Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD13-16

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Gordie Gosse

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed by the Queen's Printer.

Available on INTERNET at http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/



Fifth Session

THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
FOIPOP Review Office - Anl. Rept.,
964
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Status of Women - Parsons Case: HRSB Review Panel - Appt.,
964
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 439, Medavie Health Fdn./Brigadoon: Contribution/Camp
- Recognize, Hon. D. Wilson »
967
Vote - Affirmative
967
Res. 440, River John Library: Renaming - Congrats.,
968
Vote - Affirmative
968
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 51, Financial Measures (2013) Act,
968
No. 52, Safer Schools Act,
968
No. 53, Stand Up Against Bullying Day Act,
968
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 441, Carty, Philip: Arm Wrestling - Well Wishes,
969
Vote - Affirmative
969
Res. 442, Parks Can./Fortress Louisbourg - Louisbourg 300:
Celebrations - Congrats., Mr. A. MacLeod »
969
Vote - Affirmative
970
Res. 443, Gray Gables B&B: Lun.-Queens Bus. Excellence Award
970
Vote - Affirmative
971
Res. 444, Gunn, Laurie/Hospice Vols. - Congrats.,
971
Vote - Affirmative
971
Res. 445, Battle of Atl. - Remember,
972
Vote - Affirmative
972
Res. 446, EI - Bd. of Referees Appeal System: Gov't. (Can.)
- Changes Reverse, Mr. G. Ramey »
972
Vote - Affirmative
973
Res. 447, Gordinier-Regan, Amy - Local Employment:
Provision - Congrats., Ms. K. Regan »
973
Vote - Affirmative
974
Res. 448, Tait, Dominick: Vision Loss - Awareness,
974
Vote - Affirmative
975
Res. 449, EI: Gov't. (Can.) - Changes Reverse,
975
Res. 450, Digby Co. Visitors Guide: Partnership - Recognize,
975
Vote - Affirmative
976
Res. 451, Caronport Elem. Sch. (Mrs. Pylatuk's Grade 8 Class): Canada's
Coolest Sch. Trip Contest - Congrats., Mr. A. MacLeod « »
976
Vote - Affirmative
977
Res. 452, Boone, Blair and Helen: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
977
Vote - Affirmative
978
Res. 453, d'Eon, Kim & Nolan/Eel Lake Oyster Farm:
Taste of N.S. Award - Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont »
978
Vote - Affirmative
979
Res. 454, Fevens, Loran: Commun. Dedication - Congrats.,
979
Vote - Affirmative
980
Res. 455, Mass for Shut-Ins: Sydney Council 1060 KOC/CTV Atl
- Thank, Mr. E. Orrell « »
980
Vote - Affirmative
980
Res. 456, Marcotte, Cindy: Running Success - Commend,
981
Vote - Affirmative
981
Res. 457, Juckett Chesnutt, Stacy: Boston Marathon - Congrats.,
981
Vote - Affirmative
982
Res. 458, Bullfrog Power: Hfx CoC Award - Congrats.,
982
Vote - Affirmative
983
Res. 459, Bowden, Jessica: Black Cultural Ctr. Wall of Honour
- Induction Congrats., Mr. A. Younger « »
983
Vote - Affirmative
983
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 153, Prem. - Mar. Link Proj.: Hearings - Deadline Extend,
984
No. 154, Prem. - Mar. Link Proj.: Costs - Accuracy,
985
No. 155, Prem. - Mar. Link: Ownership - Demand,
987
No. 156, Prem. - Mar. Link: URB Review - Extension Grant,
989
No. 157, Prem.: HST Raises - Referendum,
991
No. 158, Prem. - Hospital Info: CBC Request - Decision,
992
No. 159, EECD: Chignecto/Strait Sch. Bds. - Funding,
994
No. 160, Health & Wellness: Sexual Assault Victims
- Medical Personnel Identify, Ms. K. Regan « »
995
No. 161, EECD - Seaside Sch.: Renovation - Details,
997
No. 162, ERDT - Summer Jobs Progs.: Approvals - Details,
998
No. 163, EECD: Speech Language/Speech Psychology Serv
- Wait-Lists, Hon. K. Casey « »
1000
No. 164, SNSMR - Otter Lake Waste Mgt. Ctr.: Closure
- Min. Position, Mr. A. MacMaster « »
1001
No. 165, TIR: Aylesford Rd. - Plans,
1002
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
1003
1006
1011
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 2:30 P.M
1015
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:59 P.M
1015
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Energy - Mar. Link Proj.: Timeline - Extend,
1016
1019
1021
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:30 P.M
1024
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:15 P.M
1024
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Apr. 19th at 9:00 a.m
1025
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 460, den Haan Greenhouses: Loblaw Award
- Congrats., Mr. C. Porter « »
1026
Res. 461, Ballet Jorgen Canada - Truro Dance Academy:
Selection - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
1026
Res. 462, Kids & Co. - Bedford Location: Opening
- Congrats., Ms. K. Regan « »
1027
Res. 463, van Zutphen, Lauren: Achievements - Congrats.,
1027
Res. 464, Stoddard, Darrell: Barrington Mun. Rep. Vol. of Yr. (2013)
- Congrats., Hon. S. Belliveau »
1028
Res. 465, DeMings-Taylor, Dawn: Lockeport Rep. Vol. of Yr. (2013)
- Congrats., Hon. S. Belliveau « »
1028
Res. 466, Smith, Della: Clark's Hbr. Rep. Vol. of Yr. (2013)
- Congrats., Hon. S. Belliveau « »
1029
Res. 467, Nickerson, Ellen: Shelburne Rep. Vol. of Yr. (2013)
- Congrats., Hon. S. Belliveau « »
1029
Res. 468, Corbett, Gloria: Shelburne Town Vol. of Yr. (2013)
- Congrats., Hon. S. Belliveau « »
1030
Res. 469, Chute, Esther - Birthday (100th),
1030

[Page 963]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2013

Sixty-first General Assembly

Fifth Session

12:00 NOON

SPEAKER

Hon. Gordie Gosse

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

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

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

Therefore be it resolved that in light of the evidence filed yesterday on the Maritime Link project being driven by both Nova Scotia Power and the NDP Government, the Premier extend the timeline for the hearing to ensure all Nova Scotians have time to examine the evidence in full detail to make certain that this is the best deal for the province.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

963

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

[Page 964]

HON. ROSS LANDRY « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy 2012 Annual Report.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act.

HON. MARILYN MORE « » : Mr. Speaker, the entire province and country have been deeply saddened and touched by the tragic events of last week. The passing of Rehtaeh Parsons has again shone a spotlight on issues like bullying and violence against young girls and women. It also brings a focus on the need to consider potential changes to the Criminal Code and steps which must be taken to address bullying and cyberbullying in our schools. We can and must face these challenges head-on. That's why the province will not accept or give excuses, but push for frank answers to very hard questions.

I rise today, Mr. Speaker, to tell the honourable members about one effort we are making to get those answers. Today two national experts will begin their work of reviewing the Halifax Regional School Board's response to the tragic events that led to the death of Ms. Parsons. The review of the Halifax Regional School Board will be independent and have a broad mandate. Both reviewers are from outside the province to help ensure independence. The reviewers are Debra Pepler and Penny Milton.

Dr. Pepler is a distinguished professor of psychology at York University. She is co-founder of PREVNet - Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network - and has been one of the Ontario Minister of Education's Safe Schools Action Team since 2004. One of Dr. Pepler's research areas is aggression and bullying.

Ms. Milton is the former CEO of the Canadian Education Association and a former Deputy Minister of the Premier's Council on Health, Well-being & Social Justice in Ontario. She has also been a member of the dean's advisory board at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

This is a time to press forward to find solutions together. That is why the province has given the panel a short time to do its work. The province has asked the panel to prepare an interim report by May 10th, and to deliver a final report to me no later than June 14th.

In addition, while the panel does its work, it will be in regular communication with me. If, during the course of the review, the panel raises time-sensitive issues with me, I may take immediate steps to act on those issues before the final report is complete.

The panel will determine whether policies and procedures were followed; examine current policies, procedures, and support mechanisms; make recommendations to ensure the safety and well-being of all students; identify issues that may have a negative impact on students and their mental health; and provide recommendations to address gaps and/or deficiencies with the current policies, procedures, programming, and protocols of the Halifax Regional School Board, and regarding its co-operation and interaction with other departments and agencies.

[Page 965]

That means the review will encompass the mental health system and where it touched this case at critical points. The reviewers will look at aspects of Capital District Health Authority and IWK Health Centre programs that support youth.

Halifax Regional School Board tells us it welcomes an independent review, and will co-operate fully. It is something they wanted, and I thank them.

This review is not intended to find a scapegoat or vilify a school or its teachers. It is to improve the educational system and ensure our children are safe. Let's take a hard look at the programs, supports, and policies we have in place now, and figure out how to make them better. If we work together, anything is possible. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and to the minister, I'd like to thank her for the advance copy of her statement.

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal caucus supports any review and any steps that this government, or any government, can take to protect our young people. It should come as no surprise where the Liberal caucus stands on bullying and cyberbullying, and the need to give teeth to legislation. We need a tool to give direction to teachers and our schools on how they can respond. The Liberal caucus recognizes that this is a social issue, and it plays itself out in our schools.

The minister's Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying gave very clear direction to this government on what they could do in both the short term and the long term to address the issues. In fact, the task force gave this government 85 recommendations - steps this government could take.

While we welcome anything that will protect our young people, we must also acknowledge that valuable time has passed since that report was received, and the inaction of this government to date is totally unacceptable. This government tabled weak cyberbullying legislation in April and again in October 2012. Each time, the Liberal caucus submitted amendments to give the legislation teeth and make it more effective. Each time, these amendments were supported by the minister's task force and rooted in its recommendations, and each time, Mr. Speaker, the NDP Government defeated those amendments.

The Liberal caucus tabled legislation supported by the recommendations of the minister's task force, and again this government turned a blind eye. It is time to take meaningful action. We cannot fail another single student. The Liberal caucus supports the independent review and any real steps this government will take to protect our young people.

[Page 966]

We welcome the leadership from the minister and pledge again, as our Leader had done earlier, to work with her and her staff. We support the decision of the minister to review the response by the Halifax Regional School Board. We ask the minister to bring a focus back to our students in our schools. Thank you.

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

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to first thank the minister for providing us with an advance copy of her remarks today. The tragic loss of Rehtaeh Parsons has left a deep impression on every Nova Scotian who has heard her story. It has opened the eyes of many to how serious bullying and cyberbullying have become in this province. Unfortunately, hers was not the first young life we have lost because of the torment and pain of being bullied.

I commend the government for their swift decision to review the school board's response to the events that pushed young Rehtaeh to make such a tragic decision. We must find answers, but we cannot place blame. We must make the necessary change to protect our children and to provide early intervention for bullies, before they make poor choices that will change their lives.

The panel the minister has announced today will examine whether the situation was properly dealt with, but we know, as members of this House, that we have to do more to prevent another loss of a child. We need to take action to prevent the need for these reviews. We understand that the minister does not wish to vilify a school or its teachers. We understand that it's necessary for us to go forward.

As I'm sure the minister knows, the Halifax Regional School Board is not the only school board that has lost a child to bullying. Bullying is in every school board, and we need to give each one the right tools to prevent these tragedies from happening. The Progressive Conservative caucus wishes to work together with this government to find meaningful solutions.

This is not a partisan issue. It's about protecting our children. This is why today we will introduce the Safer Schools Bill. It is legislation that will point Nova Scotia in the right direction to prevent bullying. We wish to define bullying in law, focus on early intervention, and enact province-wide standards for addressing it.

We need to accept that what we have been doing thus far is not working. The problem is bigger than that. Bullying has already devastated too many families.

In closing, I'd like to say that we are pleased to see the government express their openness to working together, and I wish to once again tell the minister directly that the PC caucus looks forward to working together to find the right way forward. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 967]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 439

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

Whereas one in four children in Canada are considered overweight or obese, putting them at risk for a range of health problems; and

Whereas just last month the Medavie Health Foundation announced $25,000 to Brigadoon, a non-profit recreational facility in the Annapolis Valley, to develop a health and wellness camp for children and their families who are seeking support in living active, healthier lives; and

Whereas here in Nova Scotia we understand the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle that could contribute to reduced health problems in later life;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly recognize Medavie Health Foundation for their generous contribution to the health of Nova Scotia's youth, and to Brigadoon for providing a health and wellness camp to children living with obesity or excess weight.

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 Communities, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 440

[Page 968]

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

Whereas the River John Library, a branch of the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library, will now be called the Janice Murray Gill Memorial Library; and

Whereas Janice Murray Gill, who passed away last November, was an author, former county councillor, and library board member, who believed rural communities could use ingenuity and innovation to thrive and succeed, and that a public library was instrumental in achieving these ideals; and

Whereas Ms. Gill was instrumental in establishing both the first library in 1986 and the current nationally recognized facility, opened in 2000, and was greatly admired by staff and friends of the library, a champion of many community initiatives, and a strong supporter of the Community Access Program and using technology to develop rural areas;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly join me in recognizing the renaming of the River John Library in honour of Janice Murray Gill, a dedicated community volunteer who believed passionately in the power of reading and public libraries to transform individuals and communities.

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 51 - Entitled an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. (Hon. Maureen MacDonald)

Bill No. 52 - Entitled an Act to Promote Safer, Inclusive and Peaceful Schools. (Hon. Jamie Baillie)

Bill No. 53 - Entitled an Act to Establish Stand Up Against Bullying Day. (Mr. Eddie Orrell)

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

[Page 969]

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 441

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

Whereas Philip Carty, of Deep Brook, attributes scallop fishing and physical labour from childhood to his new-found success in arm wrestling; and

Whereas it was only by chance that Philip saw a poster which piqued his interest in the competition of arm wrestling one day last August; and

Whereas despite the competitor's initial defeat he persevered, and with the unwavering support of his biggest fan and wife, Cathy, he very quickly rose to fame in the Nova Scotia arm wrestling world, capturing seven medals in less than one year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in wishing Philip Carty continued victories in future competitions.

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. 442

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

Whereas Parks Canada celebrates the 300th Anniversary of the founding of Île Royale and the settlement of Fortress Louisbourg this summer; and

Whereas Louisbourg 300 will be a celebration like no other that will include the community, historical, and cultural associations; and

[Page 970]

Whereas special events will be held throughout the 2013 visitor season, meaning this is a great year to visit the most unique national park in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Parks Canada and the Fortress Louisbourg staff as they embark on this coming season and wish them the best with Louisbourg 300 celebrations.

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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 443

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

Whereas on Monday, February 18, 2013, members of the business community, chamber of commerce, and boards of trade gathered at the Atlantica Oak Island Hotel to celebrate and present the Lunenburg-Queens Business Excellence Awards; and

Whereas the Lunenburg-Queens Business Excellence Awards recognize and celebrate the contributions in businesses in the following categories - Small Business, Large Business, Entrepreneurial, Export Achievement, New Business, and Hospitality; and

Whereas Gray Gables Bed and Breakfast, located in East Chester, Nova Scotia, was the recipient of the Lunenburg-Queens Business Excellence Award for Hospitality;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the owners of Gray Gables Bed and Breakfast on receiving this prestigious award, and making their bed and breakfast one of the most desirable destinations on the South Shore.

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

[Page 971]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 444

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

Whereas the Colchester East Hants Hospice Society provides care and support for families facing serious illness, death, and grief; and

Whereas Laurie Gunn has been a support facilitator with the organization's grief support group and special activities for the last four years; and

Whereas Gunn stresses the rewards not only to the people in palliative care and their loved ones, but also to the volunteers whose compassion and companionship are so important to those facing death and grief;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Laurie Gunn and all the hospice volunteers in our province who give their time and support to a cause that can benefit everyone, bring comfort and compassion to the dying, and help to strengthen community ties.

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.

[Page 972]

RESOLUTION NO. 445

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

Whereas in May of this year one of the most important military campaigns of World War II will be commemorated in Sydney Mines, when the Battle of the Atlantic Parade and Memorial are held; and

Whereas the Battle of the Atlantic was the longest continuous military campaign of the Second World War, and the Canadian Navy was one of the principal contenders for six years, from 1939 to 1945; and

Whereas Canada began this war with 13 vessels and 3,000 men, and by the end of the war the Royal Canadian Navy had 373 vessels and 90,000 men, and of the more than 25,000 merchant-ship voyages estimated that were made from North America to Britain during the war, 72 Canadian merchant ships were lost in enemy action;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly remember the Battle of the Atlantic and give thanks to the brave Canadians who sacrificed so much to secure the freedom we enjoy 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 member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 446

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

Whereas changes to employment insurance were made in an omnibus bill brought forth by the federal government in January 2012; and

Whereas in this legislation an important component of fairness and justice for unemployed persons in Canada was abolished in the form of the Board of Referees, which allowed workers to have their cases heard before a panel and which was used by over 26,000 workers per year; and

[Page 973]

Whereas this short-sighted and undemocratic legislation that abolished the Board of Referees also made other changes to EI, cutting thousands of people off their benefits;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House stand up for the workers in the Province of Nova Scotia and across Canada, and demand that the federal government reverse these changes immediately and return the system to the fairness and decency which pertained before this regressive legislation.

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. 447

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

Whereas beauty industry consultant Amy Gordinier-Regan discovered an all-natural skin care product line, produced locally from a century-old recipe; and

Whereas Ms. Gordinier-Regan purchased the line called Skin Fix Incorporated, which is made in Bedford, and treats skin conditions from diaper rash to psoriasis; and

Whereas Skin Fix is currently sold in drug and grocery stores across Canada, and Ms. Gordinier-Regan has hired six new employees to help her re-brand the product for an international launch date in 2013, with target markets in the United States and the United Kingdom;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Amy Gordinier-Regan for recognizing an exceptional local product, and for providing local employment while taking her company to the next level.

[Page 974]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 448

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

Whereas Dominick Tait from Glenville, Inverness County, is a Grade 9 student at Inverness Academy; and

Whereas Dominick hosted a Dinner in the Dark for over 40 people, raising $800 for the CNIB and Visual Aid; and

Whereas Dinner in the Dark is a unique experience where people have the chance to eat a meal under blindfold, to gain an understanding about how others live with vision loss;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize Dominick Tait for bringing greater awareness about vision loss to people in his community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 975]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 449

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

Whereas employment insurance is an insurance plan that Canadians pay into throughout their working lives, believing benefits will be available if they lose their job through no fault of their own; and

Whereas with six in 10 workers already disqualified from EI, the federal Conservative Government is further restricting access by requiring Canadians to accept any job it deems suitable, even if it takes them off their career path and comes with a 30 per cent pay cut and an hour-long commute; and

Whereas the member for Cumberland South, the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party, stands by while his federal cousins gut the Nova Scotia economy by driving down wages and creating unfair barriers for seasonal workers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly join me in calling upon the Government of Canada to reverse the devastating changes it has made to EI and restore fair access to decent EI benefits for Nova Scotia workers.

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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 450

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

Whereas the Digby Courier has partnered with the Digby Area Tourism Association and the Municipality of Clare to produce this year's Digby County Visitors Guide; and

[Page 976]

Whereas the goal of the Digby Area Tourism Association is to continue to transform Digby into a destination for visitors, as well as fostering the growing partnership between Digby and Clare tourism industries; and

Whereas with this partnership new packages are being developed with Clare operators as well as the new experimental bus tour and partnership with Le Transport de Clare, which will expose visitors to the history and culture of that area;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in recognizing this positive partnership that benefits both the Digby and Clare area, and thank all those involved.

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. 451

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

Whereas Parks Canada has announced that a Grade 8 class from Saskatchewan has won Canada's Coolest School Trip contest, part of the My Parks Pass program; and

Whereas the kids from Caronport Elementary School will travel to Parks Canada's Fortress of Louisbourg and Cape Breton Highlands National Park on June 3rd to June 7th; and

Whereas Louisbourg 300 celebrations will be in full swing and these children are fortunate to be able to visit and see first-hand the daily operation of this one-of-a kind park;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank Parks Canada on making this contest available to our young students and congratulate Mrs. Laurie Pylatuk's Grade 8 class from Caronport Elementary School on winning and taking an interest in our beautiful island.

[Page 977]

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 Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 452

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

Whereas Blair Boone, a legendary boxer and personal friend, was honoured Monday, April 15, 2013, during the 39th Annual Provincial Volunteer Awards ceremony in Halifax; and

Whereas Blair has been a key player in the development of Glace Bay's historic Ring 73 Amateur Boxing Club where Blair participated as a top-calibre national boxer during his fighting career, a member of the Ring's executive for 20 years, as a coach becoming the driving force behind the Ring's impressive line of internationally-ranked boxers, as well as a well-respected referee and director of Boxing Canada for seven years; and

Whereas Blair continues to serve amateur boxing as a referee and judge, in addition to volunteering with the New Waterford Fish and Game Association, and was a member of the renowned Mine Rescue Draegermen team during his 12-year tenure at the Cape Breton Development Corporation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Blair and his wife, Helen, for their tremendous accomplishments inside and outside of the ring, thank him for steering the path of our youth from the streets to the gym, and wish them the best of luck with their volunteer initiatives they continue to support today.

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

[Page 978]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 453

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

Attendu que l'Association de l'industrie touristique de la Nouvelle-Écosse a présenté le prix prestigieux du Choix du consommateur 2012 de la Nouvelle-Écosse à Eel Lake Oyster Farm dans la catégorie de produit de l'année; et

Attendu que Eel Lake Oysters est détenu et géré par Kim et Nolan d'Eon à Sainte-Anne-du-Ruisseau et sont reconnus pour leur production d'huîtres; et

Attendu que Kim et Nolan d'Eon ont commencé à cultivar des huîtres en 1995 et sont devenus des visages familiers dans les marchés de producteurs communautaires, la demande locale de leur produit augmente et ils envoient de plus en plus leurs produits à d'autres provinces;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les members de cette Assemblée félicitent Kim et Nolan d'Eon d'avoir mérité ce prix prestigieux et leur souhaitent beaucoup de succès à l'avenir.

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

Whereas the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) presented the 2012 Taste of Nova Scotia Consumer Prestige Award to Eel Lake Oyster Farm in the Product of the Year category; and

Whereas Eel Lake Oysters which is owned and operated by Kim and Nolan d'Eon, located in Sainte-Anne-du-Ruisseau, is becoming well known for its Ruisseau oyster; and

Whereas Kim and Nolan d'Eon began farming oysters in 1995, growing the business gradually and have become familiar faces at local farm markets, increasing the demand locally, but also shipping to other provinces such as Quebec and Ontario;

[Page 979]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kim and Nolan d'Eon on receiving this prestigious award, and wish them continued success 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 Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 454

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

Whereas Yarmouth's Loran Fevens produces and hosts two weekly radio programs, Sentimental Journey and The Old Parlour Radio, which are heard throughout Canada and the United States; and

Whereas each month Mr. Fevins takes the music he plays on Sentimental Journey to nursing homes, seniors' boarding homes, seniors' housing facilities throughout Yarmouth, Digby and the Annapolis Valley, as well as the Veterans Unit at Yarmouth Regional Hospital; and

Whereas Mr. Fevins has been an active volunteer in the Yarmouth community for several years, dedicating his time and energy to the Yarmouth Sports Heritage Museum, the Yarmouth County Museum and Archives, Friends of the Yarmouth Light, th'YARC, and is the Master of Ceremonies for Yarmouth's annual Natal Day Quiz;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize and thank Mr. Loran Fevins for his tireless dedication to his community and thank him for the joy he provides to so many, especially the seniors in our communities, with the music that he shares.

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

[Page 980]

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. 455

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

Whereas on March 3rd Mass for Shut-Ins celebrated 50 years of service; and

Whereas since 1963, first CJCB Television and now CTV Atlantic in Sydney, have aired Mass for Shut-Ins throughout the Maritimes; and

Whereas Mass for Shut-Ins has brought inspiration and faith into the homes and hearts of many Cape Bretoners, Nova Scotians, and Maritimers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank Sydney Council 1060 of the Knights of Columbus, the management and staff of CTV Atlantic, and all those associated with Mass for Shut-Ins.

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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 456

[Page 981]

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

Whereas Cindy Marcotte of Bear River took up running as a way to stay connected to her athlete son after he left for college; and

Whereas although Cindy had only been running for nine years, on September 22, 2012, she entered the Canadian National 10-kilometre road race championships in Toronto; and

Whereas after finishing the race Cindy found out that she had beat the 52 fastest women in her age category, making her the fastest 55-year-old woman in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly commend Cindy Marcotte for her determination and wish her continued success in her running.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 457

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

Whereas the 2013 Boston Marathon was run April 15, 2013, and included 26,839 competitors, including 11,606 female competitors; and

Whereas Stacy Juckett Chesnutt of Dartmouth, wearing bib 2882, finished the race in a Boston Marathon personal best time of 3:05:49; and

Whereas Stacy finished in the top 2 per cent of all female competitors in the 2013 Boston Marathon;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Stacy on her outstanding achievement, finishing the race with her personal best-ever Boston Marathon finish time, and wish her continued success in future races.

[Page 982]

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. 458

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

Whereas Bullfrog Power is a 100 per cent green energy provider, offering homes and businesses clean, renewable energy solutions; and

Whereas users of Bullfrog Power reduce their environmental impact, support the development of new renewable energy generation in Canada, and create a cleaner world; and

Whereas Bullfrog Power was the winner of the Silver Award in the category of Innovative Business of the Year, in the Halifax Chamber of Commerce 2013 Business Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Bullfrog Power and its employees on their award and for using regionally sourced wind and hydro facilities that have been certified as low impact by Environment Canada.

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 983]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 459

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

Whereas Ms. Jessica Bowden is the founder and CEO of Teens Now Talk Magazine, the first teen publication in Nova Scotia written by and for teens; and

Whereas Ms. Bowden was the first female, African Nova Scotian, and Atlantic Canadian to receive the Hope Success and Empowerment Award presented by former Governor General Michaëlle Jean; and

Whereas in a ceremony on March 16th at the Black Cultural Centre, Ms. Bowden was inducted into the Reverend Dr. W.P. Oliver Wall of Honour;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Ms. Jessica Bowden on her latest accolade, and wish her an even more successful 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.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : Question Period will begin at 12:47 p.m. and end at 1:47 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM. - MAR. LINK PROJ.: HEARINGS - DEADLINE EXTEND

[Page 984]

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday evidence was filed at the Utility and Review Board that sharply criticized Nova Scotia Power regarding the Maritime Link project. Experts hired by the Consumer Advocate and the Small Business Advocate stated that the Maritime Link is not the long-term cheapest option for Nova Scotia ratepayers. So my question for the Premier is, in light of the evidence filed by these experts, will the Premier now extend the deadline for the hearing so that Nova Scotians can be certain they are not being squeezed yet again by the NDP Government and Nova Scotia Power?

HON. DARRELL DEXTER » : Mr. Speaker, the evidence that is currently before the board includes many reports - I think there is something like 15 - the vast majority of which actually support the project. They support the fact that it is the best option for Nova Scotia. The Utility and Review Board will have the opportunity to review all the evidence. That process is taking place now. They'll make inquiries of those experts. We are perfectly comfortable with that because we are acting in the best interest of all Nova Scotians, not just with respect to power rates but with respect to our ability to drive our economy forward in the years to come. That is what this project is about: it is about ensuring that we have the best answer on power rates and the best answer on economic development.

MR. MCNEIL « » : It is clear that Nova Scotia Power is driving the energy policies of this NDP Government. Every independent analysis at the Utility and Review Board indicates that this is not the cheapest option for Nova Scotians. The only two interveners who believe it is are Nova Scotia Power and the NDP Government, led by the Premier. Every other independent analysis has said there is a more cost-effective way to sustain the energy policy of this province. But guess what, Mr. Speaker? That would be in the best interest of Nova Scotia ratepayers and not in the best interest of Nova Scotia Power.

Mr. Speaker, the evidence speaks for itself, and I want to quote: we conclude that Nova Scotia Power's ". . . analysis was faulty, lacking in robustness, incompletely documented, and biased to favor the Applicant's desired outcome." Is the Premier standing with Nova Scotia Power in a project that will raise rates for the next 35 years, or will he finally stand with Nova Scotia residents?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm standing with Nova Scotia citizens. I'm standing up on behalf of them and their interests. The Leader of the Official Opposition, who quotes one study out of some 14 that are before the Utility and Review Board, who ignores the fact that the actual application shows very small increases and then declines in the power rates - declines in the rates. Yes, we are working on behalf of Nova Scotia citizens.

Now, I wonder if last night he was busy on the phone to Hydro-Québec? Does he phone them? Does he e-mail them? Or does he just ask them to turn on Legislative TV and watch him at work?

[Page 985]

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, that answer is as weak as the TV ad that the Premier has brought out to attack me. If he can find any more money, I would encourage him to run that ad, because every time he runs it, Nova Scotians come to the Liberal Party to stand up against that government.

It is very clear that this government, led by this Premier, has been standing up and protecting the monopoly of Nova Scotia Power, instead of standing up and protecting the ratepayers of this province. It has been very clear. All of the other independent analysis of this project has said that it's too expensive. There are other home-grown options here in the Province of Nova Scotia that this government should be looking at, instead of promoting a project that will create economic development in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, why is the Premier promoting a project that will create jobs and investment in Newfoundland and Labrador, instead of standing up and creating jobs here in the Province of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I remember when the Leader of the Official Opposition was getting on a plane, running over to see Danny Williams, and begging him - begging - to be part of this project. I remember when the battle cry from the Liberal Party was, we need a made-in-Atlantic Canada solution. Well, they've given up on that, and now their battle cry is Viva la Hydro-Québec!

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

PREM. - MAR. LINK PROJ.: COSTS - ACCURACY

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Today we see that the URB's own consultant has filed evidence on the Maritime Link Project which says that the project ". . . has not been demonstrated to be a definitive least-cost incremental supply resource for NSPI's system." I will table that.

In other words, it is not the lowest-cost option for Nova Scotians, as says yet another independent consultant - this one hired by the Utility and Review Board. That's in addition to the Consumer and Small Business Advocates' consultant, who reported yesterday, "We fully refute the applicant's assertion that the (Maritime Link) project represents the lowest-cost alternative." I will table that. But despite the growing number of consultants saying it's not the least-cost option, the Premier, on his own, continues to tell Nova Scotians that it is.

So I will ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, why does he insist on telling Nova Scotians that Muskrat Falls and the Maritime Link are the lowest cost, when so many experts are now telling them it isn't so?

[Page 986]

THE PREMIER « » : The list of experts that are appearing before the board that say that this is the lowest-cost option is lengthy. Many of them were hired by the board itself. One of the salient features that people should understand about the Utility and Review Board process - I'm sure you do, Mr. Speaker - is that the way we arrive at the best (Interruptions) What's that? I'm sure you understand that the best way for this to get to the best answer is to have a number of opinions - to have opinions on both sides, for them to look at them fairly, to review the evidence, and of course, to come to the best decision on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia.

We are committed to that process. We are committed to this process. It is the members opposite who would simply dismiss it and say they should not do this job.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, the best way would be to have a Premier who doesn't make up his mind before he knows how much it costs and then force the URB into an artificial deadline to go through - that would be the best way.

We have the Consumer Advocate and the Small Business Advocate, with their experts, saying it's not the lowest cost, and now the board's own consultant says it's not the lowest cost. How can the Premier justify telling Nova Scotia families, who are already struggling with the highest power rates in all of Canada, to pay more because he says it's the lowest cost, when so many others say it isn't?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, quite the opposite. There is a host of expert opinion that says this is the lowest cost alternative. What we are doing is dealing with a situation put in place by the Progressive Conservative Government. Make no mistake, every cost increase that has taken place in the last four years, in fact, in the last 10 years, has been as a result of the policy initiatives of the Liberal Party and of the Progressive Conservative Party. It was the Liberal Party that created Emera; it was the Liberal Party that put in place the policy vacuum that was changed for the very first time by this government in order to ensure that there was fairness for the ratepayers.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, those must be the same experts who told him that it was okay to raise the HST.

When someone tells the Premier that you can raise taxes or you can raise power rates that's who he listens to, not to the Consumer Advocate, not to the taxpayers or the ratepayers of Nova Scotia, and that's why it is his government's policies that have raised our power rates by 30 per cent in the last four years - and nobody else's but his. Now that we have real independent experts saying that Muskrat Falls is not the lowest cost, will the Premier agree to stop this madness, press the reset button, and allow the URB to do a full and complete and independent, on its own timeline, review of this project, compared to every other alternative?

[Page 987]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, that's exactly what's happening. They are doing a complete, thorough review; they are doing it of all of the other alternatives - that is what they're doing. This is in stark contrast to what happened under the Progressive Conservative Government, where they simply accepted that fossil fuels were the way to supply energy to this province, led to increasing power rates, and at a time in the history of the province when the Progressive Conservative Government was receiving the largest- ever royalty payment, some $450 million in offshore royalty payments. What did they do on energy policy? They went back in and put 10 per cent on to the power rates of Nova Scotia in order to wring money out of the lowest-income Nova Scotians.

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

PREM. - MAR. LINK: OWNERSHIP - DEMAND

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Premier. We just heard the Premier say that there should be lots of studies and research, and he's right. The problem is the only study, other than Nova Scotia Power's, which endorses the project file before the board is the Dalton study which was commissioned by the NDP. All of the other ones filed do not endorse the Premier's position; in fact, the board auditors, Liberty, says that Nova Scotia Power overestimated gas prices; Synapse, the board's consultants says that Indigenous Wind here in Nova Scotia would be significantly cheaper; and the consultants for the Consumer Advocate say that all of the other options would be cheaper - in fact, the only thing that all those consultants agree on is that the Maritime Link is the most expensive option.

In the document tabled yesterday we quoted it saying the Maritime Link transaction shortchanges Nova Scotia ratepayers - at the conclusion of the 35-year project term Nova Scotia has paid its 20 per cent cost but is left with none of the benefits. Since the beginning we've raised concerns that Nova Scotians are being asked by the NDP to pay the full cost and own nothing - this was the same problem they almost got us in with the convention centre until we lobbied so that we would own it in the end.

If the project is approved by the Utility and Review Board, will the Premier demand that Nova Scotians own the Maritime Link after the bills are paid?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, if there was ever a master of distortion, it has to be the member for Dartmouth East. What he has said is just not true. There are many reports before the Utility and Review Board that endorse the project, that demonstrate that it is the lowest rates for Nova Scotians.

I think it's a shame. They go so far out of their way to try to prevent a project from going forward, one that will not only deliver the lowest and fairest rates for Nova Scotians but one that will also create an environment for economic development in the region, one that will be the contributor to the growth of our regional economy, one that will create thousands of jobs not only in Newfoundland and Labrador but in Nova Scotia, one that demonstrably brings one of the lowest rates possible for new power. That is what the facts are and I know that they are uncomfortable and inconvenient for the member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 988]

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, what is inconvenient is that nothing the Premier just said is backed up by anything filed at the board yesterday; in fact, completely the opposite. Both Opposition Parties have tabled those documents. If the Premier thinks that things were filed yesterday that support what he is saying, he should table it, which he hasn't done.

Mr. Speaker, this should not surprise the Premier. In fact, before he got on board, the joint federal-provincial environmental review panel in Newfoundland and Labrador said, ". . . the panel concluded that Nalcor's analysis, showing Muskrat Falls to be the best and least-cost way to meet domestic demand requirements, was inadequate . . .". It went on to say that the panel concluded that ". . . if the recommended economic and alternatives studies show that there are alternative ways of meeting the electricity demands . . ." that there are more ". . . economically viable and environmentally and socially responsible . . ." ways than Muskrat Falls. I'll table that document.

Mr. Speaker, that sounds awfully familiar to much of the evidence filed yesterday in Nova Scotia. So why is the Premier only relying on the one report, commissioned by the NDP Government, and dismissing all of the evidence that doesn't support his position?

THE PREMIER « » : Quite the opposite, Mr. Speaker. The fact is that there is a plethora of reports before the Utility and Review Board, the vast majority of which support the project. I understand that for the Liberal Party and for the Official Opposition, it is much easier to stand around and be the masters of cynicism and to want to - it is always easier to tear down than to build up.

You know something, Mr. Speaker? The people on this side are about building the future for Nova Scotia. We are about building the economic future of our region. That is what we are committed to and we will not be deterred.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, even if the Premier was right, that there were four independent studies backing it up, that is still far less than the ones that were filed that showed that it didn't meet that. So even if he was right, it still wouldn't be the majority.

Mr. Speaker, evidence filed by the Canadian Wind Energy Association yesterday - and I'm sure the Premier will call them a special interest group - also raises concerns. But the fact is that the findings of their consultant were the same as the findings of the Consumer Advocate's experts and the Small Business Advocate's.

Mr. Speaker, surely the Premier isn't suggesting that all of those international experts are wrong. The Premier is instead of choosing jobs in Nova Scotia, renewable energy investments in Nova Scotia, is instead choosing Newfoundland and Labrador. It doesn't make any sense.

[Page 989]

Mr. Speaker, why is the Premier so hostile and critical of local, made-in-Nova Scotia, renewable energy projects?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the evidence to the contrary is spectacular and the reality is that we have been the largest supporters of renewable energy in the history of the province.

Mr. Speaker, I want the member for Dartmouth East to know that people across the province do not mistake cynicism for wisdom.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Dartmouth East on a new question.

PREM. - MAR. LINK: URB REVIEW - EXTENSION GRANT

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : You know, Mr. Speaker, in Newfoundland and Labrador the Utility and Review Board there decided that they didn't have enough time to review the information, because of an artificial timeline set by the Newfoundland and Labrador Government. The same thing is playing out here and now there's significant new information which calls into question the assumption used by Emera and Nova Scotia Power and their best buddy, the Premier.

Yesterday, at the Renewable Energy Conference, a conference which this government refused to attend, there was talk about storage options for backup to wind power as an investment in this province, yet the Premier continues to choose Newfoundland jobs over Nova Scotia jobs and the Dalton study still refuses to consider any backup option but natural gas. It's clear the Premier believes in this project and has staked his personal credibility on it so if he's not afraid of a full review at the board, if he truly believes that a full review would result in the project being found to be the best option, why will he not allow the board to have whatever time it needs to review the project and reverse his minister's April 12th decision not to grant an extension?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I suppose that reviews could go on forever and nothing would get done. That's essentially what the Liberal Party position is on everything - economic development, health care, everything. They will proudly do nothing, they go from one part of the province to the other saying we will do nothing, we will do nothing. Well, I have news for you, that is not the answer to the issues and the problems that are faced by the people of Nova Scotia. We are getting things done for Nova Scotians and that includes making sure they have safe, stable, secure access to energy.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, isn't it funny that the evidence filed yesterday says that it is neither secure, stable nor even the lowest rate. It's pretty clear the NDP are rapidly turning against renewable energy developers in Nova Scotia. How else can the government explain why they would choose to knowingly burden Nova Scotians with a project that increases rates over 35 years when evidence yesterday points to the fact that renewable energy projects built in Nova Scotia would not only result in economic opportunities and jobs in this province, but would also be cheaper than the Maritime Link.

[Page 990]

In the documents that I just tabled, it says, ". . . we conclude that the Indigenous Wind . . . less expensive than ML under all of the cases we tested. Moreover, the Indigenous Wind and . . . 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." Why does the Premier refuse to examine and use local, homegrown renewable energy projects instead of Muskrat Falls now that the evidence is that the lowest, fairest, long-term cost is wind and not the Maritime Link?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, what I love about the member for Dartmouth East is he can say ridiculous things with a straight face. Anybody who travels around Nova Scotia, he must see the wind turbines that are going up across the province. Maybe he hasn't been to Amherst for a while and had a chance to go across the Tantramar Marsh and look at the number of wind turbines that are there because of the renewable energy strategy of this government. I know he wasn't in Copenhagen when Nova Scotia was winning awards for its renewable energy policy.

It doesn't surprise me that the Wind Energy Association would put in a brief that supports wind energy - no, Mr. Speaker, not at all. I understand their position, and I'm sure the Utility and Review Board will consider it among all the other professional opinions that it receives and I have confidence the Utility and Review Board will make the right decision.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, I might add, I also wasn't on Mr. Huskilson's jet to Newfoundland, but the fact is, here's the Premier of our province who must be taking lessons from Mark Laventure, the EA to the Minister of Environment who has decided that they will criticize anybody who submits information to the board that doesn't agree with the NDP position, and I'll table his tweet from last night.

Yesterday at the Renewable Energy Conference - again I point out, a conference the Minister of Energy refused to attend - I was fortunate to hear from many independent renewable energy producers who want sustainable long-term power in Nova Scotia and who have options here and are now supported by the evidence submitted yesterday. Given that the evidence filed yesterday proves Nova Scotia wind is just one example that would be cheaper than the Maritime Link, it's clear to this House that the NDP are simply anti-Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, will the Premier explain to this House why the NDP Government wants to increase power rates for a generation instead of choosing local, independent energy producers here in Nova Scotia?

[Page 991]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the only one of the analyses that are actually before the board that looks at the 35-year cost of this project and the benefits to Nova Scotia is the Dalton Report. It compares all of the other alternatives. It concludes, absolutely unequivocally, that it is the best and lowest-cost project for ratepayers in Nova Scotia. That's the first thing. The second thing, with respect to the wind energy conference that he's talking about, in fact, Nova Scotia's officials are there. The reality is they contacted us only on Monday and, as he knows, the House is in session and the House business is taking up the time of the minister and the ministers. In fact, the minister is in estimates and you're asking questions of him.

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

PREM.: HST RAISES - REFERENDUM

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, today the government is talking about referendums as protection for Nova Scotia taxpayers when governments make changes to the HST, but oddly they've limited themselves only to changes to HST rebates which, as far as I know, all Parties in this House already support the rebates that are provided to Nova Scotians who need tax relief. But what's so interesting is what's missing, which are any commitments to have referendums if a government gets elected to office on a promise not to raise the HST and then actually goes ahead and raises it after the election. If there is one thing that Nova Scotians have learned that they need protection from, it's a Party that promises not to raise the HST before the election and then does the opposite after the election because they have very recent experience with that very thing.

I would like to ask the Premier, will he agree to extend this new referendum commitment to actually cover governments that get elected on promises not to raise the HST overall and then do the exact opposite afterward? That would be true protection.

THE PREMIER « » : Let me tell you what the actual experience of Nova Scotians is: the experience is that they have two Parties that have said that the HST off of home electricity is bad public policy. They have said that it should be on the essentials of life, that things like electricity should bear the cost of HST. Well, we on this side on the aisle, we disagree and we know the fundamental truth is that neither the Progressive Conservatives nor the Liberals can be trusted.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, you know what I like about the Premier? He can say such ridiculous things with a straight face, that's what I like about the Premier. What we really have is two Parties, an NDP that actually did promise not to raise the HST and then did raise it and a Liberal that won't, even though they complained about it, do the right thing and bring it back down after the next election, which is what Nova Scotians want. That is the two-Party story that we have in Nova Scotia. I will ask the Premier, after going back on his promise once and now trying to make the same promise a second time, will he agree to protect Nova Scotians from the very plague that he himself brought upon them with the 15 per cent HST and expand his promise to a referendum for any part that raises the HST after the next election?

[Page 992]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party knows why the HST was raised. It was raised because of the financial mess that was left behind by the Progressive Conservative Party, a $1.4 billion deficit. The increase in the HST is the legacy of the Progressive Conservative Government.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, while we're on the topic of saying ridiculous things with a straight face, I would like to table, for the benefit of the Premier, the message from the minister for the financial statements of the province, ending in 2009, which reports a surplus of $19.7 million, signed by the new Minister of Finance at the time, the member for Halifax Fairview.

Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the letter that the current Minister of Finance wrote to the Globe and Mail, the Toronto paper, reporting that Nova Scotia has seven surpluses in the last 10 years, and that the only three are the most recent three. I'll table that as well for the benefit of the Premier, so that he can consult with both his former and his current Minister of Finance before he gives such a crazy answer again.

Mr. Speaker, I have a very simple question for the Premier, if he is in favour of referendums on HST rebates, given his record on tax increases while he has been in office, why won't he expand that referendum commitment to cover any increase in the HST?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, do you think for one minute that balancing a budget is bringing in a budget and then overspending it by $300 million? Do you think overspending budgets by a billion dollars over three years is balancing a budget? That's not balancing a budget.

The Progressive Conservative Party received $450 million in offshore gas and oil royalties, and what did they do with it? Did they put it on the debt? No, Mr. Speaker, they wasted it. That is the legacy of the Progressive Conservative Government.

Mr. Speaker, with respect to legislation, we are doing one better than what is suggested by the Progressive Conservative Party, we brought in legislation to take the HST down.

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

PREM. - HOSPITAL INFO: CBC REQUEST - DECISION

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, in December, as per appropriate protocol, CBC asked each province and territory to allow CIHI to release various measures recorded at hospitals - measures such as hospital infection rates, the number of foreign objects left in patients after surgeries, and the weekend mortality rates. The Deputy Minister of Health and Wellness said yes to this request on December 18th, but then on January 24th, he changed his mind.

[Page 993]

Could the Premier please tell us whether it was his office or the office of the Minister of Health and Wellness that forced the deputy minister to change his mind?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I am unaware of the matter that is being raised by the Leader of the Official Opposition. If he wants to send it to me, I am happy to have a look at it.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, it was information that was requested by CBC - that every province and territory release the information regarding hospital infections rates, the number of foreign objects left in certain patients after surgery, and the weekend mortality rate. That was a request that was made to this government, and the deputy minister agreed to it.

It was either the Premier's Office or the Minister of Health and Wellness who said no. Could he please tell us why?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'll just repeat what I said before. I am unaware of the circumstances that are being raised by the Leader of the Official Opposition. I'm perfectly aware that these kinds of questions get raised and asked. We're willing to answer them, but if he's given no advance notice of the question on something like this, how would we be able to formulate an answer for him?

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, I didn't know we should send our questions to the government before we asked them - talk about new protocols. It's too bad he didn't practise that when he was on this side of the House.

By the way, while he's looking at that, someone from the Department of Health and Wellness also sent an e-mail out to all district health authorities - all nine of them, I might add - telling them to disregard the request by CIHI to release that information.

So while the Premier is checking with his department, could he also check with the minister when he leans over this time and ask him who would have sent the request to the DHAs to deny this request, and why would they do so?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, it's the policy of the government to facilitate routine access to information. We do that; we facilitate the requests. We don't force them to go through the freedom of information requests if it falls under the routine release.

As I said, obviously if some request for information came out and there was a decision made one way or the other, I wouldn't be aware of that. I don't know if the minister would be aware of it or not, because unlike past governments, we are not standing over every bureaucrat who has asked a question. We respect our staff. But, as I have said already, if he has a question in relation to this we're happy to receive it and we're happy to check out the question that he has.

[Page 994]

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

EECD: CHIGNECTO/STRAIT SCH. BDS. - FUNDING

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, in February this year the Education and Early Childhood Development Minister announced the funding increase for education in this province in the amount of $3.3 million. At the time the minister was quoted as saying that we have heard very clearly from the people of Nova Scotia that education is a priority and it is an essential service that government provides - and I'll table that article. What the minister failed to mention is because the NDP Government ripped up a memorandum of understanding with the municipalities, limiting increases to the cost of inflation, provincial contributions to school boards will actually decline by $9 million this year.

My question to the minister is, will the minister admit she has let the students of Chignecto or the Strait school boards down by ripping up much-needed funding for their school boards, or does she support these hidden costs being passed on to them?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the member opposite for the question because I feel there needs to be some clarification. The funding formula for the Province of Nova Scotia has remained the same for many years. The municipalities have always contributed through the MET, it's a flow-through taxation system that 16.5 per cent in Nova Scotia comes from the municipality, which I think is the lowest in the country, and it is included in our funding formula.

I feel that coming from the question there needs to be just a little clarification around the MOU, and to that I ask the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations to answer that.

HON. JOHN MACDONELL » : Mr. Speaker, the member opposite indicated conditions as a result of the MOU. The rate coming out of the MOU is kept at the 2010 rate. The changes actually worked out, I think, should be more beneficial and the member should be aware that the money that comes from the Municipal Education Tax actually is a flow-through, so municipalities shouldn't be budgeting that for other services, so it goes directly through the municipalities to the province.

MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to see it takes two ministers to answer one question.

The president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities has said about the declining school board funding that it's a big download and it's hidden. Municipalities now pay 20.5 per cent of board funding, up from 19.4 per cent in 2012-13. And I'll table that, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 995]

This will only get worse under the NDP's mismanagement as every annual increase in property tax assessments allows the province to shift more education costs to the taxpayers. So I will ask, will the minister apologize to the students of the South Shore and Tri-County school boards for lack of transparency from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development regarding school board funding?

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm glad that we're able to clarify the funding formula. Municipalities have always contributed to education in this province; at one point municipalities used to have all of the funding for education. We have a system in place where they do contribute 16.5 per cent through the MET, which is a flow-through tax, it is the way that Nova Scotia education is funded. The bottom line, I would like to add, is that the funding for our students has gone up this year - our per student funding is at the highest level it has ever been.

MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, the cost for student funding might have gone up, but so has the cost to the municipalities for education.

Mr. Speaker, at that funding announcement in February the minister also said that we are making sure that funding is there for our students to be successful; however, only three school boards will see an increase in funding this year and the five with the largest enrolment declines will get decreases. In total, provincial funding of school boards will decrease by $9 million this year. Again I will ask, will the minister explain how students at school boards in Cape Breton can be successful when their funding has been cut by $2 million from last year's and a province-wide cut of $9 million?

MS. JENNEX « » : I just want to clarify that the budget for education has increased this year and our overall funding for every student in this province has increased. The piece that the honourable member is forgetting is that when we are making sure that our students have the appropriate funding, we're funding on the population, our actual students in our schools. We have a challenge with declining enrolment, and we are making sure that all of our school boards have the appropriate funding for the students in our system.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS

- MEDICAL PERSONNEL IDENTIFY

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, recently the Premier indicated that specialized medical professionals across the province have been trained to deal with victims of sexual assault - can the Premier identify who these specialized medical personnel are, who trained them, and where are they located?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, in order to make sure there's a complete answer for the member for Bedford-Birch Cove, I would ask the Minister of Health and Wellness to respond.

[Page 996]

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I know this is an issue that we've been really dealing with over the last couple of weeks. We have health care providers who are trained - there's a program now that we have sexual assault nurse examiners available for Nova Scotians. They've been trained, with additional training beyond their clinical training as a nurse, to provide support for anybody who comes into the emergency department who might have been sexually assaulted. The important thing is to ensure that the victim has support, not only through the health care system, but also ensuring that if it proceeds into a court case the evidence that is gathered in the emergency department can be utilized to help that victim.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, the Health and Wellness Minister would be aware that across this province we only have two Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Programs: the Avalon program here in Halifax, and the one in Antigonish. Yesterday, the Tri-County Women's Centre sent a letter to the Premier and a number of MLAs outlining the need for more community-based SANE Programs. In dealing with victims they "find it very difficult to improve the response without a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program in our community."

Will the Premier commit to funding Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Programs beyond Halifax and Antigonish?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, of course this program is one that has been put in place, and is being monitored to see if there should be further investment in it. My understanding is that the model itself is designed to reach beyond just the local community, but it has a reach that is really dictated by time frames; in other words, how quickly can a nurse examiner get to the location of the victim, and that allows them a certain range or mobility with respect to the service that they are providing.

So questions around how that service is best provided, whether it is the most effective model, those are all being evaluated, they are part of the examination and, in fact, my understanding is that this model is actually based on one in another jurisdiction, and that jurisdiction itself is still going through the monitoring phase, where they are looking at the effectiveness of the work, and any way to be able to enhance that, of the nurse examiner program. I would say that if things continue to bear out, I think, the way they are, relatively at this point I think people are satisfied, then yes we would be looking to expand the program.

MS. REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, the SANE Program does not exist in the extremes of the province - there's no SANE Program in Cape Breton, and there's no SANE Program in Yarmouth. In their letter, the Tri-County Women's Centre begs the Premier to contact them about these critical issues. Will the Premier commit today that the task force will at least contact the Tri-County Women's Resource Centre and help them serve their communities?

[Page 997]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I believe the member for Bedford-Birch Cove said that this correspondence was transmitted to us yesterday, and we try to do the most rapid response to correspondence. In fact I have not seen that letter yet, but on the recommendation of the member for Bedford-Birch Cove, I'll make sure that it is brought forward.

Certainly we have full consultation; we have full communication with all of the women's centres and with the other community-based groups that provide services to women across the province. Therefore, we will ensure that their communication is properly acknowledged.

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

EECD - SEASIDE SCH.: RENOVATION - DETAILS

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. Yesterday, responding to a question from the member for Cape Breton North, we talked about the school renovation in Seaside into a high school in Eastern Passage. Yesterday, when asked, the minister said she didn't know about any of the issues, but we are in possession of a letter that basically says: as indicated at our last SST meeting, we have some design and fiscal challenges related to the renovation of Seaside to a high school in Eastern Passage.

I will table that.

I'm just wondering, what is the difference between the e-mail we received, that there are problems and that they can't go forward with that renovation, and of course what she said yesterday in this House?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify that yesterday I was very clear that Eastern Passage will be getting a new high school. It has been brought to my attention that there are concerns in the community, and I want to clarify them very clearly, there will be a new high school in Eastern Passage. Thank you.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, the e-mail also says the nature of the existing building structural system, upon detailed investigation, presents significant challenges that will cost significantly more to address than previously known.

The minister said yesterday, and I can table her comments as well and, of course, we know they are in Hansard, "I just want to stand here today and clarify, there will be a new high school in Eastern Passage.", as she just said today.

So my question is, is the minister following after the Premier and committing tax dollars to projects with unknown costs?

[Page 998]

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, since the honourable member mentioned the Premier, I will ask the Premier to answer for himself. Thank you.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I don't know if the member for Argyle has heard of the Colchester Hospital or not but the cost overruns on that hospital were so enormous and so extreme, it's hard to believe he could ask that question with a straight face. After having neglected Eastern Passage for a decade, I want to assure him and the people of Eastern Passage that they are going to have a high school in Eastern Passage. We put it in the capital plan for that reason and it was long overdue. We are simply doing something that they refused.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, the letter says we will not be able to schedule any additional SST meetings. The minister said yesterday, "We are working with the board and the community, and we will be moving forward with that project."

Since there are no more meetings, who is the minister working with? The minister also said, "I just want to stand here today and clarify, there will be a new high school in Eastern Passage.", so according to the letter, which is from the Halifax Regional School Board, who is right - the minister or the school board?

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I know it's very important to the community that they have a new high school and I want to make sure, I'll say it again, that Eastern Passage will be getting a new high school. Thank you.

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

ERDT - SUMMER JOBS PROGS.: APPROVALS - DETAILS

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, the student summer jobs program through the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism is an important program. This program helps support community organizations and non-profits with hiring students for summers, while students get the valuable work experience that they need. However, organizations are not being told by the government whether or not they have been approved under this program, and the potential start date is April 22nd, which is this coming Monday.

My question to the Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism is, could he explain why he has not told organizations whether or not they've been approved for this program?

HON. PERCY PARIS » : Mr. Speaker, that's certainly not true, because I do know who's been approved. Of course, there are a lot of jobs, so I can't rattle them off the top of my head, but I am aware - I have a file in my office with those approvals. As a matter of fact, I can probably coin the phrase - as far as businesses are concerned - the letter's in the mail.

[Page 999]

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, could he let all of us in on the little secret? We've been calling his office for over a month now on behalf of organizations, not only from my constituency but across this province. The response that we've been getting from his department is "wait." That's not good enough for organizations.

Could the minister direct his staff to call the organizations that have been approved for student funding today to let them know so they can begin the hiring, which, by the way, according to his own application, can start Monday?

MR. PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, the Student Employment Program is a very important initiative. We also worked this initiative in partnership, to a large degree, with the employment efforts by the federal government.

Mr. Speaker, through you to the member opposite, two things - one, as I've already said, the letter is in the mail, and, two, if the member or any member in this House has a question around employment status, I would probably think the most efficient and quickest way to do things is to take a trip across the floor.

MR. MCNEIL « » : You're shaking your head, Mr. Speaker, and no wonder. Nova Scotians are shaking their head at that minister. The elected people in this House, the people who work for the people in this House, did the appropriate thing. They called his staff.

I would think that a Minister of the Crown would have more to do than be able to answer every question that ends up in our office. We did the appropriate thing, which was direct it to his staff. There are non-profit organizations across this province. There are students who are looking for work. The fact that this minister stands up in the House and tells them to wait, with the arrogance that he's shown, it tells you why Nova Scotians have lost faith in that government.

MR. PARIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I just think that was a true display of arrogance by the Leader of the Official Opposition. As I've already said, and I will reiterate, the letters around employment are literally in the mail. Again, I offer myself that the easiest and quickest way would have been for the Leader of the Official Opposition, like a gentleman, to come over and say, excuse me, minister, do you know this, this, and that? Do you know what? I would have had an answer for him if he had asked the question.

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

EECD: SPEECH LANGUAGE/SPEECH PSYCHOLOGY SERV. - WAIT-LISTS

[Page 1000]

HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. The way things have been going today, I'm not sure who will answer for her, but the question to the minister is, in June 2012 the minister had information provided to her from school boards across the province stating that nearly 2,000 students were on wait lists to access speech language and school psychology services. Despite having this information, the minister continued on her cutting spree, giving five boards less money than they had last year.

My question to the minister is, what plans does the minister have to respond to those nearly 2,000 kids who are still in the classroom and are still on the wait-list waiting for assessment?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, we have increased our funding for special education in the province. We have a dedicated envelope that school boards have of $141 million this year, which is an increase. We know with that funding that we will be seeing more speech pathologists and psychologists and support across the province.

MS. CASEY « » : Fifteen speech language and school psychologists is a pittance compared to the need of those 2,000 kids who are out there waiting for service.

Mr. Speaker, The Chignecto board report shows that there were 408 students waiting for support, and the minister cut their funding; Cape Breton-Victoria was showing 278 students waiting, and the minister cut their funding; and the South Shore board showed 200 students waiting, and the minister cut their funding. In total, across this province, there are nearly 2,000 kids waiting for that critical service. So my question to the minister is, will the minister commit today, because she's not done so so far, to adequately fund those issues and address that problem of wait-lists in all of our boards?

MS. JENNEX « » : This government wants to make sure that the needs of all of our students are taken care of and especially our students that are most vulnerable in our system. There are not what we consider wait-lists, there are people waiting to see speech pathologists and psychologists, the same as a doctor has an appointment list.

It's misrepresenting the situation to say that there are 2,000 people waiting for services. There are 400 schools, a couple of children in each of the schools are on a list to be served by our speech pathologist, our psychologist, so therefore I don't consider it a wait-list in terms of what people think, that there are 2,000 people waiting. It's across the province, 400 schools, and we will make sure that those children are seen in a timely fashion - our time for service for our students is the lowest in Canada.

MS. CASEY « » : Well, you know, Mr. Speaker, it would be nice if the minister read what she sends out to her school boards and to her schools, and read what comes back because in her language she is calling RWS, Referrals Waiting for Service, totalling over 2,000, so if that's not a wait-list perhaps the minister can tell us - what is a wait-list?

[Page 1001]

MS. JENNEX « » : We are making sure that our students in our system who need supports and need assessments are going to be receiving those assessments in a timely fashion. We have increased our funding this year.

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

SNSMR - OTTER LAKE WASTE MGT. CTR.: CLOSURE - MIN. POSITION

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : My question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HRM is considering the closure of the Otter Lake Waste Management Centre. It affects Timberlea, Goodwood, Prospect, Beechville, and Clayton Park West. Does the minister have a position on this matter?

HON. JOHN MACDONELL « » : I think my position at this moment would be just curiosity.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ask the Environment Minister.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Well, Mr. Speaker, why don't I ask the Environment Minister?

As I understand it a permit was issued by the government, a 25-year permit for the landfill. It requires organics, recyclables, and hazardous materials to be sorted and diverted from the landfill. Will the minister hold HRM to account for the terms agreed to under this permit?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : When it comes to environment I want to tell you that the particular project that you're talking about does hold an industrial approval, Mr. Speaker, and any time there is any change is something that we take very seriously. I haven't seen any official requests for that, but I can tell you when there are changes dealing with the environment it's something that we take seriously and we'll look at and address that at the appropriate time.

Again, I can recite a number of accomplishments that we've done in the past 1,500 days and you probably don't want to hear about our awards and our presentations but we respect the environment and we'll do the right thing.

MR. MACMASTER « » : I'd like to thank the minister for the answer.

The Otter Lake Centre was established by HRM, based on a commitment to local communities to have the highest possible environmental standards. The Community Monitoring Committee, which oversees the operation of the facility, is charged with looking out for the interests of those communities and they are opposed to these changes. The two local municipal councillors are also against any changes.

[Page 1002]

Will the Minister of Environment assure the House and the local residents that government is doing everything possible to ensure that HRM abides by the terms of that department's operating permit and is following all provincial standards on waste management and diversion?

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Again, Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I want to assure the member that this particular file has been brought to me by the member, the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect, and I don't think any individual has more respect in this House. When the member opposite understands and appreciates that when a member of his stature brings an issue to me, it certainly has my respect. Do I respect the sports team that he follows? That may be a debate for another day. But when it comes to the environment, I can assure you that this file has been brought to my attention and we will respect the environment. Thank you very much.

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

TIR: AYLESFORD RD. - PLANS

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. The Aylesford Road is an important link to the South Shore, to the world-class Brigadoon site. There is currently a sign which says 30 kilometres of bumpy roads. I'm wondering what the plans are for that road - the Aylesford Road.

HON. MAURICE SMITH » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that question. I don't have, at my fingertips, what the plan is for each individual local road across the province but I can assure my friend opposite that if he would like to meet with me . . .

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

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

[Page 1003]

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

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

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

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

MS. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, the other day I did have an opportunity to speak, going into Committee of the Whole House on Supply, and I spoke for a bit about my riding, about some of the changes we have undergone and some of the issues in my riding.

There are a couple more issues that I would like to speak about today. Some of them I have raised in the House before but I haven't always had a chance to speak to them at length and I'll get that chance now. First of all, of course, when I spoke last, I mentioned that in Bedford we haven't had a lot of facilities for a long time and only recently are we starting to see some change with that. I talked about the four pad and how that is a welcome addition to the riding. Getting the four ice surfaces has been a pleasant change for the riding. For a long time we had just one, then a private one opened, and now we have the other four. That has made a big difference in the riding.

I happened to be there, not this past weekend, the weekend before - I think it was - for a minor hockey tournament, which was extremely well attended. The kids had a ball. I got to hand out some medals and it was lots of fun, so I was very pleased to be at that particular event and to give out medals and to speak to the coaches, et cetera, who work so hard to make sure that our kids have a great opportunity on the ice.

For a long time Bedford has not had a lot in the way of facilities. I think anyone who has been to our library would know that we have terrific staff at the library, but we're quite cramped for space and my hope would be that, in the coming years, we would be getting a new library. There was discussion about putting it in the new high school, where the community centre is going and which, I might add, the upgrades are being paid for by taxpayers, ratepayers from Bedford and from the Kingswood area, the next riding over.

In the end the decision was not to put the library in there, so that has actually been one of the things that people are discussing about possibly doing at the waterfront.

I have spoken - some would say at length - about the waterfront issue in Bedford. This was a plan that was first drawn up back in 1985, and it was quite - there was some controversy along the way, but eventually the first phase of infilling happened and we now have DeWolf Park, we have some condos, we have some townhouses. I think residents would say that the addition of the DeWolf Park, the first phase, has been an asset to Bedford. That's where our police station and our fire station are located. There's an assisted-living facility as well. It has added a lot to Bedford. We have some berths for boats down in that area, and I frequently kayak down there with my family.

[Page 1004]

But now the second phase is beginning to be in - I shouldn't say "is beginning" - is about 60 per cent done of the infilling of the second phase. Sorry, Hansard, about that convoluted phrase. Anyway, 60 per cent of the infilling of the second phase of the waterfront is complete, and over the last number of years there have been various plans presented to the public. In fact, the second presentation happened the day after I was elected, so I got to go to that. There were three options that were put out, and people really had a chance to look at the plans and see what they liked, what they didn't like, et cetera. There was a lot of positive comment back on that first meeting that I attended as MLA-elect.

A year later, the second presentation took place, and that came in with the so-called final plan - although it was not a final plan. It was the last one that the Waterfront Corporation was presenting before public consultations under the HRM process got underway. At that particular one I did hear some negative comments. There were comments about the lack of green space and about the height, and what we particularly heard were comments about density.

What we were told at that presentation was that there would be 6,500 people going into that area. I don't know - I would suggest that most of the people in this Legislature have driven down Bedford Highway at some point during a rush hour. It might be a rush hour Monday to Friday, or it might be a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon. If you've done that, you know that it's not easy to get down Bedford Highway a lot of the time during peak hours. There are other times when it's perfectly easy to get around Bedford, but during peak hours it's often difficult.

A lot of people in Bedford have, in my view, very legitimate concerns about what would happen to the traffic on Bedford Highway should we suddenly have 6,500 more people on the waterfront, if we do not have other ways to move people around. That is why you will hear me and other people, like our councillor, Tim Outhit, discussing things like commuter rail or a fast ferry from Bedford.

I have heard some people say you can't have a parking lot down on the waterfront, and I agree, that would be kind of lousy if we used up all our waterfront space for cars to park in, but in fact, what other communities have done elsewhere is have small shuttle buses to go around neighbourhoods, pick up commuters, and bring them right to the waterfront. So they don't have to use their cars, they don't have to park down there, and we can keep more of that waterfront for a park.

I think the key for Bedford in improving the facilities would be some kind of mass transportation. The thing about buses is that they just take up more space on Bedford Highway, and we already have a lack of space at rush hour on Bedford Highway.

[Page 1005]

Another thing that people have talked about, on the waterfront, is having an iconic public building and that is why, earlier, I mentioned the library because people would like to see something like a library or a theatre - and you would remember that in the past I have spoken about the fact that people wanted to put a performing arts facility in at the new high school and that did not happen. It should have happened but it did not so we would like to have a theatre or performing arts space down on that waterfront, as well as a library, and we would like some kind of mass transportation.

I know that sounds like a big ask but quite frankly, when Sackville took the dump, Sackville got the Sackville Sports Stadium out of it and in my view Bedford has taken pyritic slate, not just for the area around Bedford where building has been taking place, but we've discovered that we've been taking it from as far away as New Brunswick. We have taken some - I guess it's not trash, but it's not something that people want - we have taken a form of waste and we have provided a service to the rest of HRM and to other parts of Nova Scotia and even into New Brunswick. In return what we would like to see is that the residents of Bedford would, in fact, have a tangible thank you from various levels of government and give us better facilities.

I think that what you are going to see, over the coming months - the Waterfront Development Corporation, I should just backtrack here, the Waterfront Development Corporation has held some open houses over the last few months, and I've attended two of the three and talked to people while they were there and they talked about their hopes and dreams for that area because it is new land and we don't often get that and we certainly don't often get that on waterfronts. What I've heard from a lot of people is they want to see more green, they want less density, they want to see iconic buildings, and they want to use that waterfront. I'll tell you, I talked to business owners and they are excited about the possibility of locating down there. People say to me, I want to go for a walk on the waterfront with my spouse, with my pet; I want to be able to stop and have a coffee or a latte or something on that waterfront.

I talk to other people and they say I want to be able to fish on that waterfront and, in fact, we do have a club called the Little Fishers that just started up last Fall. It's a group of residents - actually I think a lot of them are from Sackville - a lot of them come to the Bedford waterfront and they're on the South Jetty and they have this great club that they started up and it is to help to teach kids how to fish. I've been down there several nights, they do it on Friday nights, and it's lots of fun. In fact, my husband went down with me one day and he caught a squid in his bare hand and fortunately he moved at just the right point, just before it squirted its ink out all over his new pants, because I would have been really cheesed off about that. But it's a really fun event for families.

People want to be able to use their waterfront and I think that you're going to see a traffic, transit and services study coming out from HRM soon so we will find out what they're saying. They may say no you can't do some of these things. They may say, if you want to put say 5,000 people on that waterfront, this is what you have to do. We'll just see what that study says but, when that study comes down, then we'll have a good idea where we're going in terms of traffic, transit and services. From there HRM will begin the consultation process where people will have the ability to have their say on what is going on, on the waterfront.

[Page 1006]

There is a group, Bedford Waterfront that has been quite active over the last while with concerns about the waterfront and they will be able to come out and speak to it as will anybody who is interested in those waterfront issues and they will be able to come out and I do hope that people will come out.

One of my concerns was that I actually heard from people who said they didn't know there had been consultations, they didn't know there had been these big public meetings. I said that I don't how you didn't know, because it was in the paper and it was in the local weekly and it was advertised all over the place. So I do hope that people will come out this time and have their say about what they want to see on the waterfront.

The DeWolfe Park area has been a blessing to Bedford; it's been a place where we gather often for festivals, particularly Bedford Days, and we have a lot of fun down there. My hope is that the new phase of the waterfront will provide the kind of amenities that Bedfordites will be able to enjoy.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I thank you.

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

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have an opportunity this afternoon to take part in the debate going into Supply. I guess this is an opportunity for us, as members, to talk about our constituencies and pretty much anything we want to discuss and talk about, topics that are important to our constituents, and maybe recognize some people along the way and so on.

I want to start, I guess, with saying I'll take just a few minutes and offer a few comments on a couple of different topics, perhaps. One of them, as we move forward, that's important in all of our constituencies, and mine is no exception, is jobs and the economy, Mr. Speaker. We're really focused on that as we move forward right now, given how times are around the world - and certainly in this province times are pretty tough for people.

So we think a lot about the opportunities that might come, what jobs will be created. We often have heard government talk about standing in their place here, and different members talk about the many hundreds of jobs actually that await us. Sometimes they talk about the many hundreds of jobs that have been developed - and numbers have been given so high, a number that not even that many people live in the community. So it's been interesting to hear some of that discussion.

[Page 1007]

I do want to say that jobs and the economy are very important where I come from in Hants West - the Town of Hantsport, the Town of Windsor, and a fairly large municipal unit called the Municipality of the District of West Hants, and somewhere around 19,500 or 20,000 people live there, Mr. Speaker. Adults of voting age, if you look at the charts and statistics will tell you there's probably 15,000 or more, and that's probably on average, I guess, for most places - maybe a little lower or a little higher, but it fits into the average, I think, of what most constituencies are.

When you think about that population base and the demographic and the age groups, you think about jobs and where we're going and where we've been. Like every area, not specific to rural Nova Scotia, I think it is captured everywhere, we have our demographic of seniors, and we have a fairly large number of seniors in my constituency who are very active and they pay attention to what's going on and they wonder what will be there. A lot of them, although we call them seniors, are quite young, both at heart and physically, and worry about what will happen to them. Not only the younger people are looking for jobs, but they're trying to survive.

A lot of these people are surviving on very little. I ask them from time to time, how do you survive on that? They say, we don't survive, we exist. It's interesting when they talk about that and they wonder where we'll be in another seven, eight, 10 years maybe, and how they're going to exist, if you will.

Just as important, and more important, Madam Speaker, are jobs that we're looking for. We've lost our share of jobs in the Valley and certainly in my constituency alone we've seen, over the last couple of years, unfortunately, the closure of Fundy Gypsum. We're hoping that somewhere in the years ahead that we may see something more positive there, that there'll be a few jobs come back and maybe at one point - I don't know how many years out - there may be a lot of jobs to be offered there once again.

The problem with that is it doesn't really make up for the jobs that have been lost because those people have moved on. Some of them would have been packaged off, retired, et cetera, but a lot of them would have gone elsewhere to look for work. Some of them would have gone west, as we continually hear about out-migration and people seeking employment opportunities.

We've also lost 135 jobs recently in Hantsport, and for a small town like Hantsport that, Madam Speaker, is a painful reality of how things are around the world. We need to try to figure out what kind of investments will create long-term, sustainable jobs, good-paying jobs, where people will stay. I talked about this briefly last night in the few minutes I had during debate.

If we're going to focus, we really have to focus on job creation throughout the province, throughout areas that have been hit very hard. We know that all throughout the Valley, around Cape Breton, all over the province, as a matter of fact, we've seen - certainly more, perhaps, in rural Nova Scotia - thousands of jobs lost. So we need to continue to focus on job creation.

[Page 1008]

One of the things that we're always excited about in Nova Scotia, and we hear a lot about - and Cape Breton has been made famous over the years, I guess, for being recognized when it comes to tourism, and the opportunities that exist in the most beautiful places. I don't have the documentation in front of me, but I do recall, through magazines, that they've been the number one island around, and a lot of numbers that are in the top. We do know that, when it comes to Cape Breton.

But it's not just Cape Breton that they come to see. It's a piece of what they come for. People come from all over the world to Nova Scotia. We get a chance to meet them, whether it's in Cape Breton or in Windsor or in Yarmouth, and certainly in other areas in the province. They come to tour our province. They come for a variety of reasons. There are people who come here in summer who live in the United States. I know a few now who share their time. It's hard to believe that that actually happens - it's usually us going the other way when we think about the winter - Florida, or whatever people do going south for the nicer weather. They're coming here in the summertime, actually, to enjoy that and take in what we have to offer. It's a big piece of our economy.

Now, we've heard discussions recently - an announcement last September, I believe it was, late August-September - about tourism opportunities and jobs, and an office being put in Windsor. That is good, as far as the folks around home are concerned. That will create some jobs. We're quite confident of that, or at least we're hopeful. We hear that there's a place now that's been put up as what will be the new place, and some work will need to be done, and so on, and that will go through the processes and then be opened. I heard the other day it will now be November. Well, that's fine. Things take time to get done.

But throughout what we consider the good season, nice climate weather, we have a number of tourists. We have opportunities. They go down the shore, they enjoy the festivals, like the Peterson's Bluegrass Festival down there - that's a big thing. One of the things that we have to be concerned about, though, and you know, when you try to relate this maybe to some of the budget items and how it impacts us, well, it really does. Unfortunately, in the last few years we've seen our transportation budget and certainly our RIM dollars - and anyone who lives in rural Nova Scotia or has a responsibility for fixing roads and is counted on to get some things done, even if it's just patching up some roads - we don't get a whole lot of solid roads paving done and the whole stretch done. We get a little bit here and there. But you know, if we're not maintaining those roads - and I think about Highway No. 215. Over the course of years we finally got that through all of Hants West, but it took a number of years to get done.

We're doing some work down there again this year, and that's good, because we have a lot of folks with campers, and I can remember the complaints. But every time you cut that RIM budget back - and we've seen it every year, the cuts to this budget - it takes away that traffic that's maybe going to go off on one of the side roads, or down through the shore, or one of our beautiful places around West Hants. It doesn't take long for that tourism group to find out, oh, we'd better not go there. We were down through there last year, and things weren't so great - to divert them away. The last thing we need to do is divert anybody away.

[Page 1009]

It's not just about driving on the roads, although that has a huge impact. It's about staying at places like our bed and breakfasts that are around, and helping to support them. Because I can tell you, talking to those who own the bed and breakfasts around my area, that there's been significant losses to hotel rooms, and our local hotel. Just based on the ferry alone, the traffic's not coming the other way. We have seen it's been a huge impact on all of Nova Scotia. It's been a huge impact on southwestern Nova Scotia, and that transfers.

We're not that far away from Yarmouth, when you think about it - a couple hours or so drive. What used to be quite popular was, people would get off the ferry, they would drive through the Valley, they'd spend a little time in Yarmouth, a little time in wherever, and make their way down. By evening, they'd find a place in and about our area, because that pretty much took up the day of travel. I can tell you that those people like John Bregante, who owns a bed and breakfast in town, are down considerably. He's just one that comes to mind. I know that they all are, and as I said, the hotels are down too.

But tourism is a big opportunity for us in this province that we've not taken great advantage of. I don't think it's for lack of trying, I think there's been some interest - we've had tourism organizations that have now formed into other things. We talk a great talk, but it shouldn't be that hard. I think we've got a lot of things to offer, but we don't seem to invest in what we have to offer.

I realize there have to be partnerships with our municipal units as well, on things like tourism. I think they have a role to play. They will all say the same thing: it's very difficult financially to try to invest money that they don't have, because there's always something else. There always seems to be something else.

We have to take advantage and incent these organizations, somehow, to create jobs, and not just for the summertime. We also think about - I have a lot of small businesses in my area, a lot of medium-sized businesses that have been around for years, and thankfully some of them are hanging on and they'll continue to hang on, or at least I hope they will - when we think about the money that has been spent on large corporations, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, if we had taken just a small piece of that and gone to the small business community and set some criteria.

I'm not just saying throw money at it. I don't want anyone to take that the wrong way, nor would they want that, but set some criteria where they could apply and not be ruled out because of their age, as an example. I think of one business in the Town of Windsor. There were two gentlemen who retired from previous businesses they were involved in and started a store and wanted to do some expansions and wanted to hire people, they didn't meet the criteria that were in place. They looked at that and they took that seriously. They never felt that was right.

[Page 1010]

What if we took a small piece of those big ticket items that we're investing in that we have really not been sure of and we said let's go invest in the small business community in the Province of Nova Scotia. They would have been thrilled, hired one or two people in each of their stores and the spinoff effect from them working, being able to spend and buy and the spinoff effect in other stores - it just continues growth. Higher taxes do nothing. We've learned that quite quickly. Higher taxes do nothing to instill a better economy or spending.

We know that people are saying, I won't buy that new car. I won't buy that bigger ticket item. They won't invest in that, not with the taxes as high as they are. They have some hope they'll come down. They're looking forward to that because it matters. When you talk a couple of per cent, it doesn't sound like a lot but when you put it on a big ticket item, it's a fair chunk of money and most people are going to say, no, I'll wait, or go somewhere else, even worse, they'll go elsewhere and they'll buy.

We need people wanting to come to Nova Scotia. We talked yesterday about giving some ideas or incentives to get people to come to Nova Scotia and start a business. That's all well and good. There should be a sign at the border that says, welcome to Nova Scotia, we are open for business. But let's not forget one thing. There are a lot of very intelligent entrepreneurs in this province. Statistics will show that, in the Province of Nova Scotia, we have more Ph.D.s - if you want to think at that level - per capita than anyone else in the country. A lot of people may not know that. There are a lot of very intelligent people who want to go into business. A lot of people started businesses in our neighbouring provinces because of things like tax problems, spending, for a variety of reasons.

We should be looking at ideas for homegrown success in all areas. We hear the statement about homegrown success in farming and some other nice little one-offs, if you will. We're not really doing that, but the small business community is a huge driver of what goes on in this province. We all have been great at talking about small business, but if you go to the small business community and you ask them what has been done for them, they'll tell you, not much; as sad as that might sound, that's how they feel.

I know that they lobby steadily, they've done that for years; they've done that with every government, rightfully so, but we need to do more. They are a place we should be focused on, when it comes to trying to grow the economy and invest wisely. I'm not just saying you throw money at it, but you put some criteria around it, not difficult criteria but solid criteria that makes it worthwhile stepping in, taking a chance, hiring people, helping to create what we need to happen here and that is solid support for Nova Scotia.

On Saturday morning I had a great opportunity to meet with young farmers of Nova Scotia. They held their annual general meeting in Windsor, which was nice to see, a great group of young folks who want to stay in this industry. Some might question why, at times. I think they question it themselves sometimes. They do it because they love it and they're not long telling you that. It's not because they're getting rich or making a bunch of money, they soon tell you that as well. I'm sure the minister has heard that on occasion, from probably more than the young farmers.

[Page 1011]

I know he's talked about - and through the estimates we had a chance to do a little back and forth and talk about programs to incent our young people to stay on and carry on with farms, not only just to carry on the family farm, but wouldn't it be nice to see some real growth in the farming industry and some new farmers, some new land. We know there was a report done a couple of years back that said we have all kinds of land in the province that could be used. Instead of growing up in trees, what an opportunity it would be to invest in our farm community and our local farmers and what would maybe be new farmers in the province and give them some opportunities to go forward.

There are a lot of people who have been in the industry for quite a while and I say "quite a while" and they're not old, they're maybe our age, got a lot of years left to farm as well and they want to keep things going. I believe it is a responsibility that we need to make sure that we can still look after ourselves or we can still feed ourselves to some degree. I don't think we do that well. There are a number of programs - you know I spoke during estimates as well about the dinners and suppers and things that go on through Select Nova Scotia. That was a program that we started quite a few years ago. (Interruption)

Sorry, okay, I didn't realize time went by so quickly. I wasn't planning on speaking that long, Madam Speaker, so I thank you for that. It has been a pleasure this afternoon to take a few minutes and just touch on a few topics for Hants West. Thank you.

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

MR. GARY RAMEY « » : Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak for a few minutes, in the debate going into Supply, on a number of issues that are of concern to my constituents. They are of concern to me and I think - I hope - they are of concern to all Nova Scotians.

I've often spoken in this House about how life is contextual, and John Donne, the great British poet, sort of summed that up quite succinctly when he said in a very few words "No man is an island." Of course no man is an island and I guess in the context of the geopolitical situation in which we find ourselves today that truism could probably be extrapolated to mean that no country is an island either. Anybody who pays attention, I guess, knows that the global economy and the international banking system and the world trading patterns confirm that that is, indeed, the case.

You know another great thinker, Madam Speaker, Santayana offered up another truism in a very parsimonious way, just in a few words - what he basically said was those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. It is my contention that these two famous gentlemen are very helpful, really, in helping us to focus our thinking and maybe help the folks in thinking of any credible government which intends to effect meaningful change for its citizenry.

[Page 1012]

The first quote by Donne acknowledges the fact that we are not alone, neither as individuals nor as part of a collective. It recognizes that our actions affect others, our decisions have implications for others and, depending on our vocation in life or our place in the community or our position in the family, these implications can be quite profound and significant to the life of the individual or, in the broader context, the lives of the populace.

The second quote drives home why we must have good memories, long memories and why we must be ever-vigilant and learn from the mistakes of the past so as not to repeat them in the future.

In the present context in which we find ourselves, what does this mean then - what does this mean for us? Well, first of all, it means that we have to recognize that for the past four years the world has been going through a very stormy economic time. Madam Speaker, our tiny province in this great country in which we live is not immune from that storm, and we are not alone in having gone through stormy times and everybody knows these, I know, Greece and Portugal and Ireland and Spain, the United States, virtually every other country in the world has been going through a similar period of economic turmoil.

I'm not interested in spending time this afternoon on an examination as to why these economic conditions have been visited upon us, rather, I simply wish to acknowledge the fact that they've been visited on us and note that all provinces in our country have been affected and, as a result, the majority of the Canadian provinces have been running significant deficits.

That being said, I'm very pleased that Nova Scotia is one of four Canadian provinces that has been able to balance its budget while providing expanded services for its citizens. This is no mean feat and it's an accomplishment that has been appreciated by my constituents and by many Nova Scotians across our province. It is a fact, however, the significance of which seems, for whatever reason, to have escaped my colleagues on the other side of the House; both the Liberal Party and those in the PC Party have tried at all costs to trivialize the importance of this accomplishment. It is a position which separates them from many of the citizens of our province.

In any event, it is a fact that the budget delivered by the Minister of Finance in this House on April 4th was indeed balanced and received an unqualified opinion from the Auditor General, the first time, by the way, such an opinion on a budget in this province has been given by the Auditor General in a decade. That is also significant, in my opinion, so that is an accomplishment and it is a significant and important accomplishment. Although both the Liberal and PC Parties would deign to imply that it is a good thing and would try to minimize it, it is indeed a fact and it can't easily be discounted or dismissed. It's a fact that we have a balanced budget, and it is an important fact, and I keep saying it because I want to drive that home. Again, why would we want to minimize the importance of this accomplishment? Why would the old-line Parties be out of sync with Nova Scotians?

[Page 1013]

Madam Speaker, allow me to submit the following. The last time the Liberal Government balanced the budget in this House was 1976. That's a long time ago and, as a matter of fact, I believe I heard the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville mention in this House the other day that he wasn't born then. Looking at this robust, vigorous young man today, we can see that that was indeed a substantial period of time, a long time ago.

In the interest of time, just jumping ahead here two decades to the 1990s, we have the Liberal Party endeavouring to balance the budget - endeavouring, I said - in the most Draconian of ways. I believe the medical workers, particularly nurses, as well as our hard-working and dedicated teachers, well remember the techniques employed. In the 1990s, the Liberal Party used the hard-working nurses and teachers as the lever to try to pry out a balanced budget here in Nova Scotia. To realize this goal, they closed 1,500 hospital beds, bought out about 800 nurses' contracts and nothing, zero, was sacred with that group then.

They rolled back dental care - check this out - for children from ages 13 to 9, something I might add that this government has rectified in our recent, balanced budget. Nova Scotia teachers, I believe most of them will remember wage freezes - I was a teacher then - and rollbacks and working for free. We had a name for that at the time, we work for free.

Nova Scotians will remember a time, under previous governments, when you were stripped of all your possessions when you entered long-term care and you paid $600 for an ambulance ride to the hospital. In case you're keeping track, if anybody is keeping track, it now costs $142.30 - a far cry from $600.

Madam Speaker, those were dark days, they were regressive days, they were Liberal and Tory days, and those days are over. A new dawn has arrived. In those dark times parents, if they had to take a child out of province for medical care, which was unavailable here in Nova Scotia, they had to find their own money for travel and accommodation. This created a huge hardship for many families and I'm very pleased to report that we changed this. I can further report that there is a family in Lunenburg West, living in my constituency, and in particular a lovely little girl who is very, very pleased that we made that change.

The Opposition Liberals have spent a lot of time in this House talking about insulin pumps and insulin pumps for children and this is an important health care innovation for folks with type 1 diabetes, a fact which does not escape me because of family circumstances. The Minister of Health and Wellness and all of my colleagues on this side of the House are aware of how important insulin pumps can be in stabilizing and controlling the delivery of insulin to diabetics. While the Liberals talk a good game on this issue, it is our government that made this come to pass. There is talk and there is action and I'm pleased, as are my constituents and all folks across our province, that we have been able to offer this significant health benefit to our citizens.

[Page 1014]

It takes money to deliver services. The former Finance Minister was often quoted as saying - and I think this is pretty much exactly what he said - if you want to talk to me about taxes, in the same conversation you have to talk to me about services. And that is because, as we all know, taxes pay for services. That's it, Madam Speaker, it takes money to deliver these services. Nova Scotians know this, at least the ones I talk to. They also know about the fiscal situation that pertains in the world, to which I alluded earlier, and they also know about the lamentable situation we inherited when we came into office, and they know that we are not immune to either of those things.

Now, Madam Speaker, our citizenry has played a major part in helping us get back to balance so that we can all do the things we need to do to make life better for Nova Scotians, like taking the HST off home heating and electricity; like taking the HST off children's clothing, footwear, and feminine hygiene products; and like putting into place all the health care supports mentioned earlier. Getting back to balance helped us on a number of other fronts too. It allowed us to increase ESIA payments by 22 per cent; put into place the Affordable Living Tax Credit for folks making less than $30,000; the Poverty Reduction Credit for people making less than $15,000; and it is why we have taken over 20,000 seniors off the provincial income tax rolls, making life easier for a most valuable sector of our population - those are the people who helped build Nova Scotia and make it what it is today.

Madam Speaker, that is what a government that has compassion does. That's what a government with foresight does. That's what a government with a plan does. Nova Scotians get that, they really do. It's not our style, not at all, to freeze wages, to roll back wages, to kill off collective agreements, create toll highways, close hospital beds, lay off nurses, punish teachers, build P3 schools, or borrow huge sums of money to pay down the debt. In the 2009 platform put forth by the Liberal Party, there was over $527 million worth of promises but no explanation as to how this would be paid for. I think most Nova Scotians know that as the fiasco called "What happened to Page 34?" That page could not be found, the money could not be found, and fortunately for all Nova Scotians, the votes could not be found so Nova Scotians didn't have to bear the burden of a government that was bereft of ideas and which had no notion of how to move us forward.

Madam Speaker, we have been told by Nova Scotians that they want to see us develop the rural economy. They don't want everything to be Halifax-centric. We agree and that is why we have embarked on a strategy to decentralize and move government departments to the regions. This is why we have relocated Agriculture to the Truro-Bible Hill area, Fisheries to Digby, Aquaculture to Shelburne, Tourism to Windsor, and the Maintenance and Enforcement sector of the Department of Justice to New Waterford.

[Page 1015]

We were opposed and criticized by the Opposition for doing that with these departments, and similarly we have been criticized by the Opposition for keeping decisions made about health care in the regions. Both Opposition Parties want to see the elimination of regional DHAs, and this is in spite of the fact that other jurisdictions have shown that this is not a move that saves money. It does result, though, in taking decisions on health care away from local boards, who really understand the problems best, and concentrates that decision making in a place like Halifax. Madam Speaker, that's a bad idea and it's not going to be something that we're going to be doing.

Madam Speaker, when we were elected in 2009, folks voted for a change. They wanted to see an end to stagnation. They wanted to eliminate the old swinging pendulum between the two old-style Parties. I'm pleased to say that Nova Scotians accomplished this. Both Opposition Parties in this House have opposed economic growth and good jobs. They criticized support for Port Hawkesbury, and workers in Queens and Lunenburg Counties, my area; are against the jobs from PROJEX and the analytics centre, the IBM jobs; and even criticized the shipbuilding contract - hard to believe but they did, very shameful in my opinion. We're not that group, we're quite different. It boggles my mind why this happened.

Now, the Leader of the Third Party is an accountant and a consultant, by his own admission. I don't know if he is a fancy pants consultant but he is a consultant. His gems of wisdom on how we should manage the economy are to reduce taxes and cut government spending. That's an old chestnut, been tried - been there, done that, doesn't work. That's obviously not the way to move forward.

All Nova Scotians have been part of making this work. Nova Scotians have been part of making our plan work. We're proud of all Nova Scotians, and we thank Nova Scotians for believing in the dream of a new day and turning the corner. Working together with all Nova Scotians, we will make our province a leader, not a follower, in the Canadian mosaic. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is carried.

[2:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Ms. Becky Kent in the Chair.]

[5:59 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Ms. Becky Kent in the Chair.]

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

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

[Page 1016]

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The adjournment motion was submitted by the honourable member for Glace Bay, which reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that in light of the evidence filed yesterday on the Maritime Link project being driven by both Nova Scotia Power and the NDP Government, the Premier extend the timeline for the hearing to ensure all Nova Scotians have time to examine the evidence in full detail to make certain this is the best deal for the province."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

ENERGY - MAR. LINK PROJ.: TIMELINE - EXTEND

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Madam Speaker, the House, of course, is well aware that a number of weeks ago many of the interveners in the current Maritime Link hearing had requested of the Premier that the timeline be extended for the review. On April 12th the minister sent a letter to the board indicating that he would refuse to do so, and in that letter he noted that he felt there was sufficient time, but acknowledged the fact that the board had, in fact, asked for whatever time they deem necessary for this review.

Since that time there have been a number of filings. Now one of the arguments the Premier and the minister have made over that time is that all the evidence was before the board, and of course they've used the comment that this project would be the lowest and fairest cost.

Yesterday was the deadline for evidence from interveners to be filed and, in fact, that included evidence from the Consumer Advocate, the Small Business Advocate, the board counsel and so forth. Every single one of the reports and studies filed by any intervener who filed evidence indicated that, to varying degrees, in fact, the numbers being used by Nova Scotia Power in the Dalton Report were incorrect, that they were inaccurately calculated and so forth.

Now, Madam Speaker, this is a significant finding and it's significant for a number of reasons: first of all, these are a number of internationally respected consultants working independently of one another, and so consultants who are working independently of one another who have all come to the same conclusion - that the government and Nova Scotia Power have inaccurately used information.

[Page 1017]

Now, for example, the Liberty auditors who have previously found problems with Nova Scotia Power found that Nova Scotia Power in all cases has overestimated the cost of gas; Synapse energy consultants who are internationally recognized and well used by the board and often quoted by this government, in fact found that the estimates on wind energy and on domestic energy and so forth are incorrect, and they found that in every single case the Maritime Link project was more expensive than other alternatives.

Specifically, they looked into the issue of what would happen if you spent money in Nova Scotia on made-in-Nova Scotia alternatives for renewable energy. They looked primarily at wind, but they also looked at other options and they found, much like some of the other consultants, that in every single case using Nova Scotia renewable energy and building on that supply was more reliable, more efficient, was cheaper for ratepayers, had greater security, greater long-term benefits and, of course, had economic benefits directly in Nova Scotia - and I think that's extremely important.

Then we look at the consultants hired by the Consumer Advocate and the Small Business Advocate, who worked independently of Synapse and they came to the exact same conclusions, that, in fact, they were quoted as saying that under every single circumstance that they tested the Maritime Link was the most expensive option, that Indigenous Wind was cheaper here. They found that in fact - perhaps I can find the exact quote, Madam Speaker - they found that the numbers that Nova Scotia Power and Emera used, the same numbers which the Dalton study used, in fact they said were torqued in such a way as to achieve the desired result. That's what they found - in fact they tested all kinds of different cases and they said that all over the place they overestimated it.

It's interesting that yesterday the province announced - the Minister of Energy put out a press release saying that we've actually added to this, we've had Dalton go back and do a study where he looked at 300 megawatts of power instead of 500, but the contract is only for 153 megawatts coming across the link. So the government is comparing 300 megawatts of imported and 300 megawatts of Indigenous Wind against 153 megawatt contract. That's apples and oranges right off the bat, and that's something that the Consumer Advocate's consultants noted was incorrect - that there was a falsehood in it. They noted that that was wrong, the Synapse people noted that that was wrong, and of course the consultants on behalf of the Canadian Wind Association also noted that that was a fallacy; which it is, of course.

This is a contract that is before the board for 153 megawatts. It's 165, is the reserved space on the line from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., whereas the government, even in their lowest-amount case scenario, have looked at 300 megawatts over a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week period, which isn't even what Emera is going to get on this line.

The evidence that was presented yesterday should be enough of a reason for the Premier to at least be willing to say to the board, okay, initially you asked us to give you as much time as you felt necessary to properly review the evidence. If the Premier and the Minister of Energy still firmly believe that the Maritime Link is the cheapest and best long-term option, then they should have no fear of giving whatever time the board independently decides is appropriate for review. That is what this is about. It's about being able to compare that information.

[Page 1018]

Yesterday all of these other international experts filed information which refutes the single expert that the Government of Nova Scotia has hired. The Premier in Question Period today still stands by that Dalton report. Fine. He's obviously entitled to stand by that report, but then he should allow for that to be reviewed and to find out and allow the fact that there's a very clear difference, because you have numerous experts, all working independently, who say that Dalton's study and Nova Scotia Power's numbers are wrong.

The Premier stands up and says there are four studies presented in favour of it. Well, three of them are by Nova Scotia Power and their consultants, and one of them is by the government. Even if we want to count studies versus studies, there were more independent ones filed yesterday that refute the numbers.

The important thing in this is time. The important thing is if the Premier and the government truly believe that their project - and their deal, more importantly - stands on its own merits, then they shouldn't be shrinking the amount of time. This is what happened in Newfoundland and Labrador. They took the amount of time, and they said the board wanted as much time as was necessary. The government said no, we're going to shrink that and limit it to six months. Fine. That was their choice, but that's what happened in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the board couldn't make a decision. The federal-provincial joint review decided it was not economic in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In the end, the government was forced to legislate the project against ratepayers. I'm sure this government doesn't want to have to do that here, so instead of making that mistake, allow the time to address the issues that have been raised by the consultants of the small business advocate and consumer advocate - consultants who the Premier and the Minister of Energy have previously said are among the best in the world. Now that they're speaking against this government's plan, they're not the best - oh, there are problems with their studies, and the government's study is better.

These are questions that deserve answers, and it's going to take time to go through them. The board should be able to independently determine how much time is necessary to review that. That is the single request in this, because as it stands now, every one of these studies is saying that building more renewable energy in Nova Scotia is cheaper, creates more jobs, is more economic, is better for ratepayers, and is actually the cheapest and fairest long-term power solution.

In fact, the Maritime Link doesn't meet any of those conditions. The board consultant was very clear when he was asked that direct question, and his answer was, no.

[Page 1019]

Madam Speaker, I would encourage the government to consider the fact that on April 12th, when the Minister of Energy wrote that letter, he obviously did not have access to this information. We understand that. He has access to it now. He has now seen these reports that were filed. He must at least be concerned enough on behalf of Nova Scotians to get to the bottom of it and find out why they reached the conclusions they did as independent, internationally-recognized consultants, all working independently of one another and coming to the same conclusion that Dalton is wrong and that Nova Scotia Power is wrong. They can't all have come independently to the same conclusions if there weren't a reason for that.

The Premier and the Minister of Energy need to give the time needed to make sure there's a proper review of this project. Thank you.

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

MR. MAT WHYNOTT « » : It's good to stand in my place, I'm sure the member for Dartmouth East will be heckling me the whole time I'm talking here. (Interruption) It's starting already.

Madam Speaker, I really do enjoy the opportunity to talk about energy security in this province. This is really about a generational change that is happening in this province. This is about a project that will bring energy security to our province, something we've never had before, and in fact this is green energy. What we're trying to do - and I've said many times in this Chamber - this is about creating an energy portfolio that is so diverse, it allows us to move forward with the idea that Nova Scotia is no longer lagging behind every other province in the country. We've done that in our energy policy in the past and we've been able to bring forward tools in this province so that we do have a more secure, a much more diverse amount of energy that we consume and that we produce in this province.

I'm proud to be standing on this side of the House with a government and a Party that actually puts a plan in place and sticks with it, Madam Speaker, and I say sticks with it because we consulted with Nova Scotians in the 2010 renewable electricity plan. It's a plan that was consulted with by many Nova Scotians, many sectors, and we recognized that there was a need for various sources of energy - wind, natural gas, tidal, hydroelectricity - and quite frankly, still in our mix for our future, unfortunately, we will still have coal, but we still need to reduce that.

So I said that we put a plan in place and we stuck with it. But do you know, Madam Speaker, what is interesting? What is interesting is that several times I have tabled this screen shot in this House and it was a screen shot of the Liberal Party's plan for energy and they are saying that it will reduce energy costs for Nova Scotians. We all know this is not true because if you actually look at the plan, it has nothing to do with, and actually won't reduce energy costs for Nova Scotians. In fact, the Liberals want to put the HST back on home energy.

[Page 1020]

But that being said, it's interesting because I've tabled that screen shot of the Liberal Party caucus Web site, but we have another screen shot that - actually when we called the Liberal Party out on their plan for Hydro-Québec, one week later they changed their Web site. We have a plan that we are sticking to and now the Liberal Party kind of just makes it up as they go along, hoping for the best. That's what I don't think Nova Scotians - that's not leadership.

For far too long we have had coal, dirty coal, international fossil fuel markets that have always played a role in our province and that's why, over the past many years, in particular the last seven years, coal has gone up by 75 per cent. No longer are we going to be seeing double-digit increases in our power rates. I remember when the Progressive Conservatives were in power, when Nova Scotia Power went to the URB and they asked for, I believe, a 12 per cent increase in 2007 - a 12 per cent increase and they got about a 10 per cent increase, I believe, in the end.

So we're talking now about allowing Nova Scotians to no longer see such dramatic increases in the cost of energy. If the Liberals had their way, the tax would still be on home electricity and home energy in this province - saving people, last year alone, over $100 million - over $100 million. So this is exactly the sort of thing that we know that they - you know, the Liberal Party is very incompetent in trying to create the question of how they would ever do anything in this province, because one thing we do know - and as many people have said in this House, we can judge the future by what happened in the past. What happened in the past was, at one point in history, when the province actually owned its power corporation, the Liberal Party moved from one fossil fuel to another. They went from oil and moved directly to coal.

I know that the Liberal Party right now is actually talking - they want to move us now from majority of coal, and all to natural gas - another example of moving us from one fossil fuel to the other. But you know, Madam Speaker, the other question we don't hear from the Liberal Party - the other answer we don't hear from the Liberal Party - is how are they going to meet the federal greenhouse gas emission targets? How are they going to meet it? That comes forward as a question that needs to be answered. Nova Scotians need to know where they stand. They need to know, Madam Speaker. All of us in this House, every Party in this House, does have an obligation - they have an obligation - to inform the public on where they stand on particular issues.

I'm proud to say that we have moved to a particular model of electricity generation, and we're continuing to move, so that we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and so that we can be a leader in this country. No longer will Nova Scotia be behind the pack. In fact, our Renewable Electricity Plan (Interruptions) You know, Madam Speaker, we will - and why do we have some of the highest rates? Why? Why do we have it? Because the Tories and the Liberals never had the guts to do anything about it - they never had the guts.

[Page 1021]

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to retract the comment related to guts. It's unparliamentary.

MR. WHYNOTT « » : Absolutely, Madam Speaker. I would be happy to retract that, and I will stand in my place at any time and defend my people, the people of Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville, on this government's energy policy and any other policy that we've brought forward.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Thank you very much. It's my pleasure to join in this evening's discussion around the issue of the Maritime Link and energy production in this province.

I did find it interesting though, listening to the previous member's comments when he was talking about coal - and it's a very dangerous discussion, really, because of course the Cape Breton members - the communities in and around Donkin all are coal-producing areas, with many residents who remember going down to the pits, and working very long and hard hours producing that kind of product for that kind of energy in this province. You know what - and we just finished up quite an interesting discussion with the Minister of Natural Resources, when he was talking about production of coal, how it's going to be needed for energy production going forward probably 25 years. So there is going to be a need for coal production and coal usage here in the province for many years to come.

Let's try to find the technology that is going to make it burn cleaner and better so that we can use a naturally-grown - or a locally-grown product, I guess, is really how you can put it. It is naturally available in Nova Scotia, so why not try to find a better opportunity to do that?

If we look at the energy that is being wasted in trying to ship that product from places like Venezuela or places from the Midwest, the energy cost of just getting it here is tremendously inefficient and dangerous, plus, as we look at our natural production or our clean source of production of energy in the province, what happens when our windmills aren't working? There has to be ramped-up coal production in order to produce the electricity that you and I need every day.

Do you know what? Because of the inefficiency of that, and coal-fired plants, we are inefficiently burning that coal and we are actually producing more greenhouse gases. So even though we are trying our best to be green, we are actually not helping ourselves out a whole lot on this one because those plants aren't made to be turned on and turned off at a whim. Madam Speaker, what we would really like to see sometime is a true analysis of energy requirements in this province that looks at the full mix. As much as this government and the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville say that this is the right thing to do, they are not looking at all the options, by any stretch of the imagination.

[Page 1022]

Why not look at the conversion of a number of our other plants to natural gas and try to find more natural, renewable sources to use? Why not try to put that kind of mix together that maybe brings down the use of coal a little bit? We all know that coal usage will have to continue well into the future.

Now to the issue at hand, as we talk about the Maritime Link and the duelling consultants - we have the government's consultants, the consultants for Nova Scotia Power, and now we have other consultants in groups interested in this project who are bringing all kinds of conflicting things forward. To me, what that means is that not everything is known or as easy as the Premier and his government, his Minister of Energy, have put forward over the last number of months as they talk about the Maritime Link.

URB's own consultant filed evidence that the Maritime Link project ". . . has not been demonstrated to be a definitive least-cost incremental supply resource for NSPI's system . . ." This, of course, is from the Synapse Energy Economics, Inc. and just to read that again - and this is from the third page, Summary Conclusions and Findings from that report - "Generally, our summary finding is that the Maritime Link project as proposed by NSPML as a contract supply arrangement for NSPI has not been demonstrated to be a definitive least-cost incremental supply resource for NSPI's system, in comparison to other options that seek to minimize the costs to obtain renewable energy needed to meet RES requirements . . ."

So here is the "consultant speak" all of a sudden coming forward that is speaking against the position that the government has put forward over the last year, or year and a half, as this project has been brought forward to us.

The Consumer Advocate that the member for Dartmouth East was talking about - you know, of course, my esteemed colleague, who does seem to live and breathe this whole file - of course, I didn't read all the documentation that he had stacked up on his desk, but as we hear it in the news, as we hear it in this House of Assembly, I think we all can form our own ideas and feelings on this project, that all is not known yet and more time is needed to review the process.

So the report from the Consumer Advocate and the Small Business Advocate, whose consultant wrote - and I will table that as well - "We fully refute the Applicant's assertion that the ML project represents the lowest cost alternative . . . The Applicant has based this assertion on very small, perhaps insignificant differences, between two very large numbers that represent the cost to serve Nova Scotia's load over the long-term."

A very dramatic difference in what the Premier has spoken about in Question Period, what I've heard from members of the government who have stood and spoken on this at different times in this House of Assembly, that this is the lowest cost alternative for Nova Scotia.

[Page 1023]

But we're hearing that it's not, and we're hearing that more time is needed to review this project - and what we continue to hear is that they're trying to push this forward. And I think what's happening here is the government continues to push this forward to try to get a positive recommendation from the URB before the polls before the writ is dropped in the Province of Nova Scotia.

The Consumer Advocate and the Small Business Advocate represent the ratepayers of Nova Scotia. This is something that this government should be doing, but it is not - it has represented its own interests, I think, and also the interests of Nova Scotia Power. Also, I found interesting in a lot of the documents that have been tabled over the last few days to the URB is that the consultant they hired to analyze this project, the URB consultant, wrote ". . . that the comparative analysis is over-simplistic, lacks robustness, and appears stacked to support the Applicant's desired outcome."

So why wouldn't you expect that from this government, that they're trying their best to sort of front-load the discussion so that they do get the outcome that they require, which is a positive approval on the Maritime Link project? I will table that - this is direct testimony from Richard Carlson, John Elder, and Richard Levitan. And was just a "Please summarize your analyses and conclusions." - and I'll read it again: "The Applicant purports to show that the ML project is superior to postulated alternatives in terms of net present value ('NVP') to Nova Scotia customers. We will demonstrate that the comparative analysis is over-simplistic, lacks robustness, and appears stacked to support the Applicant's desired outcome." So I will, again, table that one.

Really what this means as I wrap this one up already is that this is, Madam Speaker, a 35-year decision. So as much as the Premier wants a decision on this, a decision that will be in his favour, it will be in the favour of Nova Scotia Power. This is a 35-year decision that probably, from everything that we've seen at this point, is not best for the ratepayers. This is a higher cost than what we've been told over the last number of months. This is a $1.5 billion decision, and rising, as this continues to go on. It's not just affecting us today as we discuss it, really you know for those of us who were in the House today this will affect us very little as this continues to be discussed. Should they do get the positive run on it, by the time construction is done and all of that, this will affect the next generation of Nova Scotians in rates.

There are other options is what we've been saying all along on this one. Prove to us that this is the best alternative and the best rate for Nova Scotians and we will support it, but we have not been able to see that from this government at all. Again, it's going to affect two generations of Nova Scotians but, of course, this government, the NDP, tied the hands of the board and tried to jam this review into six months. We've been told time and time again that that is not going to happen. The URB is being put in a very tough position by the NDP's heavy-handed way of pushing this one through, of putting this megaproject through without the proper scrutiny. So the proper scrutiny needs to be . . .

[Page 1024]

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable member's time has expired.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[6:30 p.m. The House resolved itself into CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Ms. Becky Kent in the Chair.]

[7:15 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Ms. Becky Kent in the Chair.]

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

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

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, that ends the government's business for today. I move that the House do now rise to meet from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. tomorrow. After the daily routine will be Committee of the Whole House on Supply and after that, if time permits, Public Bills for Second Reading, quite possibly Bill Nos. 36, 37, 42 and 51. I move the House do now rise.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is to adjourn.

Is it agreed?

[Page 1025]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 7:17 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 1026]

RESOLUTION NO. 460

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 den Haan family of Lawrencetown have been a pillar of the Annapolis Valley agricultural community for nearly five decades; and

Whereas the den Haan Greenhouses received the prestigious Loblaw Vendor Development Partnership Award in Moncton last week; and

Whereas the family business has been at the forefront of innovation and sustainability for more than 10 years, using greenhouses to produce local crops and working to ensure a strong industry into the future;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly send congratulations and continued success to the family and staff at den Haan Greenhouses.

RESOLUTION NO. 461

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 Ballet Jorgen Canada returns to Halifax with a week of local programming, including the premiere of its new 25th Anniversary production of Swan Lake; and

Whereas this new production showcases the extraordinary beauty of traditional ballet and is reimagined in the picturesque landscape of Cape Breton's Fortress of Louisbourg; and

Whereas auditions are held and local performers are included in each performance of Swan Lake as it travels across Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Truro Dance Academy students Mari Budgey, Sarah Fougere, Emily Fultz, Haley Haner, and Reann Post for being selected and having the opportunity to perform with Ballet Jorgen Canada.

RESOLUTION NO. 462

[Page 1027]

By: Ms. Kelly Regan « » (Bedford-Birch Cove)

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

Whereas the child care company Kids & Co. has opened a location in Bedford; and

Whereas Kids & Co. is a corporate-sponsored child care firm that works with companies to provide unique child care options like no late fees and guaranteed emergency backup child care, as well as services like in-home elder care, nanny care, and meals-to-go; and

Whereas Kids & Co. offers flexible, guaranteed access to child care for corporations that support a healthy work/life balance for their employees, thereby attracting and retaining talented employees;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kids & Co. for establishing its newest location.

RESOLUTION NO. 463

By: Mr. Allan MacMaster « » (Inverness)

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

Whereas Lauren van Zutphen began her path of academic excellence while attending Bayview Education Centre and Dalbrae Academy; and

Whereas Lauren began her post-secondary education at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus last fall and was recently named to the Dean's List; and

Whereas Lauren not only pursues excellence in academics but also in sports and 4-H, representing Nova Scotia at the provincial and national levels and becoming a true student leader;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly acknowledge Lauren van Zutphen for her achievements and for being one of Nova Scotia's leaders of tomorrow.

RESOLUTION NO. 464

[Page 1028]

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau « » (Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Woods Harbour resident Darrell Stoddard has been chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year by the Municipality of Barrington for 2013; and

Whereas Darrell Stoddard, who is a founding member of the Woods Harbour Volunteer Fire Department, has dedicated 46 years of service to the department as well as other community groups over the years, including the Woods Harbour Community Centre and the Young at Hearts New Horizons, where he has contributed many handy-man hours; and

Whereas Darrell Stoddard was one of the many volunteers from across Nova Scotia who was recognized for their outstanding contributions at the 39th Annual Provincial Volunteer Awards ceremony on April 15, 2013, in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Woods Harbour resident Darrell Stoddard for being chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year for the Municipality of Barrington for 2013.

RESOLUTION NO. 465

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau « » (Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Dawn DeMings-Taylor has been chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Lockeport; and

Whereas Dawn DeMings-Taylor, who was born and raised in the seaside town, has been an active volunteer since her high school days, helping out each year with organizing the July 1st celebrations, as well as various other events, programs and fundraisers in the community; and

Whereas Dawn DeMings-Taylor was one of the many volunteers from across Nova Scotia who was recognized for their outstanding contributions at the 39th Annual Provincial Volunteer Awards ceremony on April 15, 2013, in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Lockeport resident Dawn DeMings-Taylor, who has been chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Lockeport for 2013.

[Page 1029]

RESOLUTION NO. 466

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau « » (Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas lifelong Clark's Harbour resident Della Smith has been chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Clark's Harbour; and

Whereas Della Smith, who is described as a very kind and considerate individual and dedicated community volunteer, has been actively involved in her hometown most of her life, volunteering to help wherever needed in many programs and events; and

Whereas Della Smith was one of the many volunteers from across Nova Scotia who was recognized for their outstanding contributions at the 39th Annual Provincial Volunteer Awards ceremony on April 15, 2013, in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Clark's Harbour resident Della Smith, who has been chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Clark's Harbour for 2013.

RESOLUTION NO. 467

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau « » (Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Sandy Point resident Ellen Nickerson has been chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year for the Municipality of Shelburne for 2013; and

Whereas Ellen Nickerson, who is described as an excellent neighbour and friend, has been active in her community for many years, volunteering her time and talents to numerous community groups and organizations; and

Whereas Ellen Nickerson was one of the many volunteers from across Nova Scotia who was recognized for their outstanding contributions at the 39th Annual Provincial Volunteer Awards ceremony on April 15, 2013, in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Sandy Point resident Ellen Nickerson, who has been chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year for the Municipality of Shelburne for 2013.

[Page 1030]

RESOLUTION NO. 468

By: Hon. Sterling Belliveau « » (Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture)

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

Whereas Shelburne resident Gloria Corbett has been chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Shelburne; and

Whereas Gloria Corbett, who is described as an inspiration to others, has contributed outstanding service over the past 14 years to the Shelburne Loyalist Food Bank and its predecessor, the Pantry Shelf; and

Whereas Gloria Corbett was one of the many volunteers from across Nova Scotia who was recognized for their outstanding contributions at the 39th Annual Provincial Volunteer Awards ceremony on April 15, 2013, in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Shelburne resident Gloria Corbett, who has been chosen as the Representative Volunteer of the Year for the Town of Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 469

By: Mr. Leo Glavine « » (Kings West)

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

Whereas Esther Chute was born 100 years ago on April 18th, and is a lady who continues to live a full and vibrant life; and

Whereas Esther was selected as Berwick's Volunteer of the Year in 2011 for a lifetime of volunteering, her commitment remains strong with Anglican Church events, the South Berwick Women's Institute, Rebekah Lodge, and the South Berwick Community Club; and

Whereas Esther Chute keeps young by square dancing with the Bells and Beaus, being a DRO in last October's municipal elections, and by participating in the Great Canadian Hair Do to raise funds for the Terry Fox Foundation by colouring her hair pink;

[Page 1031]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Esther Chute on her 100th birthday and extend best wishes for continued good health.