Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD13-11

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Gordie 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/



Fifth Session

THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Parsons Case: Review - Appointees,
700
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 281, Ducks Unlimited Can. - Anniv. (75th),
704
Vote - Affirmative
705
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 38, Trade Union Act,
705
No. 39, Trade Union Act,
705
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 110, Prem.: Pub. Educ. Cuts (3.5 Yrs.) - Amount,
705
No. 111, Prem. - Sch. Curriculum: Digital Citizenship - Include,
707
No. 112, EECD: Early Intervention Progs. - Funding Details,
709
No. 113, Health & Wellness - Insulin Pumps: Applications
(07/31/13) - Confirm, Mr. L. Glavine »
710
No. 114, Justice - Bullying: Early Intervention - Tools,
711
No. 115, TIR - Paving Tenders: Richmond/Inverness/Victoria Cos
- Cancellation Explain, Hon. M. Samson »
713
No. 116, EECD - Child Care: Funding Model - Details,
714
No. 117, SNSMR - Strait Area Transit: Operations - Resumption,
716
No. 118, ERDT - SWSDA: Garian Const. - Payment,
717
No. 119, Immigration - Targets: Failure - Explain,
718
No. 120, SNSMR - HARP: Budget Allotment - Expenditure,
720
No. 121, Nat. Res. - MV Miner: Removal - Update,
721
No. 122, TIR - Fitch Rd. (Annapolis): Paving - Time Frame,
723
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 1:34 P.M
723
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:53 P.M
723
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Apr. 12th at 9:00 a.m
724
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 282, Rushton: Masonic Lodge Bursary - Congrats.,
725
Res. 283, Rector, Joe: Pub. Serv. - Congrats.,
725
Res. 284, Thompson, Ashley: Journalistic Accomplishments
- Recognize, Mr. C. Porter »
726
Res. 285, Roberts, Sheila: Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal
- Congrats., Mr. C. Porter « »
726
Res. 286, Avery's Valley Wild Midget AA Girls Hockey Team
- Prov. Championship, Mr. C. Porter « »
727
Res. 287, De Rosa, Carlos: Artistic Endeavours - Well Wishes,
727
Res. 288, Davis, Gail: Creative Talents - Applaud,
728
Res. 289, Shearer, Coach Laura/Kings-Edgehill Girls Hockey Team:
Championship Season - Congrats., Mr. C. Porter « »
728
Res. 290, Colburn, Tim - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Medal/Serv. Pin (25 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
729
Res. 291, Parkhurst, Scott - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
New Member Badge - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
729
Res. 292, MacDonald, Paul - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Serv. Pin (15 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
730
Res. 293, Colburn, Paul - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Serv. Pin (15 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
730
Res. 294, Forbes, Mike - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Serv. Pin (10 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
731
Res. 295, Langille, Mark - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Serv. Pin (15 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
731
Res. 296, MacDonald, Kent - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Medal/Serv. Pin (20 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
732
Res. 297, Newcomb, Kenny - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Serv. Pin (10 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
732
Res. 298, Anderson, Kenny - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Serv. Pin (10 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
733
Res. 299, Forbes, Jim - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Fire Officer of Yr. - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
733
Res. 300, Russell, Jeremy - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Firefighter of Yr. - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
734
Res. 301, Friesen, Jeffrey - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade: Firefighter
Most Interested in Training - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
734
Res. 302, MacDonald, Ian - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Medal/Serv. Pin (25 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
735
Res. 303, Langille, Ian, Jr. - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
New Member Badge - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
735
Res. 304, Cunningham, Colin - Tatamagouche Fire Brigade:
Serv. Pin (35 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
736

[Page 699]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2013

Sixty-first General Assembly

Fifth Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Gordie Gosse

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER » : Order, please.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT » : Mr. Speaker, it is the understanding of the three House Leaders that we will not do a late debate tonight at the moment of interruption, with the unanimous consent of the House. It's my belief that under Rule 5 we will carry that debate subject over to the next late debate, which would be Tuesday, April 16th.

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

The motion is carried.

The late debate, the subject matter, will be moved over to Tuesday, April 16th.

[Page 700]

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : Can we get unanimous consent? We'll take a short little recess here for five minutes or so, so we can restart it.

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

The motion is carried.

We'll take a short recess and get back very shortly.

[12:10 p.m. The House recessed.]

[12:15 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. We will now continue on with our afternoon.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

HON. DARRELL DEXTER « » : Nova Scotia is mourning the loss of Rehtaeh Parsons, a young girl who has touched the lives of people all across the province, and around the world. I wanted to reach out to the members of this House and to all Nova Scotians to assure people that I will do everything in my power to create a community that is equipped to prevent these situations, rather than a community that struggles to find a way to deal with them.

The issues that this situation has brought painfully forward, and into the view of the world, are ones that respect no particular departmental responsibility. They do not belong to, or within, some particular system or process. They cross all of the visible and invisible lines. That is why this government, this province, is taking a coordinated, comprehensive, and thorough approach to these difficult and disturbing issues.

Mr. Speaker, I have appointed Marilyn More, the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act, to coordinate the work of all relevant departments - Education and Early Childhood Development, Justice, Community Services, and Health and Wellness - in the days ahead. She will work with all the ministers to ensure a timely, effective, and thorough response, and a review of everything the government and our partner agencies can and should do to support Nova Scotians. She will have the full-time support of the Associate Deputy Minister of Community Services, Lynn Hartwell, to work through these complex matters. I have asked her, specifically, to assess the status of work on the supports and programs to address individuals who have, or may face sexual violence.

[Page 701]

Mr. Speaker, I want Nova Scotians, particularly our young people, to know that if they are being bullied, if they are suffering, they can and should reach out for help. They can call 811, they can call 211, the province's mental health crisis line or the Kids Help Phone. Links to all of these numbers and other supports are available on the main page of the government's Web site at novascotia.ca. And people should know that they can always visit their local hospital for help as well.

Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is however people choose to do so they can, and should, reach out for help as soon as they can. No one should feel like he or she has nowhere to turn - and no one should have to go through what the Parsons family is right now. This is a time to be kind to one another and to care for each other. We need to keep caring about these problems in the days, weeks, and months ahead. We need to channel our sorrow and frustration into positive change.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Nova Scotians for supporting Rehtaeh's family and respecting their privacy during this very difficult time. They are in our hearts and minds as we build a plan forward and help each other through this. Rehtaeh's mother has been very public on her daughter's death, more so than anyone could have ever expected of a grieving mother. In her comments she has a very important message for Nova Scotians - more violence is not the answer; justice is to be done in the justice system.

The family has asked that I, today, implore Nova Scotians not to take matters into their own hands. That is what Rehtaeh would have wanted.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to, first of all, associate myself with the remarks of the Premier, and extend my condolences to the Parsons family. I think all of us in this House have family and cannot begin to imagine what the Parsons family is going through. To try to imagine the experience that Rehtaeh had gone through over the last number of years is just unimaginable. It saddens me though, I must say, that in the Province of Nova Scotia, so rich in so many ways, that young people like Rehtaeh feel no support and no hope, with all that we have to offer as a society that our children get to the point where there is no one left to turn to but the tragic consequences that Rehtaeh resorted to.

Mr. Speaker, today we're talking about Rehtaeh; there are unfortunately other families who are grieving, as well, for their loved ones who have taken the same act feeling that there was no one to turn to, no public institution, no person in the community, no one in society that was there to support them. I can't tell you how saddened as a father I am to believe that young people today feel that way. We need to come to terms with - as much as things change - we need to rapidly change ourselves to deal with the change in telecommunications, to change the way young people respond to one another, and we need to do it in a very quick and forceful way.

[Page 702]

I'm pleased that the Premier has appointed Minister More to head this task force. I want to say to the minister, as the Leader of this Party, I'm prepared to participate in any way I can to put in place strong consequences for the kinds of actions that have been allowed to go on for too long in the province. To put in place strong protocols so that young Nova Scotians who find themselves in the same position that Rehtaeh was in, that they know there are other options for them. I'm prepared to participate in a place that is putting in strong resources for families who find themselves at the end of the rope with no hope of trying to deal with these issues. We're here to do whatever we can to ensure that the next Nova Scotian family that finds themselves with a young person being forced into this kind of situation, that we're there to help them to the best of our ability.

Mr. Speaker, I too want to echo with the Premier again today to other Nova Scotians, we have a justice system - for all of its flaws and faults - it is the appropriate place that the entire consequences around this should be dealt with. I think all members of this House should send a strong message and implore all Nova Scotians to allow the justice system to do its work, to make sure that whatever consequences can come out of this they are done in a lawful way, in a meaningful way. There is one family suffering today; the last thing we, as province, need to do is add more grief and suffering to what is already a tragic event.

Mr. Speaker, with that I want to offer again to the minister my personal support in any way that I can work with you to make sure that we have meaningful action on this file and to the Premier, I want to again offer my support in any way we can as a Party to make sure that we have meaningful results for young Nova Scotians.

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

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Let me begin by saying that on behalf of the PC Party we do reach our hands across the aisle to the government side to work together on the consequences of the tragedy that Nova Scotians all share in grieving here today. To the Premier and to the minister he has assigned, they have our full co-operation, full support as they go about doing their job in government of dealing with this horrible situation.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has gained national and international attention over the last few days as the story of Rehtaeh Parsons has echoed around the world. It's not a way that any of us in this House, regardless of our political stripe, would wish for Nova Scotia to make national and international news, but perhaps by coming together we can continue to make national news by turning the province's problem around, by truly being leaders in the country when it comes to protecting our young people, when it comes to the consequences of bullying and cyberbullying. Perhaps Nova Scotia will now take what has come our way and turn it into something that can truly be a position of leadership for our country, as we deal with the modern consequences of bullying and cyberbullying and the activities that surround this horrible tragedy.

[Page 703]

I know that many if not all of us in this House, in addition to being politicians, are also moms and dads, grandfathers and grandmothers, and so we are all affected, like all other Nova Scotians are, in a very personal way. I had this very talk with my own two daughters, last night at bedtime and again this morning, as they see the front page of The ChronicleHerald and they see the evening news. This is a discussion that is going on in my house about what can be done to protect people in the future who were in the circumstances of Rehtaeh Parsons and I believe it's a discussion that's going on in every household, by every mom and dad, with their own kids.

In addition to being moms and dads, we are charged with the responsibility of being legislators. I hope that we now have those very same household discussions, here in this House, on behalf of the entire household of Nova Scotia, as we are responsible to do. I do want the Premier and the minister to know that as we do that, we will be working together and they will have our support. It is so sad, as we are all sad, this great Nova Scotia family, we are all sad that a young woman felt she had no place to turn. We do have a responsibility today to point out to all of the young children of Nova Scotia, teenagers and otherwise, that there is always a choice; there is always hope; there is always a place to turn, whether it's a help line, or a mental health service, or to a school official, or to your own parents.

Let every child in Nova Scotia know they always have someplace to go for help. Where there are holes in the system that this tragedy uncovers, let us plug those holes so we can truly say to a whole new generation of young Nova Scotians, there is always a choice and we will help you make it. We will keep you safe and we will help you back to a healthier place. That is how Nova Scotia can become a true leader and make news in a more positive way in the future.

I say to the minister, good luck and Godspeed in your new duties. You have our full support. We will provide you with anything that we have - ideas around earlier interventions or more of the recommendations of the task force report that we can accelerate and get into place faster. That is something that we can do, not only as parents in this House but as legislators. So, Mr. Speaker, through you and to all members of the House and to all Nova Scotians, let us tell all of our children that there is always a place to turn, there is always hope, and we will make sure that is more true in Nova Scotia than ever before - that may well be exactly what Rehtaeh Parsons wants us to do. Thank you.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

[Page 704]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution, may I be permitted an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Most certainly.

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : I want to direct the members of the House to the east gallery. Today joining us is Mr. Grant Jones, senior director of Ducks Unlimited Canada for Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia. I would ask the members to give a warm welcome to Mr. Jones. (Applause)

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

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 281

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

Whereas Ducks Unlimited Canada, a national and international organization with deep roots in this province, is celebrating its 75th Anniversary this year; and

Whereas Ducks Unlimited Canada's members across Nova Scotia work hard to preserve the habitat of numerous waterfowl, animals, and native plants, some of which are protected or endangered; and

Whereas Ducks Unlimited Canada's efforts benefit all Nova Scotians by moderating the effects of floods, droughts, climate change, and erosion, while helping to provide safe, clean sources of water;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Ducks Unlimited Canada, and especially all of Nova Scotia's members, in this, their 75th year, and offer our heartfelt thanks for their selfless work to maintain wetlands and wildlife habitats across Nova Scotia and to preserve our natural heritage for future generations.

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 705]

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 38 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 475 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Trade Union Act, Respecting First Contract Arbitration. (Hon. Jamie Baillie)

Bill No. 39 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 475 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Trade Union Act, to Protect Users of Accessible Transit Services. (Hon. Jamie Baillie)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The time is now 12:33 p.m. We will finish at 1:33 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM.: PUB. EDUC. CUTS (3.5 YRS.) - AMOUNT

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development met with schools boards on February 14th of this year to give boards their funding targets. Five boards were told they would see funding cuts of nearly $5 million in total. This is, of course, on top of the $31 million that was cut in funding and the $34 million inflationary costs that the government has downloaded on the boards.

My question to the Premier is, can the Premier tell parents, students, and teachers how much money his government has cut out of public education in the last three and a half years?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, what we have done is increase the amount of per-student funding in education to its highest levels in history. We have, of course, gone through some very difficult times in this province, where there simply is not the money available to do what was done in the past, so we have sought to work with the boards in order to ensure that their funding is appropriate, to be able to deliver the services that the young people of our province need and deserve.

[Page 706]

We intend to continue to do that. We asked them, and I know that the boards have worked away at taking that money out of administration so that it would not come out of the classroom. Of course, we would like to encourage them to continue to engage in that kind of appropriate budgeting.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, I don't know of a board in the Province of Nova Scotia that feels that the government has actually been working with them in the best interests of kids. Since taking office, the Premier has seen $76 million in cuts in public education. Over 700 teacher positions have been cut thanks to this government, and another 170 are being cut in this budget cycle alone. Schools are going without maintenance work, and young children are having to spend hours to get to and from school. On the flip side, the cost of power has gone up 30 per cent under this government, and school boards have reported power bills of $1 million - $1 million in power bills alone.

Will the Premier tell those parents and teachers what he expects boards to eliminate because of this direct funding cut to school boards? More teachers? Student supports? Maintenance? Buses? Which one?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I just want to correct the information from the Leader of the Official Opposition. No teachers have been cut from our system. In fact, we are adding in more teachers as a result of increased funding where they are needed. We have instituted caps on class size and hired more teachers in order to make sure that that has happened. In addition to that, we are building new schools in communities throughout the province. We are providing Nova Scotia students with the best quality of education. We are working with our partners to ensure that that takes place. We are doing that under one of the most financially-challenging periods in our province's history.

The good news, Mr. Speaker, as evidenced by the budget this year, is that we're turning the corner. Because of the good financial management of the province, there is now more opportunity for us to be able to extend services, and we intend to do that.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, it's very clear that what we've seen under this government is a direct attack on public education. This government has tried to balance the books on the backs of our children. There are 700 teaching positions that have been eliminated since this government has taken power. Then, when school boards go about doing what is their responsibility when it comes to looking at their infrastructure, when they look at whether or not to close schools, when they go through the gut-wrenching experience of asking parents, teachers, and community members to come forward to make a concrete decision about what they can do, this minister interferes in that decision. But not only does the minister interfere - she interferes, but says, no new money.

So I want to say directly to the Premier « » : when the South Shore Regional School Board is being forced to keep open the Gold River-Western Shore Elementary School, which requires a $100,000 new roof, where does he expect that board to get the money? Is he prepared to pay that bill?

[Page 707]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the question - I guess it was a question - that was asked by the Leader of the Opposition contains inherent contradictions. I know that they're happy with that, but the reality is that this is a Leader who told his own annual general meeting that he was happy with the engagement that had taken place, that he thought the model worked, despite the fact that it has been community dividing and adversarial, and despite the fact that communities across the province have said that this is not the manner in which they want to handle this.

Further, Mr. Speaker, he talks about the idea of interfering in a process when you have a minister who is actually listening to the people of the province about the concerns that they have, and who is going to the boards to say, in the context of the decisions that you're being asked to make, would you delay these decisions so that we might work with you in order to develop a better process, who has a better process for bringing communities together, rather than dividing them? I don't see that as interference. I see that as responsibility.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I am about to break a long-standing tradition about introductions in Question Period. I feel that it's necessary. We have a very important dignitary who has joined us here today. I will recognize the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party to do the introduction, but I will add a minute to Question Period.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, it is my great honour, as Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, to introduce to the House the 21st Premier of Nova Scotia, a man whose wisdom all Nova Scotians remember and whose snippets of wisdom are still referred to as "Bacon bits", the Honourable Roger Bacon. (Applause)

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

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party on his question.

PREM. - SCH. CURRICULUM: DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP - INCLUDE

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Nova Scotia is, as we discussed, making national and international news this week for very sad and tragic reasons, but together we do have a moment where we can truly make news in a more positive way by being a leader in the prevention of bullying and cyberbullying here at home, and showing the rest of the country how to do that.

[Page 708]

One of the recommendations of the MacKay task force on bullying, Mr. Speaker, was to teach digital citizenship in our schools, to actually place it on the curriculum, so that all young Nova Scotians know about the rights and the responsibilities that they now have, as citizens in an on-line and digital world - that they can use those tools for the good that they are meant to be and learn not to use those tools in a destructive manner.

My question to the Premier is, will he agree to place digital citizenship on the school curriculum as soon as possible, as recommended by the report? I'll table that page of the report for the Premier.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, this recommendation was accepted by the government, and in fact it is embedded within the curriculum of the schools. It starts, as I understand it, in Primary.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the Premier for that answer. The government has not incorporated all of the recommendations of the MacKay task force, even though it was the result of over a year of consultation and discussion with both experts and those who are involved in protecting our children. For example, the task force did provide a definition of cyberbullying that could be placed into provincial law to ensure that those who engage in bullying and cyberbullying know both what it is and the consequences of committing that offence.

I will ask the Premier, will he now commit to defining cyberbullying as an offence in provincial law, including spelling out the consequences for those who engage in it?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, we have looked carefully, and we have implemented those recommendations in the task force that we felt were capable of being implemented. For those that we considered needed more study, that is certainly underway.

The committee will have the opportunity to go back and revisit that report. We intend to move forward very, very quickly. As the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party would know, up until this point Nova Scotia has been a leader with respect to bullying. We are the ones who had the first bullying task force, and we move forward, accepting the fact that technology is constantly changing, which means that we have a responsibility to continue to modify, continue to learn what the consequences of these technologies are and to do something about it. That is the commitment that the government has.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, again I thank the Premier for that answer. The need to implement all of the recommendations of the MacKay task force is now stronger than ever. I would encourage the government to not merely study the study any longer, but to get on with reviewing all of the recommendations and putting them into practice.

I will ask the Premier as a result - the MacKay task force included some recommendations around giving school officials and other responsible figures of authority all the tools they need for a greater early intervention when they see bullying or cyberbullying taking place, to give them the tools to actually intervene in time to stop it in its tracks - I ask the Premier, will he commit to implementing all of the recommendations of the MacKay task force, including those that specifically address early intervention tools?

[Page 709]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want him to know that the recommendations that have been accepted have all been implemented, including the one that he mentioned. The fact of the matter is teachers have had in-service in order to be made aware of the supports that are available. This has been part of rolling out the programs to provide teachers with the information they need in order to be able to support students whom they may identify as having difficulty.

The Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party may also know that, with respect to these matters, many of those recommendations would have to involve the federal government, the areas of jurisdiction that belong wholly or partly to the federal government. I, for one, completely agree that this is something that should demand - Nova Scotia is a small jurisdiction, we are a caring jurisdiction with respect to our citizens, but there are some matters, there are some areas of work that need to be done that really extend beyond the boundaries of our province. There needs to be attention paid to this by the House of Parliament and we will work with them, not only to give them the benefit of the work that we've already done, but to assist them in any way we might to address the issues that we now find before our House.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Colchester North.

EECD: EARLY INTERVENTION PROGS. - FUNDING DETAILS

HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Minister of Education made her Early Years announcement. Sadly, nobody was surprised when we soon realized it was more hype than substance. But keep tuned in - there will be more to come.

A brief issued yesterday at the announcement notes that Early Years Centres, wherever they will be, whenever they will be established will work with Early Intervention programs. My question to the minister is, can the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development tell members of this House today how much government currently spends on Early Intervention programs?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX » : Mr. Speaker, we're in transition with our new Early Years Department and the information about the early intervention is moving over from the Department of Community Services, so I won't be able to answer that because that's not over in my department at this time.

MS. CASEY « » : Mr. Speaker, I will tell the House - $2.9 million is currently being spent on Early Intervention, so perhaps the minister could check that out.

[Page 710]

There are 900 families already getting support from 17 agencies, but those agencies are maxed out; in fact on top of supporting families and facing growing wait-lists, Early Intervention programs have to fundraise as part of their service agreements. But, children are aging out of the program while they're waiting for service because this government has not funded them properly.

My question to the minister is, how can the minister expect that parents will believe Early Years is a priority for her government when they can't even yet properly fund the services that are in place?

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, I know that parents and stakeholders across the province were very excited with the announcement yesterday of the integration of all the aspects of Early Years being under one roof. I look forward to working with the stakeholders and with our communities as we integrate our service to meet the needs of our youngest citizens.

MS. CASEY « » : Mr. Speaker, parents and those who were at the announcement have a right to feel concerned when this minister says that something is her priority. For example, she said a cyberbullying plan was a priority and we know what happened to that. She is putting impossible demands on school boards to choose operations over programming while she guts their funding. Her cuts to education will begin when students are continuing to wait for speech-language and school psych assessments. My question to the minister is, why should parents believe this minister is making education and early education a priority when she consistently lets children and families down?

MS. JENNEX « » : I'm very proud to stand here, as a government we are addressing areas that the other government was unable to address. I know that we have taken the issue of bullying and cyberbullying as a task force and we are the government that went out and consulted with Nova Scotians, we've been out in focus groups all across the province with our Early Years. This government is addressing the needs of our youngest citizens and addressing the needs of our students across this province. Thank you.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - INSULIN PUMPS:

APPLICATIONS (07/31/13) - CONFIRM

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Over the past couple of days Nova Scotians have been flooded with a set of announcements which produced lots of photo ops but were light on details. Proof in point - the insulin pump announcement, which is a good announcement, but instead of providing specifics we got a press release which reads, "The province expects to begin taking applications by July 31." I will table that release. Mr. Speaker, that sentence doesn't instill much confidence given the press release was issued by the Premier's Office. Could the Minister of Health and Wellness please confirm whether applications will be available and accepted by July 31st, yes or no?

[Page 711]

HON. DAVID WILSON » : I appreciate the member being at one of those photo ops with the Premier and me. I know he's very interested in the insulin pump program and I look forward to the member approving and supporting the budget so we can move forward to implementing this service.

MR. GLAVINE « » : This caucus is happy this government came to its senses and funded insulin pumps, although it should have happened four years ago. While Tuesday's announcement spoke about taking applications it was silent on when the insulin pump program will be up and running. Could the minister please tell us how long applicants will have to wait for their insulin pumps once applications are accepted, which may or may not happen, by July 31st?

MR. WILSON « » : Children's health care is very important to this government, that's why we are reinstating a program cut by the Liberals under the dental care for children. That's why we're introducing an insulin pump program here in Nova Scotia. I know the young people that were in attendance at the event the other day are extremely happy, Mr. Speaker. We're going to work as quickly as we can to ensure that we pass the budget and that we implement the program as soon as we can, and I know Nova Scotians are looking forward to that program to be up and running here in the province.

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

JUSTICE - BULLYING: EARLY INTERVENTION - TOOLS

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, we are mourning the death of Rehtaeh Parsons. I know in Inverness I've had many calls and e-mails from people in Inverness County who are feeling terrible about the situation. The minister said yesterday that he would consider strengthening legislation around the distribution of disturbing graphic images; this is an important step. May I also suggest we have a need for laws that allow for early intervention. My question for the Minister of Justice is, will the minister give school officials and others in position of authority the necessary tools, such as having the ability to remove cellphones, to allow for early intervention on bullying?

HON. ROSS LANDRY » : I just want to further the Premier's statement earlier this afternoon in regard to the strategy that we are putting forth with my colleague in the House, the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act, who will have responsibility over putting together a collaboration, a collective voice from a cross-section of all Nova Scotians, to look at how we best address this.

I also want to point out to my colleague that I've written to my federal colleague, the Honourable Robert Nicholson, in Ottawa, and expressed my concern to help expedite some of the work that we have been doing and have asked him if I could meet with him on an urgent basis, in regard to this matter. I'll table this letter for a matter of record.

[Page 712]

I just want to point out to all Nova Scotians that the issue of bullying is something that I personally take to heart, as a commitment, and that I, as the Minister of Justice, am fully committed to this and we, as a government, are as well.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I've met the federal minister myself and I know he's been a champion for victims of crime so I'm sure he'll be taking you up on that.

Mr. Speaker, we need to allow our legal system and our schools to have the tool of early intervention so that these situations don't escalate to such devastating degrees. The MacKay report recommended we adopt a model similar to that of the Domestic Violence Intervention Act.

My question for the minister is, will the minister make intervention a priority, to guide our young people away from hurting others?

MR. LANDRY « » : I want to thank the member again for that question. Absolutely, I'm committed, our government is committed and it's a matter of getting education for our young people to be aware of respect for one another, to know the boundaries of what's appropriate and what's inappropriate but, as well, to deal with the cultural lag that is occurring in our society, where technology is moving faster than the culture can adapt.

What I mean by that is that the technology is out there, that the consequences of our pictures and the impact that has, and the awareness, and so the education that we need to do needs to be extended. We are fully behind that and that is why, once again I'll reiterate the strategy today, to put a minister responsible to focus that energy and to take that collective voice, to try to make a positive difference in our province and not have a repeat of what has occurred this week.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, there is no question that bullying has been with us since the dawn of man, no doubt. Certainly it has taken on a new face. (Interruption) And the member has corrected me, and rightly so, the dawn of man and woman - my point being, in agreement with the minister, that technology has put a whole new reality around bullying.

I think the minister has answered my question favourably and I thank him for that, the point being that if people in schools and public places where young people are, when they are away from their parents and their homes, have the ability to use measures to remove those electronic tools when they're being used to bully others, I think that is a good thing. So, minister, I think if we are in agreement here, I'm going to avoid asking a second supplementary and allow the Speaker to carry on with Question Period. Thank you.

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

TIR - PAVING TENDERS: RICHMOND/INVERNESS/VICTORIA COS.

[Page 713]

- CANCELLATION EXPLAIN

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, earlier this year the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal issued tenders for aggregate to carry out single chip seal paving in the Counties of Richmond, Inverness, and Victoria. That work was to be carried out this summer.

Mr. Speaker, this week, on Monday, April 8th, these three tenders were abruptly cancelled by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Bidders on the tenders were given no notice of the change, prior to Monday's announcement. A lot of work and effort goes into preparing these bids, and private businesses in the Counties of Richmond, Inverness, and Victoria were looking forward to some much-needed work for local truckers.

My question is, will the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal advise the House as to why these three tenders were cancelled so abruptly.

HON. MAURICE SMITH » : Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for the question. Yes, as in any process that we undertake, there is a procurement policy that we follow and tendering is the way we go. In this particular case the tenders were issued and when they were returned they were significantly higher than what our anticipation was for that project and for what the budget was we were considering would be appropriate for that project, so we cancelled those tenders and are trying to find ways of providing the aggregate needed in another fashion.

I can tell my friend opposite that our intent is to fully complete the work that we had indicated we were going to undertake in Cape Breton this summer, and that will happen.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, we're pleased to see the work is going to be carried out but the question becomes, how is the department going to get this aggregate if it's not going to a tendering process? The minister has indicated that they've respected the tendering process and that's how they operate, but now that you've cancelled the tenders, how is it that the department is going to move forward in obtaining this aggregate if the tender process has been cancelled?

Basically, my question to the minister is, is the minister stating today that they will be obtaining this aggregate by picking and choosing who they want rather than respecting the long-standing tendering process that has been in place?

MR. SMITH « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. In this particular case, we will be, as I said - I can assure the member opposite that the appropriate measures will be taken to ensure that the work we have scheduled in Cape Breton will be going forward.

I actually met this week with the members from the Road Builders Association and they raised that issue with me. We explained to them what the situation was, why the tenders were cancelled at this particular time. They understood the need for us to be careful in terms of the monies we spend and to look at whatever options we can come up with in order to provide the materials necessary to get the job done and, at this stage, that's what we're doing.

[Page 714]

If we can come up with a source that's going to provide us with the aggregate at a more reasonable price than the tenders provided, then that's the route we will go. Obviously, if there isn't a source that's going to provide that for us, then we will be back looking at those tenders again.

MR. SAMSON « » : Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure what message this sends to all the bidders out there as to the work that they put into the tendering process if the minister can simply turn around and say the tenders are too high, we're just going to go buy it from wherever we can find it cheaper - why do we have a tendering process in the province to start off with?

I know that the minister is looking to find as cheap as possible, and the government has somehow painted the road builders as big, bad wolves here, but let's keep in mind that they're also local truckers, small independent businesses that were relying on this work from the larger road builders that are now out of work.

My question is, if the minister is going to go and cherry-pick who he's going to buy the aggregate from, will the minister indicate whether local road truckers are going to have the opportunity to be part of this work or is it all going to be carried out by whoever they buy the aggregate from that they've hand-picked?

MR. SMITH « » : Mr. Speaker, again I'll tell my friend that as much as possible of course, because it's an advantage to us to use local trucking because of the distances involved in that kind of thing. As much as possible, yes, we will be using local truckers to haul the aggregate when we get it to where the site is going to be. My understanding is that there will be a number of dumps in the area where the aggregate will be placed - obviously as close as possible to the work that is going to be done - but local truckers certainly will be involved in moving it from those sites to where it needs to go.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

EECD - CHILD CARE: FUNDING MODEL - DETAILS

MR. KEITH BAIN « » : Yesterday the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development avoided answering my question about her government's future plans for funding private and non-profit child care centres. I've now stood in this House and presented nine examples of the NDP saying one thing and then another on the issue. Mr. Speaker, my question once again through you is, will the minister finally tell members of this House if her department is reviewing the funding model for child care centres?

[Page 715]

HON. RAMONA JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm really looking forward to working with developing a provincial Early Years partnership and I'm really looking forward to working with our stakeholders in this area because there has been a lot of studies done over the last number of years and there are many issues that we need to work together on and move forward with. Thank you.

MR. BAIN « » : Mr. Speaker, the government has changed its tune on this issue nine times in 16 months. They continue to keep parents and small business owners guessing. The government's plan will have impact on hundreds of small business owners and thousands of families.

People deserve to know what the NDP plans to do. Mr. Speaker, I tabled for the minister, yesterday, the Hansard from the Standing Committee on Community Services where the Deputy Minister of Community Services said there were no plans to review the funding model. Yesterday the minister told reporters there was, and I have the news article to prove that and I'll table it.

Mr. Speaker, my question through you to the minister is, what child care funding changes will the government be making?

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to say that the Nova Scotia Child Care Association was at the announcement yesterday. They are very pleased with our announcement. The person in charge of that, Ms. Kathleen Couture, who I met for the first time yesterday, agreed with the minister, stating that the good work that is already happening in the delivery of child care, building on that, addressing gaps as identified, was a positive approach. Thank you very much and I will table the document.

MR. BAIN « » : Mr. Speaker, but the group also says, in that same article presented, that the devil is in the detail, so I guess we have to wait longer for that.

There are communities across this province with only one child care facility. In many cases that child care centre is run by a small business owner. The government cannot continue to be so secretive about what their decisions will mean to Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians need answers and they deserve an apology so, Mr. Speaker, my question through you to the minister is, why does the minister continue to veil her government's intentions and speak out of both sides of her mouth?

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to say that in all of my deliveries, I always try to be as respectful as possible to every member in this Chamber. I would like to say that I'm a bit offended by the comment that was made and I would like to stand on record. There is no need for us to - considering this situation we're dealing with, in terms of bullying in this province, but I would like to say that I am offended.

I will answer the question, Mr. Speaker. I would like to say, coming from the release from the Nova Scotia Child Care Association, that they are looking forward to applying the wealth of expertise and experience that they have in planning and delivering and sustaining quality in early learning and child care services available, that we are working together as we move through this process. Again, thank you very much.

[Page 716]

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

SNSMR - STRAIT AREA TRANSIT: OPERATIONS - RESUMPTION

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, Strait Area Transit provides an essential transportation system for residents in the Town of Port Hawkesbury in the Counties of Richmond and Inverness. On March 25th Strait Area Transit suspended its operations due to financial concerns.

Mr. Speaker, it has now been over two weeks that this service has not been in operation. People have had to cancel medical appointments, and miss other appointments as well, because of the suspension of the service.

Could the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations advise the House as to the status of negotiations to resume the operations of Strait Area Transit?

HON. JOHN MACDONELL » : Mr. Speaker, I think when the member asked a question on this topic a couple of weeks back, I indicated that my staff were intending and trying to set up a meeting with stakeholders in the area, which included the representatives from the municipalities involved. That meeting happened yesterday and I haven't yet been briefed as to the outcome of that.

I want members to know - and the member opposite, for sure - that my staff did go with a proposal around what we could offer from the province in terms of funding. This would be short term, in the hopes that they would get to a long-term solution. The issue around people's appointments and whatever - we also fund Strait Area Transit money through a door-to-door program, which is actually the way we fund other transit associations in the province. We don't fund fixed route, but because the Strait area has a combination of the two - I think it would be up to them to try to ensure that, because we fund the door-to-door so people can get to their appointments, that would be an aspect of their program that they see to it that they maintain. Thank you.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I can't encourage the minister enough to look at this as an emergency situation. You've got people missing important medical appointments because of this loss of service. You have students who attend the Regional Occupational Centre in Port Hawkesbury who are being disrupted as well. People came to rely on this service, and I know the government has indicated how it sees this as an important service. I would hope that the minister would see this as an emergency situation and be prepared to put the funding necessary in place while a long-term solution is being carried out, because as we talk about this, we have riders who do not have a means of transportation, and that needs to be addressed.

[Page 717]

So again, my question to the minister is, is he prepared to put in place emergency funding to get Strait Area Transit up and running as soon as possible?

MR. MACDONELL « » : That was the game plan that my staff went down there with. It was the idea that we would use our envelope of funding that we have to help them in the short term until a long-term solution could happen. I think the member is aware that the province gave $120,000 last Fall and another $5,000 a couple of weeks back, and we were not informed about the impending shutdown of service. We do not fund fixed-route transit, Mr. Speaker, and it's my expectation that we will not be funding this into the long term. Thank you.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that the residents of the Strait area listening to that are a bit confused about door-to-door and fixed route and funding, so let me make the answer as simple as possible, and hopefully the minister can make his answer as simple as possible.

How much money are the minister and his department prepared to make available to Strait Area Transit today to restore that service?

MR. MACDONELL « » : I can probably get that number for the member before the end of the day. It will be what is in the envelope for the programs that we traditionally offer. The reason for the meeting with the stakeholders, and in particular the municipalities, is that fixed-route transit is funded through municipal units, not through the province.

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

ERDT - SWSDA: GARIAN CONST. - PAYMENT

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : It's good to stand and ask this question once again. Over the last number of sessions, I've pretty much asked this question almost every time to the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism: the issue of the remaining creditors from the fallout of the closing of the South West Shore Development Authority.

As you know, a beautiful school community centre was constructed in the Village of Tusket, a great model of rural development that is well used by the Acadian community - a place to gather, and a place to celebrate and maintain our distinct culture and heritage. But a cloud still hangs over the remaining $400,000 that is owed to the local contractor Garian Construction. Will the minister review this once again and help find a solution once and for all in order to get Garian Construction paid?

HON. PERCY PARIS » : First of all, I've got to say that as an entrepreneur myself - I've been in business for 23-plus years - when you're owed money, you like to be paid. I know that as an entrepreneur and as an individual, and I'm sure that there are many members of the House who have seen in our days some debts that weren't paid - money owing to us. One of the problems we have with this case, this instance, is that monies were paid out by the provincial government to take care of that debt. And certainly, I agree with the member opposite, a nice facility, a great facility down there. We did fill our obligation when we were asked by SWSDA to look after that debt, and we did that by writing the cheque.

[Page 718]

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer, even though, really, when you look at it, I'm not asking that the minister go and write another cheque to try to pay for this. What I'm asking for him to do is to sit down with the local councils, maybe with some local business people, and sit down with Garian Construction, to see if there is a solution that can be found. Many times we've heard that litigation is the only way to go on this, but the difficulty we had all along with Garian Construction, the school community centre, is the fact that it is a Crown-owned property. It is attached to a school, and therefore, a lien couldn't be put on, and it would be very difficult to litigate that way.

So again, my question to the minister is, will the minister listen to the pleas of the local area and Garian Construction and commit to finding a solution?

MR. PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I said yesterday, I proclaimed that I'm one of the most accessible ministers in government, and I will reiterate that when it comes to accessibility, I'm very accommodating. I've had a very recent meeting with Mayor Mood, and I do know that there is another meeting that's planned in the weeks ahead with the mayor, with the warden, that I will be at. It will be at the Premier's office, and I pretty well know the agenda in advance. And again, I think, in a case like this, we've demonstrated our willingness to meet with the good people of Yarmouth, and we will continue to demonstrate that.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

IMMIGRATION - TARGETS: FAILURE - EXPLAIN

MS. DIANA WHALEN « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Immigration. In the 2012-13 Statement of Mandate, the Office of Immigration set a target of 2,600 permanent residents to the Province of Nova Scotia. Preliminary data from Citizenship and Immigration show we welcomed 2,370 permanent residents to Nova Scotia in 2012, which is short of the government's target that was set so recently. What is worse, since this NDP Government assumed power, we saw, year over year, decreases of new immigrants to our province to the tune of 8.6 per cent, 1 per cent, and 11.2 per cent, respectively - and I'd be happy to table that chart, just so the rest of the members can see it as well.

My question for the Minister of Immigration is, would the minister please tell us why this NDP Government, despite touting a brand-new immigration strategy, is failing to meet the target that they have set for themselves?

[Page 719]

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, au contraire. We have exceeded our targets, and to that point, we have, through the diligent work of the Premier, got it up to 700. We are working with immigrants coming into the province. We are working closely with our federal counterparts, in building our profile within the immigrant community, building that up. It is a work in progress and we are moving forward with it. Thank you.

MS. WHALEN « » : I'm referring to the total number of immigrants. I think the minister is referring to the nominee numbers that were allowed and the 200 he speaks to are for one year only. We were given an extra 200 to increase, so that's not a permanent increase, which, again, is unfortunate to meeting any of the goals that are outlined in the Immigration Strategy. The government has cut the international graduate stream. They cut the agri-food pilot stream, and the non-dependent child stream has also been cut, all because, according to a 2012 ChronicleHerald story, the federal government was irked that these streams existed, and perhaps duplicated. I'll table that as well, Mr. Speaker, for the minister's benefit.

We're seeing more and more of this government ceding its own provincial responsibility to the Harper Conservatives, and no good will ever come of that. But that's not all we see cut. There has also been a cut to the immigration budget this year.

Could the minister please indicate whether the cut in the budget, in addition to our cuts in the provincial nominee streams, is an admission that the NDP Government has failed when it comes to immigration?

MR. CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, one thing this government has done in a very positive way is look at our record on retention, where it's really at. We're retaining more immigrants than ever before, and indeed, the one thing that questioner came awfully close to being in agreement is that the cuts have happened, but the cuts are beside her there. It's the federal government doing the cuts, not the province.

MS. WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, the fact of the matter is that the NDP Government has ceded parts of our Provincial Nominee Program to the Harper Conservatives, and then they're using this uploading to justify a budget cut. We all agree in this House that immigration is important, and I think we can all agree that this NDP Government has failed in their aims in immigration. It's interesting to note that this NDP Government has tied its immigration strategy to its failed jobsHere strategy, which speaks volumes.

Given that we need to increase the number of permanent residents by over 50 per cent in the next two years in order to meet the goals that are set out in the Immigration Strategy, would the minister please tell us how this target will ever be achieved?

MR. CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, again, with all due respect to the member, she's confusing federal responsibilities and provincial responsibilities. We are doing a tremendous job in attracting and retaining. The member has only to look in her own constituency. I would say it's probably one of the most diverse right now, with new immigrants teeming into that constituency, and it's proof positive that our immigration policy is working and we're retaining.

[Page 720]

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

SNSMR - HARP: BUDGET ALLOTMENT - EXPENDITURE

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, the Heating Assistance Rebate Program is an important program, one which many Nova Scotians rely on to assist them through the cold winter months. However, this program has been underspent for the last several years.

Can the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations tell the House if Nova Scotians were able to access the full budget allotment for this program in this fiscal year?

HON. JOHN MACDONELL « » : Mr. Speaker, yes, they were able to access it.

MR. COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, the NDP has no problem spending millions of dollars on political advertising. Communications Nova Scotia's costs have tripled over the past few years, and yet the minister can't seem to get the word out about this important program. We are hearing from Nova Scotians who had previously accessed this program that they did not receive the automatic notifications and forms which the department promises.

Will the minister tell the House how many Nova Scotians were not sent notifications and forms this year, and why that didn't happen?

MR. MACDONELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I think I have answered this question once a year for three years. I would think the member opposite would be aware, because his office should have received the applications that all MLAs received to give out to their constituents. If anybody is coming in there looking for an application, they should be able to get it from him. If he has had people contacting him because they want to get on the program, what is he doing with those applications? Maybe he might just want to say, I have one here in my office.

We get in the range of 50,000 people who make use of the program. It could be 53,000 this year. For everyone who has used the program in the past, we mail out an application we mail out an application form to them. We send those applications to a wide variety of non-governmental organizations. They are available at our access centres, all the MLAs get them. We promoted this program through the media, Mr. Speaker.

There may be another program that is promoted more widely through government, I can't be sure what that would be, but certainly - his question was, who has not received it? Well there are 900,000 Nova Scotians, about 50,000 people get it - do the math.

[Page 721]

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

NAT. RES. - MV MINER: REMOVAL - UPDATE

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Natural Resources.

As many in this House would know, we are just a few short weeks from the start of lobster season off the Cape Breton community of Main-à-Dieu. The MV Miner ran aground in September 2011 on land owned and protected by the Province of Nova Scotia. At the time . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: And by Canada . . .

MR. MACLEOD « » : The land is owned and protected by the Province of Nova Scotia.

At the time the Premier said: "If there's an impact on those fishing grounds, that's going to hurt us." It's now 19 months later. My question to the minister is, what news does the minister have for the people of Main-à-Dieu regarding the removal of the MV Miner from the protected shores of Scatarie?

HON. CHARLIE PARKER » : Mr. Speaker, certainly we understand the concern that is in the community of Gabarus and the Cape Breton area, and we recognize that the fishery is an important component of the economy in that beautiful area. Certainly we've been working with the community over the months since this unfortunate grounding occurred. We've had communications not only with the community but also with the federal government.

Certainly we've made our position very clear all along - that the federal government has full responsibility under the Canada Shipping Act to remove that wreck from the shores of Cape Breton. We're going to continue our dialogue with the federal government, and with the community. We very much, as much as anybody, want to see that ship removed from the Gabarus area.

MR. MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the minister that it's the community of Main-à-Dieu where this ship is, not the community of Gabarus, as he replied to me twice in this question. The people of Main-à-Dieu have been patient. The community development association (Interruptions)

The fact is that the ship is off of Main-à-Dieu, it's not off Gabarus. That's not my fault, he should know that.

Mr. Speaker, the people of Main-à-Dieu and area have been very patient - also have the people been in Gabarus, but that's another story. The community development association worked with the Bennington Group and with the government; the fishers of the area worked with the government and the Bennington Group as well and there's still no resolution.

[Page 722]

The development association in Main-à-Dieu called a summit for January 22nd of this year - can the minister tell the residents of Main-à-Dieu and surrounding areas, indeed all Nova Scotians, why he did not attend this meeting in the community, for which he had ample notification, and when will he meet with those people?

MR. PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, I apologize for my geographical error. I know the actual ship is on the shores of Scatarie, certainly near Main-à-Dieu for sure.

Again, we've worked with the community, we were prepared. My deputy minister and several other staff were available on January 22nd to attend the meeting there with the community, then it got cancelled at the last minute. Unfortunately my schedule didn't allow that to fit in that day, but we had lots of staff, including right up to the deputy minister, who were fully prepared and we continue the dialogue with the community and with the stakeholders, including Arivina Navigation, the ship's owner, who has full responsibility to remove that wreck from the shores of Scatarie, and with the tug boat owners, and certainly with the federal government. We are going to continue to work to find a workable solution here on the shores of Scatarie.

MR. MACLEOD « » : The Community of Main-à-Dieu has been patient and the Premier said, in October, in a Canadian Press story, and I quote . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: What does the Prime Minister say?

MR. MACLEOD « » : He said a lot more than you'll ever say. (Laughter)

"We don't want to allow it to languish over questions of who is responsible for it. It is not good enough to simply pass this back and forth. . . I'm not ruling out anything, including taking on the job, if necessary." Mr. Speaker I've tabled that. It's 19 months later. This issue is still being passed back and forth. Another lobster season is upon us and there is still no resolution. The community has waited long enough. They have turned the corner and hit a brick wall. My question to the Premier is, when will the Premier finally live up to his own words and help these fellow Nova Scotians who took him at his word?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I think he needs to reread those words. We said we were not going to pass it back and forth because we recognize that it is the responsibility of the federal government, and it is an extraordinary amount of money that would be taken out of other responsibilities that we already have. This is a matter that should be dealt with, and I have raised it many times, and the member knows because the member travelled with me to see the federal minister, along with the member for Glace Bay, and along with our minister, in order to identify for the federal minister the responsibility that they had in relation to what we considered to be a very serious matter.

[Page 723]

So the question I have is simply this, when - I have no idea when - but when will the federal government live up to its reasonability with respect to this? I know that this is a touchy question for the member because he supports the federal government, but nonetheless, he should set aside his partnership and work on behalf of the people of Main-à-Dieu.

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

TIR - FITCH RD. (ANNAPOLIS): PAVING - TIME FRAME

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, when it comes to the Fitch Road in my constituency that is a dirt road that leads into the wonderful hydroponic tomato operation run by Den Haan, when can they expect to see that road paved?

HON. MAURICE SMITH « » : If the road is not . . .

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

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

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is carried.

[1:34 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Ms. Becky Kent in the Chair.]

[5:53 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Ms. Becky Kent in the Chair.]

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Supply reports:

[Page 724]

THE CLERK » : That the Committee of the Whole House on Supply has met, has made some progress, and begs leave to sit again.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. I move that the House do now rise to meet tomorrow from the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. After the daily routine we'll do Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow, April 12th, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 5:54 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 725]

RESOLUTION NO. 282

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 North Star Masonic Lodge #74 in Londonderry, Colchester North, presents a bursary to a deserving student; and

Whereas this $1,000 bursary is to help with the student's post-secondary education; and

Whereas Felicia Rushton from Bass River is a student at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Felicia Rushton for being the recipient of this bursary, and wish her success as she continues her university education.

RESOLUTION NO. 283

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 81-year-old Joe Rector from Onslow, Colchester North, was a security guard at the Colchester Legion Stadium for 46 years; and

Whereas Joe used a common-sense approach and his ability to reason with people in a calm manner to diffuse most volatile situations without incident; and

Whereas Joe officially retired following the final game of the Truro Junior A Bearcats at the Colchester Legion Stadium before they moved to the new Rath EastLink Community Centre on March 2nd;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Joe Rector for his many years of service to the sport teams and all the members of the public who have used the stadium or have attended a sporting or other event there.

RESOLUTION NO. 284

[Page 726]

By: Mr. Chuck Porter « » (Hants West)

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

Whereas Ashley Thompson is a talented reporter with the Hants Journal weekly newspaper in Windsor and her work is being recognized at the Newspapers Atlantic 2013 Better Newspapers Competition 41st Annual Conference in Halifax, May 13th; and

Whereas Ashley is a standing finalist in the three categories of outstanding journalist, best feature story, and best investigative story; and

Whereas Ashley was nominated for Best Feature Story for her touching story about Curry's Corner resident Charbel Rouhana and his fight to regain strength and independence following a horrible highway crash, and her investigative reporting is being recognized for her stories on the continuing debate and cost of fire services between the Windsor Fire Department and the Municipality of West Hants and the Town of Windsor;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the journalistic integrity and accomplishments of one Ashley Thompson, and wish her every success on May 13th.

RESOLUTION NO. 285

By: Mr. Chuck Porter « » (Hants West)

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

Whereas the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal is a commemorative honour presented in 2012 to 60,000 deserving Canadians for their significant contributions and achievements in their respective communities, and is recognized as a national honour by the Canadian Governor General's Office; and

Whereas when it comes to community contributions, Sheila Roberts has led many groups and activities, including volunteering at the Poplar Grove Community Hall, Women's Institutes, 4-H, the food bank, the Terry Fox Run, the Avondale United Church, and the Newport Jolly Seniors Group; and

Whereas Sheila's significant contributions to her community were recognized when she received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly pay tribute to the outstanding contributions of Sheila Roberts for being a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal, and wish her continued success with all of her future endeavours.

[Page 727]

RESOLUTION NO. 286

By: Mr. Chuck Porter « » (Hants West)

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

Whereas the Avery's Valley Wild Midget AA girls hockey team won the Nova Scotia Provincial Championship for 2012-13 when they defeated Antigonish 3-1 in the championship game on March 24th in Kentville; and

Whereas Avery's Wild finished the round-robin portion of their schedule with two wins and two ties before their championship win over Antigonish, in a tournament that featured a total of five teams including Pictou, Halifax, and Tasa-Chebucto; and

Whereas West Hants was proudly represented on the Valley team with Natalie Rippey of Curry's Corner, Sam Lake from Chester Road, Lillie Ryan and Olivia Lynch of Garland's Crossing, and associate player Maddie Phillips, all playing an integral role in their team's championship win;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Avery's Valley Wild Midget AA girls hockey team for capturing the provincial championship this year.

RESOLUTION NO. 287

By: Mr. Chuck Porter « » (Hants West)

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

Whereas Carlos De Rosa is an accomplished painter in Falmouth; and

Whereas as a source of inspirations for his paintings Carlos enjoys the scenic beauty of Nova Scotia and places such as the powerful tides of the Minas Basin and the red cliffs of Blomidon; and

Whereas Carlos also draws inspiration from his travels to Italy and other European countries;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly applaud the talent of Carlos De Rosa of Falmouth, and wish him continued success in his artistic endeavours.

[Page 728]

RESOLUTION NO. 288

By: Mr. Chuck Porter « » (Hants West)

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

Whereas Gail Davis of Ardoise, Hants County, is a distinguished artistic painter; and

Whereas Gail often paints in acrylics, but occasionally changes direction and dabbles in watercolours, with her paintings featuring mainly landscapes, buildings, and particularly maritime scenery; and

Whereas Gail is also well known for her enjoyment in painting outdoors and participating at a number of "paint-on-site events" across Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud Ardoise's Gail Davis for her creative talents, and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 289

By: Mr. Chuck Porter « » (Hants West)

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

Whereas the Kings-Edgehill girls hockey team captured their first Nova Scotia Schools Athletic Federation Girls Hockey Championship last week by defeating Northumberland 4-2 in the championship game, while being paced in the tournament by Erica Kelly who scored 11 points in five games; and

Whereas the girls hockey team is coached by Laura Shearer of Falmouth, a former captain of the Dalhousie women's hockey team, who also had her younger sister, Abby, as a member of the championship team; and

Whereas Kings-Edgehill was a dominant force on the ice all winter, going 16-0-0 in the Valley High School Girls Hockey League and scoring 161 goals and allowing only eight against;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Head Coach Laura Shearer and the Kings-Edgehill girls hockey team on a very successful 2012-13 championship hockey season, and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 290

[Page 729]

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of the individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Tim Colburn, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 25-year medal and service pin.

RESOLUTION NO. 291

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of the individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Scott Parkhurst, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his new member badge.

RESOLUTION NO. 292

[Page 730]

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of the individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Paul MacDonald, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 15-year service pin.

RESOLUTION NO. 293

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of the individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Paul Colburn, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 15-year service pin.

RESOLUTION NO. 294

[Page 731]

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of the individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mike Forbes, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 10-year service pin.

RESOLUTION NO. 295

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of the individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mark Langille, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 15-year service pin.

RESOLUTION NO. 296

[Page 732]

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of the individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kent MacDonald, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 20-year medal and service pin.

RESOLUTION NO. 297

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kenny Newcomb, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 10-year service pin.

RESOLUTION NO. 298

[Page 733]

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kenny Anderson, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 10-year service pin.

RESOLUTION NO. 299

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jim Forbes, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for being named Fire Officer of the Year, as well as retiring chief.

RESOLUTION NO. 300

[Page 734]

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jeremy Russell, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for being named Firefighter of the Year.

RESOLUTION NO. 301

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jeffery Friesen, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for being named Firefighter Most Interested in Training.

RESOLUTION NO. 302

[Page 735]

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Ian MacDonald, newly-elected chief of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 25-year medal and service pin and being named Fire Person of the Year.

RESOLUTION NO. 303

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Ian Langille, Jr., a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his new member badge.

RESOLUTION NO. 304

[Page 736]

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 Nova Scotia's fire departments are made up of individuals who are dedicated to serving others; and

Whereas these firefighters and first responders not only contribute hard work, skills, and time but often risk their lives and must deal with incidents of great emotional stress; and

Whereas firefighters seldom receive the accolades which they deserve, and most fire brigades hold a banquet and awards ceremony to thank all members and to present special honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Colin Cunningham, a member of the Tatamagouche Fire Brigade, Colchester North, for receiving his 35-year service pin.