Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD13-15

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

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
TIR - Crowdis Bridge: Replacement - Prioritize,
856
TIR - Lake George/Norwood/Lake Annis: Road - Upgrade,
856
Environ. Toadfish Lakes Patch 419: Protected Land Process - Eliminate,
856
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
MacNeil, Rita: Death of - Tribute,
857
ERDT - Southwest Reg.: Independent Tourism Team - Appt.,
861
Energy: West-to-East Pipeline - Support,
864
Health & Wellness: Better Care Sooner - CECs,
867
Environ./Nat. Res. - Protected Areas Plan,
871
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 50, Maintenance and Custody Act,
875
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 377, MacNeil, Rita: Death of - Tribute,
875
Vote - Affirmative
876
Res. 378, McCrea, Ben: Death of - Tribute,
876
Vote - Affirmative
876
Res. 379, Reflexology Therapy Wk. (04/14 - 04/20/13)
- Recognize, Hon. D. Wilson « »
877
Vote - Affirmative
878
Res. 380, Events N.S.: Communities/Vols./Staff - Congrats.,
878
Vote - Affirmative
878
Res. 381, Lemke, Kendra/Faulkner, Meredith: Intl. Space Station
Experiment - Congrats., Hon. R. Jennex »
879
Vote - Affirmative
880
Res. 382, Taavel, Raymond - Death Anniv.: Family/Friends
- Sympathy Extend, Hon. L. Preyra »
880
Vote - Affirmative
880
Res. 383, Pubnico/Belle-Île-en-Mer - Twinning Anniv. (10th),
881
Vote - Affirmative
882
Res. 384, NovaStory.ca - Pictou-Antigonish Reg. Library:
Launch - Congrats., Hon. M. Smith »
882
Vote - Affirmative
883
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 385, Taavel, Raymond - Remember,
883
Vote - Affirmative
883
Res. 386, MacNeil, Rita: Death of - Tribute,
884
Vote - Affirmative
884
Res. 387, Atl. Broadcasters - Anniv. (70th),
884
Vote - Affirmative
885
Res. 388, Charter of Rights & Freedoms - Anniv. (31st),
885
Vote - Affirmative
886
Res. 389, Taavel, Raymond: Death - Anniv. (1st),
886
Vote - Affirmative
887
Res. 390, Taavel, Raymond: Death Anniv. - Remember,
887
Vote - Affirmative
887
Res. 391, McCrea, Ben: Death of - Tribute,
887
Vote - Affirmative
888
Res. 392, Noble, Mac: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- Congrats., Hon. J. MacDonell »
888
Vote - Affirmative
889
Res. 393, Liberal Caucus - Trust Funds: Political Purposes
- Prohibition, Mr. J. Boudreau « »
889
Res. 394, White, Dot - "The Beacon": Dedication - Thank,
890
Vote - Affirmative
890
Res. 395, Holdright, Doreen: Commun. Contributions
- Congrats., Ms. V. Conrad »
890
Vote - Affirmative
891
Res. 396, Scotiabank: Westville Br. - Anniv. (125th),
891
Vote - Affirmative
892
Res. 397, Liberal Party: Trust Funds - Disbursement,
892
Res. 398, Dart. United Soccer Club U-12 Boys Teams:
East Hants Soccer Tournament - Congrats., Ms. B. Kent « »
893
Vote - Affirmative
893
Res. 399, Miles, Hannah: Science Fair Award - Congrats.,
894
Vote - Affirmative
894
Res. 400, Liberal Leader - Trust Funds: Transfer - Explain,
894
Res. 401, Kenney, Neil: Forestry Commitment (37 Yrs.)
- Congrats., Mr. C. MacKinnon « »
895
Vote - Affirmative
896
Res. 402, Millwood HS - Grease: Production - Congrats.,
896
Vote - Affirmative
896
Res. 403, Summit Hyundai Valley Wildcats: Atl. Major Midget
Championship - Congrats., Mr. J. Morton »
897
Vote - Affirmative
897
Res. 404, McCrea, Ben: Death of - Tribute,
897
Vote - Affirmative
898
Res. 405, Donna & Andy: ECMA Award - Congrats.,
898
Vote - Affirmative
899
Res. 406, NDP - 2009 Election: Illegal Donations -
Lun. MLA Return Urge, Mr. A. Younger »
899
Res. 407, Healthy Relationships for Youth Prog.: Work - Applaud,
900
Vote - Affirmative
901
Res. 408, Scott, Kaitlin: Commun. Contributions - Congrats.,
901
Vote - Affirmative
901
Res. 409, Cameron, Courtney: Duke of Edinburgh's Award
- Congrats., Mr. J. Boudreau « »
902
Vote - Affirmative
902
Res. 410, T.A.N. Coffee (Kentville): Valley's Best Coffee Shop
Award - Congrats., Mr. J. Morton « »
902
Vote - Affirmative
903
Res. 411, Zinck, Cassandra - Ryl. Cdn. Sea Cadets (30 Neptune):
Participation - Congrats., Ms. P. Birdsall « »
903
Vote - Affirmative
904
Res. 412, Liberal Leader: Trust Funds - Usage Admit,
904
Res. 413, Prem. - Barristers' Fees: Taxpayer Dollars
- Antigonish MLA Apologies Urge, Hon. K. Colwell »
905
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 135, Prem.: Mar. Link Proj. - Cost-Effectiveness,
906
No. 136, Prem. - East Coast Forensic Hosp. Review:
Recommendations - Action, Hon. J. Baillie « »
907
No. 137, Prem.: Youth/Children - Wait-Lists,
910
No. 138, Prem. - Electoral Boundaries: Acad. Fed. - Request,
911
No. 139, ERDT - Southwestern N.S. Comm.: Window Dressing
912
No. 140, ERDT: Southwestern N.S. Team - Mandate,
914
No. 141, Justice - East Coast Forensic Hosp.: GPS
Ankle Bracelets - Use, Mr. A. MacMaster « »
916
No. 142, Justice - Digby Fraud Case: Justice System - Recourse,
918
No. 143, EECD - Seaside Sch.: Renovation - Grandstanding Confirm,
920
No. 144, Justice: Police Training - Funding,
921
No. 145, Prem. - Northern Pulp: Pictou Private Sector - Impact,
922
No. 146, Environ.: Oil Tank Rebate Prog. - Funding,
924
No. 147, Health & Wellness: Pharmacists - Scope of Practice,
925
No. 148, Health & Wellness: Capital Health - Blood Collection
927
No. 149, Health & Wellness: Prescription Drugs Abuse Strategy
- Implementation, Mr. L. Glavine « »
929
No. 150, Com. Serv.: Early Years Ctrs. - Services,
930
No. 151, Agric. - Berry Farmers: Assistance - Details,
931
No. 152, Health & Wellness: Long-Term Care Beds - Tenders,
932
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 1, Accountability in Economic Development Assistance Act
934
935
936
938
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Liberal Caucus - Trust Funds: Disbursement - Details,
940
942
945
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., Apr. 17th at 12:00 noon
948
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 414, Spencer, Summerville Fire Chief Chris:
Commun. Contributions - Congrats., Mr. C. Porter « »
949
Res. 415, Stack, Crystal - Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade:
Long-Term Serv. Award (10 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey »
949
Res. 416, Slack, David - Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade:
Long-Term Serv. Award (15 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
950
Res. 417, Congdon, Douglas - Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade:
O'Brien Mem. Award - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
950
Res. 418, Lundie, Drew - Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade:
Jr. Firefighter Award (2012) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
951
Res. 419, Harrington, Janet - Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade:
Firefighter of Yr. (2012) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
951
Res. 420, Smith, Jeremy - Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade:
Most Improved Firefighter (2012) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
952
Res. 421, Slack, Joe - Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade:
Officer of Yr. (2012) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
952
Res. 422, Flemming, Pat - Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade:
Long-Term Serv. Award (5 Yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
953
Res. 423, van den Hoek, Gerri & Toni - Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade:
Francis Mem. Award (2012) - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
953
Res. 424, Wentzell, Lauren/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
954
Res. 425, Theisen, Julie/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
954
Res. 426, Theisen, Erica/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
955
Res. 427, Charlton, Kelsey/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
955
Res. 428, Dixon, Sage/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
956
Res. 429, Brown, Maridith/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
956
Res. 430, Gillespie, Emma/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
957
Res. 431, Smith, Sydney/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
957
Res. 432, Armstrong, Tara/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
958
Res. 433, Adams, Jenn/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
958
Res. 434, Britney, Kyra/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
959
Res. 435, Jewer-Pineau, Toni/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
959
Res. 436, Burke, Eden/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
960
Res. 437, Bower, Coach Greg/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
960
Res. 438, Baskwill, Nick/Middleton Monarchs: Sr. Girls
Basketball Prov. Banner - Congrats., Hon. S. McNeil « »
961

[Page 855]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17, 2013

Sixty-first General Assembly

Fifth Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Gordie Gosse

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

MR. SPEAKER » : Order, please. Before we start the daily routine I will read the subject matter for late debate tonight:

Therefore be it resolved that the Liberal Party Leader and the Liberal caucus explain to all Nova Scotians why their Party transferred $365,000 from the questionable trust funds gained during years of Liberal patronage and kickbacks into the Liberal election effort just before new legislation prohibiting this took effect, and what the money was used for.

This was submitted by the honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

855

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

[Page 856]

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

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause reads as follows:

"We, the residents of the Margarees, call upon the provincial government to prioritize the replacement of the Crowdis Bridge, and target a replacement date for the summer of 2013."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my own signature to this petition, as per the Rules of this Legislature. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition, the operative clause of which reads:

"This is a Petition to have a permanent upgrade to the 11.4 kilometers of road running through the communities of Lake George, Norwood and Lake Annis."

The people signing this petition are all affected by the deplorable road conditions, which at this point last all 12 months of the year. It is time to make this stretch of road a priority. Mr. Speaker, I have attached my name and will table this now.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

MR. JIM BOUDREAU « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to table a petition on behalf of the residents of Moser River and area. The operative clause of the petition is to eliminate ". . . Toadfish Lakes Patch 419 from Nova Scotia Environment's 12 percent protected land selection process."

Mr. Speaker, I am going to affix my signature to it, in accordance with the Rules of the Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Could I ask the honourable member to table that, and I'll have my Clerk examine it. I'm just wondering what the "ask" is in the petition.

MR. BOUDREAU « » : Mr. Speaker, it's to eliminate ". . . Toadfish Lakes Patch 419 from Nova Scotia Environment's 12 percent protected land selection process."

MR. SPEAKER « » : Okay, thank you. The petition is tabled.

[Page 857]

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Deputy Premier.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, today it is with great sadness yet with a great amount of pride that I rise to pay tribute to the extraordinary life of one of Nova Scotia's most beloved and talented musicians. Rita MacNeil was a remarkable woman whose music touched not only the hearts of Nova Scotians but people worldwide. Her hit songs, like Flying on Your Own, Working Man, I'll Accept the Rose, and Crazy Love, just to name a few, will be remembered forever by millions of her fans and supporters.

Mr. Speaker, I'm going to digress from the script here for just a moment. I know that for people like myself and the member for Glace Bay, whose fathers were coal miners, there is a great swell of pride in us when we hear the Working Man song. It's such a tribute, and it's so accurate from a person whose family were not from coal miners. I'm not trying to put words in the member's mouth, but I'm quite sure that he would agree with me that it's so inspirational and so accurate.

I just found another one of her songs, Flying on Your Own. I had the pleasure of working on about two specials, when I had another career, Mr. Speaker, one that probably did more for the people of Nova Scotia. I had a chance to work on a couple of Rita's specials. I had worked with her at the Big Pond festival, taped some of her stuff there, did stuff with her for Christmas Daddies in Cape Breton, and I'll always remember her talking about the song Flying on Your Own.

What was always interesting about that song, because it's so iconic, and you would think it's so cerebral - where did it come from? Actually, it came to her going through the toll booth at the Macdonald Bridge. And I said, well, what do you mean? Where did this come from? Well, as many who know Rita knew she was shy and apprehensive about some things, and one thing she really didn't like doing was driving, but she had an engagement here in Halifax, and she drove here. She was just so hyper, I guess is the way to explain it, all the way here, that finally when she got to the toll booth at the Macdonald Bridge, she realized that she made it and she was flying on her own, and that is where that song came from. So, Mr. Speaker, I guess out of little acorns, great oaks grow.

You know, Mr. Speaker, Rita was a leader in Nova Scotia's vibrant arts and culture sector. As the host of The Rita MacNeil Show, and then later Rita & Friends, she brought out the best in musicians, actors, and various artists across this country, and never forgetting where she came from - rural Cape Breton.

The numerous collaborations on stage, as well as her strong ties to the people of Cape Breton, brought the Nova Scotia music scene together as a family as we have so often seen, Mr. Speaker. She was always among friends wherever Rita went. More than anything, she was an inspiration. Her performances were always full of energy, and every time she took the stage, it was a celebration.

[Page 858]

Rita won many awards, and had many prestigious honours bestowed on her for her work, including the Order of Canada, and our own Order of Nova Scotia. As a true Cape Breton icon, she directed the spotlight of the country and folk scene to our province, on several occasions, and helped to showcase our most talented songwriters and musicians. She helped many aspiring musicians to reach their potential. She was known for helping people reach their goals, and there was never a doubt that she was proud to be a part of something special: her province, her island - Cape Breton.

She was always inviting people to drop in for tea, and in keeping with this friendly Cape Breton tradition, she started the Tea Room in her hometown of Big Pond, Mr. Speaker. To this day, it is one of Cape Breton's most notable attractions. She enjoyed telling stories about her experiences onstage, and always showed genuine kindness to those who sought her guidance to enhance their careers or careers of others. Today is a sad day for all Nova Scotians. We have lost one of our greatest artistic and cultural ambassadors.

Mr. Speaker, I knew Rita as a tremendous person. I know from experience that she touched the lives of many Cape Bretoners with her love and dedication. So on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia, especially those from the community of Big Pond, and all over the great Island of Cape Breton, I extend my sincere condolences to Rita's family on behalf of myself personally, this House, and our government.

Rita inspired all of us with her success, with her beautiful voice, and her amazing spirit. It is undeniable that Nova Scotia will always remember Rita, not just for her music but for the amazing warmth and kindness she shared over the course of her amazing career, throughout this continent, throughout this country, throughout this province, and indeed, her island. Mr. Speaker, I request the members of the House of Assembly join in a moment of silence, but if the other Parties respond, it may be more appropriate to do it at that time.

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

MR. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : I'd also like to thank the Deputy Premier for an advance copy of his statement today, and of course, his very fitting words regarding Working Man.

The passing of legends has a way of slowing our minds, evoking raw emotions, and making us reflect on the contributions of those individuals who have impacted our collective society. Many people across Nova Scotia, especially in my homeland of Cape Breton, will think about Rita MacNeil with very heavy hearts today. Rita will be finally remembered for her virtuous personality. Soft-spoken, humble, and authentic, Rita spent many years writing and singing at small gatherings due to her shyness and fear of the stage.

[Page 859]

The 1986 Vancouver Expo changed all that, as Rita was officially discovered; this performance kick-started her career. One year later, Rita received her first of three Junos as a promising female vocalist, and she continued to be recognized for her success in the form of East Coast Music Awards, Country Music Awards, and a Gemini for Rita & Friends. She was a member of the Order of Canada and our Order of Nova Scotia. In addition, Rita's Christmas specials have become a tradition in the households of countless Canadians during the holiday season.

But Cape Bretoners and Nova Scotians won't remember Rita for her national or international recognition, and sometimes we have to be reminded of how famous she was. Our relationship with Rita MacNeil was much more personal than that. Rita spoke to us through her songs. She told us to be proud of where we were from. She reminded us of the courage and resolve of generations of coal miners who came before us, and she wanted us to understand the uniqueness of Cape Breton Island.

If you close your eyes and listen to Rita MacNeil, you can see the beauty and majesty of the valleys, the mountains, and the sea. Through her songwriting and stories, Rita was invaluable in defining and celebrating the culture of Cape Breton. She provided inspiration for countless young artists and blazed a trail for international success. Rita MacNeil broadened the horizons for renowned Cape Bretoners, including the Rankin Family, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Guthro, and Gordie Sampson.

As a performer, Rita provided powerful moments that would bring the house to tears. Last year during a charity event at the Savoy Theatre, Rita and her close friends the Men of the Deeps performed Working Man to a sold-out Savoy. The Deputy Premier and the member for Pictou East can certainly attest to the emotions that are associated with this song. The audience was left captivated and breathless. Those memories are even more important now, as we realize that this was the last time Rita and the boys performed at the Savoy together.

In closing, we offer condolences to Rita's family, as we know they will be devastated by her passing. However, I believe they will find comfort in the fond memories they have of Cape Breton's "first lady of song," and they will always know Rita rests in our hearts and in our minds forever. Rita MacNeil was loved by many, and I know her Tea Room will be busy with those who wish to pay their respects to this musical and cultural legend for many years to come. For me, I will always remember the way in which she expressed her love for our home, from Mabou to Big Pond. There is no place on earth like it. My glorious home Cape Breton, "I will caress you . . . in my dreams."

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : I want to join in my comments with the member for Cape Breton Centre and the member for Glace Bay as we pay tribute to a true icon of the music of Cape Breton and of all Nova Scotia.

[Page 860]

Rita, as we all know, grew up in Big Pond, and her Tea Room is actually an old schoolhouse that was in Big Pond. If you go into that very Tea Room, there is a room there that has all kinds of memorabilia about her career, and there is a school register there. That register is from the Brack's Brook school, and you won't want to say that too many times fast. But she was known in Big Pond as a Brooker, because she was from the end of the community at Brack's Brook.

If you go in and you look at that register, Mr. Speaker, you'll see many, many names, MacNeil after MacNeil after MacNeil after MacNeil, and then you'll see Kennedy after Kennedy after Kennedy after Kennedy, which would be my mother's people. They had the time of going to school together and enjoying themselves. It was a pretty simple life, much the way that Rita was as she moved through her career. She was always very modest. She always remembered where she came from, and she always remembered how she got there.

When she sang, you could tell the passion in her heart for her community and her home province. Her breakthrough came in 1987 and it was the song the Deputy Premier mentioned, Flying on Your Own that brought her to attention. She was newly discovered at 42 years of age and she became a household word right around the province and around the country. One of her greatest areas of success was actually in Australia where year after year she was one of the top-selling female vocalists in that country.

Rita sang many different songs and the member for Glace Bay talked about the Men of the Deeps and there was nothing more exciting than the day you were in the Savoy and the lights went down and the helmet lights of the miners came on and in they came and Rita MacNeil was singing, "It's a working man I am," and it truly has become a song for everybody around the world that they can relate to the type of life that miners lived regardless of where they happen to be.

But she had other songs, Mr. Speaker, other songs that had an impact on people. Whether it was Flying on Your Own, Reason to Believe, and she also sang Home I'll Be, I think the song that probably relates the best and tells the biggest story is the song she sang called She's Called Nova Scotia. When Rita sang that, you could feel like you were actually right here in Nova Scotia, you could feel her warmth and her commitment to the people of our province.

It was only fitting that she received the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada. These are great tributes but she paid a great tribute to the people of Nova Scotia, to the people of Cape Breton, and to the people of Big Pond by never forgetting where she was from. Thank you.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

[Page 861]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Thank you.

The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

HON. PERCY PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, today is a good day, today we mark another step forward in strengthening southwest Nova Scotia. Early this morning I announced that the province has appointed an independent tourism team to help make the southwest region even more attractive to visitors. The province is also renewing its efforts to find an operator to run a ferry service in Yarmouth.

People and businesses in southwest Nova Scotia want a growing economy. They want strong communities and they want a thriving tourism industry. They also want a stable ferry. They want that for the long term and so does this government. The tourism team will use $1 million to enhance existing tourism experiences, create new ones and promote the region as a destination. This government has not given up on a new ferry service in Yarmouth. Our new approach to finding a new ferry operator is flexible and will allow us to work with companies throughout the entire process, Mr. Speaker, and we will work closely with the Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership throughout the process.

For these efforts to be successful, we must work together. Nova Scotians will need the federal government to pitch in and invest in the Yarmouth terminal. The province needs municipalities, businesses, and area residents to throw their support and efforts behind it. Mr. Speaker, I know they will because they have already shown that support.

The tourism team will be chaired by Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood. She will lead an experienced and capable group of community, business, and tourism leaders from southwest Nova Scotia. The regional tourism association, Destination Southwest, will offer administrative and other support.

Mr. Speaker, I met several members of this team earlier this morning and each of them will bring passion, experience, and in-depth knowledge of the area of their work. I have every confidence that we are heading in the right direction. Yarmouth and all of southwestern Nova Scotia has a great deal of potential. The local community has shown its passion. They have demonstrated their commitment to the region. Take yesterday's announcement from the Yarmouth International Airport Corporation, for example, the airport is moving forward with its efforts to establish an aircraft recycling facility, something that could have the potential to lead to new jobs and an economic boost for the entire area.

Mr. Speaker, they are still in the early stages, but an aircraft recycling facility at the Yarmouth airport is an opportunity worth pursuing. That is why this government was pleased to help the airport develop a business plan that will further investigate the opportunity.

Mr. Speaker, this government continues to fight for communities like Yarmouth and the entire southwest region. These efforts will continue in partnership with the entire community. Thank you.

[Page 862]

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

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to sincerely thank the minister for providing a copy of his comments in advance and thank him for taking the time to visit the beautiful community of Yarmouth, and hopefully spend a night there and spend some money in the community because we know it is desperately needed.

It has been encouraging to see this government's position on the ferry fundamentally shift, over the course of the last number of years. I'd be remiss to say that these efforts to renew the ferry service are appreciated but people are waiting anxiously to see if they will come to fruition with the new ferry service. I want to assure the minister that, despite all this, no one is forgetting who put us in this mess in the first place and that's the NDP Government, for cutting the service nearly four years ago.

The minister talked about the need to have a stable ferry service; we had a stable ferry service in Yarmouth for over 100 years that did not have a break in service, between Yarmouth and Maine. The only time that stable service ever had an issue is when the NDP cut funding to it, so for the first time in over 100 years, we lost that stable service and now have to start all over again from scratch to rebuild it. The worry of the community is that it might not even be in time to fix and change course from the damage that has been done.

I am encouraged that the minister is including the Nova Scotia International Ferry Partnership in this new RFP process. I think that their expertise will be beneficial, and hopefully help us complete this project and get a boat in the water for 2014.

When it comes to this new team that is in place, it is important to note that I think this is the sixth or seventh team that has been put in place to look at the economic challenges of southwestern Nova Scotia and to bring tourists to the area. We've had Team West that was announced, I think in 2009 or 2010; Team Southwest; Task Force South West; we have the economic development committee that was created by the municipal units; we have the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Tourism Association whose job is to ensure that there is experiential tourism in Yarmouth and the Acadian Shores area; we have Destination Southwest; and we have this new commission on our new economy.

You know if you look at the money that has been given to all these committees, plus the money that was given to the Grand Hotel to cover their losses from losing the ferry, you are at about $3 million. In 2009 we needed only $3 million to keep that ferry service going for another year and here we are, three years later, after serious economic devastation in the province as a result of this decision, whereby even Pictou Lodge went into receivership. One of the reasons they said they did that was because they lost 700 room bookings a year because of the loss of the Yarmouth ferry. Three years later we now have $3 million that we spent on these committees and we have another $21 million that is now allocated to bring a ferry service back, to start from new.

[Page 863]

You know the minister does say that the government continues to fight for communities like Yarmouth but I want to remind the minister that it was Yarmouth that fought for itself. It was the tourism industry that fought for itself and after nearly four years of waiting, it's about time that this government started to respond. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for his statement today and, of course, for his visit to southwestern Nova Scotia to talk to leaders in our community, to try to find opportunities for a devastated economy in southwest Nova Scotia.

I want to split this up into about four points here today. Number one, why are we here? Why do we continue to talk about it? I know I hear from many members from that side of the House that they didn't cancel the ferry service. Well, it was their subsidy and their decision to cancel that subsidy, without really fully thinking it through, that has created an issue of events that have created and not helped the community with its tourism product. Had they maybe thought differently back then, maybe things would have turned out far differently, Mr. Speaker.

The second point is that they finally understand that the economy isn't doing so well, that part of it is because of the ferry - part of it is because of other things. I'm not going to come here and say this is the only problem that we have in southwest Nova Scotia. It was good to hear the minister talk about the airport and the opportunities that we have there. That is a wonderful piece of infrastructure that needs to have some kind of anchor business on it. If it can't be a connection to different parts of the world, well, what else can we do there? Recycling airplanes is one thing. I believe there was another option there when it comes to drone development but there's a whole bunch of opportunities at that piece of infrastructure that is second to none in all of Nova Scotia. That is a really good airport just waiting for something to happen there.

The ferry partnership that was announced today is really just a continuation of what should have happened in the first place. Many had said when the RFP process was put out that it was a too-constrained period of time and we weren't going to get the quality of ferry operators that we were hoping to get. Of course that did prove to be true and the ferry partnership all along had said, well, why don't you work with us and try to find the right operator, the right boat, and the right time?

What we hear today is that the government has accepted that challenge and is working with the International Ferry Partnership. So that is good news, I believe, for finding the right boat at the right time.

Finally, the issue of the team that was announced: okay, it's great that we've got some dollars to help this team. I've just seen other teams that this government has set up that really haven't done a whole lot. So I know that the members, the people who are on that committee will try to find different opportunities for tourism in southwest Nova Scotia. They are of quality, they are great people, the mayor, Irene d'Entremont, the other members of that board, I think all have quality and a lot to offer, but if it's about connecting the dots, we already had the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Tourism Association, why not make them a regional tourist association, or what have you, and flow the money directly to them? We would have saved a whole bunch of middlemen in order to provide a true experience and true tourism infrastructure for that area.

[Page 864]

I wonder whether this is a right move or a wrong move, and I don't know until I really get that chance to talk to the leaders - the municipal leaders, the business leaders - in southwest Nova Scotia to see if this is what they asked for. I don't know whether they asked for it or whether it was something that this minister or that department came up with to try to create a little bit of a smokescreen to make it look like they're doing something. I will reserve my thoughts on that one, and hopefully something good will come of it because southwest Nova Scotia needs the help of this government, and if that government can't do it, let's hope the next one will.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

HON. DARRELL DEXTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment now to talk a little bit about a topic that is at the top of minds for many people these days. Energy is an issue that has steadily risen as a priority for Nova Scotians, whether you're talking about power rates, energy conservation or switching to cleaner, more renewable forms of energy. It is an issue that transcends borders and requires provincial leaders to work together to come up with solutions that strengthen our energy infrastructure and build a better future for families and businesses across the region. I have worked closely on this file, in my time as Premier, and more recently as the chairman of the Council of the Federation.

As Nova Scotians saw on the news earlier this month, momentum and excitement continues to build around a proposed pipeline to carry oil from western Canada to Saint John, New Brunswick. The federal government has lent its support to the private sector's call for firm commitments to develop the Energy East Pipeline, as it is being called by some. I want Nova Scotians to know that our government also supports the idea of a west to east pipeline and any idea that will help create and strengthen the energy infrastructure in Atlantic Canada.

A pipeline would help build a more competitive energy market in this region and across Canada. It would mean another source of energy coming into Atlantic Canada, adding to the diversity of our region's energy portfolio. It could very well have positive impacts on the only remaining oil refinery in Nova Scotia.

There is an historic level of regional co-operation underway now to improve economic opportunities for Atlantic Canada. Newfoundland and Labrador have been national leaders is establishing a pan-Canadian energy strategy that benefits each province in Canada as a whole. Our government is working with our colleagues in P.E.I., New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, to explore and develop transformative regional energy projects like Muskrat Falls and the Maritime Link.

[Page 865]

Our government has a plan to ensure the lowest, fairest power rates for Nova Scotians. That plan is local, reliable, green, tax-free, and efficient. A critical piece of that plan, of course, is the Muskrat Falls and the Maritime Link. The Leader of the Official Opposition feels that Nova Scotia should depend on Hydro-Québec for its energy needs, but independent studies show that Maritime Link is the lowest-cost option to help Nova Scotia meet its renewable electricity targets and ensure the lowest, fairest rates for Nova Scotians. The project is an example of what can be achieved when governments work together for the benefit of all of our provinces.

I often say that the province is only as strong as its communities. The same can be said about the Atlantic Region: what is good for one province is often good for another as well. I believe that the proposed pipeline could be the next great example of what we can do when we work together. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Premier for the advance copies of his statement. I think I had two weeks' notice and I want to tell him I appreciate that.

The proposed west-east pipeline could be an amazing opportunity not just for Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada, but indeed our entire country. We're pleased to see this initiative come forward; unfortunately, this initiative has nothing to do with anything or any of the work done by the Premier of Nova Scotia or the NDP Government of Nova Scotia. The initiative was partly on the work of an Atlantic Canada Premier from New Brunswick, one who personally went to Alberta and Quebec and met with other First Ministers to make this proposed pipeline happen.

Our Premier doesn't make initiatives happen; our Premier follows initiatives (Interruptions). I'm not sure if they heard what I said: our Premier doesn't make initiatives happen, he follows. He followed Jim Irving when the company bid to secure the national ship procurement building contract and he followed him with the chequebook of Nova Scotians. He followed Chris Huskilson and Emera on the Muskrat Falls and the Maritime Link initiative, except on this one he brings a chequebook of every Nova Scotian through their power bill, not just one time but for the next 35 years.

The Premier likes to talk about Liberals and our thoughts and perhaps bringing more renewable energy in from Hydro-Québec. He even put out an attack ad; he personally criticized me for something that already happens in our province. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Premier for his attack ad; it only shows the true colours of the NDP and their toxic Harper-style politics. (Interruptions) I don't know if they heard that: it shows the NDP true colours and their toxic Harper-style politics.

[Page 866]

Just last year the Premier himself admitted in this House that Nova Scotia already receives energy from Hydro-Québec - surprise. As recently as March 27, 2013, the Minister of Health and Wellness - the member for Sackville-Cobequid - stated in the Bedford-Sackville Weekly News that his Party wants to increase competition and are open to partnering with Hydro-Québec. (Interruptions)

These are sensible, clear, concise Liberal policies advanced by myself and my Party for years. The trouble is in the meantime Nova Scotians are suffering under the NDP and its energy tactics to strengthen Nova Scotia Power's monopoly. I know why they want to follow - if you had their track record of corporate welfare, high power rates of over 30 per cent, 2 per cent HST increase, 1,400 user fees being raised - not once but twice - not to mention their attack on our children's education and their attack on public education in the Province of Nova Scotia.

With a soapbox statement in the House of Assembly like this one, a place where we have been dutifully elected to represent the people of Nova Scotia, the Premier not only demeans himself and his Party, but he demeans our democratic process. No wonder Nova Scotians see him as a follower and not a leader.

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

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I am in receipt of the statement on the national pipeline potential - although apparently from both previous statements, today's discussion has nothing to do with the national pipeline opportunity that is before us and everything to do with about 12 other things, which is a real shame because a national pipeline company has actually put out a real expression of interest to ship Alberta oil across the country to Eastern Canada. It is an opportunity that is worthy of debate in this House, and I wish we'd actually have that discussion instead of the "mud fest" that I just watched going back and forth between the other two Parties.

It is kind of ironic because it was the Liberals that launched the first attack ad last summer and now they are complaining about the NDP attack ad going the other way. (Interruption) I kind of wish Mr. Harper was here to see this because he should be taking notes from these two. That is the shame of what's going on here today.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians do want the Atlantic Provinces working together on opportunities like the national pipeline. Why is it that the only thing we do well together in Atlantic Canada is lotteries and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation? Surely the time has come to tear down those old rivalries, those old pettinesses, and take advantage of an opportunity like this. When Canada Pipeline says we want to build a pipeline to Atlantic Canada, why aren't we talking about that?

[Page 867]

Why don't we do more than just have a statement in the House, and the usual back and forth that we just witnessed, because this is a great opportunity, and it's one, in fact, that we've been raising here in the PC caucus for a year, asking the government to take a leadership role not just for Atlantic Canada but to stand up for the refinery we have here in Nova Scotia, to stand up for Nova Scotia motorists, to stand up for Nova Scotia consumers, and see how far east we can bring that pipeline.

The Premier is proud of his role in the gabfest known as the Council of the Federation, where they go and talk and they talk and they talk and nothing ever happens. Well, you know what? So far we've only seen one Atlantic Canada leader work his butt off to bring that pipeline east and that, unfortunately, is the Premier of New Brunswick. He is the one who has been out hustling across the country to bring that opportunity to New Brunswick, and the second busiest former Premier on this very file is the former Premier of New Brunswick, Mr. McKenna, who has been side by side with him, making sure that New Brunswick gets this great opportunity.

As much as the Premier says in his statement, it could very well have positive impacts on our only remaining refinery here in Nova Scotia, that is not enough. We want our Premier out there working just as hard as the Premier of New Brunswick to bring that opportunity here. Rather than sit back and watch the refinery in Dartmouth up for sale, going to close, hoping against hope that someone might come along, why not get them that same guaranteed supply of Canadian oil, Canadian crude, over here, into Nova Scotia, at a much lower price? Because that refinery may well be more viable if it gets that opportunity, just like the Irving Refinery in New Brunswick. But rather than sit back and just watch it all happen and hope for the best, the time has come to get going, to hustle like they are in New Brunswick and bring those opportunities here to Nova Scotia. Only then can anyone truly say that we are working together as a region to make life better for all of Atlantic Canada.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : It's an honour to stand as a former paramedic and now as Minister of Health and Wellness for the Province of Nova Scotia. I know that Nova Scotians are passionate about the quality of health care here in the province. They want to know that, no matter where they live, they will have access to high quality health care, close to home. They want to know that they can find a family doctor without having to travel two hours for every appointment. They want to know that if they have chest pain in the middle of the evening, or the night, they can get emergency care in their community, and they will not take no for an answer nor should they.

In 2010 Dr. John Ross, Nova Scotia's Emergency Care Advisor, noted that Nova Scotians were waiting far too long to see their family doctor and that rural emergency departments were closing too often. He was right. They needed to change. We couldn't stick to the old models of health care delivery: we needed to be innovative and creative to give Nova Scotians the health care system they wanted, around the clock. So we took Dr. Ross's advice and used it to develop the Better Care Sooner plan, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 868]

Better Care Sooner is about taking bold new steps to improve our health care system in our province. It includes our 811 service, which allows Nova Scotians to get advice from registered nurses by phone, anywhere in the province, at any time. It includes Collaborative Emergency Centres, which use a team of nurses, paramedics, and physicians to ensure that communities get around-the-clock health care, Mr. Speaker. It includes our commitment to cut emergency department wait times and to improve in-home care for our seniors.

I'm proud to say that Better Care Sooner is working. Today, families in seven Nova Scotian communities - Parrsboro, Springhill, Tatamagouche, Pugwash, Annapolis Royal, Musquodoboit Harbour, and Musquodoboit Valley - can rely on 24/7 emergency care or book a same-day or next-day appointment at their CECs. The beauty of CECs is that they match the level of service with each community's needs. It's not one-size-fits-all. It's specially tailored solutions for each community, and the community is at the heart of these Collaborative Emergency Centres.

I'm happy to tell members of this House that soon families in New Waterford will benefit from our province's first mobile CEC, tailored to the community's needs. When New Waterford residents need health care, they won't have to get into their car and go to the CEC. The CEC will go to them. A registered nurse and a paramedic will arrive at their doorstep. These health care professionals will assess their needs, provide advice, help book follow-up appointments, or call an ambulance if emergency care is needed. This is an innovative and new approach for our province, and I look forward to that program taking off soon in Cape Breton.

As well, it's worth noting that other provinces across Canada are praising our Collaborative Emergency Centre models and are looking to adopt them for themselves. As Doug Currie, Minister of Health and Wellness in Prince Edward Island, stated, "Collaborative Emergency Centres are working in Nova Scotia to address emergency department closures as well as long waits for primary care. I was excited to learn about the potential that this innovative health care model holds for the province of P.E.I."

Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan put it even more succinctly, Mr. Speaker « » : "We want to learn from it and we're going to steal it."

Better Care Sooner isn't just about CECs. It puts clot-busting drugs in the hands of Nova Scotia's skilled paramedics, helping them save lives right in Nova Scotians' own homes. It's putting paramedics and nurse practitioners into nursing homes, saving hundreds of trips to the emergency departments. It is helping to match doctors with emergency rooms that would otherwise close. It is redesigning emergency rooms to focus on the needs of the patient. It is allowing Nova Scotians to seek medical advice through a registered nurse at 811 on their own terms.

[Page 869]

I'm proud to say that P.E.I. likes our 811 model so much that they have decided to join it. This Fall, residents in P.E.I. will be able to call 811 and get the same timely, helpful advice that Nova Scotians have come to appreciate. I think that shows some of the collaboration and the work that we are doing in the Maritimes to ensure that all Maritimers have access to good health care.

In the coming year more work will be done on implementing the Better Care Sooner plan. Specifically, the Department of Health and Wellness is currently working on developing new emergency department standards to meet the recommendations of Dr. Ross and his report. It is worth noting, Mr. Speaker, that Dr. Ross believes that Better Care Sooner is resulting in positive change. Just last December, he stated, "Better Care Sooner is resulting in accountability for improving how we deliver emergency care from politicians to health authority leaders to health-care providers to patients themselves. We all have a responsibility to make some changes to improve our health."

Mr. Speaker, I have to thank the former minister for her commitment to improving health care in this province, and I want to thank Nova Scotians for their willingness to embrace change. I know it's not easy and we still have a lot of work to do around the province. They understood that the old models weren't working for them, their families, and their communities. They have embraced the Collaborative Emergency Centres in their communities, and other Better Care Sooner initiatives as well. I look forward to working with the people of our province to build a stronger, healthier Nova Scotia, now and well into the future.

In closing, I just want to again thank all the dedicated health care providers, who work extremely hard to provide services to Nova Scotians, I know their work is much appreciated by Nova Scotians. Thank you.

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

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to thank the minister for an advance copy of his statement. Fortunately, there was absolutely nothing new in the statement today - I guess it's a day of statements by ministers - that the general public hasn't already been inundated with, in the form of hundreds of thousands of dollars in television advertising. In fact, a little bit of tweaking of this statement sounds eerily similar to the statement read by the former minister last year.

Communities that have endured many years of closures under this administration and the previous Progressive Conservative administration are, indeed, receptive of the CEC. But, Mr. Speaker, let's be upfront with the public: these CECs are not emergency rooms. Our professional paramedics and nurses, who are professional and held in high regard, can only do so much within the scope of practice. Real emergency cases now just move up the line to the next hospital - which, in the case of Soldiers' Memorial, may or may not be open - and you may have to wait six to eight hours at Valley Regional.

[Page 870]

I am pleased for the residents and communities who benefit from these centres. My concern is that this government continues to bill these as keeping emergency rooms open. The doors are open. The care that can be provided has changed. Mr. Speaker, for the record, CECs in this province have experienced closures as well. I'm amazed at the number - 17,717 hours - appeared nowhere in this statement. For the record, those are the number of hours emergency rooms across this province were closed in this minister's most recent Emergency Room Accountability Report.

I would be remiss if I did not lay out a few facts for the minister: 2,265 patients waiting for a knee replacement; 867 patients waiting for a hip replacement, over 600 of whom have been waiting for over a year; 4,061 patients waiting for cataract surgery. Mr. Speaker, none of these patients are getting better care sooner. Thank you.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure to stand for a few moments and speak to the remarks of the Minister of Health and Wellness, and I want to thank him for his advance copy of that. Matter of fact, probably, had we looked a little deeper, it would have been pretty close to the same statement made by the previous minister, about a year ago, talking about all the good things about CECs.

I do agree with the member from the Liberal Party that CECs are not emergency rooms, as much as this government is trying to sell the idea that they are emergency rooms, but they are not. They are critical care centres, where hopefully there will be the right mix of professionals to help you with your issue, or you'll have to be sent off to a regional hospital that, hopefully, might be open.

Mr. Speaker, today as we talk about this, the ironic part is that the emergency room at Shelburne's Roseway Hospital is closed today. And there's really no answer to trying to keep that one open. We keep waiting for announcements on that one, but nothing continues to happen. You know, we are extremely lucky to have so many dedicated professionals working in our health care system. It takes all kinds of professionals to make it work. We need to thank the nurses, the paramedics, the associated health professionals who do make our system work, and do make it a world-class system.

But Mr. Speaker, people aren't going to forget what this government promised during the last election, and that was to keep all emergency rooms open 24/7. That is one of their "virtual" promises. Apparently they "virtually" kept that promise by creating the CECs, which, like I said before, are not emergency rooms, and we find out today that Shelburne is closed, and Digby is closed once in a while, and other emergency rooms around the province continue to be closed, even with the promise that that Premier made almost four years ago. He stood there and said to Nova Scotians, stood there over and over again, and said that he would keep emergency rooms open 24/7. So I'm wondering, what is his definition of 24/7? His definition of 24/7 must be something different than mine, because they are not open 24/7, they are barely open 12, when most opportunities come along.

[Page 871]

So I want to thank him for the opportunity to talk to this one as he continues to talk to this one. Apparently it hurts him a little bit that we stand here and talk about it time after time, and talk about the deficiency of CECs. One thing they do not talk about, one that they should be ashamed of, is the lack of long-term care beds in this province, which is the root cause of why emergency rooms are closed today - because guess what's happening? Our hospitals continue to be full of seniors waiting for the appropriate level of care, which is a long-term care facility.

What does he do? He sits there and says, oh look, about 811, look at the great thing I did. I remember 811 being signed on when we were government; I remember the previous minister after me who worked so hard on 811 - and they continue to take credit for that. I hope that people do have that phone number with them because the CEC emergency rooms are not available to them at any time; in fact, the wait-list for long-term care beds has grown to 2,412 people - that's a 50 per cent increase since the NDP took government. The waiting list for nursing homes is longer than it has ever been and they should be ashamed of it.

Maybe next time the minister will try a little harder and present a statement that will mean something to Nova Scotians for real, and I hope so. (Interruption)

Well, let's talk about Parrsboro for a moment. Do you know how many times it has been closed since you announced it? How many times, Mr. Minister, has it been closed since it (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable member for Argyle has the floor.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, seeing that people are getting a little bit hot under the collar over there, I thank them very much for the opportunity to speak to this today.

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

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, we know that Nova Scotians value their protected areas and they support protecting our most important lands for future generations. Provincial staff has been working hard for the past year to do just that.

On February 28th the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources released a proposed parks and protected areas plan. The plan not only helps us reach our 12 per cent goal by 2015, as outlined in the Environment Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, it enables us to surpass it, and enhance our provincial parks. This plan is the basis for public consultation and Nova Scotians' input as to how we can best manage our parks and what areas should be legally protected.

[Page 872]

Departments of Environment and Natural Resources staff have spent the past few weeks touring the province consulting communities and answering questions in a series of open-house meetings. They were very well received; hundreds of Nova Scotians attended these sessions. Nova Scotians still have time to comment on the proposed plan - we are accepting feedback and suggestions until May 1st of this year, and there is more information on the Parks and Protected Areas Web site. The final plan will be shaped by the important input received from the public.

Mr. Speaker, ensuring we protect the most socially important lands is why Nova Scotia has invested more than $10 million in land purchases last year. These purchases include areas that are rich with old-growth forests, wetlands, rare plants, and lake and ocean frontage. Many of these purchases came from a $6.5 million fund announced in November 2011.

The province has also acquired 555,000 acres of the former Bowater-Mersey lands. This investment includes natural spaces that have great value to Nova Scotians for preservation and protection. About 30,000 acres of these lands are included in our proposed parks and protected areas plan.

The Department of Natural Resources has also been consulting Nova Scotians on what they would like to see happen with more than 1.5 million acres of Crown lands in western parts of this province. Nova Scotians can make suggestions on those lands until April 19th, through our Natural Resources Web site.

In June 2012, my colleague, the MLA for Cumberland North, announced the largest additions to our protected lands since 1988, with the designation of the Kelley River and Raven Head Wilderness Areas, and they are welcome additions to our protected areas. This announcement is another demonstration of our government's commitment to working with Nova Scotians through consultations and collaboration.

As a result of working very closely with the environment organizations and off-highway vehicle groups, the announcement was a standing-room-only celebration in Amherst. We received enthusiastic support from the Snowmobilers Association of Nova Scotia, the All Terrain Vehicle Association of Nova Scotia, and local, provincial, and national conservation groups.

This is what can be achieved when Nova Scotians work together. Thank you very much.

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

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for sending over a copy of his remarks earlier today. Much like the last one, I'm not sure there is anything new in this that wasn't announced previously. But we're going to eat up time, that's fine.

[Page 873]

Protecting land is obviously important in the context of wildlife corridors and in terms of the environment generally, in terms of protecting our water resources and so forth. I think that generally speaking, when you talk to Nova Scotians and you say do you think you should protect land, it makes a lot of sense. The minister referenced a number of groups that attended the announcement at the Fairbanks Centre in February, and the unfortunate thing is that those groups now are coming and saying they still haven't been able to get the answers to very fundamental questions.

A couple that he actually had referenced, for example, the snowmobilers, the ATV operators, hunters and anglers, all who had representatives at that event, have come forward and noted that, in some of the protected lands that the minister's department has already marked as protected, they were promised that they would continue to have access to the roads and trails, which already existed in those lands, and yet his department has closed some - perhaps all, but at least some - of those off, which is directly the opposite of what his department committed to at the time.

That is an issue. I have no doubt his department is going around and presenting people the options but I take issue with his statement that they are answering questions. They are not answering that question. At none of these meetings, where this question has come up about access, has the department given an answer. The only answer, as I said earlier, which came out before was that those roads and those trails would not be blocked, and yet that is exactly what is happening on the lands that have already been designated.

We want Nova Scotians to be able to have access to those lands. We want Nova Scotians to be able to go in, whether it's hunting or trail use or whatever the case may be. Certain lands may have different restrictions, we understand that. That makes sense, but the minister made a commitment that is now not being followed through with, on the protective lands that have already come forward, and now his department officials refuse to answer that question. Even at the announcements they refuse to answer that question.

We believe that protecting more of that land along the coast is important and we hope they don't do like they did with the Wagner lands before and see it clear-cut before it comes into public access. Nonetheless, having that coastline in public access makes sense.

At the end of the day, this is like so many things with this government where it sounds very good when they first announce it, but then the questions come out and the questions don't get answers and we go years down the road. It's no different than the Natural Resources strategy, which we're still waiting for answers on. It's no different than the water strategy where we still don't have the legislation to back it up.

Protecting land can have a lot of benefits, but Nova Scotians deserve answers to what the rules will be around this land. May I just add, since he pointed out the people and so forth at the announcement, in closing, they had this event at the Fairbanks Centre, which is the home of the Canal Commission, invited the commission to come, and I will leave you with a quote from one of the members of the commission at the time who asked: Why did they hold their announcement here and yet not include or acknowledge any of the requests that we as a commission have made to protect land along the Shubenacadie Waterway? Thank you very much.

[Page 874]

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

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I too would like to start off by saying thank you to the minister for providing us with an advance copy of the statement today.

Nova Scotia is home to some of the most beautiful terrain and scenery in the world, and that is something Nova Scotians want to protect. Our landscape has become part of our heritage and must be protected for future generations. By ensuring this land is protected, we can encourage Nova Scotians to adopt healthier, more active lifestyles. The great outdoors is ours and we need to honour it.

When the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act was brought in by the previous government, we did that because we have a firm belief that we must always keep our future generations in mind with every decision we make. If I recall, Mr. Speaker, that was the feeling, and the full agreement of all members in this House at the time that bill was brought in.

We must make sure our environment is protected as we find new ways to harmonize economic prosperity with environmental sustainability. It's encouraging to see the government actually keeping with some of the direction of the previous government when we introduced the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, there are a few examples beyond land protection that we must see government take an interest in protecting for future generations. We believe that this must apply to all the decisions they make. We do not want to leave our children with our debt. We do not want to see them have fewer services because we are not financially responsible ourselves. This government has added more than $1 billion to the debt and cut front-line services in health and in education. Future generations care about these things too.

We are, as we said, pleased that the government is moving forward, but I would be remiss if I didn't remind government how important it is to consider future generations in all these decisions. Some of the issues have been on these lands. A lot of folks have come to us about access and the issue. People like to be in there doing their recreational activities. That is important as well. Some of them own cottages and camps and whatever they may refer to them as. It is important that these people are totally up to speed on what those rules mean and what the access is for each and every one of them. They do enjoy it. It is theirs to enjoy, and they should always have access to enjoy it as such.

[Page 875]

With those few words, Mr. Speaker, I'll take my seat.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 50 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 160 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Maintenance and Custody Act. (Mr. Keith Bain)

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

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 377

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has a rich tradition of music and song; and

Whereas today we learned of the passing of Rita MacNeil, whose iconic voice has been woven into the lives of many Canadians for almost 40 years; and

Whereas Ms. MacNeil worked tirelessly as an ambassador for Nova Scotia, bringing the wonderful Island of Cape Breton to so many around the world and, in her own words, making them feel like they discovered a treasure no other had seen;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly join together in celebrating the music and lasting cultural impact that Rita MacNeil has had on our province and our country, and take part in a moment of silence in honour of the musical icon who has shaped Canada's songbook over the course of her successful career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate, and I note that we have already done the moment of silence.

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 876]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 378

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

Whereas Ben McCrea was the chairman of the Halifax-based Armour Group, a well-known family company that helped redefine the downtown Halifax skyline and preserve the city's rich heritage through projects like Founders Square, Historic Properties, and the new Waterfront Centre on Hollis Street; and

Whereas Mr. McCrea also demonstrated a strong personal commitment to environmental and wildlife conservation through his work with Ducks Unlimited, including the Annapolis Royal Wetlands Project, the Greenwing Legacy Project and the Interpretive Centre and Marsh Trail Scholarship program at Shubenacadie Wildlife Park; and

Whereas last evening Nova Scotians received the sad news that Ben McCrea has passed away at the age of 73, after a long battle with the lung disease pulmonary fibrosis;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House share in a minute of silence to recognize the incredible life of Ben McCrea, a leader in fostering downtown development and economic growth, and a proud Nova Scotian who will be greatly missed.

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.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : May I be permitted to make an introduction?

[Page 877]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Most certainly.

MR. WILSON « » : I would like to draw the attention of the members to the east gallery where we have a guest with us and her name is Korena Carballo. She is a registered reflexology therapist and a practising member of the Nova Scotia Association of Reflexology Practitioners, so I wish her to stand, which she already has, and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 379

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

Whereas reflexology is a professional therapy that uses the application of precise pressure to reflex areas on the feet to stimulate the body's natural healing abilities and treat symptoms of illness and injury; and

Whereas the week of April 14th to 20th is Reflexology Therapy Week in Nova Scotia, a time to recognize reflexologists and reflexology therapy as a healing art and science; and

Whereas reflexology therapy is a simple yet effective way of providing quality health care that works well with other medical therapies and is a safe way to restore order and health to the body;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize Reflexology Therapy Week in Nova Scotia and the services and benefits that reflexology therapists provide to Nova Scotians.

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 878]

The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

RESOLUTION NO. 380

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

Whereas Events Nova Scotia assisted communities in attracting major sporting events to Nova Scotia in 2012, including TELUS World Skins, Canada-Russia Hockey Challenge, Canada 55+ Games, which were held in Cape Breton, and the World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Yarmouth; and

Whereas the mandate for Events Nova Scotia contributes to improving Nova Scotia's economy, through the development of events-based tourism; and

Whereas Events Nova Scotia has been nominated for one of the most important awards in Canadian sports tourism, the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Prestige Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the host communities, volunteers, and staff of Events Nova Scotia on their hard work and nomination for this national sports tourism award.

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 Education and Early Childhood Development.

HON. RAMONA JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, before I present my resolution, may I make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Most certainly.

MS. JENNEX « » : In our east gallery this afternoon are two wonderful Grade 10 students from Lockview High School in Fall River, and accompanying them are their parents and grandparents. These two young scientists devised an experiment that was undertaken yesterday on the International Space Station, and I would ask them to rise as I introduce them. We have Kendra Lemke and her mum, Linda Lemke, and her grandparents, Ruth and John Lemke. We also have Meredith Faulkner and her parents, Max and Michelle Faulkner.

[Page 879]

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all members of this House give them a very warm welcome, and thank them for coming. (Applause)

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

The honourable Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 381

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

Whereas the future of Nova Scotia relies on the curious, creative, and innovative youth of today; and

Whereas Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner, of Lockview High School in Fall River, devised an experiment that could be done on the International Space Station with materials only found on the space station, and their experiment was selected in a nationwide contest; and

Whereas the experiment, which involved the weightlessness of water and its path in space, was carried out by Canadian astronaut Commander Christopher Hadfield, on April 16, 2013, to test the hypothesis of Kendra and Meredith and it was linked live to Lockview High School;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner on their International Space Station experiment, acknowledge them as an example of today's leaders, and encourage all of our students and young people to reach for the stars.

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 880]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 382

HON. LEONARD PREYRA « » : Mr. Speaker, I will be asking for a moment of silence at the end of this resolution.

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

Whereas the journey towards respecting diversity and celebrating and embracing difference as a hallmark of our communities is important to all Nova Scotians, and directly affects the quality of life of every citizen; and

Whereas ensuring that every Nova Scotian, no matter who they are, is able to participate as a full and active member of our society in keeping with a commitment to respect the human rights and dignity of each individual; and

Whereas today marks the anniversary of the tragic death of Raymond Taavel, a Nova Scotian who dedicated his life to making our communities a safer and more inclusive place for everyone, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, by speaking out and promoting inclusion of all aspects of community life;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in extending our sympathy and support to the family and friends of Raymond Taavel and his partner, Darren Lewis, on this difficult day, and join me in a moment of silence to reflect on the legacy of Mr. Taavel who worked to make our communities safer and more inclusive for all citizens.

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.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Acadian Affairs.

[Page 881]

RESOLUTION NO. 383

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Monsieur le Président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que l'histoire des Acadiens est étroitement liée à celle de Belle-Île-en-Mer, en France, où 78 familles acadiennes furent envoyées en 1765, dix ans après le début de la déportation des Acadiens; et

Attendu qu'au mois de mai 2013, les gens de la région de Pubnico et de Belle-Île-en-Mer célébreront le 10 ͤ anniversaire du jumelage de leurs localités, un jumelage qui a donné lieu aux échanges culturelles, aux possibilités touristiques, et à la naissance d'amitié entre ces deux collectivités liées par l'histoire; et

Attendu que la Société nationale de l'Acadie a récemment accordé sa plus haute distinction, la Médaille Léger-Comeau, à madame Maryvonne Le Gac, présidente de l'Association Belle-Île-Acadie, pour sa contribution impressionnante à l'Acadie sur la scène internationale, notamment le jumelage de Pubnico et de Belle-Île, sa propre localité;

Par conséquent, il est résolu que les membres de cette assemblée félicitent les gens de Pubnico et de Belle-Île-en Mer, en particulier Mme Le Gac, à l'occasion de leur 10 ͤ anniversaire, et qu'ils leur souhaitent du succès lors de leurs célébrations.

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

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

Whereas the history of Acadie binds tightly with that of Belle-Île-en-Mer in France, a site where 78 Acadian families were resettled in 1765, a decade after the beginning of the deportation of the Acadians; and

Whereas in May 2013, the people of Pubnico region and Belle-Île-en Mer will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the twinning of their communities, which has resulted in cultural exchanges, tourism opportunities, and friendships between the two communities linked by historical ties; and

Whereas the Société Nationale de l'Acadie recently bestowed its highest honour, the Médaille Léger-Comeau, to Madame Maryvonne le Gac, president of the Association Belle-Île-Acadie for her impressive contribution to the promotion of Acadie at the international level, including the twinning of Pubnico and her home community of Belle-Île;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the people of the Pubnico communities and of Belle-Île-en-Mer, most notably Madame le Gac, for reaching the 10-year milestone, and wish them great success with their upcoming celebration.

[Page 882]

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 Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

RESOLUTION NO. 384

HON. MAURICE SMITH « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library has launched NovaStory.ca, an extensive Web site featuring local historical and cultural resources for Antigonish and Pictou Counties; and

Whereas NovaStory.ca is an on-line software system that allows users to search, browse, view, print, and download the original materials in digital form, including books, pamphlets, letters, photos, and more, and share what they have found through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and other applications; and

Whereas the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library is one of only a few public libraries in the world to have a special feature on its NovaStory.ca Web site, called MapBrowser, that allows users to browse two counties using Google Maps, then overlay historical maps;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly join me in celebrating the launch of NovaStory.ca, which is now part of Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library's ongoing commitment to make local information accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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

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

[Page 883]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 385

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

Whereas one year ago Halifax and Nova Scotia lost an engaged citizen and community leader, Raymond Taavel; and

Whereas Raymond showed us the best of Nova Scotians - compassion, creativity, and community activism; and

Whereas today, Equality Day, we are all the more reminded of Raymond's work in the LGBTI community, as we celebrate the values that he strived to encourage and uphold;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislative Assembly remember Raymond Taavel today, send our thoughts and prayers to his friends and family, and continue to build a progressive 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 Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 386

[Page 884]

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

Whereas Rita MacNeil was one of Cape Breton's most celebrated musicians, with fans and admirers all over the globe; and

Whereas the community of Big Pond and the entire Province of Nova Scotia will never quite be the same again; and

Whereas Rita represented the best of what people of Cape Breton and this province have to offer - talent, generosity, ambition, and drive, and in doing so she secured her name among the most celebrated of Canadian icons;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly send condolences to the family and friends of Rita MacNeil as we mourn the loss of one of Canada's finest songstresses.

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 Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

RESOLUTION NO. 387

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

Whereas the iconic Antigonish radio station 989 XFM, known still to many as CJFX, and most recently as 989 The Nish, celebrated 70 years in business on March 25th; and

Whereas XFM, owned and operated by Atlantic Broadcasters Limited, has long promoted local news and sports, and has been home to programs familiar to many in northeastern Nova Scotia, such as The Ceilidh with Ray MacDonald and Ken Farrell's Inside Sports; and

[Page 885]

Whereas CJFX and XFM also provided the start to many well-known Nova Scotia voices, such as musician John Allan Cameron and CBC hockey play-by-play announcer Danny Gallivan;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Atlantic Broadcasters on 70 successful years, and wish them all the best for continued success in the future.

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 Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 388

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

Whereas today we, as Canadians, celebrate Equality Day, which marks the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of Canada and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and

Whereas on this day 31 years ago Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau repatriated the Constitution and signed the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, with the equality provisions under Section 15 coming into force in 1984; and

Whereas the Harper Conservatives missed a glorious opportunity last year to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the date in Canadian history when the rights of minorities and women in this country were protected in the Constitution - instead they focused their efforts on the War of 1812;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend our appreciation to the many Canadians who worked to have the Constitution repatriated and the rights of women and minorities enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

[Page 886]

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 North.

RESOLUTION NO. 389

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Victoria-The Lakes, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas today marks the one-year anniversary of the death of activist Raymond Taavel; and

Whereas communities across Canada were deeply affected by his untimely death; and

Whereas the tragedy highlights the important work that still needs to be done in building communities that respect one another and the changes needed to mental health services in Nova Scotia, so those who do this noble work can better protect their patients and the community at large;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly reflect on what has been accomplished in the past year, and commit to making sure that no community will have to endure tragedies like this in the future.

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 887]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 390

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

Whereas one year ago today Nova Scotians came together to mourn the passing and celebrate the life of Raymond Taavel; and

Whereas in the face of sorrow and confusion the people of Halifax Needham pulled together, offering comfort and compassion to each other as they came to terms with such an untimely passing; and

Whereas this expression of support and friendship has helped us all keep Raymond's kindness alive as we remember his beautiful spirit;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House remember Raymond Taavel on this anniversary of his passing, and send our thoughts to the community of Halifax Needham today.

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 Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 391

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

Whereas we are all deeply saddened by the news that Halifax developer Ben McCrea passed away yesterday; and

[Page 888]

Whereas the CEO of Armour Group Limited will be remembered for his vision of downtown Halifax and the legacy of such defining projects as Historic Properties that he leaves behind; and

Whereas Armour's Park Place Corporate Campus was the first LEED-certified commercial building in Atlantic Canada, and reflected Mr. McCrea's firm beliefs surrounding development, conservation, and environmentalism;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send condolences to family and friends of Ben McCrea, and remember and honour him for his vision for this city that we have today.

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 Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 392

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

Whereas there is no greater gift than to give freely of one's time; and

Whereas no organization says "volunteer" like a volunteer fire department; and

Whereas on Saturday April 6, 2013, (Malcolm) Mac Nobel, fire chief for the Elmsdale and District Volunteer Fire Department was recognized for 40 years of service to the Elmsdale Fire Department, plus another 12 years at other fire departments, with an award of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mac Noble for being a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and thank him for 52 years of service to his community.

[Page 889]

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 Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 393

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

Whereas in 2006 the member for Annapolis voted in support of a government bill that would make it illegal for the Liberal Party to use any of their tainted trust fund dollars for election purposes; and

Whereas in 2009 the member for Annapolis, now also the Liberal Leader, and the Liberal caucus again publicly supported government legislation that required the Liberal Party to sever all ties with all remaining tainted funds; and

Whereas despite these public statements, the Liberal Party quietly transferred $365,000 in tainted funds into a Liberal Party account, just before the new legislation came into effect;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House remind the Liberal Leader and the Liberal caucus that Nova Scotia law prohibits the use of their tainted trust fund dollars for any political purpose and demand that they prove to Nova Scotians how they spent $365,000.

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.

[Page 890]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 394

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

Whereas Dorothy "Dot" White has been an active member of many Eastern Passage service clubs, festival committees, and other local organizations for most of her adult life; and

Whereas with the skills developed during a long and successful accounting career, Dot currently acts as treasurer for the Eastern Passage/Cow Bay Summer Carnival and the Fisherman's Cove Development Association; and

Whereas Dot has recently, after a 10-year stint as volunteer editor for Eastern Passage community newspaper, retired from The Beacon where she presents news, community events, advertising, and celebrations in a balanced, fair, and thorough manner;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate and thank Dot White for her 10 years of tireless dedication to The Beacon, and wish her many years of success in all that she continues to do to better our 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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 395

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

Whereas volunteers are an important part of every community and should be recognized for their hard work and constant efforts; and

[Page 891]

Whereas the volunteer activities of Doreen Holdright of Queens County include involvement with the North Queens Fair Association, her local farmer's market, the United Baptist Field Council, the board of trade, the Order of the Eastern Star - Pearl Chapter, and fundraising for the North Queens boys basketball team; and

Whereas Doreen Holdright has been chosen as one of two volunteers to represent Queens County at the Provincial Volunteer Week ceremony in April;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize and congratulate Doreen Holdright for her many contributions to her community through volunteering.

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. 396

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

Whereas in 1887-88 the management of the Acadia Colliery no longer wanted to travel to Stellarton in order to retrieve the cash needed to pay miners and surface staff, and the Bank of Nova Scotia opened a sub-branch in Westville in May 1888; and

Whereas on November 1, 1900, the Westville Bank of Nova Scotia was given full branch status and attracted a growing number of customers; and

Whereas this year on May 2nd and May 3rd, Scotiabank in Westville will celebrate its 125th year of operation, it's 125th Anniversary, with an open house;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate and honour the Westville branch of Scotiabank and its staff for 125 years of service to the people of Westville and surrounding areas.

[Page 892]

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 Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 397

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

Whereas the Liberal Party Leader promised Nova Scotians in 2009 that the tainted trust fund dollars, millions gained over a decade of illegal tolls placed on businesses by the Liberal Regan Government, would be moved off their books and used for the public good; and

Whereas in 2011 the President of the Liberal Party announced that the tainted funds would be used to set up the Allan J. MacEachen Institute for Public Policy; and

Whereas after this announcement the Liberal Party transferred the funds into a private trust that has not made any of its information publicly available, nor has an institute using the name Allan J. MacEachen been registered with any official body;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House demand that the Leader of the Liberal Party explain where the tainted trust fund millions went, what has happened to the Allan J. MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and why they are behaving so secretively about the whereabouts of money that is supposed to be used for the public good.

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.

[Page 893]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 398

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

Whereas the Dartmouth United U-12 boys soccer teams triumphed at the East Hants Soccer Tournament this past January 11-13, 2013; and

Whereas the U-12 A team of Andrew Betts, Ryan Davis, Xavier Fitzgerald, Alex Hurst, Deniz Kaptan, Cash Laydon, Justin Levere, Oscar Marshall, Brandon Phelps, Brandon Power, Calum Thompson and their coach Trevor Marshal, defeated the Bedford U-14 team 2-1, to win the U-14 division; and

Whereas the Under-12B team of Noah Comeau-Shantz, Noah Davenport, Adrian Deveau, Theo Forcier, Alexander Galante, Davide Gillis, Quinn Halsey, Deniz Kaptan, Ole Shrader, Peter Wingo, Kaveh Wornell and their coach, Wally Murphy, defeated the Dunbrack team 5-1 in the U-12 division;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth United Soccer Club U-12 boys teams for their success at the East Hants Soccer Tournament in January, and wish them many more victories in their future.

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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 399

[Page 894]

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

Whereas on Friday, April 5, 2013 Hannah Miles of Upper Tantallon participated in the Halifax Sci-Tech Expo; and

Whereas Hannah is a Grade 10 student attending Sir John A. Macdonald High School; and

Whereas Hannah Miles will be representing Nova Scotia as one of the six students chosen to take part in a full week of activities in the ENMAX Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Hannah Miles on her award and wish her good luck while she represents Nova Scotia in the Lethbridge, Alberta Science Fair.

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 Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 400

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

Whereas during the 1970s, the Liberal Regan Government ran an illegal fundraising scheme that forced liquor companies to pay the Liberal Party for the right to place their products on liquor store shelves in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the RCMP investigation into this tollgating scheme found that the Liberals had made more than $4 million from illegal fundraising between 1970 and 1978 alone; and

Whereas upon forming government in 2009, we passed legislation forcing the Liberal Party to dispense with any remaining tainted funds, and despite publicly supporting the legislation, the Liberals quietly transferred $365,000 to another Party account just before the legislation came into effect;

[Page 895]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House ask the Liberal Party to explain to all Nova Scotians why this money was transferred into an unrestricted account, and what the money was used for.

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 401

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

Whereas in 1976, Neil Kenney, who was raised in Springville, Pictou County, graduated from the Maritime Forest Ranger School and began working in the forestry industry; and

Whereas in 1988, Neil Kenney and his wife, Ruth, incorporated NR Kenney Logging Ltd., which currently employs 20 people in the woodlands and trucking operations; and

Whereas Neil Kenney, who is a master logger and certified forestry technician, has partnered with First Nations groups and Nova Scotian forestry companies to bid on tendered projects throughout the Atlantic Region;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate and honour Neil Kenney for his 37 years of work in forestry, his commitment to proper forest management, and his willingness to work with other entities for the betterment of the industry and the economy of Nova Scotia.

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

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

[Page 896]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 402

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

Whereas the dedicated fine arts students of Millwood High School in Middle Sackville, along with staff and community support, launched a very successful production of Grease from April 11-13, 2013; and

Whereas dozens of enthusiastic students involved with the production showcased their talents of singing, acting, set design, choreography, and much more; and

Whereas the production, which has enhanced the creativity and school spirit of the students and staff of Millwood High, was highly anticipated by the local community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Millwood High School on the success of their production of Grease, and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours.

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 Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 403

[Page 897]

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

Whereas the Summit Hyundai Valley Wildcats Major Midget hockey team has thrilled fans throughout Nova Scotia with what has been described, through its teamwork, discipline, and determination, as a "storybook year"; and

Whereas the team fought hard to earn a spot in the Atlantic Midget AAA championships in Moncton, coming from behind to emerge victorious over the Newfoundland Western Kings, P.E.I.'s Cornwall Thunder, New Brunswick's Moncton Flyers, and the host team, Saint John Vitos, to be crowned Atlantic Major Midget 2012-13 champions; and

Whereas that win and the outstanding work of their coach, Nick Greenough (himself a former Wildcat) and the whole team - two excellent goalies, six stellar defencemen, and four strong lines of forwards - earned the Wildcats a chance to represent Nova Scotia and compete nationally at the Telus Cup in Sault Ste. Marie from April 22nd to April 28th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the Summit Hyundai Valley Wildcats for winning the Atlantic Major Midget Hockey Championship for 2012-13, and wish them every success as they move on to the Telus Cup nationals in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, from April 22-28, 2013.

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 Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 404

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

Whereas yesterday Nova Scotia lost a man who possessed a great vision and passion for Halifax, and indeed our province, in the passing of Ben McCrea; and

[Page 898]

Whereas Mr. McCrea was responsible for the development of Historic Properties, a development that to this day is a jewel for Halifax and draws tourists from all over the world; and

Whereas Mr. McCrea's unique vision for blending the historic buildings with our needs of today is surpassed only by his kind gestures to organizations like Junior Achievement, Mount Saint Vincent University, and Sacred Heart, to name but a few;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend our condolences to Mr. McCrea's wife, Joanne, and his children Stuart, Scott, Alison, and Janice, and remember fondly the developments like Historic Properties that were responsible in their day for bringing downtown Halifax to life.

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 Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 405

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 East Coast Music Association's mission is to foster, develop, promote, and celebrate East Coast music and its artists locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, culminating in the East Coast Music Awards, held to recognize the best of East Coast artists and their music; and

Whereas the duo of Andy & Donna, comprised of Donna Rhodenizer and Andy Duinker, have received ECMA nominations for every album they've released, as well as a Juno nomination in 2006; and

Whereas during the 25th Annual East Coast Music Awards, held in March of this year, Donna & Andy won the East Coast Music Award for Children's Recording of the Year for their album La vie pour moi, featuring 10 original songs translated into French by Gisele Caron;

[Page 899]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Donna & Andy for winning Children's Recording of the Year for their album La vie pour moi.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 406

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

Whereas the NDP knowingly accepted $45,000 in illegal donations during the 2009 provincial election; and

Whereas after accepting these illegal donations, the NDP told Nova Scotians they had returned these illegal monies, when in fact they had not done so; and

Whereas after accepting the illegal donations and after telling Nova Scotians they would return these . . .

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The use of the word "illegal" is deemed unparliamentary - it has been, and I will give you an opportunity. Finish your resolution, but go on notice that it's a recurring word that's popping up in the House now, so be mindful of it. Thank you.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East has the floor.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Whereas after accepting these donations and after telling Nova Scotians they had returned these monies, when in fact they had not, they were found guilty of breaking election finance laws and fined $10,000 by Elections Nova Scotia in a report, which is still available on their Web site;

[Page 900]

Therefore be it resolved that the NDP did accept donations, which were against the law in the 2009 election, and told Nova Scotians they had done so and returned the money, which they were not entitled to accept, when they had not done so and that the member for Lunenburg urge the Premier to finally abandon this practice for the coming election.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

I just want to clarify the ruling that I did make. I want to be very clear that the use of the word "illegal" in reference to a member is unparliamentary. In this case it was in reference to something different, so I would have allowed it, but I wanted, again, to be clear on that. Thank you.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

RESOLUTION NO. 407

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

Whereas the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program is a collaborative violence prevention program between the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre and the Strait Regional School Board, wherein Grade 9 students learn to develop and maintain healthy relationships; and

Whereas the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program, which operates with the belief that racism, sexism, and homophobia are forms of oppression which result in violence, and uses peer support to foster youth development; and

Whereas the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program was recently recognized by the Minister of Justice with an award for leadership in crime prevention;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House applaud the work done by the Healthy Relationships for Youth Program in the Strait area, and thank the partners for their continued work in violence prevention.

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

[Page 901]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 408

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

Whereas volunteers are an important part of every community and should be recognized for their hard work and constant efforts; and

Whereas the volunteer activities of Kaitlin Scott, of Liverpool Regional High School, include: involvement with TADD, the Queens Community Health Board, Queens County Blades Committee, the Liverpool Regional High School Gay-Straight Alliance, Student Council as vice-president and she is the President of the Kiwanis Key Club in her community; and

Whereas Kaitlin Scott has been chosen as one of the two volunteers to represent Queens County at the Provincial Volunteer Week ceremony in April;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize and congratulate Kaitlin Scott for her many contributions to her community through volunteering.

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

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

It is agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

[Page 902]

RESOLUTION NO. 409

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

Whereas at the ceremony in the Fall of 2012, the Duke of Edinburgh awards were presented; and

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh awards are given to those who have achieved personally-established goals and, in achieving these goals, they demonstrate their commitment, motivation, and personal development; and

Whereas Courtney Cameron of Tangier was a 2012 recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Courtney Cameron on receiving this prestigious award and wish her every success in her future endeavours.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 410

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

Whereas the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce, otherwise known as AVCC, is the chief advocacy group for more than 300 businesses, organizations and individuals in Kings and Annapolis Counties; and

Whereas the AVCC held its first annual Valley's Best Business Awards on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at the Fountain Commons at Acadia University in Wolfville; and

[Page 903]

Whereas T.A.N. Coffee in Kentville offers delicious specialty teas, coffees, baked goods, and complete meals in a relaxing, friendly atmosphere, and was chosen by members of the public as the winner in the category of Best Coffee Shop;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate T.A.N. Coffee, in Kentville, for its achievement in being named the Valley's Best Coffee Shop for 2013, and acknowledge its exemplary contribution to the Kings County community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 411

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

Whereas Lunenburg area resident, Cassandra Zinck, a member of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, 39 Neptune, was one of 25 cadets from the Atlantic Region chosen to participate in a seaman deployment; and

Whereas Ms. Zinck travelled to the West Coast, where she was deployed on HMCS Moose, a training vessel for military personnel; and

Whereas Cassandra Zinck spent a week travelling from Vancouver to Victoria, with many stops along the way, participating in lookouts, navigation and rescue drills;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend Cassandra Zinck for her participation in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets, 39 Neptune, and congratulate her for being chosen to participate in the seaman deployment aboard HMCS Moose.

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

[Page 904]

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 412

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

Whereas the Liberal Party Leader and the Liberal Party promised Nova Scotians, in 2009, that all of the tainted trust fund dollars, millions gained over a decade of illegal tolls placed on businesses by the Liberal Regan Government, would be moved off their books and given to the public good; and

Whereas at the end of 2009, just before changes came into effect making the use of the trust fund dollars illegal, the Liberals quietly transferred $365,000 from the trust account and put it into an unrestricted fund which can be used for political attack ads; and

Whereas the Liberal Party Leader knows that it has been illegal since 2006 to use trust fund dollars for election purposes, something he voted in support of in the Legislature, and yet it is still using tainted money for these exact purposes;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House let the Liberal Party Leader admit his shell game in 2009 and admit tainted trust funds are still funding the Liberal Party to this day.

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.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The resolution read by the member indicates that the Leader of the Liberal Party is using tainted funds even to this day - that would suggest that that is an illegal act based on the laws of this province, therefore I would suggest that she's imputing motive against the Leader of the Party. The laws were passed in this House. The fact is that money is no longer being used and to suggest that, I would suggest to you that she is imputing motives of illegal activity against the Leader and against our Party, and I would ask you to rule on that question.

[Page 905]

MR. SPEAKER « » : I will take that under advisement and report back to the House.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, the one thing I agree with is that the member said they stopped using them - that certainly says that they did use them. The fact is "tainted" is not criminal, tainted is dirty money, that's all.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I will take that under advisement and report back to the House at my earliest convenience.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 413

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

Whereas for five years the Premier used taxpayers' dollars in order to pay his own barrister fees; and

Whereas this use of taxpayers' dollars by the Premier amounted to $10,642.67 of taxpayers' money so that the Premier could retain his own status; and

Whereas the Premier kept using taxpayers' money to pay his barrister fees and retain his status until such time as he was discovered, eventually racking up $10,642.67 in fees which benefited the Premier;

Therefore be it resolved that Premier did use thousands of dollars out of the pockets of taxpayers over the course of many years in order that the Premier could retain his own status and that the member for Antigonish urge the Premier to apologize to all Nova Scotians for using their money to his benefit.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 906]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : Question Period will begin at 4:11 p.m. and end at 5:41 p.m.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

PREM.: MAR. LINK PROJ. - COST-EFFECTIVENESS

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : My question is for the Premier. Just moments ago evidence filed on behalf of the Consumer Advocate and Small Business Advocate and the Maritime Link experts in the field - recognized world experts in the field - asked the question: "Are you satisfied the ML project is the lowest long-term cost alternative for electricity ratepayers in Nova Scotia . . ." The answer was: "No. While we are satisfied that the ML imports are consistent with the obligations under the Electricity Act and under the Environment Act, we believe that the Applicant has not demonstrated that the ML project represents the lowest long-term cost alternative for ratepayers in the Province. Based on our detailed review of the Applicant's economic analysis of the ML project versus alternative projects, we conclude that the Applicant's analysis was faulty, lacking in robustness, incompletely documented, and biased to favor the Applicant's desired outcome."

Mr. Speaker, would the Premier like to explain that.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I have not seen what has been filed but I can tell you this, John Dalton is a world renowned expert, respected across jurisdictions, who has done a detailed, minute-by-minute analysis of what it will save ratepayers in this province, almost a half a billion dollars less over its nearest competitor. That is a real savings into the pockets of the people of Nova Scotia. That I know.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, the Premier should be careful what he says because these three international experts agree and let me continue, they say: "The Applicant has based this assertion on very small, perhaps insignificant differences, between two very large numbers . . . we conclude that the Indigenous Wind alternative and a variant of the Other Import alternative are less expensive than ML under all of the cases we tested. Moreover, the Indigenous Wind and Other Import alternatives have the important added benefits of flexibility, diversity, and a scaleable capital outlay. A large, long-term, iron-clad financial commitment to the ML project will preclude the Province's ability to react and respond to future changes in load, technical progress, and evolving environmental goals."

[Page 907]

Mr. Speaker, let's hear the Premier respond to that.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, it has never been clearer than it is today that the Liberal Party stands against Atlantic Canada, stands against progress on real fairness in electricity rates. They don't want to have the Maritime Link go forward. They don't want to endorse Atlantic Canadian strategy for the lowest and fairest electricity rates.

MR. YOUNGER « » : The only person in this room who is against domestic energy is this Premier because three experts have said that wind in Nova Scotia would be cheaper than Maritime Link. Three experts have said that other imports would be cheaper than Maritime Link, and Mr. Speaker, the final quote in this, which I tabled says, "The ML transaction also shortchanges Nova Scotia ratepayers in at least two ways." Will the Premier now agree to lengthen the review process as the interveners asked for and admit that he failed?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the Maritime Link project will provide the lowest, fairest rates for Nova Scotians. Instead, the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia would rather put the fate of Atlantic Canada in the hands of Hydro-Québec. They would rather sell out the security of Atlantic Canada to one of the largest monopolies in the world. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, order. (Interruptions) I think when the Speaker says "order," that means order in this Chamber, and I'll remind all members in the House, on all sides of the House.

The honourable Premier for his answer.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the Utility and Review Board will review all of the experts, including Mr. Dalton and including any other reports that come forward. I am confident that the Maritime Link will display the lowest, fairest rates. It will support an Atlantic Canadian strategy, and unlike the Liberal Party, it will not endorse the wholesale destruction of an Atlantic Canadian alternative for the benefit of Hydro-Québec.

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

PREM. - EAST COAST FORENSIC HOSP. REVIEW:

RECOMMENDATIONS - ACTION

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, one year has passed since the tragic death in Halifax of Raymond Taavel. This anniversary reminds us that it takes only one tragedy to demand real change to protect the public, and when that demand comes, the need is urgent.

The joint review of the East Coast Forensic Hospital community access privileges was completed last year as a result of the tragic murder of Raymond Taavel. I have the update from that report with me, which I will table, Mr. Speaker. There were 18 recommendations made last year. So far, a year later, the government has acted on less than half of them.

[Page 908]

In light of the urgency of the situation, Mr. Speaker, I'll ask the Premier, why has he allowed an entire year to go by with so little to show for it?

THE PREMIER « » : In fact, Mr. Speaker, action is underway on all of the recommendations. Some have been completed. We are looking forward to having the rest of them dealt with. It's a very important issue and a very important question. Today I'd like to have the Minister of Health and Wellness fill the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party in further on the work that has taken place.

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, there's a lot of people working in different departments to ensure the 18 recommendations - that we will fully implement all of them. We've committed to a timetable that we just updated for Nova Scotians. It's on the Web site. They can see the updates and where we are with the 18 recommendations. It's our hope that we'll have all 18 recommendations implemented around September of this year.

I think that's a really aggressive timeline, and we've worked across jurisdictions and across departments to ensure that we address the issues that Nova Scotians want us to address, and the issues that were in the recommendations from the report.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, let me remind you of this government's history on meeting its own timelines. That joint review was supposed to be a 30-day review in urgent response to the murder of Raymond Taavel. It took the government seven months to complete the review. It contains 18 specific recommendations.

I'd like to remind the Premier that studying a recommendation is not actually adopting the recommendation. It should not be counted as such. This is a matter of urgent public safety. How can the people of Nova Scotia ever take the government seriously when they respond to these tragedies in such a lackadaisical manner?

So I will ask the Premier, will he get serious about the need to keep Nova Scotians safe and protect them on our streets, and adopt today all of the recommendations from the joint review panel and put them in place?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure that the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party was actually paying attention to what went on. This was an external review by experts who brought forward recommendations, which we are implementing.

I would ask the Minister of Health and Wellness to explain further the manner in which we are acting in order to implement these recommendations for the benefit of all Nova Scotians.

[Page 909]

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, as I said in my initial comments to the member opposite, I think everybody in this House recognizes the importance of ensuring that there's public safety when it comes to those individuals who find themselves at the Forensic Unit. I recently took a tour to get an additional update on how we're doing within the facility itself, so those recommendations that deal with the facilities are being implemented. One of them was the access to a smoking area within the facility - that should be operational within days. I was over there a couple of weeks ago seeing that.

We're working with Justice, the Minister of Justice is working with our federal counterparts to ensure that all the changes through the Justice Department and the justice system needs to take place. These are important changes that need to take place, they do take some time and I think we've acted quite reasonably and quickly on the 18 recommendations.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'll tell you who's paying very close attention and that is the Taavel family themselves, the family that was stricken by tragedy, and so are all Nova Scotians paying attention when tragedy occurs and they look to the government to provide a strong and immediate response. It is not good enough for the government to sit idly by and study proven recommendations for months and months at a time when the safety of typical Nova Scotians who are walking our streets is at risk - even the safety of those patients of the East Coast Forensic Centre. They all need action.

I will ask the Premier, how can all of those people, including all Nova Scotians, take his government seriously about its efforts to promote safety when they take forever to implement important recommendations like those in the joint review?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I guess we have a different definition of "forever" because the Progressive Conservatives were in government for 10 years and they did nothing on this, forever; in fact, for the entire time of their government they did nothing on this whatsoever. It was this government that appointed the expert panel, that got the recommendations, and is implementing it.

I'm going to ask the Minister of Health to further explain, including the fact that he met with the Taavel family to go over the recommendations, because the fact of the matter is we take the responsibility for this seriously - we developed the recommendations and we're implementing them.

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to assure all Nova Scotians, especially the Taavel family and those individuals who cared deeply for Raymond. We recognized the anniversary of his death today, a tragedy for not only his family and those who loved him, but for the community and the province. The Justice Minister and myself met with representatives for the Taavel family recently so that we could update them on our progress. We've committed to them, we've committed to the public, that we would be very transparent and open; that's why the update is on our Web site right now for all Nova Scotians to see how quickly we're moving to implement all these recommendations.

[Page 910]

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

PREM.: YOUTH/CHILDREN - WAIT-LISTS

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday outside of the Chamber the Premier spoke about reducing wait times from well over a year to four months. While this is admirable, the problem is the Premier was talking about reducing wait times for assessments - and not wait times for actual programs which may be required as a result of this assessment.

Again, my question to the Premier is, why is the government content with the record of moving youth and children from one wait-list only to have them languish on another?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, we're not satisfied at all; in fact, we're not satisfied with the manner in which mental health in this province has been handled for many, many years, and that is why this government chose to bring in a mental health strategy. Not only did we go out, consult with the stakeholders, talk to organizations around the province, who until now had been handed the responsibility for assisting in the field of mental health but had done so without the proper funding, we brought in the strategy and we brought in the funding to implement the strategy.

So are we satisfied? Absolutely not. Are we moving towards having an efficient and effective system, one that will address the mental health needs of Nova Scotians? Yes. Mr. Speaker, we are.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, that is funding that they have under spent while they were handing out record amounts of corporate welfare. On May 12th the Liberal Health Critic informed this government that the IWK ACT program was no longer doing pre-admissions due to the fact that those coming into the program would have to wait until the Fall or winter of 2013 before they could actually access the program.

The IWK 24/7 CHOICES program for youth and adolescents has grown to the point where nine out of 10 patients are now waiting 61 days to access that program, compared to only 20 one year ago. My question to the Premier is, why did the Premier selectively choose to focus on assessment wait times when it's critical that youth actually had access to programs?

THE PREMIER « » : Well first of all, Mr. Speaker, I don't want the Leader of the Official Opposition to inadvertently mislead the House. No money was under spent with respect to mental health. The mental health strategy came in in May. The budget was $5.2 million so it was prorated over the year so the full amount of the budget was spent, as it will be this year, in order to make sure that we have the most effective programming possible. What I would point out to the Leader of the Opposition is that before someone can get into a program, they actually have to have an assessment, so pulling down the assessment wait times, of course, is a good thing.

[Page 911]

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, I hope the Premier realizes how ridiculous that statement sounds to families. Somehow, by pulling down an assessment and telling families who already know that the young people in their family need help, by somehow telling them they magically created an assessment is going to make everything better without putting them into treatment, is absolutely ridiculous and offensive to families across this province.

On May 17, 2012, the Minister of Health and Wellness stood in her place and indicated she would be posting wait times as they related to the mental health standards. Well, almost a year later those wait times are still not available for the public to see, so my question to the Premier is, could the Premier please tell us why, after one year, Nova Scotians are still unable to see the wait times that are related to the mental health standards?

THE PREMIER « » : What is now clear is the extraordinary lack of judgment in the Leader of the Official Opposition. The assessment tools that are put in place in order to assess people for the kind of treatment they need is absolutely critical in their treatment. In fact, nothing else can happen until the assessment takes place. For the Leader of the Official Opposition in this House to suggest that the assessments are unnecessary is, in fact, ridiculous.

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

PREM. - ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES: ACAD. FED. - REQUEST

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, one more time the Premier distorts anything that has been said in this House. Last year the NDP Government made an unprecedented interference into what was supposed to be the independent process to redraw the electoral boundaries of this province. From the outset, and for every step of the way, the Premier, through his actions and the actions of his government, discredited this important process. After losing their representation, the Acadian Federation of Nova Scotia is now asking the Premier to send the question of constitutionality to the Supreme Court, as a reference case. My question to the Premier is, will the Premier send this question to the Supreme Court for an independent analysis of the constitutionality of removing minority ridings?

THE PREMIER « » : The terms of reference support minority representation. They, in fact, support drawing of boundaries that recognize the very important cultural history of our province. I believe that there is a report that was done independently. We did not interfere with it. In fact, we simply support the recommendations that come forward. The answer, with respect to the reference, is no, we will not.

[Page 912]

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, the request from the federation should come as no surprise to the Premier. Acadians from across the province have been disappointed by the political interference from this Premier during the whole process. The Premier's interference resulted in the elimination of the Acadian ridings. So my question to the Premier is, why is the Premier refusing clarification from the Supreme Court on whether the elimination of the Acadian ridings is even constitutional?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I have no idea what the Leader of the Official Opposition is talking about. The fact of the matter is that those ridings are still there. The boundaries have changed, as they must. They now fit into the 25 per cent variation, which they should do.

The member for Richmond is quite fair, I have absolutely nothing to fear. We support the constitutionality of this. Mr. Speaker, and if the member for Richmond wants to support that challenge, he has the capacity, he could do it himself.

MR. MCNEIL « » : One thing is clear, it was wrong for the Premier to interfere and politicize the redistribution of a Nova Scotia riding. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians had an independent process with all-Party support, until the Premier took action to ensure that the Acadian ridings were eliminated.

This Premier has cast doubt on the independence of this process and has cast doubt on the outcomes of that independent panel in the eyes of Nova Scotians. So my question to the Premier is, why is the Premier afraid of referring the question to the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of eliminating minority electoral rights in the Province of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER « » : To be perfectly clear, Mr. Speaker, there was no interference with the Electoral Commission, none whatsoever. In fact, they were simply asked to produce a report that conformed to the terms of reference, which they were handed by the House of Assembly. That's what they were, and you can ask anybody and they will say that that is what they did.

No ridings were done away with; in fact the ridings still exist and they now conform to what is the constitutionally mandated scale or deviation with respect to ridings.

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

ERDT - SOUTHWESTERN N.S. COMM.: WINDOW DRESSING - CONFIRM

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of ERDT.

Today the NDP Government has realized, I think at the eleventh hour, that the economy of southwestern Nova Scotia is in the dumps and creates yet another committee to help improve tourism in the southwestern region.

[Page 913]

All this means, or possibly means, is that another level of bureaucracy has been created. In 2011 the same minister announced the formation of a regional economic council for the area in an attempt to make up for a disastrous decision to cancel the Yarmouth ferry, which did nothing but really create confusion.

So my question to the minister is, will the minister admit that this new committee is just window dressing and that it will do nothing to improve the economic situation in southwestern Nova Scotia?

HON. PERCY PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I was in Yarmouth early this morning. We made the announcement with respect to the team that we put together down there. One of the things I spoke about was the dedication, the commitment, and the passion of not only the members of the team that we put together in Yarmouth but also about the people in Yarmouth in general.

I will say this - I have great confidence and faith in the membership and leadership of that team that has been put together in Yarmouth and the entire region. The member opposite may not have the same faith and belief in those members that I do, but I certainly believe in the leadership.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I have faith in the members - I don't have any faith in that government.

The government will be providing $1 million to this new team, on top of previous NDP handouts and bailouts to support similar teams and agencies over the year. In 2011 they gave $1 million to the owners of the Rodd Grand Hotel, $250,000 to support the World Junior A Hockey Challenge, but there have been no details released as to what this new team is really going to be doing, how they will operate - or if they're even eligible for marketing funds through the regional tourism industry association.

So, will the minister maybe show me wrong, will the minister explain how this investment will benefit southwestern Nova Scotia?

MR. PARIS « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My interpretation of what the member opposite says is that we shouldn't have made that investment in the Rodd hotel. What I'm hearing the member say, Mr. Speaker, is that we shouldn't have made that investment in the Hockey Challenge that Yarmouth hosted. What I'm hearing the member say is he has no confidence in the membership and the citizenship of southwestern Nova Scotia. Well, as minister and this government, we do.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, for once, I just want that minister to prove me wrong. I want him to prove to me that that investment, the million dollars that's going to be going to that group, will be used correctly, to create real jobs in southwestern Nova Scotia. If the member does that, I'll thank him for it. I will thank him on the floor of this House, if it makes a true difference to the jobs and to the lives of people in southwestern Nova Scotia. Again, I have faith in the people that he has nominated to it. I have faith in the people of Yarmouth and southwestern Nova Scotia. Again, I don't have any faith in that government.

[Page 914]

So, Mr. Speaker, will the minister finally admit that he hasn't got a clue on how to help my area, and that he finally found someone who does?

MR. PARIS « » : What I will say, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, is get out of the way. Let the people in southwestern Nova Scotia do their job. Let them work with the stakeholders, and do you know what? We will make a difference.

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

ERDT: SOUTHWESTERN N.S. TEAM - MANDATE

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, in response to the minister's announcement today, starting a new team in southwestern Nova Scotia to bring people in, attract tourists, and help stimulate our economy, this is after this government has put three other teams in place: Team West, Team Southwest, Task Force Southwest. We also have the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association, Destination Southwest Tourism Association. We also have an economic development committee that's been put in place in Yarmouth. It all has been in response to the damage to the economy that this government did when they cut the ferry.

But my question in particular with this team, where we have all these other groups that have been in place, how does this team's mandate differ from those other groups, and how do we ensure that there's no overlap in the work that's being done?

HON. PERCY PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, the team that we put together, with the good help of many people in southwestern Nova Scotia, is a very strong team - they will be, and are. The co-operation and the working spirit that I certainly witnessed this morning, to work with Destination Southwest is unbelievable. The passion that was demonstrated this morning, Mr. Speaker - I think it was one of those meetings where you had to be there to actually, to witness it. And I've got all the confidence in the world in the membership of the panel. I've got all the confidence in the world in the proactivity that will not only be demonstrated by the panel, but also by the good people who live in the region.

MR. CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, again, this isn't a question around the capabilities or leadership of the individuals who have been put on that committee. I have full faith in them as well, and there are some movers and shakers on there. But my question is around overlap of work, and how this committee's mandate differs from all the other ones that this government has put in place. Specifically with the million dollars that has been allocated, I'm wondering how precisely that money is going to be allocated. Is that money able to be spent by the committee? Is it covering the administrative costs of that committee? Is it being used to market southwestern Nova Scotia as a destination, or is it going to be used to hold up the tourism infrastructure that we're losing because of the loss of . . .

[Page 915]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. Sergeant-at-Arms, could I have you remove the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage's cellphone, please? (Interruption) Right there on your desk in front of you. Hand it over to him. Thank you.

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, the question is, how is that million dollars going to be allocated specifically, and is there anything they're going to be able to use to hold up that tourism infrastructure that we are losing since the government cut the ferry in the first place?

MR. PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, part of the role of the panel that has been put together in southwestern Nova Scotia is to enhance that tourism experience. Part of that money, a small sum of that money - up to $100,000 - will be going toward the administration and support costs to help support the panel. They will be working to enhance the tourism experience. They will be working for the entire region of southwestern Nova Scotia. They haven't had their first meeting. They will have their meeting and will produce results. I have the utmost confidence in the panel.

MR. CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, we all have faith in that panel. The issue is that it's the sixth or seventh group that we've had look at this issue of the economic challenges of southwestern Nova Scotia. If you look at the money that has been put into these groups and the money that was given to the grant to cover the losses because of the government's decision to cut the ferry, you're getting to about $3 million anyway. If you had applied that $3 million three years ago to keep the ferry service going for another year, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

My last question is around the return of the Yarmouth ferry, because it is at the very core of the issue here in the economic challenges that we're facing - some of them, at least. Now that the minister has reopened the RFP process along with this other group to support tourism, when can we expect a ferry back in Yarmouth's harbour?

MR. PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, over the three years and x number of months that we've been in government, we've made significant investments in southwestern Nova Scotia. What I keep hearing habitually from the Opposition Party is that we shouldn't have made those investments. I keep hearing references to Rodd, the million-dollar investment into Rodd. The member is saying that we shouldn't have made that investment.

We have made good investments in southwestern Nova Scotia. It's almost like the member for Yarmouth is saying we should have thrown in the towel for southwestern Nova Scotia, but not this minister, and not this government.

[Page 916]

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

JUSTICE - EAST COAST FORENSIC HOSP.: GPS ANKLE BRACELETS - USE

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. A year has passed since Raymond Taavel's tragic death. We must ensure that no other family has to endure such loss. Less than half of the recommendations from the report on community access at the East Coast Forensic Hospital have been implemented. The 10 incomplete measures largely focus on what needs to be done before someone is granted unescorted leave.

Will the minister consider using GPS ankle bracelets to monitor and protect both patients and the public, while patients are on unescorted leave?

HON. ROSS LANDRY » : Mr. Speaker, the work being done on this issue - I'm going to pass that over to the Minister of Health and Wellness to address, but I do want to extend my condolences to the Taavel family and his friends in the community on this day of remembrance.

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I know that everyone wants to ensure that we have the right policies and procedures in place so we'll never see an event like what happened a year ago today. We're working extremely hard with our partners, through different departments, to ensure that the 18 recommendations that came out of the report will be fulfilled, relatively quickly here, as we move forward.

We know that the use of ankle bracelets for monitoring individuals who find themselves in forensic units needs to have more study. It's something I think jurisdictions across the world have been debating and trying to find out if that's the right approach. We're committed to implementing all of the recommendations that come out of the report and I look forward to implementing them really soon.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm sure both ministers would agree - and I know they are both involved because it is both a Justice and a Health matter - I'm sure both ministers would agree that being on the street at 2:00 a.m. in an environment near bars where there is alcohol and quite possibly drugs being consumed is probably not the best place for somebody who is being treated for mental illness. A GPS bracelet would help medical professionals ensure patients return to the hospital, when their unescorted period of leave has finished.

The Minister of Health and Wellness acknowledged - and I'll table this - that there was room for improvements in the report and that he and the Minister of Justice would be happy to sit with the Taavel family and discuss improvements. The question I would ask the Minister of Justice again is, why hasn't the Minister of Justice done what the Taavel family has requested and consider tracking bracelets as a practical solution to ensure this doesn't happen to somebody else?

[Page 917]

MR. LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, thank you for that question. I just want to reiterate that from a Justice perspective, in the 18 recommendations there are five specific ones that are directed at Justice, which we have completed. As the Minister of Justice, I'm very committed to safety and to making sure that our process systems work. I agree with the member when we talk about being out where there are drugs and booze is not a good place to be. I do say that our police officers do an excellent job and that on this issue here, we're committed to fulfilling the requirements in the 18 recommendations. We are focused on that and I'm very pleased with the progress that we're making. We would like it to be done tomorrow but we realize that things take time, and to get a good job done, we should do it right.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, we feel the police are doing a good job, as well, but we do feel that they need the tools to do the best job possible. We know this is not about money because the health authority has hired a community monitor to track patients on unescorted leave. That's something that wasn't even included in the recommendations but that is something that has happened. We also know that they've explored the possibility of using cellphones and pagers - and I'll table that - to monitor patients while on leave.

Wouldn't it be easier and more effective and less expensive to use ankle bracelets than to run around the province trying to find patients or waiting for them to call when they may not want to call from those cellphones? My question to the Minister of Justice is, when will the minister take action on a cost-effective, practical solution like ankle bracelets to ensure patients remain within reach of health care when they are on leave?

MR. LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, because the question is framed around the health of the individual, I'm going to pass that on to the Minister of Health and Wellness.

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, the report does talk a lot around the policies and the process in which an individual would gain access to the community. I think what we have to respect are the qualifications and the expertise that we utilized to have the report done but also the expertise, especially in the health care field, on how to best treat those individuals who are found not criminally responsible and find themselves in forensic units around the country and in our province.

Through the recommendations there are a number of key initiatives that will clarify how and when an individual gains access, or more access, to a community. I have confidence that those changes in those policies, Mr. Speaker, will ensure that the public is safe, but also ensure that the treatment of an individual is also proceeding because we realize these individuals are patients within a hospital system. I have confidence that the experts that have reviewed our policies have given the right recommendations, and we look forward to implementing them.

[Page 918]

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

JUSTICE - DIGBY FRAUD CASE: JUSTICE SYSTEM - RECOURSE

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, according to a recent news report - and I will table this - a woman from the Digby area has had her bank account emptied and the system has left her with no recourse. According to the report, a 67-year-old woman had about $20,000 withdrawn from her account, without her knowledge, after a couple moved in with her. The RCMP have told her family that there would be no investigation because this woman has an intellectual disability.

Mr. Speaker, will the Minister of Justice explain why this vulnerable person and her family have been left with no recourse through the justice system?

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : Thank you for the question, but because this is falling in the area of the senior, I am going to pass that over to my colleague within social services.

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE » : Mr. Speaker, thank you for the question. It's an important question because it's a terrible situation in our society, not just in the Province of Nova Scotia but actually throughout North America. I do know that when I have attended, representing the Ministry of Seniors, meetings with my provincial counterparts and the federal minister, this is an issue that is on the top of our agendas because it's a very difficult issue.

We know that and we're having discussions to see how can we move forward and how do you regulate the behaviour of others that is totally inappropriate, and how do you regulate their abuse? So there are many complexities to it. It's very sad that we have to deal with this in our province and throughout Canada, but the discussions are certainly taking place to see if there are any avenues to help out individuals in these types of situations.

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, the family has asserted that this woman was not involved in the $20,000 in money and cheques which had been left unaccounted for. They further claim a vehicle was bought by the couple who moved in with this woman and that her credit card was used in order to make prepayments.

The family states that the RCMP told them there would be no investigation because she ". . . wasn't capable of pressing charges. It wouldn't be admissible in court . . .".

Mr. Speaker, this truly is a justice question, because this lady didn't get justice - will the minister explain why those Nova Scotians who are most vulnerable seem to have the least amount of opportunities in the justice system?

MR. LANDRY « » : Once again, since the issue is surrounding a senior, I'm going to give it to my colleague.

[Page 919]

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : I think the important factor here, Mr. Speaker, is that when you look at the legalities that surround an issue of this type, it is very complex because many of our laws come from the federal level.

The other complexity is to be able to identify an individual's competency, and that is very tough because the other members may not understand. But when it comes to seniors' financial abuse, what often happens is that those who are the abusers will develop a very close relationship with the person they are abusing, and so often the abuser has difficulty in identifying that they are being abused. Family members could, or people in the community, and if that individual is competent and does not have somebody who has the power of attorney over them, then that individual legally has the ability to make the decision whether they want to prosecute or not.

That's the very complex issue that society is trying to work out, the fact of how do we go forward and make changes when we're dealing with people who can be competent and be seen as competent and they are having that close relationship and do not identify that they are actually being financially abused. Thank you.

MR. GLAVINE « » : We see all too often that those who are most marginalized or most vulnerable in our society are the ones who face the greatest challenge in our justice system. Sadly, the family and the community members were reporting to Adult Protection Services and the RCMP while everything was taking place, but no action was taken. However, they have all been left with no way to right this alleged wrong done to them.

Mr. Speaker, this is an individual case, but it speaks directly to the problems and challenges Nova Scotians face with the justice system in the province. How many stories will it take before the minister makes changes which will ensure that the most vulnerable and the most marginalized Nova Scotians have the same access to the justice system as the rest?

MR. LANDRY « » : I just want to assure everyone that all people have access to the justice system, but on the structure of this question and the complexity of the issues surrounding this, once again I will turn that over to my colleague who is managing that.

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, it's very important for the members opposite to understand that maybe they don't do this, but we do talk back and forth and have discussions over these issues. What's very important to let people know is that we have taken action because, as I mentioned, I have attended meetings. Many discussions have been taking place, and we sent this concern to the Law Reform Commission. That was before this report became public, and that was to review the power-of-attorney law.

So yes, we do know this is an issue in the province, and we are a government that always takes action. Thank you.

[Page 920]

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

EECD - SEASIDE SCH.: RENOVATION - GRANDSTANDING CONFIRM

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage paraded around the community last year celebrating the renovation of the old Seaside school to a new high school. The school did not meet the population criteria, the distance criteria, or the funding criteria.

My question to the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development is, will the minister admit that this announcement was just another empty promise and political grandstanding?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question is no.

MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, this government has been politically manoeuvring influence across the province since they formed government. Your office announced this new school without knowing the true cost of it. Now the costs are known, and the project has been delayed.

Are the minister and her Cabinet upset that another politically-charged project received full financial scrutiny? Are they scared that the rest of the politically-charged projects may receive similar scrutiny?

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, last April we committed money to make sure that we would have a new high school in Eastern Passage. We are working with the board and the community, and we will be moving forward with that project. Thank you very much.

MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, that's not what the board is saying. The minister has disappointed students, parents, communities, and the province with gut-wrenching cuts to classrooms and flip-flopping on school reviews, and yet goes forward with politically-important projects without knowing the cost.

My question to the minister is, how many other projects do you foresee falling off the project list due to financial mismanagement?

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, I think that there must be a misunderstanding with the member opposite. We are working with the board. I don't know which board he is talking about that we're not working with. We are working with the board and community.

I just want to stand here today and clarify, there will be a new high school in Eastern Passage.

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

[Page 921]

JUSTICE: POLICE TRAINING - FUNDING

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Justice Minister indicated that police were receiving all the resources that they could want. He specifically stated that ". . . police services across Nova Scotia are adequately funded," and further, he went on to say, "I want to assure the member that the police management has adequate budgets."

Yet when we look at what was actually spent on contributions to municipal policing, we see that the minister has under-spent these contributions by $5.5 million in the last four years. Municipal police training has been under-spent by over 72 per cent in the same period, meaning that municipal police are receiving only one-third of the funds promised by the minister each year. So my question is, will the Minister of Community Services explain why the Minister of Justice is under-spending when it comes to police training in Nova Scotia.

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Do you know what it's called? It's called good management.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I think some of the victims of cyberbullying, and the victims who have seen photos of themselves being passed on the Internet, might find it interesting to be told that funding that was made available for police training has been cut and instead is now being counted as good management. This is a very serious issue and that is why we raised it when we asked the minister to explain why police training funding has not been increased. We know that the investigative work of police is changing every day. We need to make sure that our police have the necessary funds to keep up with this training so that their investigative techniques can be up-to-date. So my question, again, to the Minister of Justice, or whomever he wants to pass it off to, is why is this government not ensuring that all monies budgeted for police training actually get spent on police training?

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : I want to thank the member for framing his question in a sarcastic manner. I will rise above that and answer the question in a way. The issue here is that policing is a municipal responsibility in the province and the Justice Department is extremely honoured and pleased to be a partner with them in providing support for training. Each department is required to develop business plans and strategic plans for the short term and the long term in delivering training. If the various departments have a particular need, then they should put their business case forward so that can be appropriately addressed, but I want to assure all police officers in Nova Scotia that this minister is 100 per cent, unequivocally dedicated to their support and development, and should they have a particular need or void in their training, I am committed to meeting that, unequivocally.

MR. SAMSON « » : Once again, Mr. Speaker, rather than leading and working with police departments, offering new training and new techniques, we see the minister saying, we're ready to follow, so you bring forward your proposals and then we'll make the decision at that point. We have heard from police departments the fact that this province used to be a leader, through the Department of Justice, working with municipal police forces, ensuring that training was up to standard, yet over the last number of years that has been cut and instead we hear the Minister of Justice saying, come ask for money, we don't have any thoughts on how additional training could take place. But if the minister is saying that all of this money is still waiting there, will he stand in his place and confirm that his department has not rejected any applications from municipal police forces for additional training in the last three fiscal years?

[Page 922]

MR. LANDRY « » : Unlike the Opposition I have faith and respect for the leadership within the policing community. I also believe that if they have needs, the direction of policing should come from the front-line management to determine their needs and assessment, and that there should be a direct partnership and collaboration with Justice. I don't believe that the politician should direct the police officers as to what their needs are or aren't there. We work in partnership and in a direct collaboration and I'm very honoured to work that.

I also want to just say that as a province we're connected with the community college, with the universities. We're connected with the Atlantic Police Academy. We're in direct dialogue - in fact, I spoke with the director of the police academy the other day and he assured me that the partnership between the police and the agencies here and his agency that delivered the standard of service is of the first and best quality in the county. We have high standards. We maintain that and there's more work that needs to be done and we believe in working in that partnership, unlike the Liberals who do not support the police.

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

PREM. - NORTHERN PULP: PICTOU PRIVATE SECTOR - IMPACT

MR. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Northern Pulp was an important economic engine for the Pictou region and it's good to see that they are looking at expansion and diversification. However, there are some valid questions surrounding the effect of the government's investment on the Pictou private sector. Mr. Speaker, will the Premier describe the impact this funding will have on the local economy and small forestry operations in the region?

THE PREMIER « » : Well it's like this - the investments are intended to create additional jobs, are intended, of course, to ensure that Northern Pulp is able to meet its responsibilities with respect to the environment. It is also intended that they will continue to be competitive, which is the key component, because if not they would close and closing would mean that all of the suppliers to that plant would go out of business.

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, a story published in The ChronicleHerald on Saturday describes the consequences that the public dollar involvement will have on E&R Langille Contracting Limited of New Glasgow. The 34-year-old forestry operation employs 84 people, but because of the direct investment, that involvement, they'll be forced to let close to 20 people go - and will obviously lose revenue as well. In addition, the company has been denied government support via loans based on the fact that it would create an unfair advantage, but it seems as though the government has now put them at somewhat of a disadvantage.

[Page 923]

I ask the Premier, what consultation and analysis did the Premier do to understand the impact of his funding to the local economy prior to making this decision?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, of course we look at all aspects of any investments that are made, we want them to have a net impact that is positive. Obviously in this case some of the work will go in-house which will make Northern more competitive, better able to supply their markets. If that doesn't happen they close and not only does E&R Langille lose that, but any other contracts that they may have with Northern as well.

My understanding is that there may well be additional work for E&R Langille and I'm pleased to understand as of yesterday that they were able to enter into a contract with Port Hawkesbury Paper and will be supplying into Port Hawkesbury, I believe, with respect to biomass. Hopefully, that will alleviate any issues that they have accrued as a result of the change in work at Northern.

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, again, Northern Pulp is an important business for the region and their expansion certainly holds many positives. If the Premier had consulted with local businesses he would have understood that this funding would have meant close to 20 job losses and revenue loss and this, of course, was an unintended consequence.

Yesterday during Question Period, in reply to the Leader of the Third Party, the Premier responded to a question by saying "it's about government investing money that makes a return for the province - returns in two ways: one, a return in tax revenue that comes back to the province; and secondly, an investment that yields new jobs for the Province of Nova Scotia."

The Premier did mention in an earlier response that the idea was that they would create new net jobs. Keeping in mind the story of E&R Langille, can the Premier explain how his decision is adding new revenue and creating new jobs in Pictou County?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I believe the answer to that is obvious, but I'll explain it to the member opposite.

In order for companies to continue to operate they have to be competitive in their markets, if they're not they continue to lose money and they close. The some 2,700 suppliers who supply those plants then either have to find work somewhere else or they simply go out of business. Supporting a company through productivity and competitiveness measures that allow them to operate more efficiently is an important part of what we do. In fact, I believe there are some 1,400 productivity incentive grants and initiatives that have been taken over the last number of years in order to allow our businesses to get a bigger part of the competitive market.

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That is the case here, that increases the revenue end of the local economy, creates good, long-term jobs. In this case, I believe it will create somewhere in the vicinity of an additional 20 jobs directly at Northern and, as I said, I believe that with respect to Langille, they have the opportunity to continue to do work at Northern, but now I believe they also have a contract with Port Hawkesbury Paper.

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

ENVIRON.: OIL TANK REBATE PROG. - FUNDING

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, the executive director of the Nova Scotia Chapter of the Canadian Oil Heat Association recently informed members that the Nova Scotia Department of Environment is close to approving funding for a residential oil tank rebate program. This program would offer a $200 rebate to replace your oil tank, with a potential additional $50 from the members of the Canadian Oil Heat Association. My question is, will the Minister of Environment advise the House whether his department will be funding an oil tank rebate program this fiscal year?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, he raises a very important question. I know there are literally thousands of oil tanks. That is something that all these proposals will take under consideration. If there is anything we can do to improve the environment, I think our record speaks for itself, and we will evaluate any proposal that comes forward. The member opposite raised a very important question, naturally safeguarding the environment.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, AFL Tank Manufacturing is an oil tank manufacturing facility that specializes in double-bottom steel tanks. AFL employs 14 to 15 tradespeople and is an important employer in Richmond County. Needless to say AFL was surprised to learn that the proposed NDP oil tank rebate program would apply to non-metallic oil tanks only. This would deal a death blow to this business and others who are in the steel oil tank industry. My question is, will the Minister of Environment advise when his government decided that they were opposed to double-bottom steel oil tanks for residential use in our province?

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, he raises a very important question, something that has my attention. I can tell you that regarding oil tanks, I know there are literally thousands across Nova Scotia. Any time we have an opportunity to review and look at - any time that we can save and protect the environment and also protect seniors and people in our society who can actually benefit from these programs, is something that has caught my attention. I can tell you that this is on my radar and I'll take all the time to seriously consider it.

MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, the easy answer in all that was for the minister to say we fully support double-bottom steel oil tanks and we support AFL and we support the men and women who work for that business and we don't want to do anything, or implement any program, that would somehow put this business in jeopardy, especially a business that's surviving in rural Nova Scotia.

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Like many Nova Scotians I have a double-bottom steel oil tank at my house. I've replaced the previous one, which was a double-bottom steel oil tank before, from AFL. This government has already proven that they do not support steel oil tanks because they already had the Environment Home Assessment Program, which was for low income homeowners to install and replace their oil tank. That program did not allow any steel tanks to be part of that program. That ended in March 2013. So the government has already expressed that it does not support steel oil tanks for Nova Scotians in residential use. My question to the minister is, will he confirm today whether or not his government, and his department, supports the use of double-bottom steel oil tanks for residential use in Nova Scotia?

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, first of all I want to make sure the member opposite, and all members of this House, know this is something that is on my radar and it is very important to me because I know that the cost of replacing oil tanks across Nova Scotia, especially to the most vulnerable, our seniors - actually I picture my father painting his, on an annual basis, to make sure that would last and protect the environment. I can tell you and the member opposite that this is something that's very important to me and that first of all we are here to support the environment, to make sure these are installed right and done right. That is the commitment that we have. We will look at any proposal, favourably, and we'll take the time to consider it, in all due respect.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: PHARMACISTS - SCOPE OF PRACTICE

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, three years ago last month, legislation was passed by all members of the Legislature around expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists. Included in this scope were changes that would allow pharmacists to administer flu vaccines. These changes were welcomed by all members of the House and according to the words of the minister of the day: This was good for patients and creates efficiencies in the health care system. My question to the Minister of Health and Wellness is, could he tell us why, after debating this bill in the 2010 session of the Legislature, why a pharmacist was still unable to administer a flu vaccine this past flu season?

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We're working extremely hard to ensure that all clinicians around the province can work to their full scope of practice. We recognize the importance of pharmacists to the health care system. We've been working with them and negotiating with them, with PANS - interestingly enough, I'm sure the member will be with them later this evening, at their reception - to come up with an agreement to ensure that there's compensation for pharmacists when they enter into providing that service for Nova Scotians. I look forward to them participating in the upcoming flu season by providing vaccines for Nova Scotians.

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MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, pharmacists provide valuable services to our communities. The Fair Drug Pricing Act was passed in this House, which required pharmacists to cut back out of necessity on services they were providing to the public, especially valuable services to our seniors. Changes to the Pharmacy Act in 2010 provided an opportunity to replace these services with other services, which in 2010 would, in the words of the minister, create efficiencies in the health care system.

Could the minister please tell us why it has taken his department three years to come up with regulations that would expand the scope of practice for pharmacists?

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, we respect all the pharmacists across the province and the work that they do providing services for Nova Scotians, especially in rural communities. We know that over the last number of years we've worked extremely hard to ensure that we can maintain a good health care system, providing the services.

I have to say, with the work that the former Minister of Health and Wellness has done, and the work that I've done in the last year, around pharmaceutical costs, we want to ensure that Nova Scotians - seniors, all Nova Scotians - are able to gain access to the medications they need. Part of that is through capping six generic drugs that we've worked on across Canada, and we look forward to implementing that, but we also look forward to looking and working with the pharmacists to ensure that they can practise to their full scope of care, so that they can provide additional services, so that their business plan can change to ensure that they can meet the needs of Nova Scotians within their pharmacies across the province.

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, our caucus truly values the powerful role that pharmacists can play in our health care system. Pharmacists across this province have had to endure a lot under this government. They've had to cut back on clinics, they were forced to reduce staff, and very few are in a position to offer summer work to pharmacy students.

Could the minister please indicate whether his department has consulted with pharmacists for the purpose of stepping up to the plate and addressing the gaps that were created as a result of the NDP Government's legislation?

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, it's under the NDP Government that pharmacists will be allowed to give injections to Nova Scotians. It wasn't under a former Liberal Government, and it wasn't under a former Progressive Conservative Government. It's this government that respects all clinicians, including pharmacists, in this province. Now we're working hard to ensure fair drug prices for all Nova Scotians, and we're going to work with the pharmacies across the province.

I don't know about the member opposite, but I know that I've travelled a lot in the province over the last year or so, and there are a lot of pharmacists investing a lot of money in renovations and opening new pharmacies across the province. I look forward to continuing to work with them. I meet with the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia on a regular basis, I'm in contact with the past president of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, and I'm in contact with the current president of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia. That's how you move forward in changing models of care, Mr. Speaker « » : working with clinicians like pharmacists in Nova Scotia.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: CAPITAL HEALTH

- BLOOD COLLECTION POLICY

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The government is allowing Capital Health to unfairly discriminate against small-business owners providing blood collection services to elderly and vulnerable people in their homes. The coming changes will require all blood samples to be transported to the Mackenzie Building in Halifax within 90 minutes. The small-business owners often work in Cole Harbour or Sackville or Dartmouth and throughout the HRM. Requiring them to cover the costs of a courier to Halifax unfairly discriminates against those living outside the city centre.

Why is the Minister of Health and Wellness allowing Capital Health to ignore vulnerable patients who live outside the city?

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, what we're ensuring is that Nova Scotians can gain access to the tests when and where they need it. There has been an increase of over 25 per cent of private companies that do blood collections across Capital Health and across the province.

One of the things we needed to do was to invest in technology, in equipment, to provide the tests and do the tests in a timely manner. So we have a centralized area in the Mackenzie Building that will do these tests, Mr. Speaker, to allow those outlying areas, like the Cobequid Centre, like the Dartmouth General, to provide the services for patients who are in that facility.

We know that we need to ensure that those tests get to the facility in the Mackenzie Building in an appropriate time. I don't understand why the member would allow for a private company to drop off blood services at a facility that would require us then to transport it to Halifax.

What we're saying is we're coming out with clear guidelines, they all understand them, Mr. Speaker, and I think it will be best to serve Nova Scotians to ensure that those guidelines and those standards are in place.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, in the time that it takes to get it in is the challenge that they have. Small-business owners will have to nearly double their fees to cover the cost of a courier, because they now need to get a courier rather than bring it in themselves.

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The patients who will have their blood collected in the safety of their homes are vulnerable. One small blood collection business performed more than 800 in-home sample collections last year alone. We have an aging population and the need will continue to grow, and most of these patients cannot afford to be charged double the cost, but nearly all the patients are unable to leave their home to travel to a clinic.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, what does he say to those vulnerable bedridden individuals who cannot afford to pay for the tests that they depend on for their health?

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear to Nova Scotians and to the member opposite - we, the government, we are not charging individuals. These are private companies, and we've seen a large increase in them over the last number of years that are charging patients. We do not charge for blood collections when people go into Cobequid Health Centre or the Dartmouth General. We know that we have to ensure that we can have continuity when it comes to the tests.

All we're asking is that if a private company decides to get into this business, that they follow the guidelines and the protocols that are in place, that they should be responsible in getting that collection to the appropriate facility, Mr. Speaker, and that is what's in the guidelines.

Any current private company that has a contract with Capital District Health Authority will be able to continue to drop off those specimens at Cobequid and Dartmouth General for the next year. We're going to allow them to adjust their business model so that they can provide the services to Nova Scotians, but we have to have guidelines in place to ensure that when the test is done it's done in the appropriate way, Mr. Speaker.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for that answer. Last week the minister told reporters that it was up to the small-business owners to transition to new business models to adapt to the inevitable change. Once he was done trivializing the roles of these small businesses, he mused about the possibility of Capital Health seizing the opportunity to collect blood samples from people at home. Not only does the minister not really care about their fixed budgets or that they live outside the city, but now he's entertaining the idea of maybe putting those small businesses out of work completely.

Will the minister do the right thing and allow these companies to drop off their samples at the local Capital Health facilities for transport, and protect vulnerable Nova Scotians from gouging at the hands of government?

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, what we're doing is we're putting in place protocols that will ensure that if someone decides, on their own, to pay a private company to take their blood that that blood specimen is in the facility in the appropriate timeline.

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We have a large percentage of those blood collection samples that have to be retaken because of a time lapse, because an appropriate amount of blood was not taken, so we need to have guidelines in place to ensure that if someone chooses to utilize these private companies that those specimens are done and the tests are done in an appropriate way.

I've agreed with Capital Health that the guidelines need to be in place, that's why they're allowing a timeline of about a year now, so that these private companies need to ensure that they conform to the new regulations next April. I hope that the businesses recognize the importance of doing that, ensuring the tests that they are providing Nova Scotians.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ABUSE STRATEGY

- IMPLEMENTATION

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, on March 28th, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, in collaboration with the National Advisory Council on Prescription Drug Misuse, released a national strategy to address the harms associated with prescription drugs. This strategy titled, First Do No Harm, was developed with two Nova Scotians from the Department of Health and Wellness, as well as the Kentville Police Chief Mark Mander on the team. It laid out a comprehensive, five-point plan to deal with the issue of prescription drug abuse and misuse. Could the Minister of Health and Wellness tell us whether his department plans to proceed with the implementation of this strategy?

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm disturbed by the cases of prescription drugs that we've seen in the province. I think all Nova Scotians, all members of the House, want to ensure that we don't see that happen in our province. I met with Chief Mander recently to discuss some of the initiatives that we've undertaken over the last number of months and number of years. I hope the actions that we have taken have made a positive impact to those individuals throughout the province who find themselves addicted to prescription drugs. We have introduced a number of changes in models of care, for example, in addiction services, to ensure that Nova Scotians get access to programs and that they can have the support they need in the communities they live, and we're going to continue to move forward in trying to curb the incidents of prescription drug abuse here in the province.

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, this is a comprehensive, 10-year pan-Canadian strategy and it has significant recommendations around issues like prevention, education, treatment, monitoring, surveillance and enforcement. It is a multi-faceted problem that requires all hands on deck to deal with the issues of addictions and deaths related to opiates, sedatives, tranquilizers and stimulants. Could the minister please tell us whether he intends to ensure that all of the recommendations are addressed here in Nova Scotia, or will he pick just certain measures?

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MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question because I know he has concerns, there have been concerns in the communities he represents in the Valley, but this is something that I think all jurisdictions have been struggling with. We talk about this as we meet as Ministers of Health across the country.

For the first time in Canada's history, we do have a new national strategy to tackle prescription drug abuse. That is why we are moving forward with working with our partners in law enforcement and in the district health authorities and are actively working on prescription drug abuse. We have expanded programs in our network of opiate-replacement treatment programs in the Valley. We've trained more doctors to responsibly dispense methadone, for example. We ran public awareness TV campaigns not only as a province, but nationally. Different organizations have taken that on. It is mostly aimed at youth because we know the dangers, especially of mixing prescription drugs and alcohol. We're going to continue to move forward. We're moving forward on the prescription drug monitoring program, something that we expanded well over a year ago, the 24/7 access for our law enforcement, for our pharmacists, for our physicians, all in an attempt to curb the prescription drug abuse that we've seen in our province, something that has been happening across Canada, unfortunately.

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

COM. SERV.: EARLY YEARS CTRS. - SERVICES

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, the government has announced that Early Years Centres will ". . .provide support for young children in the early years (from birth to age 6) and their families, facilitating seamless access to regulated child care, early learning programs, early intervention, before & after school care, parent education, child development programs and other supports." I'll table that. Can the Minister of Community Services please tell the members of the House what services she expects the new Early Years Centres to deliver that are different from services already being offered by family resource centres across the province?

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, the early years are very important to this government. We're the first government that has developed an early years development strategy. That hasn't been done by any other government in this province. It is something that the people of Nova Scotia have been asking for, and what we will be doing is working with all those stakeholders, including the family resource centres, that offer very valuable services within our communities.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, there are 23 family resource centres across the province that deliver these very services that are critical to families. Some examples of their services include screening tools and prenatal support at the Dartmouth Family Centre, and I'll table that; support for children from birth to 6 years old at Queens County Family Resource Centre, and I'll table that; a school readiness preschool program at the Bayers Westwood Family Resource Centre, and I'll table that; Health and Wellness programs, advocacy referrals, public health services, and mental health workshops at Parent 'n ToT Family Resource Centre in Fairview - and I'll table that - just to name a few.

[Page 931]

Can the minister tell those family resource centres and the families that rely on their services what increase in funding they will see, given this government's newfound interest in the early years?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, firstly, the honourable member is not telling me anything I do not know. I know the importance of family resource centres and the services that they offer. This is not a newfound interest of ours. They do not understand the part about consultation and including strategic planning and developing a good plan to go forward. That's exactly what we're doing. The family resource centres will be a part of those discussions.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, the truth is that family resource centres have not seen an increase in funding in 10 years. Nice interest. The 23 centres across this province only see a total of $2 million annually. When this government held consultations last year, family resource centres made it clear they are starved for funding, and they already offer the community-based services being proposed through the early years centres.

Why is it that this minister is starving services that are already in place, like early intervention and now family resource centres, for the sake of the government's electioneering?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, since it's Question Period, I would like to ask the honourable member, why did the federal Liberals set up the family resource centres and then cut them loose with no funding so the provinces could step in? May she answer that question?

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

AGRIC. - BERRY FARMERS: ASSISTANCE - DETAILS

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, recently a rare virus has withered early strawberry crops in some parts of Nova Scotia. Farmers are cutting down thousands of plants in the Great Village area in an attempt to destroy every trace of the aphid's food source. It's a very costly process for producers, and two markets will be affected by the virus: plants which are mostly exported to the United States, and those that are planted locally.

My question to the Minister of Agriculture is, what is government planning to do to help these berry farmers at present?

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HON. JOHN MACDONELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I've met with the four major producers in the Debert area. We had a good discussion around the issue at hand for them and their steps in due diligence of what they need to do to eliminate the virus complex that they're dealing with. I just sent correspondence back to them, because they outlined some things they wanted to see the minister do, so I've done that.

Their major request was that the province approach the federal government on the Agri-Recovery Program. This is the only one of four programs where they really need the help of the government to initiate contact. What we needed from them was some indication of the impacts on their farms so that we could make that application to the federal government. I'll look forward to the member's further questions to give him more detail.

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, the loss of crops will affect hundreds of other local and migrant workers in the industry; it will cost producers an estimated $4 million. Now this is really a once-in-a-century type of virus that has occurred. The real concern is that if the federal money doesn't come through in time to help these producers - what steps is government prepared to make to compensate, to help these farmers which is described, as I said, as a once-in-100-years event?

MR. MACDONELL « » : Mr. Speaker, the problem that they've run into is actually the union of two viruses that has caused the problem. Either one of those viruses on their own would not have happened, so the three programs that they could apply for themselves are, AgriStability, AgriInsurance and AgriInvest. I indicated in the earlier response that AgriRecovery is the one that we would apply to the federal government for.

One thing that those individuals can do under AgriStability would be to apply for an advance payment so that gives them money, which a number of producers use quite often to help initiate getting their crop in and then they pay that off at the end of the season when they harvest.

This is an option they have right now; they have money accessible to them through that program to help them get their crop underway - to dispense of the old plants and get on the way to eradicating the virus on their farms, Mr. Speaker.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: LONG-TERM CARE BEDS - TENDERS

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, more families in this province are struggling under this NDP Government. As of January 31st of this year there were 2,412 seniors waiting for long-term care in this province. The wait-list has increased more than 50 per cent since this government took power.

Will the minister give seniors a straight answer today and tell them just when can we expect new long-term care beds to be tendered?

[Page 933]

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : I look forward and I'm waiting anxiously for the questions around the budget once I get up in estimates, hopefully tomorrow or maybe Friday. When it comes to long-term care facilities and support for seniors, for not only long-term care but home care, Mr. Speaker, it's this government that is moving forward to ensure that seniors get the services they need.

Long-term care beds are important to seniors, Mr. Speaker, but the seniors I talk to have been advocating and implying that they want to stay in their homes as long as they can. Long-term care facilities should be a last resort for individuals, and we know that.

I have to say that within the Province of Nova Scotia, we have one of the highest per-capita bed ratios from across the country, so when you notice an increase, and I will identify an increase in the long-term care wait-list, there's something wrong. What was wrong was that many of those people on that wait-list did not gain access to home care services. That's why we invested an additional $22 million last year, and that's why we have additional millions of dollars this year in the home care budget. So I look forward to those questions, and his second question.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I do look forward to asking him questions in estimates but there are two things there - I don't make the list and actually we are going to wait, like a lot of people are waiting for long-term care in the province.

On January 9, 2013, the Department of Health and Wellness came before the Public Accounts Committee, and at that time the deputy minister mused that the wait-list for long-term care is so long because seniors sign up early for nice facilities - and I will table that. However, the department's own long-term care policy manual states that it is the continuing care coordinator who performs the assessment to determine whether the individual's request is appropriate for home care or long-term care placement - and I will table that as well.

It is not accurate, nor appropriate, to suggest that seniors are signing themselves up for a nice place; it is the department that assesses, it is the department that has deemed home care inappropriate for 2,412 seniors. When will the minister stop blaming these families for their wait and finally address the growing problem?

MR. WILSON « » : I am not blaming the families, Mr. Speaker, I'm blaming the inaction of the former Progressive Conservative Government for 10 years. They brought forward a program to build new long-term beds but one of the things they forgot was to allow Nova Scotians to remain in their homes longer. They didn't invest enough in home care services. Over 40 per cent of those in long-term care haven't accessed home care. That's a failure of the previous government, something that we're correcting here . . .

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

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HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. I figure I've been quiet over the last number of days while my esteemed colleague from the Liberals has done quite a few, but the question that I really want to ask, or maybe have you look at, is during Question Period there has been a couple of occasions now where the Premier gives us a full answer and then refers it to the minister for a full answer. Now, I think convention would say that the Premier can refer it to a minister, and even so much that I would say that the Premier can say a little bit and then refer it. We are getting two full answers, sometimes, on some of these so I want you to look at that and maybe have an opportunity to report back.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I will take it under advisement and have a look at and report back to the House.

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 1.

Bill No. 1 - Accountability in Economic Development Assistance Act.

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

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : I'm pleased to rise in my place today and speak for a few minutes on a bill that we presented around corporate welfare. As I meet with people up and down the Annapolis Valley, they are now talking about this as one of the areas that they didn't expect the NDP to invest in so heavily, both in terms of policy and in terms of money. This is an area now that many are calling one of the legacies of the NDP Government, a negative legacy, because what has happened is that these huge millions of dollars have not translated into the kind of jobs that Nova Scotians would obviously expect. There were six investments totalling $690 million alone. As we look over the course of the past year, there is a net minus of nearly 1,300 jobs in those industries.

When we take a look at one in particular, and I look at the money that went to Bowater - Resolute Forest - this was an investment that was truly poorly researched. We had the opportunity to meet with management just a couple of months after the deal was made, and I'm sure we probably didn't receive quite the amount of detail that government would have received, but based on the information that we received, we knew that they were here in the province for a very short time. In fact, if you look even at the history of the manager who was brought into the area, he had shut down the mill, the 100-year-old mill in Grand Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador, just a short time before and his job was to come in and shut down the mill, yet the province decided that they would put millions of dollars, $25 million, which immediately went out of the province to their headquarters in Quebec and derived no benefit, no job creation, for the community of Liverpool. Mr. Speaker, we can go through each of the major investments that have been made.

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One of the others that I'm finding in the Valley communities that people make a statement, but put in a little bit of a qualifier, and that is around monies that were given to Irving. They realize that Irving has been a good employer in many communities across Nova Scotia, but they also then say it's not a company that needed our tax dollars to move a $25 billion project forward. So they realize that this was money given to a company for political purposes, not money that was truly needed for the future of this company.

We have a situation, Mr. Speaker, that's truly unacceptable to the people of the province. Thank you.

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

MS. PAM BIRDSALL « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place to speak to Bill No. 1. We know that Nova Scotians want good jobs, high-paying jobs, jobs that have long-term investment in our community. Last Fall was one of the most significant periods in Nova Scotia job creation in recent memory. Nearly 1,000 new high-paying, long-term jobs were created by IBM Canada and PROJEX Technologies. If the Opposition had their way, those jobs would have gone elsewhere. Those companies could have chosen anywhere in the world to go, but they chose to come to Nova Scotia.

Between these two projects, the province stands to gain more than $13 million in tax revenues. That's millions of dollars that will be invested in our hospitals, Collaborative Emergency Centres, our schools, and our roads. Millions more will come back to communities across the province, thanks to the economic spin-off from hundreds of Nova Scotians who will earn good salaries in stable jobs. As a matter of fact, more than $80 million in revenue will be generated by the interest on the province's investment in the last seven years, helping to pay off services we rely on. Incentives are paid only when jobs are created and are covered by tax revenues generated by the companies present in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, Scott Richards, president of PROJEX Atlantic, said quite clearly in a letter to The ChronicleHerald on November 10th: "No new jobs, no tax break. Government - and by extension the taxpayer - is not out any money by supporting PROJEX, or any other company . . . It's the ultimate economic development because it always protects the taxpayer's interest." Mr. Richards couldn't have been more right, and I agree. I will table this.

[Page 936]

The Opposition's constant attacks on companies that want to come to Nova Scotia and create good jobs here fly in the face of everything that they claim. Last Fall, amidst hundreds of new job creations in Nova Scotia, the Leader of the Official Opposition insulted PROJEX, putting his inexperience and lack of judgment on full display for all Nova Scotians to see. He also demonstrated this by insulting the province's investment in Irving Shipbuilding's successful bid for a $25 billion shipbuilding contract. This is incredulous, Madam Speaker. This kind of behaviour has consequences - the kind of consequences that end up killing jobs in Nova Scotia. Small businesses are an important part of our economy, and we're committed to helping them grow and succeed - quite the opposite of Bill No. 1.

Donald Savoie said Nova Scotia should be the most business-friendly jurisdiction in Canada. We're taking many steps to help small business, especially to slice through red tape, saving them time and money and letting them do what they do best, which is provide good jobs for Nova Scotians here at home.

For the fourth consecutive year, the province is reducing the small business corporate income tax rate for the majority of small businesses. Over four years, that's a drop of two percentage points - almost $78 million in savings for small businesses. That's money that can be reinvested for them to compete and hire and grow. Businesses have said they need support and easier access to programs. We have heard them, and are now making small business access much better; instead of wading through lists of 40 programs, the province is opening five doors for entry points for programs in Nova Scotia.

Madam Speaker, our government continues to help Nova Scotia companies find innovative ways of doing business. Growing Nova Scotia's economy means looking at the big picture, it means opportunities of all sizes; it means making choices to bring long-term prosperity to Nova Scotian families across the province. That's exactly what this government is doing through our jobsHere plan. People are learning the right skills for good jobs, businesses are becoming more innovative and productive, and Nova Scotia is competing and winning on a global scale. Working together and investing in people makes Nova Scotia's future even brighter. Thank you.

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

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : I'm pleased to take a few minutes to talk about what we think is a pretty important issue in this province and that is about the people living here, the people, certainly in the business community, who over the years have been struggling and we think about the title of this bill, Accountability in Economic Development Assistance Act. There have been many plans over the years, I guess, through multiple governments that have decided how money would be - I don't want to say passed out but - used to assist companies in staying afloat at times, companies that employ lots of people, which is important to us.

[Page 937]

But one thing that is important to Nova Scotians, and I think probably we all, as members in this House, get a chance to talk to those business people in our communities and everyday people who are looking for work. The unemployment numbers - how many times have we heard, in the last couple of weeks since we've been sitting in this Legislature, about the high rate of unemployment? I know it's over 10 per cent where I come from. I know it's high in Cape Breton -18.6 per cent.

What we really need to focus on here is how we are going to create jobs in the Province of Nova Scotia. The last thing that the people care about in this province - and I'll tell you because they tell me - is a bunch of politicians standing up rambling about we're going to do this and we're going to do that. They want to see some action, that's what they want. They want to see jobs created that are decent paying, so they can pay their bills.

When we think about incentive programs, businesses look at us here in this province and say, the taxes are pretty high, 15 per cent. We've seen taxes go up; we've seen other corporate taxes and so on. I know government says they're working on a plan to bring those down to make it easier for businesses to survive in this province, but I can tell you that just in my area alone, I've got fairly good size businesses, some that employ over 100 people. We saw Minas Basin, 135 gone just like that. We know CKF is right next door to it though; it employs a lot of people.

People are not - and I want to just touch on that for a moment. I know I don't have a lot of time but what a great example it was when we think about Minas Basin. Now we went down there, and to the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism's credit, I invited him and he came down as well. We sat around that table and they told us, right to our face, thank you for coming, but we don't want your money. We want to invest in something - there will be a time - that is long-term, sustainable. That is the right way to go. I think governments have always wanted to - and I know we certainly had wanted to - invest in corporations that are willing to put people to work, with good-paying jobs, so they can stay in this province.

We have numbers, hundreds of students - just in my Avon View High School alone this year, roughly 300 will graduate and move on to universities and post-secondary of some kind, to trade schools and whatever. We know every year this happens and we know it's been happening. We know that people are going to graduate from universities this year. They are going to graduate from the trade schools and regardless of what they're going into, the last thing that we want to see happening is to see people leaving for Alberta, and Ontario, and Saskatchewan, and wherever it is they may go, or the United States or other parts of the world.

I know when my children graduate from high school and onward, whether they're going to NSCC or they're going to university or wherever, I want them to be able to live and work here at home. That's what I want. Whether they're farmers, whether they're technical kind of people in the IT world, doesn't matter what they do, I want them to see that there is opportunity in this Province of Nova Scotia. Until we as politicians get our heads together in this province and start doing the right thing and stop arguing and fighting and going on and thinking only one government has all the right ideas, we will never be successful. Now we've heard some very intelligent people in this House stand on their feet and say, Madam Speaker - and you've heard it as well - not one Party or one person has all the right ideas or the best ideas.

[Page 938]

There is opportunity and the people in this House better soon come together and start working on a plan that is for the long term. We don't know what will happen. We all know - we talk about it every day in here and on the streets - there's an election coming, yes. Will there be changes? There are always changes. It doesn't matter which way it goes, there are always changes. Once again people will be expecting hope to come their way in this province. We better find a way to instill that hope and to develop jobs and create more jobs for the long term that are good paying so people can pay the high power bills that they're facing, we know that that's an issue for them; and so that the business community can survive and pay those bills, not only the high power bills but the heating bills, and all the things that go along with living in this part of the world. We know that money is always an issue, and the last thing we want to do is just throw money at any business for the sake of doing it, and making political decisions versus the right decisions - that has to stop, we know that.

People will argue that the hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent have not been spent wisely. Time will tell; we do know that. People who aren't happy with that will make that change that I talked about a few minutes ago; they will have the opportunity to make that change if they so desire - and they're not happy, we'll soon see that. But the focus has to be on everyday Nova Scotians who are working hard, want to keep working hard and want to stay here and raise their families - that's what they want to do in this province. It doesn't matter what you call the bill, or how many bills you put forward, it really doesn't matter.

Thank you very much, Madam Speaker, for the opportunity to speak to this issue today.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Preston.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Madam Speaker, I have a very short time and this is a major problem in Nova Scotia, economic growth and development, and this government has failed miserably. That's the only way I can put it - they failed miserably. The population has shrunk in the province because our young people are going to Alberta to work, and they're soon going to be going to Newfoundland and Labrador.

We've seen the money with the pulp and paper mill just thrown out the window and paid off the company in Quebec that vanished right away. We've seen over and over again this government do things that have had a negative impact on this province, and the people of the province understand that. They have seen exactly how incompetent this government is when it comes to economic development. They can't get it right - over $500 million spent with no gain in jobs; none - absolutely none. You wonder why the people of this province are so skeptical. They are going to be more so as they say goodbye to their young people who move out of the province to get a good-paying job - and, indeed, even get a job.

[Page 939]

It's a terrible situation the province is in. This is the worst mess I have seen since the Buchanan Government was here years ago - the worst mess I have ever seen. This government is going to go down in history as the government that did more damage in four or five years - because I believe you're going to go to five years before you call an election and put more pain and misery on the people of this province for a longer period of time - than the Buchanan Government did in 15 years. It is unbelievable what is happening here.

Everyone knows and everyone can see out there how expensive it is to live in Nova Scotia: businesses can't afford to operate here anymore; huge increases in power bills; huge increases in taxes this government has put on, a 25 per cent increase on the GST alone; and all the other costs - 1,400 fees gone up in this province twice now and the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations agreed three years ago it was just imposed upon them to put the price up and it's supposed to be cost recovery. When I asked him again about it he says, well, it's put up again. He still didn't know what it cost to do it so, again, it's just a tax on the people of this province and it all makes it more expensive for businesses to operate in this province - and every single thing that puts the cost of business up makes it less competitive.

I have been talking to many people and no matter where you go in this province there are fewer and fewer people working. A lot of businesses that have been around for years and years in this province are shutting down because it's not economically feasible to work in this province. The government, everything they touch leads to less and less employment, less economic growth in this province - and without economic growth in this province we cannot survive; we cannot grow the economy.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish I had a lot longer time to talk about this - there are a lot of other issues that need to be addressed.

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes the Opposition's business for today. I will now call upon someone on the government side to give us tomorrow's business.

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

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow, the hours being 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. We will have the daily routine, including Question Period, followed by Committee of the Whole House on Supply, and Public Bills for Second Reading. We will be discussing Bill Nos. 36, 37, and 42. I move the House do now rise.

[Page 940]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 12:00 noon.

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 have now reached the moment of interruption. The late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

LIBERAL CAUCUS - TRUST FUNDS: DISBURSEMENT - DETAILS

MR. JIM BOUDREAU « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm very pleased to rise in my place today to debate this important issue. We all know the sordid history of the Liberal Party's trust fund. Back in the 1970s the Government of Gerald Regan forced any company wanting to do government business to donate a toll or money to the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia. The tainted donations poured in, making the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia one of the wealthiest political machines in Canada.

The RCMP later investigated, but unfortunately they only looked at the years 1970-78. During just that eight-year period, Mr. Speaker, the RCMP determined that the Liberals had collected more than $4 million in tainted fundraising. Most of it came from liquor companies that paid the Liberals for the right to place their products on liquor store shelves. These tainted funds have tainted the electoral process for decades. Unlike the other political Parties in Nova Scotia, who earn donations through strong policies, good government, and hard work, the Liberals of Nova Scotia were able to carry a significant advantage into any election, regardless of what they said or did.

By 1983, Mr. Speaker, three Liberal Party Finance Committee members had been charged with influence peddling. All three either pleaded or were eventually found guilty. One conviction, I understand, was overturned on a technicality. Still, Mr. Speaker, the Liberals refused to turn over all the money. They claimed there was an audit conducted to determine what was illegally gained. The public, of course, was skeptical, and rightly so. It turns out they had good reason to be, because according to columnist Stephen Kimber, who aptly pointed out the so-called auditors themselves said publicly that their work did not constitute an audit. It was another Liberal sham. And I'll table that document.

[Page 941]

The Liberals claim that it could only be proven that $1.3 million of the tainted money was illegal, and that's all they handed over. Ever since, the remainder has given the Liberals an unfair, undeserved advantage. It was an advantage that Liberal Leader after Liberal Leader could not pass up. And unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, this Liberal Leader seems to be cut from the same cloth.

The member for Annapolis, and current Liberal Leader, had his chance in 2009, when this NDP government brought in legislation saying that the money could not be used for partisan purposes. The current Liberal Leader, seeing that Nova Scotia finally had a government that would act decisively on this issue, publicly supported the legislation. I'll repeat that, Mr. Speaker « » : the Liberal Leader publicly supported this legislation, in fact voted for that legislation right here in this House.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, publicly released Party records show a different story. Just before voting in favour of the NDP legislation, the Liberal Leader and the Liberals transferred more than $365,000 out of the tainted funds and into their Party's unrestricted account. This makes him another in a long line of Liberal Leaders who could not say no to money gained through tainted means.

This, Mr. Speaker, is the history of the tainted Liberal trust fund, something that needs to be put to rest once and for all. The issue before the House today is that of the transfer of more than $365,000. This money had been in a restricted account. The Liberals were well aware that it was wrong for funds in the restricted account to be used for election purposes. What is inexplicable is what happened next. Despite knowing the rules, the Liberals transferred more than $365,000 from their restricted account to an unrestricted account. The problem with this is that funds in the unrestricted account can be spent on anything, on attack ads, on election preparation, anything.

I'll table the Liberal financial documents that show these transactions. These are the financial statements for two years: 2009 and 2012. Over the last several months, the New Democratic Party and a number of my colleagues here in the House have asked the Liberals to explain why they transferred the funds and what they were used for. This was even asked for today. The Liberals have refused to answer this question. They howl in rage, they try to distract us from the issue at hand, but they refuse to answer the question.

It's very simple. If the Liberals did not use this money for election purposes, why won't they prove that to Nova Scotians? Just last year the Liberals spent $185,000 to pay for, among other things, attack advertising. Much of that money came out of the Liberals' unrestricted fund.

Therein lies the problem: that money should have never been transferred out of the unrestricted fund in the first place. The onus is on the Liberal Party and the Liberal Leader to show that they did not do anything untoward. If they had done nothing wrong, why won't they prove that to Nova Scotians?

[Page 942]

Our government has come a long way in cleaning up MLA expenses and government spending. Significant improvements have been made, and Nova Scotians can now have faith in the system. However, this issue will never be truly resolved if the Liberal Party continues to refuse to answer basic questions about how tainted money was spent and why. The law and Nova Scotian citizens expect this.

Nova Scotians, very rightly, want to know that their elected officials are behaving appropriately, especially with money. The Leader of the Liberal Party should comply with the recent efforts of politicians from all political Parties to improve past practices that have tainted politicians for too long in this province. This is why people are cynical in this province. What the Leader of the Liberal Party forgets is that the public and the electorate not only expect this, but demand it.

When will the Liberal Party realize that enough is enough and that the people of Nova Scotia deserve to know how the Party has been spending their tainted trust fund dollars? When will the Liberal Party finally have a Leader who will actually put this unfortunate tainted trust fund issue behind them once and for all?

What you do speaks volumes about your character. It's not what you say, it's what you do. The refusal to do the right thing, the refusal to follow through on a commitment made by the Leader of the Official Opposition on this very floor of the Legislature in 2009, speaks volumes. The silence of the Liberal Party, the Liberal caucus, and the Liberal Leader speaks volumes. We expect - all Nova Scotians expect - that the answer to this question will be forthcoming, because the Liberal Leader is going to go out and ask Nova Scotians to trust him, trust me. My feeling is, and I think the feeling of most Nova Scotians will be, we will not trust leaders who can't come clean on tainted money.

I will end this conversation, these comments today, because I look forward to the comments from my colleagues across the House. Maybe we'll see what they truly believe in.

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

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Mr. Speaker, I think it is a sad state of affairs that the NDP is still trying to perpetuate this story that's really a non-story. No one is talking about this; no one is asking questions about it, but them. It's because there has been an effort to mislead the public on what is actually happening here.

I really think what this government needs - who they need to apologize to is Allan J. MacEachen and his good name because in this sort of attack, this baseless attack that they've been perpetrating, they are attacking Allan J. MacEachen, who is a great Nova Scotian we are all proud of. He's a proud Liberal, and we're proud to have him as a Liberal member - and he is taking the money from this trust fund and they're going to start a think tank to actually help push positive and progressive policy ideas in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 943]

I really hope that the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour, and all the members who got up and spoke on this, read the notes that were provided to them from the Premier's Office, will eventually apologize to Allan J. MacEachen for attacking his good name and apologize for misleading the public on this issue. It's quite sad.

Mr. Speaker, just to clarify what has happened, in 2009 - and I'm reading from a letter that the President of the Liberal Party wrote, a letter to the editor that he wrote and this clarifies everything, sums it up pretty nicely:

In 2009 the Nova Scotia Liberal Party spent more than $650,000 on operations, $308,000 of which came from the trust fund which, until the NDP passed its 2009 bill proclaimed as law in early 2010, was perfectly legal and appropriate. The balance sheet showed that we ended the year with an operating deficit. This means two key things: every cent of the $365,308 was spent in 2009 and there was no money left hanging around after that piece of legislation was passed, after this Party actually supported it.

Now that's the fact, Mr. Speaker, so that's what this Party is trying to embellish on and this is what they're trying to perpetuate and mislead Nova Scotians with - that's the simple matter of the fact. Now I could stand here in my place and throw this sort of mud back. I could talk about the Premier's barristers' fees being paid by the taxpayers; I could talk about the $2,000 camera that he purchased thanks to the taxpayers; I could talk about the laptop that his kid had in class; I could talk about - what else is there? - the illegal donations that the NDP received from their unions in the amount of $45,000, that they were told to pay back by Elections Nova Scotia, and they told Nova Scotians they paid them back - they didn't according to Elections Nova Scotia, and then were fined $10,000 as a result.

I can do that, I can sit here and talk about the Third Party and the Leader of the Third Party's appointments to federal boards in the amount of $300,000-plus; about his $19,000 in travel expenses; about his contract that he negotiated with the province and his chief of staff. But do you know what? Isn't it time that we make this place about more than just this?

One thing I feel that this government forgets - and we all do, to be fair - we live in a bubble in this room; we live in a bubble in Halifax while we're here, it's a political one. We all sometimes forget that there's a world that lives outside of that, but we can't ever forget that this Legislature isn't about us, it isn't about the people who are sitting here, it's about the people outside and what we're supposed to do for them.

Now the NDP did not take the opportunity tonight, Mr. Speaker, to come forward and talk about the major issues that are actually impacting Nova Scotians, and are on their minds - power rates, the fact that power has increased 30 per cent, up to 40 per cent since this government took office; we're not debating the fact that the Muskrat Falls project - which is going to cost billions and billions of dollars, that we're tying Nova Scotian taxpayers into for 35 years - has a lot of unanswered questions about it. The consumer advocate is saying that all these questions aren't answered and that the information that the government has put forward is incorrect.

[Page 944]

We're not talking about the job losses that we've seen in the province or how to support small business; how to make Nova Scotia a place where industry all over the world wants to come and do business. We're not talking about these things. We're not talking about the fact that there's a doctor shortage in rural Nova Scotia; that there are wait times in ERs up to 19 hours for seniors; seniors in my area are waiting up to 19 hours to go get their medications - if the ER is open.

We're not talking about solutions for that during this motion because that's not what the government brought forward. Instead, what they brought forward was a misleading falsehood about what has happened with the Liberal Party trust fund and what we've done with it.

I'm proud to stand behind a Leader and a caucus and a Party that, because there were questions around this money - by the way, this money is from the 1970s or something, just to put this into historical context. I wasn't born then and that's why this conversation isn't even relative to Nova Scotians right now. They are not paying attention to it.

What I'm proud of is to stand behind a Leader who actually said there are questions about this money, there's $2 million that the Liberal Party has, let's get rid of it. So the Liberal Party actually got rid of $2 million that it had in our coffers and because of the government legislation that was passed, we can't use that money to give to charity, we can't use that money for anything that's deemed to be for political advantages. What we did was we started a think-tank in the name of Allan J. MacEachen to put forward progressive policy ideas in the Province of Nova Scotia. We have a lot of right-wing think-tanks in this province; I think it's time we had a progressive one. That's something I think this Party should be actually excited about.

So we got rid of this. We dealt with it and this government has nothing else to attack us on so they need to keep making things up. They fabricated our position on power, that we are somehow in bed with evil Hydro-Québec - whom, by the way, we buy power from already in the Province of Nova Scotia. This current government gets power from Quebec and they fabricate this business around a trust fund. You have to ask why they're doing this, why are they trying to divert the House's attention, the public's attention away from those issues that are impacting people's lives on a daily basis? It's because they're scared. It's a simple reason: they're scared.

If this government had any belief in their own record, they wouldn't have to do this. They wouldn't have to lay these baseless attacks against the Opposition. If they had any real belief in their ability to change the course of increasing power rates in Nova Scotia, we wouldn't be talking about this. If they had any ideas to help with the doctor shortage, we wouldn't be talking about this. If they actually knew how to help our education system instead of hurt it, we wouldn't be talking about this. If they knew how to help small businesses instead of giving big cheques to big companies who are laying people off, we wouldn't be talking about this.

[Page 945]

The fact is, they have nothing else to attack us on other than these fabricated, misleading things they come up with. I think it's quite unfortunate that we brought the level of debate down to that in this Legislature and I'll tell you, if they're going to keep throwing shots like this, we're going to throw them right back.

There's a lot we can talk about. But I think Nova Scotians want better from us. I hope some of the members opposite are Star Wars fans, my mother is, she's going to be excited that I use a quote here, but I think it's time that this government take a lesson from our dear friend, Yoda, about fear: "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." What's suffering right now is the decorum in this Legislature, the level of debate that we've been engaged in. If this government wants to keep it up and keep letting their fear guide them down this path, they are going to suffer more than anybody else. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I would just like to say, before we move on to the member for Argyle, that "falsehood" and "falsely" are unparliamentary, and I'll just remind the members that it is unparliamentary language.

The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I do join in on this discussion, interested in the content of the resolution brought forward by the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour, one that I have spoken about a couple of times in this House of Assembly over the last number of weeks.

What do $1.2 million and the current Liberal leadership have in common? Well, a lot. In the three years of 1997 to 1999, following the change in Liberal Leaders, a whopping $1.2 million was drawn down. According to our analysis, in 2007 there was $585,000 taken down; $270,000 was taken down in 2008; and, of course, the $365,308 that we talk about regularly in this House of Assembly. It was transferred from the Liberal restricted fund to their unrestricted fund. Much of it was spent, and this was before legislation that pried the trust money from their grasp. This was a choice.

With a new Leader, they had a new opportunity to finally separate them from the murky past of the 1970s. And just like the member previously, even though I was born in 1969 - I tell you, by the time this was going on, I probably wasn't very old. I really, really wouldn't have cared what was going on, either, because I was too busy going to school and trying to be a good little son to my parents - which was really hard most times. That wasn't going very well most times, either.

[Page 946]

So when the money that was raised under a Liberal Government was set aside - much of it came from tollgating, as the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour talked about - people at that time were convicted of it, and they were punished for it later. The Liberals gave up some of the money. The funds that were most clearly illegally raised, those ones were put aside and given back, and done.

They had a choice with the rest. Even though they couldn't establish what came from clean sources, they kept that trust fund too. They said they got an audit, but there was no proper audit that established that the money was all legally raised. They had a choice, and each Liberal regime after it, during the 1980s and 1990s, and now into the 2000s, had to face it. So in 2007, the same choice was there.

The decision was made by the leadership of the Liberal Party to just keep using the money. They said yes to the mess, Mr. Speaker; they said yes to the messy past; they said no to transparency; they said no to breaking with the past; they said no to showing good, strong, independent judgment that I know the member for Yarmouth would like to see come of his Party. And I hope that, if he does make the leadership of a Party, or move up in the ranks, he finally does take this on, and actually does something about it.

The problem is, though they get rid of the principle, one step ahead of the confiscation, their financial position has still benefited from them having had the money and setting up those internal funds. The problem for the Liberals is that they can say that the trust funds were spent in a certain way by a certain time, but it means people have to believe that other savings happened magically. People would have to believe that the Party that was often third in fundraising could fill its socks with money on a rainy day without the trust money having been there.

Let's say that I have two dollars. One's in my left pocket, one's in my right. I give it to you, Mr. Speaker, and you put it in the bank. Then you withdraw some of the money and spend a dollar, but you keep a dollar. So how can anyone say that you only spent the money from my right pocket? The funds were co-mingled all along. You had a dollar left because I gave you two. So one was taken from tollgating, and maybe one wasn't, but how can you tell which one was which?

The issue presents other unanswered questions. We have zero transparency on who actually holds the money today. I heard the member for Yarmouth basically accuse the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour of tarnishing the name of Allan J. MacEachen and, Mr. Speaker, the only one who's doing that is the Liberal Party themselves, because they attached the name of Allan J. to this fund without giving us any explanation on what that money is going to be used for, or how this think-tank will be spending it. Who's a member of the board of directors? What's the purpose of the group? After two years now, we would think that they would have been doing something.

[Page 947]

I mean, we do look forward to some progressive think-tank going on in this province. We do have right ones and we have left ones, so let's talk about a progressive one. I think it is essentially a good idea. Well, show us exactly how it's going.

So zero transparency on whether it's truly away from the control or influence of the Liberal Party establishment, and zero answer on whether the money has, directly or indirectly, paid for anything the Liberals benefit from now. Is it being used for - here are some questions that I would like, maybe, another member of the Liberal Party to stand at some point, and speak about in this House of Assembly.

Is it being used for research, for example? Does the research reach the Nova Scotia Liberal Party or the federal Liberal Party, which transfers money to the provincial Liberals? (Interruptions) How about this, how about I let the member for Yarmouth stand for a few moments. He's got a couple of questions so maybe he wants to ask them directly to me because if he wants to do it, I'm going to let him do it, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Yarmouth on a . . .

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : On a question, I guess.

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : How many minutes do I have? Mr. Speaker, this is what I just talked about, neither one of these Parties have anything else they can talk about. They're scared and all they can do is try to attack us. I would ask a question . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Argyle to finish your debate, please.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Okay, so I have a question, and maybe the member for Yarmouth can answer it or maybe the member for Glace Bay. I'd like to be able to understand that. Is the money being used for research? Is that what their think-tank is going to do, research for the Liberal Party, or the federal Liberal Party, which transfers money to the provincial Liberals? Is it sort of an in-and-out thing? Does the research include the expensive polling that Gandalf is doing? These are legitimate questions to which nobody in the public knows the answers.

On this issue again, Nova Scotians deserve answers, and even though another member of the Liberal Party stood up to talk about it and avoided it completely, Nova Scotians deserve answers and they're not getting them today from the Liberal Party.

Now a couple of things that I can agree with the member for Yarmouth, because he brings up a good point, are the things that we should be talking about here in the House of Assembly. And maybe it is Star Wars or maybe we could be talking about Star Trek, maybe we could be talking about Babylon 5, I really don't care what we should be talking about in this House of Assembly, but I know that when we receive questions, when we receive concerns from our constituents, we should bring them to the floor of this Assembly. That is what late debate is about, or should be about, to have a good, lively debate about things that are concerning them.

[Page 948]

A lot of times we bring forward issues that may seem frivolous to one Party or another and there are many cases where we talked about negative things about the government, about things that they're doing that, of course, we cannot support, but we can't support what the Liberal Party is doing as well. We want them to come clear, prove to us - I can finish off in two minutes here, no problem. I think that we can continue to answer these questions as they bring them along.

The member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour said it well. (Interruptions) You can see where the silliness goes, and I'm going to look directly at the camera on this one, when everybody wants to get in on the action - and I know the member for Glace Bay would like to get in on it as well.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to be able to speak to this one and I think that the time has come for the silliness to end and hopefully there will be some answers from the Liberal Party, maybe another member who would stand and answer it on behalf of their Party.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 6:30 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 949]

RESOLUTION NO. 414

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

Whereas Chris Spencer has been fighting fires with the Summerville Fire Department for 30 years and has served as chief of the department for the past five years; and

Whereas in addition to his involvement in the fire service, Chris is an enthusiastic community volunteer and someone the community can count on in times of need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the solid community contributions of Summerville Fire Chief Chris Spencer and extend congratulations on being a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 415

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 rural Nova Scotians for many years have depended on the members of volunteer fire brigades to keep their families and properties safe from fire; and

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment, and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade; and

Whereas an annual banquet is held as a way to thank these dedicated volunteers and to present special awards for years of service and for outstanding contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Crystal Slack of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade for receiving her 10-year Long Term Service Award and commend her for her commitment to serving others.

RESOLUTION NO. 416

[Page 950]

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 rural Nova Scotians for many years have depended on the members of volunteer fire brigades to keep their families and properties safe from fire; and

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment, and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade; and

Whereas an annual banquet is held as a way to thank these dedicated volunteers and to present special awards for years of service and for outstanding contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate David Slack of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade for receiving his 15-year Long Term Service Award and commend him for his commitment to serving others.

RESOLUTION NO. 417

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 rural Nova Scotians for many years have depended on the members of volunteer fire brigades to keep their families and properties safe from fire; and

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment, and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade; and

Whereas an annual banquet is held as a way to thank these dedicated volunteers and to present special awards for years of service and for outstanding contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Douglas Congdon of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade for receiving the Claude O'Brien Memorial Award for 2012 and commend him for his commitment to serving others.

RESOLUTION NO. 418

[Page 951]

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 rural Nova Scotians for many years have depended on the members of volunteer fire brigades to keep their families and properties safe from fire; and

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment, and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade; and

Whereas an annual banquet is held as a way to thank these dedicated volunteers and to present special awards for years of service and for outstanding contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Drew Lundie of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade for receiving the Junior Firefighter Award for 2012 and commend him for his commitment to serving others.

RESOLUTION NO. 419

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 rural Nova Scotians for many years have depended on the members of volunteer fire brigades to keep their families and properties safe from fire; and

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment, and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade; and

Whereas an annual banquet is held as a way to thank these dedicated volunteers and to present special awards for years of service and for outstanding contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Janet Harrington of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade for receiving the award for Firefighter of the Year 2012 and commend her for her commitment to serving others.

RESOLUTION NO. 420

[Page 952]

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 rural Nova Scotians for many years have depended on the members of volunteer fire brigades to keep their families and properties safe from fire; and

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment, and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade; and

Whereas an annual banquet is held as a way to thank these dedicated volunteers and to present special awards for years of service and for outstanding contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jeremy Smith of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade for receiving the award for Most Improved Firefighter of 2012 and commend him for his commitment to serving others.

RESOLUTION NO. 421

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 rural Nova Scotians for many years have depended on the members of volunteer fire brigades to keep their families and properties safe from fire; and

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment, and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade; and

Whereas an annual banquet is held as a way to thank these dedicated volunteers and to present special awards for years of service and for outstanding contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Joe Slack of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade for receiving the award for Officer of the Year for 2012 and commend him for his commitment to serving others.

RESOLUTION NO. 422

[Page 953]

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 rural Nova Scotians for many years have depended on the members of volunteer fire brigades to keep their families and properties safe from fire; and

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment, and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade; and

Whereas an annual banquet is held as a way to thank these dedicated volunteers and to present special awards for years of service and for outstanding contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Pat Flemming of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade for receiving his five-year Long Term Service Award and commend him for his commitment to serving others.

RESOLUTION NO. 423

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 rural Nova Scotians for many years have depended on the members of volunteer fire brigades to keep their families and properties safe from fire; and

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment, and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade; and

Whereas an annual banquet is held as a way to thank these dedicated volunteers and to present special awards for years of service and for outstanding contributions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Lowland Gardens, owned by Gerri and Toni van den Hoek, for being presented the Steve Francis Memorial Award for 2012 by the Great Village and District Fire Brigade for the strong, continuous support given to the brigade throughout the year.

RESOLUTION NO. 424

[Page 954]

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Lauren Wentzell and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 425

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Julie Theisen and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 426

[Page 955]

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Erica Theisen and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 427

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Kelsey Charlton and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 428

[Page 956]

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Sage Dixon and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 429

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Maridith Brown and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 430

[Page 957]

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Emma Gillespie and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 431

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Sydney Smith and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

O

RESOLUTION NO. 432

[Page 958]

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Tara Armstrong and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 433

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Jenn Adams and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 434

[Page 959]

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Kyra Britney and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 435

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Toni Jewer-Pineau and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 436

[Page 960]

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating team member Eden Burke and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 437

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating coach Greg Bower and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.

RESOLUTION NO. 438

[Page 961]

By: Hon. Stephen McNeil « » (Leader of the Official Opposition)

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

Whereas the MRHS Monarchs proved that they might "float like a butterfly" but they "sting like a bee" when they came up against tough competition like they experienced against the Springhill Eagles in the recent provincial championship game; and

Whereas the Monarchs crowned off their season by capturing the Division 3 Senior Girls Basketball Provincial Banner after a hard-fought battle which was settled with two seconds on the clock with a game-winning shot to end the game 77-75; and

Whereas teamwork, training, and tenacity paid off for both the team and the coaches for the 2012-13 season;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Coach Nick Baskwill and the Middleton Monarchs on their well-deserved victory as Division 3 Provincial Champions.