the Cape Breton District Health Authority; and

Whereas the program is designed to assist seniors to maintain their independence in their community, provide them with daytime medical, rehabilitative, therapeutic, and social activities supplementing family care; and

Whereas this program can prevent premature placement in a hospital or a nursing home, give clients a chance to socialize with peers, and provide a respite option for family caregivers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating the Harbourview Hospital's Seniors' Day Program for 20 successful years of enhancing the quality of life for the seniors who take part in the program.

RESOLUTION NO. 1607

By: Hon. Jane Purves (Health)

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

Whereas Sir Charles Tupper Elementary School and LeMarchant-St. Thomas School in Halifax are two of only three Nova Scotia grant winners from the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program designed to promote healthy lifestyles; and

Whereas this is a nationwide program available to schools across Canada; and

[Page 3183]

Whereas these grants are aimed at the promotion of natural play and learning environments for children;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the parents and staff of both Sir Charles Tupper and LeMarchant-St. Thomas Schools on their receipt of the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds Program grant and hope their young students thoroughly enjoy the benefits the grant will bring to their school environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 1608

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas the 2nd annual Wickwire Winter Carnival, in benefit of Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy, has recently taken place; and

Whereas with more than 1,500 people in attendance, the event was a huge success, raising $8,500 to be used for literacy and technology resources in the school; and

Whereas the success of the carnival has prompted organizers to begin plans for the 3rd annual Wickwire Winter Carnival in the works for February 2004;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the choir, Ann Langille, and all those involved in making the 2nd annual Wickwire Winter Carnival the success that it was and wish them luck in planning for next year's event.

RESOLUTION NO. 1609

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community, including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

[Page 3184]

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Carla Malay, Health Board Assistant Queens County Community, is aiming its Designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1610

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community, including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including committee coordinator, Clare Fancy, Public Health Nurse, Public Health Services, is aiming its Designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1611

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

[Page 3185]

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Committee Treasurer Ken Smith, accountant for the Town of Bridgewater, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1612

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Committee Vice Chair Barb Anderson, Manager, Public Health Services, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1613

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

[Page 3186]

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Theresa Hawkesworth, Director of Communications and Special Projects for South Shore Health, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1614

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Susan Ivany, Family Violence Coordinator, Bridgewater Police, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

[Page 3187]

RESOLUTION NO. 1615

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Brett LeBlanc, Manager, Bridgewater Development Association, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1616

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Sharon Thimot, Nurse Manager for South Shore Health, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

[Page 3188]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1617

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Greg Smith, Community Police, Lunenburg County RCMP, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1618

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

[Page 3189]

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including George McKiel, Lunenburg/Queens Seniors' Falls Prevention, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1619

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Reid Whynot, Bridgewater Fire Chief/Manager Gow's Home Hardware, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1620

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

[Page 3190]

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Joanne Muron, Health Board Assistant, Lunenburg County Community, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1621

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Debby Smith, Regional Representative, South Shore Sport and Recreation Division - Office of Health Promotion, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1622

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

[Page 3191]

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community, including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Peter Silver, Aliant, is aiming at obtaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1623

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community, including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Wade Selig, RCH Consultant, South Shore District School Board, is aiming at attaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

[Page 3192]

RESOLUTION NO. 1624

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas Paul Fynes is leading a group of dedicated volunteers to promote the South Shore as a safe community; and

Whereas the work of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative will cover the people of the Counties of Lunenburg and Queens and will include all aspects of a safe community, including workplace and home injury prevention, ATV safety, as well as fire prevention; and

Whereas the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative group, including Jane Sawler, Bridgewater Family Support Centre, is aiming at attaining its designation as a Safe Community this June;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage and support the efforts of the South Shore Safe Communities Initiative to make the South Shore an even better place in which to live and work.

RESOLUTION NO. 1625

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas for the fourth time since its founding, AIMS received the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award for Excellence in Public Policy; and

Whereas the prestigious award is presented for excellence in think-tank public policy and this year there were 40 nominations representing 17 different countries; and

Whereas AIMS received the award for the institute's "Definitely NOT the Romanow Report" on the status of Canada's health care reform, a document which was held up as an outstanding example for the international think-tank community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate AIMS on the receipt of their fourth Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial Award for Excellence in Public Policy.

[Page 3193]

RESOLUTION NO. 1626

By: Mr. Kerry Morash (Queens)

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

Whereas a leader in environmental conservation, Bowater Mersey Paper Company has committed to protecting one of Nova Scotia's endangered species; and

Whereas 100 hectares of Bowater land that the Blanding's turtle calls its home at McGowan Lake is being protected under the company's unique areas program; and

Whereas Bowater was acting upon recommendations from a recovery team which was set up to study the turtle in its environment and determine steps that could be taken to put a halt to its extinction;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Bowater Mersey Paper Company on the steps it is taking to preserve one of Nova Scotia's endangered species and thank them for their commitment to the environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 1627

By: Hon. David Morse (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Fine Arts School of Dancing, which offers classes in ballet, jazz and modern dancing, held its annual recital at Horton High School's Performance Theatre last Saturday evening under the capable direction of Beth-Anne Levy; and

Whereas the theme of this year's recital was Dancing into Spring; and

Whereas a total of 10 presentations were made during the recital starting with Tiny Tots right up through Senior Jazz;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs congratulate Beth-Anne Levy for her outstanding work, along with her parents, Ken and Linda Levy, her sister, Tanya, and her jazz assistant, Kailey Allen, who worked so hard in making this year's recital another tremendous success.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1628

By: Hon. David Morse (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Canada-Wide Science Fair has recently taken place in Calgary; and

Whereas six Nova Scotian students received honourable mention at the prestigious fair and three brought home medals; and

Whereas Cameron Williams, participating in the senior engineering division, was one of those receiving an honourable mention and is also a Grade 11 student at Central Kings High School in Cambridge Station;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Cameron and all the participants in the Canada-Wide Science Fair and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1629

By: Hon. Timothy Olive (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas Cynthia Hellesoe, a resource teacher at Graham Creighton Junior High School, has created a board game which engages children in discussions and aims to help kids develop and maintain a good opinion of their character and abilities; and

Whereas she created Esteem Theme two years ago while she was a B.Ed. student at Mount Saint Vincent University and, after perfecting the game, it has now been approved by the Halifax Regional School Board and other regional boards have been expressing interest in it as well; and

Whereas Ms. Hellesoe hopes that the Esteem Theme game will promote respect to others and also help children gain self-esteem, something that is important to instill in our province's young people;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Cynthia Hellesoe on the success of her Esteem Theme game and thank her for helping our children to feel better about themselves and teaching them the importance of respecting others.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1630

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury)

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

Whereas the University College of Cape Breton Alumni Association is over 10,000 members strong; and

Whereas the UCCB Alumni Association will host a launch in honour of its newest Alumni Chapter, Halifax; and

Whereas the event will take place on May 29th in the Acadia Ballroom at the Casino Nova Scotia Hotel;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the University College of Cape Breton Alumni Association on the launch of the new Halifax Alumni Chapter and wish them our best for a successful, fun-filled evening.

RESOLUTION NO. 1631

By: Hon. James Muir (Justice)

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

Whereas Jim Saunders of Truro received one of only two 2002 national Awards of Excellence in Volunteering from the Victorian Order of Nurses; and

Whereas Jim Saunders, upon retirement from the insurance industry, accepted an invitation by the Victorian Order of Nurses Truro Branch to join its executive board and he served as 2nd vice-president, 1st vice-president and president; and

Whereas while serving on the executive board, Jim Saunders was instrumental in enhancing funding for staff awards, ensuring a smooth transition of the Home Support Workers from the Children's Aid Society to VON, planning and canvassing for the annual VON golf tournament which became the main fundraiser for the branch and now that his term on the board is completed, he is serving as the investment manager for the branch;

[Page 3196]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jim Saunders on receiving the Award of Excellence in Volunteering from the Victorian Order of Nurses of Canada and thank him for his exemplary and continued contribution to this valuable organization.

RESOLUTION NO. 1632

By: Mr. Frank Chipman (Annapolis)

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

Whereas Annapolis County Ground Search and Rescue, made up of volunteers, like others of its kind, provides important services to rural communities; and

Whereas the group works with the RCMP to find lost persons, but has also undertaken to prevent searches by teaching young people how to prepare before going into the woods and what to do if you become lost; and

Whereas formed in 1976 and made up of 40 active members and 21 auxiliary members - all volunteers - now has a mobile command centre, a van, a boat, and now an Argo - an all-terrain vehicle;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the commitment of the Annapolis County Ground Search and Rescue and congratulate them on their newest acquisition, which adds to the safety of the whole community.

RESOLUTION NO. 1633

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas reaching your centennial birthday is an event only a very few of us are fortunate to experience; and

Whereas Shelburne County resident Jennie M. Blades is celebrating an even more significant milestone on May 30th; and

Whereas on this day the Lockeport resident will turn 106 years of age;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in wishing Jennie Blades a very happy birthday and wish her many more happy years ahead.

RESOLUTION NO. 1634

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas Jennie M. Blades is now only 12 years away from being recognized as Canada's longest-living individual; and

Whereas Jennie will turn 106 years of age on Friday, May 30th at the Surfside Lodge in Lockeport; and

Whereas a Deep River, Ontario, woman, Marie Louise Meilleur, who died in 1998 at the age of 118 is recognized as Canada's oldest resident;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLAs in this House of Assembly extend their warmest birthday wishes to Jennie Blades and wish her many more years of happiness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1635

By: Mr. Cecil O'Donnell (Shelburne)

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

Whereas the Canada-Wide Science Fair has recently taken place in Calgary; and

Whereas six Nova Scotian students received honourable mention at the prestigious fair and three brought home medals; and

Whereas Luke Brannen was one of those receiving an honourable mention, a Grade 9 student at Barrington High School in Barrington Passage, he participated in the junior physics division;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all of the participants in the Canada-Wide Science Fair and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1636

By: Mr. Darrell Dexter (Leader of the Opposition)

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

Whereas the Reverend Blake Caldwell, Pastor at Forest Hills United Church, will celebrate his retirement at a fete on Saturday, June 21st; and

Whereas Reverend Caldwell started this church under the direction of the presbytery 18 years ago, and in that time he has earned the love and devotion of his congregation; and

Whereas Reverend Caldwell's retirement marks the end of a ministry that spans nearly 30 years in the Provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House thank Reverend Blake Caldwell of Forest Hills United Church for his devotion to his congregation and wish him a happy and prosperous retirement.

RESOLUTION NO. 1637

By: Mr. Darrell Dexter (Leader of the Opposition)

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

Whereas yesterday the Leader of the Third Party introduced his cure for auto insurance by tearing a page out of Bernard Lord's "Manual on How Not to Make Auto Insurance Affordable", a plan New Brunswickers rejected; and

Whereas the true indicator that the Liberals intend to tinker only with the auto insurance system is the seal of approval stamped upon their plan by the Insurance Bureau of Canada; and

Whereas even the province's insurance advocate remarked that this Liberal plan will do nothing for people who can no longer afford to drive their cars because of outrageous auto insurance rates;

Therefore be it resolved that the Leader of the Third Party be congratulated for introducing his tinker toy auto insurance plan, one whose true value to consumers is measured by the endorsement given to it by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1638

By: Mr. Frank Corbett (Cape Breton Centre)

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

Whereas on March 28th New Brunswick Conservative Leader Bernard Lord unveiled his pre-election auto insurance plan; and

Whereas that Tory plan featured prior approval for rates above a pre-approved level, limits on benefits for those injured in a car accident, a review of discriminatory rate-setting, and a stronger consumer advocate role; and

Whereas the New Brunswick Tories promised that their plan would lower rates in the future, but do nothing to ease the skyrocketing rates that are here and now;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Nova Scotia Liberals to do their homework and discover that Bernard Lord abandoned this plan and launched a whole new one on the evening of May 20th, 12 hours before his failed effort was imitated by a South End Halifax lawyer.

RESOLUTION NO. 1639

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

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

Whereas 4-H Night in Nova Scotia was recently held at the Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro; and

Whereas 4-H first started in Nova Scotia in 1922 and has been going strong for the past 81 years; and

Whereas a number of provincial awards were presented, including ones to Brookfield 4-H members, Jared Bent and Lauren Johnson, who won the Harvest Trust scholarships valued at $500 each;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLAs congratulate both Jared and Lauren for their commitment and success in 4-H, while extending our wishes for continued success in their future efforts.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1640

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

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

Whereas 4-H Night in Nova Scotia was recently held at the Cobequid Educational Centre in Truro; and

Whereas 4-H has been an institution across Canada for 90 years, having first begun in 1913, and in Nova Scotia 4-H has been instituted for the past 81 years; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's 4-H Night saw a number of award presentations made by the president of the Nova Scotia 4-H Council, Glen Graham, along with national 4-H award presentations made by Elizabeth Crouse, Manager of 4-H and Rural Organizations;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLAs commend the diligent efforts of all Nova Scotia 4-H Clubs who work under the motto "Learn to Do by Doing" and wish them only continued success in their efforts.

RESOLUTION NO. 1641

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Tourism and Culture)

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

Whereas Keltic Lodge in Ingonish Beach, Cape Breton, has been named by the readers of Departures Magazine as the third best getaway in North America; and

Whereas Departures Magazine is distributed to American Express Platinum holders; and

Whereas Keltic Lodge was one of only two Canadian resorts that made the Top Ten List;

Therefore be it resolved that all members extend congratulations to the staff and management of Keltic Lodge for being recognized as one of the best getaways to stay in, in North America.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1642

By: Mr. William Langille (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the 4-H organization focuses on developing well-rounded, responsible and independent citizens whose members participate in technical skill development, club projects and other fun club activities like camping, public speaking, travel, conferences and much more; and

Whereas Melissa Tattrie of the North Shore 4-H Club is an exemplary model of those aims and was excited to hear that she was being honoured with a national award at a conference where she would be one of the Nova Scotian representatives; and

Whereas now in her fourth year with the 4-H Club, Ms. Tattrie credits her outgoing personality and public-speaking skills to the life lessons she has learned while involved with the organization;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Melissa Tattrie on the receipt of the national award, thank her for being a commendable member of the North Shore 4-H Club and for serving as a role model for those younger than she.

RESOLUTION NO. 1643

By: Hon. Angus MacIsaac (Education)

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

Whereas Gaston Comeau's students have always thought he is a great educator, but now he can add the commendation of Canada's Prime Minister to his list; and

Whereas the Bridgewater French Immersion teacher recently received the prestigious Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence at a ceremony held in Ottawa, presided over by Jean Chretien himself; and

Whereas Mr. Comeau has also recently obtained his Ph.D from L'Universite de Montreal, has been the consultant on French for the local school board for many years and has spent even more time teaching in the classroom;

[Page 3202]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Gaston Comeau on being awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence and wish him many more successful years of teaching ahead.

RESOLUTION NO. 1644

By: Hon. Angus MacIsaac (Education)

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

Whereas the Canada-Wide Science Fair has recently taken place in Calgary; and

Whereas six Nova Scotian students received honourable mention at the prestigious fair, with three bringing home medals; and

Whereas Louise Brennen was one of those receiving an honourable mention, a Grade 12 student at Dr. J.H. Gillis Regional School in Antigonish, she participated in the senior earth and environmental science division;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all of the participants in the Canada-Wide Science Fair and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1645

By: Hon. Gordon Balser (Agriculture and Fisheries)

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

Whereas the Canada-Wide Science Fair has recently taken place in Calgary with six Nova Scotian students receiving honourable mention at the prestigious fair; and

Whereas Janice Cameron, a Grade 8 student at Riverside Education Centre participated in the junior physics division and her project studied muscle actions and how they could be adapted to model a robot; and

Whereas Ms. Cameron received the $250 Canadian Junior Association of Physics Award for her hard work;

[Page 3203]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all of the participants in the Canada-Wide Science Fair and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1646

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 the QE II Hospital and Dalhousie School of Health Sciences jointly offer a Bachelor of Health Science degree in five health care professions; and

Whereas this year, Ryan Sicky of East Chester is graduating with a Bachelor of Health Science in Radiological Technology - as the first-ever degree graduate of this program; and

Whereas in his fourth year of study, Ryan applied his general radiological technology skills in the specialty area of emergency and trauma management and Ryan is now working as an x-ray technologist at the QE II, and the South Shore Regional Hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ryan Sicky on his graduation - especially as the first ever degree graduate of Bachelor of Health Science in Radiological Technology and encourage young adults to pursue careers in these important health professions.

RESOLUTION NO. 1647

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 Chester-St. Margaret's is a tight-knit community that will band together in hard times to help one another; and

Whereas a local man, Chad Conrad, is in need of a bone marrow transplant which would hopefully send his leukemia into remission; and

Whereas the community has stepped up to the challenge and has recently held a benefit in Mr. Conrad's honour;

[Page 3204]

Therefore be it resolved that all the members of this House applaud the efforts of Chester-St. Margaret's citizens to help a neighbour and hope that Mr. Conrad will pull through this difficult time.

RESOLUTION NO. 1648

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 Chester-St. Margaret's citizen - Alex Ward - is awaiting a bone marrow transplant which would hopefully send his leukemia into remission; and

Whereas each year, hundreds of Canadians need bone marrow transplants to treat potentially life-threatening illnesses, as fewer than 30 per cent of these patients will find a family member with compatible bone marrow to donate, the rest look to the assistance of an unrelated donor; and

Whereas the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry locates compatible, committed, healthy, unrelated donors for Canadian bone marrow patients and for patients around the world;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House send their thoughts of encouragement to Mr. Alex Ward and his family and commend the efforts of the Canadian Blood Services in their work to help those in need of a bone marrow transplant find their life-saving match.

RESOLUTION NO. 1649

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 Acadia University graduate, Gail Fraser, has recently been the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Civil Laws from Acadia; and

Whereas Ms. Fraser, a successful businesswoman, received the accolade in appreciation for her contributions to Canadian society - she is active in her community through participation in the Children's Aid Society and the Chester Arts Guild; and

[Page 3205]

Whereas in addition to her community involvement, she was elected president of the Acadia Alumni Association in 1978 and a Board of Governors member for 20 years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Gail Fraser on receiving the honorary Doctorate of Civil Laws and wish her success in all her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1650

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 Marshal Jones and Jeremy Miller are leading a group fundraiser for the IWK Hospital, with the staff of the Save Easy and members of the South Shore Work Activity Program; and

Whereas the group will donate the money raised to help purchase new equipment and will present the hospital with the funds at the next IWK Telethon; and

Whereas the cause is one close to their hearts as both Mr. Jones and Mr. Miller were beneficiaries of the services of the IWK at critical periods in their lives;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the initiative of Marshal Jones and Jeremy Miller to raise funds for the IWK Hospital and thank them for undertaking such a special task.

RESOLUTION NO. 1651

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 Doug Stout of Head of St. Margarets Bay has been named Volunteer of the Community, earning him a Certificate of Appreciation from the province; and

Whereas his involvement ranges from his efforts with the Bay Community Centre, scouting, soccer, and the Head of St. Margarets Bay/Boutiliers Point Recreation Association; and

[Page 3206]

Whereas his name was put forward by District 23, Halifax Regional Municipality Councillor, Gary Meade;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Doug Stout on being named Volunteer of the Community and wish him continued success in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1652

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 Canada Post is filled with committed, hard-working staff, and Richard Nowe of Hubbards is just one of them; and

Whereas he recently received the Silver Postmark Award for his incredible dedication to his work - after he was freed from a car accident with the jaws of life, he immediately returned to work to ensure the mail went through; and

Whereas Mr. Nowe also schedules himself in on Saturdays so he can make sure that the mail gets to its destination;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Richard Nowe on the receipt of the Silver Postmark Award, and thank him for his commitment to ensuring that Canada Post mail must get through.

RESOLUTION NO. 1653

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 Tantallon Junior High School's Adam Leroux, a Grade 7 student, has recently received the Bantam Athlete of the Year Award; and

Whereas the award from Athletics Nova Scotia honours his love and commitment to his sport, running; and

[Page 3207]

Whereas some of the titles he has already received include Provincial Cross Country and Indoor track champ, bronze medallist at the National Cross Country Championships and a bronze in the North American Finals, 800 metres;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Adam Leroux on receiving the Bantam Athlete of the Year Award, and wish him continued success for his future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1654

By: Hon. Ronald Russell (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas Windsor Elementary School held Curriculum Night on May 21st at the school; and

Whereas the program was a variety of entertainment in what was described as Busker Fashion; and

Whereas highlights included a 1970s rock presentation by a band of students with lead vocals performed by Emily Rafuse doing renditions of big hits from that era, including the Eagles and Lynyrd Skynyrd;

Therefore be it resolved that the MLAs in this Legislature applaud the efforts of all students, teachers and parents who participated in this wonderful learning experience.

RESOLUTION NO. 1655

By: Hon. James Muir (Justice)

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

Whereas Tammy MacKinnon was named Outstanding Special Olympian at the Truro Sport Heritage Society 19th Annual Sports Awards Dinner; and

Whereas Tammy MacKinnon has competed in the 1998 Special Olympics National Games in Sudbury and on the provincial stage in soccer, track, bowling, skating and aquatics; and

[Page 3208]

Whereas in addition to her accomplishments, when Tammy MacKinnon faced a potentially fatal disease and was unable to compete, she offered her services as assistant coach at the Provincial Championships and made public appearances in support of the Nova Scotia Special Olympics Annual Sports Celebrities Dinner and appeared at numerous Canadian Cancer Society events;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Tammy MacKinnon on being named 2002 Outstanding Special Olympian by the Truro Sport Heritage Society, and wish her the best of luck in future athletic performances.

RESOLUTION NO. 1656

By: Hon. James Muir (Justice)

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

Whereas the Canada-Wide Science Fair has recently taken place in Calgary, with three Nova Scotian students receiving medals at the prestigious fair; and

Whereas Jay McNeil, a Grade 7 student at Truro Junior High School, won a silver medal in the junior engineering division for his work inventing a neck protector for hockey players which minimizes the risk of injury but doesn't inhibit the movement of the player; and

Whereas Mr. McNeil also received a $700 EIC Junior Engineering Innovation Award, the Petro Canada Peer Innovation Award for his age category in Atlantic Canada, and a $700 and $1,000 entrance scholarship to the University of Western Ontario;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all the participants in the Canada-Wide Science Fair, and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1657

By: Hon. James Muir (Justice)

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

Whereas the Canada-Wide Science Fair has recently taken place in Calgary, with three Nova Scotian students receiving medals at the prestigious fair; and

[Page 3209]

Whereas Jenna McNeil, a Grade 9 student at Truro Junior High, participated in the intermediate engineering division and received her silver medal for researching detection of plastic explosives in aviation security; and

Whereas Ms. McNeil also received a $700 and $1,000 entrance scholarship to the University of Western Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all of the participants in the Canada-Wide Science Fair, and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1658

By: Hon. James Muir (Justice)

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

Whereas the Canada-Wide Science Fair has recently taken place in Calgary, with three Nova Scotian students receiving medals at the prestigious fair; and

Whereas Kate Atkinson, a Grade 10 student at Cobequid Education Centre, received her silver medal for her work in the intermediate earth and environmental sciences division, which she tested pH, total suspended solids, phosphate, nitrate, and sulfate level in the Salmon River to determine what effects they were having, if any, on Truro's water quality; and

Whereas Ms. Atkinson also received a $700 and $1,000 entrance scholarship to the University of Western Ontario;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all of the participants in the Canada-Wide Science Fair, and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1659

By: Hon. James Muir (Justice)

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

Whereas the Canada-Wide Science Fair has recently taken place in Calgary; and

[Page 3210]

Whereas six Nova Scotian students received honourable mention at the prestigious fair, with three bringing home medals; and

Whereas Natalie Lamothe was one of those receiving an honourable mention, a Grade 9 student at Bible Hill Junior High School in Bible Hill, she participated in the intermediate earth and environment science division, and she also was the recipient of the Petro Canada Peer Innovation Award for her age category in the Atlantic Region;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate all of the participants in the Canada-Wide Science Fair, and wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1660

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Oxford Baptist Church will celebrate its 127th Anniversary during the weekend of May 24th and May 25th; and

Whereas the church will celebrate with a special guest speaker, a missionary banquet, and special music; and

Whereas the Oxford Baptist Church is an important part of the Town of Oxford and its residents;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Oxford Baptist Church on its 127th Anniversary and wish them all the best.