Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD11-39

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Gordon Gosse

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/



Third Session

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2011

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Nat. Res.: Joggins Beach Stairs - Replace,
3197
TIR - Sch. Zones: Speed Limits - Reduce,
3198
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2007, Nat'l. Crime Prevention & Commun. Safety Mo. (11/11)
- Recognize, Hon. W. Estabrooks »
3199
Vote - Affirmative
3199
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 75, Life-threatening Illness Student Support Act,
3200
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2008, Shipbuilding Contract: Liberal Party (N.S.) - Stance,
3200
Res. 2009, Belliveau Motors: CIBC Run for the Cure - Congrats.,
3201
Vote - Affirmative
3201
Res. 2010, Black, Paige - Young Humanitarian of Yr. Award,
3201
Vote - Affirmative
3202
Res. 2011, Chedabucto Place Sch. Recycling/Compost Use - Congrats.,
3202
Vote - Affirmative
3203
Res. 2012, Fairfax, Rev. Dr. Donald: Death of - Tribute,
3203
Vote - Affirmative
3204
Res. 2013, Avon View Teen Health Ctr. Group:
HPV - Awareness Efforts, Mr. C. Porter »
3204
Vote- Affirmative
3205
Res. 2014, Lotz, Jim: Book Publication - Congrats.,
3205
Vote - Affirmative
3205
Res. 2015, Bay St. Lawrence FD Crab Fest. (20th):
MacKinnon, Patsy/Vols. - Thank, Mr. K. Bain »
3206
Vote - Affirmative
3206
Res. 2016, Crohn's & Colitis Awareness Mo. (11/11) - Acknowledge,
3206
Vote - Affirmative
3207
Res. 2017, Parrsboro Relay for Life Team: Fundraising - Commend,
3207
Vote - Affirmative
3208
Res. 2018, Petit-de-Grat Slammers - Richmond Co. Women's
Softball Championship, Hon. M. Samson »
3208
Vote - Affirmative
3209
Res. 2019, Muise, Jason: RCMP Posting - Congrats.,
3209
Vote - Affirmative
3209
Res. 2020, Robinson, Viola: Order of Canada - Congrats.,
3209
Vote - Affirmative
3210
Res. 2021, Rumbolt, Meghan: Vocal Talents - Congrats.,
3210
Vote - Affirmative
3211
Res. 2022, Bouchard, Spencer: Bateman Contest - Win Congrats,
3211
Vote – Affirmative
3212
Res. 2023, Buchanan Mem. Charitable Fdn. - Bd. Members:
Schwartz Award - Congrats., Mr. K. Bain « »
3212
Vote - Affirmative
3212
Res. 2024, Boudreau, Lori Ann - EastLink Customer Service Award,
3212
Vote - Affirmative
3213
Res. 2025, Jody Shelley Golf Tournament - Clare Golf & Country Club:
Hosting - Thank, Hon. W. Gaudet « »
3213
Vote - Affirmative
3214
Res. 2026, Molson Cdn. N.S. Music Wk. (11/03 - 11/06/11):
Organizers/Vols./Musicians - Welcome, Mr. Z. Churchill « »
3214
Vote - Affirmative
3215
Res. 2027, Stegemann, Barb: Bus. Success - Applaud,
3215
Vote - Affirmative
3215
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 72, Timely Medical Certificates Act,
3216
3217
3219
3222
3227
3229
Vote - Affirmative
3229
No. 73, Safer School Zones Act,
3229
3234
3236
3239
Adjourned debate
3242
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Nov. 7th at 7:00 p.m
3242

 

[Page 3197]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2011

Sixty-first General Assembly

Third Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Gordon Gosse

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Ms. Becky Kent, Mr. Leo Glavine, Mr. Alfie MacLeod

MADAM SPEAKER » : We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Madam Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a petition, the operative clause reading:

“The undersigned call on the government of Nova Scotia to replace the recently removed stairs at Joggins Beach, Cumberland County, NS.”

The petition contains 620 signatures and I have affixed my own signature thereto.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled.

[Page 3198]

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Madam Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of the Basinview Drive Community School Health Promotion Team - Travel Planning Committee, which will be of great interest to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, I believe. The operative clause reads as follows:

“Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Provincial Government reduce the speed limit in school zones and play areas to 30 km/h from 50 km/hr.”

The petition has been signed by 92 residents of Bedford and I have affixed my name to the petition.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education on an introduction.

HON. MARILYN MORE » : Madam Speaker, I'd like to direct the attention of members to the Speaker's Gallery, where we have some prominent international university educators with us this morning. Their visit is a direct result of the Premier's trade mission to Israel last month. I ask each of our guests to please stand as I say your name and remain standing. Dr. Aaron Ben-Ze'ev is the president of the University of Haifa and one of the world's leading experts in the study of emotions; Dr. Daniel Sher is a chemical ecologist; and Dr. Uri Schattner is a marine geophysicist - and both of these men are prominent researchers at the University of Haifa's Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences.

Our guests are here in Nova Scotia to learn more about Dalhousie University's excellence in marine and oceans research and the newly established Halifax Marine Research Institute, which they toured yesterday. They are accompanied in the Legislature by Gillian Wood and Pat Rodee from Dalhousie University, and also my Executive Assistant, Laurel Hynes Jenkins, is with them.

I ask the members to give them a very warm welcome to Nova Scotia. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : We welcome all guests to the gallery. I hope you enjoy today's proceedings.

[Page 3199]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

RESOLUTION NO. 2007

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS « » : Madam Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas November is National Crime Prevention and Community Safety Month and government works with community partners, police and others to reduce and prevent crime by targeting root causes of crime at the community level; and

Whereas government invests $600,000 in its crime prevention unit, Lighthouses Program, and other grant programs; and

Whereas government also invests over $20 million in initiatives that support crime prevention and community safety, including the Additional Officer Program which puts about 179 additional resources in communities, mental health court, domestic violence court, the internationally-recognized Nova Scotia Restorative Justice Program, and the Mi'kmaq Legal Support Network;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize November 1st to November 30th as National Crime Prevention and Community Safety Month and congratulate police and communities for working so hard to reduce and prevent crime in their communities.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 3200]

Bill No. 75 - Entitled an Act to Support Students with Diabetes and Other Life-threatening Illnesses. (Hon. Karen Casey)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West on an introduction.

MR. GARY RAMEY « » : I have no introduction.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2008

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

Whereas on Wednesday, November 2nd, when the honourable member for Preston rose in this House to speak on adjournment, he sent the message that Nova Scotians should have no hope or optimism about the historic shipbuilding announcement of October 19, 2011; and

Whereas the honourable member went on to criticize the standards, reputation, and capabilities of fine Nova Scotian industries linked with our great shipbuilding heritage; and

Whereas on the Ships Start Here Web site the honourable Leader of the Liberal Party indicates that this is an incredible opportunity for Nova Scotia - meaning the creation of thousands of jobs across the province - to keep our families here and bring many more people back home; (Interruptions)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable member for Lunenburg West has the floor.

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Party caucus tell members of this House and all Nova Scotians if they do, in fact, believe that Nova Scotia's industries are unqualified to be part of the building of Canada's fleet.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

[Page 3201]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2009

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

Whereas on October 1, 2011 the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation held its 12th annual CIBC Run for the Cure, in Church Point and in West Pubnico; and

Whereas in keeping with their history of community involvement, Belliveau Motors co-sponsored the annual Run for the Cure this year; and

Whereas this year's run raised $7,685 for breast cancer research, education programs and treatments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend our gratitude and best wishes to Belliveau Motors for their active role, as well as the countless volunteers and participants.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2010

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Paige Black, a former student at Oxford Regional Education Centre, is the recipient of the Young Humanitarian of the Year Award for 2011; and

[Page 3202]

Whereas Paige Black attended the Encounters with Canada youth forum in Ottawa and took an interest in the global community, which turned into a fully fledged passion that led her to be selected to attend the Move Your World youth symposium where participants gained valuable information about issues such as poverty, food security, children in armed conflict and other vulnerable people around the world; and

Whereas Paige Black organized a benefit concert called Music for Haiti to raise funds for Danita's Children, an orphanage in Haiti which supports over 400 children;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Paige Black on receiving the Young Humanitarian of the Year Award and wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2011

MR. JIM BOUDREAU « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Chedabucto Place School in Guysborough planted a tree on school grounds on Friday, May 6, 2011; and

Whereas Chedabucto Place School did so in an effort to actively participate in enhancing our environment; and

Whereas May 1st to May 7th was Compost Awareness Week, a week designed to draw attention to the importance of advancing and advocating residual recycling and compost use;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly commend the efforts of Chedabucto Place School in educating students and the greater community on the importance of taking care of our planet.

[Page 3203]

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2012

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

Whereas Reverend Dr. Donald Fairfax, who passed away on Friday, August 6, 2011 in Dartmouth, was a former moderator of the African United Baptist Association and pastored at the Victoria Road United Baptist Church for more than 50 years; and

Whereas Dr. Fairfax was a pillar of faith in the African Nova Scotian community and a tireless advocate for education, social justice, human rights and his contributions have benefited Nova Scotians across the province; and

Whereas Dr. Fairfax volunteered or served on boards for several organizations including the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children, Nova Scotia Mental Health Association, the Human Rights Commission, and was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1990;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House formally acknowledge the sterling service Reverend Dr. Donald Fairfax has given to his community and extend condolences to his family.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : I would remind members that I am Madam Speaker, thank you.

There has been a request for waiver.

[Page 3204]

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2013

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a virus that in most cases causes no symptoms but in a minority of cases HPV can lead to various forms of cancer in both women and men; and

Whereas Avon View's Teen Health Centre Group students Candice States, Kylie Cameron, Krystal Burgess, Ashley Rehberg, Russell Rines, Stephaney Curtis, Melissa McKinely, Sam White, Michelle Deyoung, Tegra Diminutto and Samantha Saunders along with their teen health advisor Janice Dempsey-Stewart were raising awareness of HPV at Avon View High School through various activities; and

Whereas educating our youth about the importance of protection as well as the prevention of all preventable diseases deserves the utmost attention and these young people want recognition for their desire to educate others;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend Avon View's Teen Health Centre Group for their efforts of raising awareness of HPV and wish them all the best.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 3205]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 2014

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Halifax author Jim Lotz's most recent book, Canada's Forgotten Arctic Hero: George Rice, has illuminated the contribution of Cape Bretoner George Rice to the little-known 1881 Greely Expedition to the Arctic to gather meteorological and astronomical data; and

Whereas Lotz relied on the diaries of George Rice, who was the expedition's photographer, to tell the story of the doomed venture of the far north; and

Whereas Lotz describes Rice as a genuine 19th Century hero, well liked and respected who died in the frigid Arctic looking for food for his starving crewmates;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jim Lotz on his book which details an important historic expedition to the Arctic while at the same time drawing attention to a Cape Breton champion.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2015

[Page 3206]

MR. KEITH BAIN « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Bay St. Lawrence Fire Department celebrated its 20th Annual Crab Festival and Fishing Derby in July; and

Whereas this event is recognized as one of the longest running crab festivals on Cape Breton Island; and

Whereas local fishermen volunteer their time and their vessels to ensure all local residents and visitors enjoy a feast of local snow crab while experiencing an exciting day of fishing in hopes of winning the big prize;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend appreciation to organizer Patsy MacKinnon and the many local volunteers for their dedicated hard work in making the Bay St. Lawrence Fire Department's 20th Annual Crab Festival a great success.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2016

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the month of November is Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month across Canada; and

Whereas 1 in 160 Canadians suffer from Crohn's or ulcerative colitis in our country; and

Whereas the Atlantic Canada Region of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada and its great team of volunteers, donors and sponsors have been active in raising funds, committing $100,000 in 2009-10 to support research for this debilitating disease;

[Page 3207]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge November as Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month and extend our appreciation to Tracy Durkee-Jones, regional director for the Atlantic Region and her team of volunteers and supporters for all of their efforts in raising awareness and funds for Crohn's and colitis.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2017

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas in only its fourth year the Parrsboro Relay for Life raised close to $39,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society; and

Whereas the event featured 18 teams and was a tremendous success showing the community's hard work and determination for the cause; and

Whereas the organizing committee also participated in a relay team called The Storm Keepers, leading by example by reaching the bronze fundraising level in honour of and in memory of Emily Storm who lost her battle with cancer just days before the event;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Parrsboro Relay for Life team and commend them for raising an outstanding amount for such a worthy cause.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

[Page 3208]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2018

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Richmond County Women's Softball League, created this summer and consisting of four teams, hosted their first annual championship tournament, which took place at the Petit-de-Grat ball field with the L'Ardoise Brewers, the Petit-de-Grat Slammers, and the Petit-de-Grat Driv'ers competing; and

Whereas the Petit-de-Grat Slammers have taken home the 2011 Richmond County Women's Softball League championship trophy; and

Whereas the Petit-de-Grat Slammers team was made up of players Beryl Boudreau, Chasta Boudreau, Dora Sampson-Boudreau, Donna Boudreau, Janette Boudrot, Murielle Joshua, Lynette Boudreau, Jannick Boudreau, Caitlin Samson, Shirley-Ann Samson, Janelle Boudreau, Lorna Barnes, Jessica Boudreau, Kim Samson, Kaitlyn Boudreau, T'Angele Boudreau, and Gina Embree;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Petit-de-Grat Slammers on winning the 2011 Richmond County Women's Softball League championship and wish the league continued success.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 3209]

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2019

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Madame le Président, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on Monday, August 8, 2011, Yarmouth's 250th Anniversary celebration hosted the RCMP Musical Ride; and

Whereas Jason Muise, formerly of Amirault's Hill, performing with his horse Turbo, was one of 32 riders performing in front of his family and friends in his hometown; and

Whereas Jason, who always wanted to be a police officer, has been a member of the RCMP for five years, has performed in the Musical Ride for a three-year tour that ended in September, and has been re-posted to Barrington this Fall;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jason Muise for his new posting and wish him good fortune in his new posting and his career.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 2020

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas today, November 4, 2011, an Order of Canada investiture ceremony will be held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa and Yarmouth resident Viola Robinson will be invested as one of 10 Officers of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston; and

Whereas Viola Robinson is being recognized as a role model and an inspirational leader who has advanced the rights of First Nations people across Canada and who was instrumental in negotiating a process for the implementation of governance and treaty rights for Mi'kmaq communities in Nova Scotia, nationally; and

[Page 3210]

Whereas Viola Robinson has worked to end discrimination against Aboriginal women and her commitment to fostering a just and inclusive society guided her work as a member of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Viola Robinson on receiving the Order of Canada and recognize her meaningful leadership and dedication that have merited such a prestigious honour on her and her family.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2021

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas in 1989 the first Maritime Music Awards were held in Halifax, featuring just six East Coast artists with national distribution, and it has grown to market Atlantic Canadian music to the world by inviting members of the international music industry to the annual conference; and

Whereas since the age of four, Meghan Rumbolt of Hantsport has been entertaining family and friends with her enchanting musical talents; and

Whereas Meggie Lou, as she is better known, was thrilled to be invited to the East Coast Music Association to perform on the Discovery Stage, part of the East Coast Music Week 2011 in Charlottetown this past Spring;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Meghan on her exceptional vocal talents and wish her continued success with her music in the future.

[Page 3211]

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 2022

MS. DIANA WHALEN « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Spencer Bouchard, a student of Park West School in Clayton Park West, won the Robert Bateman Get To Know contest in the photography category for Grades 8 to 10, with his stunning nature photograph; and

Whereas the contest was nationwide and Spencer attended a ceremony in Moncton, in June, for the Atlantic Canadian winners, which was hosted by Alan Bateman; and

Whereas the Get To Know program promotes a deeper understanding of nature in youth and a more active role in protecting the environment;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Spencer Bouchard on his winning photograph and wish him continued success in his interests in the environment and photography.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 3212]

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2023

MR. KEITH BAIN « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Buchanan Memorial Hospital Charitable Foundation was honoured with the Irving Schwartz Caring for Cape Breton Award during the Cape Breton District Health Authority's annual general meeting; and

Whereas the Caring for Cape Breton Award was presented to the foundation for its contribution towards establishing an EHS base and apartments for visiting physicians; and

Whereas Buchanan Memorial Hospital Charitable Foundation is recognized for its significant achievements in health philanthropy and its outstanding commitment to patients and the community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Buchanan Memorial Charitable Foundation board members involved in the project - Bernie Vassallo, Ken Murray, Yvon Leblanc, Brenda Fitzgerald, Tim Reynolds, John Malcolm, and Tom Sampson - and wish them great success in their future endeavours.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2024

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Outstanding Customer Service-Individual Employee award, sponsored by EastLink and presented through the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, is awarded to an employee who demonstrated outstanding service to their customers over the last year; and

[Page 3213]

Whereas the Outstanding Customer Service-Individual Employee award recipient must reflect all five customer service attributes - courteous, helpful, accessible, responsive, and knowledgeable; and

Whereas the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce hosted their Small Business Week Dinner and Awards Gala on October 19, 2011 where Lori Ann Boudreau was presented with the Outstanding Customer Service-Individual Employee award for exceptional customer service at Jeantie's Mini-Mart, located in Arichat;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Lori Ann Boudreau for receiving the Outstanding Customer Service-Individual Employee award and commend her for her outstanding customer service.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2025

HON. WAYNE GAUDET « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Jody Shelley Golf Fore Health Tournament took place this past July at the Clare Golf and Country Club in Comeauville to support the Yarmouth Regional Health Centre; and

Whereas this is the seventh annual event hosted by NHL hockey player Jody Shelley and $43,000 was raised towards the purchase of two laparoscopic suites for the OR, making it the most successful in the tournament's seven-year history; and

Whereas 70 dedicated volunteers from the area were involved in hosting the Jody Shelley Golf Fore Health Tournament;

[Page 3214]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank the Clare Golf and Country Club directors, staff and all the dedicated volunteers who assisted in hosting this special event.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 2026

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Madam Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas from November 3rd to November 6th, Yarmouth will be hosting Molson Canadian Nova Scotia Music Week 2011 for the third consecutive year; and

Whereas the impressive array of artists for this year's Nova Scotia Music Week includes Jimmy Rankin, Slowcoaster, Carmen Townsend, Three Sheet, and local talent Ryan Cook, Rain over Saint Ambrose, and Owen and Gerry; and

Whereas Nova Scotia Music Week will be especially an exciting and memorable event during Yarmouth's 250th celebrations;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly join me in welcoming and thanking the many hard-working and dedicated organizers, volunteers, and musicians of Molson Canadian Nova Scotia Music Week 2011 to Yarmouth, and wish them all an enjoyable and successful time in our wonderful community.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

[Page 3215]

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 Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 2027

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

Whereas Barb Stegemann, a Bedford entrepreneur, created 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom Eau de Parfum, a business project designed to help people in Afghanistan become employed by growing orange blossoms to provide the essential oil for the perfume; and

Whereas Stegemann, having successfully stocked 7 Virtues Perfume in Bay Stores across Canada, and having secured a $75,000 investment in the fragrance from the CBC television show Dragon's Den, was then approached by the Shopping Channel to further market the scent, and plans to launch another fragrance based on an essential oil native to Haiti; and

Whereas for her efforts to initiate trade with re-emerging nations, Stegemann will be appointed as an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force in December, 2011;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly applaud Barb Stegemann on her perseverance, and wish her every success in her future endeavours.

Madam Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

MADAM 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

[Page 3216]

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON » : Madam Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON « » : Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 72.

Bill No. 72 - Timely Medical Certificates Act.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Richmond, with 45 minutes remaining.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Forty-five minutes - I was going to say I only got started last night, but I actually did think it went much longer than that.

AN HON. MEMBER: It felt like it.

MR. SAMSON « » : It felt like it for me, as well. Madam Speaker, I believe that yesterday I had the opportunity to try to remind this government of an unfortunate decision that was made by the Department of Justice via the minister.

In an unfortunate attempt to try to save money, a decision was made to limit autopsies that will be carried out by the Chief Medical Examiner's Office on the weekend. I believe, based on the reaction from members of the government yesterday during my comments, I believe they as well share my thoughts that this was a poor decision, one that is bound to come back to haunt them. I dread any Nova Scotian family that will be told when they're trying to figure out exactly what caused death to their loved one that they'll have to wait until Monday because they don't fall into the specific criteria set out by the Minister of Justice as to what autopsies will now be performed on the weekend, in the hopes of saving the government a few dollars.

This has disaster written all over it. The government knows this, or they should know it now. I would hate to be in a situation of having to say I told you so, but I firmly believe that one of the 52 members of this House will be getting a phone call from a family to say I can't believe we are being told we need to wait until Monday because the government is looking to save a few dollars.

[Page 3217]

There is time to change this decision. It's one that I think was done with probably not proper reflection as to what the impact would be. It's a groaner decision to say the least, and one that I truly believe is in poor taste - and it's not reflective of what this government said they would do in providing a better deal for Nova Scotian families. This certainly isn't a way of doing it. We agree there needs to be a means of finding savings - this just wasn't the place to go to try to find it.

So I made those comments. I would hope that having had the opportunity to reflect on it last night, the Minister of Justice and his colleagues may be prepared to reverse that decision. If not, they do so not only at their own peril for the embarrassment that will be caused to them but, even worse, the embarrassment that will be caused by Nova Scotians to see that our province would put grieving families in that type of a situation, of being told to wait while they grapple with wondering what caused the death of a loved one.

With that, Madam Speaker, I look forward to this bill moving on into the legislative process and going to the Law Amendments Committee. Hopefully by that time the Minister of Justice and the government will have a chance to reverse the decisions made on limiting weekend autopsies here in Nova Scotia during this fiscal year. I appreciate the indulgence of yourself and the House for having made those brief comments on Bill No. 72. Merci.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Merci beaucoup, Madame le Président - I almost said "Monsieur" there. It's funny how we're so used to having a male sitting in that Chair that even all our documents seem to have "Mr. Speaker" put on it. Of course, it's great to see you in the Chair again this morning, Madam Speaker.

Of course I'm speaking on the Timely Medical Certificates Act for a few moments. I know the member for Hants West will want to say a few words to this, as well, as he has been in the past, of course, a paramedic and has seen the direct consequence of the wait for medical certificates or death certificates being signed in the field.

As you know, Madam Speaker, currently of course only doctors and medical examiners can sign the medical death certificate. Reading through the bill we see that it will permit nurse practitioners to sign the medical death certificate in circumstances that will be laid out in regulation. Of course, we'll be waiting to see those regulations to see what else might be in there because it does give a broader sense of who might be able to do that.

Right now I know the government is talking about nurse practitioners being able to do that kind of work. But it does include other authorized persons, of course, like medical investigators when a nurse practitioner is not available or that qualified person directs the funeral director to obtain the certificate of death.

[Page 3218]

Now, it does create a bit of a problem and some of us have experienced it, where we've had either a loved one pass away at home, either by different kinds of ailments, whether heart attack or other, and we understand the time that it takes for this process to move on. In my personal experience, it happened a number of years ago with the death of my father-in-law. I remember having to sit there and wait a number of hours until a death certificate was signed, before that body could be moved by the funeral directors.

Of course the funeral directors can't move that body until that medical death certificate is signed and if you're in a rural or remote area, it does create a bit of a problem. I think that's why I think the member for Lunenburg did bring this one forward, for that uncertain time. I know in my particular case it was a couple of hours, but I have heard instances where it is much longer than that and I don't think that is necessary.

The certain circumstances are changed and intended for instances of expected death, of course, not sudden death. Additional training needed to be provided to determine the cause of death and form completion. Right now we find that with the bill, where we're looking for more detail is the issue of potential costs. Of course, we know that this probably won't be a cost-saving exercise, because you have to train more individuals to do this and have them available on an on-call basis to perform these certificates.

Early consultation, of course, indicates the support but I'm sure that more consultation will have to occur to determine the details for the regulation. Of course, from the research that we've done, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, and Ontario do this already.

The member for Richmond brought up sort of a side point to this whole issue which is, of course, the availability of the medical examiner to do autopsies on the weekend, so this further lengthens the time that loved ones are waiting for their loved ones to come back to their local funeral home to be ready for wakes and other family activities that are around the funeral, whether it's the funeral itself or the wake.

Through the grieving process, we all deserve to have time with that loved one in a timely manner and to be able to either bury - or rather, to continue to move on with that process. If you're unlucky enough to have that on a weekend, you're going to end up having to wait that much longer for it to happen. I do hope that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice will have the opportunity to look again at this process to see if it makes it more appropriate for families who have lost a loved one and do need to move on in their grieving process with this.

I see that the member for Hants West does want to speak to this one as well. I think I've said everything I really want to say. We, as a Party, believe in the changes that are being brought forward in this bill, and I know my colleague will be talking a little more to the issue of other authorized persons. I think the scope can be expanded just a little bit more to make it easier for families to obtain those death certificates so that they're able to move on with their grieving processes.

[Page 3219]

With that, I thank you very much for the opportunity to speak, and I know there are a number of other speakers on this one. I look forward to listening to their issues and ideas on this bill.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. JIM MORTON » : Madam Speaker, may I have your permission to make an introduction? I'd like to introduce Wayne Henderson, who's in the east gallery. Wayne is a friend of mine for the last 25 years, a resident of Riverview, New Brunswick, who retired a couple of years ago from a long and distinguished career as a teacher of mathematics in the high school system in the Moncton area. We met 25 years ago in political activities where we were trying - not successfully - to win a by-election. That activity has kept us connected for many years. Wayne is well versed in the world of politics and government and is certainly paying attention to what we're doing here in Nova Scotia. Welcome to the Nova Scotia Legislature and to Nova Scotia, and enjoy your visit in Halifax. I hope everyone will give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Welcome to today's proceedings.

The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to have the opportunity to speak for a few minutes this morning on Bill No. 72. I think it's a good piece coming forward. Having been in the business some years back as a paramedic, I know that it can be difficult, especially in some circumstances. There are a variety of circumstances, I guess I should say.

One we used to run into on a regular basis was a terminal illness. We would be called out because sometimes families do not know what to do when their loved one reaches the end of their life. We would go out and pronounce them as being deceased, and then we would have to leave. It may be hours before something could happen by way of those remains being transported or whatever it might be.

When I first read this, my thought was what a great thing. It's good for nurse practitioners that they can do that. I'm not sure what circumstances exactly - would they go to the home? Is that the intent? They would thereby pick up where I was just referring to, some of those terminal illnesses where autopsies would not be required. Unfortunately, there are a lot of those cases in this province, as we know.

[Page 3220]

I think there's an opportunity here to add to what has been put forward, and that is, could paramedics also - given the fact that we're going out to the doors and homes of these people - be able to sign off on these? Is it an ACP? Is it something that even a basic-level paramedic could do, since they can pronounce? Maybe you're on the phone to a medical control physician - we have those kinds of things available to us. You go through a protocol before you would ever leave a home when you've pronounced somebody is deceased; there are all of these things. There are times when it can't be done for obvious reasons, there are a number of circumstances where death happens that we understand you need a medical examiner or somebody from that office, you require an autopsy, there are investigations, there's any number of things. But there are a lot of cases where I think we can build on this, there are opportunities.

Back to the nurse practitioner bit, I think that's great. Not that we have too many of them yet, I think it's something that we're going down the road of and we can certainly use more. I've got a great example of one, and I'm very proud of her, and that is Dawn Lowe in Hantsport who's doing a bang-up job down there, number one, and has been all along; and number two, without a doctor now present she's doing it all, the workload is heavy. So now that we're adding to Dawn's - as an example, we're going to give her this extra ability or privilege - call it what you like - to go out and do these. Where she's going to find the time, I don't know. These nurse practitioners are very, very busy in these offices, and certainly without a doctor present.

But I think this is a great piece of legislation and I commend the member for Lunenburg for bringing this forward. I also commend the minister for passing that credit on to you; that doesn't happen a lot of times and I think that's a very nice gesture, and it's good to see someone in the backbench who's not just sitting in the backbench and has no ideas. We all know that every member in this House has good ideas when it comes to legislation, regardless of what Party you may be with, and I think that all too many times that is not recognized. It doesn't just have to come from a minister and/or their department, so hats off to you, member for Lunenburg, I appreciate that.

I did want to take a few minutes to speak to this issue. I realize that there's openness to this ability in the bill, but other things could be considered. I would hope that the minister, the department and others would take the time to have a look at it; maybe it can't be done, but can it be done. Is it an opportunity yet again to expand the scope of those front-line health care emergency providers, i.e., paramedics in this case, who are very, very well trained in how to determine not only how to save a life but how to present one as no longer alive and unfortunately gone.

I think there is an opportunity, if you look at cost-saving opportunities and such, if they're there it saves somebody else going out - there's hours, there are a lot of things to be considered. I guess the unfortunate piece to this whole thing is, as others have spoken to, we're looking at an opportunity to speed up the process to make the list get longer, and the waits get longer in some cases and that's unfortunate.

[Page 3221]

I'm not sure how this is all going to play out at the end of the day. I haven't talked to a couple of guys I know well who are in the funeral business as to how they're going to feel about this. It is a long time to wait; unfortunately, we can't control when death happens, and it's just that simple. Whether it's something that's terminal or otherwise you could easily die, pass away on a Friday evening, unexpectedly, and then have to wait until Monday to have an autopsy done. There are a number of things and when it gets further along, I think that the undertakers and embalmers and such will tell you likely that - well, I know for a fact having gone through it with family members, it does depend on how long you wait before you have the opportunity, if you're going to be laid out traditionally, to be embalmed.

Everybody wants their family members, for whatever reason, to look good, to look appropriate. It's all part of that grieving process, it's all part of the preparation and the funeral process and traditional process. But it is one of those things and it does sound bizarre to say to look good, how do you look good when you're passed away? Anyone who has ever been - and there's a Reverend Minister over there, I know others who would say yeah that's right, it's part of that process whereby there's an understanding, family members, it's part of whatever reason, they want their family members to look good. Well, that's important, you know, it's the last time they're going to see them; there are a number of factors that come into play here. (Interruption)

It's a bit of a challenge. I guess what I'm saying is - not to make light of it at all - it is a challenge and the challenge is now extended by, perhaps in some cases, two or three days. It makes the challenge even more difficult for those in the funeral business to do what they need to do, and can do very well, in certain circumstances. It is a bit of an interesting piece whereby that could be delayed, it may make a difference, it may increase such things as cremations, and maybe it takes away even more.

We know that the traditional funerals are going more by the wayside. The numbers, I think, most would tell you are up by way of cremation, so maybe it will increase the number of cremations that take place, I don't know, but I do think that there is some consideration that does have to be given - that's reconsideration has to be given as to whether that's the right direction to go by way of delaying autopsies over weekends.

I know that there is a cost associated with it; there's a cost associated with many things. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what the right resolution is, I know that it has worked in the past, I know that there are contracts and overtime, and there's always money involved but, unfortunately, here we are right to the bitter end putting the God Almighty dollar ahead of everything else. There are times when you, just morally I think, and ethically, can't do that. You have to give that some serious consideration.

So I hope that this will come back, that piece will come back at least with some reconsideration, some changes to it. Maybe it's more staffing - and I don't even know what the possibilities are there - maybe it's regular shifts for weekends. I know when I was first in as a paramedic, I worked regular shifts - Friday, Saturday, Sunday, it didn't matter what day of the week it was. It doesn't matter what day of the week it is when you pass away. You don't plan your death, and no one does, around what day of the week it is, it just doesn't happen. So I would again ask that very serious consideration be given to that.

[Page 3222]

Back to this particular bill and, as I said, Madam Speaker, this is a good bill. I think this is good. The additions are good in the fact that we can open this up to nurse practitioners, but I would like to see some thoughts going into paramedics and how that might also fit in, given that they are there, they will be called, they continue to be called to go out and have the unfortunate task of pronouncing somebody as passed away - and they have the ability to do that both in training, they have the technical equipment that they need to do that, and in some cases they have the ability to get a physician on-line who says, did you meet this protocol, did you do this, this, this and this? Yes you did, fine, we agree, sign the appropriate paperwork.

You're signing all of that paperwork, you're going through that process anyway, Madam Speaker, you might as well sign a death certificate, in my opinion, and then the family has either had arrangements made or can get on with arrangements and it can be done. I think that there's a great ability to speed this process up because it is a hard and very, very difficult time for all families, regardless. In terminal cases where it's expected or not, it is still a very, very difficult time when the time does come - it doesn't seem to make a lot of difference whether it's expected or otherwise.

So with those few words, Madam Speaker, I will thank you for the opportunity to speak on this bill this morning and I will take my seat.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MS. PAM BIRDSALL « » : Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to stand in my place today to speak about the amendments to the Vital Statistics Act, the Timely Medical Certificates Act, which will authorize nurse practitioners and medical investigators employed by the Chief Medical Examiner's Office to sign medical certificates of death in certain circumstances.

I'm pleased to have listened to my colleagues across the floor speak of various aspects of this amendment and what it will bring. The possibilities in the future, I think, will be interesting to watch. We'll define all these things through regulation, and paramedics have been mentioned - we'll see how other people are worked into this whole process.

The Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations said when he introduced the bill, "Losing a loved one is painful enough. We want to ensure that grieving families don't have to wait, and can make arrangements as quickly as possible." Madam Speaker, I think that this is a very important thing, and this change to legislation is important to Nova Scotians in rural areas where doctors are in high demand and nurse practitioners fill a vital role in our small communities.

[Page 3223]

I know in our area we have high fluxes back and forth between doctors - doctors here on a training course are here for two years and then they go on to bigger areas, to urban areas, and our nurse practitioners are the ones who take the heavy load. As my colleague, the member for Kings West, has said, the nurse practitioners will have a heavier load being given this extra authority, and yet this is something that our communities do welcome.

Madam Speaker, all members of the Legislative Assembly know that their role is to listen to their constituents, hear their issues and see how they can help them in whatever way is possible. This really important role is sometimes worked into amendments to legislation; legislation that may have worked at the time, but amendments really are necessary to make it relevant. I think that changing the Medical Certificate Act is one of those things.

This piece of legislation started in 2010. When I had a conversation with some of my constituents in New Germany, an elderly gentleman told me that his mother, who was even older, was ill and at home and had services of caregivers coming into the home. He was very worried because he didn't have a doctor and he was concerned about the whole issue of medical certificates and death certificates when his elderly mother passed on. He said, you know, this is something where, really, there should be a law that nurse practitioners have the ability to sign medical certificates. It was one of those "aha" moments for me. I thought, you are absolutely right, this is exactly what is needed, so this seemed like the perfect piece of legislation.

I put together a request for legislation, asking that this, in fact, could be something to be looked at by our legislative committee. I have the honour to be on the legislative committee at this point and I was very gratified to see this piece of legislation come through our committee and see that my colleagues did, in fact, agree that this should be moved forward and I looked forward to it coming to the House where it could be given ample debate by colleagues across the floor and all members of the House.

This legislation will help the over 116 nurse practitioners in the province broaden their scope of practice. They have so many skills and so much compassion, so much ability, and I think working with people who are at the end of life is something that they are highly skilled at and that they are welcomed into the family in many ways and often become part of the family, through that very difficult duration of time.

I think that nurse practitioners seem to fill that role, often, as a distant cousin or someone whose heart becomes involved with the patient they are caring for. These are the sorts of deaths that they will easily be able to sign. The legislation does define that they are able to sign these medical death certificates, under certain circumstances, and the circumstances will be just that - people for whom they may have worked with for long periods of time, know well, and the death is expected.

[Page 3224]

Sudden death and death that is questionable will be one of the areas that will not be covered under this legislation. Those will be looked at by, obviously, medical examiners and doctors. Also, at this point, medical investigators are noted in this piece of legislation and, through regulation, we'll see in just what circumstance they will be able to sign a death certificate.

Public consultations have gone on this past summer with stakeholders and it was very clear that they were in support of this sort of legislation. I think one of the important things we want to note is that this legislation is very much in line with the Department of Health and Wellness and their whole idea of expanding the scope of practice for nurse practitioners.

The legislation was then drafted and presented to the legislative committee for approval. As I said, I was very pleased when the committee looked at this and agreed that it should move forward.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with many years of advanced training. This advanced training allows them to diagnose and prescribe medication for people and be able to treat illness and will be going further training, as we said, for other areas.

In my Lunenburg constituency, nurse practitioners work very hard in homes for special care and medical clinics. In my area we have a wonderful home for special care in New Germany called Rosedale Home for Special Care, which just recently had a whole new addition built. It is an absolutely beautiful home where the patients, or clients, are treated as family. Just recently, in the Fall, there was a barbeque where friends and family were invited to the home for special care. I was able to talk with a lot of our constituents there who are so grateful that their loved ones are in such a beautiful place and where their needs are so attended to. There, as well, they have a very special relationship with the nurse practitioners in the area.

Madam Speaker, I would like to also speak about the New Germany Medical Centre. This medical centre is a centre that my constituency is incredibly proud of. Back in the day, in the early 1990s, their doctor, who had been in the area for a very long time and served the community, left. The community got together and said, what we need is a community medical centre. So they decided that they would follow the old adage, "If you build it, they will come," hoping that once they built a medical centre their doctor would come - which, in fact, did happen.

The community got together and spoke amongst themselves and said, what do we need for a medical centre? The logical first step was to talk to a contractor. The contractor quoted $200,000 for the cost of the medical clinic. The volunteers of the community felt this was far more than they wanted to invest, so they themselves started to collect donations from members of the community. They worked out exactly what it would cost if they got donations of building supplies and if they had contractors donate equipment and their skills and planning. In fact, they knocked on many doors to get the kind of donations they needed.

[Page 3225]

This medical centre now is open five days a week and has the services of Dr. Barbara O'Neil and nurse practitioner Dawn Chubbs. When they went through this whole process of building the community centre, I think it showed the huge level of community spirit and the level of engagement and commitment that the people of New Germany and the whole surrounding area had, to create such a wonderful centre.

On the official day of the opening, which was in July 1993, the sod was turned and in three months the building was complete - from July 6th to October 30th to build a building. They raised $150,000 and they used $70,000 to build it. I think that's absolutely remarkable, given the times we have now and looking at the overruns of costs for hospitals in areas. This shows that these things can be done.

One of the remarkable things that happened with the construction of this building was that when the roof trusses were in place they had a shingling day, and it took 27 people from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. to completely shingle the roof. I think this one act shows exactly how determined these people were and how they were working together.

The official ribbon-cutting ceremony was on December 5, 1993. The ribbon was cut by Ivan Daniels and Victor Porter. The CBC was there to cover that, and everyone in the community was very proud that it was on the CBC News. After the opening they all went to the community centre and had a traditional New Germany tea, and I think were very self-congratulatory - and certainly should have been at the time. It was a wonderful achievement for the area.

Our nurse practitioner enjoys working there every day. When the building was complete, the doctor at the time thought it was an absolutely wonderful place to work. In speaking about the building, I'd also like to say that the land the building sits on was donated by Ronald and Patricia Smith and was signed over to the New Germany Medical Centre through the donated services of a local lawyer, Donald Taylor. An honoured member of our community, Bill Alexander, was the project manager, who worked tirelessly to get donated building materials and keep his team rallied. Key people on the committee were: Ralston Eisner, Murray Ward, Greg Selig, Ruth van Iderstine, Harold Hubley, Vivian Meisner, Bill Alexander, Robert Zinck, Allister Silver, James Hennigar, Dale Joudrey, and Harold Weiland. I think it's really important to have these names noted through our Hansard system, so that this is in the history of the province.

Mr. Henry Meisner and Fletcher Verner were the two main people who walked door to door, knocking and asking for donations which raised the ultimate money for this building. When they went through the building and found that they were able to construct it for $70,000, with the remaining money that they had left over they were able to upgrade before the building even started, upgrading their plans by including air conditioning, a security system, a paved parking lot, and many more things. That was in 1993 and over the last decade time has moved on. The building has required repair and upgrade, which is all through donation in the area.

[Page 3226]

The kind of support that the medical centre gives us is very involved. They're able to give us clinics through the week, through the five days of the week. There are foot clinics, hearing clinics, well women's clinics, breast screening clinics, flu shots, blood collection, and all manner of health care. We know that it's really wonderful for people in the area to be able to avail themselves of these services. People come from a very long radius, far away to get to New Germany and when you're working from Lunenburg and Mahone Bay as a central part of the constituency of Lunenburg, you forget that when you look at the map, New Germany is also the core of a much bigger area and those are the people who, from different constituencies, come to that area. Parkdale-Maplewood is a really important part of my constituency there and they are so enamoured of their clinic. They were definitely part of the whole building and donation and the maintaining and keeping it all going.

We know that these clinics such as foot clinics where the VON comes in and works with clients on a regular basis are very important, especially to elderly people in my area. Hearing clinics also really impact on seniors in my area and they come regularly to be checked. We understand how important hearing clinics can be and for elderly people missing the subtlety of life through auditory challenges really can lower the quality of their life and having hearing clinics certainly can help them. It alerts them to any issues that they're having and can prescribe the sorts of remediation that can help them live a much better quality of life.

The well women's clinic is an important thing, as well, in the area and this is all range and all manner of women. Younger women are encouraged to come in and they're having clinics in the schools to talk to some of these young people, to talk about issues around women and breast screening and, obviously, this is something that is very important to all women. These clinics will help in the prevention of breast cancer and be able to prolong someone's life if, in fact, they have some sort of challenge in that area.

This is the time of year people are thinking about flu shots and this is a service that really does help in so many ways. The distance travelled, again, as I mentioned earlier, is something that makes it so much easier. If someone has to go from Parkdale-Maplewood, or the New Germany area, down to Bridgewater, it's quite a hike from that area and for elderly people it's a whole day's travel. It can be quite stressful for them trying to find transportation, if they don't have transportation, to get to Bridgewater to the hospital there. Blood collection is another service that the centre does offer.

[Page 3227]

This new legislation will enable nurse practitioner Dawn Chubbs, and nurse practitioners all over the province to help families at such an emotional time. I think that right across the province young women and young men, who are coming into this role of becoming a nurse practitioner, will now see this as a new aspect of their scope of practice and I think there's some sort of completion that can happen in their care for people. If they're working in nursing homes, and do become attached to the clients, as I said, by actually signing the death certificate it lends a completion to the act.

Madam Speaker, I think nurse practitioners will be extremely pleased with this change and as Donna Denney, the executive director of the College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia, recently said just that. "Nurse practitioners will be extremely pleased with this change. It will help families cope with the loss of a loved one, particularly in long-term and palliative care settings, in a dignified and respectful manner."

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see this legislation move forward with the support of all members of the House. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Antigonish.

MR. MAURICE SMITH « » : Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in my place to address the House on second reading of Bill No. 72, an Act to Amend Chapter 494 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Vital Statistics Act.

Bill No. 72 deals with amendments to the section of the Vital Statistics Act concerning the issuing of medical certificates of death. The Act's short title is therefore aptly called the Timely Medical Certificates Act. The raison d'�tre of this bill is to authorize others, at this time specifically nurse practitioners, of course besides doctors and the coroner or the medical examiner, to issue death certificates.

As you may know, until the death certificate has been issued, a body cannot be removed by the funeral director. This has, in the past, caused hardship and angst to family members who would sometimes have to wait for hours for a doctor to come to their home to deal with pronouncing the person dead and issuing the death certificate. In rural areas, particularly where there is no hospital in the immediate area and no doctor at hand, this delay was often prolonged.

The Timely Medical Certificates Act is a good piece of legislation, which will make it much easier for people who are suffering the loss of a loved one to deal with the remains without significant delay. Nurse practitioners have been chosen as the logical persons to be authorized to issue the death certificate. Often they are very familiar with the deceased and the family, having been on the scene during the deceased's last illness. Often they are actually with the deceased and the family at the time of death. They have the expertise and knowledge to assess the situation and will be given additional training to handle this delicate matter. That training will focus on identifying the cause of death and completing the necessary paperwork.

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Regulations will be drafted which will define the circumstances under which a nurse practitioner and other authorized persons will be permitted to sign the medical certificate of death. These regulations will set out the criteria and conditions which will detail when and where a nurse practitioner, or other persons authorized, can sign a death certificate.

Nurse practitioners have been chosen to fulfill this task because of their expertise. They are becoming a much more important component of our health care system. Their roles are expanding throughout the system. This is in keeping with the Department of Health and Wellness view of better utilizing the skills of our health care workers. Nurse practitioners are now working in nursing homes to decrease the need for elderly people to go to ERs for ailments that can be assessed and treated on-site.

Currently in Nova Scotia we have well over 100 nurse practitioners with an active practising nurse practitioner licence. Tapping into this resource to assist people in rural areas makes good sense. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced education. They have the knowledge and skill to diagnose and treat illnesses and deal with one's health concerns. They work closely with the patient and the patient's family, and more broadly in the community to find ways to promote everyone's health and well-being.

Nurse practitioners involve the patient in decisions about the patient's own health care. They also work closely with other health care professionals, especially the patient's own doctor, to make sure that patients receive the best care possible. Their expertise, training, and experience make them the obvious and best choice to perform this sensitive and very important task.

In the lead up to the proposed changes, there was consultation with the stakeholders involved and there is broad support of this move to allow nurse practitioners to sign medical certificates of death. This legislation is in response to a perceived need and a direct call for intervention. This bill, and the improvements that it brings, will make life better for Nova Scotians and ensure that families can deal with the death of a loved one in a timely and respectful manner. Those are the comments I wish to make, Madam Speaker, thank you very much.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Thank you, Madam Speaker, and I want to thank everyone who has spoken on Bill No. 72. I think we recognize as a government the importance of making sure that our legislation and policies that we have in place are current and can best serve Nova Scotians, and I think that's why this piece of legislation was brought forward.

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I had discussions with the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations on this specific piece of legislation. We've heard from our colleagues across the way and understand some of their comments and their concerns, and I appreciate most of their comments and concerns. I know the member for Hants West and the member for Argyle, for example, with their interactions as a first responder and as a paramedic and my previous experience as a paramedic, understand the need to ensure that this legislation is open to allow future changes to the policy. That's why in this legislation we recognize that and we indicate that that qualified person authorized through regulations is permitted and will be looked at in the future as really these policies have to have the ability to change.

I appreciate the comments from the members and we'll look forward to this piece of legislation going through because I think it truly does best serve Nova Scotians, especially when you're dealing with a difficult situation like a death in the family, or a death, Madam Speaker. On behalf of the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations I close debate on Bill No. 72.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 72. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON « » : Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 73.

Bill No. 73 - Safer School Zones Act.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS « » : Thank you, Madam Speaker, and welcome to the Chair. It's good to see that you have authority and continue to exert it in a way that only you can do. In keeping track, incidentally, the number of times that I probably will be calling you, unfortunately, at times according to my prepared notes, Mr. Speaker. So I'll apologize in advance.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : I'll correct you.

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MR. ESTABROOKS « » : I expect you will. Madam Speaker, I move that Bill No. 73, the Safer School Zones Act be now read a second time.

Madam Speaker, as you will realize when I make my comments, there is a personal tone to this particular bill; in fact, in the NDP caucus it's called the Ella MacElheran bill, and I'll spell her first and last name, E-l-l-a - I'm doing this for Hansard because I know I'll get a note - and MacElheran is M-a-c-E-l-h-e-r-a-n, and she is my granddaughter. Ella and I paid a visit on a recent trip to Edmonton, Alberta to the local school where we had permission from the principal to play on the slide. I should correct myself there because I see the MLA for Clare jumping to his feet; Ella played on the slide and grandfather supervised. (Interruptions)

Bill No. 73, the Safer School Zones Act will help make roads in school areas for children, and grandfathers, across Nova Scotia, safer. Improving road safety in Nova Scotia is, of course, a top priority, Madam Speaker, for this government and I'm sure all members of this House. This bill helps us to continue in that direction.

Specifically, this proposed legislation will improve safety by requiring drivers to reduce their speed in school areas from 50 kilometres an hour to 30 kilometres. Alberta, British Columbia, and New Brunswick already have 30-kilometre-per-hour limits in school areas, as do many American states. The legislation is supported by numerous groups in Nova Scotia. I'm going to include their quotations and I'll table them all at the end, if that's appropriate, Madam Speaker.

We've heard from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association. Chief Beazley, in particular, recently mentioned to me at another event that this legislation, when we were going to introduce it, Safe Communities HRM - these are all groups, of course, and there are some other ones that I'm going to read into the record here in a moment.

We then filed many letters of support in the department for this legislation. The first is from the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. I know we've had a number of the UNSM folks here this week as they are having their annual meeting. The UNSM says, "This decision will undoubtedly promote safer communities, particularly as it relates to helping some of our most vulnerable members of society, that of children and youth." I thank UNSM for that endorsement.

From St. Stephen's Elementary School Travel Planning Committee - now that must be an active group for sure - the Travel Planning Committee of St. Stephen's Elementary School has written us to say, "Our group supports reducing the school zone speed limit to 30 kilometres an hour where it is now 50 kilometres an hour." I thank that active parent group for their initiative.

The Cobequid Community Health Board wrote, "Reducing speeds in all residential areas, school zones, and child play areas can prevent injury, reduce traffic accidents, and increase safety of our communities." To the Cobequid Community Health Board, I thank them for their input.

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This next quotation is from Lisa Pomfrey-Talbot on behalf of the Lunenburg County Community Health Board. Lisa writes, "Recent local data collected in Lunenburg County through the School Travel Planning initiative tells us that many parents do not allow their children to walk to school because of concerns pertaining to road safety. We ask that you seriously consider changing the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act to reduce speeds in school zones and play areas."

Madam Speaker, of course it's important that pedestrians who are moving through school zones take note of the fact that there are many folks just going too fast in school zones. Some of them, of course, are going 50 kilometres but if you're there watching carefully as these little folks are moving to and from school, or middle school students or high school students, in many cases, as we all know as parents - and I certainly know as a school principal - they have other things on their mind as they are going to and from school. It is in those sorts of situations that we have to make sure we slow down the traffic and are aware of the fact that we are in a school zone.

This final excerpt that I read is from the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association, and then I will table these for the Page to pick up these endorsements at that time. "As police leaders working in the community we routinely receive citizen concerns regarding speeding in residential areas and school zones. The focus of these concerns is that vehicles are travelling too fast for the conditions, putting the safety of pedestrians and other vehicles at risk."

Madam Speaker, if I may, I would ask one of the Pages to come forward and I'll table these quotations that I've referred to - all at once, if I may. Thank you.

HON. PERCY PARIS » : You may.

MR. ESTABROOKS « » : And I thank the member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank for paying attention.

Madam Speaker, we have many more letters that our staff would be happy to share with any members who want to see them. In fact, it was today - and it is completely a coincidence and I want the member for Bedford-Birch Cove to understand. I know that as a member of the Opposition she is often concerned about the fact of what kind of influence she has with the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. This is proof positive that I'm listening to the member for Bedford-Birch Cove because the very day she introduces her petition on this particular topic, I reciprocate to make sure the bill is going to be discussed. That's called influence and I'm sure I'll read about it in the local media.

It's clear that reducing the speed zone in school areas to 30 kilometres is desirable and achievable, particularly when the safety of children is at stake. When it comes to school areas, slower is just better, that's just common sense, but it is also important to be practical and respect existing traffic patterns.

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I want to draw the attention of members to this because I know you're going to hear from - can we say it appropriately? - some grumpy men in my community who have already called me about the fact, I've got to slow down to a certain - not that I'm trying to imitate this particular gentleman, but as I shared with the member for Halifax Clayton Park - do you mean I have to go from an 80 kilometre to a 30 kilometre, I'm going to be a traffic hazard, we'll need speed bumps. (Interruption) Everyone just relax - no reflection on the member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank, and I'm glad to see he's still paying attention.

It's clear that reducing these speed zones to 30 kilometres will work better and we're going to make sure that in certain areas that are not in - particular areas that are 50 kilometres, we have to be aware of that concern. You know, the member for Pictou East has brought it to my attention, Frank H. MacDonald School is in a situation on Highway No. 104 where it would be very difficult to have a speed zone drop to 30 kilometres. That's a specific example that I'm aware of, and I'm sure that we are going to hear from Nova Scotians, and MLAs present will hear from Nova Scotians, on this piece of legislation.

That's why, where the speed limit approaching school zones is more than 50 kilometres - and that is often the case in rural areas - drivers will continue to be required to reduce the speed to 50 kilometres an hour and not drop down to 30 kilometres. Now, I'm prepared for the fact that, you know, there are going to be some folks who will ask, do you mean kids in rural areas aren't as valuable as kids in urban areas? That's certainly not true, and I hope that you will respond accordingly when we receive these calls. Requiring drivers to perform an extreme drop in speed in school areas, perhaps down from 80 kilometres to 30 kilometres, can create its own set of hazards.

Madam Speaker, I'm confident that the Safer School Zones Act strikes the appropriate balance between driver and pedestrian safety, and I want to use, if I may at this time, the example that has been brought to my attention by the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville who, on many occasions, has said there should be one consistent speed zone all the way across the Hammonds Plains Road from Upper Tantallon to the community of Bedford - and I share that. That is a road that is under the jurisdiction of HRM and I'm sure that there are more speed zone adjustments when you leave Sir John A. Macdonald High School and make your way over to Bedford, as in some areas it's 60 kilometres, other times it's 80 kilometres.

There are various groups representing residential associations along the Hammonds Plains Road who have made their views known on this particular topic. There will be in the middle of this, of course, the Hammonds Plains Elementary School - right on the highway - a very busy, overcrowded elementary school that was of course famous in years past for having those many portables around it. The only way that we can have a 30-kilometre speed zone for a school on the Hammonds Plains Road is if there is 50 kilometres from one area to the other consistently - and I look forward to working with the young member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville as he pursues this and we continue to work with the residency association. Our main goal, as always - and I'm sure this is true for members present here - is to protect young people. It is common sense and it will make our roads safer.

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Now, I do know there are going to be some interesting comments in here and I'm looking forward to hearing from members opposite on the topic of educating the public. I know the learned member for Clare in particular, based upon his experiences, will have some suggestions. And I'm looking forward to hearing them from not only the member for Clare but from other members when it comes to educating drivers. To avoid changing the rules in the middle of a school year, we're in no rush. We're going to make sure this is done correctly. It's intended that this legislation will not be proclaimed until September 1, 2012, and I think that's appropriate, because this is a piece of legislation of some consequence and educating the public, making drivers aware of this hugely important change, must be done correctly.

Knowing the member for Clare and other members of the House, I encourage them to be in contact with me personally, or with the members of my staff, as we look at how we are going to make sure the public is aware of the fact that this is a change when it comes to school zones that are in 50-kilometre areas around the province. More importantly, my granddaughter who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, will be made aware of the fact that she actually had some influence when it comes to Nova Scotia politics. Ella, of course, doesn't follow it as carefully as she should, but a time will come perhaps, in the future, when she will.

The response after I had visited the playground with permission to supervise, and not use the slide, as my granddaughter participated - I went into the school and spoke to the principal for a moment and said, my goodness, the people really slow down when they go by or go through your school zone. It was at that time that the principal made me aware that I was in a school zone that was 30 kilometres an hour.

In certain situations, as you are seeing it, 30 kilometres is appropriate in these crowded school areas. It's appropriate because of the fact that in many cases we have inattentive children with lots of other things on their minds, as I mentioned before, Madam Speaker, but it sets a tone in that community. It sets a tone that people just slow down, have a look around, particularly of course when you're in a school zone because it sets the tone that we are aware of these young people and that they are out at recess or after school when they are there. School children are present at different times.

I know that's an issue that has been brought to my attention - when children are present. I often use the example on the Hammonds Plains Road, if I may again, when you look at Tantallon Elementary. There are over 700 children who go to that school, shared between the old Tantallon Junior High and Tantallon Elementary. On the weekends, Saturdays in particular, it is a very popular place, not just for grandfathers out supervising their granddaughters or grandsons, but it's also very popular for soccer tournaments. You can come down that road and look over your shoulder and the parking lot is full. That's an indication of the fact - when you are in a school zone put the blinders on - you should be going 50 kilometres, currently, as the law says, and it soon will be 30 kilometres in a lot of these areas.

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It is important that we look at this legislation with further changes. I know that members opposite, and members of the caucus of which I am fortunate enough to be a member, will come forward with suggestions. Educating the public will be a challenge because of course people have to remind themselves that slowing down in school zones is common sense. Most Nova Scotians, the huge majority of Nova Scotians, do have that common sense. With those comments I'll take my place. I look forward to hearing from all members of the House on Bill No. 73, the Safer School Zones Act. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Clare.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET « » : Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak on this Bill No. 73, the Safer School Zones Act. This bill will amend the Motor Vehicle Act and proposes changes to the speed limit allowed in school zones.

This bill is about protecting our students in school zones. This piece of legislation will reduce the current speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour allowed in some school zones down to 30 kilometres per hour. Let me explain why only some school zones will be affected. Where the speed limit immediately before the school zone is 50 kilometres per hour, the speed limit inside that school zone will be reduced to 30 kilometres per hour.

Madam Speaker, especially around the city, in towns where the current speed limit is already 50 kilometres per hour, the speed limit allowed in those school zones will be dropping down to 30 kilometres per hour. Where the speed limit immediately before a school zone is higher than 50 kilometres per hour, the speed limit allowed in a school zone will remain at 50 kilometres per hour.

Let me give you an example. Along Highway 1 in Barton, Digby County, the speed limit is 90 kilometres per hour. The speed limit - naturally you enter the school zone just in front of the Barton school and again, when children are present, motorists are supposed to drop their speed to 50 kilometres per hour. I'm using this speed zone because I travel that section of the highway quite often, every week. Naturally the school is probably farther away from the road but a lot of the motorists - some do drop their speeds somewhat but very few actually drop their speed down to 50 kilometres when children are present.

This is an opportunity for the department. The minister was talking about how we need to educate the public, and here's a great opportunity. We need to educate all drivers in our province about reducing their speed in school zones when children are present.

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Is it only from Monday to Friday? In schools all over Nova Scotia, as the minister pointed out, there are all kinds of activities on weekends - soccer games, whatever it may be. The school parking lot is filled with vehicles over the weekend. We need to reach out and get that message out to our motorists, especially in this province. Again, as I pointed out, where the speed limit is higher - it's higher before you enter the school zone, the speed limit allowed in those school zones will remain at 50 kilometres per hour.

If the speed limit before a school zone is 50 kilometres per hour, the speed limit in that school zone will go down to 30 kilometres per hour. If the speed limit before a school zone is higher than 50 kilometres, then the speed limit in that school zone will not change. It will remain at 50 kilometres per hour when children are present.

The minister pointed out that there are a number of provinces - Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick - and many states in the U.S. that already have similar legislation in place. I anticipate more provinces and more jurisdictions will adopt similar legislation in the near future to help protect our students in school zones.

As the minister indicated earlier, reducing the speed limit allowed in a school zone could give a driver that extra split second to prevent an accident or even save a life. Data from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal shows that there were 15 pedestrian/cyclist accidents in school zones between 2002 and 2006 in our province. That's 15 accidents between 2002 and 2006. Of course we need to address that, and I think this legislation certainly is a step in the right direction. I hope with the proper education, this will reduce the number of accidents that are taking place in our school zones.

I believe this bill will reduce the number of accidents and ultimately will protect our children in a school zone. The minister also indicated that this proposed piece of legislation is supported by the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, Basinview Drive Community School, Safe Communities HRM, and other groups. Also, I understand this drop in speed in school zones is recommended by Transport Canada and Safe Kids Canada. Nobody can argue against protecting our students in school zones.

I have a major concern with the proposed legislation that's before the House, and my concern is simply that the department needs to create an awareness campaign with all - I can't stress enough - with all drivers in Nova Scotia. Before this proposed change becomes law in our province, the department needs to reach out to every driver and make sure that every driver is aware of this change. This is a big change. We can't just take it for granted that some people will remember that in some school zones the speed limit allowed is 30 and in others it's 50. I can't stress that enough. It's critical to reach out to every driver in Nova Scotia before this change becomes law.

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The government needs to inform all drivers of this proposed change. I suspect the department - the minister and his department - will have an awareness campaign before the change becomes law. Maybe the department should consider doing a personal mail-out to every driver in Nova Scotia. A constituent in my colleague's riding of Kings West by the name of Hilton Langille, of Kingston, suggested earlier that when the department does a major change - and as far as I'm concerned this is a major change under the Motor Vehicle Act - they should consider doing a personal mail-out to every driver in Nova Scotia to inform them, naturally, of the change; and secondly, to inform them when the change will become law in Nova Scotia.

Madam Speaker, under this bill, Clause 8, this act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation. Thought I hope, and I've pointed this out earlier to the minister, we can certainly talk about it and try to reach out to everybody through the media, but we have to recognize there are people who don't watch television, there are people who don't listen to radio, and people who don't read the paper. We have to make sure that we reach out to all our drivers in this province. Ultimately the safety of our children is at stake here so we can't just take it for granted that everybody will find out one way or another.

I hope the department will consider some ways in order to reach out to every driver in Nova Scotia to make sure that they are aware of this change and when the change will become law. With those few comments, Madam Speaker, I will take my seat and listen to what others have to say. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity today to take a few minutes and speak to this very important piece of legislation and one that I support 110 per cent. I think it's a great piece, I think it's something that has been required for some time. I know that I've had a number of calls and emails over the last five-plus years now since I've been representing Hants West about speed limits in a variety of scenarios, but especially around the school zones. It's interesting timing - I had one last week, minister, again on this, as a matter of fact my reply back was, I plan to speak to the minister about it. Low and behold here appears a bill, so it couldn't be any better than that. We're pleased to support it and I continue to do what I'm doing on behalf of those I represent in supporting it because it is an important piece.

Madam Speaker, we all know, in this House and all over Nova Scotia, that child safety and the safety of all those residents, whether their walking as adults or whatever, lots of parents still walk their younger children to school. It affects all pedestrians and drivers as well. Unfortunately we still see in so many school zones, especially more out in the rural areas - where you're driving through, the limit may be 50 but people are generally cursing along a bit faster than that. That's a concern and this will help slow them down, maybe they will get down to 50 where they should be now, even if they are still moving along too fast. Awareness will be everything in this. This should simply be a common sense approach but we all know that common sense doesn't always come top of mind when it should. I've said before in this House, it's too bad there wasn't a store where they sold common sense because I'm sure they could potentially have a lot of customers.

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Madam Speaker, we've heard a lot of discussion on this. The member from Clare made some great comments. How are we going to get this out? We've got some time, we've got till the beginning of the school year in 2012, which is a good thing because a campaign will need to be launched, but it's not difficult. I know that the minister and his department, good people over there - they know that this will not be a difficult task. There are a number of ways. The government has a pretty good Web site for finding information. There are a lot of tools at their disposal, maybe it is school newsletters, et cetera, and all these things going home. Although I must say a lot of that information coming home from schools usually stays, as is with my children, in the bottom of the school bag and you have to go dig for it.

So that's not always the most effective method but there are a lot of tools at the government's disposal to get this kind of information, and a lot of other information, out to people, epically adults, the driving public, that they are targeting with this piece, which is vital. Maybe they need to look at a Facebook page, that may sound a little bit crazy but there are a lot of people on Facebook. The young drivers, not as experienced drivers especially, they are all there, so maybe it can be, "Hey, join our Facebook page." It doesn't just talk about this piece and this information. It talks about a lot of things we do, specifically with transportation. Where you find this, you can go online to this site and you can register your car or renew your licence or whatever it might be. I think there's a lot of value in those tools.

People pay attention, whether we like it or we don't. It's one of those sources that everybody - you need only look on there and they are telling everything there is to tell, and they are on there a lot. People - I say "they" - there are a lot of people - not everybody, Madam Speaker, but I know you know there are a lot of people who are on this particular service today, this Facebook. What it might be tomorrow, who knows? There are all kinds, but this is something that seems to be around and is going to stay around for a while.

Again, it's an opportunity at no cost, or at least a very small cost as opposed to printing paper, sending it out, mailing it, or whatever it might be by way of an effort to do an awareness campaign. The biggest thing we need to do is that education piece. I know I've harped about this before when we put legislation forward. It goes through or it passes, and a lot of times, yes, there's a release, it goes out. I'm not sure how many people read it, in all honesty. They'll read it, they'll throw it away, they'll forget about it. It's just another bill that has gone through the House, unfortunately. If it means very little to them, it will never come back to them. This is a serious piece. There have been issues.

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The other thing that we need to do, Mr. Speaker - good to see you in the Chair this morning, welcome - another thing we need to think about here is what happens if they are over and above that 30 kilometres. What are the fines? I didn't hear the minister - and I may have missed it - speak to what the penalties would be in these zones, if they were going to change or be more stringent, higher in cost, or what it may be. Maybe it's just the typical - and I'm not sure what the speeding regime is these days. Fortunately, I have not had a ticket in a good long while for speeding - or yet. I'm not sure if the minister had mentioned it. I may have missed the fact that there would be increased penalties for the above speeding limit from 30-plus kilometres per hour. I'm sure that piece has been considered as well by legal and others to have a look at, and it's probably all part of the regulation around this particular bill.

Again, I just wanted to add a few comments on this. It's one that I agree with totally, but it is something where it's easy - we've talked about some tools to get it out, the awareness campaign. How close is reality? How closely can it be monitored and enforced? Is there going to be a plan come September of next year, where we'll see an additional amount of time being spent in school zones, and traffic analysts being there measuring speed limits, just as an example, to set the tone when it comes into place? Perhaps it is, because we know that in areas where speeding goes on, we may get calls, the RCMP may go out and set up shop there for a while, two or three people get rumours that there are tickets going out. It might slow them down. Will something similar be done? Will there be school zones that are going to be monitored?

It might not be so important on Tremaine Crescent in town where the Windsor Elementary School is, as an example. I can tell you that the speed limits there are probably much lower than they are perhaps going through Summerville on Highway No. 215, which also goes through Dr. Arthur Hines - the school is right there off the highway. It's a school zone, but traffic has been known to have an elevated speed there.

Is there a measurement tool whereby, come September 2012, we can expect that we are going to see enforcement on the roads in school zones to pick us up when we're going a little too fast and say, So-and-so, you've just been stopped for speeding, do you know there's new legislation? I'm not necessarily saying that you're going to lay a fine on the first time. I'm going to say, are you aware? Is that police officer going to say, are you aware, Mr. So-and-so or Ms. So-and-so, that there's legislation in the Province of Nova Scotia that has just been implemented that says it is 30 kilometres an hour through a school zone? You need to be aware of that.

The measurement tool is a very important piece - just as important as the education piece, in my opinion, Mr. Speaker. We all have an agreement here, I think, and I'm certain every driver would be of the same opinion that residents, pedestrians, and children walking to and from school or anywhere in that zone are very important. We would never want to see anything happen; we would never want to see accidents. We would never want to see accidents between vehicles in these areas, let alone car/pedestrian type accidents.

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Unfortunately, I speak from experience, and it's not a good experience. It's a difficult thing that can happen. It's great that the minister's granddaughter took him to a school. He claims he didn't play on the school equipment - and I'll believe that, minister - but probably he should have and he probably should have enjoyed that at the same time along with that granddaughter. It's nice to see that it's all right to ask people who are a little younger than us - maybe daughters, granddaughters, grandsons, et cetera - to have some input, because the old saying is that sometimes from the mouths of babes come some wonderful things, some wonderful ideas. Never rule anything out - and MLAs too, to the honourable member.

Thank you for bringing this forward. It means something to the constituents where I come from, and I'm sure all Nova Scotians. We look forward to this bill, hearing from a lot of others, the comments, and seeing it pass its way through this House - and certainly to being implemented next September, in the new school year, and appropriately so.

So with those few comments, Mr. Speaker, thank you, and I will take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

MR. MAT WHYNOTT « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to rise in my place today, again to take part in this debate. It's something that I'm glad to see, the Opposition supporting this bill and the moving forward of this bill. I'm also thankful that the minister mentioned a road that I travel pretty much every day in my constituency, known as the Hammonds Plains Road, and any of you who have travelled from the South Shore over to Dartmouth and up to the airport and further on in Nova Scotia, or vice versa, have, I'm sure, travelled the Hammonds Plains Road.

As the local MLA, that's one of the things I'm working on with community members and working with the Halifax Regional Municipality, to see if there's anything that we can do there because safety is certainly a concern. I've taken the advice of the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to get out and knock on doors at least once a week, and I do that often, and the number-one concern I hear from the residents along that road is the safety concern and, in particular, the speed. There are inconsistencies along that road and, in particular, on either side of the one school zone that is along the road, and that is a deep concern to many residents who live along there - and, you know, close to 15,000 residents live along there.

It is a major thoroughfare for people, so one of the things that they have suggested for the road is the widening of it, but one thing in particular was the reduction of the speed limit. I was happy enough to actually go to a presentation from the Greater Hammonds Plains Community Association just a couple weeks ago, and their number-one ask was to see those speed reductions along the road. (Interruption)

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That's right, my daughter, exactly, is out there now and, of course, in five years time will be going to school and, you know, it's a safety concern for me as well, as a new parent.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that was brought up by the Opposition was in regard to education and, absolutely, this is key in how a piece of legislation which will come into effect on September 1, 2012 - how that communication tool gets out to the public. And one of the things that actually came up the other day when I was out knocking on doors in the Millwood area - he's actually a bus driver and he brought up the fact that he felt there wasn't enough education around the yielding to bus legislation, something that I know came from the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island. He felt, you know, this is a new piece of legislation for drivers, and when the Motor Vehicle Act is changed, sometimes it changes and drivers don't pay attention to those changes. So it's good to hear from the Opposition and from our own government MLAs, to know that education is key in how successful this legislation can be.

So one of the things that I would challenge all members of the House to do - as we all know, we have different means, as the member for Hants West talked about Facebook, Twitter, but also we all have budgets to put out newsletters and that sort of thing. Maybe there is an opportunity there where we can play a role in communicating to our constituents the changes in legislation that we actually pass in this Legislature. So I would challenge members of the House to do that.

I know that the member for Clare mentioned the concern around 50 accidents, pedestrian accidents or motor vehicle accidents within school (Interruption) Yes, 15, and he mentioned that between the year 2000 and 2006 - and, you know, in my estimation that's too many. When there's more than one, then that's too many. Pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: Fifteen too many.

MR. WHYNOTT « » : Fifteen too many, yes, thank you. So we all play this role. The other thing that this legislation does too, Mr. Speaker, is it creates - I've heard several times from the local RCMP detachment in Tantallon, around the need for an improved legislation around school zones and I've spoken to several members who live in my constituency who have shown support in this legislation as well. All of these things are a positive step forward and, again, I would encourage all MLAs to use this opportunity to get out the message to their constituents - a change that will, no question, benefit their constituents.

As has already been mentioned, Mr. Speaker, this legislation has been passed and has been in effect in several U.S. states and in several provinces, including Alberta, B.C. and New Brunswick. I think this is a good step forward to ensure that our roads are safer. That's one of the things that I know we've gotten into a little bit of debate here this week, around roads. One of the things is when roads are constructed, we talk about safety of the roads and we want to ensure that when people are on the roads, when children are walking on the sidewalks to school, that they can feel as safe as they possibly can. As drivers ourselves, we have to ensure that we drive appropriately when we travel back to our constituencies, including from one end of the province, from Yarmouth right to Sydney, that when we are on the roads we are following the speed limits.

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Mr. Speaker, we know that in Nova Scotia there are over 400 schools in the province and they are spaced out in urban areas and very rural areas. It is interesting that when this legislation came forward from the minister at our caucus table, the first school that came to mind was the one that's in the constituency of Pictou East along Highway No. 104, just part of the new twinning that's going on there, I believe. That was the first school that came to mind when we talked about 100-Series Highways - that there are schools along every type of road in the province.

We know that many schools in Nova Scotia are located on main thoroughfares where traffic can be heavy and busy at times during peak times in the mornings or on our way home from work. This will ensure that people are slowing down, that kids and their parents and teachers can feel safer when they walk home from school. That's another thing, Madam Speaker, encouraging our young people to walk home from school is important because we know of some of the issues that we have in this province, in this country, and really in North America, around the issue of obesity, so this is, again, another good thing.

As we all know, as I mentioned before, as drivers we have an obligation to ensure that we follow the posted speed limits. Sometimes you do get caught, I think we all have, or most of us have gotten caught, but you know it's a good thing because we know that our law enforcement officials are out there to enforce that law, which is, again, another positive thing.

We know that in this piece of legislation, when it was the briefing, there were many community groups across Nova Scotia who supported this, including, I believe as the minister said, the Cobequid Community Health Board, which is the health board that represents the area that I represent. It is good to see a positive letter coming forward from that group. As well, we talk about the Nova Scotia Chiefs of Police Association, Safe Communities HRM, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Injury Free Nova Scotia, Ecology Action, and of course the list goes on and on. Seeing that it works in other jurisdictions, we know that when a good piece of legislation comes before this House it's good to see a collaborative effort from all members of the House.

I do have actually a news article here dated February 27, 2003. It's actually an article from the former MLA for Colchester North. In fact, in the article one of the things he suggested at that time was that area residents worry that vehicles travelling at 50 kilometres can't see students walking before they reach the crest of the hill and don't have time to slow down. The former MLA questioned the speed limit around the school and he was going to find out if the school zone limit could be reduced by legislation to 40 kilometres. This goes one step further to 30 kilometres which I think is a good thing. I'll table that news article from the Daily News.

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Again, this is a good thing for the people that I represent. I know I talked a little bit about the Hammonds Plains Road but we also know of several other schools, in particular, Millwood Elementary in my area where it is actually in the middle of a subdivision so this will affect the students that go to that school as well as students that go to Sackville Heights Junior High and Harry R. Hamilton and Millwood High School. This is a good thing.

I know that the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage - his kids go to Millwood Elementary and also to Sackville Heights Junior High and so this will have a benefit to those students going to those schools. Now they can feel just a little bit safer when they walk to school, take the bus or cross the road knowing this will be in effect on September 1, 2012.

I think also the minister mentioned that, that it will be proclaimed at that time. What it does, it allows us as a province to educate the residents on this. With that, I would move we adjourn debate on this bill.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. I move that the House now rise to meet again on Monday, November 7th from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. After the daily routine, the government will call Bill No. 73 for second reading and resume Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House now rise to sit again on Monday between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 11:09 a.m.]