Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD12-59

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/



Fourth Session

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
URB - NSP: General Rate Application - Deny,
4540
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
ERDT: RDA Review Panel - Rept.,
4540
N.S. Commn. on Building Our Economy - Members,
4543
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2380, Boston - Tree Lighting Ceremony:
Merry Christmas - Wish, Hon. C. Parker »
4547
Vote - Affirmative
4547
Res. 2381, Spicer, Supt. Don: Retirement - Congrats.,
4548
Vote - Affirmative
4549
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 155, Richmond-NewPage Port Hawkesbury Tax Agreement Act,
4549
No. 156, Halifax Regional Water Commission Act,
4549
No. 157, Halifax Regional Municipality Charter,
4549
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2382, HARDLINES - Robichaud Award: Development
- Thank, Hon. W. Gaudet »
4549
Vote - Affirmative
4550
Res. 2383, Prosper, Wilfred/Googoo, Christiane (Deceased):
Bravery - Praise, Mr. A. MacMaster »
4550
Vote - Affirmative
4550
Res. 2384, Sackville-Bedford Meals on Wheels - Anniv. (25th),
4551
Vote - Affirmative
4551
Res. 2385, Harrington, Thomas - Boston Tree Lighting Ceremony:
Performance - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey »
4551
Vote - Affirmative
4552
Res. 2386, Firefighters: Work - Thank,
4552
Vote - Affirmative
4553
Res. 2387, Little, Bernadette: Golf Accomplishments - Congrats.,
4553
Vote - Affirmative
4554
Res. 2388, Salsman, Murray: Cancer Patients (Anna. Valley)
- Dedication/Advocacy, Mr. L. Glavine « »
4554
Vote - Affirmative
4554
Res. 2389, Dixacadie Dance Troupe: Success - Congrats.,
4555
Vote - Affirmative
4556
Res. 2390, Joudrey, Mervyn: Diamond Jubilee Medal - Congrats.,
4556
Vote - Affirmative
4557
Res. 2391, Berube, Charles - Commun./Prov.: Contribution
4557
Vote - Affirmative
4557
Res. 2392, Saulnier, Clinton: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont « »
4558
Vote - Affirmative
4558
Res. 2393, Guysborough-Sheet Hbr. MLA: Grandson - Birth Congrats.,
4558
Vote - Affirmative
4559
Res. 2394, Jabbour, Niki: Book Publication - Congrats.,
4559
Vote - Affirmative
4560
Res. 2395, Marion Bridge Elem. Sch.: WOW Reading
Challenge - Congrats., Mr. A. MacLeod »
4560
Vote - Affirmative
4560
Res. 2396, Samson, Gerry: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee
Medal - Congrats., Hon. M. Samson »
4561
Vote - Affirmative
4561
Res. 2397, van Zutphen, David & Willena - Farm Operation:
Expansion - Congrats., Mr. A. MacMaster « »
4561
Vote - Affirmative
4562
Res. 2398, Stuart, Danny & Rebecca - Seashore Electronics Ltd.:
Serv. - Congrats., Hon. W. Gaudet « »
4562
Vote - Affirmative
4563
Res. 2399, Lobster Kettle Rest.: Louisbourg Santa Claus Parade
- Congrats., Mr. A. MacLeod « »
4563
Vote - Affirmative
4564
Res. 2400, Roma, Jessica Mary: Commun. Contributions
- Recognize, Hon. K. Colwell « »
4564
Vote - Affirmative
4564
Res. 2401, NSTU: NDP Gov't. - Denouncing Resolution,
4565
Res. 2402, Coade, Peter: Climatological Serv. (50 Yrs.)
- Congrats., Ms. K. Regan « »
4565
Vote - Affirmative
4566
Res. 2403, Skora, Mr. Jan: Diplomatic Appt. - Congrats.,
4566
Vote - Affirmative
4567
Res. 2404, Vetter, Christoph: Diamond Jubilee Scholarship
- Congrats., Hon. M. Samson « »
4567
Vote - Affirmative
4568
Res. 2405, Electoral Boundaries Select Comm. Meetings:
Hansard Record - Release, Mr. A. Younger »
4568
Vote - Affirmative
4570
Res. 2406, Blue Mtn. - Birch Cove Lakes - Protection: HRM
4568
Vote - Affirmative
4569
Res. 2407, Prov. of N.S.: Support - Affirm,
4569
Vote - Affirmative
4570
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 505, Prem.: Mar. Link - Ownership,
4571
No. 506, Prem. - N.S. Commn. on Building the Economy:
Electricity Policy - Review, Hon. J. Baillie »
4572
No. 507, Prem.: Muskrat Falls-Mar. Link - Fed. Loan Guarantee,
4574
No. 508, Prem.: Muskrat Falls - First Nations Concerns,
4575
No. 509, ERDT - Repts.: Commissioning - Stop,
4577
No. 510, N.S. Home for Colored Children: Inquiry
- Prem. Commit, Hon. S. McNeil « »
4579
No. 511, N.S. Home for Colored Children: Inquiry - Prem. Call,
4581
No. 512, Prem. - Sexual Abuse Victims: Civil Cases - Limitations,
4583
No. 513, ERDT - Reports: Commissioning - Stop,
4584
No. 514, Prem.: Ottawa Meetings - Details,
4586
No. 515, Com. Serv.: North End United Commun. Housing Co-op
- Creditors, Ms. K. Regan « »
4587
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 151, Workers' Compensation Act
4589
4590
4592
4593
4595
Vote - Affirmative
4595
No. 153, Community Interest Companies Act
4596
4597
4598
4600
4602
Vote - Affirmative
4603
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 3:01 P.M
4603
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 3:07 P.M
4603
CWH REPORTS
4603
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
N.S. Home for Colored Children: Inquiry - Call
4605
4607
4609
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Nov. 30th at 9:00 a.m
4612
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2408, Connelly, Pat: Death of - Tribute,
4613
Res. 2409, Amirault, Jessica & Jeremy: Son - Birth Congrats.,
4613
Res. 2410, d'Eon, Ginette & Reil: Son - Birth Congrats.,
4614
Res. 2411, Owen, Angela & Trevor: Son - Birth Congrats.,
4614
Res. 2412, Crowell, Angela & Richard: Son - Birth Congrats.,
4614
Res. 2413, MacIntosh, Jennifer/d'Entremont, Real: Daughter
- Birth Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont « »
4615
Res. 2414, Malone, Jade/Spinney, Adam: Daughter
- Birth Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont « »
4615
Res. 2415, d'Entremont, Jodie/Fitzgerald, Travis: Daughter
- Birth Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont « »
4616
Res. 2416, Keech, Candice/d'Entremont, Kristin: Daughter
- Birth Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont « »
4616
Res. 2417, LeBlanc, Amanda/Hatfield, Corey: Daughter
- Birth Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont « »
4617
Res. 2418, Fraughton, Cynthia/Fraughton, Ryan: Twin Daughters
- Birth Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont « »
4617
Res. 2419, Keizer, Myra: Reg. Heritage Fair - Merit Award,
4617
Res. 2420, Duggan, Jacob: Reg. Heritage Fair
- Judge's Commendation, Hon. K. Casey « »
4618
Res. 2421, Cameron, Cassie: Reg. Heritage Fair
- Hist. of Sci./Tech. Award, Hon. K. Casey « »
4618
Res. 2422, Thiesen, Abby: Reg. Heritage Fair
- Judge's Commendation, Hon. K. Casey « »
4619
Res. 2423, Bush, Noah: Reg. Heritage Fair - Merit Award,
4619
Res. 2424, Green, Noah/Muise, Kael: Reg. Heritage Fair
- Best Structure, Hon. K. Casey « »
4620
Res. 2425, Veno, Sara: Reg. Heritage Fair - Young Citizen
(Can.) Nominee, Hon. K. Casey « »
4620
Res. 2426, Porter, Alan & Jennifer: Corn Maze Harvesting
- Truck Donation, Hon. K. Casey « »
4621
Res. 2427, Eisses, Henry & Janet - Corn Maze: Time/Equipment
- Donation, Hon. K. Casey « »
4621
Res. 2428, MacMillan, Tara Hill & Allan/Charles Hill & Son:
Corn Maze - Spraying, Hon. K. Casey « »
4622
Res. 2429, Millen, Jonathan/J & B Millen Farm: Corn Maze
- Land Prep., Hon. K. Casey « »
4622
Res. 2430, Eisses, Michael & Amanda: Corn Maze - Combining,
4623
Res. 2431, MacEachern, Jolene/Folly River Farms: Corn Maze
- Planting, Hon. K. Casey « »
4623
Res. 2432, Masstown Market: Corn Maze - Land Provision,
4624
Res. 2433, MacHattie, Ian/AgriBioFuels Ltd.: Corn Maze
- Handling & Drying, Hon. K. Casey « »
4624
Res. 2434, Hamilton, Anne/Milfern Holsteins: Corn Maze
- Fertilizer Application, Hon. K. Casey « »
4625
Res. 2435, Harvest 4 Hunger - Trinity United Church/Farmers/
Masstown Market: Partners - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
4625
Res. 2436, Bouchard, Ben Réal - Welcome to the World,
4626

[Page 4539]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2012

Sixty-first General Assembly

Fourth Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Gordon Gosse

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER » : Order, please. Before we do the daily routine, the subject matter for late debate has been chosen and I will now read it:

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately appoint an independent, qualified person to draw up terms of reference and call an inquiry into events at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

It was submitted by the honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the accommodation. I beg leave to table a petition with the operative clause:

[Page 4540]

". . . your petitioners call upon the Nova Scotia House of Assembly to use its powers over the Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities, the . . . (UARB) to deny any General Rate Application presented by NSPI requesting a rate increase in 2013, 2014 and 2015."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my name to the petition.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

HON. PERCY PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, my apologies for being a little tardy. I'm pleased to rise to talk about steps this government is taking to strengthen Nova Scotia's rural communities, steps that will help reverse the trend of 20 years of the worst economic growth in the country, steps that will offer Nova Scotians in rural communities more opportunities to grow their businesses, better train their employees, and prepare for the opportunities coming to Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, our rural economies will be central to Nova Scotia's success, now and in the future. Our government understands the challenges communities have faced because of the recent global recession. It hasn't been easy. But for the first time in a very long time there is renewed hope, thanks in large part to the many opportunities this government has helped to create. Our rural communities are critical to the overall growth and prosperity of Nova Scotia's economy. Creating and protecting good jobs in rural communities is something this government takes very seriously, a commitment we've demonstrated time and time again.

Mr. Speaker, these jobs ensure Nova Scotians can provide for themselves and their families, support other businesses in their communities, and build a future for their children. To make the most of the opportunities, those opportunities coming to Nova Scotia, simply put, we need to do things differently. Our approach to regional development authorities is one of the things this government is doing differently. Yesterday, the independent panel appointed by the province and municipalities delivered its report and recommendations to support regional economic development in the future.

Mr. Speaker, the RDAs we know today are 18 years old. While the talented people dedicated to regional development throughout the province have worked hard with the current model, it's time to give them the tools they need to succeed. If we want to see different results, which we do, then we need to do things differently. We can't respond to today's problems with the same thinking that helped create them. The report presented by the panel yesterday represents an exciting turning point.

[Page 4541]

Mr. Speaker, it recommends the winning conditions needed to strengthen our rural communities and our economy. The panel recommends creating six regional enterprise networks that will bring together business, communities, the province, municipalities, and other groups involved in economic development. Regional networks will improve coordination and bring planning in line with the province's jobsHere strategy. The vision presented by the panel will help Nova Scotians grow their businesses, creating more good jobs and helping to grow our economy in every region of the province.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the panel members for their hard work. I want to thank them for their commitment to a more prosperous future for rural Nova Scotia. I also want to recognize all those who work and volunteer in economic development across the province for their dedication, the many people who work in RDAs, our partners at the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, countless local business individuals, and Nova Scotians from all corners of the province.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is on the brink of tremendous opportunity. This is another way that this government is helping make sure Nova Scotia is ready for the opportunities of tomorrow. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I would certainly like to thank the minister for an advance copy of his remarks today. I would also like to acknowledge Jo Ann Fewer, Keith MacDonald, Bob MacEachern, and Allister Surette. These individuals have worked diligently to identify challenges within the current system and have offered recommendations to maximize taxpayers' investment in regional development. On behalf of Nova Scotians, we thank them for their efforts.

The Official Opposition is on record as supporting the need for revamping our current RDA model. It is the government's duty to ensure that every single dollar is spent wisely and that those investments align with regional priorities and core competencies. We must provide Nova Scotians with specific evidence of the province's performance in investing their tax dollars. Furthermore, for this direction to be successful, the plan must be organic and fit the needs of the community, not the government of the day.

The panel has provided a framework for maximizing our regional development investment. Creating six regional enterprise networks with a new funding model, focusing on priorities, a shared governance model, accountability and reporting standards, identifying emerging market sectors, and leveraging federal dollars are all meaningful recommendations that, if implemented properly, will undoubtedly improve the way we provide economic development support to these respective regions.

[Page 4542]

The panel has offered a new way forward, and it is now time for the government to set the tone and allow local experts and entrepreneurs to grow our economy. Based on the minister's statement today, I can't help but be concerned by his reference to the regional networks attempting to align with jobsHere. This plan has not grown our economy and rural Nova Scotia is still struggling. If jobsHere was answering the call of Nova Scotians, we would not have a Premier constructing a task force on the rural economy.

In closing, the Official Opposition is encouraged by the panel's report and we look forward to applying the recommendations to the regional development model as it exists, but this is a beginning that requires a rethink, due diligence, and a lot of hard work. When it comes to economic development, this government has a record of over-selling and under-delivering. Let's encourage this minister to not overhype this report or suggest that it is going to solve the many problems of the rural economy.

We hope that this report is not melded into a government marketing scheme where Nova Scotians hear how great things are in our communities. For Nova Scotians, this message is getting old. They are tired of government promises that never live up to expectations. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for providing us with a copy of his statement this morning.

Mr. Speaker, rural economies in Nova Scotia are struggling. The highest taxes and the highest power rates in the country, not surprisingly, have taken their toll. Rural Nova Scotia has paid the price for high taxes, wasteful spending, and the NDP's mismanagement. Jobs are disappearing: 4,400 full-time jobs have vanished in rural Nova Scotia since the NDP took office. Unemployment in southwestern Nova Scotia is at 13.5 per cent. That's the highest it has ever been since Statistics Canada started keeping track. Unemployment in Cape Breton is at 16 per cent.

With a full year of negative growth, rural Nova Scotia is officially in recession. Many in rural Nova Scotia have given up hope - hope of having a good, stable job; hope of providing for their family; and hope of giving their kids a bright future in their hometown. What the NDP has done for rural Nova Scotia hasn't worked. That has been obvious for a long time now. We see the minister's statement today as an admission that his plan has failed for rural Nova Scotians, and it's high time he shifted gears.

With the rural economy already in recession, it is crucial that government get it right. It is important that this plan create more jobs and cost taxpayers less. Our caucus urges the minister to keep these two goals at the top of his mind as he develops a plan for RDAs in the coming months: a successful plan, a plan that will truly fix the sick rural economy, that will lower taxes, stop wasteful spending, and most of all, create more jobs. It will support local initiatives, use every taxpayer's dollar as carefully and as efficiently as possible, and it will cut red tape and free up business people to be able to create more jobs. Our caucus is reviewing the report and looking forward to hearing what the stakeholders and municipalities have to say. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 4543]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

HON. DARRELL DEXTER « » : Nova Scotia is at a crucial time in its history. This government has guided the province through three years of the worst global economic conditions anyone can remember, and now we are starting to turn the corner. New investment is flowing into our province. Labour and businesses are partnering in a new spirit of co-operation to modernize our forest industry. We're expanding wind, tidal, and regional hydro production; innovating our resource sectors in agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture; and revitalizing our tourism industry. The shipbuilding contracts, offshore exploration, and the construction of the new Nova Centre will help Halifax grow into a dynamic mid-size city. In turn, we will attract more investment and we will create more opportunities for business growth and employment throughout the province.

Mr. Speaker, now we need to seize those opportunities and spread the benefits across the province. Over the last month alone I have announced close to 1,000 good jobs, with more to follow in the days to come. We are now allowed more immigrants into our province. In the next five to 10 years I believe that the local economy throughout Nova Scotia and in HRM and outside HRM can thrive, not simply survive. But to do that, we must also understand our province's common opportunities and share ideas about building a better future. Preparing for prosperity is about reaching higher to make the most of opportunity. That will mean business and community leaders need to take some risks, and Nova Scotians must understand that that is okay. We need to embrace change. We need to encourage innovation.

With so much opportunity on the horizon and with the firm foundation of jobsHere, I have asked Rob Patzelt and Rick Clarke, as the co-chairs of the Premier's Advisory Council on the Economy, to oversee a commission that over the next 18 months will explore that concept: how can we spread the benefit of Nova Scotia's biggest opportunities across the province? As the value of our natural resources increases, how do we ensure that small businesses and small towns take the steps they need to export their products to the world?

We are so fortunate to be surrounded by resources that can produce energy, food, and nutrients for the world. There are worldwide markets for our land and our forests that are producing high-value fibre, food, and energy. In fact, we have become a leader in green jobs and environmental protection. How do we manage the social and economic risks that sometimes go with economic development? How can we help Nova Scotia understand that growth in one part of the province means opportunity in others, and break down the outdated idea that regions of the province are competing against each other?

[Page 4544]

I believe we have the right people to consult Nova Scotians on these important points and to bring our province together. Mr. Speaker, with your permission I'd now like to introduce those people who will be making up the commission. With us today are Ray Ivany, who is the chair of the commission; John Bragg; Dan Christmas; Irene d'Entremont; Susanna Fuller, who could not be with us today; and Jo Ann Fewer, who will lead the secretariat. Together they are the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : I, too, want to welcome the distinguished Nova Scotians who are here in the gallery and who have answered the call of our Premier to help find a solution to the challenges facing the rural economy of our province. All of you have contributed to this province in a great way, and I know that your expertise will add a great deal to this panel and hopefully chart a course for the province to be able to solve the challenges that we're facing.

I also want to agree with the Premier again when he said that Nova Scotia is at a critical time in our history. This Premier also said this government has guided this province through three years of the worst global economic conditions anyone can remember and now we are starting to turn the corner.

What the Premier forgot to add is that over that last three years, Nova Scotia has the worst economic growth in all of Canada. Like Nova Scotia, every province has suffered through the recession and they have dealt with it in the last three years, very turbulent economic times. What this Premier conveniently forgets to mention is that the NDP Government in Nova Scotia did the poorest job of dealing with these global economic conditions. This government has done such a poor job of managing the economy over the last three years we now have more people unemployed in Nova Scotia than we did at the height of the recession. Those people who are finding themselves unemployed are being forced into part-time jobs, poor wages and few benefits.

There are economic opportunities that lie ahead but these opportunities have been continually delayed and this government has not shown the leadership necessary to get the job done. The private sector consensus is that Irving, Shell, Deep Panuke and the Donkin mine are all keys to seeing economic growth in Nova Scotia. All four of these projects are either delayed or in jeopardy.

The Premier states he wants to seize those opportunities and spread the benefit across the province. The first step in seizing these opportunities is ensuring these projects get up and running in a timely manner. This government has not been able to do that. What this government has done is promise jobs but those promised jobs never seem to materialize. In fact, as the Premier noted, they promised 1,000 jobs in the last few weeks. Unfortunately, the Premier's job promises are a lot like the promises he made during the last election campaign. When this government gave $590 million to six large corporations, the government promised 15,000 jobs and what did we see - 1,300 fewer jobs in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 4545]

Rural Nova Scotia has been disproportionately impacted by this government's economic mismanagement. In the last three years, rural Nova Scotia has lost 8,200 people and 4,400 full-time jobs. Things have been so bad in rural Nova Scotia that there has not been one month - since this government has taken office - that we have not seen the rural unemployment rate above 10 per cent. Despite three and a half years of double-digit unemployment, this Premier has insisted that the jobsHere strategy was working for rural Nova Scotia. Today the Premier has finally admitted his economic strategy has failed.

Today this Premier is doing what he should have done three and a half years ago. The Liberals welcome the attention this government is finally paying to rural Nova Scotia; we just wish it had come earlier. People around this province have continually looked to this Premier for help, to stimulate our economy and to improve job prospects. The Premier keeps telling them things will be better, wait until tomorrow, the next election is coming. People are losing patience with this government and today's announcement is a clear admission that this government is finally starting to understand the frustration rural Nova Scotia has been expressing for the last three and a half years.

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

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I too want to welcome our guests today. I know many of them personally, I know their ability and their talent and their energy and their commitment to our province. Although we may differ with the government over many things when it comes to managing our economy, I do welcome the appointment of the commissioners that are with us today. I can't help but point out that since one of the most important employers in Cumberland County is one of the commissioners, I absolutely want to make sure I put on the record how supportive I am of the appointment of these committee members.

They have an important task but also a big task. Over the last three years, while the rest of Canada has added 688,000 full-time jobs, in Nova Scotia our record is the exact opposite. Nova Scotia has dropped 7,400 full-time jobs during the same time. I only hope that the Premier and the NDP are ready to listen when the committee inevitably reports back the obvious - having the highest taxes in Canada, having now confirmed that we have the highest electricity prices in all of Canada, having imposed unnecessary barriers to job creation like first contract arbitration, that the NDP is on the wrong course. I have great faith that this commission will report back that those elements are at the root cause of Nova Scotia's abysmal record, particularly in rural Nova Scotia, over the last three years, compared to the rest of Canada.

[Page 4546]

Mr. Speaker, we can all only hope that the commission is empowered to look at all of the options, including important decisions that Nova Scotians have, like the Muskrat Falls project, and unlike the Premier and his government, I hope that they do their homework and compare that 50-year decision, that $7.4 billion decision, to all of the alternatives available to Nova Scotians for clean and inexpensive energy.

I actually just want to point out how pleased I am that Mr. Bragg and Oxford Frozen Foods are part of the commission because that company, Mr. Speaker, looked at all its options for its own energy needs and recently switched to natural gas as a clean and cost competitive solution to make that company more competitive than it already is, as it competes around the world. Oxford Frozen Foods did its homework and compared its energy options - something that the NDP have yet to do. In fact, they are even preventing the URB from considering natural gas and the supplies of natural gas, and the pricing of natural gas, and the clean energy of natural gas, as an option compared to Muskrat Falls. So I look forward to the report of the committee on something as important as high taxes and high energy prices.

Mr. Speaker, a committee to report to another committee is not going to be enough to turn around the urgent economic situation in rural Nova Scotia today and, in particular, to tell those 7,400 unemployed Nova Scotians, newly unemployed in the last three years, to wait until the Spring of 2014 for the committee to report to the other committee is, quite frankly, not enough. Nova Scotians already know what's wrong with the world economy, what's wrong with Nova Scotia's economy that is so different from the rest of Canada.

They know that the solution lies in lower taxes, in stopping wasteful spending like the bailouts and the bureaucracy that the government continues to support, and that together, lower taxes and stopping that wasteful spending can lead to more jobs by freeing up the entrepreneurs of our province, small and large, like some of the commissioners who are here today to do their job, to create new sources of wealth and new prosperity, and new jobs throughout all parts of Nova Scotia whether it's one or two, or five jobs at a time, from the ground up.

Mr. Speaker, that's what's ultimately going to put the economy of rural Nova Scotia back together and so with those few words, I'll just conclude by saying I very much look forward to the final report of the commission and I hope the government finally listens to some common sense about managing the economy of rural Nova Scotia.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

[Page 4547]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 2380

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

Whereas a beautiful 15-metre balsam fir Christmas tree from Nova Scotia is being unveiled in Boston this evening as our gift to that city for their help after the Halifax Explosion of 1917; and

Whereas a crowd of thousands on Boston Common and hundreds of thousands of people watching ABC television will witness this large symbol of Nova Scotia's gratitude to Boston and of Nova Scotia's vibrant Christmas tree export industry; and

Whereas the province is proud to continue the Boston Christmas tree tradition and to promote Nova Scotia to the Boston audience through the tree-lighting ceremony tonight, school visits in Boston by Deputy Premier Corbett, and through media exposure in the United States;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly wish the people of the City of Boston a very Merry Christmas as they light up this year's Christmas tree, and extend a heartfelt thank you for their generous acts of kindness towards us which will never be forgotten by the people of Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, may I beg leave to make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Most certainly.

MR. LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw your attention to the east gallery where we have with us today a former, and current, member of the Halifax Regional Municipality Police Public Safety Office. Sergeant Scott MacDonald is the newest Halifax Regional Municipality Police Public Safety Officer. He has worked alongside Superintendent Don Spicer for over three years on many public safety initiatives. We also have former Public Safety Office Superintendent Don Spicer, who began his career in 1978 and has been an active member in the policing community. Superintendent Spicer retired earlier this month, after 34 years of policing, and has taken on the new role of executive director for Shelter Nova Scotia. We wish him well in his new role.

[Page 4548]

I would ask Superintendent Spicer and Sergeant MacDonald to rise and receive the warm welcome of this House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : We welcome all our guests to the gallery and hope they enjoy this afternoon's proceedings.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2381

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

Whereas in 2009 the Public Safety Office of the Halifax Regional Police was created to address the root causes of crime and enhance public safety; and

Whereas Superintendent Don Spicer, the first Halifax Regional Police Public Safety Officer, retired earlier this month after more than 34 years of policing; and

Whereas Halifax Regional Police recently appointed Sergeant Scott MacDonald to fill Superintendent Spicer's very large shoes;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Superintendent Spicer of the Halifax Regional Police on his retirement from policing, and wish Sergeant MacDonald all the best in his new role.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 4549]

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 155 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 51 of the Acts of 2006. The Richmond Stora Enso Taxation Act. (Hon. John MacDonell)

Bill No. 156 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2007. The Halifax Regional Water Commission Act. (Hon. John MacDonell)

Bill No. 157 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 39 of the Acts of 2008. The Halifax Regional Municipality Charter. (Hon. John MacDonell)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Ordered that these bills be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2382

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

Whereas the demand on the retail industry in Canada is always requiring constant change and innovation; and

Whereas to recognize this innovation among Canada's hardware and home improvement retailers, HARDLINES has developed a new award to honour excellence in retail innovation; and

Whereas this new award, called the Mark Robichaud Award for retail innovation, was named in honour of one of the home improvement industry's pioneers;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia Legislature thank HARDLINES for developing this new award and honouring the late Mark Robichaud, owner of UJ Robichaud TIM-BR Mart, a fifth generation family business in Meteghan Centre, Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4550]

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 Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2383

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

Whereas in 1951 the late Wilfred Prosper and the late Christiane Googoo were walking along the road in Waycobah and bravely entered a burning home to save infant Elizabeth Bernard and her brother, Anthony Sylliboy; and

Whereas Wilfred first went upstairs and rescued Anthony but was told another child was lying in a crib; and

Whereas though his clothing was on fire, he courageously went in the house again and passed baby Elizabeth out the second-storey window, before jumping out to save himself;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly praise the late Wilfred Prosper and the late Christiane Googoo for sacrificing their own safety to save two children.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2384

[Page 4551]

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

Whereas Meals on Wheels is a non-profit organization that delivers hot and nutritious meals to seniors and individuals who are unable to prepare adequate meals in their homes; and

Whereas Sackville-Bedford Meals on Wheels operates Tuesday through Friday, serving in the communities of Sackville, Bedford, Mount Uniacke, Waverley, Fall River, Wellington, Windsor Junction, Hammonds Plains area, and Beaver Bank; and

Whereas Sackville-Bedford Meals on Wheels, which was founded in 1987, is celebrating 25 years of providing this valuable service to help local residents maintain their independence and live in their own homes;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Sackville-Bedford Meals on Wheels for 25 years of providing hot, nutritious meals to residents of Sackville, Bedford, and beyond, and thank them for their dedicated service to the community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2385

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

Whereas 21-year-old Thomas Harrington from Glenholme, Colchester North, who has been playing the bagpipes since age 9, has been a Champion Supreme with the Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association and has represented Atlantic Canada at international events in Ontario, New York, and Scotland; and

[Page 4552]

Whereas Thomas' grandmother was from Boston and his great-grandfather's connection to Boston was during the Halifax Explosion; and

Whereas Thomas will be piping at the tree-lighting ceremony in Boston this year, with the precision drumming group Squid, from Halifax, an invitation he was most proud to accept;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Thomas Harrington, a third-year university student, for being selected to perform at the tree-lighting ceremony in Boston, for having an opportunity to make a personal connection with his family history, and thank him for being an excellent ambassador for the Province of Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2386

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

Whereas this week is National Home Fire Safety Week; and

Whereas with the winter season fast approaching, the National Safety Council reminds residents to exercise caution when using wood stoves and fireplaces this winter; and

Whereas volunteer firefighters across this province work tirelessly to ensure Nova Scotians are aware of potential fire hazards and kept safe in their homes year-round;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank our brave firefighters for the incredible work they do, and remind Nova Scotians to exercise caution whenever they're in contact with open flames so that they can have a safe and happy holiday season.

[Page 4553]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2387

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

Whereas Bernadette Little of Westville won the Nova Scotia girls' junior golfing championship in 2011; and

Whereas this young, talented golfer repeated the win in 2012 with her trailing by three in the first round, taking a four-stroke lead in the second round, and completing the championship with an amazing 12-stroke lead; and

Whereas Bernadette Little is now attending Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, on a sports scholarship, and continues to perfect her skill as a golfer;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Bernadette Little of Westville for her accomplishments in the sport of golf, and wish her success in her academic pursuits.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4554]

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. 2388

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

Whereas Murray Salsman of Grafton, Kings County, started Marg's Glad Gardens in the Spring of 2004 after his wife, Marg, died of cancer; and

Whereas Murray started Marg's Glad Gardens with an initial planting of 3,500 gladioli bulbs and continues to plant thousands of bulbs every Spring, raising thousands of dollars to date for the Cancer Care Navigator Fund to assist cancer patients and their families in Kings and Annapolis Counties; and

Whereas Murray continues to advocate on behalf of patients requiring palliative care in the Annapolis Valley area at the young age of 81 years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize and thank Murray Salsman for his dedication and advocacy on behalf of cancer patients living in the Annapolis Valley area.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2389

[Page 4555]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : M. le Président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que la troupe de danse Dixacadie a été créé par Cindy Comeau-Saulnier en 2000 avec dix danseuses choisies de son école de danse; et

Attendu que en 2004, Mme. Comeau-Saulnier à crée et chorégraphié une danse avec la musique et la narration en français et en anglais qui racontent l'histoire de la déportation des Acadiens et qui a été réalisée pour la première fois au Congrès mondial acadien de 2004; et

Attendu que la troupe de danse Dixacadie a dansé à nombreux sites autour de la province, a aussi accompagné le groupe DRUM aux Jeux olympiques de 2010 à Vancouver et du 12 au 14 octobre 2012 a été invitée à danser aux Festivals acadiens et créoles à Lafayette, en Louisiane;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette Assemblée félicitent la troupe de danse Dixacadie sur leurs réussites et leur remercier pour leur temps et dévouement à la préservation d'une partie importante de l'histoire acadienne.

M. le Président, je demande l'adoption de cette résolution sans préavis et sans débat.

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

Whereas the Dixacadie dance troupe was created by Cindy Comeau-Saulnier in 2000 with 10 dancers from her school of dance; and

Whereas in 2004 Madam Comeau-Saulnier created and choreographed a dance that told the story of the Acadian expulsion, which was performed for the first time at the Congrès Mondial Acadien events in 2004; and

Whereas the Dixacadie dance troupe have danced at many venues around the province, having accompanied the group DRUM! at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and from October 12-14, 2012 are invited to dance at the Festivals Acadiens et Créoles in Lafayette, Louisiana;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Dixacadie dance troupe on their success and thank them for their time and dedication to the preservation of the Acadian history.

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

[Page 4556]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 2390

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

Whereas the Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada, while also serving to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians; and

Whereas medal recipients are recognized for their service and dedication to our community and our country in their respective fields; and

Whereas on October 27, 2012, Mr. Mervyn Joudrey of Blockhouse was presented with the Diamond Jubilee Medal;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the contributions of Mr. Mervyn Joudrey of Blockhouse to his community and his country, and congratulate him on receiving this recognition.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4557]

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2391

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

Whereas Charles Berube spent 21 years in the Canadian Army as a radar technician, 17 years with the Canadian Coast Guard, before starting his own business and is presently employed as a school bus driver; and

Whereas throughout his life, Charles contributed to the good of his community and his province by participating for 10 years in the Terry Fox Run and in one instance did the Terry Fox Run on the Terry Fox Coast Guard ship while it was stationed in the Arctic; he has collected thousands of dollars for the charity and was delighted when he received a letter from the mother of Terry Fox thanking and congratulating him on his unique run; and

Whereas Charles has volunteered with the Dartmouth Literacy Network and has been a blood donor for 60 years as well as played Santa Claus to the children in his community by sitting on a sled while he was pulled through the streets giving small gifts to the children;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join with me in thanking Charles Berube for his many contributions to his community and to his province.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2392

[Page 4558]

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

Whereas Clinton Saulnier of Wedgeport was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal on October 11, 2012; and

Whereas Clinton Saulnier was among 50 recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Medal at a special ceremony and reception held at the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre in Cornwallis; and

Whereas Clinton Saulnier was recognized for his leadership and commitment to many organizations throughout his community such as the Wedgeport Tuna Museum, fire department, as well as his involvement in his church;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Clinton Saulnier for receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and thank him for his commitment and devotion to helping others in the community and church.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2393

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

Whereas Ben Réal Bouchard, the son of Réal Bouchard and Liza Boudreau, was born Tuesday, November 27, 2012, at 10:14 p.m. in Gray Nuns Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta; and

Whereas Ben arrived in the world at the weight of eight pounds, five ounces with mother and son both fine; and

[Page 4559]

Whereas Ben is the first grandchild for Patti Boudreau and the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly join in expressing thanksgiving for the birth of Ben Bouchard and extend congratulations to Ben's parents and grandparents.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Standing Ovation)

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 2394

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

Whereas Niki Jabbour is a writer, radio show host and public speaker who is passionate about her subject matter, horticulture; and

Whereas Ms. Jabbour's book, The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, demonstrates how to grow food even during winter months, and won the 2012 American Horticultural Society Book Award; and

Whereas Niki Jabbour's gardens, located next to the ocean in Chester, are comprised of hundreds of varieties of perennials, biennials, herbs and vegetables as well as her winter gardens;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Niki Jabbour on her very successful book, and thank her for her inspiration as she coaxes a consistently bountiful crop from our Maritime soil, and coaxes the rest of us how to follow suit as well.

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

[Page 4560]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2395

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

Whereas Marion Bridge Elementary School recently participated in the WOW Reading Challenge which was recently held throughout the province; and

Whereas the school won a banner for fourth place in the province and a trophy and banner for first place for the Small Schools category; and

Whereas Marion Bridge Elementary School also took first place in the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board with students and staff reading over 16,000 books;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate all the students and staff from Marion Bridge Elementary School on doing so well in the WOW Reading Challenge.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

[Page 4561]

RESOLUTION NO. 2396

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

Whereas Diamond Jubilee celebrations are being held throughout 2012 to recognize the 60th Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's reign; and

Whereas the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a way to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians while honouring Her Majesty for her service for this country; and

Whereas Gerry Samson of Arichat received a Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his commitment to his community where he has been a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 150 for 36 years, the chairman of the Sick and Visiting Committee, a regular volunteer at the Legion's monthly breakfast and fish supper, along with sharing his musical talents during local community benefits including events at the veterans wing of St. Anne's Nursing Care Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Gerry Samson on receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and for being a positive role model in his community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2397

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

Whereas David and Willena van Zutphen, operators of the 300-acre Dellside Farm in Port Hood are one of only two Nova Scotia dairy farms producing organic milk; and

[Page 4562]

Whereas the Dellside Farm is part of a co-operative known as the East Coast Organic Milk Co-operative and home to a 100-head cattle operation with around 60 being milked on a daily basis; and

Whereas East Coast Organic is planning to expand their list of products into the estimated $2 billion Canadian organic food product market by producing chocolate milk, yogurt, and cheese;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate David and Willena van Zutphen for expanding their farm operation by offering made-in-Nova Scotia organic milk.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2398

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

Whereas 2012 marks the 20th Anniversary for Seashore Electronics Limited, located in Saulnierville; and

Whereas throughout the years Danny and Rebecca Stuart, along with their staff, have provided outstanding service to their customers; and

Whereas Seashore Electronics Limited has made a significant contribution to the economy of Clare;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Danny and Rebecca Stuart and their staff for the exemplary service they provide to their customers and wish them continued success in future endeavours.

[Page 4563]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2399

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

Whereas the Lobster Kettle Restaurant in Louisbourg won first place in the recent Louisbourg Santa Claus Parade; and

Whereas the Lobster Kettle Restaurant float in the parade was the result of a lot of hard work; and

Whereas community spirit was alive and well in Louisbourg last week during the Santa Claus Parade, thanks to the Lobster Kettle Restaurant and the many other floats in the parade;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Lobster Kettle Restaurant and everyone who helped make the Louisbourg Santa Claus Parade a success.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 4564]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2400

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

Whereas Jessica Mary Roma, a 20-year-old from Gaetz Brook, is in her third year of a Bachelor of Science degree at Mount Saint Vincent University and has worked part-time at Cameron's Home Hardware in Porters Lake; and

Whereas for the past several years she has been collecting and selling bottles so that she could donate the proceeds to the Chezzetcook Food Bank; and

Whereas in the last three years she has donated the sum of $1,400 and she hopes to surpass her goal of $500 for 2012;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the contributions of Jessica Mary Roma to her community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville on an introduction.

MR. MAT WHYNOTT » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to draw the attention of members to the east gallery where you will, I am sure, recognize a former Page who is with us today. It's a very important day for Lance Chua. He was sworn in as a Canadian citizen this morning and I wanted to bring the attention of the House to the former Page. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER « » : We welcome all our guests to the gallery, and welcome to Canada.

[Page 4565]

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2401

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Teachers Union meets each year at their Annual Council to discuss issues related to students, teachers, and education; and

Whereas resolutions regarding lower class size, class caps, and professional development were among those discussed at their 91st Annual Council this year; and

Whereas one significant resolution condemning the NDP Government for its failure to understand the increasingly complex and diverse nature of today's classrooms was passed with a 99 per cent approval;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House acknowledge that teachers have spoken with one voice, denouncing the NDP Government for their failure to address complexities and diversities in the classroom that will impact all of our students.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 2402

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

Whereas the CBC's Peter Coade has spent 50 years as a meteorologist and weather forecaster; and

Whereas Peter was inspired to take up meteorology as a career when, as a high student, he job-shadowed the late, great Rube Hornstein and ended up spending five decades telling us whether we'll need an umbrella, snowshoes or sunscreen as we head out our doors; and

[Page 4566]

Whereas Peter's calm, velvet tones have helped sooth nerves during weather events like Hurricane Juan or White Juan, and his accurate forecasting has proven a hallmark in the business;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Peter Coade on his 50 years of climatological service and wish him well in his bid to be named to the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest career as a meteorologist/weather forecaster.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 2403

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

Whereas Jan Skora came to Canada from Poland in 1984 and has built his life in Halifax as a professional planner and senior staff member with Halifax Regional Municipality and an active member of the Polish community; and

Whereas on October 19th, 2012, Mr. Skora was appointed by the government of Poland as the first Honourary Consul of the Republic of Poland in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this appointment recognizes the strengthening relationship between Poland and Nova Scotia and also reflects the importance of the Polish community in our province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate Jan Skora on his recent diplomatic appointment and inclusion in the Honourary Consular Corps of Nova Scotia and wish he and his wife Teresa all the best as they assume their duties on behalf of the Republic of Poland.

[Page 4567]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2404

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

Whereas Diamond Jubilee celebrations are being held throughout 2012 to recognize the 60th Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's reign; and

Whereas 60 $2,000 commemorative scholarships, under the Diamond Jubilee Award, one for each year of the Queen's reign, are awarded to graduating Grade 12 students who have demonstrated leadership and made significant contributions to their communities and province; and

Whereas Christoph Vetter of Richmond Academy received a Diamond Jubilee Scholarship in recognition of his high level of academic achievement in math and science, his interest in renewable energy resources, and his volunteer work with the Nicodemus Wilderness Project, along with visiting the elderly in his community;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Christoph Vetter on receiving the Diamond Jubilee Scholarship for being a positive role model in his school and community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 4568]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2405

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

Whereas the Select Committee on establishing an Electoral Boundaries Commission sat until December 31st, 2011; and

Whereas the committee held some meetings in camera; and

Whereas the committee, being now dissolved, cannot make public the Hansard record of those meetings;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly vote to release and make public the Hansard record of all meetings of the Select Committee on establishing an Electoral Boundaries Review Commission.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 2406

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

Whereas in the regional plan in 2006 Halifax Regional Municipality first proposed a regional park in the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes area, after vigorous lobbying by community groups such as the Halifax North West Trails Association; and

[Page 4569]

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia followed the HRM proposal and in 2009 the process culminated in the official designation of 3,300 acres of Crown land as a protected wilderness, thereby preserving this beautiful area so close to urban development; and

Whereas the municipal plan for a regional park has finally resurfaced at a well-attended meeting on May 31, 2012, where city staff presented a vision for the park and sought input from the public;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly encourage Halifax Regional Municipality to move quickly and decisively on this park as it will enhance and complement the provincial Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2407

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

Whereas Tory senators are recommending that the Maritime Provinces amalgamate; and

Whereas while Tories may not be, most Nova Scotians are proud to be Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has a long and distinguished history as its own province and as the seat of responsible government in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly affirm their support for our Province of Nova Scotia and express pride in being Nova Scotian.

[Page 4570]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

I would now like to recognize the honourable member for Dartmouth East to read your resolution that you read earlier, please, just the "Therefore be it resolved" part.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, "Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly vote to release and make public the Hansard record of all meetings of the Select Committee on Establishing an Electoral Boundaries Commission."

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The time now is 1:07 p.m., we will finish at 2:07 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM.: MAR. LINK - OWNERSHIP

[Page 4571]

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday during Question Period in the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, the Progressive Conservative Minister of Natural Resources had this to say in response to a question about the proposed Muskrat Falls project: "It is not a matter, Mr. Speaker, of Emera owning the link. Essentially, what they will do, we will give them a certain amount of power and we will own the link, Mr. Speaker. In other words, Nova Scotia is paying for us to own a billion dollar asset."

I will table that, Mr. Speaker. So my question to the Premier is, why are Nova Scotians paying Newfoundland and Labrador more than $1 billion for something we will never own?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the benefit to Nova Scotia is, of course, the power that comes across it and that's how it is priced. It means that not only will we have access to that block of power but, of course, for however long that line is there, we will have access to power coming across it.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, it's abundantly clear that once again this Premier has not acted in the best interest of this province. This Maritime Link deal, if it ever comes to fruition, will guarantee rate hikes for 35 years and at the end of the day Nova Scotians won't even own the asset. My question to the Premier is, how can this Premier continue to support a proposed deal without knowing the full costs, a deal that by all accounts will result in more than a $1 billion asset being transferred to Newfoundland and Labrador and higher rates for Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I don't know where the Leader of the Opposition has got his information from but the fact of the matter is, the way that this works is that there will be a stable one-time cost to Nova Scotians through the purchase of that asset. It means that we will have a stable price for that power over a 35-year period. If Nova Scotians today could have power at 1994 prices, just imagine what an advantage that would be for Nova Scotians.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, Newfoundland and Labrador signed a deal with Quebec many decades ago that they're still paying for. Do you know what they saw coming - this Premier of Nova Scotia to make up for the poor deal they signed with Newfoundland and Labrador. They know Nova Scotia was prepared to settle for it.

Newfoundland and Labrador's portion of this deal has already gone up by $1.2 billion, that's the equivalent of what we know Emera's contribution to construct the Maritime Link will be. Since Nalcor's portion has gone up substantially, it only stands to reason that Emera's portion will increase as well.

So my question to the Premier, will the Premier instruct Emera Incorporated to release an updated cost of the Maritime Link deal immediately so that Nova Scotians can know just what their NDP Government has gotten them into?

[Page 4572]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, my recollection of history is that the government that signed that deal on behalf of Newfoundland and Labrador was in fact a Liberal Government. We have seen so many fiascos entered into by former Liberal Governments in this province. We certainly don't want to emulate the work that they have done.

The simple fact of the matter is that Decision Gate 3 numbers around the Maritime Link are being compiled. They will be part of the application that goes forward to the Utility and Review Board and, of course, they will be released along with the comparisons of the other alternatives to Muskrat Falls and what the cost would be to Nova Scotians if Muskrat Falls was not proceeded with.

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

PREM. - N.S. COMMN. ON BUILDING THE ECONOMY:

ELECTRICITY POLICY - REVIEW

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, this week Hydro-Québec released its 2012 Report comparing our power rates to those of 13 other Canadian cities, and I will table their report because it's now official that Nova Scotians are paying the highest power rates in all of Canada. Nova Scotia families today don't need a new committee to tell them what's wrong with our economy. We have the highest power rates, the highest taxes, and an NDP Government that continues to spend and bail out all of their money.

My question to the Premier is, will he allow his new committee to review his expensive electricity policy and let them produce one that Nova Scotians can actually afford?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I wish that we hadn't been saddled with the decisions that were made by previous governments with respect to our energy portfolio but the simple fact of the matter is that we had governments, both Liberals and Progressive Conservatives, over the years, who tied us to fossil fuels. The rates that we have today reflect the cost of increases of fossil fuels. Those fuel costs get passed along directly to families in this province. If anything, the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, when he stands up next, should apologize to Nova Scotian families for the decisions made by past Progressive Conservative Governments that have led to the position we are in today.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, power rates are just a great example of an NDP Premier who hasn't found a problem in Nova Scotia yet that he couldn't manage to make worse, and that's who should be apologizing. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, in their recent Business Barometer Report showed that small and medium size companies in our province are paying the second highest power rates in all of Canada and I will table that for the benefit of the Premier. Our small and medium size businesses do not need another committee to tell them what's wrong with our economy. Now Nova Scotia faces a 50-year, $7.4 billion decision about Muskrat Falls.

[Page 4573]

My question to the Premier « » : Will he allow his new committee to do what he and his government have failed to do and that is review the Muskrat Falls project and share with Nova Scotians their opinion of whether that is the right way forward or not?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the small business sector, like the rest of Nova Scotia, is labouring under an energy regime that was put in place by the past Progressive Conservative Governments. They are the ones who tied us to the fossil fuel markets. They are the ones who privatized Nova Scotia Power. These are the decisions that established the foundation that these rates of today are on. These were the decisions made by Progressive Conservatives and Liberal Governments, not New Democratic Governments. In fact, the federal Conservative Government requires the closure of the coal-fired generating stations in this province. The question - the only question that is before us now - is, what does the future of energy look like in this province? I can tell you that we're going to see a fully-hedged portfolio that is going to allow us to have stable long-term costs, and this is what is going to be presented to the Utility and Review Board.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada reports show that in the last three years Nova Scotia has had the highest percentage increase in the cost of energy in all of Canada. I will table that for the benefit of the Premier. Those are the three years under the Premier's watch. Again, clearly the Premier has not found a problem in this province that he couldn't make worse, because what that report shows is that energy costs under his watch have increased by 25 per cent in the last three years.

The Premier's answer to this problem and the job losses that have resulted is to appoint a committee that will report to another committee and get back to all of us by Spring 2014. Why wait until Spring 2014? The Premier has the power to actually do something to give Nova Scotians relief now.

My final question is, will he instruct the URB that he is willing to rewrite his electricity plan so that Nova Scotians have frozen rates today?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, apparently what the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party recommends is that the taxpayers of Nova Scotia underwrite the utility in order to make up for the decisions that were made by the former Progressive Conservative Governments. The increases that we've seen in the last number of years are straightforward. They are a result of increases in the cost of fuel from generating stations that were built by former Progressive Conservative Governments, by a utility that was privatized by the former Progressive Conservative Government.

It is true that these increases flow naturally from the decisions that were made by the Progressive Conservative Governments. The simple fact of the matter is that his complaint amounts to this: they made a mess and we haven't been able to clean it up as fast as they like, but we're getting there.

[Page 4574]

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

PREM.: MUSKRAT FALLS-MAR. LINK - FED. LOAN GUARANTEE

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, the Premier dashed off to Ottawa on Tuesday to have a meeting with his federal Conservative counterparts. I'm wondering, in the Premier's meetings, was he given an update on the federal loan guarantee needed for the proposed Muskrat Falls Maritime Link deal to proceed in the first place?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, what I can say about that is that the Leader of the Official Opposition will find out very soon.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, I guess I'll have to be like all Nova Scotians and wait for the next day, wait for the next election. A federal court proceeding ended yesterday where environmental groups have charged that the environmental assessment for Muskrat Falls had not been properly conducted, so the project can't proceed when the legality of it is in question in the first place.

My question to the Premier is - the Premier has tied Nova Scotians down to the silver bullet for renewable energy - what is his backup plan if the project falls through?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I know that the Leader of the Opposition has no plan for energy - or rather, he has a plan that will cause prices to go up some 30 per cent to 50 per cent, but that is not in our plan. They want to deregulate the market. They want to ensure that they pursue failed policies in New Brunswick - ones that they have cancelled. This is not an answer to our system.

Muskrat Falls represents about 8 per cent to 10 per cent of the overall power that must be replaced from the closure of coal-fired generating stations. The electricity plan sets out a broad-based plan for ensuring that we have a fully-hedged portfolio for energy in our province that will guarantee that Nova Scotia families and businesses have stable rates.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, the Premier's definition of "stable rates" is an increase of 30 per cent since he has taken office. This is a Premier who is attaching us to a deal with Newfoundland and Labrador that he can't even tell us the cost - he doesn't even know how much the project is going to cost.

What he did confirm today is that at the end of the day Nova Scotians are going to cough up over $1 billion to the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador and not even own the asset, Mr. Speaker - that's some plan for energy security in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 4575]

Mr. Speaker, we have known all along that business leaders around the globe have seen this government as a place to come and get whatever they wanted, but what is even more embarrassing is this Premier was ridiculed in the House of Assembly in Newfoundland and Labrador yesterday because they've seen him coming, too, and we're going to give Newfoundland and Labrador $1 billion for an asset that we don't own.

Maybe the Premier could stand in his place when he talks about his energy plan and tell Nova Scotians exactly what it will mean to their power bill - how much are they going up?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, what it will mean is that they will have long-term stable rates for one block of that energy; what it will mean is that instead of having what we have seen through the years of Liberal and Progressive Conservative Governments where you see these tremendous roller-coasters in rates, you will, in fact, have an energy portfolio that provides stability for families and for businesses.

What you won't get is what you get from the Leader of the Opposition - he was in favour of taking the HST off home electricity, then he was against it; then he was in favour of it, then he was against it. Now he says that he won't remove it - even though it is bad, bad public policy, I believe is what he said. Mr. Speaker, what he will do is he will deregulate the market, causing rates to go up some 30 to 50 per cent.

And, Mr. Speaker, for your information and for the information of the House, I would like to table a full list of the flip-flops on HST on tax of the Leader of the Liberal Party.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

PREM.: MUSKRAT FALLS - FIRST NATIONS CONCERNS

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, the Muskrat Falls project has always had potential for Nova Scotia, but it's a shame the Premier signed a deal without knowing the cost to consumers, resulting in something which will now probably be a shackle around the necks of Nova Scotians rather than an opportunity. Unfortunately, it seems that every day we learn additional concerns about the project which could either delay it or possibly even cancel it.

Mr. Speaker, one such issue which the Premier previously assured the House was settled is not, and those are concerns that First Nations communities have. Does the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs believe that concerns raised by First Nations communities over this project should be addressed prior to the project moving forward?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I think the jurisdiction that has responsibility for that should deal with it. It's their constituents; they're going to be dealing with them as is appropriate.

[Page 4576]

What I do know, Mr. Speaker, is the Opposition in Nova Scotia, like the Opposition in Newfoundland and Labrador, is trying to find ways to derail this project, and it is unfortunate because this is about the future, not only of Nova Scotia but of our region.

We are going to put in place energy infrastructure that is going to strengthen the entire region - Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and it's going to mean for Nova Scotians that we have access not only to the power that we arrange through the agreement, but through additional power, power will be wheeled through Nova Scotia into the New England market. We'll be able to take more, if we want. We will then have the infrastructure to be able to get power from other suppliers, if we want. We will become part of a competitive market.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, the Premier just a few minutes ago accused the Leader of the Opposition of being against the Liberals in Newfoundland and Labrador from decades ago, and yet he just spoke against the NDP of today in Newfoundland and Labrador - I'm sure they'll be happy to know that.

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that First Nations have concerns and the jurisdiction that is responsible for First Nations in this country is every single Canadian, not just people in Newfoundland and Labrador, not just people in Nova Scotia.

First Nations communities in Newfoundland and Labrador have raised concerns about a deal that this Premier is a partner to. They're concerned about wildlife impacts, they're concerned about areas where their land claims are, and they're concerned about the potential health effects with mercury contamination.

So, Mr. Speaker, why does the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs not believe the project proposal should first address this very important concern from First Nations?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, there is a Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs in Newfoundland and Labrador. I'm sure that they're dealing with that. I certainly saw the agreements that were put in place already with respect to many of these concerns. My expectation is that they will continue to deal with them.

The simple fact of the matter is that the Muskrat Falls project is not only good for Nova Scotia but good for Newfoundland and Labrador. It will be good for New Brunswick. It will mean that for the first time in our history we will become part of a competitive energy environment that will allow us to actually negotiate for better power rates, to be able to take from more sources, unlike the Liberal Party, which would have preferred to see us isolated and alone on the East Coast.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, the Muskrat Falls project may have been good for a lot of those partners if it had been a good deal, but it isn't. The only organization that this project is best for is Emera. All you have to do is listen to the analysts last week who were salivating over the profits Emera will get from this project.

[Page 4577]

The Premier stood in this House last session, and I think he was saying this again, saying, well, there are agreements in place. There are agreements in place with the Innu Nation. There are no agreements in place with the Inuit Nation and there are no agreements in place with the Metis Nation, and both of those have raised concerns.

The Premier is the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, and it's a simple question. Does he, as minister, believe that the rights of First Nations are less important than moving ahead on the Muskrat Falls project before he even knows the cost?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, what we know is that this project is about building a nation. It is about increasing the strength of our region. It is about allowing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and Nova Scotians and New Brunswickers to have access for the first time in their history to a competitive energy market, one that's going to strengthen our business community, that's going to provide stable rates to families in this province. That is what we are for. It is only from the Official Opposition that we hear what they are against.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Argyle.

ERDT - REPTS.: COMMISSIONING - STOP

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. RBC's provincial outlook report for Nova Scotia in September 2012 is entitled Economy in waiting mode. The report said ". . . job creation stalled in the Spring and was accompanied by a slowing in retailers' sales momentum." The Conference Board of Canada shows Nova Scotia's rural economy is in a recession. We now have the highest power rates and the highest taxes, and this NDP Government's wasteful spending is killing jobs.

Now we have a new economic committee that will be going around the province and hearing the things that they already know - a very expensive exercise to tell Nova Scotians (Interruption) I'm not making it up. I'll table the document if he wants to see it - a very expensive exercise to tell Nova Scotians what they've been telling them for the last three years. I know there are five members of the NDP who could possibly tell them what's going on in southwestern Nova Scotia.

So my question to the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism is, will the minister stop commissioning more reports to tell us what we already know? Will he lower taxes and stop wasteful spending to create more jobs?

HON. PERCY PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, under the jobsHere strategy we've created some good opportunities for Nova Scotians. What we are doing now is providing the next step so that Nova Scotians can be in a better position to take full advantage of the potential that lies ahead in our future. That's what we're doing.

[Page 4578]

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, since Statistics Canada started reporting in 1987, the population of southern Nova Scotia is the lowest that it has ever been. Full-time employment is the lowest it has ever been. The employment rate is the highest it has ever been. I'll table that document as well.

Donald Savoie's report, The Way Ahead for Nova Scotia, released in July 2010, says, "I have long believed that a competitive tax regime is a powerful economic development instrument. Nova Scotia's tax structure is not competitive, at least when compared to other provinces." I'll table that one as well.

So we have the highest power rates, the highest taxes and this NDP Government's wasteful spending is killing jobs. Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, will the minister stop commissioning more reports to tell us what we already know and will he lower taxes and stop wasteful spending, to create more jobs?

MR. PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, since we've been in government, we lowered taxes for small businesses. We didn't do it once, we didn't do it twice, we did it three times - three times.

Mr. Speaker, we also have the small business credit union loan program. We introduced the PIP initiative, to help small and medium-sized businesses to be innovative, to purchase new equipment so that they could be more competitive in a global market. Also, the investment that we've made, this government has made, in human resources, so Nova Scotians can be trained for the right skills, for the good jobs, not only now but well into the future. We are doing things, we will continue to do things, we are on the right path.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Well maybe he is not hearing from the five MLAs in southwestern Nova Scotia or the South Shore. According to Stats Canada reports, southern Nova Scotia's labour force and unemployment rate is the smallest it has been since 1996. The total number of people employed is the lowest it has been in 24 years - I already tabled that.

Donald Savoie's report which was vaunted by this government when it was first brought out, says, ". . . private sector suggested that one should look to province's tax structure to encourage more private-sector investments from local businesses and to attract out-of-province investments."

Mr. Speaker, will the minister stop commissioning more reports to tell us what we already know and will he lower taxes and stop wasteful spending, to finally create more jobs for southwestern Nova Scotia?

[Page 4579]

MR. PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, this government has invested in Nova Scotians. I could stand here at great length and I could talk about the new graduate program, so that new graduates coming out of our universities can stay here and raise their families.

Mr. Speaker, maybe what the member opposite should be doing is writing Ottawa and questioning his cousins in Ottawa about all the reductions and job losses in the Province of Nova Scotia. That would be a good strategy.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

N.S. HOME FOR COLORED CHILDREN: INQUIRY - PREM. COMMIT

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition calling on this government to call for a public inquiry into the allegations of abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. Organizations, including the Board of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, the African United Baptist Women's Institute Association, the Women's Centres Connect!, are all calling for government to initiate a public inquiry.

The residents and their supporters who came to this House on Tuesday are looking for this government to call a public inquiry. The only person who can make this a reality is the Premier. Will the Premier commit today to calling a full public inquiry into the allegations of abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I've said before that as much as we are aware of much of the angst that is felt by the people who have been associated with the allegations that have been made about the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, the simple fact of the matter is that the response has to be an appropriate one.

In fact, as the board and as many others have pointed out, the things that cannot be affected by this are things like the criminal investigation, the disposition of the civil cases that are being certified and that are underway. Mr. Speaker, we are looking for what we consider to be the most appropriate response.

In answer to the question, I've said this has been said over and over again by many of the groups as they have come forward. In fact, it's contained in the press releases that come forward. In fact, it's contained in the press releases that come forward from, for example, the Home themselves. We're very respectful of all that. We do want to ensure that the response is appropriate. We know the position of the Home for Colored Children in the broader Black community in Nova Scotia and it is important - the people from that community who have been associated with it over the years.

[Page 4580]

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows full well that a public inquiry can happen at the same time that the criminal investigation is going on and that civil suits are before the courts. Every lawyer he's speaking to would tell him that, as a matter of fact, it has happened in this province before.

An on-line petition calling for a public inquiry into the abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children has already gathered nearly 650 signatures on top of the over 1,000 that were presented to this House. People are signing this petition for many reasons. They say they want to ensure justice for the disadvantaged and to make certain this is not repeated, they want to show these people that someone cares, and that the truth needs to be told. That is the only way healing from this abuse can begin.

This is about an opportunity to learn truths, seek justice, and to begin the healing. My question to the Premier is, why is the government refusing to call a full public inquiry into the allegations of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children and allow the healing to begin?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I agree with the concept of being able to heal a community and to be able to heal a group of people. Unfortunately, the record of public inquiries is that they don't do that. In fact, what they do is they drive wedges through communities. They create even deeper divisions. They are not mechanisms that seek justice, they don't make findings of guilt nor do they in any way establish a framework for reaching what people really want, which is some way to heal the hurt that they feel.

In that regard, what we need is an appropriate response and we are looking at what that is. We are very cognizant and the Leader of the Opposition is wrong when he says that this is simply a matter that can go on during criminal proceedings. That is a wrong analysis and there are real impacts that take place as a result of these inquiries. They're not to be dismissed or diminished. They are not to be ignored, in fact, that is the job of government, to ensure that we protect the actual functioning of justice in the province. It takes place in the criminal courts; it takes place in our civil courts and to balance the needs of society - that's what we are doing.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, these galleries and this House was filled with victims of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. They know full well; they have legal representation. The Premier knows full well, the legal profession in this province is telling him that this inquiry can happen at the same time criminal investigation is going on and the civil suit is going on. It's not me, it's the justice system. There are lawyers across this city that are telling me - and in fact, it has already happened in this province, at other times in our history, where we have had criminal and civil cases before the courts when there has been a public inquiry taking place.

I agree with the Premier. We should not be dismissed but we should not also dismiss what has happened in this House this week. Many of these victims, as children, were looking for somebody to listen to them, and now as adults still nobody is listening to them. In a letter sent to the Premier on November 28th from the Women's Centres Connect! coordinator Jeanne Fay, she writes: An inquiry may be the only form of justice any of the former residents get to begin the healing process. An inquiry will honour the resilience and bravery in speaking publicly.

[Page 4581]

The victims of abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children did not have a voice as children, but this government can give them a voice now by calling a public inquiry. My question to the Premier is, will the Premier commit today to calling a full inquiry into the allegations of institutional abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children?

THE PREMIER « » : Once again, Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is simply wrong about public inquiries, their impact on criminal proceedings and on civil proceedings. Yes, people say they can, but they don't address the question of whether or not they should, which of course is a different question altogether. The members on this side know well the position that the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children has had in that community over decades; they know the work of the people who have been associated with it. It's important, in fact, as an institutional symbol.

We have great compassion with those people who are making the allegations that they have made. The question that is before us is what is the most appropriate response, not only the response that should be made, but when it should be made - and those are things that are under active consideration.

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

N.S. HOME FOR COLORED CHILDREN: INQUIRY - PREM. CALL

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Last week the Premier ruled out a public inquiry into the events at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. This week the Deputy Premier said, in Hansard, that the government is weighing whether or not to have a public inquiry. Mr. Speaker, the Premier needs to hear directly from the former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children about their experience, and in fact so, too, do all Nova Scotians need to hear their stories.

I will ask the Premier, will he settle this debate now and do the right thing and call a public inquiry into the events at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg to differ with the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party - I've never ruled out the question of inquiry. What I have said is in fact the opposite to that; I have said that we must consider all of the circumstances that are here including that fact there are criminal investigations underway, including that fact that there is civil legislation that has been proposed, that the response to this should be the appropriate response, and that means that we have to be cognizant not only of the - I mean, the idea of the public inquiry means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, the structures of these things are as varied as there is the imagination for the bureaucracy or the lawyers who set them up.

[Page 4582]

They should not be undertaken lightly, and they should not be taken believing that somehow they are going to resolve a problem. They will not. And, in fact, what has happened in the past, the past experience in this province, in other provinces, is in fact that they divide communities, they set people within those communities against each other, so what you want to be able to do is to ensure that you have the right response that is respectful of all of the interests that are outstanding in these circumstances.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, the Premier says he hasn't ruled out a public inquiry and then proceeds to argue against having a public inquiry.

Respected law professor Dr. Wayne MacKay of Dalhousie Law School has said quite clearly, and publicly, and repeatedly, that a public inquiry can proceed at the same time as any other legal proceeding. While the government claims to be weighing their decision on this, legal experts like Dr. MacKay have provided real solutions about how we can proceed right now. The fact of the matter is nothing stands in the way of doing the right thing now and calling a public inquiry.

In light of the expert opinion of legal experts like Dr. MacKay, will the Premier reconsider his position and immediately call for a public inquiry into the events at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, Dr. MacKay whom I know well, and indeed I know many of the experts who have weighed in all this already, they say "can", they don't say "should." In fact, what they say is that there are real ramifications that result from making that kind of a decision, so I reiterate, we are not going to make decisions that we do not think are in the best interests of the community as a whole. We are very cognizant of the dynamics of this situation and what it means not just for the individuals but for others throughout the communities. We are very cognizant of the history of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, as an institution and as a symbol for a community that found itself the victim of oppression, the victim of racism for many years, and we are not going to act in a way that is not going to respond appropriately to the circumstances.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the Premier knows Professor Wayne MacKay because I also have spoken to Professor MacKay and I can assure the Premier and all members of this House that he believes the government can and should call for a public inquiry into what happened at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

A few days ago in this House, the Deputy Premier told all members here and the former residents who were in the gallery that day, that the government would come to the right decision, sooner or later. Well, Mr. Speaker, if the government truly is weighing whether to call a public inquiry, sooner or later, and they agree that it is the right thing to do, why not right now appoint an independent person to set the terms of reference to get the public inquiry underway?

[Page 4583]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, what we are doing, as I said before, we are considering all of the circumstances. Of course I have been taking the advice of many interested parties in this. I am listening to what they have to say, whether it is the Earles who were here, as I understand, with the folks on Tuesday, whether it is senior members of the African Nova Scotian community, whether it is Party members who are very interested in what the ultimate disposition of this will be; we will act in an appropriate manner in all the circumstances, including understanding that there are outstanding legal mechanisms currently underway.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Richmond.

PREM. - SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS: CIVIL CASES - LIMITATIONS

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, in the Premier's attempts to justify why his government is refusing to call a public inquiry into events at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, the Premier has expressed concern over taking any actions which might impede criminal cases or civil cases. Ironically, this whole scenario has taught us that this government is, in fact, impeding civil cases from moving forward. The reason for that is that Nova Scotia is one of the few provinces in Canada which have yet to exempt child sexual abuse cases from the Statute of Limitations.

My question to the Premier is, why does Nova Scotia continue to place limits on when child sexual abuse victims can bring their civil cases to court?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm going to table for the honourable member the Hansard from the last Liberal Government that was here when they set the Limitations of Actions Act, which is the exact provision that he is complaining about.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, to suggest that 20 years ago from today Nova Scotians have not advanced in their appreciation and their knowledge of what a child sexual abuse victim goes through is absolutely shameful for the Premier to suggest that.

Mr. Speaker, every day we hear horrific stories of what it must have been like for children who have suffered from sexual abuse and almost every other Canadian jurisdiction has acknowledged that the memories of such abuse should never be placed under any sort of time restriction. Yet for some reason, this government in a discussion paper has not even opened the opportunity to removing those restrictions for child sexual abuse claims. So 20 years later, now that we have an NDP Government, now that we have the knowledge of exactly what it is for victims of child sexual abuse, will the Premier answer as to why Nova Scotia refuses to follow other Canadian jurisdictions and remove the limits of Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse cases?

[Page 4584]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, it is true that we also have to clean up messes that were made by the former Liberal Governments as well. The fact of the matter is that this was part of the discussion that was taking place by the Bar Society and by the interested (Interruption) That's right and as a result of that discussion paper, that discussion was actually taking place. They have not come back - they're shaking their heads but it's true, it was taking place - they have not come back for this session of the House with recommendations.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, let me help the Premier. On July 22, 2011, well-respected Nova Scotia lawyer Raymond Wagner wrote on the reforms that were being proposed in Nova Scotia. He says, "Nova Scotia's proposed amendments largely mirror Ontario's Limitations Act and follow the recommendations contained in the Uniform Limitations Act. There is one especially unfortunate exception: Nova Scotia's proposed legislation protects pedophiles."

A stronger statement I cannot imagine. For the Premier to suggest that this is on the table when it clearly is not begs the question, why is it that Nova Scotia continues to drag its feet? Almost every day in the last two weeks, the House has not even sat for the allotted time that the government has called. So if it will help the government to fill up its time, will the Premier commit today to introducing legislation to remove the limits for child sexual abuse cases in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I haven't seen what it is that the member has. He's simply wrong. In fact, the reason why they couldn't come to an agreement was around many issues that were on the table which is why they didn't report. It's why we don't have legislation before the House today.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

ERDT - REPORTS: COMMISSIONING - STOP

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, in August 2012 and September 2012 and again in October 2012, CFIB's business barometer for Nova Scotia shows its manufacturing sector, its retail sector and its construction sector all identify fuel and energy and taxes and regulation are the main cost pressures for their businesses. I'll table those reports. We don't need to commission another expensive study to tell us what job creators have been telling the NDP for years. My question to the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism is, will the minister stop commissioning more expensive reports to tell us what we already know, and will he lower taxes and stop wasteful spending to create more jobs?

[Page 4585]

HON. PERCY PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I've already responded once today but I don't mind boasting again. We lowered taxes three successive years for businesses in Nova Scotia. We put many things in place to assist the entrepreneur in the Province of Nova Scotia. We've invested in people, we've invested in businesses. We are building for the future, we are on the right path, we are doing the right things and we will continue to do those things for the benefit of all Nova Scotians.

MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, we have 1,400 new user fees since this government, a 2 per cent increase in HST and they're talking about lower taxes. Cape Breton has the lowest population statistics in Canada since Statistics Canada started reporting. Cape Breton has the lowest number of people employed since 2000, the lowest number of full-time jobs since 2004, and the number of people unemployed is the highest it has been since 1998. The unemployment rate is the highest it has been since 2000. We now have the highest power rates and the highest taxes, and the NDP Government's wasteful spending is killing our jobs.

So, Mr. Speaker, I'll ask again, will the minister stop commissioning more reports to tell us what we already know? Will he lower taxes and stop wasteful spending to create more jobs?

MR. PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, while we are creating jobs in the Province of Nova Scotia, we've got a federal government - their cousins in Ottawa - that are taking jobs away. (Interruptions) What about what's going on with Revenue Canada when they remove jobs out of the Cape Breton area? What about what's going on with Parks Canada when they do things that are reducing the employment rates right across this entire province, especially at Fortress Louisbourg in Cape Breton? That member over there should be on the telephone and phoning his allies in Ottawa and saying stop, stop, stop.

MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, the vice-president of human resources for Nova Scotia's largest private-sector employer - Sobeys - came before the Law Amendments Committee last year to oppose the NDP's first contract legislation. (Interruptions) He said the legislation amended is totally unnecessary and will do serious damage to Nova Scotia's reputation as an excellent place to work and carry on business. I'll table that report.

We don't need another expensive study to tell us what job creators have been telling the NDP is wrong with our economy. There might be 30 cranes in Halifax, but there's not one in Cape Breton - not one.

Will the minister stop commissioning more expensive reports, and will he rip up his first contract arbitration bill that put a chill through our business communities?

MR. PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to give you a fact. Through you to the member opposite, let's talk about the CFIB. Let's talk about the budget of this government in 2012, the A rating when it came to tax competitiveness that we received from CFIB. Those are the facts. Look, do you know what - allnovascotia.com, Valerie Payn - I tabled this once, but by golly, I'm going to table it again.

[Page 4586]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Glace Bay.

PREM.: OTTAWA MEETINGS - DETAILS

MR. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report detailing the damage Harper's austerity measures will have on Nova Scotia. I was there for that launch, and I can tell you that the numbers truly are very alarming. The Harper Conservatives will cut 2,072 jobs in Nova Scotia. These are on top of the full-time job losses caused by three and a half years of this government's economic mismanagement. After the Prime Minister's refusal to come to Halifax, the Premier took to Ottawa to meet with the Harper Conservatives.

My question to the Premier is, will the Premier outline who he met with and what he discussed with those officials while in Ottawa?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm happy to tell the member for Glace Bay that I met with the Prime Minister. I met with Minister Lebel, who he would know is with Transport Canada. I met with Minister MacKay. I met with Minister Kenney. With all of them I discussed matters within their various portfolios, all of which touch on the economic growth and health of Nova Scotia.

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are concerned by this Premier's relative silence on the damage the Harper Conservatives' austerity measures will wreak on our province. We know that the Conservatives are going to cut $2.5 billion from the defence budget. Nova Scotians are worried that the already-delayed shipyard project may suffer because of these cuts. In addition to the Conservative cuts, we know a recent managerial shift has happened at Irving, and Nova Scotians are also concerned about the impact this will have on our ability to stick to an already-revised shipyard schedule.

My question to the Premier is, can the Premier guarantee today that there will be no further delays with the shipbuilding contract?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, no, I can't guarantee that. I can't guarantee what the weather will be next week, either. There are lots of other things that I can't guarantee. What I can say is that we prepare to make sure that we take maximum advantage of the contracts that we have before us, the industrial contracts. That is why we are ensuring that the Nova Scotia Community College is able to train young men and women so that they'll be able to get jobs in the largest industrial contract in our history. That's why we're working with the universities, to make sure that we have appropriate numbers of engineers to be able to fill the job requirements - people in IT, people throughout the supply chain who will be able to fit in and make their lives working on those contracts.

[Page 4587]

It is, in fact, Mr. Speaker, why we invested in that contract, one that, if the member for Glace Bay had his way, we wouldn't have, and those ships would be built in Quebec or British Columbia or somewhere else, but not in Halifax.

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, we have a federal Conservative Government implementing severe austerity measures that will cause the loss of over 2,000 jobs. We have a provincial government whose mismanagement of the economy has cost us more than 3,000 collective jobs. There are more Nova Scotians unemployed now than during the recession and this government's inability to grow the economy, this government's austerity measures, and this government's silence on Harper's cuts will mean things will get worse if this government doesn't change the provincial direction.

The launch of this government's Rural Economic Development Task Force is certainly a sign of hope, though this task force is three and a half years late, Mr. Speaker, at least the government is finally admitting that its strategies, so far, have failed rural Nova Scotia. My question for the Premier, rural Nova Scotia has lost 8,200 people and 4,400 full-time jobs in the last three years. Why has he waited so long to act?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, there are 7,600 more Nova Scotians working today than before we came to power. Just recently, in fact within the last hour, the member for Argyle actually tabled The Outlook from RCB. It has already been tabled so I don't need to table it again. I would like to point out that what it actually says is that the real GDP of the province next year will double, the employment will increase by 1.2 per cent, unemployment will go down, retail sales will increase, housing starts will increase and the Consumer Price Index will go down, Mr. Speaker.

You know, if they're going to table something and say that it says one thing and it actually says the other, Mr. Speaker, that is no way to instill confidence. In fact, it says that the domestic economy in Nova Scotia is doing very well.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

COM. SERV.: NORTH END UNITED COMMUN. HOUSING CO-OP - CREDITORS

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, in a letter sent to the Minister of Community Services on October 18th of this year, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business asked for clarity on the process for repayment to businesses owed money for work completed on behalf of the North End United Housing Cooperative. In particular, Nova Doors and Windows is owed over $77,000 and has heard nothing about this outstanding bill. In fact, the total amount owed to the 11 creditors is over $1.1 million.

[Page 4588]

Mr. Speaker, this project ran over budget by millions of dollars. Nova Doors completed the work two years ago and yet they still haven't been paid. My question to the Minister of Community Services, when is her department going to give Nova Doors and Windows, and all the other companies awaiting payment, some answers?

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE » : Mr. Speaker, first let me explain to the member opposite how it works because she doesn't understand that. How it works is the fact that the Department of Community Services and the government provide the funding to North End United. They are a non-profit co-op that had a board of directors that worked as a board of directors and they were the ones who made the decisions with respect to the development there, the renovations and so forth.

We are the funders. They are the ones who have the legal right to make the decision, which means they are the ones who are responsible for the decisions that were made there and what is taking place right now with respect to their issues of finances. Thank you.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, while the government comes quickly to the aid of big companies and big banks in the province, they are content to let small businesses twist in the wind. Will the minister commit today to ensuring these small businesses, owed money by her department, get fair treatment?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : The fair treatment comes through the legal system. That is exactly what has been taking place. This is a bankruptcy legal issue, not an issue of Community Services or the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. We funded the project, and there were issues that took place within those who had the legal right to make those decisions.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, this government likes to pay all kinds of lip service about small business being the backbone of our economy, but when push comes to shove they like to shove and push small businesses. They keep leaving them twisting and hanging. They did it in the southwest and they are doing it here again.

It is unconscionable that these businesses are still owed over $1.1 million for work that was done for a project funded by Community Services. There is no oversight ensuring this payment. This government makes income assistance recipients account for every bus token they use, but there is no accountability on their own projects. Why does this government have a double standard when it comes to accountability?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, that absolutely shows you why when that Party was in they had a blank cheque writing to any business. Obviously they don't understand that the fact is - are we supposed to write a cheque to every business in Nova Scotia that goes under that the government has nothing to do with? See, that gets them upset, because they know it's the truth. That's who they are. They're the ones who would just say, oh, how much. . .

[Page 4589]

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

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto on an introduction.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN » : Mr. Speaker, members will have noticed that we have been joined in the east gallery by a school group today. I am happy to draw the attention of the House to the presence in that gallery of 22 Grade 3 students who come to us from Oxford School, one of the many fine schools located in my constituency. They are accompanied today by four adults: Carolyn van Gurp, Shehara Embuldeniya, Amy Holland, and Ian Palmer. I would ask if all of our guests would rise and if the members of the House would give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cape Breton North on an introduction.

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, in the gallery opposite today is a gentleman from my constituency who is up here on business. Mr. Duke Fraser is a great businessman on the Northside and a good, community-minded citizen. I'd like all the members of the House to give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

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

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 151.

Bill No. 151 - Workers' Compensation Act.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

HON. MARILYN MORE « » : I move second reading of the bill, an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95, the Workers' Compensation Act. These amendments will work to protect the Workers' Compensation benefit levels for Nova Scotia's long-service coal miners.

[Page 4590]

This province respects and honours the contributions Nova Scotia's long-service coal miners have made to our communities. When they are injured or sick due to their work, we have a system in place to provide compensation and support. A recent decision made by the Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal has found that a long-standing practice at the Workers' Compensation Board must change for workers receiving a permanent impairment benefit. The decision rendered that if a worker receiving a permanent impairment benefit has a lung function test, and sees an improvement in their lung function, their benefit would be reduced.

The bill I am introducing today will work to protect the Workers' Compensation benefits of this province's coal miners who have served 20 years or more at the face of the mine and have a lung impairment. There are over 700 coal miners in the province who meet this criterion. The WCAT decision will not apply to these folks. This group of coal miners has always been treated differently as they spent most of, if not their entire careers, in an unhealthy, challenging, and difficult environment. The last thing we want to do is to disadvantage this aging group any further.

Section 35 of the Workers' Compensation Act was put in place over 30 years ago to protect this particular group of coal miners and I'm pleased to say that there was all-Party support for that. With this bill, we are working to ensure the benefit process for that group of coal miners remains unchanged. We are restoring the original intent of this long-standing piece of legislation and clarifying a section that was never intended to change.

Government has been meeting with the Cape Breton Injured Workers Association as well as with Mr. Burchell with the United Coal Miners, and both groups are supportive of the bill that has been introduced. It is important to note that there are workers outside of Section 35 of the Workers' Compensation Act who receive a permanent impairment benefit that could see their benefits reduced. The WCB is working with those workers to ensure that they are knowledgeable about the testing process.

So summing up, the legislation being introduced this afternoon for second reading will work to protect the benefit process for Nova Scotia coal miners who worked most, if not their entire careers, in this province's coal mines and who have a lung impairment because of their work. Those coal miners who have worked 20 years or more, at the face of the mine, will have their benefit levels protected. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I just want to rise on Bill No. 151, the changes to the Workers' Compensation Act, and basically just take a few minutes to talk about what this means. The crux of my comments would be to certainly commend the minister for this decision. I'm sure that she looked at this and, of course, gets recommendations and information from her department and from WCB, and I think this is certainly the right move. In my two and a half years as the MLA for Glace Bay, I've dealt with hundreds of WCB cases. The staff at WCB have been fantastic and those who represent that department do great work. Naturally, they are basically tied by the legislation so it comes to the Legislature and the minister to make changes that are meaningful, that make a lot of sense.

[Page 4591]

I think that many of the members and the people who represent the WCB will be happy with these changes and, again, I certainly know a few hundred people in Glace Bay, and I think there are 700 who will benefit from this decision in Cape Breton in the mining towns and communities: Glace Bay, New Waterford, the Northside, and the west side of the island as well.

I think this is a tremendous thing for us and I know that the member for Cape Breton West, who was a Devco employee, will speak to this but this truly hits home. I know I've gone on at length about Dofasco and Devco and our mining history with Bill Davis and J.B. McLachlan. That's where it started and obviously things progressed over the decades and things became more modernized but this particular legislation that's 20-plus years, hits coal miners who would have served for Devco and worked under Devco in the 1960s and 1970s kind of range.

We obviously know that with all industries, but in particular with coal mining, the safety standards weren't always up to par and there were things that the miners exposed themselves to, the coal dust being one of the key hazards that was there in the mines during those periods. Silicosis affects your breathing; it affects you long term; it is a disease that hits your lungs and impacts your capacity to breathe.

Of course as these miners get older, this certainly is a threat for them and a health concern - and it has a chain effect, where if your lung capacity isn't what it is, obviously that impacts the other organs. With this I always go back to my dad with Devco and the 33 years he was underground, and I tell you it certainly took its toll on him with his back and his legs and his lungs, because 33 underground is a long time to be inhaling this dust. I think this truly is an example where the industry and the hazards of the industry did negatively impact on those individuals.

I think this is a good decision by the minister. I think there are many miners who because of their time in the mines didn't get to enjoy their golden years, because this certainly has an impact on their health and it takes time off their life. I'm glad that the minister is supporting the former miners of Devco. I think this is a great decision and I just want to have it on record that I'm happy to be from Glace Bay where Devco was so prominent. This is a good decision; I want to assure all members of the Legislature that this certainly is the right thing to do.

With that, I'll take my place.

[Page 4592]

MR. CHAIRMAN: The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to stand and speak to Bill No. 151, the Workers' Compensation Act, in particular Section 35 which the minister has introduced some changes to. I want to congratulate the minister for the work she has done on this.

Mr. Speaker, I actually worked for the Cape Breton Development Corporation for 19 years and I worked underground for about a year of that. I was at the face in different areas, working with the surveyors. I want to say that every person in this House should stand and thank anyone who worked underground, because it certainly was a dangerous occupation, an occupation where people put their lives on the line, day after day, to produce quality products for the people of the Province of Nova Scotia.

It wasn't just in Cape Breton, as the minister would know and you would know, Mr. Speaker, people in Springhill and Pictou County, Inverness County, all over, have worked in this mining industry, and it has taken its toll on individuals. So those who have worked underground, today we are making sure that, indeed, we are looking after their best interests. I think the fact that the minister sat and worked with the Injured Workers Association of Cape Breton Island, and also with the UMW, to get this to the point where people who have worked at the face for 20 years will not have to worry about seeing their benefits slashed or taken away from them - this is something that the minister should be commended for.

I'm very pleased to know that, indeed, there is compassion and interest in what has taken place for the workers who have given so much of their time and their life. You know it would be not uncommon this time of the year for a man to leave home and it would be dark, get on the trip and go underground, spend the shift there for eight or 10 hours and then come back up and it would be dark again, and never see the light of day for five or six days at a time.

When you think about the energy and the time and the compassion that these people put into their job, because they really were sincere about what they were doing, and they supplied a valuable product. They supplied coal that for years provided good quality electricity for this province. They supplied coke where - you, Mr. Speaker, were employed at one time when the coke was used in making steel products, which again was another industry which was a backbone of our economy in Nova Scotia at one point.

For those reasons, it is with great pleasure that I say that our caucus will be glad to support this bill as it moves forward, and congratulations again.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON « » : Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to stand in this House and support Bill No. 151. I want to also commend the minister for the great job that she has done here.

[Page 4593]

I feel that it is necessary for me to stand in the House today because in my blood is over 100 years of coal mining, between my father and my grandfathers - 100 years in the Allan Shaft and in the Acadia and in the Drummond. I really identify with the members from Cape Breton, particularly the member for Glace Bay, the member for Cape Breton West and you, Mr. Speaker, as well, because all three of you have had a deep connection to the mining industry and the steel industry in Cape Breton.

I particularly - although I don't always agree with the member for Glace Bay on many things, but both his late dad and my late father spent 33 years in the pit, both of them.

I remember the day, as an elementary student, when I found out my father was very seriously injured in the pit and the experience of having a dad who was in hospital, after 33 years, for weeks and months in Halifax and in New Glasgow and the strain that there was on the family at that time, because I remember Workers' Compensation, which was then called Workmen's Compensation, was not all that fair to the workers.

I remember my dad, after about two years, getting a cheque for $1,000 with a letter saying that if the cheque were cashed it would be considered to be final payment. That was a very difficult decision to make when you owed bills for the first time in your life and you had a cheque in your hand for $1,000, but if that cheque were cashed, it was the end of any future Workers' Compensation claim. That, to me, was a very unfair situation and I am so glad that we have progressed so far beyond that today. This legislation is an example of how we have moved ahead to protect people from those not-so-good days.

I want to reiterate perhaps a couple of the things that the minister did say. Bill No. 151 actually became necessary because of a recent decision by the Workers' Compensation Appeals Tribunal that found that a long-standing practice at the Workers' Compensation Board must change for workers receiving a permanent impairment benefit. The Minister of Labour and Advanced Education went on to say that the decision rendered, that if a worker receiving a permanent impairment benefit has a lung function test and sees an improvement in lung function, benefit would be reduced. Now, Bill No. 151 will ensure that reductions will not apply and will never apply to coal miners who have worked for 20 years or more at the face of the mine and have lung impairment. I think this is a major piece of legislation for the 700 former coal miners, 700 former coal miners, who are actually in that criterion. This is good, very good, legislation.

This group of coal miners has always been treated differently. As the member for Cape Breton West put it so well about the dangers, these people who have spent more than 20 years at the face and the conditions that they worked in; the unhealthy, challenging, dangerous and difficult environment that they worked in. I mentioned one time before in this House, and took a little flack for it, perhaps, for the five years that I worked in and out of bootlegged coal mines myself and I was always able to run faster than the Acadia Coal Company inspectors, who actually were former miners and often let me have a head start on them. But I know the dangers from even those small pits that went down about eight feet and tunnelled in for about 20 feet or so. Those were very dangerous situations.

[Page 4594]

This was brought home to me even more in the 1970s - early 1970s, actually, 42 years ago - when I was elected as a councillor in Pictou County, in District 13, which had Thorburn and five surrounding communities in it. The McBain Mine was still operating at that time. The McBain Mine in the Thorburn area was going down, and there weren't many employment opportunities other than mining in that community. As that mine was starting to close, as the councillor in that area, I was asked by the miners to become the chair of the Save the McBain Mine committee.

I remember going down repeatedly, even taking people from Ontario down into that mine. The conditions that those men were working under in the McBain Mine were - ironically, we were trying to save the mine, but those conditions were really a tremendous hardship on those that worked there. Unlike some of the other mines in Pictou County, the McBain seam was a very thin seam. In many, many places the miners in the McBain worked on their hands and knees to see, and those were the days before there were the cutters at the face. To see those men with pick and shovel digging in conditions that in some places were four or five or five and a half feet high - just a deplorable situation to work in. But we needed jobs so badly that we fought to save that mine, and we were successful in getting another addition to its life.

I remember going to Cape Breton to get on television. In those days to get on TV you had to go all the way to Sydney or Charlottetown. I remember as the chair of the McBain Mine committee, the Save the McBain Mine Committee, going to Cape Breton with a group of miners to go on TV and fight for the saving of that mine.

I'm fairly emotional about this bill because it gives me an opportunity to talk about my roots. I don't want to tell too many stories, but after 33 years in the pit and after about two years of convalescence, my father had to take a job as an elevator operator in the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow. Those were the days when you sat on the stool and hit the floors for the various people getting on the elevator. I always admired my dad so much because he was so proud of being a coal miner, and he had to take a job as an operator of an elevator in a hospital to look after his family. Then after two years he was promoted to be a maintenance man. He became a proud member of CUPE at that time, after being involved with the miners' union.

My roots go back fairly deep in mining. I remember Marsh and others who were involved in leadership back in those days. I'm not old enough to remember McLachlan, but I do remember many stories about Clarie Gillis - I don't know if there is any connection with my name or not. Clarie Gillis was a CCF Member of Parliament who my dad thought a lot of, because he represented coal miners very well over the years and was in the House of Commons until 1957, so that's another little add-on.

[Page 4595]

Anyhow, as I am about ready to wrap this up, I do recall many miners who had various degrees of what we used to call black lung. This is something that we have progressed so rapidly on, in recent years, in recognizing the ailments that former coal miners have had over the years, so we are restoring the original intent of this long-standing piece of legislation and clarifying a section that was never intended to change.

Mr. Speaker, what I want to say - and I've probably taken too long in saying it - is that Bill No. 151 is a good bill with a good intent and I'm pleased that this NDP Government is protecting those 700 coal miners because I know how hard they worked for their families and for their communities and for this great Province of Nova Scotia.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you, minister, for clarifying this so quickly.

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

The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

HON. MARILYN MORE « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank all my honourable colleagues for their comments. I'd like to suggest that perhaps we are honouring the work and sacrifices of long-service miners covered by Section 35 of the Workers' Compensation Act by our all-Party support of second reading and I thank everyone for that support.

Certainly many people in this House either have personal or are the next generation from long-service miners in this province. It was a very dangerous but necessary resource industry in our province and we are very appreciative of the hard work and sacrifices that those miners have made. With that, I would like to close debate on second reading of Bill No. 151 and move it along to the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 151. 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 « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 153.

Bill No. 153 - Community Interest Companies Act.

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MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

HON. PERCY PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, I would like to deliver the following:

Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 153 be now read a second time. It is my pleasure to begin debate on Bill No. 153, the Community Interest Companies Act. The Community Interest Companies Act will allow certain businesses, formed for a community purpose under the Companies Act, to be designated a Community Interest Company. This will provide Nova Scotians with a new option to combine entrepreneurship with a community purpose and it will give social enterprises greater flexibility to generate investment, making them more sustainable and successful.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is a province built on the strength of its communities. We also have a long-standing tradition of social enterprise dating back to the early co-operative and credit union movements. The belief in community, self-reliance, and co-operation that inspired Moses Coady's Antigonish Movement is still inspiring social enterprise across the province today.

Social enterprises have a unique and important role in Nova Scotia. They create jobs, provide goods and services that respond to market demand, strengthen our communities, and contribute to the public good. They exist in or serve almost every community, Mr. Speaker, and help make Nova Scotia a great place to live and work.

Despite its importance, social enterprise may be an unfamiliar term to many people, but whether Nova Scotians recognize the term or not chances are that they benefit from social enterprise. In simple terms, a social enterprise is a business whose primary purpose is a public benefit. They are committed to reinvesting a portion of their profits back into the local community or social good. So when social enterprise profits, society profits.

Some examples of social enterprise may include farmers' markets, community-owned wind farms, and business enterprises operated by charitable organizations to generate funds to support their work - for example, a gift shop operated by a community museum, or a bakery operated by an organization that employs Nova Scotians with special needs in order to help develop their skills, while investing back into the social programs for their benefit.

Mr. Speaker, although social enterprise has been in existence for over a century, the last 10 years or so have seen a global trend where the sector is growing worldwide as people seek to create and want to support businesses that contribute to the common good. However, here in Nova Scotia current legislation does not fully address the unique needs of social enterprises. We need to make it easier for social enterprises to start, to grow and increase their contribution to the economy and their social mission. When this occurs, the positive impacts for communities in Nova Scotia will also increase. Community interest companies created under this legislation will have characteristics of both ordinary businesses and non-profits, and they will invest a portion of their profits in pursuit of social, environmental, community, or cultural goals.

[Page 4597]

Mr. Speaker, this legislation also helps fulfill a commitment that our government made in the jobsHere strategy; jobsHere recognizes the important role played by social enterprises in Nova Scotia, the role that social enterprise plays in Nova Scotia's economic prosperity, and makes a commitment to facilitate their success. This legislation brings us one step closer to achieving this goal; it also provides a new opportunity to serve public needs while growing the economy and creating jobs.

Mr. Speaker, in April of this year, this government also announced $2 million in funding to support small-business loans for social enterprise through the Credit Union Small Business Loan Program. This funding was the first step in our social enterprise strategy and, together with this legislation, paves the road to success by enabling Nova Scotians to be able to respond to the 21st Century opportunities and trends.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the work of the Nova Scotia Social Enterprise Working Group, a government and community partnership, for their role in developing this legislation. I will now take my place and look forward to debate on this bill.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Preston.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I've completely gone through the bill and read the bill and it makes me wonder. I'm nervous about this bill, I don't know why but I'm nervous.

I remember Bill No. 100 came through here and what devastating effect that had on Nova Scotia businesses. I remember first contract arbitration and what negative impact it had on Nova Scotia businesses. I'm going to be interested to see what businesses have to say about this bill.

It appears on the surface, it might be something worthwhile. There are some circumstances that, indeed, a company could set up to do some things in the province that typically a regular for-profit business wouldn't do. Perhaps it's a situation where a not-for-profit organization will benefit from this, be able to do things. We just heard in Question Period from the Minister of Community Services about a non-profit organization that was provided some money to provide a service and, indeed, nobody has been paid. There's not a lot of difference between not-for-profit organizations and businesses in not properly looking after their financial affairs.

So I'm quite concerned about this and the thing that concerns me the most when you go through this bill is the lack of the regulations. We've seen the previous Progressive Conservative Government bring forward a bill on insurance in Nova Scotia, in a minority government and we supported it and it went through, but when the regulations came forward on that bill, it was nothing like had been available during the discussion here in this Legislature.

[Page 4598]

I'm very concerned about this bill. I'm interested to see what my colleagues have to say about it. I hope the business community will look at this very carefully and see what kind of an impact it has on them. When I read through the bill, it appears that this type of operation can do anything a business can, that is a little bit troubling. We have an economy in this province now that's struggling very badly under this government and we see job losses, we see big loans going out to companies that are not performing as they're supposed to, indeed, laying people off - some have gone bankrupt, some of them are closing, the list goes on and on – so I'm very skeptical when this government brings something forward that relates to business in our province.

With those few words, I'm going to be anxiously waiting to see what my colleagues from the Third Party are going to say about this and what people will say in the Law Amendments Committee, when it goes to the Law Amendments Committee. I truly hope the business community is aware of this and they can come forward and have their two cents put on the record, for whatever good it will do because this government is going to pass it anyway. We'll see what kind of effect it has on Nova Scotians. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I will start out by saying we must recognize the good work of community-minded people across this province. Where would we be without volunteers? Much of the social infrastructure in our communities was built with the hands and with the vision of these people. I know in my own area, whether it's rinks or ballfields, trails, community centres - those facilities were often built by non-profit organizations.

I know the minister has brought forward, the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, has spoken about it today, this is about entrepreneurship with a social purpose. What I would say about that is it's a laudable goal. There's talk of buy local, I think that's also something that's positive. The more we buy in our local communities, the more we support our local economies.

There are some concerns I have with it. There are three points or so I'd like to make here. The first question I would raise is, will government protect investors in any of these enterprises? I know the definition talks about a social enterprise, it's generally understood to mean using business activities to generate revenue for social good. I guess what I would say is, is there a chance it could come at the social good of the investor? What I'm thinking about here is somebody who could be a senior, who would have some retirement savings, who might be approached in their community by somebody with very good intentions to invest in one of these social enterprises. That investment may not be best for that person. If the savings that they have, if they are depending on those savings to generate income for their retirement, and if they hand a portion of those savings, say it's a fifth or a quarter of those saving, and say the investment doesn't pan out, that could have a significant impact on that senior's ability to pay their monthly bills, and once that money is gone it's gone forever.

[Page 4599]

I have worked in the investment industry myself. I have seen people invest in investments where they were given tax credits as an incentive to make the investment. Those investments were made. They are often locked in for upwards of eight years, which means they can't access the money, and in some cases the money that was lost in the investment - actually in a lot cases - was more than the money that was saved on the tax side when they made the investment to get the tax incentive.

Mr. Speaker, I raise this as a point of caution and it may be something the government might want to look at and maybe they have looked at, maybe they'll communicate more detail as we move the bill through the House, but that is something that I bring up. We've seen the government, to their credit, bring forward a bill in this sitting, by the very same minister, to protect people from overly aggressive debt collectors and we've supported that legislation. We know that that bill was brought forward to protect the consumer.

There are consumers we need to keep in mind with this bill and that those people, while they may not be consumers, at this point they may be the investor, but they are the same people, and we need to make sure, despite good intentions, that those people are not encouraged to make an investment that may not be appropriate for them, which they could very easily make. They'll do it on their own accord, they'll have their own free will to do it, but it might be something that is promoted to them with good intentions and in faith that may not be suitable for them.

The other point I'd like to make is if there is a social enterprise that is really a charity and that charity is having difficulty raising funds to support their cause, I would hope that they wouldn't pass off something that is really a charitable donation as an investment. If we have somebody who is making an investment with the expectation of return - and we all know there are risks to investing, Mr. Speaker - but if the returns just aren't there and it turns out that it is really more of a gift of charity that the investor has made, that can become dangerous for the very same reason that you may have people lose money, who can't afford to lose it, when that money may be better invested in something that is going to bring them a secure rate of return, whether it's a GIC at the bank or one of various other investments, it's the safest one I can think of. But that's another point I want to bring up.

The other point is one of the goals is to allow these social enterprises to use CEDIFs - Community Economic Development Investment Funds. Mr. Speaker, I know there are many organizations in the province that use that vehicle as an incentive, as a way to raise capital for a project, for an initiative, for an enterprise. It's a good vehicle to do that. I would highlight, though, that it is not for everyone. Everyone can certainly get into it. If you have the money and somebody comes to you with an idea and it is set up, they can come to you with the paperwork, you can sign on it and you can invest in it. You may even be counselled to invest in it.

[Page 4600]

But there are situations, again, where people should not be investing in that type of investment. We can say, well, put the onus on the adviser who is advising the person and let them decide whether or not it's a suitable investment. We can do that, and yes there is some protection in that, but I do know there is still the possibility for people who may end up losing money on an investment that was completely done with good intentions on both sides.

So I raise those points today, Mr. Speaker, and I hope that the government takes that as something that's constructive and something that they will consider as the bill moves through the House.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Lunenburg.

MS. PAM BIRDSALL « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand today to speak on Bill No. 153, the Community Interest Companies Act.

Nova Scotians have a long-standing tradition of social enterprise dating back to the co-op movement by Moses Coady, as the minister has said. Social enterprises exist in every community across our province, helping to create jobs and goods that strengthen our communities in rural areas and in urban areas as well, and contribute to the public good.

A social enterprise is a business whose primary purpose is a public benefit, that this business is committed to investing a portion of their profit back into the local community. In January 2010, under the leadership of the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, a small group of people across government and across the community gathered to explore conversations around social enterprises in our province. This group, the Nova Scotia Social Enterprise Working Group, met with a number of people and looked at all the different considerations around the world and looked at best practices just to see how this conversation could be informed. We're acting on recommendations from the Nova Scotia Social Enterprise Working Group. We have shown that our government, once again, is listening to the needs of Nova Scotians.

These conversations highlighted an evolving thinking around collaborative approaches, dealing with and looking at public policy, and finding better ways to address community challenges. At a time when governments and communities are confronting aging populations and more urban populations, many challenges are happening, and increasingly different ways to do things and look at them. Looking at best practice is the path to follow. As a concept, social enterprise is using socially- and environmentally-conscious market-based approaches to encourage economic growth that gives back to our communities.

[Page 4601]

Community Economic Development Investment Funds, or CEDIFs, is another form of best practice for supporting social enterprises. CEDIFs allow members of the community to directly invest in a company that will employ locally. New Dawn Enterprises, the Black Business Initiative, The Hub Halifax, and Just Us! Coffee are just some good examples of innovative social enterprise models.

This type of community investing in community projects dates back many, many decades. In my community of Lunenburg, many of the fishing captains and the merchant owners all invested in various ships so that they had investment in it and shared in the risks taken to do business at that time, and also would share in the profits and challenges. So these very self-reliant individuals were the ones who created that concept of investing in your own community - one that makes more sense, and one that we're looking at in a different way now.

Over the last decade, Mr. Speaker, we've seen a global trend where the social enterprise sector is growing worldwide. In 2005, the U.K. developed new legislation that allowed social enterprises to acquire profit-making status. Acquiring this new status was preceded by a submission to a community of interest statement banning the enterprise from private profit making and political activity, and outlining how activities will benefit a community and how surpluses will be used.

Another example is how the European Union provides funding for social enterprises to undertake descriptive research focused on social economy. The German Government provides and partners with social enterprises to create jobs in recycling and social services. All of these things are looking at challenges that communities and provinces and states and countries have to deal with in a very innovative way. The Belgian Government also focuses on a partnership with social enterprises on training, while Holland's partnership is focused on providing care for elderly people.

Here in Nova Scotia, this piece of legislation, Bill No. 153, will make it easier for social enterprises to start, to grow, and to increase their contribution to the economy of our communities. This legislation will also help fulfill our commitment that the government has made under the jobsHere strategy. This legislation will allow certain businesses formed under the Companies Act and having established community purpose to be designated as "community interest companies." This will also provide Nova Scotians with a new option to combine entrepreneurship with social mission, giving these enterprises greater flexibility to generate investment and create more sustainable and successful businesses.

Mr. Speaker, our government has worked with many programs, and some of the provincial programs that have been administered through Economic and Rural Development are: the Nova Scotia Strategic Opportunities Fund - this particular fund is one that allows the province to access federal funds, bringing money to our area; the Community Economic Development Investment Fund - this again refers back to our CEDIFs, which we've spoken about already; the Export Ability Program - this is working with professional development in international trade development; and we have the Go Ahead Program, known as GAP - it helps exporters convert their leads into sales, helping cover costs of marketing processing. These sorts of things are really helping people move forward in their areas.

[Page 4602]

We have the Industrial Expansion Fund, a manufacturing and processing investment credit - this is one that has worked in many different sectors in our province and is seeing a lot of success. Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia Business Development Plan offers opportunities as well for businesses to review and assess their practices and develop new approaches to help with qualified consultants; and the Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program is another program that has really helped a lot of people with this credit note. Our new program of sustainable procurement is one that is being looked at by many, many areas in our province.

We are also looking at helping students, Mr. Speaker. The Nova Scotia Business Idea Explorer is one such program - this is helping young people so they understand about what resources are available to young entrepreneurs, a start-up basis, market information, and other information that will help them advance in 50 different types of businesses.

Another program that we're talking about is Students in Business - Students in Business is a program that takes advantage of how an owner owns a business and there are loans up to $5,000 available to young people. The whole concept of working with businesses that give back to their community, thereby generating profit that will help in other ways to the community, is something that is highly valuable and innovative. When we were speaking earlier, Just Us! Coffee has been one of the most successful ones in our area that has really grown and grown.

Mr. Speaker, this government bill, the Community Interest Companies Act, is a very progressive piece of legislation and one that I am very, very proud to support. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

HON. PERCY PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank my colleagues for their comments during debate on Bill No. 153; I am sure the minister will reflect on what they have said.

Mr. Speaker, we are committed to making life better for Nova Scotians. This legislation will create new opportunities for Nova Scotians to create businesses that will also advance social goals. This is a good business that will create jobs and help strengthen our economy, and it is good citizenship that helps make Nova Scotia a great place to live and work.

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Now, Mr. Speaker, with those few words I move second reading of Bill No. 153 and will take my place now.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 153. 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 « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

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

The motion is carried.

In accordance with Rule 39(1), before I leave the Chair I am appointing the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville as Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[3:01 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Acting Deputy Speaker Mr. Mat Whynott in the Chair.]

[3:07 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Alfie MacLeod in the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK » : That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 140 - Transgendered Persons Protection Act.

Bill No. 143 - Importation of Wine for Personal Use Act.

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

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

THE CLERK « » : Further, Mr. Speaker, that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 136 - Green Economy Act.

which was reported with certain amendments by the Committee on Law Amendments to the Committee of the Whole House without further amendments and the chairman has been instructed to recommend this bill to the favourable consideration of the House.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government business for the day. I move that the House do now rise, to meet again tomorrow, the hours being from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The order of business is Daily Routine, of course, and second reading of Bill Nos. 155, 156 and 157 and third reading of Bill Nos. 136, 140 and 143 and, if time permits, Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. I move the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 9:00 a.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.

We are now at the moment of interruption. The Adjournment motion was submitted by the honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Premier immediately appoint an independent, qualified person to draw up terms of reference and call an inquiry into the events at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children."

ADJOURNMENT

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MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

N.S. HOME FOR COLORED CHILDREN: INQUIRY - CALL

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to be able to speak on the resolution before us now. It is a very, very important one. It is yet another chance for the NDP Government to do the right thing and call a public inquiry into the events that transpired over many decades at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

Mr. Speaker, I wish all Nova Scotians had the chance to be here at the Legislature a few short days ago when so many former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children were here to share their experience with us, those of us who sit in the Legislature. I know for me it was a great privilege to meet such brave, now grown, Nova Scotia men and women who were prepared to share with us the agonizing story and memories of their own experiences over decades at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

Mr. Speaker, the allegations of abuse, child abuse, child sexual abuse that have been made about events at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children are beyond description and we can only imagine how difficult it is for our fellow Nova Scotians to now, as adults, come forward and tell their stories. They do that, yes as part of the personal healing process, which we should all encourage, but also because they want to see justice done. They want to see justice done not only for themselves, and not only for that awful time, but also for all time.

Mr. Speaker, they know that the courts will. . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The chatter is a little bit high in the room. If you have conversations that you would like to carry on, please feel free to take them outside the Chamber.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Thank you Mr. Speaker. They know that the courts will determine individual examples of guilt or innocence, identify and properly try the perpetrators of such horrible crimes, and they know that the courts will determine what kind of award, compensation, or punishment is appropriate by law. That is what the courts are for but it is not right for the Government of Nova Scotia to tell those victims that that's all there is to it. I know today the government says, the Premier says and the Deputy Premier has said that they are weighing all their options and that they will come to a decision sooner or later. How long have the former residents of that home been told to wait? How long have they been told that sooner or later someone might listen to their stories, examine their experience, determine what went wrong?

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Mr. Speaker, too many times in our province, in our country, in our culture, groups of people who have been victimized, or held back, or dismissed, have been told to wait, wait for that day, some future day, when maybe someone will have time to listen to their stories and to appropriately deal with the underlying systemic issues that led to such a horrible experience. The Government of Nova Scotia today has an opportunity, and I believe has an obligation, to not be that kind of government that tells fellow Nova Scotians, like the residents of the Home for Colored Children, that they too must get to the back of the line; they must wait; that the government will take its time, again, and hide behind the courts as they've been told too often. The residents themselves are already concerned about what may or may not happen in the court of law, what the police investigation may or may not lead to, in the way of legal charges.

The residents of the Home for Colored Children are our fellow citizens. They have been put through a horrible experience in their early years. They have heart-wrenching stories about what happened to them and just as I feel privileged to have been able to hear them directly, as I know other members in this House have, I want all Nova Scotians, in an open and public and transparent inquiry, to hear the same thing because only then will not only the individuals involved be given a proper opportunity to heal and put this behind them and move on with their lives with all the help they may still need from the government. So too, maybe Nova Scotia can finally heal as a province and learn the lessons, close the file, do the right thing, and acknowledge publicly, under the proper examination of a public inquiry, what went so horribly wrong and why, and then do all we can to ensure that we can once and for all say never again, never again in our province, not in my Nova Scotia, not in your Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker.

We want a province that, when something goes horribly wrong, doesn't ignore it, sweep it under the rug, act like it didn't happen, put it on the back burner, or tell people that they'll have to wait for some future date. We want a province where experiences like those at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, no matter how awful, are examined in the open light of day so that individuals can move on and so that our province can move on.

Although we can never be proud of what happened in the past there, Mr. Speaker - in fact, we're disgusted by what happened in the past there - the opportunity to build a Nova Scotia confident enough and proud enough to do the right thing today and call a public inquiry and examine what happened publicly, is to close that chapter in our history in the appropriate way and to ensure that no other generation of Nova Scotians, young or old, can ever again be subject to the conditions that existed at that time in that place.

That's why I implore the government to stop the legal arguments, knowing that there are perfectly valid counter legal arguments that can allow an inquiry to proceed. I implore the government to take this opportunity to show that this is a new kind of province, where we can examine these kinds of issues and put them behind us and do the right thing for the victims of the Home for Colored Children and their families and for all Nova Scotians, including the next generation of Nova Scotians.

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That's why we have this resolution before the House, to call on the government to get on with the job, to do the right thing, to do it sooner rather than later, to do it now and not tell a whole other group of our fellow citizens that they have to wait a long time to get justice done systemically for them. Do the right thing today and call that public inquiry into the allegations and the systemic issues and the problems that led to such an awful situation at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. That's why we strongly support this resolution.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Queens.

MS. VICKI CONRAD « » : Mr. Speaker, it is indeed with a heavy heart that I stand in my place to find myself speaking to this very emotional issue. As a member for the past almost seven years now, I believe that this is the first time that I have been so overwrought with emotion for this horrific issue that many former residents from the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children are facing. When I looked up in the gallery on Tuesday and looked into the faces of many former residents and some of their supporters with them, I could only imagine some of the horrific experiences some of them had to endure in their early lives as children, as a survivor of abuse myself and sexual abuse - certainly not to the degree or not in the same capacity that the people in the gallery have had to relive as adults and to relive every day, and every day of their adult life.

It also brings a sad reflection to have this incredibly unfortunate story unfold here in our province and certainly it is not the first time that we have seen stories like this come to public light. We can indeed look all across Canada and we can see that abuse of children, and in particular sexual abuse of children, has happened systematically in places such as the residential schools across this country. We can be reminded of the horrific abuses in the Shelburne facility for boys. We know that stories have come to light, recently, about the abuse of children in Scouts Canada and even in our minor hockey leagues across this country and the Roman Catholic Church, historically. We know about Mount Cashel and the horrific stories of children there in that home.

When I looked up in the gallery at the many faces of former residents, I could certainly see their frustration, and their want for healing, and their want for justice, and indeed they do deserve that justice and healing. There is not one person on this side of the House, and not one person who sits in Cabinet, who doesn't strongly feel that the perpetrators of such an injustice to innocent children, and especially those people in positions of authority and responsibility, should not be brought to justice. I want to make that very clear.

We understand the need for the residents, the former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, that they do deserve to be heard, that they are being heard. We are listening but it's also important to remember that it's just not as easy as saying, there needs to be an inquiry called today or tomorrow. We have to follow a process that takes into consideration not only the residents, the former residents of the home, but also the community in general. We need to make sure that when these processes are moving forward that we don't jeopardize those former residents, that we don't continue to have them relive their situation as victims.

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Really, I think the heart of tonight's debate is the importance that we ensure that our justice system can adequately protect any Nova Scotian - any child, especially - who is a victim of sexual abuse. We have heard what residents have said. We are listening to those painful stories and I can tell you there is probably not a person on this side of the House who hasn't wept in our hearts for the victims, the stories they have been sharing, publicly. They are sharing their stories publicly and in this House we cannot forget that. We cannot place blame between Opposition members and with the government.

We need to be sensitive to these issues. We need to ensure that the appropriate processes are followed so that if there is a decision by this government to move forward with a type of inquiry, that we do it properly, that we just don't jump in with all feet and say this is what we need to do today. We need to be very careful. We don't want to see what happened in Shelburne take place here, with this very sensitive and heartbreaking issue. We need to protect those victims and therefore we need to be very careful about how we proceed.

Mr. Speaker, no one is arguing here that inquiries are not valuable. We certainly recognize that they can be but, again, we need to be very careful about taking any action that can interfere with a criminal investigation or a prosecution. In a case like this here in Nova Scotia, our friends, our neighbours, some of these former residents have gone to school with some of us, some of the former residents have worked side by side with some of us, some of those former residents are indeed relatives and we need to make sure that this government proceeds prudently and ensures that any action taken will not compromise the ability of any legal, judicial, or government process in order to do its jobs. We cannot re-victimize the victims, we cannot.

These former residents coming out and sharing their stories publicly, I can only imagine the pain, the pain of each and every one of those individuals who have found the strength within themselves to come before media, to come before government, to come before all of Nova Scotians and painfully stand up and share what they experienced at the tender age of four, five, 14 years of age, 16 years of age. Those are brave, brave people indeed, and we need to ensure that whatever decision this government makes, it is the right decision so that we do not see that those people - our friends, our family members, our community members - become wrapped up in a political debate back and forth that sees them being re-victimized.

Another issue that we've heard, Mr. Speaker, is the Statute of Limitations, and currently there is a Statute of Limitations for victims of sexual abuse here in Nova Scotia. The limitation the Act currently imposes is a one-year time frame for most victims of sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator; the limit is six years for a civil suit against an entity such as an organization or an agency. Our government certainly agrees that this does not go far enough.

[Page 4609]

Last year our government started to review this Act, and over the last several months the Department of Justice has been conducting a consultation on the limitations of the Act. We are listening, we do know that changes need to be made, we do know that we need to do better in this province to protect children vulnerable to those in positions of authority, vulnerable to those predators who in their devious minds, for whatever reason, see an opportunity to take advantage of our most innocent - and up in the gallery on Tuesday we saw the faces of adults who are still experiencing those horrific events and deep down inside there is that child, and that's who we need to protect.

Mr. Speaker, this has not been an easy topic for any of us here in the House, but I can tell you our government is listening. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Preston.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : I listened with great interest to the member from the NDP who just spoke, and her emotion with the topic, and I share her emotional frustration with this and the care she has for the people in this situation. I listened very carefully to the Leader of the Third Party talk about this issue as well.

It's a very, very difficult issue, indeed, for all involved, and for someone to come forward after many years and bring forward the pain and misery they have within themselves, wondering if they did something wrong - when indeed they did nothing wrong - all those years before they came forward and admitted that they were sexually or physically abused in an institution that should have been protecting them instead of abusing them. It has to be very, very difficult and I'm sure that, as this process unfolds, we will see more people come forward who are afraid to come forward. Hopefully everybody does who has had some sexual abuse against them at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

The issue here this evening and the late debate resolution was about a public inquiry. Now, I've talked to the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children about this and they fully want a public inquiry. They want an inquiry to clear the air on this situation, to ensure that everything is uncovered and everything is brought forward, without interfering with the legal cases that may go forward, either through the justice system for criminal charges or against any civil action that may take place.

Unfortunately, the government has not removed the limitations for civil action. The honourable member just mentioned that. I can tell you that the people I've talked to who have been abused over the years are very reluctant to talk about this for many, many years. Most times people won't talk about any type of physical or emotional or sexual problem that they've had as a child until quite a few years afterward. I've had several people come 30, 40, even 50 years after it has happened. At that time they are limitedly willing to talk about it.

[Page 4610]

I think the Statute of Limitations should be lifted on the sexual abuse cases. It's something that, at first, when you talk to people who have had that happen to them, they feel that they did something wrong themselves, so they have to deal with that first. Then they have to realize that they didn't do anything wrong themselves, but then they are ashamed to come forward because of what people may say or think about them as time goes forward. So it's a very, very tough decision they have to come to.

I feel, as our caucus does, that that Statute of Limitations should be lifted on sexual assault charges or whatever the case - however you want to put it. In sexual assault instances there should be no limitation on it. That would ensure that (1) people would think twice before they sexually assault somebody, and (2) it would give justice and some kind of relief to people who have been abused sexually, so they can bring this out in the public and get some kind of apology or financial compensation or whatever the case may be when it went to a court. That would be only for the court to decide.

As we see this unfold, I know the government is investigating this whole situation through the RCMP, and I think that's very important, to have that happen, and it should continue until they've uncovered everything they possibly can and see if they're going to be able to lay any charges. It will be interesting to see if they can or not.

I believe the civil actions should have the right to go forward. Only the government can change that Act to ensure that individuals who want to pursue that route can. I encourage the government to do that. We will do everything we can to push the government to do that. But as far as a public inquiry, it has been asked for by our community, in a community that this happened in. They are asking for this. They want this. They want to see this. They want closure to this. They want to make sure that nobody else is in a situation that they would have to suffer through this type of abuse.

I can tell you right now the management at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children is the finest quality management you could ever have. They really are doing a fine job in the community, and they should be commended for the job they've done. If you've seen how they've changed things just in the last few years in the home itself, its physical structure, the Akoma Family Centre that they've put together to bring family members - if there are four or five children in a family, to keep those children together instead of seeing them split up all over the place and losing that family structure.

The executive director now at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children is actually a former member of the home and went to the home when she was a child. She understands what it's like and how important that home is to the young people who come there. They deal with some very troubled people today, very troubled youth, usually from broken homes or abuse in their homes, whatever the case may be - some very, very difficult young people to deal with, but they do an excellent job, they really do.

[Page 4611]

It's important in our community to have a place like the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. They are so anxious to get this resolved, and resolved to the betterment of the home - not only about the home but all the people who are involved. They want people brought to justice who have done things wrong. They also want to see the people who were abused receive the attention they should receive on this very important topic.

So our whole community is behind this. They want to see a public inquiry. They are pushing for a public inquiry, and I think as the days go on, there will be even more push in that direction. I really appreciate the people who came into the Legislature the other day, the victims of the home. It takes a lot of courage to come forward, be on television and in the newspapers, about something that has happened to you. It's very personal and very difficult to bring forward.

As this situation unfolds, and hopefully as the Leader of the Third Party indicated, we don't ever want to see this happen in Nova Scotia again. It should never have happened to start with, but we never want to see this happen again. So whatever the government does, whatever the home does, whatever the people involved do, it is important that we set a standard in Nova Scotia that stops any of this happening, so it cannot happen. You know there are serious repercussions if you get involved in something like this, you know there are serious repercussions all the way along. Until that is in place, and people understand that, this will never stop.

We still see on the news some serious things happening with abuse, sexual abuse with young men and young women, and it's not acceptable in our society - it's not acceptable. You know, a long time ago, things were different but they weren't right, they weren't right, and today those things have to be clarified. Only through a public inquiry, along with the work that the investigation will go with the RCMP and the civil suits, this hopefully will clear the case and indeed ensure that the home is clear of this really big problem that they have on their hands right now.

I can stress again, we have excellent people working in the home now. We have a director there who is doing an excellent job to redirect the home in a new direction, which really services a lot of young people in this province. A lot of people think the home is just for people from the Black community, but it is not. It's there for children from all over the province. It doesn't matter what the race is, or the color of their skin, or religious background, or anything, the home is there to help those children and they are doing a fine job today.

It's very difficult for them to work, day after day, knowing this is over what they do each day and people wondering if the children there are safe. Well, I guarantee you, from what I've seen and what I've seen with the board - an excellent board they have there now - and with the management and the staff who work there now, they care very much about the young people who are there and they can never do enough to help them and move things forward.

[Page 4612]

Mr. Speaker, I can implore the government of the day here today, the NDP Government, to come up with a public inquiry and indeed bring this out in the open, get this whole thing cleared up and ensure that the people who did the wrong are charged, or whatever other repercussions are coming to them, those things go forward, and this thing can finally be decided. Please, call for the public inquiry and hopefully the government will listen and do that.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I would like to thank all members for their participation in tonight's debate. We are now at the end of the late debate.

The House is adjourned.

[The House rose at 3:38 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 4613]

RESOLUTION NO. 2408

By: Hon. Jamie Baillie « » (Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Whereas Nova Scotians lost a sports broadcasting legend this week with the death of Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame inductee Pat Connolly, at the age of 84; and

Whereas in 1988, Pat was awarded the American Hockey League's James Ellery Trophy for outstanding radio broadcasting and distinguished services; and

Whereas during his career, Pat broadcast memorable moments such as the prestigious Canadian Senior Amateur Hockey's Allan Cup Final from Toronto between the Sydney Millionaires and the Toronto Marlboros, as well as Calder Cup Finals in the 1970s, on 680 CFDR Radio, involving the Nova Scotia Voyageurs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Pat Connelly, whom he deeply treasured and loved.

RESOLUTION NO. 2409

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

Whereas on May 15, 2012, Jessica and Jeremy Amirault welcomed their son into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jessica and Jeremy on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

RESOLUTION NO. 2410

[Page 4614]

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

Whereas on July 20, 2012, Ginette Levesque and Reil d'Eon welcomed their son into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Ginette and Reil on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

RESOLUTION NO. 2411

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

Whereas on September 12, 2012, Angela and Trevor Owen welcomed their son into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Angela and Trevor on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

RESOLUTION NO. 2412

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

[Page 4615]

Whereas on October 15, 2012, Angela and Richard Crowell welcomed their son into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Angela and Richard on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

RESOLUTION NO. 2413

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

Whereas on June 25, 2012, Jennifer MacIntosh and Real d'Entremont welcomed their daughter into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jennifer and Real on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

RESOLUTION NO. 2414

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

Whereas on May 23, 2012, Jade Malone and Adam Spinney welcomed their daughter into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jade and Adam on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

[Page 4616]

RESOLUTION NO. 2415

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

Whereas on November 8, 2012, Jodie d'Entremont and Travis Fitzgerald welcomed their daughter into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jodie and Travis on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

RESOLUTION NO. 2416

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

Whereas on November 8, 2012, Candice Keech and Kristin d'Entremont welcomed their daughter into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Candice and Kristin on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

RESOLUTION NO. 2417

[Page 4617]

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

Whereas on August 23, 2012, Amanda LeBlanc and Corey Hatfield welcomed their daughter into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Amanda and Corey on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

RESOLUTION NO. 2418

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont « » (Argyle)

Whereas the birth of a child is a momentous event, and marks the beginning of a very satisfying journey down a long road where the rewards far outnumber the challenges; and

Whereas author Edna J. Leshan said "a new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities"; and

Whereas on June 12, 2012, Cynthia and Ryan Fraughton welcomed their twin daughters into the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Cynthia and Ryan on this special event in their lives, and wish them many more happy years as parents.

RESOLUTION NO. 2419

By: Ms. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Regional Heritage Fair, which takes place each May, is the longest running event of its type in the province; and

[Page 4618]

Whereas students throughout the Chignecto Central Regional School Board region prepare a project on a topic in Canadian heritage for judging; and

Whereas the Chignecto Central Regional Heritage Fair was held at the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Campus, where students had their projects judged in various prize categories;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Myra Keizer, a student at Chiganois Elementary School in Masstown, Colchester North, the recipient of a Merit Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 2420

By: Ms. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Regional Heritage Fair, which takes place each May, is the longest running event of its type in the province; and

Whereas students throughout the Chignecto Central Regional School Board region prepare a project on a topic in Canadian heritage for judging; and

Whereas the Chignecto Central Regional Heritage Fair was held at the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Campus, where students had their projects judged in various prize categories;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jacob Duggan, a student at Colchester High School in Tatamagouche, for receiving a Judge's Commendation.

RESOLUTION NO. 2421

By: Ms. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Regional Heritage Fair, which takes place each May, is the longest running event of its type in the province; and

Whereas students throughout the Chignecto Central Regional School Board region prepare a project on a topic in Canadian heritage for judging; and

[Page 4619]

Whereas the Chignecto Central Regional Heritage Fair was held at the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Campus, where students had their projects judged in various prize categories;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Cassie Cameron, a student at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche, the winner of the category for History of Science/Technology and named as a Provincial Fair delegate.

RESOLUTION NO. 2422

By: Ms. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Regional Heritage Fair, which takes place each May, is the longest running event of its type in the province; and

Whereas students throughout the Chignecto Central Regional School Board region prepare a project on a topic in Canadian heritage for judging; and

Whereas the Chignecto Central Regional Heritage Fair was held at the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Campus, where students had their projects judged in various prize categories;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Abby Thiesen, a student at Valley Elementary School, Colchester North, for receiving a Judge's Commendation.

RESOLUTION NO. 2423

By: Ms. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Regional Heritage Fair, which takes place each May, is the longest running event of its type in the province; and

Whereas students throughout the Chignecto Central Regional School Board region prepare a project on a topic in Canadian heritage for judging; and

Whereas the Chignecto Central Regional Heritage Fair was held at the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Campus, where students had their projects judged in various prize categories;

[Page 4620]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Noah Bush, a student at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche, the recipient of a Merit Award and a nominee for Young Citizens of Canada.

RESOLUTION NO. 2424

By: Ms. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Regional Heritage Fair, which takes place each May, is the longest running event of its type in the province; and

Whereas students throughout the Chignecto Central Regional School Board region prepare a project on a topic in Canadian heritage for judging; and

Whereas the Chignecto Central Regional Heritage Fair was held at the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Campus, where students had their projects judged in various prize categories;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Noah Green and Kael Muise, students at Chiganois Elementary School in Masstown, Colchester North, the winners of the category for Best Structure, Grade 4 - 6.

RESOLUTION NO. 2425

By: Ms. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the Regional Heritage Fair, which takes place each May, is the longest running event of its type in the province; and

Whereas students throughout the Chignecto Central Regional School Board region prepare a project on a topic in Canadian heritage for judging; and

Whereas the Chignecto Central Regional Heritage Fair was held at the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro Campus, where students had their projects judged in various prize categories;

[Page 4621]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Sara Veno, a student at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche, a nominee for Young Citizens of Canada.

RESOLUTION NO. 2426

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas a 10-acre corn maze was created in Masstown, Colchester North, and opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to Alan and Jennifer Porter for their donation of a truck to help with the harvesting of the 10-acre corn maze.

RESOLUTION NO. 2427

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas a 10-acre corn maze was created in Masstown, Colchester North, and opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to Henry and Janet Eisses, who donated time and equipment to do planting of the 10-acre corn maze for this joint project.

[Page 4622]

RESOLUTION NO. 2428

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas a 10-acre corn maze was created in Masstown, Colchester North, and opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to Tara Hill MacMillan, Allan MacMillan, and Charles Hill & Son, who handled the spraying for the 10-acre corn maze.

RESOLUTION NO. 2429

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas a 10-acre corn maze was created in Masstown, Colchester North, and opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to Jonathan Millen of J&B Millen Farm for preparing the land for the 10-acre corn maze for this joint project.

RESOLUTION NO. 2430

[Page 4623]

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas a 10-acre corn maze was created in Masstown, Colchester North, and opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to Michael and Amanda Eisses for combining the crop of the 10-acre corn maze.

RESOLUTION NO. 2431

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas a 10-acre corn maze was created in Masstown, Colchester North, and opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to Lauchie and Jolene MacEachern of Folly River Farms, who helped with the planting of the 10-acre corn maze for this joint project.

RESOLUTION NO. 2432

[Page 4624]

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas the Masstown Market in Colchester North provided land for a 10-acre corn maze, which was opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum and hosted a Select Nova Scotia IncrEdible Picnic on August 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to the Masstown Market for their commitment to help not only with issues in their own community, province, and country, but also with global issues.

RESOLUTION NO. 2433

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas a 10-acre corn maze was created in Masstown, Colchester North, and opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to Ian MacHattie of AgriBioFuels Ltd. for his contribution of handling and drying the corn from this joint project.

RESOLUTION NO. 2434

[Page 4625]

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas a 10-acre corn maze was created in Masstown, Colchester North, and opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to Anne Hamilton of Milfern Holsteins, whose farm provided and applied the fertilizer for the 10-acre corn maze.

RESOLUTION NO. 2435

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Colchester North)

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

Whereas the maxim that "many hands make light work" was the basis for a community growing project to help fight global hunger; and

Whereas several local groups combined resources to create Harvest 4 Hunger NS (H4H-NS) and raise funds for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank; and

Whereas a 10-acre corn maze was created in Masstown, Colchester North, and opened to the public on July 16th as Captain Cob's Crazy Corn Conundrum, and a Select Nova Scotia IncrEdible Picnic at the Masstown Market was held on August 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and express our thanks to Trinity United Church for partnering with farmers and the Masstown Market to create Harvest 4 Hunger.

RESOLUTION NO. 2436

[Page 4626]

By Mr. Jim Boudreau « » (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas on Tuesday, November 27, 2012, Ben Réal Bouchard was born in Edmonton, Alberta, weighting a healthy eight pounds, five ounces; and

Whereas Ben's parents, Liza and Réal Bouchard, were overjoyed to share Ben's arrival with grandparents Patti Boudreau and the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour; and

Whereas Ben will live a life surrounded by love, affection, and support from all of his family members, particularly his grandparents in Nova Scotia, who will cherish every moment of Ben's life as they create lasting memories together;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly welcomes Ben Réal Bouchard into the world and wish him every future success.