Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017
























HALIFAX, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 1994



Fifty-sixth General Assembly



Second Session



8:00 A.M.



SPEAKER



Hon. Paul MacEwan



DEPUTY SPEAKER



Mr. Gerald O’Malley






MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will call the House to order at this time.



Before we begin, I am asked, again, to remind all members that today is the deadline for notifying
my office as to whether or not you intend to attend the CPA dinner on Tuesday, December 6th. We want to
know from everybody by 12:00 noon today whether you are coming or not so we can let the caterer know and
know the number of places to have set up for the dinner.



The daily routine.



PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION



INTRODUCTION OF BILLS



NOTICES OF MOTION



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.









5475

 

RESOLUTION NO. 1201



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



Whereas it is now apparent that the government’s May 20th crack-down on illegal gambling lottery
terminals was nothing more than smoke and mirrors as the government has ignored its own directive; and



Whereas the number of individuals who are illegally distributing and operating video lottery
machines in Nova Scotia has grown rapidly in recent months; and



Whereas this is another example of a government policy which is being ignored by a member of the
inner Cabinet;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier hold his gaming minister accountable for not implementing
departmental policies which he committed to act upon six months ago.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 1202



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



Whereas Nova Scotians and all Canadians have been shocked by reports that the Leader of the
Official Opposition in the House of Commons has been suddenly stricken by a rare and often fatal disease;
and



Whereas such a blow is hard for any individual regardless of their age or status, and for their family;
and



Whereas this is a time when fellow legislators, federally and provincially, put aside political quarrels
and profound differences to address the human aspects of this life-threatening situation;



Therefore be it resolved that this House joins the friends, families, supporters and admirers of Lucien
Bouchard in hopes and prayers for his survival and recovery, and that Mr. Speaker convey these wishes to the
Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed that notice be waived?



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 Lunenburg.



RESOLUTION NO. 1203



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



Whereas every year the Province of Nova Scotia sends a Christmas tree to the people of New England
to thank them for their assistance to the people of Nova Scotia during the Halifax Explosion; and



Whereas over 30,000 people will watch as the Premier and the Minister for the Economic Renewal
Agency light the Nova Scotia tree on Saturday, December 3rd in the Prudential Square in Boston; and



Whereas this year the Christmas tree hails from Cumberland County, five kilometres outside of
Oxford, Nova Scotia, with 1,500 handcrafted ornaments made by Jeff Cowling of Halifax;



Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Premier and the Minister for the Economic
Renewal Agency for continuing to support this excellent remembrance of a friendship between a neighbouring
province and state, and extend its best wishes to the people of New England for a very Merry Christmas and
a Happy New Year.



Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Kings West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1204



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



Whereas RCMP Inspector Ed Dennis stated on November 30, 1994 that there are between 2,000 and
3,000 illegal video lottery machines currently operating in Nova Scotia; and



Whereas six months ago, on May 20, 1994, the provincial government committed to crack down on
illegal video lottery machines; and



Whereas the crack-down was to include a six month ban on 6/49 terminals for those caught with
illegal video lottery machines, and the hiring of 10 new enforcement officers;



Therefore be it resolved that the minister responsible for gaming admit that on both counts, he has
ignored his own May 20th directive and that distributors and operators of illegal video lottery machines have
been given a free ride in Nova Scotia since this government came to office.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable Leader of the Opposition.



RESOLUTION NO. 1205



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



Whereas two Halifax County deputy sheriffs risked their lives late yesterday afternoon to capture an
escaping prisoner from the Halifax County Correctional Centre van; and



Whereas Deputy Sheriff Dave Arsenault and an assistant jumped into the frigid Sackville River to
capture a prisoner who has escaped custody; and



Whereas the two sheriffs went above and beyond what is expected of them in their job descriptions
to ensure justice prevailed;



Therefore be it resolved that members of this Legislature commend Deputy Sheriff Dave Arsenault
and his assistant for thinking of public safety first and themselves second, while ensuring the safety of the
general public in returning an escaped convict to jail.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.



MR. SPEAKER: There has been a request for waiver of notice which requires unanimous consent.



Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



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



The motion is carried.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 1206



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



Whereas the Premier recently told local Liberals of his personal conviction that, a Liberal
Government must have as its major priority to fulfil its social responsibility, and to help those in need, protect
the rights of individuals and promote tolerance and equality; and



Whereas the Premier also said, we will always hold to our fundamental philosophy of looking after
those people who don’t have the same benefits as others; and



Whereas the Liberal Government has already waited 16 months to extend employee benefits to
government employees with same-sex partners, a change that Liberals in New Brunswick effectively made
with the circulation of an inter-departmental memo;



Therefore be it resolved that this House condemn the hypocrisy of the Premier and urge him to show
Nova Scotians an example of his progressive philosophy, tolerance and protection of the rights of individuals
by providing equal benefits to government employees.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Kings West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1207



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



Whereas the Health Minister yesterday stated that he was adding more and more staff to his
department to bring in fresh, young talent to health reform; and



Whereas fresh, young talent includes former Liberal Fisheries Minister Dan Reid of the Regan
Administration; and



Whereas the Health Minister was so eager to add this fresh, young talent that he advertised for a
$115,000 a year position in the provincial paper as much as nine days before the deadline for applications;



Therefore be it resolved that the Premier start taking some of the irregularities within the Health
Department seriously and address the minister’s continual disregard for government hiring policy and
practices before this province has more administration within the walls of his department than within our
communities.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Pictou West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1208



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



Whereas less than a year ago a committee was formed to upgrade computers at the River John
Consolidated School in Pictou County; and



Whereas today computers are playing a leading role in the learning environment of all school-aged
children; and



Whereas the committee at River John Consolidated has raised more than $7,000 in less than a year,
meaning that four computers and a printer have been purchased to replace much older units at the school;



Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature commend the River John Consolidated
School’s technology committee for their dedication towards enhancing the learning environment for the
students at River John.



Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.



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



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 New Democratic Party.



RESOLUTION NO. 1209



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



Whereas the federal Standing Committee on Finance is currently considering the possible
cancellation of the charitable tax credit; and



Whereas cancellation of the charitable tax credit could jeopardize the ability of transition houses and
other non-profit organizations to continue their essential work; and



Whereas thousands of Nova Scotians desperately need the services provided by non-profit
organizations;



Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the Government of Nova Scotia to actively fight any
proposal to cancel the charitable tax credit and thereby place in peril the non-profit organizations that rely
on the above-average generosity of Nova Scotians and this related tax expenditure.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Cape Breton West.



RESOLUTION NO. 1210



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



Whereas nearly 25 years ago the Municipality of the County of Cape Breton, with the approval of
the Department of Municipal Affairs, approved regulations governing trailer parks within the Municipality
of the County of Cape Breton; and



Whereas recently said regulations were eliminated; and



Whereas the lack of said regulations is causing poor planning within the municipality;



Therefore be it resolved that in the opinion of this House the Minister of Municipal Affairs address
these inequities within the Municipality of the County of Cape Breton.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



RESOLUTION NO. 1211



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



Whereas the Finance Minister will release today the report he commissioned, by Voluntary Planning,
on how to fulfil the Liberal promise of further cuts in business taxation; and



Whereas common sense would suggest that this government has made further cuts in business taxes
its number one fiscal commitment on the basis of evidence that such cuts benefit the economy and
employment; and



Whereas when put to the test, ordered to produce evidence of the increased employment attributable
to the business tax cuts that have taken place since 1986, the minister’s answer was, no such reports on file;



Therefore be it resolved that the government should not proceed on the basis of faith alone to deliver
a so-called growth dividend in the form of more corporate tax cuts, without first establishing that they actually
will increase jobs or a net economic benefit.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.



RESOLUTION NO. 1212



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



Whereas Shelburne County truckers blocked the Department of Transportation garage in Shelburne
County yesterday in an attempt to get the Minister of Transportation to show some humanity towards their
cause; and



Whereas truckers across Nova Scotia are prepared to work with the government on cost-cutting
proposals but are being rebuffed by the minister who is insisting on massive cuts in salt hauling rates,
including a $175 reduction per load for Shelburne County truckers; and



[8:15 a.m.]



Whereas the minister was not very convincing on television last evening when he said, every time
someone decides to throw up a blockade, we cannot get our cheque-book out and begin writing cheques;



Therefore be it resolved that the member for Shelburne stress with the Minister of Transportation
the disastrous consequences the government’s rate cuts for salt hauling are having on the people of Shelburne.



MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.



Are there further notices of motion? If not, that brings us to the end of the daily routine.



ORDERS OF THE DAY



GOVERNMENT BUSINESS



The honourable Government House Leader.



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



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



The motion is carried.



[8:16 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O’Malley
in the Chair.]



[3:42 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Gerald O’Malley
in the Chair.]



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



THE CLERK: That the committee has met and has made some progress in consideration of Bill No.
115 and begs leave to sit again.



MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?



It is agreed.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I wonder if we could return to the order of business,
Presenting Reports of Committees.



PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.



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



Bill No. 129 - Public Highways Act.



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



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



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, could we call the order of business, Tabling Reports,
Regulations and Other Papers.



TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Supply and Services.



HON. WAYNE ADAMS: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure at this time, and my honour, really,
members of the House heard earlier that we recognized that this was, indeed, an historic day in Nova Scotia
and in this historic seat of government it is my honour to table on behalf of the Minister of Education the
Black Learners Advisory Committee (BLAC) Report on Education. This three volume report redresses
inequities in education while empowering black learners throughout Nova Scotia.



On behalf of the Minister of Education, and I do want to make note and express appreciation to our
Minister of Justice who, I think, had an early adjournment of the Law Amendments Committee today so that
all was clear for the use of the Red Chamber. On behalf of everybody who was in the Red Chamber, of all
Nova Scotians who came from all across this province today, we thank my colleagues and certainly, all
members of the House for making this a possibility. We look further, Mr. Speaker, to reading the volumes and
to being partners with the black learners of Nova Scotia and resolving the entire issue of inequalities in
education. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled with deep appreciation.



The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Finally, Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business,
Statements by Ministers.



STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.



HON. JAMES SMITH: Mr. Speaker, I apologize for rising inappropriately to you and to the House
Leader.



Mr. Speaker, earlier today I publicly released the report of the independent review team investigating
the social work practices of Lunenburg Family and Children’s Services.



The events that resulted in my call for a review of the social work practices of the Lunenburg Agency
are well-known. Questions surrounding the tragic death of Baby Chayce and the adoption of Debra Stevens’
children shook the public’s confidence in the agency. Concerns were also raised with respect to the standards
of practice we use to protect children in Nova Scotia. Mr. Hillier’s and Mr. Koster’s report provides us with
a thorough examination of how the agency handled the two contentious cases that prompted the review.



For the sake of everyone concerned, Baby Chayce’s family, the Stevens’ family, the agency, the
department, the public, it was important that these issues be thoroughly examined. Child welfare is a
particularly difficult area of practice that demands careful attention be paid to each and every case of alleged
abuse. Sound judgment, based on the best interests of the child, must be the guide to each and every decision.



It is clear that the system failed Debra Stevens and her family. On behalf of the Department of
Community Services, I have apologized to her and her family.



Mr. Speaker, while the standards, practices and procedures for investigating allegations of abuse have
changed since that time, we can take an important lesson from what has occurred, namely; that every case
of alleged abuse must be thoroughly investigated.



The review team hold the system accountable. It provides the agency with the opportunity to right
past wrongs. It positions government to take the necessary steps to prevent, as much as is humanly possible,
events such as these from occurring.



I am pleased to inform the honourable members of this House that the Department of Community
Services will be moving on each and every one of the review team’s recommendations for strengthening child
protection services in Nova Scotia. In fact, we began acting on many of their recommendations immediately
after their report:



Additional staff have been hired in Lunenburg, Antigonish and in the Dartmouth District Office to
reduce the case loads of child protection workers. Social workers in these three offices were carrying the
heaviest case loads in the province.



As well, a team consisting of staff of my department and agency representatives have been struck to
identify all of the resource issues outlined in the review team’s report. Once they have completed their analysis
of the resources required to put the review team’s recommendations into effect, I will immediately seek
Cabinet approval for additional funding.



I have also requested that the Adoption Committee revisit changes that were being proposed with
respect to adoptions to ensure that they are consistent with the review team’s recommendations.



Finally, to hold our department accountable and to assure the public that we are committed to
strengthening child protection services across this province, I have asked the Minister’s Advisory Committee
on the Children and Family Services Act to monitor and publicly report on the department’s progress in
implementing the review team’s recommendations.



Child welfare is a constantly evolving field that requires ongoing evaluation. As I stated, the
standards and practices in place 10 or even 5 years ago have changed dramatically, and they will continue to
change in response to advances in the field of child welfare.



Through its actions over the past year, Lunenburg Family and Children’s Services has demonstrated
it is committed to improving child welfare services. Indeed, the review team acknowledges that staff are
committed professionals who would be an asset to any child welfare organization.



I am confident that the review team’s observations of the agency, its current practices and its staffing,
will help restore the community’s confidence in the agency and its commitment to children.



Finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that the Department of Community Services is committed to
legislation, policies and procedures, and training programs that support decisions based on sound social work
standards and practices, decisions that are made in the best interests of the child.



Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would now like to table a copy of the review team’s report, all members
of the Legislature have a copy of that report. (Applause)



MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.



The honourable member for Pictou Centre.



DR. JOHN HAMM: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the minister’s statement in the House
today, on the report of the review team regarding the Lunenburg Family and Children’s Services. This has
been something, of course, that has received a lot of attention because of the tragic cases involving Baby
Chayce and, also, the case of Debra Stevens and her family.



I had the opportunity to attend the press conference that the minister held earlier today, which was
attended by Mr. Hillier and Mr. Koster. I was impressed with the candour with which they answered media
questions regarding their report. Now, the report certainly is an extensive one and one could not comment
fully on a report that is, at least, an inch thick, which was only received today. The report and the authors of
the report certainly did indicate that the system failed Debra Stevens and her family, and the minister has,
on behalf of the department and the government, apologized to Debra Stevens and her family. I commend him
for that.



The report has identified, in certain services around the province, an excess case load for the social
workers to monitor. Correction of this deficit will allow, I think, a certain degree of protection and prevention
for similar circumstances in the future.



It is certainly apparent that the ability of the various departments across the province that are dealing
with family and children’s services, the science of identifying situations in which problems may occur and,
in fact, the ability to identify when problems are occurring, are improving as time goes on. Things that are
very obvious to us today certainly were not obvious 10 years ago. It is often difficult to understand today the
situations that were allowed to occur in times past.



I welcome the announcement of the minister that he is going to analyze the resources that are
available within his department to prevent similar circumstances from occuring. He has also indicated that
he will be having a monitoring system conducted by the Advisory Committee on the Children and Family
Services Act to monitor his department’s efforts to carry out and implement the recommendations in the
report.



I welcome the statement by the minister that he is commited to improving child welfare services and
I look forward to the opportunity, perhaps, to monitoring, as well, the efforts of his department to initiate the
recommendations of the report. While the report will not undo the wrongs of the past, if it is implemented,
it should have served a very effective role in preventing similar kinds of situations occuring in the future.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.



MR. ROBERT CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, the report that was released today on the Family and
Children’s Services of Lunenburg Children and specifically with respect to two cases - the tragic death of Baby
Chayce and the adoption of Debra Stevens’ children - confirmed the information, I think, that many of us had
that had been released publicly, in particular, as it related to Debra Stevens and her family, just what exactly
took place.



What the report has done is, it has shown us, I think very clearly, that there were specific procedures
and practices that were not followed by staff of the Lunenburg Family and Children’s Services. There were
decisions that were made, Mr. Speaker, by people at that facility, involved in that agency, that have directly
resulted in the devastation of the lives of at least three children, if not more, that were involved in that
situation.



Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister and to this government is, where is the accountability? It
is not good enough to agree that yes, something happened, and to offer your apologies. I would suggest to this
minister and to this government that what we saw and what we have seen in this report is just the tip of the
iceburg and that to stand back and say that we are sorry it happened and we will try to make sure it does not
happen again, I do not think is good enough. I do not think Nova Scotians are going to accept that that is good
enough.



I believe it is time that we had a real investigation, a full public inquiry into the whole child welfare,
child protection system, in the Province of Nova Scotia so that we find out what is going on from one end of
this province to the other, that we find out and that each and every individual who has had difficulties is
provided with protection and is provided with an opportunity to bring those concerns forward so that we try
to restore some real public confidence in the system, Mr. Speaker, in this province. It is far too serious and
anybody who has taken the slightest bit of time and energy to take a look at this particular case would see the
devastation that has resulted from the decisions that have been made. I think it is important that we go to the
farthest mile to make sure that these kinds of practices are not allowed to continue again in the future. I would
suggest that that involves some element of accountability on behalf of the Government of Nova Scotia.



MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.



HON. RICHARD MANN: Mr. Speaker, on Monday we will sitting from 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.
The order of business, following the daily routine, will be Committee of the Whole House on Bills, the same
bill we are on now.



I move that we adjourn until Monday at 2:00 p.m.



MR. SPEAKER: The motion for adjournment has been made.



The motion is carried.



The House will now rise to sit again on Monday at the hour of 2:00 p.m.



[The House rose at 4:00 p.m.]