Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD13-24

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

TUESDAY, APRIL 30, 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Nat. Res. - Bowater Mersey Lands: Forest Roads - Opened,
1664
SNSMR: Consumer Protection Act - Cellphones - Contracts,
1667
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1036, Can. Jobs Grant: Atl. Can. Growth - Concerns,
1670
Vote - Affirmative
1671
Res. 1037, Correctional Services Wk. (05/05 - 05/11/13)
- Proclamation Support, Hon. R. Landry »
1672
Vote - Affirmative
1672
Res. 1038, Intl. Union of Painters & Allied Trades - Peggy's Point
Lighthouse: Maintenance - Recognize, Hon. P. Paris »
1673
Vote - Affirmative
1673
Res. 1039, CCH - "Expedition: Arctic": Organizers - Thank,
1673
Vote - Affirmative
1674
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 67, Elections Act,
1674
No. 68, Firefighter Licence Plates Act,
1674
No. 69, Statute Amendments (2013) Act,
1674
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1040, Richmond's Preliminary Team: STARSkate/Season
- Congrats., Hon. M. Samson »
1675
Vote - Affirmative
1675
Res. 1041, Myles, Leanne: Anti-Bullying Camp - Success Wish,
1676
Vote - Affirmative
1676
Res. 1042, Ternoway, Mrs. Sandy, et al: Volunteering
1676
Vote - Affirmative
1677
Res. 1043, Deveau, Trysten - Cdn. Natl. Karate Championships:
Medals - Congrats., Hon. W. Gaudet »
1677
Vote - Affirmative
1678
Res. 1044, Peters, Coady: Culinary Achievement - Congrats.,
1678
Vote - Affirmative
1679
Res. 1045, Friends of First Lake: Efforts - Acknowledge,
1679
Vote - Affirmative
1679
Res. 1046, Shellnutt, Bill (Deceased): Prov. Contribution
- Recognize, Hon. K. Colwell »
1679
Vote - Affirmative
1680
Res. 1047, Mahaney, Donald/Thurber, Gary/Nickerson, Thomas/ Hennigar, Thomas
- Medal of Bravery: Nominations - Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont »
1680
Vote - Affirmative
1681
Res. 1048, Applewicks: Anna. Valley C of C - Congrats.,
1681
Vote - Affirmative
1682
Res. 1049, Bigney, Nehalem: Dreams Take Flight Trip - Congrats.,
1682
Vote - Affirmative
1682
Res. 1050, Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal: Abbass, Fr. Paul
- Congrats., Mr. K. Bain « »
1683
Vote - Affirmative
1683
Res. 1051, Walsh, Martin: Death of - Tribute,
1683
Vote - Affirmative
1684
Res. 1052, Benno Group/Bedford United Church/N.S. Gambia Assoc.:
Overseas Exchange - Congrats., Ms. K. Regan »
1684
Vote - Affirmative
1685
Res. 1053, Beaton, Carol: Retirement - Congrats.,
1685
Vote - Affirmative
1686
Res. 1054, Bower, PO 1st Class Evan: Commander Cdn. Fleet Atl
Commendation - Congrats., Hon. S. Belliveau »
1686
Vote - Affirmative
1686
[GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:]
Res. 1055, EI Prog.: Changes - Suspend,
1687
Vote - Affirmative
1688
[NOTICES OF MOTION:]
Res. 1056, Hart, Bernie - Computers for Schools Prog.:
Dedication - Gratitude Express, Mr. A. Younger »
1688
Vote - Affirmative
1688
Res. 1057, Smith, Olga: Inverness Vol. Spirit - Recognize,
1689
Vote - Affirmative
1689
Res. 1058, Atl. Premiers: Co-operation - Commend,
1689
Vote - Affirmative
1690
Res. 1059, Landry, Heidi: Sobey Bus. Award - Congrats.,
1690
Vote - Affirmative
1691
Res. 1060, Kelderman, Dianne/N.S. Co-operative Coun.: Progress
Innovation Award - Congrats., Ms. L. Zann »
1691
Vote - Affirmative
1692
Res. 1061, Hakings, Elizabeth/Huynh, Rosalyn - Terry Fox Fdn.:
Fundraising - Congrats., Ms. D. Whalen »
1692
Vote - Affirmative
1692
Res. 1062, Deveau, Tyler: Cdn. Natl. Karate Championships (2013)
Medal - Congrats., Hon. W. Gaudet « »
1692
Vote - Affirmative
1693
Res. 1063, Rouse, Jamie & Fran/Team - Boondocks: Investment
- Thank, Ms. B. Kent »
1693
Vote - Affirmative
1694
Res. 1064, MacPhee, Al: Commitment/Humanitarian Efforts
- Recognize, Hon. K. Colwell « »
1694
Vote - Affirmative
1695
Res. 1065, Koeder, Leah: Work Ethic - Recognize,
1695
Vote - Affirmative
1696
Res. 1066, Big Brothers Big Sisters - Anniv. (100th),
1696
Vote - Affirmative
1697
Res. 1067, EI Changes: Prem./Atl. Premiers - Stance Support,
1697
Vote - Affirmative
1697
Res. 1068, Prince Andrew HS Band/Audio Recording Class:
Long & McQuade Award - Congrats., Mr. A. Younger « »
1698
Vote - Affirmative
1698
Res. 1069, Reg. Co-operation: N.S./Atl. Can. Economy
- Importance, Mr. B. Skabar »
1698
Vote - Affirmative
1699
Res. 1070, Brown, Philip - World Special Olympics (2013):
Representation - Congrats., Mr. J. Morton »
1699
Vote - Affirmative
1700
Res. 1071, Welldon, Christine: Book Publication - Congrats.,
1700
Vote - Affirmative
1701
Res. 1072, Fusion Gallant Team U-14 Volleyball Provincials
- Congrats., Mr. Z. Churchill »
1701
Vote - Affirmative
1701
Res. 1073, EI Changes: Prem./Atl. Premiers - Support,
1702
Vote - Affirmative
1702
Res. 1074, Fusion Lesser/Stewart Team U-14 Volleyball
Provincials - Congrats., Mr. Z. Churchill « »
1702
Vote - Affirmative
1703
Res. 1075, Big Brothers Big Sisters - Area Valley Commun.:
Contributions - Recognize, Hon. R. Jennex « »
1703
Vote - Affirmative
1704
Res. 1076, Bantam AA Female Halifax Hawks: Season
- Congrats., Ms. D. Whalen « »
1704
Vote - Affirmative
1705
Res. 1077, Aucoin, Blake/Guichon, Nancy - Shangri-la Cottages:
Accommodation - Award, Hon. J. MacDonell « »
1705
Vote - Affirmative
1705
Res. 1078, Deinstadt, Darren: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee
Scholarship & Medal - Congrats., Mr. J. Belliveau
1706
Vote - Affirmative
1706
Res. 1079, Young, Doris: Pictou Vol. of Yr. (2013)
- Congrats., Hon. C. Parker »
1706
Vote - Affirmative
1707
Res. 1080, Jamieson, Evelyne: Commun. Dedication - Congrats.,
1707
Vote - Affirmative
1708
Res. 1081, Mason, Kirsti: Ringette Gold Medal - Congrats.,
1708
Vote - Affirmative
1709
Res. 1082, Privateer Squadron Air Cadet 545 - Aurora Cup (2013):
Efforts - Congrats., Ms. V. Conrad « »
1709
Vote - Affirmative
1709
Res. 1083, Eisener, Bandmaster Wendell/Musicians
- Well Wishes - Mr. G. Ramey « »
1709
Vote - Affirmative
1710
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 204, Prem. - Revenue Projections: Optimism - Explain,
1711
No. 205, Prem. - Bus. Optimism: Dive - Explain,
1712
No. 206, Prem. - Energy Future: NSP - Responsibility,
1714
No. 207, Fin. - Revenue Spike: Projection - Explain,
1715
No. 208, EECD - Cyberbullying Task Force:
Recommendation Nos. 66 & 67 - Adopt, Mr. E. Orrell »
1717
No. 209, Energy - Consumer Advocate: Statement - Veracity,
1719
No. 210, Energy - Mar. Link: Review Time - Extend,
1721
No. 211, Fin.: Film Tax Credit - Plan,
1722
No. 212, Health & Wellness: Nursing Homes - Staffing Rules,
1724
No. 213, Prem. - Wait Times: Funding - Disbursement,
1725
No. 214, Fin. - Budget Misrepresentation: Info - Transparency,
1727
No. 215, Health & Wellness: Long-Term Care Placement - C.B. Stats
1728
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 66, Mariners' Day Act
1730
1732
1734
1736
1741
1745
1752
1753
1755
1756
1758
1760
1761
1762
1765
1766
1767
Vote - Affirmative
1767
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 5:06 P.M
1768
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 5:15 P.M
1768
CWH REPORTS
1768
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
EI: Changes - Oppose,
1769
1773
1775
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., May 1st at 2:00 p.m
1776
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1084, RCL Br. 038 - Dominion Cribbage Championship (2013):
Hosting - Congrats., Ms. V. Conrad « »
1777
Res. 1085, Millwood HS - "Everybody Dyes": Jr. Achievement
Prog. - Congrats., Mr. M. Whynott »
1777
Res. 1086, Mallette, Peter: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
1778
Res. 1087, Martyn, Peter & Debra - Cuso Intl.: Vol. Work
- Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
1778
Res. 1088, Brouwer, Matt: Musical Successes - Congrats.,
1779
Res. 1089, Brown, David: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee
Medal - Congrats., Mr. J. Boudreau « »
1779

[Page 1663]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, APRIL 30, 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, I just want to remind all members that Richard (Buzz) Gero, who has been employed in multiple positions during numerous sessions, most recently as a parking lot attendant over the last few years, has been the site supervisor's go-to guy when the Province House Commissionaires require temporary and short replacements for all of the various duties performed by his staff.

The Corps of Commissionaires headquarters has deemed it necessary to employ Buzz elsewhere, as of the first of May, although it doesn't mean that he won't return in the future. His willingness to be available at any time and at any short notice will be a resource hard to replace. I'll let you know that Richard is finished here today as our Commissionaire in the parking lot. Thank you.

1663

Before we get into the daily routine, I will read the subject matter for late debate:

[Page 1664]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly stand against the drastic and misguided changes to employment insurance being pushed by the Harper Conservative Government, which threaten to negatively impact workers and communities across Nova Scotia.

This was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday this government opened the main forest roads on the former Bowater Mersey lands. (Applause) These are lands that the province purchased last year, following Bowater's announcement that it was closing the mill in Liverpool. As Crown lands, they belong to all Nova Scotians, and yesterday we opened about 1,700 kilometres of roads on those lands.

Nova Scotians have always had access to these lands. They could hike on them or kayak the waterways, but Bowater had restricted the road access. At the same time, we recognize that Nova Scotians want to preserve those lands - all Crown lands - for economic, social, and environmental reasons, and for the enjoyment of their children and grandchildren for many years to come.

Tony Rodgers, the executive director of the Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters, had this to say yesterday: "We're very pleased that the province has decided to open the gates on the former Bowater forest roads. Better road access to the land is something we've been hoping to see for a long time, and it will greatly improve opportunities for fishing and safe hunting."

Mike Marriott, the president of the Safety Minded ATV Association, said, "With this expanded access will come much responsibility. These public lands, available for public use, will require everyone to respect them as we do our own properties, and to use them responsibly, safety, and leave the areas as we found them." Mr. Marriott also said, "What a legacy to leave our kids, who now will have the opportunity to carry on with preserving this jewel of Nova Scotia for future generations."

Speaking as a mother, Mr. Speaker, that is my vision as well. As many members know, there are ecologically-sensitive areas within these lands. Some are home to mainland moose, and others are home to various species of plants, flowers, and wildlife. We have worked closely with partners such as the Ecology Action Centre and other environmental advocacy groups, and with organizations who were seeking greater access to the lands.

[Page 1665]

We believe that we have been able to strike the necessary balance - protecting those tracts of land that need protection, and giving all Nova Scotians a chance to see vast parts of this province that are virtually in their natural state.

The Department of Natural Resources conservation officers, working with the Safety Minded ATV group, will ensure that vehicles stay on the roadbeds and that they do not venture off-road, which would negatively impact others' enjoyment of these areas.

We have posted signs on roads and access points that offer contact information which citizens can use to call in authorities if they see any abuse taking place - at no time would we want anyone to intervene on their own, as this is a job that's left to our conservation officers and other law enforcement agencies.

Yesterday's announcement was a timely one as Nova Scotians are getting ready to get out and enjoy all that our wonderful province has to offer in the weeks and months ahead. I had the privilege to speak on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources and officially open the gates and, as I said yesterday, the lands now belong to Nova Scotians - and it is important to us economically, environmentally, and socially. The lakes, streams and woods on this land were always accessible on foot or by paddling and we are now providing road access to vehicles, so long as they stay on the road. Thank you very much. Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the minister for the advance copy of her statement. We certainly support the opening of those roads to ATVs in the former Bowater lands, and it's interesting because opening the roads will allow that access, it'll allow better access for hunters, better access for people in the winter with snowmobiles - I assume this covers snowmobiles and so forth.

It's interesting to me that this access is being opened on existing roadways within that preserve, which is exactly what we've asked the minister to clarify when it comes to the protected lands under the Protected Areas. That same provision which the minister just spoke so highly of and just had quoted Tony Rogers and so forth speaking about, seems to not apply when it comes to other protected areas and existing roads in this province or lands that the province owns; in fact, quite the opposite - we hear from hunters and anglers and people like Mr. Rogers that the province has been closing roads which had been open to access from those users.

[Page 1666]

We certainly applaud this. We think this is the right move to make on these lands, to open these existing roads and at the same time we think that it does allow the protection of the sensitive areas by ensuring that they do not go off-highway. Just as we've asked in estimates and in Question Period, and just as those organizations have asked, we wonder why the same does not apply to the other lands the province has.

This would also be a good time for the minister responsible to reconsider the elimination of the 12 enforcement officers for off-highway vehicles which, obviously, as we open more land like this those officers would do well. I think Nova Scotians will remember the vast majority of ATV riders as well as the vast majority of outdoor enthusiasts in general (Interruptions) You know, Mr. Speaker, we listened quite politely when the minister gave her statement and I'm sure the government would like to listen politely to our thoughts on this.

Let me just say that this would be a time for the government to reconsider the elimination of those positions because I think they will become more important and, as well, to reconsider their elimination of the off-highway vehicle advisory committee which also would be of benefit as we move forward and try and work collaboratively with these organizations.

We do support the announcement to open these roads, but again we hope the minister - and the ministers in question - will address the same questions that exists on lands which the province has already had under its control that people, including some of those quoted by this very minister, have raised on other lands. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I also thank the minister for the advance copy of the speech. Access, of course, is extremely important for sportspeople, enthusiasts, those kinds of folks. When it comes to the Bowater lands, of course the Bowater lands are a part of my constituency of Argyle and it flows all the way up to the minister's constituency along that South Shore.

For many months now, as that purchase happened, many groups have been knocking on our doors - and the Minister of Environment and I had a little bit of a discussion during estimates about that access. What used to happen when Bowater had the ownership of that land is, of course, keys were available to individuals so they could actually go and unlock those gates and get to either their pieces of land - their favorite lake, their inholding, or whatever it happened to be in that area. This is the one step further than providing keys to everybody - simply opening up those gates.

I do need to thank the Federation of Anglers & Hunters for lobbying and making sure that sporting groups across the province did present to the open houses as the government was looking for opportunities for these new properties. I think without their work maybe things might have been different but I think we're at the right place today.

[Page 1667]

My final comment on this one simply is the minister who made the presentation here today. I know the Minister of Environment is working really hard, the Minister of DNR is working really hard, but being those two ministers responsible for it, I wonder why the Minister of Community Services made that presentation - except that an MLA from the South Shore should be talking about these things just so that they are important and they're understood for the next election. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. JOHN MACDONELL « » : Mr. Speaker, last year, almost exactly one year ago today, this government introduced amendments to the Consumer Protection Act to protect Nova Scotians when they enter into cellphone contracts. I stand here today to remind members of this House, and all Nova Scotians, that as of tomorrow, May 1st, we will have access to clearer, fairer, cellphone contracts in this province. (Applause)

As of tomorrow, Mr. Speaker, cellphone contracts will have to clearly spell out the details of the agreement which will help families and individuals choose the plan that's right for them. There will be no automatic renewal, rollover, or extensions of contracts. When a person renews, extends, or signs a new contract on or after May 1, 2013, unless that person tells the cellphone company to extend or renew it, that contract will expire at the end of its term. As of May 1st, cellphone companies will have to provide information about minimum monthly costs, and for example, advertisement for cellphone plans will need to state the minimum monthly cost, not just the introductory rate.

Cellphone service providers will not be able to change major parts of the contract without their customer's permission. Any changes involving services, costs, fees, or locations where the phone can be used must be agreed to by both the consumer and the cellphone company. In addition, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia consumers will be able to cancel their cellphone contracts at any time. There will be clear formulas for calculating the cancellation fees but the fee for cancelling just the cellphone contract will not cost more than $50.

Nova Scotians told us they felt trapped by long contracts that they couldn't end without huge financial penalties, and I know exactly how they feel, I felt trapped too. This legislation will ensure Nova Scotians have access to cellphone contracts that clearly spell out the details of their agreement and that will help them choose the plan that is best for them and their families.

Mr. Speaker, protecting Nova Scotians in the digital world isn't just about ensuring cellphone contracts are clear and fair. We also introduced legislation that supports responsible digital citizenship to help educate Nova Scotians on how they can keep themselves safe from the devastating effects of cyberbullying. While bullying is nothing new, cellphones have brought bullying activities to a new level allowing people to remain anonymous when they send harassing or humiliating messages. This sense of "no one knows it's me" can make it easier for people to be more hurtful and say things they normally would not say to someone's face.

[Page 1668]

We've seen first-hand the damage these hurtful and cowardly activities have had on Nova Scotia families. Cyberbullying is one of the greatest dangers facing Nova Scotians in the digital world. Promoting responsible cellphone use is another way the province is working to protect the families in this province. Cellphone providers agree; Eastlink CEO Lee Bragg has said, "As a provider of Internet and cellular phone services, we believe that education on the responsible use of communications technology is necessary if Canadians are to put a stop to cyberbullying. Eastlink is pleased to make the province's information sheet and other educational information available in our stores and on our website."

Protecting Nova Scotians from harmful effects of cyberbullying is a responsibility we all share. It's great to see cellphone providers like Eastlink step up and work with us to help make this province a safer place for all residents, especially our children. We are committed to making life better for families in Nova Scotia and we want to help protect our youth from the devastating effects of cyberbullying. We also want Nova Scotians to stay connected with fair, clear, cellphone contracts. When this legislation takes effect tomorrow, we will do exactly that. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the minister for advance notice of the statement. The changes to the Consumer Protection Act took place last Spring in Bill No. 65 on April 27, 2012. The bill speaks to contracts and fees for cellphones. The statement the minister indicated today said there are clear formulas for calculating the cancellation of the fees. Unfortunately, he did not provide that today but he did indicate that it would be a $50 maximum fee for cancelling a cellphone, so it's two separate items that are in this statement.

This bill did not speak to cyberbullying. The minister is trying to tie the two together from the bill last year on fees and cancelling contracts and the bill last year on cyber safety. Last year the NDP introduced a bill called the Promotion of Respectful and Responsible Relationships Act, Bill No. 30 on April 18, 2012.

The Liberal caucus tried to amend the bill in Law Amendments Committee. Our changes would have allowed school boards to alert Internet and cell providers about cyberbullying so that the companies themselves could judge breach of contracts based on user agreements. These amendments were voted down by the NDP majority and we can see the result of that today as the government scrambles now to try and recuperate from not taking appropriate action from studies that were done in the past that they commissioned.

[Page 1669]

Speaking to the changes in the cellphone contract rules, more clarity is required and it is good for customers so I commend the government for doing at least that small thing. There's still more to be done, especially when it comes to addressing the concerns of people who had automatic contracts arranged with their providers. There are many other amendments that should be made in the cellphone business, such as the expiry of minutes on a prepaid cellphone. There's a $2 fee charged for people who get a paper bill for cellphones, rather than get them on the Internet. A lot of people who don't have computers can't get their bills that way so it's a big cost to individuals who can least afford it.

Again, I'd like to thank the minister for the statement. I'm a bit concerned with trying to tie the cyberbullying into this bill, which it has nothing to do with, and with those few words I'll take my seat.

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

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I was recently speaking with a friend of mine who visited India and he was telling me that the cost to use a cellphone in India right now is $2 a month, which is quite amazing. No doubt, because of the volume of people over the area of geography that it covers, there's certainly economies of scale in India. I think that consumer protection is something that is important when we think about cellphones and smart phones, of course just about everybody has one today and it consumes a tremendous amount of the monthly budget for most people as well, especially if you have more than one in your household. I know parents now with children who have them, in some cases they might be paying four phone bills in a month.

Mr. Speaker, I know there's also an issue of cell coverage in the province, and I know in my area, and in many other members' areas, cell coverage is an issue, and the federal government does collect money through spectrum auctions. In some countries and some jurisdictions, that revenue has been used to help subsidize cell coverage towers - cell towers to cover areas that don't have great coverage to begin with. Of course, if we look back to when telephones first came out, as I understand it, part of the means by which they were distributed was a requirement that telephones be not just connected in the cities, but also anywhere anyone wanted to have one. So in effect, through regulation, rural areas were subsidized. I think that was a good thing, because as we know, we all depend on telephones.

So I guess the point I make there is just that there may be some potential down the road where we can have better cell coverage in this province by using some of those revenues that are collected through the spectrum auction. We know there are millions and billions of dollars that are collected to give those companies access to the spectrum.

I did hear some concerns when this legislation was originally brought forward, and I know we in this corner of the House certainly agree with the need for consumer protection and measures designed to protect the consumer. When I hear "clear, fairer cellphone contracts," that sounds good to me.

[Page 1670]

One concern that I do recall was with the changes that will be implemented with this legislation: when a contract ends, there's automatic cut-off, I believe. That was a concern raised because there might be some people who, for whatever reason, don't decide to renew their contract, but do intend to. They might find that they are actually cut off. So I know we have to balance that with people who may not renew nor intend to renew, but who are renewed automatically, as it stands now. That is one concern I just want to raise.

Posting minimum monthly costs, requiring that there be no major changes to fees, or cancelling any time - those are good things. I do know that a lot of the reasons why we have these long-term contracts are because phone companies are using an incentive for people to buy a new phone, by which they don't have to pay anything for the phone and thus they sign into the long-term contract. I know there may be ways that companies have used that to keep out competition, but it is a feature that I know consumers do appreciate, and I've used it myself.

Finally, I want to mention something about cyberbullying. It is good to see that we're promoting the information and encouraging companies like EastLink, as the minister mentioned, who are in agreement with this, to ensure that people are using cellphones and smartphones responsibly. I think that is a good thing, and it is good to see that we have a piece of legislation. Of course, we introduced a piece of legislation on cyberbullying, to give law enforcement the tools they need, whether it is to confiscate cellphones from people who are using them for inappropriate purposes - so we see that legislation coming forth, and we hope that our encouragement has had something to do with that. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will conclude my remarks.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1036

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

Whereas the Atlantic Canadian Premiers yesterday announced through the Atlantic Workforce Partnership to harmonize apprenticeship programs across the region and deliver on-line training to small- and medium-sized businesses, which will make the region a national leader in the delivery of critical skills training; and

Whereas the progress of the AWP is further evidence of the responsiveness of the Atlantic Provinces to their labour market needs and job training, an area of provincial responsibility, and Atlantic Canadian governments will need to consider if the program meets the needs of the provincial economies and labour markets, and whether provinces will participate in the program or opt out with full compensation, as in other areas of provincial jurisdiction; and

[Page 1671]

Whereas there are widespread concerns among the small and medium-sized businesses regarding the announced Canada Jobs Grant, in particular the proposal to redirect $300 million of the $500 million allocation from provincial programming supported by labour market agreements to the Canada Jobs Grant, thereby reducing the range of programming for skills and labour market development presently delivered by the provinces;

Therefore be it resolved that the recent unilateral decisions of the federal government regarding skills training, and employment supports, including changes to labour market agreements and the proposed Canada Jobs Grant, raise considerable concerns for the future of economic growth and prosperity of Atlantic 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.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

MR. SPEAKER « » : Most certainly.

MR. LANDRY « » : I would like to draw your attention to the east gallery, where we have with us today some of our highly dedicated and professional correctional services staff: Bill Smith, executive director of Correctional Services; Wayne Stewart, manager, Policy and Programs; Catherine Richards, manager, Policy and Programs; Christopher Collett, regional manager; Janis Aitken, senior probation officer; Dan Ray, senior probation officer; Corey Greek, probation officer; Chris Dixon, captain; Paul Dorrington, captain; David Leddicote, correctional officer; and Santina Hart, administrative assistant. I would ask that the Correctional Services staff receive the warm welcome of this House. (Applause)

[Page 1672]

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 1037

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

Whereas May 5-11, 2013, is National Correctional Services Week and provides an opportunity to acknowledge the dedication of hundreds of Nova Scotians who work in the field of corrections to make a difference in our society; and

Whereas correctional services probation officers, youth workers, correctional officers, support and management staff, community partners, and volunteers administer and operate community and custody-based programs and services for adult offenders and young persons; and

Whereas those who work in this challenging field are highly trained and skilled in working with some of our most troubled citizens;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support the proclamation of May 5-11, 2013, as National Correctional Services Week in the province and recognize all those who work in this very important field.

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 Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

RESOLUTION NO. 1038

[Page 1673]

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

Whereas the Peggy's Point Lighthouse is one of Nova Scotia's premier tourist destinations, welcoming over 500,000 visitors each year and supporting our valuable tourism industry; and

Whereas last year the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades collaborated with the provincial and federal governments and tourism partners to paint the Peggy's Point Lighthouse in time for the summer tourism season; and

Whereas the union is committed to maintaining our icon and will touch up the paint in time for the 2013 tourism season;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize and celebrate the community spirit shown by the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in helping to maintain one of our provincial treasures and keep it looking good for everyone who will visit Peggy's Point Lighthouse this summer.

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. 1039

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 Maritime Museum of the Atlantic helps Nova Scotians build an appreciation of our marine history, what we have accomplished and experienced as a people, our triumphs and tragedies; and

Whereas the travelling expedition, Expedition: Arctic, produced by the Canadian Museum of Civilization in collaboration with the Canadian Museum of Nature, features dozens of artifacts of the Canadian expedition's years of travel on sea, ice, and land; and

[Page 1674]

Whereas Expedition: Arctic is the first of four exhibits that the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the Museum of Natural History will host this summer that will explore the north and our northern themes;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly thank the staff of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, as well as the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian Museum of Nature, for working on this travelling exhibit, to give Nova Scotians and visitors a chance to learn about our incredible story of exploration and discovery in the Canadian Arctic.

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. 67 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 2011. The Elections Act. (Hon. Ross Landry)

Bill No. 68 - Entitled an Act to Allow Retired Volunteer Firefighters and Ground Search and Rescue Workers to Keep Their Firefighter Plates. (Mr. Keith Bain)

Bill No. 69 - Entitled an Act to Make Various Administrative Amendments to the Statutes of Nova Scotia. (Hon. Ross Landry)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1040

[Page 1675]

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

Whereas Richmond's preliminary team participated in the 2013 STARSkate, which was hosted by the Richmond Skating Club and held at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre on March 2, 2013; and

Whereas Richmond's preliminary team won gold at the STARSkate competition; and

Whereas Richmond's preliminary team won gold due to the efforts of Isabelle Samson, Emily O'Brien, Adrienna Marchand, and Meagan MacDonald;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Richmond's preliminary team for their hard work during this season and wish them continued success.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, may I be permitted to do an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Most certainly.

MR. PORTER « » : In the west gallery this afternoon we have a few visitors from Hants West and I'd like to introduce them. First of all, Ms. Leanne Fudge and her daughter Allison, they are here today to witness a resolution I'm going to read momentarily. Recently Leanne has started a (Interruption) Oh, the other lady, I'll introduce in a minute. That's my wife Leslie, welcome too. I'll pay for that later when I do. Thank you. I'll read the resolution.

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

[Page 1676]

RESOLUTION NO. 1041

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

Whereas bullying is a real and serious part of our society that impacts teens, families, schools and communities; and

Whereas Windsor resident Leanne Miles is looking to form a special camp to bring Hants County girls closer together, where they will be able to share their stories, find commonalities, and feel empathy; and

Whereas through a similar program where she grew up in Newfoundland and Labrador, Leanne Miles found that getting to know her fellow classmates was an eye-opener because she was able to find out things about others that she didn't know and, in turn, was given a whole new perspective and way of looking at someone differently;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud the thinking and will to do something of Leanne Miles, and wish her every success in combatting the critical situation across Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 1042

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 in these busy times we are very much aware of the importance of volunteering, and for Mrs. Sandy Ternoway and her family it is not a new idea; and

Whereas when Mrs. Ternoway was made aware of the need for warm hats for children in the northern region of Vietnam and the Rice Scholarship Program, she decided that she could draw upon her lifetime skills of knitting and do something to help these children have warm hats for winter; and

[Page 1677]

Whereas Mrs. Ternoway and her sister Gayle Burley have set their needles clicking to knit and have sent to northern Vietnam almost 600 wool hats, and have enlisted the help of others, including Linda Mills, to their knitting project;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mrs. Ternoway, Mrs. Burley, and Ms. Mills, on their knitting talents and generosity as they prove that warmth not only comes from woolen hats but also from kind hearts.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 1043

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

Whereas the 2013 Canadian National Karate Championships took place in Toronto on March 15th to 17th ; and

Whereas Trysten Deveau from Church Point won a gold and silver medal at this national competition; and

Whereas Trysten's success is attributed to her hard work, determination, and dedication to the sport;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Trysten for winning her gold and silver medal at the 2013 Canadian National Karate Championships, and wish her all the best at the upcoming 2013 Junior Pan-American Championships in Medellin, Columbia, this summer.

[Page 1678]

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. 1044

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

Whereas Coady Peters from Margaree grew up on an organic farm, and is now a second-year student in the Culinary Arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College; and

Whereas he was recently named Chef of the Week in the Sobeys Culinary Centre Kitchen, where he took inspiration from French cuisine to design and create his own menu; and

Whereas Coady Peters plans to pursue his Red Seal, while mentoring under some of Nova Scotia's premier chefs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize Coady Peters for the success he has already achieved in his chosen career.

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 1679]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1045

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

Whereas the trails around First Lake in Lower Sackville are enjoyed by many residents for walking, hiking, or biking; and

Whereas the Friends of First Lake volunteer organization has worked to improve accessibility to include wheelchair users; and

Whereas a generous donation from the Sackville Lions Club will enable the Friends of First Lake to implement tactile signage and Braille signs and markers throughout the park, making the trail more widely accessible to residents of Sackville and beyond;

Therefore be it resolved that this House acknowledge the continuous efforts of the Friends of First Lake to assist all residents in enjoying the beauty of First Lake trails by providing Braille signage and markers throughout the park.

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 Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1046

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

Whereas the late William (Bill) Shellnutt throughout his lifetime made a significant mark on our province, leaving behind a great legacy in the business world; and

[Page 1680]

Whereas he served in the Canadian Armed Forces as an officer, owned and operated several businesses, most notably his accounting firm of Bill Shellnutt & Associates which is still operated by his son today; and

Whereas Bill Shellnutt had a reputation in the business community of cutting through red tape and making businesses highly successful provided they followed his well-founded advice, and Bill will be remembered by many entrepreneurs whom he has helped over the years to grow the economy in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the significant contribution that Bill Shellnutt has made to our province and the help he has provided to so many businesses.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 1047

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

Whereas the Miss Ally capsized in hurricane-force winds with its crew of five on February 17, 2013; and

Whereas the Municipality of Barrington has recently nominated four local divers for the Nova Scotia Medal of Bravery; and

Whereas Donald Mahaney, Gary Thurber, Thomas Nickerson, and Thomas Hennigar faced dangerous weather conditions to go out and search the capsized hull of the Miss Ally;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate these four heroes on being nominated for the Nova Scotia Medal of Bravery, and thank them for the courageous selfless acts and hope that they never have to face the same situation again.

[Page 1681]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 1048

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

Whereas Applewicks was most recently named the recipient of the Best Gift Store Award for the year 2012 at the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce award evening; and

Whereas Applewicks provides a unique co-operative crafting environment which provides customers with the opportunity to purchase unique handmade gifts; and

Whereas Applewicks and parent organization L'Arche Homefires stand as emblematic representatives of responsible businesses which give back to their communities, crafters, and clients;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the achievements of the fine folks who make up the business of Applewicks.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1682]

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. 1049

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 Dreams Take Flight program, started by Air Canada for students in Toronto in 1989, has branched out to hundreds of young people across Canada who are given a chance to experience Disney World for the first time; and

Whereas the students must be between the ages of seven and 12, have never been to Disney World, and must have the stamina to handle a more than 20-hour-long day; and

Whereas the students travelled on an all-expense paid trip to Orlando on April 24th for a one-day whirlwind visit to Disney;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate 11-year-old Nehalem Bigney, a Grade 5 student at North River Elementary School, Colchester North for being chosen as a recipient of this trip of a lifetime, knowing he reported a very happy, rewarding experience.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 1050

[Page 1683]

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

Whereas the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal was created to mark the 60th Anniversary of Her Majesty's ascession to the Throne as Queen of Canada; and

Whereas this medal has served to honour significant contributions and achievements of Canadians; and

Whereas on Saturday, April 27th, Senator Michael MacDonald was on hand at Talbot House in Frenchvale to present the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal to Father Paul Abbass for his work at Talbot House to bring communities together to comfort and heal those with addictions, his efforts to found the University College Food Bank, and his involvement with Mass for Shut-Ins, to name but a few;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize and congratulate Father Paul Abbass on receiving the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal and thank him for all he has done to help others in need.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 1051

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

Whereas there are many who give but few whose names are synonymous with giving; and

Whereas volunteer firefighters have always been willing to risk it all to ensure the safety of their neighbours; and

[Page 1684]

Whereas on April 11th Mr. Martin Walsh, former fire chief for the Kennetcook and District Volunteer Fire Department passed away as he drove the tanker truck answering a call in a nearby community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the incredible generosity of this life well lived and offer condolences to the family of Martin Walsh, in particular to his wife Valerie, as they deal with this sudden loss in their lives.

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. 1052

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

Whereas 20 members of Bedford United Church travelled to Gambia in March for 10 days to help educate Gambians on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and substance abuse, and learned much in return; and

Whereas the "Benno" group consists of students Brenna MacMillan, Matt Hustins Macdonald, Susie Ellis, Andrew Welsh, Chelsea Hebb, Rachel Avery, Amelia Chant, Matt Brown, Emily Gernitz Bennett, Max Seward, Taylor Hunt, Gordon Moyes, Meghan Lea, Jacob Robertson, and adult leaders Cheryl Brown, Jeff Chant, Rick Gunn, April Hart, Jane Hustins, Roxanne MacMillan, and Val Welsh; and

Whereas this is the third trip since 2004 organized by Bedford United Church in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Gambia Association;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the members of Benno as well as Bedford United Church and the Nova Scotia Gambian Association for a successful overseas exchange, and thank them for their concern for their fellow human beings.

[Page 1685]

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. 1053

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

Whereas Carol Beaton will be retiring at the end of June after 14 years as executive director of Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design; and

Whereas under Carol's guidance, the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design has become a leader in the development of the craft industry on the Island and because of her passion and commitment the craft sector will continue to make a significant contribution to the Island's and the province's economy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate and thank Carol Beaton for her 14 years of dedicated service and wish her all the best in her retirement.

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 1686]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1054

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

Whereas Petty Officer First Class Evan Bower of the 180 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps Saxon in Shelburne, Nova Scotia was awarded the prestigious Commander Canadian Fleet Atlantic Commendation on October 15, 2012; and

Whereas Evan Bower, along with his sailing partner Petty Officer Second Class Nick Williams, received the award for taking first place at the Sea Cadet National Sailing Regatta in Kingston, Ontario, this past August, for an unprecedented second consecutive year; and

Whereas the Commander Canadian Fleet Atlantic Commendation recognizes the dedication, teamwork, and commitment to the sport of sailing demonstrated by the sea cadets;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Petty Officer First Class Evan Bower for receiving this prestigious Commander Canadian Fleet Atlantic Commendation on October 15, 2012.

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 Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, I wonder with the indulgence of the House, would you please revert to the order of business, Government Notices of Motion.

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

[Page 1687]

The motion is carried.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Deputy Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1055

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : This came in as the other four Houses will also be doing this resolution.

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

Whereas the Atlantic Premiers are working together to strengthen the regional economy and create jobs, while providing training opportunities for Atlantic Canadians; and

Whereas the federal government has unilaterally introduced changes to the employment insurance program without consultation or shared analysis, which are now being felt by workers, communities and employers, particularly in seasonal industries which make up a significant portion of the Atlantic economy; and

Whereas the Atlantic Premiers will be launching a pan-Atlantic consultation and research initiative to fully understand the impact of recent changes, the initial results of which will be shared with the Council of the Federation in their July meeting;

Therefore be it resolved that all Parties in this House urge the federal government to immediately suspend the changes to the employment insurance program, pending the completion of an evidence-based approach that will ensure our long-standing economic drivers in the resource sectors, employing thousands of people and supporting generations of families, will continue to have the support and assistance to thrive from the Government of 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 1688]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[NOTICES OF MOTION]

RESOLUTION NO. 1056

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

Whereas Computers for Schools annually refurbishes more than 5,000 desktops, laptops, printers, and servers, and redistributes them to public schools; and

Whereas Computers for Schools program, which was initiated in June 1994 under a Liberal Government, has to date refurbished 80,000 computers for schools, libraries and related institutions; and

Whereas Mr. Bernard Hart, one of the founders, is leaving after 18 years with the Computers for Schools program;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly express their gratitude to Bernie Hart for his dedication to the Computers for Schools program over the past 18 years and wish him well in his 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 Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1057

[Page 1689]

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

Whereas Olga Smith has served for many years in the Inverness Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary; and

Whereas Olga was honoured by the Inverness Fire Department on February 23rd; and

Whereas it is women like Olga who put in countless hours over the years, serving meals and holding functions that help fund the purchase of much-needed equipment and supplies for our local volunteer fire departments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize Olga Smith for her volunteer spirit and dedication to the community of Inverness.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1058

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

Whereas the Atlantic Premiers met yesterday at the Conference of Atlantic Premiers to discuss working together to strengthen the regional economy, create jobs and provide training opportunities for Atlantic Canadians; and

Whereas Premier Darrell Dexter chaired the meeting and was joined by . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order please. Mentioning a member's name in the Chamber is out of order. I'd ask the honourable member to refrain from mentioning the honourable member's name.

[Page 1690]

MR. BOUDREAU « » : My apologies to the House, sir.

Whereas the Premier of Nova Scotia chaired the meeting and was joined by New Brunswick Premier David Alward, Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz, and Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale; and

Whereas the four Premiers agreed to send a joint message to Ottawa about the negative repercussions of the proposed federal changes to employment insurance;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House commend the four Atlantic Premiers for working together to ensure that our region's voice is heard, loud and clear, in Ottawa.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 1059

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

Whereas Heidi Landry, a native of Petit-de-Grat, is attending her third year at Saint Mary's University, enrolled in the Accounting Entrepreneurship Program; and

Whereas Heidi Landry has maintained a grade point average of 4.28 while volunteering with organizations such as Entrepreneurs in Action for Us, mentoring at-risk youth, organizing food drives for SMU, and as well Heidi is a co-founder of Ryan's Project, which teaches local children to be environmentally conscious; and

Whereas Heidi Landry of Petit-de-Grat won the 2013 Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business and has received a $15,000 scholarship;

[Page 1691]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly join me in congratulating Heidi Landry for winning this exceptional award and commend her for all her volunteer work and commitment to her studies.

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1060

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council has served our communities in Nova Scotia since 1861; and

Whereas current president and CEO Dianne Kelderman, and chair Ken MacKinnon recently attended the Progress Innovation Awards ceremony in Halifax where the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council won in three categories; and

Whereas the award presented to the Co-operative Council were Economic and Community Development Award for credit union loan programs, Social Enterprise Award for health care initiatives, and Best Overall Category Award for Economics and Community Development;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Dianne Kelderman and the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council for their outstanding achievements and dedication to community development.

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

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

[Page 1692]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 1061

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

Whereas on April 10, 2013, Halifax West High School student government organized the 10th annual Head for a Cure event, where students and staff pledge to cut their hair or shave their heads in support of the Terry Fox Foundation; and

Whereas the students rose to the challenge set in previous years by the student body at Halifax West and raised an outstanding amount of over $17,000, through both student fundraising and a concert by fellow alumnus Joel Plaskett; and

Whereas the top student fundraisers at the event were Elizabeth Hakings and Rosalyn Huynh, who both had their hair cut for the cause and raised a combined total of over $4,000;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly applaud Elizabeth Hakings and Rosalyn Huynh for their tremendous fundraising and congratulate the organizers for their amazing support of the Terry Fox Foundation and efforts to cure cancer.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

[Page 1693]

RESOLUTION NO. 1062

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

Whereas the 2013 Canadian National Karate Championships took place in Toronto on March 15th to March 17th; and

Whereas Tyler Deveau from Church Point won a silver medal at this national competition; and

Whereas Tyler's success is attributed to his hard work, determination, and dedication to the sport;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Tyler for winning his silver medal at the 2013 Canadian National Karate Championship and wish him all the best at the upcoming 2013 North American Cup and the 2013 Junior Pan American Championships.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1063

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

Whereas Cow Bay residents and restaurateurs Jamie and Fran Rouse have 39 years of food business experience between them; and

Whereas Jamie and Fran have recently purchased Eastern Passage's Boondocks Dining Room and Lounge at Fisherman's Cove and re-opened the establishment with a revamped menu on March 1, 2013; and

[Page 1694]

Whereas all Boondocks menu items prepared by Chef Peter Boudreau and his kitchen staff, be they seafood, beef, chicken, or vegetarian dishes will be sourced through Nova Scotia producers;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly thank Jamie and Fran Rouse and their team at Boondocks for their investment in the Eastern Passage community and wish them many more years of success at Fisherman's Cove.

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 Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1064

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

Whereas Allen MacPhee, well known as The Car Czar has been in the automotive industry since 1960, was inducted into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame in 2009, and was designated as one of Canada's top 50 CEOs in 2010 and 2011; and

Whereas Mr. MacPhee was chairman of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association with over 2,800 members representing a key sector of the Canadian economy and known as one of the most successful General Motors car dealerships in Canada; and

Whereas Al MacPhee is presently the president of MacPhee Ford in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, serves on the board of directors in Newfoundland Capital Corporation, and along with his wife Mary, co-chairs the Bridge Centre for Arts and Technology, a centre which focuses on youth that are under-performing in the conventional school environment;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Al MacPhee for his long-time commitment to Nova Scotia's economy and to his continued humanitarian efforts to our province.

[Page 1695]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

MS. VICKI CONRAD « » : If I may, could I make an introduction to the House?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Most certainly.

MS. CONRAD « » : I would like to draw all members' attention to the east gallery and with me today I have Lea Koeder from Ravensburg, South Germany - Lea, if you'd like to stand, or you can sit. Lea is here in Canada, she just received her working visa, she is woofing on small farms in Nova Scotia and I would like to welcome Lea to Nova Scotia and if all members could give Lea a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1065

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

Whereas Lea Koeder arrived in Canada just two months ago, looking to expand her life skills and personal growth through experience and opportunity by volunteering and dedicating her time working on small, sustainable Nova Scotian farms; and

Whereas Lea Koeder has been a WWOOFer - a willing worker on organic farms - volunteering her time and showing great work ethic at Millennium Gardens Farm and Greenhouses in Mill Village, Nova Scotia; and

[Page 1696]

Whereas Lea Koeder has been seeding gardens, planting seedlings, looking after all aspects of running a greenhouse, doing barn chores, building shelves, caring for animals, picking rocks, and driving tractors for the past month at Millennium Gardens Farm and Greenhouses, and in her free time has been preparing amazing salads, German cake, and coffee for all to enjoy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize and congratulate Lea Koeder for her great work ethic, dedication, wonderful personality, and fantastic cooking skills, and wish her well as she WWOOFs from Millennium Gardens Farm and Greenhouses to other small Nova Scotian farms.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 1066

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

Whereas 2013 marks the 100th Anniversary of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada; and

Whereas for a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters have inspired and empowered children and youth through mentoring programs across both our country and our province; and

Whereas cumulatively, seven member agencies across Nova Scotia have provided 230 years of changing young lives and strengthening communities from one end of this province to the other;

[Page 1697]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Big Brothers Big Sisters for 100 years of dedicated service to our youth, and extend our deepest appreciation to all staff and volunteers across Nova Scotia for the invaluable role they have played and will continue to play in shaping and making a difference in the lives of young Nova Scotians.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1067

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

Whereas the Council of Atlantic Premiers met yesterday to discuss shared economic goals, in particular the proposed federal changes to the Employment Insurance program; and

Whereas the four Atlantic Provinces have in common seasonal-based economies that will be significantly affected by the proposed federal Employment Insurance program changes; and

Whereas not only will hundreds of families from across Nova Scotia and all of Atlantic Canada - who rely on the seasonal work provided by the fishery, by agriculture, by forestry, and by other industries for their livelihood - be negatively affected by the federal changes, but so too will many small towns and rural communities;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House stand with the Premier and the other Atlantic Premiers and voice Atlantic Canada's concerns with the federal changes to the Employment Insurance program.

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

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

[Page 1698]

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. 1068

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

Whereas Canadian music retailers Long & McQuade hold an annual Music Education Contest; and

Whereas Prince Andrew High School submitted a recording of their band - directed by Melissa Doiron and recorded by fine arts department head Rob Wigle and his Audio Recording 12 class - to this competition; and

Whereas the Prince Andrew band's recording was the recipient of one of four national grand prizes, and they plan on putting the $3,200 prize toward a new audio console for the school auditorium;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the members of the Prince Andrew High School band and the members of the audio recording class on their prize and wish them many more years of making great music.

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 Cumberland North.

[Page 1699]

RESOLUTION NO. 1069

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

Whereas the Atlantic Premiers met yesterday at White Point to discuss shared economic goals and possible initiatives to help strengthen regional co-operation in the skills and training sector; and

Whereas the four Premiers announced an initiative to create a common regional approach to apprenticeship that will mean greater mobility and a stronger labour force that supports Atlantic Canada's growing economy; and

Whereas through the initiative, Atlantic Canada will lead the nation in its approach to harmonized apprenticeship programs, and through aligning hours of training and requirements to attain certification, apprentices will have greater mobility to move forward in their careers, and Atlantic employers will have access to the workforce they need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the important role that regional co-operation and joint initiatives like this can play in growing Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada's economy.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1070

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

Whereas for almost 20 years Special Olympian Philip Brown of Kentville has humbly, ably, and eloquently represented his town, his community, and his province at both summer and winter Special Olympics competitions; and

[Page 1700]

Whereas during that time he has become perhaps the most decorated athlete Kings County has produced, garnering close to 100 medals in a variety of sports such as soccer, softball, floor hockey, speed skating, and power lifting; and

Whereas Philip Brown was recently selected as one of two Special Olympians to represent Canada as torchbearer at the 2013 World Special Olympics in Korea;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Philip Brown on representing Canada at the 2013 World Special Olympics in Korea, and thank him for the inspiring example he sets for all Nova Scotians to live a healthy, active life to the best of their abilities.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1071

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

Whereas Christine Welldon is a well-known local author from Lunenburg who grew up in England before living and working all over the world and coming to Canada, and has published six books about Canadian stories and histories; and

Whereas Ms. Welldon attended a storytelling festival in Toronto, where she first learned of Vic Steinberg, the pseudonym of a female columnist for the Toronto News in the 1890s who often disguised herself to report on the Toronto society scene from a woman's point of view; and

Whereas Ms. Welldon's latest book, Reporter In Disguise: The Intrepid Vic Steinberg, which will have its Lunenburg County launch in the near future, examines the personality behind the pseudonym, although Vic's true identity was never discovered;

[Page 1701]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Lunenburg author Christine Welldon on her latest publication, Reporter In Disguise: The Intrepid Vic Steinberg.

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. 1072

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

Whereas the Under-14 Volleyball Provincials were held at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax over the weekend of April 20th and 21st; and

Whereas the Fusion Gallant team from the Yarmouth-Southwest Fusion Volleyball Club was among 29 teams competing in Tiers 1 and 2; and

Whereas the Fusion Gallant team, consisting of Rachelle LeBlanc, Gracie d'Entremont, Alyssa Cottreau, Camille Saulnier, Tessa d'Entremont, Laura Legere, Sydney Barr, Julia Conrad, Payton Doucette, Callie Doucette, and Kristen Doucette, under the guidance of coaches Vanessa Gallant, Emma Legere, Shiella Legere, and Erin Goodwin, were silver medalists in this tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Fusion Gallant on becoming provincial silver medallists at the Under-14 Volleyball Provincials, and wish them every future success in the sport of volleyball.

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

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

[Page 1702]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1073

MS. PAM BIRDSALL « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Council of Atlantic Premiers met yesterday to discuss shared economic goals, in particular the proposed federal changes to the Employment Insurance program; and

Whereas the four Premiers stood united in their request that Ottawa suspend the changes to Employment Insurance until further study of the impact of the new rules on Atlantic Canada's seasonal-based economy can be completed; and

Whereas the four Atlantic Premiers committed to studying the effects of EI changes in their respective provinces and presenting their initial findings to the annual meeting of all Canadian Premiers in July, with final results to be completed by mid-Fall;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House vocalize their support for the government's plan to study the effects of EI changes on Nova Scotia and join the Premier in requesting that Ottawa share their relevant Employment Insurance data as soon as possible.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1703]

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 1074

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

Whereas the U-14 volleyball provincials were held at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax over the weekend of April 20th and 21st; and

Whereas the Fusion Lesser-Stewart team, from the Yarmouth-Southwest Fusion Volleyball Club, was among 29 teams competing in tiers one and two; and

Whereas the fusion lesser stewer team consisting of Sarah Faulkenham, Josiane Doucet, Megan McDonnell, Annika LeBlanc, Saige Breton, Sophie Atkinson, Hannah Saulnier, Laura Jones, Abby Legere, Lauren Hunt and Kara Inskip, under the guidance of coaches Derek Lesser and Janell Stewart won the gold medal game in this tournament;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Fusion Lesser-Stewart on becoming provincial champions at the U-14 volleyball provincials and wish them every future success in the sport of volleyball.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 1075

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

Whereas Big Brothers Big Sisters of Annapolis Valley are celebrating nearly 40 years of service to our local communities while their parent organization celebrates their 100th Anniversary this year; and

[Page 1704]

Whereas Big Brothers Big Sisters of Annapolis have been operating their premier fundraiser, Bowl for Kids Sake, for over 20 years, raising awareness of issues facing youth as well as providing wonderful role models; and

Whereas Big Brothers Big Sisters of Annapolis Valley provide valuable mentoring and social supports for youth that help to build positive and lifelong relationships, leading to stronger communities and involved citizens;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the contributions made by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Annapolis Valley to this community and to children around the province.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 1076

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

Whereas team sports are a wonderful way to encourage fitness and develop lasting friendships, a sense of dedication, and learn the meaning of sportsmanship; and

Whereas this season the Bantam AA female Halifax Hawks have worked tirelessly and passionately all season long and their efforts were rewarded with a provincial gold medal in their division, which qualified them to compete in the Atlantics in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador; and

Whereas on Sunday, April 21, 2013, this amazing team of bantam-age girls proudly defeated their interprovincial rivals, New Brunswick Fundy Hurricanes, with a final score of 2-0 in a fast-paced, exciting match to take home the prestigious title of Bantam AAA Atlantic Champions;

[Page 1705]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House applaud head coach Stacy Wentzell, manager Sylvia Warren, the players and supporters of the Bantam AA Female Halifax Hawks on their tremendous season, and thank them for so proudly bringing the gold medal home to Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 1077

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

Whereas the highest tides in the world are measured at Burncoat Head; and

Whereas Blake Aucoin and Nancy Guichon purchased Shangri-la Cottages, located next to Burncoat Head Park, and moved to Nova Scotia to operate their new business venture; and

Whereas Shangri-la Cottages were awarded the Accommodation Award by the Central Nova Tourism Association on February 28, 2013;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Shangri-la Cottages owners Blake Aucoin and Nancy Guichon on their Accommodation Award, and welcome them to Nova Scotia.

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

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

[Page 1706]

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 Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1078

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

Whereas Shelburne resident and 2011-12 Shelburne Regional High School graduate Darren Deinstadt is a recipient of both a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship and Medal; and

Whereas Darren Deinstadt earned the admiration and respect of students and staff of SRHS for his commitment to academic excellence, as well as his leadership qualities and hard-work ethic; and

Whereas Darren Deinstadt is a dedicated volunteer in the community who has devoted countless hours of time and energy to youth sports programs over the past five years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Darren for being presented with both the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship and Medal in 2012.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1707]

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1079

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

Whereas the 39th Annual Provincial Volunteer Awards were presented on April 15, 2013, to the many volunteer recipients across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the 2013 Volunteer Award winner for the Town of Pictou was Doris Young who has been a lifelong volunteer, and because of her volunteer work she has helped to make the Town of Pictou a better place to live and work; and

Whereas Doris Young has been an active volunteer in many community and church groups in Pictou such as Meals on Wheels, the Historical Photograph Society, Children's Aid Society, the hospital auxiliary, Bible Society, RCMP Committee, and she was also instrumental in organizing Pictou's first Blessing of the Fleet;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate and thank Doris Young for her commitment to the many community and church groups in Pictou and for being Pictou's 2013 Volunteer of the Year.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1080

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

Whereas in December 2012 the Royal Bank in Guysborough honoured their volunteers and their contributions through the Employee Volunteer Grants Program; and

[Page 1708]

Whereas this program has provided over $11,000 in employee volunteer grants to the Guysborough Memorial Hospital Auxiliary since 2000; and

Whereas Evelyne Jamieson from the RBC branch in Guysborough has taken part in the employee volunteer grants for the local hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Evelyne Jamieson from the Royal Bank of Guysborough for her generosity, kindness, and ongoing dedication to her community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1081

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

Whereas Cole Harbour's Kirsti Mason was the only Nova Scotian on Team Canada East's ringette team at the World Under-19 Ringette Championships in London, Ontario; and

Whereas on January 3, 2013, Kirsti's team overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat defending champs Finland by an outstanding 6-2 to win gold; and

Whereas later this Spring, Kirsti is competing in the Canadian Ringette Championships in New Brunswick and aspires to be on the Nova Scotia team for the 2015 Canada Games;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Kirsti Mason for doing her home province proud with her ringette gold, and wish her well at all her future competitions.

[Page 1709]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 1082

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

Whereas the Air Cadet League of Canada offers a variety of training and exciting challenges to Canadian youth; and

Whereas the 2013 Aurora Cup was held at CFB Greenwood from April 5-7, 2013, with six air squadrons participating in drill routines, marksmanship, remote-control aircraft flying, and sports-related activities; and

Whereas the 545 Privateer Squadron Air Cadets of Liverpool placed third overall and received special mention for Best Dress and Deportment;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize and congratulate the 545 Privateer Squadron Air Cadets of Liverpool for their efforts and good sportsmanship at the 2013 Aurora Cup.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1710]

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. 1083

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

Whereas the Bridgewater Fire Department band has been a fixture in the community of Bridgewater for the last 145 years, making it the oldest fire department band in the country; and

Whereas the band, under the able direction of Mr. Wendell Eisener, the bandmaster for the past 10 years, has played at virtually every function in the town, surrounding area, and beyond for many years, including the launch of Bluenose II, summer concerts at Shipyards Landing, the Remembrance Day ceremony, the Bridgewater Exhibition, and concerts for dignitaries like the Lieutenant Governor, and was recently on tour in England where they played several dates in the Yorkshire region; and

Whereas this very capable band played their Spring concert on Sunday, April 21st, at the Bridgewater Lutheran Church, offering up for the sizeable audience assembled there a series of very complex orchestral arrangements, including a suite of eclectic music from Cirque du Soleil, proving to everyone yet again that they are much more than an excellent marching band;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate bandmaster Wendell Eisener and his cadre of capable musicians for a job well done, and offer them best wishes for success in their musical futures.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1711]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER « » : Question Period will begin at 1:40 p.m. and end at 2:40 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM. - REVENUE PROJECTIONS: OPTIMISM - EXPLAIN

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, a recently released document from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, called the Business Barometer, states, "Nova Scotia has had the biggest dive in business optimism of any province in April."

My question to the Premier is, based on what businesses are saying, how can the Premier possibly be so optimistic about revenue projections for the coming year?

HON. DARRELL DEXTER « » : Mr. Speaker, we know that the Leader of the Official Opposition is opposed to any investment in economic development; we know that he opposes good jobs coming to this province, so I don't know what they base these things on, but perhaps the reason why businesses are feeling this is because they have been listening to the Opposition.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, their information is based on actually reaching out and talking to small-business owners - something this government hasn't done for four years. Additionally, businesses are reporting that their hiring intentions are going soft; the Conference Board of Canada is reporting a tightening of the labour market; and the CFIB shows hiring intentions are dropping.

We know that the government is projecting losses of employment in 2013 by 1,100 jobs in the province. These recent indicators just give more evidence that in Nova Scotia jobs are going to be harder to find. My question to the Premier is, how can the Premier tell Nova Scotians that the economy is in good shape when the people who do the hiring in this province are suggesting that it is not?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, what almost every forecasting organization in the country says is that Nova Scotia will, in fact, grow the number of people who are working. The labour force will grow as well, so the unemployment rate will grow, but the number of people working will increase and they will be working at higher wages - that is good for the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 1712]

Now maybe the next time, because the Leader of the Official Opposition is so anti-economic development, will he tell us will he cut the rebate program to businesses that actually help solidify solid jobs in this province, will he do away with any kind of a loan program for business?

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, what I'm going to try to do for businesses is end the last four years of misery they've suffered under this NDP Government.

Mr. Speaker, the CFIB tells us that the business confidence has dropped in our province as well - it is at the lowest level in the entire country. It seems that all Nova Scotians are losing confidence in the Premier's ability to manage the economy. There's only one company in this province that has confidence in the NDP Premier - and that's Nova Scotia Power.

Mr. Speaker, consumer confidence is low and small-business confidence is low, so how can Nova Scotians have any faith? This government has built a budget on only fiction and fantasies.

THE PREMIER « » : I notice that the Leader of the Liberal Party of course wouldn't state where he stands on economic development matters. He won't say whether or not he would cancel the business rebate program, he won't say if he would cancel the program of any kind of loans to Nova Scotia companies in order to expand the economic base and create jobs, because on this side we have invested in Ships Start Here for 11,000 new jobs; PROJEX, 440 jobs; IBM, 500 jobs; new jobs with Michelin; we have supported Port Hawkesbury, 1,000 jobs in the Strait area; and, Mr. Speaker, in the Shelburne shipyards we have invested for more jobs in southwestern Nova Scotia. That is the record of this government.

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

PREM. - BUS. OPTIMISM: DIVE - EXPLAIN

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I don't know what planet the Premier is on because it has been very well recorded that in the last year Nova Scotia had flatline economic growth, a grand total under his leadership of 0.2 per cent. Now we see that Nova Scotia's small businesses are reporting that they have the lowest business confidence of any province in all of Canada, and I will quote from the CFIB, "Nova Scotia has had the biggest dive in business optimism of any province . . ." - and I will table that.

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is the voice of Nova Scotia's small businesses, and so I will ask the Premier, why are our small businesses so depressed with his government's economic policies?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, if they actually read the provincial summary, what it actually says, of course, is that hiring intentions were, in fact, very high to begin with and they are, in fact, higher this year than they were in 2011 and 2012.

[Page 1713]

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I think I'll stick to the words of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business itself who say their business barometer now stands at 53.8, the lowest in all of the country; that is what they are saying. So what is so unique about Nova Scotia that we have the lowest confidence among small business in the whole country? We have the highest power rates, the highest taxes. We have record out-migration, a huge new burden of regulation under this government.

I will ask the Premier, why does he think that our small businesses have the lowest optimism in all of Canada? Could it be related to those things?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the simple fact of the matter is that business taxes in this province are the lowest they have been in more than 20 years. They are lower than the entire 10 years when the Progressive Conservatives were in power. They are lower than when the Liberal Party was in power. The small business rate has gone down, the large corporation capital tax has gone down, and if the Leader would actually read what he tabled, it says, "Hiring intentions, while initially quite promising early in the year, have softened somewhat, although they remain better than the past 2011 and 2012 levels." I will now ask this be properly tabled.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, they will be so pleased to hear that the Premier thinks that they're a little bit higher than last year but down so dramatically from four years ago is an accomplishment of his government.

I'll tell you what is lower - weekly wages in Nova Scotia for Nova Scotia workers, that is lower by 0.6 per cent. I'll tell you what's higher - we have record electricity prices, the highest taxes. Groceries and inflation are all going up while Nova Scotian incomes are flat and the economy has stalled. That's why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, in that report, reports that the two biggest cost constraints are the cost of fuel and energy - if the Premier truly wants to read the whole thing - and taxes and regulatory costs. That's why jobs aren't being created.

Small businesses are already voting in this province. They're voting with their feet, they're voting with reports. Why are they rejecting the Premier's policies so resoundingly?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, this is a quote from Elizabeth Beale, who is the president of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, and she says, "But it would be wrong to assume that the province will remain mired in the same cycle of slow economic growth" - with that she is referring to when the Progressive Conservatives and Liberals were in power - " it has been for the last 20 years."

Just to be clear (Interruption) They don't want to listen to the truth. She says, "From my point of view, nothing could be further from the truth."

[Page 1714]

I will table that because what it says is that our economy has turned the corner, that we are on our way to a brighter economic future in this province because four years ago, in 2008, when that government led us into the largest single recession in our history since the Great Depression, it is no wonder that it is taking us and this government's work this long to recover.

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

PREM. - ENERGY FUTURE: NSP - RESPONSIBILITY

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, when small businesses are asked what their major cost constraint was, business owners across the province indicated fuel and energy costs were their biggest concerns. This should come as no surprise. Businesses have listed energy as their number one concern for at least as long as the NDP Government has been in power. My question to the Premier is, why has the Premier left the energy future in the hands of Nova Scotia Power?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, quite the opposite. We inherited Nova Scotia Power and Emera from the Liberal Government. They created Emera. They take every opportunity to try and bash us and they want everybody to forget that by legislation the Liberals actually created Emera. They want people to forget that.

Rather than do what they say, what we have done is we have taken it upon ourselves to ensure that we get off of fossil fuels, that we stop chaining ourselves to the past strategy which is to put ourselves at the mercy of the international fossil fuel market, where the 75 per cent increase in coal and fossil fuels drove higher prices for Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, we are getting out of that model, and building an energy future for Atlantic Canada and Nova Scotia that will be based on tax-free local energy.

MR. MCNEIL « » : What they're building is an energy future where Nova Scotia Power's grip is only tightening on the pockets of ratepayers in the Province of Nova Scotia. Never before in the history of this province has any government sided with the utility like the NDP Government does, Mr. Speaker.

Energy costs have risen 30 per cent under the NDP Government, Mr. Speaker, 30 per cent under the NDP Government. We have a Premier going around promoting a project that he can't even tell Nova Scotians how much it will cost them on their power bill. He's going to leave that up to the president of Emera and Nova Scotia Power, and their shareholders, to determine sometime into the future.

So why does the Premier continue to side with Nova Scotia Power instead of defending ratepayers?

[Page 1715]

THE PREMIER « » : We are the only government in the past 20 years that actually defends ratepayers. It was this government that first put down power rates in this province by 10 per cent. It was the very first thing that we did in government, the very first thing. And I might point out that we did that against the advice of the Leader of the Official Opposition, who said putting down power prices was bad public policy. He said lower energy prices were bad public policy. Well Mr. Speaker, we disagree.

MR. MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. What I said was that the Premier should do his job and not let the president of Nova Scotia Power dig deeper into the pockets of every Nova Scotian. What I said is the Premier should look Nova Scotians in the eye and actually tell them the truth, what he's going to do, instead when he's campaigning telling them he's going to take a tax off when in actual fact he added a tax to every power bill in the Province of Nova Scotia. It's called the NDP electricity tax.

Mr. Speaker, if the Premier wants to revisit history (Interruptions) if the Premier wants to revisit history, perhaps he can stand up and be honest with the people of the Province of Nova Scotia on his future plan. And it's about time - you wanted to be the Premier, it's time you start doing the job and not pushing it off to Emera and Nova Scotia Power. It's time you start standing up for ratepayers, and not shareholders, in the Province of Nova Scotia. Let's see what your answer is to that one.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, this is a government that stands up for the ratepayers and for the people in the Province of Nova Scotia, and we do it by promoting local energy. Unlike the Leader of the Official Opposition who says that he wants to break the monopoly in Nova Scotia, he says that, and what does he want to do? He wants to turn it over to Hydro-Québec, one of the largest monopolies in the world. That's what the Leader of the Official Opposition wants to do - what he wants to do is take local supply of energy out of the picture and put it in the hands of somebody from outside the province.

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

FIN. - REVENUE SPIKE: PROJECTION - EXPLAIN

MS. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance. Not only has the government tabled what is in effect a deficit budget, but the rosy projections they are relying on for this fiscal year are already showing signs of strain. We both know that both business and consumer confidence is dropping. Mr. Speaker, the economy is also showing signs of weakness. Private sector forecasters are downgrading their outlook for the Canadian economy, and here in Nova Scotia our economy showed that it was at a standstill last year at 0.2 per cent growth.

Mr. Speaker, with the Canadian economy being downgraded, and a stalled provincial economy, how can the Minister of Finance be projecting a spike in revenue for this year?

[Page 1716]

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD » : Mr. Speaker, we all know that Nova Scotians, our families and our businesses in this province want good jobs and a strong economy and that is their top priority. We all know that previous governments left us to inherit the worst economic performance in the country. We have worked very hard. We had a good, four-year plan to return the province to balance. We are one of only four provinces in the country that have been able to achieve that.

What this means is that Nova Scotia is turning the corner. We have many, many important economic development opportunities on our horizon that will result in good jobs, a growing economy and prosperity that means we will be able to reinvest in public services in this province, Mr. Speaker.

MS. WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, the provincial outlook from the RBC states quite clearly:

"More surprising (and disappointing) to us, however, was the weakness in the majority of the Atlantic Provinces. . . Nova Scotia's growth was a meagre 0.2 per cent compared to our forecast of 1.1 per cent, with widespread drops in the goods-producing sector weighing especially heavily in the balance."

Mr. Speaker, we have a stalled provincial economy but what is worse is that this hides the recession outside Halifax. In rural Nova Scotia we have unacceptably high unemployment rates matched with negative growth. My question is, with these dire indicators of our economy, how can the Minister of Finance justify her budget showing unrealistic revenue projections?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, we all know that last year was indeed a tough year in the goods-producing sector of our economy. We have seen the pulp and paper, and the forestry, and the mills hit particularly hard. Imagine what would have happened in Port Hawkesbury if that Party had been in government. We would not have a plant that is back in production right now and able to contribute to the growth in our gross domestic product in the coming year.

MS. WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, the overall unemployment rate for Nova Scotia is 9.5 per cent and that hides a more concerning problem in rural Nova Scotia, with all regions outside of Halifax struggling with double-digit unemployment. Cape Breton is 18.6 per cent; the North Shore, 12.9 per cent; Annapolis Valley, 11.5 per cent; and the southern region, 13.2 per cent. In every region of the province unemployment has increased since June 2009.

Our provincial economy stalled in 2012, with the GDP only growing at 0.2 per cent overall, meaning that rural Nova Scotia's economy has gone into reverse. Mr. Speaker, will the Finance Minister explain to all those Nova Scotians who have lost confidence in her government, how she plans to maintain her overly-rosy fiscal projections in the face of these dire facts?

[Page 1717]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, what the honourable member conveniently fails to say is that the number of people who are looking for work is growing in Nova Scotia. That is an indicator of an expanded labour force, greater confidence. There are more people working today in Nova Scotia than there were four years ago. There are more people in our labour force and more people who had given up under that crowd over there, who are back into the labour force because they know good jobs are being created in this province.

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

EECD - CYBERBULLYING TASK FORCE:

RECOMMENDATION NOS. 66 & 67 - ADOPT

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, a year ago the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development thanked Wayne MacKay and the members of the Nova Scotia Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying for their hard work. She also recommended that acting on the task force recommendations is an important part of the NDP's plan for education. One of the important recommendations from the task force was 64 on Page 92. It recommends that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development create or adopt a digital citizenship and an on-line safety program for elementary and junior high students, and that students should be required to take the program before having access to school computers.

My question to the minister is, after having the task force recommendations for more than a year, when will the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development finally take action on Recommendation 64?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, thank you for that question. We have been working on the digital citizenship component of this within the department. We are looking at all of our programs and our curriculum from Primary to Grade 12, to make sure that our children are receiving the appropriate education around citizenship and digital work at the age-appropriate level. We are making sure that it is as robust as we need it because we need to make sure that our children have the information to make themselves safe when they are working on the Internet. Thank you.

MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, everybody believes that the parents have a role to plan when it comes to their children's on-line activities. We also know that technology changes quickly and that many parents are not as computer literate as they would like to be. Recommendation 66 of the Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying asked the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to create or adopt a program, ". . . to improve technological and digital literacy for parents and community members."

[Page 1718]

Recommendation 67 suggests that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, ". . . create a digital and printed parents' guide to combating bullying and cyberbullying . . ." to be made available each September.

My question to the minister is, when will the minister adopt Recommendations 66 and 67 and finally give parents the tools they need to help combat bullying and cyberbullying?

MS. JENNEX « » : Thank you very much for the questions. Because we are approaching our response in a collaborative manner, I am going to ask our lead minister to answer that, the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act.

HON. MARILYN MORE » : Mr. Speaker, as recently as yesterday I spent time discussing this very recommendation with Professor MacKay. It has certainly been a topic of interest to a lot of Nova Scotians because I think we all recognize that we need to better understand the responsible use of technology.

Certainly while we value the perspective of the Task Force on Bullying and Cyberbullying on this issue, I think there is probably a wider community response in terms of providing learning materials to adults, parents, guardians, grandparents and others. We are certainly looking at it from a broad perspective. I think there is a role for libraries, there is a role for parents' associations and others.

I want to say there are already excellent materials on this issue that are available through Cybersafe Girl and many other cyber programs. So I just want to say that we are collecting what is currently available and looking at what more needs to be done on this issue. Thank you.

MR. ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, another task force recommendation, Recommendation 68, recommends that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, " . . . identify opportunities to incorporate Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) . . ." into school curriculum offerings. My question is when will the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development finally adopt Recommendation 68 and all the task force recommendations that have not yet been addressed?

MS. JENNEX « » : Mr. Speaker, I will ask the lead minister to respond to this question - that is the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act.

MS. MORE « » : Mr. Speaker, we could obviously go through these recommendations one by one but I want to assure the House that a number of them have been included in the action plan that has been led by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the minister. A number of them are actually under active consideration and we are revisiting the rest.

[Page 1719]

Certainly as I've said in the past, the recommendations and research from the task force have made a valuable contribution and we will continue to look at them one by one, to make sure that in some way the intent of those recommendations is met. We're doing this with input and advice from Professor MacKay, and I certainly plan to meet with other members of the original task force to get their perspective, because obviously, as time goes on, things change a little.

We value the work that has gone into that, and we will honour their work.

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

ENERGY - CONSUMER ADVOCATE: STATEMENT - VERACITY

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Energy. This is a government which would rather put Nova Scotia's energy future in the hands of the Newfoundland and Labrador Government and Nova Scotia Power rather than the made-in-Nova Scotia options that most of the experts now say would be cheaper than the Maritime Link. On April 25th, The Consumer Advocate sent a letter to the Minister of Energy in response to his comments here in Question Period and also to the media, in which he said that, "Your assumption the timeframe provides adequate time is not correct."

Does the Minister of Energy believe The Consumer Advocate is wrong?

HON. CHARLIE PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, certainly we have a made-in-Nova Scotia policy here for energy in this province. We're diversifying, getting away from coal, which has been the base of our energy for far, far too long. Coal has gone up in price for the last seven or eight years, and now we're diversifying into wind, tidal, sustainable biomass, natural gas, and heritage hydro. The Maritime Link is an important part of that mix. It will allow us to look at more renewables and more sources of energy from other jurisdictions. I think the URB process is unfolding as it should, and we'll await the decision by the end of July.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, earlier in Question Period the Premier tried to claim his government was standing up for ratepayers, and yet he and his minister dismiss the very representative of ratepayers at the hearing. In the same letter that I already tabled, The Consumer Advocate said to the minister:

"The refusal to provide for additional time raises the query whether the Province is more interested in pushing the project through the public hearing process than in ensuring the project is given a thorough and considered review."

[Page 1720]

Does the Minister of Energy think The Consumer Advocate is wrong?

MR. PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, during this whole process, through the development of the Maritime Link Act and then the regulations that were out last summer for consultation, we heard from various parties. We never heard from the Liberal Party at all, but we certainly did hear from The Consumer Advocate. Department of Energy staff sat down with him, and he had some useful information to pass along to us about the scope of the project. We listened, and we continue to listen to Nova Scotians. That's an important part of the process. Again, the URB is considering all the evidence, and we look forward to their decision sometime this summer.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, the minister well knows that we, at the time of the regulations, endorsed The Consumer Advocate's position. He has written the board and said and acknowledged that very fact, that The Consumer Advocate had said that that might work. The Consumer Advocate has now seen that information and has said no more time is needed, that the minister can change it with the regulations. Continuing on with the letter, The Consumer Advocate says,

"There's a massive amount of information to assimilate. The Applicants, who were able to delay filing the Application when they needed more time, appear to be the only entities which have had the advantage of adequate time."

Why does the Minister of Energy believe that Nova Scotia Power deserved "adequate time," but nobody else does?

MR. PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, we certainly consulted with The Consumer Advocate. For further, I want to turn it over to the Premier for a comment.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, all they have with respect to Muskrat Falls is cynicism and despair. That's what they're peddling - no facts, no alternate project. I want to read for the member for Dartmouth East the comments in the speech today from the Honourable Jim Prentice to the Maritimes Energy Association. This is what he said:

"When I was in politics, I had the privilege of serving as both the Industry Minister and the Environment Minister. These experiences left me with an affinity for the kind of development that helps generate widespread and long-term prosperity - and is, at the same time, environmentally sustainable. In my view, Lower Churchill is all of this and more. It is a transformational project for Atlantic Canada that will take the region to a new level of industrial development."

[Page 1721]

Mr. Speaker « » :Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, order. The honourable Premier has the floor.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the comments of the Honourable Mr. Prentice is not about despair. It is about hope and optimism. It is about confidence in the people of Atlantic Canada, something the member for Dartmouth East knows nothing about.

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

ENERGY - MAR. LINK: REVIEW TIME - EXTEND

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Energy. Evidence is mounting that the Maritime Link is not the lowest-cost alternative to meet Nova Scotia's energy needs. (Interruption) I can't hear myself. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Consumer Advocate and Small Business Advocate who represent the ratepayers hired a consultant to analyze this mega-project and he wrote: The comparative analysis is over-simplistic, lacks robustness, and appears stacked to support the Applicant's desired outcome. I'll table this.

The 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 the NSPI system. My question for the minister is, with the expert testimony piling up that states the Maritime Link is not the lowest-cost alternative, will the minister agree to extend the review time for the URB so that a truly fair and independent analysis can be done?

HON. CHARLIE PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, certainly at the URB a lot of evidence has been presented, interveners and experts and I think about the majority of those experts - actually nine out of the 14 - are presenting evidence that it is a positive event, it's the right way to go, it will provide the lowest, fairest rates for Nova Scotians. Let's let the URB do their job and look to test and come across all that evidence. It's really their role to make that determination.

MR. PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, the NDP is doing everything it can to force ratepayers to absorb the cost of Muskrat Falls and pay for its expensive electricity schemes. This government created new legislation that stripped the decision-making power of the URB through the Maritime Link Act. This Act removes the authority of the URB to make an independent decision. Will the minister explain why it is necessary to implement new legislation to remove power from an independent review board and give it to the government?

MR. PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, sometimes it gets quite noisy in this Chamber and perhaps the honourable member missed the quote that was read a few minutes ago so I'm going to read it again from the Honourable Jim Prentice. Mr. Prentice had this to say just at lunchtime today:

[Page 1722]

"When I was in politics, I had the privilege of serving as both the Industry Minister and the Environment Minister. These experiences left me with an affinity for the kind of development that helps generate widespread and long-term prosperity - and is, at the same time, environmentally sustainable. In my view, Lower Churchill is all of this and more. It is a transformational project for Atlantic Canada that will take the region to a new level of industrial development."

I hope the honourable member has heard that this time. I'll table that.

MR. PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, if it makes the minister feel good, I'll read it again. This is a 35-year decision, a $1.5 billion decision that will affect multiple generations of Nova Scotians. Yet this government, one that says it is for transparency and fairness has ordered that it receive less scrutiny than it deserves. Clearly this government must not be open to an independent, fair review of the project or why else would they not agree to an extensive review at this time?

Will the minister explain why his government had to order that power be removed from the independent review board and that an arbitrary deadline of six months be given to complete the review?

MR. PARKER « » : Mr. Speaker, we have a reasonable time frame here that will allow for decision making to be made based on the evidence that's presented before the URB. Unlike the Progressive Conservative Party, this Party has a plan, has a vision for an energy future that is sustainable and will provide rates for 35 years. I say to the Progressive Conservative member, stop being a Luddite.

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

FIN.: FILM TAX CREDIT - PLAN

MS. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, on November 1, 2012, I questioned the Finance Minister on her intention to streamline the bureaucratic duplication with regard to the Nova Scotia Film Industry Tax Credit. At the time she stated, ". . . we are doing the analysis on the process . . ." However, here we are months later and it seems that nothing has taken place. The applicants are still frustrated by the process and seemingly no progress has been made by the minister. Will the minister tell Nova Scotians what steps she has taken since November 1st when she committed to meeting with the industry, and fixing what seems to be a broken process?

[Page 1723]

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : The film industry, as we know, is a very important industry in the province and the Film Industry Tax Credit is a tool to support and advance the growth of that industry and it has certainly been a benefit to the industry and to the province. Recently we have had the hiring of a new person to oversee Film Nova Scotia and there has been some expansion of their mandate with respect to the creative industries and a new CEO has been hired and in the fullness of time, Mr. Speaker, there will be the work that I made reference to in the Fall. It is still our intention to proceed with a review. It will be a robust review that will involve the industry to gather of all of their perspectives. Some of those perspectives I've already heard, as I meet with people individually, and we will continue to work with that industry to ensure that they are stable and prosperous in our province.

MS. WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, the tax credit is important, and it is a powerful tool to our economy, but it is disappointing that these problems are persisting with the processing of the applications. The minister has had ample time since I first brought this to her attention and now we have another example of procedural duplication and frustratingly low processing times. I will table a letter that was sent to the minister on April 1st of this year and the accompanying e-mail as well as the correspondence that I tabled with the issue that was raised last November.

Mr. Speaker, the fact that the minister is now undertaking the review is too late. We need a more urgent response because this is going to send industry participants, film makers, to other provinces if we don't address it. Since I made the minister aware of these problems over five months ago, why has there been no progress made in eliminating the frustratingly slow processing times for this tax credit?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the honourable member, the film industry is very important, the tax credit is very important. There is some reorganization going on at the level of the Film and Creative Industries council. There is a working group within government that are starting to define the parameters of a review and a consultation, and as I indicated, that consultation can only take place with the full involvement of those in the industry who know it best, and that certainly will occur.

With respect to the administration of the Film Industry Tax Credit, in the Department of Finance I have met with officials in the department. We have identified parts of that process, which we think have been impediments to a timely response to applicants and we have been working diligently to remove those impediments.

MS. WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, what we're talking about today around the Film Tax Credit really amounts to red tape, to slow processes, to an inability to respond to business. The film industry in our province is worth millions of dollars and the producers of these films are putting hundreds of thousands, and sometime millions, of dollars on the table to do productions in our province, and if we can't process those applications in a timely fashion people will go elsewhere. The letters I tabled today speak to that, they speak to a specific incident and a film where that is an issue and the filmmakers will leave - that's what I want to raise with the minister today.

[Page 1724]

Setting out a robust performance or looking at the parameters is one thing, but this isn't a new tax credit. This is a tax credit we've had in place for almost 20 years - we were the first province in the country to have it and it has been a good thing. I don't know what has gone wrong at the Department of Finance, but I'd like to ask the minister, will she consider the letter I tabled today and respond without delay, and immediately get to work to eliminate these unnecessary delays that are frustrating a very important industry?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, there are three departments involved in working with the cultural industries, and the film industry in particular - the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, as well as the Department of Finance. We are breaking down the silos between these departments so that we can have the best response possible to the industry. As I said, we have already identified some of the impediments for the processing of these tax credits, and we are diligently working to remove them.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: NURSING HOMES - STAFFING RULES

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, nurses in this province say staffing rules for nursing homes and residential care facilities are dangerously out of date. They know that this affects their ability to provide care for their residents, resulting in unreasonable workloads and even impacts bed vacancies in long-term care facilities.

My question to the Minister of Health and Wellness is, will the minister sit down with representatives for the nurses and fix the problem before it turns into a crisis?

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I had the honour, with the Premier, today, to actually meet with and address the nurses in Truro at their AGM. We were well received, and I have to say there was a lot of discussion between the nurses, the union, and the Premier and I. We are going to move forward as we continue to do, as we've done in the last four years, with partners. Our partners are the unions in this province, and they are the nurses in this province. We are going to continue to work to ensure that the staffing levels meet the guidelines that are set out across the country to ensure that patients receive the adequate care they need, and that's the approach we've taken over the last four years.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, there are more than 2,400 seniors waiting to be placed in a long-term care facilities today. Janet Hazleton told reporters that "We can have all kinds of beds open, but if we don't have the nurses to look after the residents then what's the point?" Learning that there are vacancies but not enough nurses is cold comfort to those 2,400 seniors waiting for placement. My question to the minister is, how many bed vacancies have been left unfilled because the government has failed to address the "dangerously out-of-date staff rules for nurses?"

[Page 1725]

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, that is just simply not true, what the member opposite is talking about. Back in 2011 we did a staffing review to see what levels were sufficient in long-term care facilities. Last year alone we increased the budget by over $2 million, which increased over 34 positions across facilities in Nova Scotia. It is one thing that we are proud about doing, ensuring that we work with our partners, with the unions, those who represent the important work that nurses do in the province. I think our track record is indicated much better than the track record of what the former government has had - we're working with them to solve issues in health care, not working against them.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, the seniors have worked long and hard and contributed to our economy and to our province their whole lives. They deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. This government needs to get their ducks in a row when it comes to addressing the needs of seniors. When they halted bed construction, they let beds remain empty while 2,412 seniors wait.

The CBC article states the government has said that they are willing to talk about possible changes - I will table that - and the seniors deserve a better commitment and so do the nurses. Will the government update policies for long-term care facilities in this session, so that nurses and seniors have a fair opportunity to receive the proper care?

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I believe that actions speak louder than words and the actions that we have taken over the last four years, to support seniors in this province, talk for themselves. Seniors know that we reduced taxes that they pay in this province. More low-income Nova Scotians, senior Nova Scotians, pay no income tax here in this province. Under the Progressive Conservatives, they felt it was okay to charge seniors income tax. Under the NDP Government we respect the commitment that seniors have had to build this economy. That is why we ensure that the loved ones who are left in the communities have more money in their pockets to remain in their homes. We reduced the requirements for seniors to pay in a long-term care facility.

I'm glad of the work that we've done over the last four years and our track record will show that we are committed to seniors, unlike the 10 years under Progressive Conservative Governments that used to strip every last dime from seniors who entered long-term care. I'm proud of our record.

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

PREM. - WAIT TIMES: FUNDING - DISBURSEMENT

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, the delivery of health care in a timely manner requires planning, it requires the development of targets, it requires a plan to meet the targets and it requires monitoring. It also requires accountability to the people of Nova Scotia for results. Since 2004 Nova Scotia has been the beneficiary of over $159 million from the federal government in the form of the Wait Times Reduction Fund, a fund established to augment provincial efforts in addressing wait-times in our health care system.

[Page 1726]

Could the Premier please indicate how the NDP Government has spent the over $34 million his NDP Government has received, since assuming office, addressing wait times?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, we have taken a whole host of measures to ensure that the people of Nova Scotia are receiving better care sooner. We now have one of the best waiting lists on cardiac surgery in the country.

MR. GLAVINE « » : Well, Mr. Speaker, a very interesting response. During estimates I asked the Minister of Health and Wellness to table a list, one simple list of what they spent the Wait Times Reduction Fund on in 2012-13 and what they plan to spend the money on this fiscal year. Here, in part, is the response received: The federal Wait Times Reduction Fund is a federal transfer that goes directly to general revenue. It is not based on any specific funding.

Could the Minister of Health and Wellness please explain why the Wait Times Reduction Fund goes directly to general revenue?

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, the budget for health care that we just tabled about a month ago and passed, spends over 40 per cent of the total provincial budget on health care, over $3.9 billion is spent providing services for Nova Scotians so that they can gain access to the services in a timely manner.

We worked hard over the last four years to ensure that we reduce wait times. We could always do better, we know that, but I'm proud of the wait times that we've had and some of the guarantees and guidelines that we've met here in Nova Scotia. I can say, without a doubt, in Nova Scotia, if you are severely ill or sick, you get into the hospital and you get the services you need.

Yes, we do need to do some work on the orthopaedic wait-time surgeries, we recognize that. We are going to continue to work with our partners, those surgeons within the district health authorities, and the district health authorities themselves, to try to bring that wait-list down to a reasonable time and we're going to continue to work in that manner over the coming years.

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, provinces across the country - Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador - have all established wait time reduction plans. They set targets for themselves, and they went about achieving them using the wait time reduction fund to augment their plans. It would appear that this NDP Government saw fit to dump the money into general revenue. Whether the fund was used to balance the budget or to bail out Bowater, it would appear the money was not used for what it was intended.

[Page 1727]

Could the minister please explain to the almost 3,000 patients waiting for orthopaedic surgery and the 4,000-plus patients waiting for cataract surgery why the wait time reduction fund was not used to reduce wait times in this province?

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I don't even know where to start with that question. We work hard here in the province to ensure that we provide health care services for Nova Scotians. When the federal health transfer started, it was supposed to be a 50-50 cost-sharing venture for the provinces and territories. I believe we're just over 20 per cent now here in the province, and the federal government is backing away from the Health Accord, which puts more pressure on all the jurisdictions across the country under all political Parties.

As Ministers of Health, we're concerned about the federal government's cutback and their approach to getting out of health care delivery. We need the federal government to be at the table with the Health Ministers - Health Ministers who are Conservatives, Health Ministers who come from the Saskatchewan Party, from the Liberal Party, and from the NDP. We all talk on the same level when we meet as Ministers of Health from across the country. We need the federal government at the table. We're working hard to make sure that we can keep up our end of the bargain with delivering health care here in the Province of Nova Scotia.

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

FIN. - BUDGET MISREPRESENTATION: INFO - TRANSPARENCY

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, last week the NDP used their majority government to smother the truth by not allowing the Internal Affairs Committee of this House to review the government's $27 million budget misrepresentation. My question to the Minister of Finance is, why is this government intent on hiding this information from Nova Scotians?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, we have had a full airing of this issue at the Public Accounts Committee with the staff from the Department of Finance, as well as with the Auditor General. We have heard from the former Minister of Finance on this, and I have spoken on this. There's nothing more to be said on this. Thank you.

MR. COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, even the member for Halifax Atlantic said, in support of the motion on April 23, 2013, "It is extraordinarily important that this House be permitted to do its work." I'll table that quote from Hansard. Keeping this information from the Internal Affairs Committee, and therefore from the people of Nova Scotia, shows complete disrespect to this House and to the people of this province.

[Page 1728]

My question to the Premier is, if the NDP has nothing to hide with this $27 million cover-up, why did this government vote down the motion and refuse further review?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order. The word "cover-up" is unparliamentary. I'd ask the honourable member to retract that.

MR. COLWELL « » : I will retract that - "error." (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Thank you. I make those decisions on that, and I'll do it in due time.

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, there was no error. Everything that happened, happened exactly as it should. What amazes me is that the other night here in the House of Assembly - I have to say that unfortunately I was engaged elsewhere, so I wasn't actually able to be here, but I took the time to go back and read the Hansard of the member for Halifax Fairview, the former Minister of Finance, where he went through this issue piece by piece and he talked about the way in which you go about putting together an almost $9 billion budget, how those lines are determined, when the cut-off dates are.

I understand that at the end of that, all the members of the House gave the member for Halifax Fairview a standing ovation. I'll tell you something, Mr. Speaker - he deserves it, and I believe him.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: LONG-TERM CARE PLACEMENT - C.B. STATS

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you will be to the Minister of Health and Wellness.

Seniors in Cape Breton have been left behind by this NDP Government. With more than 2,400 seniors on the waiting list for long-term care, and no signs of movement on tendering new beds, it has become quite clear that the NDP have forgotten about the seniors who cannot stay in their own homes.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, how many seniors are currently waiting for placement in a long-term care facility, and how many of those are from Cape Breton?

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, one of the more important things that people want to ensure that their government is doing is ensure that they have options when they come to receiving care here in Nova Scotia. We know, and I've said this many, many times in the House, government, whoever is in government in the future, is always going to be in the business of providing long-term care. They're going to need to replace them; they're going to need to build new ones. We're committed to that, and any future government has to be committed to that. But one of the things we've seen over the last 10 years or so is a lack of support, I believe, or appropriate support, for home care services.

[Page 1729]

When we looked at the long-term care wait-list, over 43 per cent of those individuals waiting for a long-term care bed placement had never received community care or home care - and I can't understand why. So that's why we invested $22 million last year in addition. We're spending over $190 million a year trying to provide home care services so that people have options. That's what Nova Scotians want, that's what seniors want, and that's what we're going to do, Mr. Speaker.

MR. MACLEOD « » : The question was, how many need a bed?

In February, the Cape Breton Post reported that an average of 140, and I'll repeat that, 140, beds were lost daily in the Cape Breton Health Authority because of long-stay patients waiting to get into nursing homes. And I'll table that article. This is unacceptable. No one, Mr. Speaker, no one in Nova Scotia would agree that the solution to the growing need for long-term care beds is to put those seniors in the hospital. This is causing a delay and taking up critical space in our hospitals.

So my question to the minister is, what will the minister do to guarantee that the seniors his government has displaced will be moved into long-term care beds and out of the acute care beds?

MR. WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, this issue around long-term care placement is an issue that's not just happening within our borders. I've attended, and I've chaired the national meeting of Ministers of Health from across the provinces and territories. We all are struggling to ensure that we meet the needs of our seniors. We know the demographic shift in the coming years, where we're going to have more seniors living not only in our province, but across the country. That's why, collectively, we're looking at how we best meet those needs of seniors in our jurisdictions; that's why we believe we need a national policy or strategy on senior care.

Mr. Speaker, that's why the Premiers are talking about it through the Health Innovation Committee; that's why Ministers of Health are speaking across the country to try to collectively ensure that we're meeting the needs of seniors. We're going to continue to move in that direction; we're going to continue to invest in long-term care facilities; and we're going to continue to invest in home care services so our seniors, those who built our economy, can have options when they get into their elderly years.

[Page 1730]

MR. MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, the seniors who have built our economy in Cape Breton, it is reported that sometimes they have to wait as long as three years to get into a facility. Families are pushing themselves to the brink to provide care for their aged loved ones. And a three-year wait is unacceptable. The government must consider the well-being of its generous caregivers when they decide to halt plans for the production of long-term beds.

So when will the minister put out a tender for new long-term care beds in Cape Breton?

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

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture on an introduction.

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Thank you very much. Mr. Speaker and members of the House, I'd like to draw your attention to the east gallery where today we are joined by Lockeport Regional High School teachers and students. We have 30 Grade 10 and Grade 11 students, 15 from beautiful Lockeport and 15 from Quebec, the exchange students from Quebec. Anne Slauenwhite is the teacher and I ask the House to give a warm welcome. Thank you. (Applause)

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

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

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 66.

Bill No. 66 - Mariners' Day Act.

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

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, to the guests in the gallery, I think this is very appropriate. It is perfect timing for me to stand today and give a few remarks. It is certainly an honour to stand before my colleagues in this House and ask for their support for the Mariners' Day Act.

[Page 1731]

As promised in our government's recent Speech from the Throne, this will be a special day for families and friends and indeed, all Nova Scotians. As Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, I'm bringing forward a bill that will honour all those fish harvesters who left port in early dawn but never came home. As a fisherman and as a fisherman's son, I am asking you to join me in assuring the families of those lost souls that they will never be forgotten.

Mr. Speaker, we are introducing new legislation which designates the second Sunday in August as Mariners' Day. This Act will stand alongside the existing but little-known Seamen's Memorial Day Act. Out of respect, we will keep the legislation and use the same day of observation. Each and every year we will have a special day to recognize those who contribute so much to the economy and the economic prosperity of this province and who lost their lives in the process. It will also give Nova Scotians from Yarmouth to Cape North a chance to say thank you to the fishers who currently make their living on the water.

I come from Woods Harbour, Shelburne County, Mr. Speaker, the home port of the Miss Ally. We've had our share of fishing tragedies but you don't have to come from my end of the province to share our sorrow. It's an all-too-familiar story of many coastal communities and villages that dot Nova Scotia's shoreline. It's an all-too-familiar event for too many families.

This most recent fishing tragedy touched the folks all over Nova Scotia, indeed throughout Canada. Unfortunately our maritime history bears the names of men and women from all over the province who lost their life to the sea.

Mr. Speaker, the Mariners' Day Act is dedicated to all those lost souls. Mariners' Day will also serve to help promote safety practices within the fishing industry. There is no denying the dangers associated with fishing for a living but we can enhance awareness of safety within the fishing industry. My department is currently working with Labour and Advanced Education and the Workers' Compensation Board, along with the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia to do just that.

Families can play a big role in encouraging their loved ones to take greater precautions while at sea, ensuring a crew will return home without suffering an injury or worse. Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to support the Mariners' Day Act and I'm looking forward to the support of my fellow members in the House of Assembly, I also look forward to gathering with Nova Scotians on the second Sunday in August to observe Mariners' Day. Thank you for the time, it's certainly a pleasure.

[Page 1732]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Would the minister just - I may have missed it but I don't think you actually moved second reading.

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 66.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT « » : I'm pleased to stand and speak on Bill No. 66. It touches a place with me, that's for sure. Yesterday the government introduced the bill to honour the work and sacrifice of Nova Scotians who make their living at sea. My family has been at the fishing industry in this province for 15 generations if my children go, and I believe they will. That will make - I'm 13th generation, my sons are 14th and my grandchildren are 15th. When my forefather came here in 1637, he fished these coastal waters with the Mi'kmaq Indians to make a living, and that's where we started. It's a very fitting tribute to the coastal communities of this province and I thank the minister for bringing this forward because I believe that it would be very fitting - a great tribute to the coastal communities that helped build this province.

Mr. Speaker, this is an important bill, one which recognizes the importance of Nova Scotia fisheries and the people who work in this industry. We know the contribution fisheries make to our economy but also the contributions it has made to the entire province of our coastal communities. In fact, most coastal communities in Nova Scotia are still dependent on the fishery in one form or another. Coastal communities in Nova Scotia were built by the fishery and it will always be here in one form or another.

Mr. Speaker, two-thirds of this planet is salt water and if you put the fresh with it, maybe it will even be a little more than two-thirds. There will always be a fishery somewhere, in some form. If one fishery goes down, there will be another fishery take its place. We've experienced that over the past 100 years, especially. Especially this last 50 years that has changed, when one species goes down another species will come along. There will always be a fishery on this earth and I want to tell you here today that if something happens that there isn't a fishery on this earth, and over two-thirds of it being water, I would be worrying on the other one-third of the land that we're living on. I would truly be worried about that one.

Mr. Speaker, there is always going to be a fishery and there are always going to be tragedies. Fishing is a very dangerous profession and something we are all very well aware of. In my family alone, I've lost an uncle and a brother-in-law, in the past 60 years that I know of, to the sea. I don't know how many others in the community and surrounding communities that I've seen go to the sea from tragedies. It's a hard thing to accept but you accept it, and I'll tell you why you accept it. I was born, practically, in a boat - the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture can probably attest to this - you don't know too much difference, till you get to Halifax here, maybe, to see what else is going on.

[Page 1733]

But you're born in the fishery on the coastal waters and you continue doing what's been done, to provide for your family, to provide to the people you catch these for. These fish aren't just to make your own living - these fish are to feed millions and millions and millions of other people on this planet. It's one of the healthiest foods you could ever put into your body, and that's what fishermen do. Fishermen have always done that, and always will do that as long as those fish are there.

Fishermen will also be sacrificed to the sea. We can look at all the safety we want to - the minister spoke of safety things to do - but I'm telling you, when you're out on the ocean in a 40- or 50- or 60-foot boat, the boats we use on our coastal waters, you are nothing but a grain of sand in the middle of the Sahara Desert. That's what you are. Whatever the sea wants to do to you, the sea will do to you.

Many fishermen - 99 per cent, maybe 95 per cent of fishermen - do not know how to swim. People think they're crazy. I've often said to myself, I can swim - I can swim the length of this building, if I had to, to get back aboard a boat - but if your boat, your little grain of sand out there in the middle of the ocean goes out from under you, I always ask the question, where are you going to swim to? That's what you have to ask yourself. If you're real lucky and you're real tough, with a three or four degree temperature, you'll live a few minutes. If you're lucky. Where you're going to swim to, I don't know, so probably the quicker you go, the better, when you go over the side.

They figured out gear to work with, or tried to figure out gear to work with, for fishermen out there. They put the floater suits on, and these floater suits are similar to having a suit on, on the moon - similar, without the heavy boots. Maybe the heavy boots would work well too, and then you really wouldn't move on deck too much. But that's what you have to survive in. If you go over the side you can survive a few more hours, and maybe, possibly, somebody will fly over and find you in the few hours you have in this suit.

But you can't work in this suit. It's impossible. The work you have to do out there, of handling gear all day - the small floating devices you can put on that will inflate when you go over the side may get you back if you're lucky, if there's someone aboard the boat who knows you went over to get back to get you aboard. Little things like that may help, but to find gear and find something to make you survive out there - there's little things you can do, but the thing is, you are there and the sea will do what it wants to you. You are at the mercy of the sea, whatever that sea does.

I've seen it rough. I've told the story in this House before of waves higher than this building coming at you. I can imagine what the Miss Ally went through that night. Even if those boys did get in that life raft that's supposed to save you, at 70-100 miles an hour - I don't think they've found that raft yet. That raft would be similar to blowing up a balloon and throwing it out on the ocean in a 70-80 mile breeze of wind. You go look for that balloon and find it. If you come across it, you'll be a very lucky pilot in the air. That raft has never been found yet, so there goes your life raft.

[Page 1734]

At times it can save you, but that night with the Miss Ally, it's possible some could be in that raft, but I doubt it. One sea took that boat. Just like that, that boat flipped in the air, down on its top, broke the top all off it, and I imagine those boys just went out through her everywhere. You can do all you want to try to gear up things to be safe at sea, and some things you will gear up to be a bit safe, but when the sea wants to take you out there, it will take you.

With that, I won't speak anymore. A Mariners' Day is a very fitting thing for this province. The next time you eat a nice, fresh fish, maybe you haven't got to wait until the second Sunday of August. Maybe you could take that moment when you eat that piece of fish to think of where that came from. Thank you very much. (Standing Ovation)

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, it's a hard act to follow as it always happens in here. The member for Digby-Annapolis - with speeches like that I wish he'd be around for another four years at least, if not a bunch more. I know he's going to go do something that is in his heart which, of course, has to do with fishing, some whale-watching, and spending time with the things more important to him, and you heard it there in his speech - his family.

If this is my last opportunity to say it to the member for Digby-Annapolis - thank you for the memories, thank you for the friendship. You were there for your community and I'm so proud of having this opportunity to have known you and to have known the stories and stuff you imparted to us. It's going to be a loss for us. I hope to maybe be spending some time down there and doing some whale-watching with you. It's always a hard act to follow in this House when that member gets up before me. (Applause)

Every once in a while, we have the opportunity to pass along and support a bill as it's being presented without too much negativity. This House tends to be full of negativity at times and sometimes it's really neat to see how everything sort of comes together and we can talk about our own experiences and our own feelings when it comes to something as the loss at sea.

I come from a fishing village, my great-grandfather was a master mariner on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, he went fishing for swordfish and other fish for many years. My father is a scallop fisherman, just recently retired after 40 years and I'm so thankful that my father made it through that ordeal, and I don't have to say that I lost family to the sea. Yet, every year we hear of more, and even so we almost get complacent every year there might be no one that we lose, and other years we're hit even harder.

This year in my constituency and my neighbouring constituency of Shelburne we lost six - Michael Doucette, 21 years old, just a young guy; Katlin Nickerson; Stephen Cole Nickerson; Bill Jack Hatfield; Joel Hopkins; and Tyson Townsend, ranging in age of 21 to 33 years, somewhere around 34 years. All young with families just getting their start in life and we have to face the fact that they're no longer with their families.

[Page 1735]

I first got hit with losing a friend to the sea probably in 1998. Just before becoming an executive assistant to Neil LeBlanc, I was working at a boat-building facility in southwestern Nova Scotia, in D'eon Fisheries. There was a young kid there, Gilles LeBlanc, again, early 20s, and I think it was within a year of that - I think I had started working here by that time, but lost him off the back of the boat, he was completely gone. They went back to look for him, but they really couldn't find him. Another individual lost far too early in his life.

I lost an uncle on my wife's side, Louis d'Entremont - actually his wife spoke at the Day of Mourning just the other day in Lunenburg. Louis, seining, fell over the back side of the boat and perished. Luckily they recovered him, so we did have some closure to that for the family, but many times when it happens to many of the fishermen, we never do have the opportunity to bid our farewells, or our goodbyes. That's sort of the point of the Day of Mourning - an opportunity to stand before what you feel is a sacred place, whether it's a monument, whether it's just at the end of the wharf, and saying goodbye. At least there's a day where everybody can sort of grab each other's hands and be able to mourn together and say thank you for the memories that we do have, but at the same time to be sad a little bit together, too, because that's a part of the healing process in our communities.

We all come from communities where people make the decision to be fishermen - you don't have to be a fisherman, you can become an engineer, a Baptist minister, a doctor, you can become anything you want, but when the call of the sea hits someone, they become fishermen.

There are hundreds of people in our communities who have made that decision. Every day they go out, they know that something stupid can happen, a lot of times that's what it is. I mean for those of you who haven't had the opportunity to go lobster fishing, when you are sending out that trawl and the trawl is starting to go and you are on your 10th pot, there's a lot of weight starting to pull on that set of ropes and if you get caught around your leg, you're gone. That's how quickly it can happen.

You can fall off the back of the boat. I mean Michael - the stories are that he went outside for a few moments and was never seen again. It can happen that quickly. The wrong roll of a boat, the wrong bump, it can just happen so quickly that sometimes the rest of the crew don't realize it for a few minutes, even for up to an hour, and by the time you turn a boat around and go look, that speck of sand in the middle of the Sahara is quite realistic, of trying to find it.

I remember a few years ago taking a bit of a trip to Gloucester to see the lost-at-sea monuments there - if you ever have the opportunity, it's something to see - and to see the name of my wife's great grandfather who was lost on a boat. So for all our families, I think that is one of the things that binds us, that there is an opportunity to say listen, I lost a loved one as well.

[Page 1736]

Mr. Speaker, there are a couple of lovely monuments that we have in the Municipality of Argyle, one in West Pubnico and one in East Pubnico, of people who have drowned, but if you look at the names, a lot of them are very young people who were out fishing at the time and were lost in storms or other ways. I remember one of the first times that I remember, not necessarily knowing who the fishermen were, but listening to the VHF. Maybe the minister remembers this, probably back in the late 1970s, if not early 1980s, and there is a gate that you sail through as you're heading from Wedgeport to the Tusket Islands. If you miss the gate, there is a reef there that you get hooked up on.

I remember listening to the VHF and sitting there with my dad who, like I said, is a fisherman and he was just ashen, and you could tell he was visibly upset - if anybody knows my dad, he doesn't really get upset - sitting there and listening to it. I remember a few days later, going down to the beach and combing along and finding pieces of the boat that actually had broken up on that reef. I can't remember the name and how many were lost on that one - I think it might be Soldiers Ledge or something like that. I think there were three gentlemen who lost their lives on that one.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for bringing this one forward. I look forward to supporting this one, as we continue through the process in this Legislature, and look forward, maybe the second Sunday in August, to stand with the minister and stand with my friends here in this Legislature, to celebrate the lives of those loved ones who were lost at sea. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MS. BECKY KENT « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm particularly pleased today to rise in support of this Bill No. 66, the Mariners' Day Act. I'm going to reflect a little bit on all the reasons why but I want to start with saying how proud I am to be part of a government, but more importantly, to have a colleague, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, who not only is doing such a great job but is also a fisherman in his own right, and to bring this bill forward at this point - I'm very proud of that and I think we should acknowledge that.

I'm thankful, too, to hear the members opposite talking about why it's important to them, in particular the member for Digby-Annapolis and the very important and thoughtful way that he brings his true experience to this House. You can feel it in the emotion when he talks about anything related to this issue. It's heartfelt, deep-rooted and it's very much appreciated by all members - I think I can speak on behalf of all members. I want to thank him for that, and I too will miss him. (Applause)

[Page 1737]

Mr. Speaker, the importance of the fisheries in Nova Scotia is not new. The importance of the fisheries in Nova Scotia has been here for generations, as the member for Digby-Annapolis spoke of - the importance to our society and the fabric of what makes up Nova Scotia and what has created Nova Scotia, and not only Nova Scotia as we see it on a global level, but on a very local level. The communities that have grown up in and around the fishing industry have close-knit ties to each other. They still have those values that we're not seeing in every community, particularly the larger metropolises in Nova Scotia, that we wished our young ones - my boys, and other Nova Scotian families - they're missing out on that experience that helped shape Nova Scotia, and also helped shape me.

I can't say that I'm from a long line of 15 generations, but I too - you've heard me speak about my growing up in Shelburne. I grew up on Sandy Point Road on the Shelburne Harbour. I grew up knowing that my family, my dad's family, is from a long line of fishermen. My dad grew up in a home of nine children; two of them were girls, and the rest were all fishermen. My grandfather was a fisherman, a lobster fisherman, and the experience that I had growing up in that is very much a part of me. When I stand in my place here and talk - sometimes we have to deliver messages, sometimes we speak on things that we learn about, but I lived that. I'm very proud of that experience, and I think that's what makes me truly Nova Scotian.

My dad was the youngest of seven fishermen and his dad, and he's the only one who didn't fish for a living. I'm sharing this experience, I'm going to give you a little insight into it, so that people have a little bit more insight into the real, true grit and commitment and drive and experience of our Nova Scotian fishing families and why we need to honour them, why we need the rest of Nova Scotia to take notice of what they are contributing to our society. My dad, being the youngest, went on to further his education a bit, but he learned the fishing. He learned it, he lived in it, he had a licence - a lobster licence. He didn't fish for a living, but he fished beside his brothers, he fished beside his uncles, he fished beside his dad, and he too had the passion for going on the water. The call to the water is very real. It's been there, and it continues to be there for those involved in the fishing industry.

My early memories are of - and these are quite early, these are the ones, I think - from a very early age, there are some things that, when you're really young, you don't remember it all - but I remember being a little tiny girl and going down into West Green Harbour on the fishing wharves. In fact, I remember it because it was actually kind of scary at times; it was so early and it was just coming light, so it was that eerie time for a little girl, but my dad wanted us to be near him. We'd go, and I would be around all the men. It was predominately a men's environment, although you'd see women baiting, women filling the traps, women getting their men and their crews ready. It was very much a family environment, and it continues to be. But I remember going to the wharf when they were getting their boats ready, and you could see the weathered, worn faces of being on the ocean. You could hear the gruffness in their voice of the salt air affecting - because they'd spend all day there. They would be there from before light to well after dark.

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I remember the small boat that my dad had, by comparison to some of the bigger ones who were out there with a full load of traps or nets for whatever it was they were fishing. I remember the trips out to Blue Island, and for me, as the member for Digby-Annapolis spoke of, it felt like I was on the other side of the world. Because out on the ocean there's nothing to see, to connect to. So we'd be out there in this small boat, and we'd see the porpoises and whales going under my dad's boat as we were going to check the traps - until we saw Blue Island. Blue Island was like, okay, we got there, and you know, we were blessed that each time we went out, we came back home safely and such.

I can't say that was always the case for many of my family. My grandmother kept a journal, in fact, of all the lost men and women of their family, particularly men. It was something that, when I would go to my grandparents' home, my grandfather and his mates would be at the table after a long season, and that's when they'd start playing cards. They'd sit beside the kettle on the stove, and my nanny would always make molasses cookies for them, for all their trips out on the sea, but also for us. She always made sure there were enough for us. But I remember them sitting around the table, talking about all their trips, talking about the big catches and the little catches, and playing cards, and the knuckle slamming of the cards on the table, because they were so strong and worn, and it didn't faze them a bit. I used to be - again, as a little girl, that big slam on the table when they were really telling their stories. I'm sharing that with you because I heard those stories. I heard those stories of that sacrifice, and that commitment, and that drive, and that call.

I remember as well being a little girl when my dad - and my dad learned all these - my dad would knit the bait bags. He'd sit in our living room, with it tied to the door handle. And he'd have that little - I don't know, maybe the member for Digby-Annapolis could tell me what that little needle was? (Interruption) Thank you, was it just a needle? A thin needle. He would stitch these bait bags.

Then, as well, those were the days when you made your pots from scratch. You'd go out - I remember going out with my dad and collecting the alders. You'd get the real bendy ones. Dad would have a jig in the basement. We still had a coal furnace, where Dad would shovel the coal into it. So it was a good room to dry that out. But after he got it in the jig, he'd create these pots. And then of course, I certainly would remember the many feeds of lobster that would come home. We had the benefit of them coming home to the table and enjoying them. But in fact, this day and age now, when lobster comes to my table it's like going home. It's one of those foods that just reminds me of all that I experienced as a young person, and it has created who I am.

My dad, his brothers, my grandfather - they knew the element of risk that was involved in fishing. They knew it, and generations before knew it, and generations after that, yet they still continued to participate in the fishing industry. They continued to go on the sea. It was in their blood. It continues, and it's noble. It's honourable, and it deserves recognition and celebration in our communities. It is a call to the sea. It's a call that folks get - similar, I think, to our military. You're called to serve and protect. Our clergy are called to serve God. I would be remiss if I didn't say a long-haul truck driver is called to the open road. It's something that they are - of which I know - that they're drawn to.

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I was drawn to the community of - yes, teachers would be another one, as well, and actors - okay, well, there's lots. But I know, I believe very much that I was drawn to the community of Eastern Passage for the similarities that it offered to what I knew to be a loving and connected community, similar to where I grew up in Sandy Point along the water with the fishing families - to the point that Shelburne Harbour has McNutts Island, Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has McNabs Island. Just outside the main city, the main town of Shelburne is just outside. I don't think that was by happenstance; I think that was something that was part of me. When you visit Eastern Passage - I know I speak a lot about that here in our community and as the MLA for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage - Eastern Passage is still very much a fishing community. It has a number of other elements to it as well, as it grows, but the fishing industry and the commitment and the contribution that they provide to our community, to the economy of Nova Scotia, and to society of Nova Scotia is very real and still very vibrant.

You can go down to Fisherman's Cove and - well, Fisherman's Cove, let's start there. Fisherman's Cove, although it's on the peninsula where the government wharf is, Fisherman's Cove was named to honour the fishing industry, the fishing men and women of that community and the subsequent industries related to it, because the community respects and values that. You can still go there and you'll see the fishermen getting their boats ready, their traps ready, their nets, their bait, and their crew ready to go out on the ocean.

We, as a community as well, continue to honour them and wish them safe journeys. Every year we have a long-standing community festival, the Eastern Passage-Cow Bay Summer Carnival, of which one evening is dedicated to the blessing of the fleet. We take our local clergy from all denominations and bless the fleet and wish them a safe year, safe journeys. This is important to the communities I represent.

In 2010, for a lot of hard-working community members it was the culmination of two or three years of hard work where we created a fisherman's monument, the Fisherman's Memorial Monument on McCormick's Beach, adjacent to Fisherman's Cove, which certainly is fitting. I'm thankful that we had a community that wanted to acknowledge, commemorate, honour, and offer a place of reflection for our fishing families.

Mr. Speaker, growing up in Sandy Point and living in Eastern Passage, on a daily basis we see the multitude of boats and ships that come and go out of the harbour. By the very definition of a mariner, those who navigate the sea or assist in navigating the sea, really this day could be attributed to the celebration of so many industries in Nova Scotia.

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In Sandy Point in particular, while I'm talking about a monument, I remember as a teenager, living in Sandy Point, I babysat - they were actually relatives of mine. Some of the members here may know them. If you recall a lost boat by the name of Johnny and Sisters, Johnny and Davie Thorburn were the captains. Johnny Thorburn had Davie and his son on it and a number of other local crew members and that boat was lost at sea. Then in Shelburne, the community there created the monument down on the harbourfront in the Town of Shelburne, in recognition of that.

I know people in Nova Scotia want these opportunities and sometimes it takes a little more emphasis from leaders in their communities, like their government, like their MLAs, like their local community officials, to lead the drive on celebrations and events that recognize that. I think this legislation, this particular day in August, will help drive that and give them more opportunities to work together to create a further celebration beyond just that single day.

I think, particularly in a constituency like mine, it is very much a community that has members of our military living in it, who spend their entire naval careers on the sea, navigating the sea. I see the transportation and cargo ships coming in and out of the ports in Eastern Passage, navigating the sea or being part of helping navigate that.

The cruise lines, the research vessels that are going in and out, are all part of industries that involve that risk of being out on the ocean and there are many, many more.

Nova Scotians who spend their time on the sea should be honoured - they are who we were yesterday, they are who we are today, and they are who we will be tomorrow. As Nova Scotia turns the corner toward the biggest shipbuilding contract in our history, they can do so with pride and they can do so with the expertise and the connection to the sea. The shipbuilders who will be building those crafts, they're doing it because their family members, their friends, their neighbours will be on those ships. Those shipbuilders are proud to build those ships, to protect and serve not only their country, but their community members.

I speak to that because when you think of Mariners' Day and you think of our fishermen and any other Nova Scotians who spend time on the sea to make a living - we want and need them to be safe, we want and need them to return home, and I believe very much that the men and women who will build those ships for our military service personnel will do so with care and their hearts and their souls will be in it because they're Nova Scotian, because they grew up in a family that came from the very core roots of being on the ocean like our fishing families.

The member for Digby-Annapolis and I think the member for Argyle spoke as well that not all of them will return home. We hope they do, we hope and pray every time any of our men and women go out on the sea for whatever reason that they will return home, that there will be no more lost souls like the Miss Ally crew, which my heart and prayers go out to those families that have most recently lost their loved ones in that community. I know that while we hope that we will have no more lost souls, Mother Nature may have another plan. As the member for Digby-Annapolis spoke of, things will happen and we may have to be here another day talking about another lost soul - and I hope not, but it is the risk that they take when they go out on the ocean.

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At this point I just want to say that I'm so very proud to be supporting this bill, coming from a long line of seafaring and fishing families and as an MLA for a constituency that still honours, respects, and supports those in that industry. I have a little list here and I was thinking very quickly of the names of fishing families in the Eastern Passage area that every time I think of them and I know that what they do - the Naugles, the Holmes, the Silvers, the Purdys, the Edwards, the Hornes, and the Eddys, I'm living in and working for families who are so close to what I grew up with, names in Sandy Point, in the Shelburne area, like the Townsends, the Hemeons - and the minister would know most of these - the Goodicks, the Holmes, the Butlers, the Belliveaus, the Nickersons, the Langilles, and the Thorburns. I'm sure the members for Digby-Annapolis and Argyle - the Goodwins, I'd be remiss if I didn't say the Scotts, that's my maiden name. When I hear those names I instantly get transported back to those family roots and that's an experience that as a mum, raising kids today, it's sometimes hard to find those things that they will connect to when they're young because their lives are very different.

Nova Scotia has a long and rich history of that and we'll have a long and bright future of seagoing mariners and the fishing industry. I think that this bill is an indication that their government respects them, their government honours them, and their government values them for who they are and what they do.

I'm very proud to support Bill No. 66, Mariners' Day. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. TREVOR ZINCK « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak to Bill No. 66 and obviously in support. I think, simply put, in hearing some of the earlier speeches, especially the member for Digby-Annapolis talk of 15 generations, I think a bill like this is probably easily said to be long overdue, so I want to congratulate the minister. Unfortunately it comes after such a tragedy of Miss Ally but I think if we look back and we recount all the stories and the proud history of the fishing industry of Nova Scotia, it is definitely one that is long overdue.

Mr. Speaker, this is a bill that is close to my heart. I know I am the MLA for Dartmouth North, but in the late 1970s, early 1980s my father happened to be the first mate on my Uncle Otis' scallop dragger out of Riverport and as a young boy growing up, all you knew was that dad was out to sea for 13 days and you hoped that he made it home and you knew that he was only going to be home for seven and then he would venture back out again. So you lived with the idea of your mom taking care of you and when dad came home, you made the most of your time in those seven days that he was in.

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Something that really struck home to me, Mr. Speaker, to really understand about some of the stories that he would talk about, the big waves, the amount of species that they would drag up in some of these nets in the night time, I had the opportunity as a young boy, my brother and I, to go to Riverport to see exactly the situation that my father was dealing with. We visited the boat. I remember, as the member for Digby-Annapolis said, 95 per cent of fishers can't swim. Well I can't swim and I remember just stepping over the edge onto the boat, I was nervous enough.

One of the things that struck home to me was the fact of the close quarters in those boats. You know some of these fishers are out all night, they're bringing in the nets, they're shucking the scallops and when they lay their heads down, the accommodations are incredibly small and cramped. You can imagine the amount of wear and tear it puts on a man's body, not just working the decks but trying to get a good night's rest so they can go out and be productive and efficient the next day. It always struck home.

I had an opportunity in 2007 to go out on opening day of lobster season with my uncle Eugene and his first mate Lionel John, who had been lifelong fishers in the West Dover-Peggy's Cove area. I remember my uncle saying that he was getting older and he needed a young, strong man to go out and help him. That day began at five o'clock in the morning - that was my arrival time. They were up at three o'clock preparing and loading the traps on the boat.

I always remember as a young person, seeing him when he was going into the city with the big 4x4 truck and when he ventured back home to West Dover - because we used to travel down on the weekends - I remember seeing the big load of groceries in the back of that truck. I always used to think, well fishers eat a lot, I couldn't understand why. That day, Mr. Speaker, when I went out, the first haul that we went out we unloaded I believe 150 traps. They had me up in the back of the boat and I was loading them out to another guy and as we sailed in, that's when we started to eat. I realized within a short period of time of being on the ocean why those men needed to eat, because it's very, very difficult, hard work and I had an appreciation of that.

I also remember, Mr. Speaker, at the recognition of the amount of knowledge that these fishers have, be they young or those who have fished for generations. My uncle would steer the boat and Lionel John would tell the other deckhands when to drop the traps and where to drop the traps. They had this whole ocean mapped out. As you can imagine, on opening day of lobster season, all the boats are rushing out to get to their spots, to get to the best catch.

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As I mentioned, my uncle and his first mate Lionel John had been fishers for years and they knew the spot. I remember starting out and watching all the boats and you'd get past everybody and everybody was dropping the traps and we just kept going. I said, when are we going to drop the traps? Don't worry, we know where to drop the traps. Of course they did, for many years they fished, they knew.

I also can say, Mr. Speaker, that when I think of this a number of years ago we had a tragedy around the Peggy's Cove area, the Swissair crash. I remember working in Halifax at the time and I got home late that evening and put on the news first thing. I got a call from West Dover, from my folks. They said, did you see the news? I said, yes. I know at the time they were talking in St. Margarets Bay and I was watching the news and I just instinctively said to my folks, that's happening over Peggy's Cove right now. My Uncle Eugene and Lionel John, first mate - they were the representatives of the local Coast Guard and they were the first on the scene at the crash of the Swissair. Still, today, I don't think they've really recovered from some of the things and the scenes that they had to see.

So it's not just the experience on the open sea and the success of fishing and those struggles and dealing with Mother Nature, but in those local communities, when there's a tragedy, as there was with the Miss Ally - communities really came together and they ventured out. They weren't leaving it up to anybody, because that was their family. That has always struck a chord with me, and the benefit of having somebody give you that opportunity - I still think back on how proud I am to say that I actually experienced an opening day of lobster season.

When I think of this bill I think about the amount of pride - not just here, in Nova Scotia, and the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage talked about grit. I think if a number of us, and especially the Cape Breton MLAs, think back, years ago if you went to school with a lobster sandwich you were looked down upon. You were from a poor family. Now, subsequent to that we talk about peanut butter and jam sandwiches, but you think of the pride, and how far we've come as an industry.

We have a great opportunity as MLAs to travel the world, and one of the things that people talk about from all around the world is the fishing industry here in Nova Scotia - the crab fishery, the lobster industry . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Honourable member, would you allow an introduction?

MR. ZINCK « » : Yes, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to draw the members' attention to the east gallery, where we have some special guests from la belle province. They are from the Seminary St. Joseph, and we have 39 students, along with their tour guides, Thelma Cochrane, Alexander Thibodeau, Mario Lessard, and Anne-Marie Demers. I would ask that all members of the House give them a warm welcome. Rise, please. (Applause)

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MR. SPEAKER « » : We welcome all visitors to our House, and hope you enjoy the rest of the day.

I thank the honourable member for Dartmouth North for allowing that introduction, and he now has the floor.

MR. ZINCK « » : The number of benefits that this province has seen from the fishing industry solely lies on those individuals who venture out throughout the year to put meals on our tables - not just here locally - put tax dollars in the coffers of the government, but feed people worldwide. It's just the recognition of that.

My brother recently married into a West Indies family from Ontario, and when I visit him, the first thing they say is, we love Nova Scotia. The second thing they say is, we love the seafood in Nova Scotia. When they come here that's what they set out to do: venture to all of those little coastal communities.

Speaking of the coastal communities, if you think, we're surrounded by water - as the member for Digby-Annapolis said, two-thirds of the world is surrounded by water. I guess when you're young - we never ventured outside the province. We always travelled within the province.

I remember going to a number of communities over the years and travelling down to Cape Breton or down through Yarmouth and the South Shore and the Eastern Shore. As a young person you don't realize a lot of things or you don't remember a lot of things, but I can tell you, as I grew in age and now as an MLA, and you travel the province, you remember those certain communities. We have some of the most beautiful coastal communities, and I can tell you one thing - if you really want to experience those fishing communities, roll down your windows when you drive through those coastal communities, and smell that salt air. If you grew up with that, I'll tell you, you know it's home. (Interruption) The member for Digby-Annapolis mentioned lobster bait. There is just something to be said but what strikes me too in each and every one of these communities, is that sense of pride that they have. It is like no other.

The member for Digby-Annapolis - and I have to keep going back to him - mentions here in Halifax we don't necessarily get to see the depth of pride, the depth of closeness, the connection, that everybody is family. You know your neighbours and we really miss out on that here in metro. There is that disconnect but dotted throughout Nova Scotia is our coastal communities, I still like to think we have that open door policy that I grew up with in the West Dover area and Peggy's Cove area that when someone was broken down on the side of the road or a tourist was coming through, your grandmother's door was open.

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Oftentimes through Peggy's Cove we had the tour buses and as a young person I would go down to church on the weekend. I'd have meals with my family, but we always used to go out and sell the seashells that my uncles would bring in. We'd go down to the wharf and we'd go fishing on the wharf. I don't think we take enough pride in it or that we talk enough about it and I think what Bill No.66 does is it says, we not only support those who continue to go out, continue to give back of themselves to this province and to the promotion of this province to our economy, along with those lives we celebrate those that have been lost.

The member for Digby-Annapolis has spoken a number of times about his stories, fishing on the Grand Banks and Georges Bank, and he mentioned a speck of sand on the Sahara Desert. I'll tell you one of the things that hit home to me when I went out on opening day in 2007 was the fact that when you're out there, it's peaceful. You become awestruck because you venture out and it is like a whole different world. The only thing you know is when you start seeing landmarks, as you're venturing in, that you're home. What do you come home to? You come home to communities that are loving, that are caring, that are hard working. That is all they know.

I think this bill is a celebration of not only those who lost their lives but those who, again, continue to give of themselves each day, to give back to this province, to our families and to families abroad.

As we know, if you watch some of the TV, we're even glamorizing, in some of the reality shows, the men who take to the sea, who do crab fishing, lobster fishing. It really gives the public a close glimpse of what some of these individuals really deal with. Growing up I always used to say every job has its difficulty, but to get a real appreciation of what an individual is going through, you have to experience it. You have to get out there. It's not merely by flicking a channel and seeing it, I'll tell you when you experience that salt water coming onto your skin, it's cold. When you're out there and you're working and you see the challenge of slipping around a boat - I had to pack the crackers, I was told you're going to get seasick so take that pack of crackers with you.

These are stories that you're going to hear today, in the past, and in the future. I'm pleased today to participate, to support the minister in his venture and again, I would simply say that it is long overdue but there is no better time than now. Congratulations and I fully support this bill.

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Merci, monsieur le Président. Je voulais premièrement dire bonjour à nos amis du Québec qui sont venus pour nous visiter ici à l'Assemblée, pendant que c'est pas souvent qu'on a des députés qui va se prononcer en Français ici, je suis fière de dire que nous avons plusieurs de les 52 députés qui peuvent se prononcer dans leur langue maternelle du Français, et je voulais juste leur laisse savoir que le projet de loi que nous sommes en traîne de débattre au moment, c'est un projet de loi qui à faire avec nommer une nouvelle journée de fête ici à Nouvelle-Écosse. Ce serait une journée de fête pour les pêcheurs de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Spécialement pour tous ceux qui ont perdu leurs vies sur la mer dans notre province. Alors c'est ça le débat qui prend place maintenant, et je suis content que vous êtes venus à l'Assemblée pour nous visiter pendant votre séjour ici à Nouvelle-Ecosse.

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It's a pleasure as the Fisheries Critic for the Official Opposition to extend my support as well to Bill No. 66. I thought it most appropriate to allow my colleague and former Fisheries Critic of our caucus, the member for Digby-Annapolis, to speak first on this. Needless to say, he did not disappoint with his remarks, especially the reflection on his life history on the sea.

As has been mentioned, Madam Speaker, this bill and this decision to recognize Mariners' Day does come on the heels of great tragedy in our province with the loss of the Miss Ally. While the vessel comes from the riding of the Minister of Fisheries, it's always amazing how tragedies can bring various communities together - because there were three vessels out that day from the Shelburne area and two left early before the storm and the nearest port for them to come to get out of the storm was Petit-de-Grat. In fact they tied up at the Petit-de-Grat wharf - it's known locally as the co-op wharf because that's where the Isle Madame Fishermen's Co-op used to be and where I certainly spent a lot of my childhood.

It was quite ironic that that would be the port where they would be. I had the opportunity to go down and see the vessels tied up - I believe the crew by that point had gone home but the vessels stayed there, I believe, almost two weeks before they headed back out. The irony as well is that the Miss Ally was out longlining, which is certainly what most of the boats at the Fisherman's Co-op would have been doing, they were longliners as well. Most of them at the time, before the closure, the moratorium, would have been fishing various species, but certainly catching a halibut was considered a very good thing back then because it was one of the species that brought the highest amount of money per pound.

Madam Speaker, after the loss of the Miss Ally, speaking with my father and others we were reflecting of how fortunate we've been in the communities of Richmond County, that it has been a long time since we've had a loss of life, and considering how many men and women have been going out on a daily basis over the years, how fortunate we've been that there hasn't been more tragedy at sea. We do have, in our cemetery in Petit-de-Grat, a memorial to those who have lost their lives at sea, and it will be interesting to see whether there is a means of tying in this special day as well with the memorial that does exist there.

It was interesting in hearing some of the stories about growing up and our attachment to the fisheries. I'm proud to say, as I've said in this House before, that I as well grew up in a fishing family. My father, his father, his father, and his father they were all fishermen - in one way or another, fishing was always part of their life. It was interesting to hear the member for Dartmouth North indicate, I guess, a bit of a personal confession - and let me make mine as well. Like all of my family who were fishermen, I can't swim either, and not one could. It's simply amazing because there is a safety element to this bill and it's striking how many fishermen can't. I believe the member for Digby-Annapolis said 95 per cent, and I think he's right, because I remember growing up and asking my father why can't you swim, why couldn't my grandfather swim, and his father swim?

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They would often tell the story of a local fisherman who could swim and through some reason his boat had capsized just outside of the harbour and, unfortunately, he never made it home. So somehow they justified it that why learn how to swim if this great swimmer didn't make it, why should we be rushing to learn how to swim? Certainly not a good justification, to say the least, but that is just the reality.

One of my earlier memories in growing up, as mentioned by the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, was working on the fishing gear in the basement at home. I remember as a young boy taking the needle and learning how to run the green thread through the needle so I could pass it off to my father and grandfather who would be mending the nets in the basement, whether it be herring nets or mackerel nets. They'd work on them during the winter months and then when it would come time to work on the longlining gear, one of the first times I learned how to tie a rope was how to tie a snood, which I'm sure the minister and many others here would know what a snood is but it's the section of rope that the hook is tied onto that then is attached to the longline. So it's not everywhere that you can go and tell people you learned how to tie snoods that they're going to know what you're talking about.

I can say that I still remember in the basement we had the steel bar and you'd start up with tying it up around there and by the time you were done, you had your snood ready and you'd keep moving it until you had your bar almost full. During that time my father and grandfather would be actually punching through the rope along the longline to put the snoods in. It was great memories, we had lots of great conversations and certainly having the chance to hear their stories in that environment was something that I'm very grateful for.

Growing up during the summer months my grandfather and then my father had a salmon trap. In fact we were one of the last commercial salmon fishermen in Nova Scotia. When the federal government came in with the last buyout, I believe around 1986, if I'm not mistaken, we had a salmon trap which was outside of Sampson's Cove and it was tied onto the breakwater in Little Anse and the trap would go out, it was set up like a box with leaders so that the salmon would swim in and, unfortunately for them, could not figure out how to get out.

We would leave shore just before the breakwater - they called it the holler - and the rowboat was up on the shore on a ramp made of sticks, basically, logs. So we'd push that and we'd get in. Now as I said earlier, my father couldn't swim and I couldn't swim. We'd get in that rowboat, it was maybe 12 or 14 feet long, and I remember it had a little plug in the back where there was the hole to drain the water out. So we'd start rowing out, just going around the breakwater and as a young boy, I'd be just playing around and off and on, without paying attention I'd kick the cork out - the plug. Before we noticed, there would be water all around our feet and everything.

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I remember that my dad would never panic, he'd just say, find the plug. So I'd be searching frantically, knowing that neither of us can swim, to get that plug because we're sinking, basically, we're taking on water. Then eventually I'd find that little piece of cork floating somewhere under his feet or underneath everything and finally find the hole in desperation and plug it. Then my father would say, start bailing. I caused the leak, it was up to me to bail us out.

We'd get out to the salmon net, the trap, and for those - I'm sure the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and others who have gone out in rowboats to check nets, basically once we'd get there if there was sight of a salmon in there, my dad would stand up, reach over, grab the net and start pulling at it and hauling it up.

Now in doing so, the rowboat is basically up on its side and it's basically just a couple of inches outside of the water. You are thinking to yourself sitting there, if he moves a bit more, this thing is going to go over completely, yet it never did. Somehow in the construction of those rowboats they would not turn. So here we were, the two of us, far enough from shore, neither of us could swim but back then it wasn't even a consideration. That's just what you did, you went out, you got in the rowboat, you went to check the net, you came back home.

I did that many times and fortunately, there were never any accidents that happened. We were extremely fortunate because when I see my father now, when he knows that I am going out in my own pleasure craft in Arichat Harbour, the first question is, do you have your life jacket on? Does everyone have their life jacket on? It's always this great concern. I laugh at him and say well, here I was just a little boy with you in the rowboat, going to a salmon trap and you never once considered saying, put a life jacket on. He said, that was a different time.

Times have changed and now you have to be safety-minded. Not only does he ensure that I have my life jacket on, he's also always asking whether I have the clip on my belt for the kill switch for the key, so that if ever something happened to me and I fell overboard or anything happened, the engine would die because the kill switch would be pulled. We have obviously come a long way on the issue of safety as well.

Some of my earlier memories, as I mentioned before, were of the fishermen's co-op when my dad would have the salmon trap in the summer. When it would come around the month of August or September, he'd go longlining with my uncle to get the rest of his stamps and finish off his year before the winter would come, and I'd go down to the bait shed with them. I was just a young boy and I felt that I should be helping out in some way so at one point I suggested to my father that I should be able to cut bait for him while he was baiting trawls.

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I still remember - because of the fact that I wasn't very tall, I had to get a milk crate to stand on to be able to get up to the table and here I was with this knife, about 12 inches long, as a chopper, trying to cut frozen herring and frozen mackerel. I'm happy to report I still have every finger and there are no parts of them missing but some weren't as lucky in that profession.

Those were great memories for me of being able to help in cutting bait, as a young boy, and seeing how the fishery was going. Growing up, my father had bought this 22 footer, the Valerie B. was what it was called. He decided to put a house on it around the front. Whether that's what threw off its stability or not, we were not sure, but never before had a boat been seen that rolled the way that boat rolled. It could be the calmest day out there; that boat was going to roll.

I remember going out with my father and my grandfather, just a couple of nautical miles outside Green Island. It was a bit rough that day and that boat was rolling. My dad said, go inside the house, so I decided to go in and I was sitting. The engine was covered over with a box and I remember sitting up against the box. I still remember, on the back of the house just before you got on the deck, there was an adjustable wrench that was hanging there on a nail. That boat rolled so much that I'd watch that adjustable wrench swing one way, swing back the other way. I remember sitting there, sick to my stomach and saying, that wrench is going to make a full 360 turn. Somehow it didn't.

But they'd be out on the deck, no lifejackets on, taking in the longline, taking in the trawl, dressing the fish, doing all the work, and fortunately we all made it back home. Our history of fishing is similar to so many other communities in that my father started with a 22-foot boat. From there he purchased a 32-foot boat, The Mike and Danny, in fact it was built by Stanley Greenwood, and I remember going down with dad - Chainsaw, I believe was his nickname - legend has it that he would cut out the mold of ships with a chainsaw. He was a very talented man and he had an interesting boat shop, I have to say, it was unconventional I think is a safe way to say of his boat shop, but it was a great boat. My dad always said that it was probably the favourite vessel that he had, a 32-foot fibreglass and we had decked her over.

They would end up going out so far but as the cod kept moving, it was time to get another boat. He had a 45-foot fibreglass built; in fact it wasn't 45, it was 44 feet 11 inches. Under the classification of DFO at the time, the licence that he had only allowed him to go up to 45 feet so you had to have that one inch difference in the construction of the vessel because of DFO rules so it couldn't be a 45-footer, it had to be a 44-11. That was the vessel we had and that was the final boat that we had. It was called the Theo and Sons and it was decked over as well and it was a longliner.

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That's the one that we ended up fishing off of Banquereau Bank on. I'd made one trip with them before I went for a full season and I won't tell you how sick I was that time, but just before the cod moratorium in 1992, which was after my first year of university, one of the members of the crew decided he was going to go to work somewhere else and not go out fishing, I made the suggestion to my dad that I could go out with them. I was just a university student. I was used to baiting trawls. I was used to dressing fish and I tried to hold up my end of the bargain and certainly pulled my weight on deck.

We ended up fishing that summer, on average when we left it would take anywhere from 16 to 20 hours to get to the fishing grounds, almost an entire day. Once we got out there you'd put your gear out at night, usually early in the morning and the reason for that was you wanted to do it at a time when the birds were sleeping because as you were putting out your gear when you're longlining, the rope is going out with these hooks with the bait on them and they'll float for a little bit before the weight will haul them down. While they're floating the birds are eating your bait, so if you try to put them out during the day you'll lose a bunch of your bait. Unfortunately, sometimes, you pick up a few birds, but that's the unfortunate side effect, but they eat your bait, so we'd usually set gear around 3:00 o'clock, that's when we'd get out.

I'm happy to say, when we talk about the safety element, that my father and the entire crew were very safety conscious as they had moved to a larger vessel and when we got out there because the boat was decked over, so there was naturally a rail that went all around it, but on top of that my father insisted on putting a safety rope right along both sides and along the stern of the boat; it would come up to about mid-chest and it was tight. If for some reason, if the boat rolled or you lost your balance there was always the danger that you'd hit the rail, which was just above your knees and you could fall over, but with that safety rope there was a better chance that your upper body or that your hands were going to be able to grab onto that rope and to be able to keep you on deck from falling overboard. That is something that was just implemented on his own, it wasn't a requirement, there was nowhere that said you have to do this, the Coast Guard didn't make it mandatory, but I'm proud to say that it was something we did on our own and fortunately, every time the boat went out it came back with the same crew, so obviously, it worked.

The other thing was whenever we'd be putting gear out at night, at that point when we'd be on the deck every man on deck wore a life jacket, that was mandatory, you did not leave the house of the boat to get on deck without a lifejacket during that portion of fishing. That would take about an hour and then you'd come back in and we'd take turns finishing our watch during the night because where we were fishing on Banquereau Bank is right in the middle of the shipping lanes between either New York or here, in Halifax, so you'd often have container ships going through.

I can tell you when you're in a 45-foot fibreglass boat at nighttime and you have a container ship coming, you want to make sure you get out of their way because for them - I think the member for Digby-Annapolis talked about being a grain of sand in the Sahara, well, that's pretty much what you are out there to those vessels. For the most part, they're on automatic pilot, so they're going a certain course and you want to make sure you get out of their way. During the day there was still always the danger on deck; we did not wear lifejackets, but, again, we had the safety rope going around and it was daytime and you had a better chance of seeing what you were doing. When you're longlining, you're actually taking the gear in from the house portion of the boat, so you're in a bit more of a secure area and there's less need to be out on the deck.

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Obviously, I know the minister and his staff have been undertaking to try to encourage more safety. It's something where you don't really want to force the hand of individuals, but at some point there needs to be a change in the culture. I think the minister, himself, has used that language that there are impressions and these ideas that any safety equipment is in the way, is going to chafe, is going to cause all these problems, but there have certainly been major advances that have been made.

I believe my colleague, the member for Argyle, spoke about the lobster fishery and when the traps go out, and I had the privilege - by the time my father did have a lobster licence, but I believe there was a buyout back in the early 1980s and he sold out at that point. Let's just say that the lobster fishery, I think, for a full season I believe he said his total landings were 1,200 pounds, so needless to say that wasn't much of a lucrative fishery, so he got out of it. But I have had the chance over the last number of years to go out with some friends on a Saturday or Sunday and it's pretty amazing to watch how it works. Even to this day almost all of the crews do not wear any life jackets or any sort of protection and yet you've got, in our case, I think it's 275 pots and each time that pot is coming in there is rope all around the deck and when that pot goes overboard and the boat starts going full steam ahead, the danger of getting hooked up in that rope is significant.

We did have a loss of life when I was a young boy. I remember this was back in the days where actually, because the lobster fishery was as poor as it was, there were some fishermen that went out on their own, open boat, and they went out and they hauled their traps by themselves, nobody with them. We had one gentleman who unfortunately somehow fell overboard, we're still not quite sure whether he got caught in a trap or not but there was a loss of life from that and I remember as a young boy it was right off the harbour between Petit-de-Grat and Rocky Bay. I remember the Coast Guard, the big Coast Guard boat coming in and all the efforts that were made to try to locate him and what a sad time it was in the community to know that someone had lost their life.

There is a great deal still to be done on this and hopefully the minister is going to continue to work. What I would suggest as well is that the more efforts that can be made, even at the school level - because it's a cultural change that's taking place. I know now when I get in my vessel it doesn't start until I have my life jacket on, it's almost like driving, as soon as you drive you put your seatbelt on. I believe generations coming behind will have that same way of thinking, it's a matter of making sure as we transition the fishery - which is taking place right now I'm sure the minister recognizes, we have quite a significant amount of turnover that is taking place with captains who are retiring and much younger fishermen that are coming in to replace them and coming in with little experience but certainly learning very quickly. Anything that we can do to assist them and encourage them to be more safety minded for themselves and for their entire crew is certainly something that we would all support.

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One of the last things that I will say on this, Madam Speaker, is that communities throughout Nova Scotia have been attached to the fishery but certainly every single Acadian community in this province has been attached to the fishery. In light of the government's efforts in the last number of years with our French language services law, with the fact that press releases are going out in both languages, I would hope that the minister and his staff would consider, with the Minister of Acadian Affairs, that Bill No. 66 might be presented in both languages so that Mariners' Day can also be recognized by a French name for the Acadian community and recognizing the Acadian culture and their strong attachment to the fisheries.

I would suggest that as a friendly amendment to the minister and I'm sure that there are some that can find the appropriate language for that but certainly this is one bill that I think would be most appropriate to present in both languages so that Nova Scotians can truly recognize the importance of this and take the time to reflect, not only on how fortunate we are to have our attachment to the sea but as well the many men, and in some cases women, who may have lost their lives as a result of making a living on the sea. Merci beaucoup.

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

MR. KEITH BAIN « » : Madam Speaker, it's quite interesting to sit here and listen to the tales that are being told. Fishermen are noted for truths and untruths so we just have to make sure the truth is being told, but it has been very interesting to sit back. But you know it doesn't matter where you live, the fishery plays an important role in the lives of every Nova Scotian. I just want to talk very briefly that the members of the fishing communities in Nova Scotia are like family. I know that in communities like Bay St. Lawrence, St. Margaret Village, Cape North, Dingwall, Neils Harbour, Ingonish, Little River, Englishtown, Big Bras d'Or, Point Aconi, all the people who make a living on the sea are concerned for each other as well. They share the waters but they share the concern for each other.

I know that a long time ago I used to enjoy going out in the fishing boat with my uncle. It was always a challenge, first of all, to get up at three o'clock in the morning to go fishing, it was always a challenge being a smaller, younger person hauling the traps, this was - show my age - most times by hand or with the old hub hauler, the axle hauler.

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What stayed in my mind was the fact that my uncle, who was a very friendly person, would oftentimes pull up alongside a boat that was fishing close by. They would just talk about the pleasantries of the day or they would make a suggestion about where might be a good place to move their traps. If the gear wasn't fishing in one particular area, well, why don't you move them over here? That's the way it was; as I say, it was like family.

I know in Big Bras d'Or, especially where I live, there was an instance one time where one of the local fishermen was sick. He had set his gear on May 15th and within two or three days of doing that he got sick and was unable to go fishing. Each and every fisherman in the port of Big Bras d'Or took their turns, they would go out, they would haul all their own gear, they'd come in, they'd ship their lobsters - and then they would fuel up their boat and go back out and haul this individual's gear, to make sure that he and his family had an income.

That's why I want to just very briefly mention family. I think that's probably one of the best examples that could be given. I know there are a lot of speakers to come after me, Madam Speaker, but you know what has happened recently was a very, very sad event but it also helps us appreciate Mother Nature and her power. More importantly, I think what it does is show the caring of people for each other. I'm sure that many in this House - I know that I have - have experienced a tragedy at sea within their own community.

In closing, I want to commend the government for bringing forward Bill No. 66, the Mariners' Day Act. Once again, Madam Speaker, I thank you for the time to speak on this bill.

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

MR. JIM BOUDREAU « » : Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak on this bill as well. I certainly do appreciate the comments from the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and my colleagues for Digby-Annapolis and Argyle, Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage and Dartmouth North, Richmond and Victoria-The Lakes.

One of the things that we all understand is that Nova Scotia's history has been and will always be intertwined with the sea. I, too, am very proud of my Acadian heritage and certainly very proud of the fact that there is a long history in my family with association to the sea. The area that I represent boasts the oldest fishing port in the Maritimes, that being Canso. We do know that Captain Savalette, a Basque fisherman, visited the shores around Canso somewhere in the vicinity of 1536. So that area has had a long history and, because of its long history, there has been a lot of loss and a lot of heartache that has been felt by many families in that area, going back nearly five centuries.

I want to speak to the fact that this bill is certainly more inclusive and it is a bill that speaks not only to fishermen, I believe, it speaks to all people who ply the oceans as they try to make a living, and some of my colleagues have also referred to that.

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One of the things I am very proud about is that this legislation brings a much-needed focus to the safety programs and practices that we have within our fishing industry, and certainly within our marine industry. We all know that fishing is a very dangerous occupation, as is any time really when you go out on the ocean, because it has been talked about here by some of my colleagues about the power of the ocean and the power of Mother Nature. When one leaves port it can be a very nice day and when one returns, or tries to return, it can be an extremely awesome day when we look at what Mother Nature can do.

I was lucky growing up in a fishing family and certainly some of my best memories are going out fishing on my father's boats. My father was a lobster fisherman and he also had longlining licences and so on. I've fished crab and I've had the opportunity to do a lot of fishing, but one of the things that I was somewhat disappointed in is one day between jobs - I didn't want to draw any unemployment - basically, one day between jobs I decided that I was going to go out on the trawlers, the deep-sea trawlers. I got as far as home, got my bag packed, and I think my mum, who happened to work at the fish plant, made a little rendezvous with the shore skipper and Jim's day, or possible trip going to sea on the trawler, ended right then and there.

I was in university at the time but I do believe there was a little bit of undercover stuff and stuff that happened. (Interruption) Yeah, collusion is a good word. Nevertheless, I do recognize the dangers of that, as did my mom and did my family. I can recall many instances where people who were very young, in their 20s, who did go to sea and didn't return - people on trawlers, people on regular fishing boats and supply vessels and so on, boats that do ply the waters of this coast on a daily basis.

You know, talking about the fishing industry - 32 people - we just really recognized the fact that the National Day of Mourning in Nova Scotia, on the 28th I believe it was, and many of us here in this House would have gone to ceremonies on that day. It's kind of sad, it's really very sad, to think about the fact that last year 32 workers in this province lost their lives at work, or due to work-related injuries. Since 2009, 17 people, who were employed in the fishing industry, died as a result of their work in that industry.

As I've said, one of the things that I really like about this bill is that this bill is bringing a focus back to the work that goes on, on the ocean, not only fishing but all the other related industries as well. This bill is more inclusive, in my mind, and as a result of that, I think it's something that we see, right here in the House, there has been unanimous support here among the speakers.

This bill is a step forward. I know that some people see this bill as being somewhat different because we do have an Act in place, already in the province, going back to 1989, an Act Respecting a Memorial Day for Seamen. The point of this is that we will continue - the areas that do recognize this day - will continue to do this. This is an opportunity, I believe, for more recognition in the province, to rejuvenate or bring back the importance of recognizing the people who go and make a living on the ocean, the fact that fishing and the marine industry has contributed so much to this province, and will continue to contribute in the future.

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With regard to the bill, Madam Speaker, I think the bill has more strengths in it than weaknesses. It's a great opportunity for us to move forward, and again, I just want to express my thanks to the minister. With that, I'll take my place. Thank you.

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

MR. LEO GLAVINE « » : Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to rise in my place today and say a few words around Bill No. 66, the Mariners' Day Act. Our province has about 13,000 kilometres of seacoast; there are very few members here in the Chamber who don't have some fishing communities. I know in the riding that I represent there are still two fishing communities, the community of Harbourville and the community of Canada Creek. One of the very prominent communities used to be Morden, which was once the eighth-largest port in Nova Scotia, in terms of volume of trade - fishing, lumber, and agricultural produce moving through.

So even in my riding, I understand perfectly why we would have this day. I compliment the minister and his government for bringing this forward. In the communities that I represent this became all too clear, in fact, almost exactly a year ago when a young man by the name of David Hamilton - who, ironically, lost his life while out fishing in the Bay of Fundy, but also was honoured here in the Red Room for having saved a life just a few years earlier in the Bay of Fundy. David was a very fine athlete and had the endurance to swim out into the Bay when a young girl got swept off a rock when the tide came in. David ended up saving her life and being recognized with a Medal of Bravery for that act.

Just about a year ago David was out in April in the early season in a much smaller boat than what the family - the family has three longliners, lobster boats, scallop fishing - as they ply up and down the Bay. David took one of the smaller boats out just to do a bit of hand-lining with an outboard motor. They were having some success, but when they went to return to port they couldn't get the motor going. As David struggled to get the motor going, he ended up swamping the boat. There were two of them on board the boat, and David, after being in the water for quite some time, succumbed and drowned. His father was actually watching from shore and was able to get out and save the other young lad.

We all know that many of our communities in Nova Scotia are 300 or 400 years old, and fishing and earning a living from the sea is so tied to our history, to our heritage, to our out-port and our fishing village way of life, and it will continue to be. I think for us to take a moment in time on the second Sunday of August and remember those whose lives have been lost to the sea -I know in my wife's family, one of her parents was born on Ironbound, and we all know the history and the fishing tradition of Ironbound and the Tancooks. It has always been a wonderful place to read about the way of life. There were many years when the sea claimed a life from that community, and a young father or even a seasoned fisherman did not come back.

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The perils of the sea and the unknown are always there. I do want to say this is a very positive development and I know many families will be pleased that we will take time to honour those who tragically have lost their lives at sea. We all know the majority in our province was from their work, their way of providing for their families. The Miss Ally's unfortunate loss certainly made a deep impression on all Nova Scotians of how young but how attached they are to the sea, as members of that community went out shortly afterwards to continue their fishing careers.

So Mariners' Day will be well accepted and, I think, well respected and people will gather to honour both family and the unknown mariners who make up the past in our province. Thank you.

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

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand for a few moments on my feet today to talk about Bill No. 66, a memorial day for mariners. First, I want to start out by saying, as the Critic for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Progressive Conservative Party, that we indeed will be supporting this bill wholeheartedly.

I want to pay special tribute to two members in the House - the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and the member for Digby-Annapolis. These are two men who did make their living on the sea. We are all talking about our experiences, but these two individuals have lived it, they understand it and they have a knowledge about it that you can't help but respect. I really am so pleased that it is someone like the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture that was able to bring this bill forward because he knows of the trials and tribulations of the people that this bill is meant to honour.

Allister MacGillivray probably said it best in his song, "Sea People". He said, "They are sea people, the pride of the land, Strong of the spirit and rough of the hand;". When you think about the people who do go to sea, that's what it is about. It's not that these men have a lot of formal education, but if you want to find out something about the sea and how it reacts and where the fish are and how you are going to get a good day and what does that sky mean, you go to a man who has been on the sea, a fisher, and he will tell you. Some of that stuff, even Environment Canada wouldn't be able to relate to. That's what makes this so proud and strong a profession.

When you think of it, our Island and our province and indeed our country has been built on the fishery. This year we're going to celebrate 300 years at Louisbourg as the founding of Louisbourg, but why did they come here? They came here for the fishery. They came here because they knew, in Europe, that they needed some more areas to get fish. And the fish they got, they got all kinds of fish here and it helped build our economy, a strong economy, a proud economy; an economy where many, many people have worked. I know in estimates the minister and I had spoken back and forth about what it generates in revenue for the Province of Nova Scotia; it's huge, it's a billion dollars - plus. That talks about the people that are in the industry, the people that work in the processing plants, drive trucks, get bait, build the equipment, build the boats.

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We've heard stories from members about boats being built but the fisheries in Nova Scotia have been a driving force of our economy. It's a dangerous business, a very dangerous business. Every time that boat leaves the dock you can't help but wonder what's going to happen - are those individuals going to be safe when they come back? You know my son fishes and every time that he's getting ready to go out I keep telling him: be careful, you've got three young sons, they need to have a father, you need to be really, really careful when you're out there. He's young and he's tough and he's invincible, but I worry every time he puts his foot on that boat.

I'm not any different, I'm sure, from any of the other people that are here or the parents of the people who were on the Miss Ally. What took place there had to be one of the worst things that can happen to a parent. I can't imagine nor do I ever want to have to imagine what it would be like to lose a child, but yet those who are in the fisheries know that every time that boat steams away from the dock, there's the possibility that they may not come back.

It's a hard life but it's a proud life. It's part of our heritage here in Nova Scotia. I look at the area that I have the great fortune of being the representative for. I think of the people in Gabarus, the people in Louisburg, in Little Lorraine, Baleine, Main-à-Dieu, False Brook, Port Morien, Waddens Cove, Donkin, and all of those people that make a living for their families. A lot of them encourage their families to go to something else to make a living, to not go to the sea, because they're worried about the dangers that they face.

So when we pass this bill, when we put this bill into law we are paying tribute to not only the people who go out and make their living there and remembering them, but we're paying tribute to our Island, to our province, and to our country, because it has been built on the fishery, it has been made to be a great spot. Now there is a little debate around when we talk about lobster because I've challenged the minister on several occasions, and also the member for Digby-Annapolis to bring lobsters in from their areas because they say they're the best lobsters, but I can tell you there are no better lobsters than the lobsters that come off the shore of Cape Breton, the rocky coast of Cape Breton. There's no question about that, Madam Speaker, and any day that the minister wants me to help test out that theory I'd be glad to help him with it.

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I do have one small story about a chance that I had, I was out fishing with a - I was about 17 years old and went out fishing lobsters with - well, at the time he was my wife's uncle but I wasn't related to him, but we went out on the boat and it was before there was a whole lot of fancy equipment and we were hauling the traps up by hand. We were hauling up this one trap and there was this big lobster hanging on the side of the trap and he said to us - his two sons and I were there - he said don't hit the side the boat, don't hit the side of the boat, you're going to lose that big lobster. Well, we hit the side of the boat, the lobster fell off, and without skipping a beat he came over, grabbed his son by the back of the pants and the back of the shirt, threw him over the side of the boat, and said don't come back until you have it. I can tell you there were no more traps that hit the side of the boat the rest of that day.

We all have a story about going to sea but I can tell you, Madam Speaker, that I have the greatest respect for any individual who makes their life and their livelihood on the sea because I know that I couldn't do that. I know that it takes a very, very special kind of person to be able to do that day after day, season after season, year after year. Although this bill is meant as a memorial, I think it's also a strong tribute to those who make their living on the sea, who have made our province so strong and so proud, and I congratulate the minister and all the members for their support of this bill. Thank you.

MADAM CHAIRMAN: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON « » : Madam Speaker, it's an honour for me to stand for a few minutes and say a few words about the fishing industry and this bill, Bill No. 66, the Mariners' Day Act.

I want to begin, as the member for Cape Breton West did in his remarks, by paying particular tribute to the two fish harvesters who are in the House, who have made their livings on the water. The Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, I want to begin by commending him for taking this bill into the House and we pay particular homage to the crew of the Miss Ally, the young men who had so much of their lives ahead of them, who were lost in that most recent tragedy.

I have to reflect upon the member for Digby-Annapolis and the fact that 15 generations of his family have been on the water. I spent 30 years around the fishery but the member for Digby-Annapolis, whom everyone in this House loves so much - I like everyone in this House, but the person who is loved by everyone is the member for Digby-Annapolis and we are going to miss him. (Applause) He and his generations and the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, although I spent 30 years around the fishery, they have actually wrung more saltwater out of their socks than I ever sailed over, so I want to pay that tribute to them as well.

As the son of a coal miner, being brought into the world in a coal-mining family, and my grandfathers, both grandfathers, my mom's dad and my dad's dad, coal miners - there is a parallel that can be drawn because there was a closeness, a bond that existed. Death was at the door in the coal mines and it was at the door on the water as well. I grew up in a time when the coal mining had gone from thousands down to just a few hundred miners being involved. I still remember some kids I grew up with, who had a knock on the door in the elementary school, and were told that their father was killed in the pit and the same thing happened on the water as well. I remember a young girl crying in the hall after that knock on the door.

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We look at the monuments that exist for miners and fish harvesters. I've been at the monument in Woods Harbour, I've been at the one in Lunenburg. I actually marched, a number of years, with Pat Fougere who was a real character from Canso, who was deemed to be tough and said what he thought and so on, but he had a heart that was marshmallow and I saw him shed tears at the monument in Canso, when the memorial took place with the Act that existed, prior to this good Act coming in.

I remember the Boy Scouts and all the community people who turned out in Canso for that event that was organized by Pat Fougere. I'm glad the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour mentioned his father because I had the pleasure of supposedly being the boss of the field service in Fisheries years ago and one of the fish reps was Gerald Boudreau. I often remember being in Gerald and Betty's house and down in Little Dover and getting some very nice pieces of halibut to take home. He was always so generous with what he had in his freezer, and I have fond memories.

Now, how did a coal miner's son end up in the public and private sector of the fishery for over 30 years? I had actually worked in the news media for a few years, and I got a job at the Nova Scotia Communications and Information Centre. I was assigned to the resource departments. One of the resource departments that I took a particular interest in was fisheries. After a couple of years they were looking for a manager of field services, so they hired a guy who got in the way on boats more than he helped out at first, for sure, for a number of years, but all of the fish reps who were hired were, in fact, fish harvesters with the exception of one, who was a fish plant operator. I learned more from them and from the people who they served.

I went out fishing as often as I could, out of Woods Harbour, out of Shag Harbour, out of Clark's Harbour. I could go right along the shore and pick communities from Westport through to Glace Bay and from Bay St. Lawrence down to Seal Island, where I owned a property for a number of years.

This fishing industry has meant so much to me that I have to say I've made arrangement for a vial of ashes to go to Seal Island - as you get older, you make those kinds of arrangements. As one of the oldest members of the House, I'm already thinking of a vial going to Seal Island and another one going up to Gooseberry Cove, which is between Louisbourg and Main-à-Dieu, so I hope I don't pollute the area up there someday.

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Getting back to the bill itself, I remember a number of tragedies in my time in the fishery. I remember a large National Sea dragger coming in and a scalloper going out and a collision occurring, and multiple deaths. I remember in Louisbourg, the fish harvesters recalling Portuguese-Canadian fish harvesters who were lost. It was before all the technology that we have today. Some of those harvesters I talked to when I lived in Louisbourg remembered that vessel going down in the fog and hearing some cries and not being able to find the fish harvesters who were lost - multiple deaths there, out of Louisbourg.

When you look at the memorials that exist in several communities in this province, it really tugs at your heartstrings. I guess the closest fish harvester lost who was a friend of mine was Mike Newell. Mike Newell was from Guysborough County, and he was lost in recent years. He was the fish harvester who developed the inshore shrimp fishery. He is a legend in his area. He was out fishing alone, and coming back in, the boat was found and Mike's body - Mike was a leader in the community, in the fish harvester organization down there. It was a devastating loss for that community, because he was a prime leader, and he is remembered as the founder of an inshore fishery that hadn't existed until he came along. We remember people like Mike Newell.

I know that the grain of sand on the Sahara that the member for Digby-Annapolis mentioned is so true. The longest I was ever out on a vessel was for five days on a 52 footer, and I remember going to LaHave Bank and then to Browns Bank and the haddock fishery opened on Browns Bank. In those days there were lots and lots of haddock around and there were many grains of sand there when that fishery opened. I see the member nodding his head over there because he probably participated in it many times, whereas I have only had the experience of one venture on Browns.

We pay tribute, at this time, and we take pride in the fact that fish harvesters are a breed unto themselves. We will remember them and this bill will help us to remember them, those who were lost, and we will always cherish their contributions because in the years I was involved in the fishery, billions and billions of dollars in export came from this province, through those fish harvesters. I thank you for allowing me to have a few words here as a non-fish harvester. I certainly know, love and respect those who are involved in the industry. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Yarmouth.

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : It is a real honour to stand and speak on this bill in this Legislative Assembly. I myself, like most of the members in this House, am related to, or is a descendant of someone who has been involved in the fishing industry. I spend a lot of time in this House speaking about the ferry in Yarmouth and its importance to our economy but the backbone of the economy of Yarmouth, the economic backbone of southwestern Nova Scotia, is the fishing industry.

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Recently we've had some serious losses, losses that might have been prevented; we're not sure, but losses nonetheless. It is my hope, along with the other members who have stood to speak in this Legislature that this bill, once it comes to fruition, will remind all Nova Scotians of the sacrifices that have been made at sea to bring fish ashore, to strengthen our economy, to feed our people, and also will encourage Nova Scotians to give thanks to those brave men and women who continue to go out day in, day out, and face the seas to make a living for their families and to bring their fish ashore, for the betterment of all of us.

My grandfather on my father's side, Keith Churchill, was a fisherman and he actually passed away on his boat. It wasn't as a result of anything related to fishing. He had an aneurysm but he died at sea where he spent a lot of his time.

Just briefly, I wanted to get on the record to support this bill. There are a lot of those who have sacrificed much, a lot of families who have sacrificed for the sake of the fishing industry, for the sake of their families, for the sake of our communities. There are a lot of people who still go out and sacrifice their bodies on a daily basis and put themselves into jeopardy to ensure our communities can still thrive, that their family still has food on the table and so our province has great product to sell amongst ourselves and to other markets.

Again, it's my hope that this bill will help our fishing industry become safer and importantly, as well, will instill in the minds of all Nova Scotians, the sacrifice that has been made for them. Hopefully it will lead more Nova Scotians to appreciate this industry critical to so many parts of the province. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : We certainly know how important the fishery has been to this province and if you look at the founding of this continent, we need only look at Louisbourg to see how strategically important the fishery was and the reason that France constructed Louisbourg was to defend their interests in this part of the world because they knew how lucrative the fishery was and how important it was to feed people in Europe.

I think of people in my area that I represent, in Cheticamp, the Acadian peoples there. I know the member for Pictou East was telling me earlier today about when he was selling snow crab in Japan and on a trip one time they got into the office and there was a screen rolled up and what was there but a map of Area 19, because they liked the crab that is caught off Cheticamp.

We certainly have a history in Inverness County and I thank the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. I know recently he and I were both at the Boston Seafood Show, and what an event that is. From growing up in an area that has numerous fishing communities, it was very interesting to see where this fish product actually goes and how important it is in feeding the world and the volumes of fish protein at stake.

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Of course there's all the business side to it, Madam Speaker, but it's interesting to see the people who are involved in it and how they come from all over the world.

I want to mention some of the communities in our area, we've got the Baxter's Cove Wharf, Little Judique Ponds or Little Judique Wharf, Murphy's Pond in Port Hood, Mabou Harbour, beautiful Mabou coal mines - that's worth a visit if you're ever in Inverness County, it's off the beaten path but it's a really pretty spot, it's a wharf right near where the coal mines used to be in Mabou - Inverness, Margaree Harbour, Cheticamp, Pleasant Bay, and even in Meat Cove there's a little wharf there where there is some fishing activity off there.

Madam Speaker, fishing is a very big part of our economy, and it's nice to see this legislation come forward and to highlight the importance of safety in the fishery and to remind us all of the people who go out to fish.

I think of one person I'd like to recognize, a man who passed away in 2010, Yvon Boudreau of Cheticamp. We remember him when we think about this legislation.

So with that, Madam Speaker, I will conclude my remarks. Thank you.

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

MR. GARY RAMEY « » : Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. It gives me great pleasure actually to speak ever so briefly on Bill No. 66, the Mariners' Day Act. I'm probably going to come at it from a slightly different angle, but I often do that. One of the things I've noticed today is since I've been in the Legislature, which hasn't been very long, since 2009, this has been the bill on which the most people have spoken - as least I think it's the record since I've been here, and I think that says something about the power of the particular bill and how members feel about it.

I also noticed as I was listening that we've circumnavigated Nova Scotia. We've done Guysborough and Louisbourg, we did Morden up in the Valley and Yarmouth, and now we're back on my coast, around the Lunenburg-Bridgewater area.

The resource industries, whether it's mining or fishing or farming or agriculture, built this province, we all know that. We all know that being involved in those industries can be a dangerous occupation. I know the member for Cape Breton West, when he was talking about Louisbourg, a lot of people think Louisbourg was founded because there was this huge concern about strategic locations for defence - of course that was part of it, but they were really looking for fish. That's the same reason that Champlain sailed into the bay called Green Bay, which is an area very close to where I live. He founded it, along with - he had some compatriots with him - Lescarbot and some others.

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Then, what he did on top of that, he named the river on which I lived for my early years and where I went to a one-room school. At that one-room school I started reading literature -

"I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky, . . .

or

When I was just a little boy,

Before I went to school,

I had a fleet of forty sail

I called the Ships of Yule; . . .

or

'Twas was on the shores that round our coast

From Deal to Ramsgate span, . . ."

All those wonderful poems about the sea. When I say I came at it from a slightly different angle, I was an inlander. I was two miles away from the ocean, but my dad and my uncles owned a sawmill and we used to saw material for wooden boats. We sawed futtocks, which are used for knees in ships, and we also used to saw a lot of material to build wooden dories. People like Warren Robar and Fred Covey - great fellows from down around there - would build these and when they settled accounts, I would get to go down to the shore and talk to these fellows and listen to what they had to say.

Mr. Covey, in particular, kept a light for years on West Ironbound and when he wasn't out fishing during the day and tending the light, he had also read just about every major literary work that was ever produced and was outstandingly bright, a very bright man, a very wonderful man, and somebody I wish I would have been able to spend more time with, had he been not so old and I had been not so young, but anyway, that's neither here nor there.

I have a group of communities along the coast - Vogler's Cove, Cherry Hill, Broad Cove, Petite Riviere, West Dublin, Dublin Shore, LaHave Islands - and the folks in those areas, that's what they did for a living, they fished. For a while I lived in West Dublin and when I first moved in there there was a chap, well into his 70s then, who had a make-and-break engine. I'm sure the member for Digby-Annapolis knows what that is, you know the bup, bup, bup engines? You cranked it this way to go ahead, you cranked it that way to back, a simple engine made by Acadia Gas Engines.

He used to go out every morning. It would always wake me up because he'd take off around 4:00 a.m. from the Back Bay in behind Crescent Beach, which is the LaHave Islands area. I went over there one day when he was coming in and I said, Mr. Baker, you're going out there, how far out do you go? He said, I don't know, I don't go out there far, just two or three miles out - in this open-ended dory with this make-and-break engine in it. I said, show me the compass you use to get out of the Back Bay here because it was a ridiculous channel and it was dark when he left, obviously. He said, well I don't have a compass - and he was looking at me like I just fell off the turnip truck or something - he said I go by the echo off the land, off the reverberation and that tells me which way to turn. I was absolutely gobsmacked by that because I didn't think I really had that kind of hearing, but apparently some folks do.

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He was one of the grand old fellows down there that had been doing this for years, but there were lots of young people. The young fishermen in my area now, if you were to meet them somewhere, and I have met them in various places, you wouldn't be able to tell if they were a stockbroker, a lawyer, or a fisherman because they are definitely people who are very much with it. They are very skilled at what they do and they look like they could be in any profession in the world. A good number of them, at least in my area, are quite well off.

I heard somebody mention a while ago - I think it was the member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour - talking about the Day of Mourning for lost folks and the member for Lunenburg and the member for Chester-St. Margaret's and myself, we were all in Lunenburg the other day at the memorial there. Although I've been there many times, I really hadn't read every name on there. I made it my goal to read every name on there, which I did, and all the vessels that had gone down, which was a significant number. I got thinking about not only the wonderful guys who had succumbed to the sea there, but I also got thinking about the many other hundreds of people who were related to them, the devastation that has caused in their families, and the dislocation it has caused in communities.

At that particular service - the member for Argyle mentioned Mrs. d'Entremont - she spoke and she spoke very eloquently, I thought, in the most dignified way about what the loss of her husband meant to her and her three sons. You can't go in any church, in any of these small communities around where I live, and not see plaques all over the wall, most of which end with "lost at sea", some of them because of accidents and misfortunes from the wars, but many from people who have died plying their trade, which is trying to make a living for their family and producing that wonderful product that in my house, anyway, when I was growing up and even still, is consumed at least two or three times a week.

It's a tough life. People in my area call fishermen "cast-iron marshmallows," because they are tough on the outside but often very soft and warm on the inside. They are very valuable members of their community when they're there.

I remember back in the 1960s, when I finally got into high school - and I don't mean "finally". I wasn't flunking every year - perhaps I shouldn't have worded it that way. I didn't spend eight years in any one grade, although people might have thought that could have happened. But I remember around Grade 10 some of the folks would start leaving, and what they were doing back in the day was they were going on scallop draggers. I also remember them coming back after they left, and driving in with a brand new convertible something - it was always some kind of car that I wished I had - and having discussions with them and finding out what they were making at that time.

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I remember the first year I taught, I think I made $5,800. These guys were making me look like I hadn't made the wisest career choice. But we also know that in later years - I mean, we lost some of those friends, and a good number of them I have seen over the years in the work I do now, like many of the other members here, who have been injured and have had some really tough times, so we always think of that as well.

The other thing I would say is this, just in closing: music often explains things. One of the members - again, I think it was the member for Cape Breton West - mentioned Mr. MacGillivray's song, but I've got to tell you, the song that gets me the most about fishermen and going to sea and what it means for families is a song written by Ron Hynes called "Sonny's Dream." I would suggest to anybody that, if they really want to know what it feels like to be living on your own as the wife trying to raise a child and being lonely a lot of the time, they should download the lyrics to that and read it. I think Ron absolutely nailed it.

The other person who did, who was a little closer to home - I think he was originally from Ontario, but he spent a lot of time in Nova Scotia - was Stan Rogers, you know: "She will walk the sandy shore so plain, watch the combers roll in, 'til I come to Wild Rose Chance again down in Fogarty's Cove." Everybody has that kind of burned into their head if they like Stan at all.

I think this has been a wonderful day in here. Nobody is screaming at anybody else, and everybody seems to be on the same page - and I probably just started something now. I'll get screamed at for the last couple of minutes. We are all on the same page. All the members here know how valuable that profession is, the vocation of fishing. They know what those folks do, they know what a tough life they can have, and I think the member who spoke before me, or close to when I spoke, said that we love them. We do, and we care about them and we care about their families. For sure, on Mariners' Day, and many other days too, we will be thinking of them. We will never forget them. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Clare.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET « » : I'm pleased to rise and say a few words on Bill No. 66, the Mariners' Day Act. I want first to thank and congratulate the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture for bringing this legislation forward. This legislation will help to commemorate the sacrifices of those who have been lost at sea.

[Page 1766]

Under this legislation, the second Sunday of August will be known as Mariners' Day in our province to pay tribute to all those who are lost at sea and to make sure that they are never, never forgotten. Many fishing communities throughout our province have memorials to remember loved ones and those from our communities who have been lost at sea. This legislation will help these fishing communities remember those who have been lost.

Fishing, as we all know, is the backbone of our economy in Clare, like many other coastal communities throughout our province. You know, our community, like others, has suffered some losses. The fishing industry plays a significant role in our overall economy in our province and for this bill to come to the floor of this House, is fitting. It's fitting to remember those who were lost at sea.

Madam Speaker, in closing, I want to just quote this from a government release that was put out yesterday. Pheobe Malone, of Yarmouth County, brought home the message very clearly to all of us, and I quote, "It seems fitting to me that Nova Scotia should have an official day to honour the mariners already lost and to show support for the fishermen and women who earn their living on the sea, as well as their families. All fishermen and mariners across Nova Scotia deserve this." I'm sure all of us agree with Ms. Malone from Yarmouth County that this piece of legislation is quite fitting. Other members have indicated, why have we waited so long to introduce this piece of legislation, I don't know, but as I've indicated, I congratulate the minister. It's never too late. I'm glad that the minister showed the leadership and brought this piece of legislation to the floor of the House and I'm pleased to support this bill as it goes through second reading. Thank you.

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

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Thank you, Madam Speaker. It gives me great honour to stand today in support of this bill. Coming from North Sydney, back when I was a young fellow, we used to have three fish plants in our small little town. (Interruption) Many, many, years ago - but it always caught me, as the day that the lobster season opened, to watch the boats leaving the docks. For the first week or so leading up to that, there were always lobster traps set on the wharf where people claimed their spot to put their traps to get it easier to put them out.

A place in North Sydney called the Ballast Ground, where the ships used to come in at one time and drop their ballasts and they made a wharf and dock out of it, is where most of the fishermen on the Northside, North Sydney - but we also have Alder Point and a few others where they go from - but to watch the boats leave there, and go out on a nice day, when you get up in the morning and realize that those people that are leaving, are setting their livelihood, basically, and the possibility is that they may not come back.

Fortunately, we have been lucky in and around the Northside that not a lot of people do not come back at the time. But I know a couple of years back, during a crab season, I had lost a couple of close friends, a close friend of mine's father, and a close friend set traps on that day.

[Page 1767]

It gives me a great honour to be able to stand and thank the minister for bringing this bill forward to honour those people who have lost their lives, and the people and the family members who support these people every day as they go to make a living to make sure that we have a food industry in the sea.

I also like to think back to not only fishermen but sailors in general, because I've been living in a port where Marine Atlantic sails from Newfoundland and Labrador every day. I've heard stories that are from before my time of ships like the William Carson and the Patrick Morris and the Caribou that were lost at sea and had lives lost on them. I realize a lot of it has to do with fishermen, but anybody who goes on the sea to make a living, for whatever reason, and has had life lost, it's a big blow to the community. So I'm just proud to stand here today to support this bill and I'm glad to see the minister brought it forward. It's good to honour the fishermen and all their family members. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I have a few closing remarks. I hope you will bear with me. I actually have a habit of keeping notes, regardless if we're in Question Period or not, I keep notes and it's a great thing to do because, since I've been here, seven years, this is one of the first files I've had this many notes on a topic. I think that we have set history here, and I'm going to ask some of our staff to do some research, but I think we've witnessed a rare occasion where we have total support, unanimous support, for a bill.

I just want to recognize, I know all the members on have spoken in favour of it, I also want to recognize the Opposition, both Parties, for acknowledgment and kind comments.

I want to single out one individual of all the speakers, it is the member for Dartmouth North who brings that unanimous support of all the members on this particular bill. It's a rare occasion when you see this, so I'm deeply honoured to have the opportunity to talk about Bill No. 66, Mariners' Day Act and I look forward to celebrating that on the second day in August. Thank you for the time, thank you for all your comments.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 66. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

[Page 1768]

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 Bills.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is carried.

[5:06 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Ms. Becky Kent in the Chair.]

[5:15 p.m. CWH on Bills 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 Bills reports:

THE CLERK » : That the Committee of the Whole has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 36 - Provincial Court Act.

Bill No. 37 - Innovative Transportation Act.

Bill No. 42 - Pension Benefits Act.

Bill No. 54 - Widows' Pension Act.

Bill No. 57 - Language Schools Act.

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

Further, Madam Speaker, that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 3 - Support for Parents of Critically Ill or Abducted Children Act.

Bill No. 32 - Solemnization of Marriage Act.

which were reported with certain amendments by the Committee on Law Amendments to the Committee of the Whole, without further amendments, and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House.

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

[Page 1769]

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Madam Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. We will rise shortly to meet from the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow. I now hand it over to the House Leader for the Progressive Conservative Party to call business.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. After the daily routine and Question Period, we'll be calling a couple of bills. They are Bill No. 4, the Balanced Budget Act, and Bill No. 64, the Maritime Link Act.

I move that we do now rise to meet tomorrow afternoon from the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is that we do now rise to meet again tomorrow, between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

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

The motion is carried.

We have now reached the moment of interruption. We will proceed under Rule 5(5), the late debate, as submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park, which reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly stand against the drastic and misguided changes to Employment Insurance being pushed by the Harper Conservative Government which threaten to negatively impact workers and communities across Nova Scotia."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Yarmouth.

EI: CHANGES - OPPOSE

MR. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : Madam Speaker, it's important that members keep getting up and speaking about the dangers of these changes to our Employment Insurance program and their negative effects that we could potentially feel in a very real way here in Atlantic Canada. This is the second or third time I've been able to speak on this topic in particular, and I'm happy to do so again.

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I have heard nothing but concern from community members, from Yarmouth and from outside of Yarmouth in the tri-counties in Shelburne and Digby, and in fact, all across this province, as the Labour and Advanced Education Critic, who are concerned about these changes and who want to see the Conservatives stop these changes, take a look at them, and actually take an evidence-based approach to addressing whatever concerns they have with the Employment Insurance system.

I think there are some assumptions being made from the Conservatives in Ottawa around EI and around the economy in Atlantic Canada which are wrong. I think they are misguiding their approach to this issue, and that we're not moving forward with these changes to our EI system in a progressive way, in a way that doesn't do damage to communities or individuals.

We're moving forward with these changes - and I mean the Conservatives, federally - in a way that is divisive to Canadians and in a way which is negatively impacting the lives of people in Atlantic Canada and beyond.

I think there are particularly two industries in my area that could potentially be negatively impacted by these, and those are tourism, in particular, and the fishing industry. Both industries are dependent on seasonal workers, and right now the economy isn't such that those seasonal workers can find employment outside of those particular seasons. You have a tourism industry that has been ravaged in Yarmouth and in southwestern Nova Scotia and has been damaged all the way up to Cape Breton by the NDP Government and their attack on the Yarmouth ferry and their elimination of the Yarmouth ferry.

In Yarmouth alone, we have lost over half of our room accommodations - in just the last three years alone. We've lost restaurants, we've lost other small businesses that were geared around a tourism clientele that is no longer there, and we're at risk of losing a lot more - not just in Yarmouth but in other parts of the province as well, all the way to Baddeck. I heard of business owners who lost between 20 per cent to 30 per cent of their business as a result of losing the Yarmouth ferry - that's in Cape Breton. In Pictou Lodge, there were 700 room bookings a year lost for them and they were forced to go into receivership.

On one hand, with that industry we have damage being done by our current provincial government and now we have these changes to employment insurance coming on top of that and adding additional stress and uncertainty in our communities for people who are working in the tourism industry. I think this could very well result in a lot more Nova Scotians actually leaving this province and moving out West because they are not able to make ends meet here and they feel that if the federal government's going to give up on their industry here in Atlantic Canada, then why not just go elsewhere?

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The other industry is the fishing industry. There's a misconception out there that all fishermen are wealthy; that is certainly not the case. Yes, there are fishermen who have made a very good living on the sea and that's a good thing - we want more of our fishers to have lucrative careers catching lobster and whatever else they're fishing for. There are those folks who just work on the decks of those boats year in, year out, who don't know if they're going to be able to do that anymore because of these changes to the EI system, which they are currently dependent on to make ends meet working in the industry that they're working in.

The federal government will say, people should just go and find work elsewhere. The problem with that is that currently there is no work elsewhere. If you look at the numbers on the economy of Nova Scotia, they're pretty staggering, especially if you look at numbers in rural communities. Rural Nova Scotia is basically in a period of recession right now with our provincial GDP stalling at 0.2 per cent growth. I know the Minister of Finance and the Premier made fun of me for pointing that out the other day, but that's the case. We do not have an economy that is growing to a great extent; it's stalled and we are in a position of recession right now.

The Conference Board of Canada estimates that in 2012 the Halifax economy expanded by 1.4 per cent which means that the outside-Halifax economy shrunk by 0.3 per cent. This is on top of double-digit unemployment. If you look at the current rate of unemployment in Nova Scotia, it's at 9.5 per cent. However, Halifax, because it is our capital, because it's doing okay right now - not as great as it can be and I don't think it's doing as great as everyone is imagining it to be doing - if you look outside of Halifax, the unemployment numbers are much more staggering.

In Cape Breton, the unemployment is at its highest rate at 18.6 per cent. On the North Shore it's 12.9 per cent; Annapolis Valley is 11.5 and in southern Nova Scotia it's over 13 per cent. In every region of the province, unemployment has increased since June 2009 and I'll table this data. There are additionally, I think, there are 5,300 more unemployed Nova Scotians this year than there were last year.

What these numbers are telling us is that there are not all these other great jobs out there that the Conservatives are claiming there are. I think part of that is a result of the lack of vision coming from our current provincial government in terms of managing our economy. But it's just where we're at right now.

So what's going to happen when these changes come in, is that the industries that are still hanging on and keeping our communities alive and in some cases vibrant and in some cases our communities are just treading water, but these industries are going to be further negatively impacted and their very future is being put into question here. For what? That's the real question we want to ask ourselves, for what? Why are we bringing in these far-reaching changes to EI?

[Page 1772]

I think it's based on an assumption federally that anyone who's on EI is lazy and that there are so many people abusing the system that something needs to be done. Let me be clear, it's not the position of this caucus or our federal Liberal colleagues that anyone who is on EI is lazy. The fact is that people require employment insurance to supplement their income when they're not finding work; and seasonal employment you have individuals working for that season. They are not able to find work outside of that season and need to rely on income from our employment insurance system which was put in place for them so that they can continue to work in their homes.

The last thing that anybody in this Legislature wants is for more Nova Scotians to leave and go West because there's not work here. The message that we collectively need to send federally is that more Nova Scotians are going to leave if these seasonal industries are going to continue to be attacked. Now, if you look at what is happening in terms of fraudulent EI claims, for sure, that happens no matter what system you are looking at. There are always going to be a few bad apples in the barrel that take advantage of what's there and abuse the system. We've experienced that here in our own profession, Mr. Speaker. But the fact is, if you look at the numbers, it is a fraction of the overall Employment Insurance budget that is being impacted by a small group of people who are abusing the system.

So this notion that there is a wide-ranging abuse of the system is false if you actually look at the numbers. And so, the message that I think we need to send is, please, Prime Minister Harper - and please, Conservatives from across the country - look at the numbers here. Do the math, and understand that you can deal with abusers of the system without attacking those legitimate cases where people are simply accessing a program that is there for them. Because that, I think, is what's happening.

Now, if this does continue - I know I've heard from folks working in fish plants; I've heard from folks working in restaurants; I've heard from folks who are working in stores, in the summer; I've heard from folks in the tourism sector that they don't know what future Nova Scotia or Atlantic Canada holds for them. That's a scary thing. You know, despite what this government says provincially, that everybody's hopes are up, from what I'm hearing, especially in rural Nova Scotia, people aren't feeling that hopeful right now. They're concerned. They're feeling the stress on their budgets, every month when they have to pay their bills, and these changes to EI are actually causing further stress on these individuals, Mr. Speaker.

So I stand with everybody here, to encourage our federal government to stop this, look at it from a pragmatic point of view, and please stop jamming these changes down the throats of everybody in Canada in such a divisive way, when we can be looking at this issue much more pragmatically, and simply addressing the minor changes that need to happen. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Colchester- Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. GARY BURRILL « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity afforded by this, I think, excellent resolution, to continue the discussion begun here a couple of weeks ago when I challenged Scott Armstrong, the MP for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, to debate me on the subject of this resolution, the EI changes. Now the day after the issuing of that challenge, Mr. Armstrong put out a statement, which was carried in the Daily News in Truro, in which he said, I quote, if he " . . . wants to debate federal issues, I challenge him to show true courage and seek the federal nomination in the 2015 federal election."

Now, Mr. Speaker, when I challenged Mr. Armstrong to meet me and debate on this subject, I'm afraid that I was inadequately precise. When I said that I would debate him at any time, I should have specified that what I meant by any time was not 2016 or 2015, or 2014. Rather, what I meant by any time was any time with a remote relation to the present. Now, remote, is, in fact, perhaps an important word here. To respond to people's loss of their EI cheques and to their being forced to take jobs at 70 per cent of their previous wages, to respond to this by agreeing to discuss the matter in two years, speaks to a certain remoteness, a certain off-somewhere-being-pleased-with-yourself-ness, a certain failure to register or take in the financial difficulty of those who are around you. Therefore, I feel that I am within the bounds of fairness to treat Mr. Armstrong's agreement to debate me only in two years' time as, in fact, a "no".

Yet, as this fine resolution has demonstrated, and as the Atlantic Premiers demonstrated yesterday so clearly, this is an immediate and pressing, not at all remote, issue for the people of our province. Therefore, I suggest that just now this debate proceed regardless, with or without Mr. Armstrong. I wish to ask members to imagine at this moment, if they please would, that next to me there we have a chair. I'm asking members, if you would, to imagine that this would be the chair in which Mr. Armstrong would, in fact, have been seated had he agreed to really engage me on this subject. I'll ask members - and, Mr. Speaker, yourself - to note that the chair in question is empty because this empty chair is the chair which has been reserved for the absent Mr. Armstrong.

I would like now to address a couple of the remarks made in his Truro Daily News statement refusing to debate me. I would like to address these now to our absent friend. First, I want to say to the absent man in the empty chair that I take issue with the statement made by him - and I'm quoting - that EI changes "will serve to better connect Canadians with available jobs."

Mr. Speaker, this is the kind of smooth and oily abuse of words that causes many people to have come to a point where they spit out the word "politician." A better connection with available jobs? I think not. How can that be when a new EI system for seasonal workers requires people to accept a job or lose their benefits at 70 per cent of their current wages? That's not a better connection with available jobs. You might be able to call it a faster connection with a lesser income. You might be able to call it, if you didn't think much of grammar, a quicker connection to a worser situation, but a better connection to available jobs, my absent friend, is most utterly and exactly what these changes are in fact not.

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In the very same press statement, Mr. Speaker, our absent friend continues that people ought not to be concerned about these EI changes because, and I quote in the document I've already tabled, "No one will be forced to take a job if . . . it would put those on a claim at a financial disadvantage." No harm's going to come to anyone from these changes, Mr. Speaker, we are to understand from the absent member in the empty chair. I direct you, Mr. Armstrong, to the lead article of the front page of today's ChronicleHerald, where it explained that these changes will save the federal government $12.5 million this year and $33 million in every year thereafter.

Now, "saved" - what does that mean? That means that it's going to be taken from one place and put somewhere else. Now, where might the place be where it's being taken from? Is it being saved, for example, from the $107,000 a year the federal government is going to pay such people as Dwayne Provo or Leroy Legere to sit as judges on the appeals of unemployed people in place of locally-appointed Boards of Referees? "Judges," so-called, whose only apparent qualification for these new positions is their obsequious relationship with the present federal administration?

No, that's not where the savings come from. We know where the savings come from. Let me provide an un-remote fact of elementary economics for all members of the House. The $12.5 million the federal government is saving this year through the EI changes is being saved because it is being taken from the people's cheques.

Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased to see this resolution come forward. I had been concerned that these nefarious changes might possibly be implemented, and that there would fail to be the resounding outcry that there was the last time the federal government visited this kind of anti-Maritime discrimination on our region through cutbacks in the seasonal EI system (Interruption) I'm referring to the cuts made in 1996 by the federal Martin Administration, those cuts by which seasonal workers were attacked through dramatic clawbacks to the benefits of those who were referred to at that time as "repeat claimants".

Maritimers remember, as we remember well, the proud response to those changes that was registered in the federal election of 1997, when those who had defended this egregious unfairness through the governing Liberal Party, when the federal election came in Nova Scotia in 1997, to quote John Crosbie, "were assassinated, abominated, and lost beyond all description."

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Mr. Speaker, this is exactly what needs to take place with all those who in association with the absent Armstrong are the authors of this EI abomination. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. KEITH BAIN « » : Mr. Speaker, that was quite a show from the Party of Animation, I'm telling you.

Mr. Speaker, our goal should be to improve and grow the economy of our province, and to do that we have to make the business climate more attractive. How do we do that, you ask? We can do that by lowering taxes, lowering power rates, and stopping wasteful spending and getting more people back to work. So since the member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is into the business of challenging, maybe he should challenge his government to do something like that.

Mr. Speaker, I live in and represent an area that has an 18.6 per cent unemployment rate, much like yourself and also much like the members for Cape Breton North and Cape Breton West and the member for Richmond. In that area there are a lot of seasonal workers, whether they be in the fishery, farming, forestry, or tourist-related sectors. Like all members of this House of Assembly, our caucus has concerns about the EI changes as well and the potential impact they would have on Nova Scotians and Cape Bretoners.

We have, today, supported the Atlantic Premiers resolution that was presented in this House. The members of this caucus, Mr. Speaker, will continue to bring our concerns and our views forward in a constructive manner. Our Leader and our members will continue to meet with concerned Nova Scotians and we won't stop standing up for their rights.

Mr. Speaker, just after the crisis in Bay St. Lawrence - and you're going to hear it a lot from me because that's the area I represent - the Leader of our Party, the member for Cape Breton West, and myself, went to Bay St. Lawrence in a hall of 78 people who were concerned about their challenges with the EI system. We listened, we talked and we got informed of the challenges that they were facing. We heard their stories first-hand and the stresses they were under and the enormity of that situation, and that gave us a much better appreciation of the situation.

We didn't stop there, because when we left we made phone calls, we contacted individuals and over the next short while over 90 per cent of the cases in the Bay St. Lawrence area were solved. That, Mr. Speaker, speaks volumes about commitment to the people, with the changes in their EI.

You know, Mr. Speaker, it's also important that what happened to those people in Bay St. Lawrence doesn't happen to the rest of the communities in Nova Scotia. The PC caucus has been accused of being silent on the EI issue, and I'm sure that the good people of Bay St. Lawrence and St. Margarets Village in Cape North appreciated our participation to assist in getting a resolve to their problems.

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On top of that, Mr. Speaker, our caucus took it upon themselves to get a meeting with the federal Conservative MPs - yes, we do talk to our federal Conservative MPs in the Province of Nova Scotia - and we sat across the table from them and expressed the concerns of our constituents, the constituents each and every one of us represent, about the changes in EI.

We went to them and we delivered a message to the people who could bring it back to the table where the decisions are being made, and that's what we did. Each one of our members met with constituents, listened to their concerns, made sure we brought those concerns back to the table, and we have contacted federal officials to express them.

The members for Cape Breton North and Cape Breton West and myself sat down with the people at Service Canada and we asked Service Canada people to explain, to give the real facts as to what their understanding was with what was going on with the changes - not something we read in a newspaper article, we went to the source to hear and to try to understand the changes that were being made.

It is important that we, as members of this Legislature, continue to listen to the concerns of the people we represent. For although this might be thought of as a federal decision and a federal problem, issues such as what took place in Bay St. Lawrence don't just look at the federal side, they are issues that affect the everyday lives of Nova Scotians, Cape Bretoners and their families, and we have to do what we feel is right for the people we represent.

We will be continuing to bring the concerns of our constituents forward and we'll work with and encourage the federal government to bring forward a program that recognizes the many differences that exist in constituencies like Victoria-The Lakes across this province and in relation to the other areas in this country, and that our constituents all be treated fairly. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I'd like to thank all the honourable members for an excellent debate this evening. The time has exhausted for late debate.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 5:42 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

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RESOLUTION NO. 1084

By: Ms. Vicki Conrad « » (Queens)

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

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion's Dominion Member Sports Championships promote comradeship and sportsmanship by bringing together members from every branch of the Legion; and

Whereas the championships generate public relations for the host branch through local media coverage and in many instances, direct involvement by the community at large; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 038, in Liverpool, was chosen by the Dominion Command Sports Committee to host the 2013 Dominion Cribbage Championship held April 26 - 29, 2013;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize and congratulate Branch 038 of the Royal Canadian Legion for hosting the 2013 Dominion Cribbage Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 1085

By: Mr. Mat Whynott « » (Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville)

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

Whereas the entrepreneurial spirit displayed in our youth today is a true representation of their ability and desire to contribute to our economy as business owners; and

Whereas Everybody Dyes is a group of Millwood High School students who formed a small business in 2012 and, with the assistance of Junior Achievement, produces high quality tie-dye shirts and shirt production kits; and

Whereas on November 16TH, 2012, celebrity judges listened to dozens of team from schools all over Nova Scotia during Junior Achievement's Pitch It! competition and awarded Everybody Dyes second place;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Millwood High School students of Everybody Dyes on their success in the Junior Achievement Pitch It! Program, and wish them continued success in their bright entrepreneurial future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1086

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 Peter Mallette has been a local broadcast journalist for 33 years as senior producer, assistant news director, senior anchor, anchor, reporter, and director of promotions at CTV News in Halifax; and

Whereas Peter Mallette is a service presider and scripture coordinator at the Bedford United Church and a supporter of the SPCA and Feed Nova Scotia; and

Whereas in 2010 Mr. Mallette became the executive director, Atlantic Region for Prostate Cancer Canada and having established the organization's presence in Atlantic Canada, won the Bronze Award in the category of Business Person of the Year in the Halifax Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2013;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Peter Mallette, a successful broadcast journalist, administrator and all-round nice guy, and wish him continued success in all his endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1087

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 Peter Martyn, a retired school teacher, and his wife Debra, an educational aid, volunteered with Cuso International, an organization that works to reduce poverty and inequality through the efforts of volunteers; and

Whereas Cuso placed the couple from Tatamagouche, Colchester North, with English teacher-training placements in Kibaya, a small remote village in Tanzania where living conditions were very primitive; and

Whereas the couple worked with teachers during their one-year term, helping to upgrade their teaching skills, English skills, and teaching methodology;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Peter and Debra Martyn for their volunteer work with Cuso International in Africa, and for the very important contribution they have made to the educational system in East Tanzania.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1088

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 36-year old Matt Brouwer, who grew up on a dairy farm in Brookside, Colchester North, received his first nomination from the 2013 East Coast Music Awards; and

Whereas Brouwer's album, Til the Sunrise, has been nominated for gospel recording of the year; and

Whereas his album, Where's Our Revolution, won the 2010 Juno Award for contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year, and "Ocean", one of the releases from Til the Sunrise, was named Best Inspiration Song of the Year at the 2012 Convent Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Matt Brouwer for the many successes in his musical career and extend our best wishes for his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1089

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

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

Whereas the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal was presented at the Festival of Trees on December 8TH, 2012, at the Sylvan Hall in Lochaber; and

Whereas the Diamond Jubilee is an opportunity to celebrate ties with the Commonwealth traditions and our rich and diverse heritage, and is a time to recognize Nova Scotians for service to their communities; and

Whereas David Brown, President of the Lochaber Community Development Program, was a 2012 recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate David Brown on receiving this prestigious award and wish him every success in his future endeavours.

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