Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD14-32

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Kevin Murphy

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/



Second Session

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
UNSM - Rept.: Villages - Consult,
2691
UNSM - Rept.: Villages - Consult,
2692
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1000, MacPherson, John & Ethel Ann: Boston Christmas Tree
2692
Vote - Affirmative
2693
Res. 1001, Natl. Addictions Awareness Wk. (11/17 - 11/21/14)
- Recognize, Hon. L. Glavine »
2693
Vote - Affirmative
2693
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 68, Limitation of Actions Act,
2694
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1002, Veterans Affairs Comm.: Cancelled Meeting (11/13/14) -
Reschedule, Hon. A. MacLeod »
2694
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
Salvation Army Kentville Community Church,
2696
Firewood Shortage,
2696
Crosswalk Safety,
2696
Food Banks (Pictou East & Pictou West) - Donations,
2697
Oak Island Treasures
2697
Daley, Caleb: Death of - Tribute,
2697
KOC Coun. 1667 - Acadia Park Christmas Scene,
2698
Crisis Intervention Line,
2698
Anchor Motors - Heritage Gas Customer,
2699
Lun. Co. Consignment Store,
2699
Valley Kinsmen & Kinettes Christmas Miracle (38th),
2700
East. Passage-Cow Bay Tree Lighting Ceremony - Donors,
2700
Commun. Art Space (Pictou Town),
2700
Université Sainte-Anne/Nova West Lab. RD&I Cluster: ERDT
- Contribution, Mr. Gordon Wilson »
2701
d'Entremont, Kelly - Teachers Make a Difference,
2701
Thibideau, Brian - EHS Exemplary Serv. Medal,
2702
Gilbert, Peggy: Vol. - Thank,
2703
MacIntosh, Ernest Fenwick: Limitation of Actions Act
- Victims' Letter, Mr. A. MacMaster « »
2703
Hughes, Charles Burton: N.S. Sport Hall of Fame - Induction,
2704
Justice - Sexual Abuse Victims: Retroactivity - Min. Response,
2704
French, Dr. Susan - Order of Can.,
2705
Boston Christmas Tree - Donation,
2706
Yar. Co. Athletic Awards: Recipients - Congrats.,
2706
Chronicle Herald Parade of Lights (19th),
2707
Fillmore, Lawrence/Patterson, Donald - FD Long-Serv. Awards
(20 Yrs.), Mr. B. Maguire « »
2707
Haase, Martin Rudy: N.S. Nature Trust - Contribution,
2707
Reid, John - Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
2708
NOW Lun. Co. Initiative,
2708
Holiday Season: Drinking & Driving - Prevent,
2709
Fall River Lions Christmas Express Soc
2710
Wile, Mary: Clayton Park West - Commun. Efforts,
2710
HOUSE RECESSED AT 1:45 P.M
2711
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:00 P.M
2711
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS:
No. 373, Prem. - Chronicle Herald: Abuse Legislation - Retroactivity,
2711
No. 374, Prem. - Long-Term Care: Wait-List - Growth,
2712
No. 375, Justice - Sexual Assault Claims: Limitation Period
- Abolition, Mr. A. MacMaster « »
2714
No. 376, Com. Serv. - Hist. Sexual Violence: Limitation Period Abolition
2715
No. 377, Health & Wellness: Long-Term Care - Wait-List Times,
2715
No. 378, Com. Serv. - Limitation of Actions Act: Women's Resource Ctrs
- Amendments, Mr. A. MacMaster « »
2716
No. 379, Justice: Limitation of Actions Act - Research Table,
2717
No. 380, Prem. - Bill No. 1: Mediation Process - Outcome,
2718
No. 381, Seniors: Long-Term Care Beds - Status,
2719
No. 382, Com. Serv. - Camp ReachAbility: Funding Cuts - Details,
2720
No. 383, Mun. Affs. - Fiscal Review Comm.: Villages
- Exclusion Explain, Mr. J. Lohr « »
2721
No. 384, Fish. & Aquaculture: Controlling Agreements (Atl. Can.)
- Min. Correspondence, Hon. S. Belliveau « »
2722
No. 385, Health & Wellness - Flavoured Tobacco Legislation:
Experts - Advice Heed, Hon. C. d'Entremont « »
2723
No. 386, Health & Wellness - CCSVI Treatments: Trials - Update,
2724
No. 387, Health & Wellness - Home Care Wait-Lists: For-Profit Care
- Effects, Hon. David Wilson « »
2724
No. 388, Mun. Affs.: Mun. Gov't. Act (Section 372) -
Changes Confirm, Mr. T. Houston « »
2725
No. 389, Environ. - Evansville Coal Dust Concerns: Pioneer Coal
- Min. Contacts, Hon. P. Dunn « »
2726
No. 390, TIR: Tancook Ferry - Replacement,
2727
No. 391, Justice - N.S. Corr. Facility: Dangerous Offender Release
- Explanation, Mr. A. MacMaster « »
2728
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 51, Motor Vehicle Act
2729
2729
Motion to recommit bill to CW on Bills
2730
2730
2735
2740
2743
Motion defeated
2747
2747
2750
2752
2756
2759
2762
Vote - Affirmative
2766
No. 60, Smoke-free Places Act and Tobacco Access Act
2766
2766
Adjourned debate
2767
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Nov. 19th at 1:00 p.m
2768
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1003, Muirhead, Bill: EHS Exemplary Award - Congrats.,
2769
Res. 1004, Throwbridge, Janice/Gaudet, Derek/Hfx. Dunbrack
Premier Women's Soccer Team - Championship, Hon. L. Diab »
2769
Res. 1005, Denny, Mary: Life Changes - Recognize,
2770
Res. 1006, Café Karachi - Success Wish,
2770
Res. 1007, Issa's Saj House - Success Wish,
2771
Res. 1008, YMCA: Peace Day - Congrats.,
2771
Res. 1009, Lutz, Boyd Laverne: Berwick Sports Hall of Fame
- Induction (Posthumous), Hon. L. Glavine « »
2771
Res. 1010, Moody, George: Berwick Sports Hall of Fame
- Induction, Hon. L. Glavine « »
2772
Res. 1011, Smith, Jennifer - Berwick Sports Hall of Fame
- Recognition, Hon. L. Glavine « »
2773
Res. 1012, Whynacht, Joey: Berwick Sports Hall of Fame
- Induction, Hon. L. Glavine « »
2773
Res. 1013, Trinacty, Mike: Berwick Sports Hall of Fame
- Induction, Hon. L. Glavine « »
2774
Res. 1014, Swinamer, Hope: N.S. Vet. Medical Assoc
- Award of Merit (2014), Hon. K. Colwell »
2774
Res. 1015, Lawson, Dr. Trevor: N.S. Vet. Medical Assoc
- Outstanding Young Veterinarian (2014), Hon. K. Colwell « »
2775
Res. 1016, Gertridge, Scott - PSC: Long-Serv. Award (30 Yrs.)
- Congrats., Mr. K. Irving « »
2775
Res. 1017, Hewitt, Ms. Carey - PSC: Long-Serv. Award (25 Yrs.)
- Congrats., Mr. K. Irving « »
2776
Res. 1018, MacLean, Michael - PSC: Long-Serv. Award (25 Yrs.)
- Congrats., Mr. K. Irving « »
2776
Res. 1019, O'Brien, Michael - PSC: Long-Serv. Award (30 Yrs.)
- Congrats., Mr. K. Irving « »
2777
Res. 1020, Pulsifer, Doug - PSC: Long-Serv. Award (35 Yrs.)
- Congrats., Mr. K. Irving « »
2777
Res. 1021, Reeves, Flora - PSC: Long-Serv. Award (35 Yrs.)
- Congrats., Mr. K. Irving « »
2778
Res. 1022, Hardiman, Ms. Tracey - PSC: Long-Serv. Award (25 Yrs.)
- Congrats., Hon. D. Whalen « »
2778
Res. 1023, deJonge, Mark: Athletic Achievements/Maskwa Donation
- Congrats., Hon. D. Whalen « »
2779
Res. 1024, Holland, Bruce - The Parkview News: Revival - Congrats.,
2779
Res. 1025, Comeau, Louise/Burke, Michael/Fin. & Treasury Bd. Dept
- United Way Fundraising, Hon. D. Whalen « »
2780
Res. 1026, Layton-Malone, Amanda - Progress Women of Excellence Award,
2780
Res. 1027, Divine, Ann - Workplace Equality: Efforts - Thank,
2781
Res. 1028, Shaw, Genny: Hazelnut & Rose - Opening,
2781

[Page 2691]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Session

1:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Ms. Margaret Miller

MR. SPEAKER » : Order, please. We will now begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from the Village of Port Williams. The operative clause reads:

"We the undersigned, urge the Department of Municipal Affairs to consult more with villages who were not consulted before the release of [sic] report as we are opposed to recommendation 14. (also 13)"

Mr. Speaker, there are 161 signatures on this petition and I have put my name on the front.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Kings North with another petition.

[Page 2692]

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from the Village of Canning. The operative clause is:

We the undersigned, urge the Department of Municipal Affairs to consult more with villages who were not consulted before release of [sic] report as we are opposed to recommendation 14."

Mr. Speaker, there are 113 signatures on this petition and I have affixed my name to it.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 1000

HON. ZACH CHURCHILL « » : 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 Halifax and Dartmouth were devastated by the 1917 explosion, which left 2,000 people dead and hundreds more injured and homeless, and the City of Boston was one of the first to come to our aid, sending medical personnel and supplies to help us; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has sent a Christmas tree to the City of Boston since 1971, in memory of the support our neighbours to the south showed us in our time of need; and

Whereas this year for the first time the tree has come from Antigonish County, from the home of John and Ethel Ann MacPherson of Purlbrook;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend their thanks to John and Ethel Ann MacPherson for providing this year's Boston tree, and extend our best wishes to them and to the good people of Boston for a safe and happy holiday season.

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

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

[Page 2693]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1001

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

Whereas addiction is an overwhelming social problem affecting many Nova Scotians and their families; and

Whereas National Addictions Awareness Week provides an opportunity for Canadians to learn more about substance abuse prevention, to talk about treatment and recovery, and to bring forward solutions for change; and

Whereas this year's National Addictions Awareness Week theme focuses on helping stop youth from forming addiction problems across the country;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize November 17 to 21, 2014, as National Addictions Awareness Week in 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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 2694]

Bill No. 68 - Entitled an Act to Amend the Limitation of Actions Act Passed during the Current Session of the 62nd General Assembly. (Mr. Allan MacMaster)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1002

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

Whereas last week all Nova Scotians stopped on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to thank all those brave Canadians who have fought for our freedom and to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice; and

Whereas members of the PC caucus were looking forward to learning about efforts to pay tribute to Nova Scotians who died in Afghanistan as members of the Canadian Forces and we were very disappointed when the meeting of the Veterans Affairs Committee was cancelled on November 13th; and

Whereas it has been eight months since the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs met;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly urge the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs to reschedule the cancelled witnesses, and to be wary of cancelling future meetings on Remembrance Day.

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. (Interruptions)

My apologies. I did not hear the No, so we'll simply repeat the vote.

[Page 2695]

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

The notice is tabled.

Order, please. I do want to remind everybody that, although I did miss that - because of the level of chatter in the House, I didn't hear the No. So we'll keep that in mind moving forward.

We'll now move on to members' statements.

Just before we do that, the honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise today on a point of order, and I appreciate your making time for that.

During Question Period on November 14th, the honourable member for Halifax Needham asked if I had been approached by the tobacco industry, including Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, regarding Bill No. 60, the Smoke-free Places Act and Tobacco Access Act. I wish to clarify my answer to that question.

To confirm, I have not been contacted by Rothmans, Benson & Hedges. However, it has come to my attention that my office received two emails from Imperial Tobacco of Canada. Other than an acknowledgement of the receipt, there was no follow-up . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. This is not a point of order. This is a disagreement of facts between two members. (Interruption)

Okay. Please proceed. I apologize.

MS. WHALEN « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I simply wanted to clarify that for all of the members of the House, to let them know that my department has not met with the tobacco industry about contraband cigarettes, flavoured tobacco, or any other matters, but I did have correspondence, and I'm going to table that, if I may. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Still not a point of order, but . . .

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

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

SALVATION ARMY KENTVILLE COMMUNITY CHURCH

[Page 2696]

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : The Salvation Army Kettles raise funds each Christmas in the Annapolis Valley. Last year they raised $116,000 from 15 kettle locations. Over 280 volunteers contributed about 3,489 hours to the kettle program. The efforts of those volunteers and the support of local churches ensured that 538 families received Christmas food hampers, 623 kids received toys and gifts, and 25 children were sent to camp.

The Salvation Army also offered heating assistance through the Good Neighbour Fund to help families who were struggling through their food bank with emergency disaster assistance. This year the Salvation Army hopes to raise $120,000 with their kettle program. Please join me in thanking the Salvation Army Kentville Community Church for all their efforts for our community.

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

FIREWOOD SHORTAGE

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm delighted to have an extra day in this session to bring all members' attention to the firewood shortage in Nova Scotia. Winter is approaching fast, and just this past week, I've learned that even some members, backbenchers of the Liberal Government, still do not have their own firewood for this winter. The former Liberal Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Don Downe, stated that this province has an "acute issue" in regard to firewood shortage.

May I suggest that the Premier and the ministers of the Liberal Government Cabinet assist those MLAs on the backbench who still don't have their own wood supply since their Minister of Natural Resources seems reluctant to help even his own caucus, let alone all Nova Scotians. Or, Mr. Speaker, it may be a long, cold winter.

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

CROSSWALK SAFETY

MR. ALLAN ROWE « » : Mr. Speaker I wish to speak for a moment about an issue that is front of mind for many residents in our province and that of course is the issue of crosswalk safety. It's an issue that deserves our acute attention and it is often an emotional issue as all too often it comes down to a question of life and death.

Certainly at all times of the year I encourage every motorist, every cyclist, and pedestrian, to heighten their awareness of those with whom they share our roads. But as winter draws near our days are getting darker earlier and weather becomes less forgiving, I implore all motorists and pedestrians to take it upon themselves to be champions of roadway safety and crosswalk safety.

We can all be ambassadors for the safety of our communities, and by staying alert, acutely aware when in transit we can all play our part. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 2697]

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

FOOD BANKS (PICTOU EAST & PICTOU WEST) - DONATIONS

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, the food banks of Pictou East and Pictou West have issued a countywide challenge to completely fill a Tim Hortons' trailer with food. This challenge has been endorsed by all mayors and the warden of the six municipalities in Pictou County. The challenge will take place on Thursday, November 20th, at the Aberdeen Professional Centre parking lot, East River Road, New Glasgow. On average the Pictou East Food Bank serves 1,000 adults and 500 children per month. Both food banks rely on volunteers and the kindness of the local residents to provide a helping hand to those in need.

Recently, on Halloween night, students from the local high schools gathered donations for the food bank. I know all members join me in hoping the food banks reach their goals this year. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

OAK ISLAND TREASURES

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, the extensive history, legends, and mystery which surround Oak Island have given Nova Scotia international attention and intrigue. More recently the attention is focused on a reality show, The Curse of Oak Island.

The preservation of Oak Island and its landscape, the history and the tangible secrets it may hold should stay intact and in Nova Scotia. Treasure hunters may have their best interests in Oak Island for the treasure, yet Nova Scotians have always had their best interests in Nova Scotia, for Nova Scotia and its people.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

DALEY, CALEB: DEATH OF - TRIBUTE

MR. IAIN RANKIN « » : Mr. Speaker, it's with great sadness that I rise to recognize the passing of a bright young man, 17-year-old Caleb Doary of Brookside who was tragically killed in a traffic accident on Friday, the 14th of November. Caleb was enrolled as a Grade 12 student in an International Baccalaureate program at Halifax West High School, having gone to Prospect Road Elementary and Brookside Junior High School.

Caleb's untimely passing is a devastating loss. I would like to extend deepest condolences to Caleb's family, friends, and community, on behalf of this Nova Scotia House of Assembly. Thank you.

[Page 2698]

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

KOC COUN. 1667 - ACADIA PARK CHRISTMAS SCENE

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, the Knights of Columbus Council 1667 took advantage of the mild weather to get started on the second annual Christmas scene in Acadia Park, Westville. The Christmas scene came to life last year following Glen McLeod's dedication and perseverance to establish this wonderful event. This year's official kickoff, in conjunction with a torchlight parade from church to church, carol singing and scripture reading, will take place December 3rd at 6:30 p.m.

It's a truly magnificent sight when the lights are turned on, and a wonderful way of bringing the true spirit of Christmas to life. The scene will remain in the park until the last week of January and I encourage everyone to visit - and don't forget the Nativity scene in the gazebo. Thank you to Mike MacIsaac, project chairman, and his committee, for taking over this special project. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : I am pleased, Mr. Speaker, because of the extended House hours this Fall season, I can once again stand in my place and raise the issue of firewood shortages in Nova Scotia.

The Minister of Natural Resources has had months and a request for an emergency meeting of the Resources Committee, which was blocked by the Liberal majority. Repeated statements made on a daily basis by this member of Queens-Shelburne points out why the Bowater lands were purchased for recreation and commercial use. As we enter the holiday season, I know now that I have met the "Grinch Who Stole Christmas." Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

CRISIS INTERVENTION LINE

MR. BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to take a moment to remember a childhood friend of mine. Over the weekend, sadly, my friend Renee lost her life way too soon. We will miss her smile and her outgoing personality. Years ago I lost a close friend
Tom, who was one of my childhood rocks.

I want to remind those who are struggling that there is hope and we do love you. We will always love you and accept you and please reach out to a family member or friend or call the crisis intervention line at 1-888-429-8167. You will be missed. Thank you.

[Page 2699]

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

ANCHOR MOTORS - HERITAGE GAS CUSTOMER

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, last Thursday Heritage Gas celebrated Pictou County's first small business customer. Marc Comeau, owner of Anchor Motors, decided the use of natural gas was a smart decision to make with his new Toyota dealership. Mr. Comeau thought natural gas would be his best options to address the building's energy needs. Anchor Motors is among a growing number of customers, homeowners, small businesses, and large institutions who are making the switch to natural gas.

David and Debbie Grant are also new natural gas customers at their residence in Stellarton. They are excited to have this new clean and efficient natural gas in their home. The natural gas pipeline introduction to Pictou County will only enhance the growth and development of this area and residents are looking forward to additional infrastructure that will give them the opportunity to use natural gas. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Just before we move on I want to jump back to the previous statement by the honourable member for Queens-Shelburne, and I have to rule that out of order as he's referring to business of the Standing Committee on Resources.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

LUN. CO. CONSIGNMENT STORE

MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Thank you Mr. Speaker. The Lunenburg Community Consignment Store opened just over two years ago. The store was the brain child of Cheryl Lamerson and the idea wasn't just to make money, it was to make money for local charities. Consigners get half the sale price of an item and the shop donates 20 per cent of its 50 per cent to local charities. To date, that total has grown to more than $20,000. The store has been such a success it has recently expanded. It is a great way for the community to reduce, reuse, and recycle items that otherwise might find themselves somewhere else. It is a wonderful initiative and one that shows Ms. Lamerson's commitment to her community as both a resident and business woman.

It should also be noted that Ms. Lamerson's landlord has helped to make this possible with a unique rental arrangement. Rather than pay a set monthly fee, she pays 15 per cent of her monthly earnings. That allows for her to weather the slower time of year and stay open. It is a unique business and unique arrangement in a unique community. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

[Page 2700]

VALLEY KINSMEN & KINETTES CHRISTMAS MIRACLE (38TH)

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, on Sunday the Valley Kinsmen and Kinettes held their 38th annual Kinsmen and Kinette Christmas Miracle. On behalf the Kinsmen and Kinnettes I would like to thank everyone for the amazing donations, including an autographed Guy LaFleur sweater. This year's final total at the end of the show was $10,100. The money raised will be used to provide Christmas gifts for the underprivileged children in our community.

The Kinsmen and Kinettes provide gifts for more than 300 children and are overwhelmed and pleased at such an amazing total. I would like to say thank you to all the businesses that donated their time, resources, and everyone who volunteered their time to help during the Christmas Miracle and a huge thank you to the staff of AVR 97.7 who volunteered their time and efforts to make this such a success. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

EAST. PASSAGE-COW BAY TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY - DONORS

MS. JOYCE TREEN « » : Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, November 30th, the community of Eastern Passage-Cow Bay will be celebrating our annual tree lighting event at Quigley's Corner. There will be chowder, cookies, and hot chocolate provided by the committee, Brownies, and Scouts. Holiday music will be provided by our local Sea Cadet Band. Nova Scotia Power will be providing an LED holiday light exchange for people wishing to trade their old Christmas lights for new energy-efficient ones. There will also be ornaments available for people to hang on the tree in memory of their loved ones.

I would like to thank Chris and Tammy Naugle of Bayview Trailers and Kelly Osborne of Metals 'R' Us for donating the materials and their time to make the memory ornaments. And a big thank you to all who are making this celebration possible. Thank you.

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

COMMUN. ART SPACE (PICTOU TOWN)

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, a new arts space will be unveiled on French Street in the Town of Pictou on November 23rd. The Pictou Art Society, Town of Pictou, The Old Foundry, and the Pictou Garden Club were behind the Heritage Walk Project. The community art space will feature mosaic tiles depicting who we are, where we came from and what we value. A community bench was designed and built using stones from Norway House and Dawson School - neither of which are still standing - but remain a part of Pictou's rich history. Scottish and Irish moss, heather, creeping Jenny, and lily of the valley have been planted in the garden surrounding the bench. The community art space reflects the spirit of the Town of Pictou and surrounding areas.

[Page 2701]

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

UNIVERSITÉ SAINTE-ANNE/NOVA WEST LAB. RD&I CLUSTER:

ERDT - CONTRIBUTION

MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I was fortunate to be in Saulnierville last Saturday to celebrate the joint grand opening of Université Sainte-Anne's new research, development, and innovation cluster co-located with Nova West Laboratory's facility. Under the collaborative structure of the RD&I cluster Université Sainte-Anne researchers and lab technicians will work alongside Nova West Laboratory employees to coordinate core research activities, opportunities for student apprenticeship, and responsiveness to industry research and development needs.

I would like to thank the Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism for their contributions towards making this project a success. The 1,180 square-foot lab will have a genomic/biochemistry room, a cell/tissue culture room, and a media preparation room. In addition to supporting R and D efforts in the mink industry and fishing and aquaculture sectors, the cluster will be a critical tool to provide post-secondary students with an avenue to engage with the business community on applied science.

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

D'ENTREMONT, KELLY - TEACHERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : The Nova Scotia Teachers Union recently recognized nine teachers from across the province in its third annual Teachers Make a Difference program. From October 6th to November 2nd, students and/or parents were encouraged to participate by nominating a teacher who has made an impact in their lives. More than 400 nominations were received representing 310 teachers; each recognized recipient received a $300 donation to be used for their school breakfast program, library, or food bank.

Some of the reasons given for the nominations submitted included empathy, dedication, caring, kindness, encouragement, support, confidence boosting, and inspiration just to name a few. One of the nine teachers recognized for making a difference is Kelly d'Entremont, a Grade 3 to 6 Math teacher at École Wedgeport, and I wish to congratulate all of these extraordinary teachers for their dedication to making a difference.

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

THIBIDEAU, BRIAN - EHS EXEMPLARY SERV. MEDAL

[Page 2702]

MR. GORDON WILSON « » : On November 7th, the Honourable J.J. Grant invested several good Nova Scotians with the Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal. Canada was one of the first countries in the Commonwealth to recognize long service in the emergency medical services with the creation of the Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal in 1994. I am very pleased to congratulate Brian Thibideau of Saulnierville, Digby County, as one of the recipients.

This award is given as the highest form of recognition in emergency medical services and is characterized by good conduct and efficiency within the industry that serves as a model for others. This is a valuable way to thank our citizens for rendering valuable and important services. I would like also to pass on my congratulations to all the other recipients and express my gratitude for the work that is carried out by all of our emergency medical service staff.

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

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give thanks to Jack Roberts for sharing his stories of the tragedies of war with me. His story is:

The office door was opened
By a man quite old in years;
The wrinkles on his worn face
had shown both grief and tears.

And when the clerk approached him
he calmly did say,
I am to wait here for my boy
who's coming home today.

He said I think you've made a slight mistake
or else you surely know,
this is an express office
and not a train depot.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Is there more poetry to come?

MR. HOUSTON « » : It's a story about the tragedies of wartime, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The rules of Members' Statements state that we're not allowed to read poetry or recite song lyrics.

MR. HOUSTON « » : Okay, sorry, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Can you improvise? Can you give us the gist of it?

[Page 2703]

MR. HOUSTON « » : That was the improvising. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

GILBERT, PEGGY: VOL. - THANK

MR. IAIN RANKIN « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Peggy Gilbert of Whites Lake, a dedicated and long-serving volunteer with the Canadian Blood Services, the Prospect Road Lions Club, and the Whites Lake Legion Branch 153. For the past 15 years Peggy has stepped up to chair the Whites Lake Legion's poppy fund; working with a small team Peggy organizes every aspect of the poppy fund from ordering the wreaths to arranging the service, all the financial accounting, and visits to local schools.

The 2014 multi-faced ceremony at Whites Lake Legion was the best attended Remembrance Day attracting more than 500 people and raising much needed donations to the Poppy Fund, all thanks to Peggy's commitment and steadfast service. I would like to send congratulations and thanks to Peggy Gilbert on behalf of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. Thank you.

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

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, before making my statement, I beg leave to make an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, in our west gallery I would like to ask Mr. Bob Martin to please stand. Bob has been here recently, a brave survivor of sexual abuse. I would ask the House to acknowledge his presence here today. (Applause)

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

MacIntosh, Ernest Fenwick:

Limitation of Actions Act - Victims' Letter

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, a public letter appeared in The Chronicle Herald today, addressed to the Premier. It went on to say:

We are some of the victims of Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh's sexual abuse.
We are the people who were molested and degraded and exposed to traumatic experiences from which we can never fully recover. We are the people who had to stand by silently as the wheels of justice ground slowly, fitfully onward and eventually crushed not the perpetrator of these actions, but the very victims who looked to the court system to provide justice.

[Page 2704]

The MacIntosh prosecution was so botched that he was allowed to walk free. This province's own report to the Attorney General of Nova Scotia confirmed this.

The letter went on to commend the government for passing the amendments to the Limitation of Actions Act. It stated, "However, the amendment is terribly flawed in that it only applies to victims of sexual abuse if the abuse occurred after the date the act becomes law. THIS IS TERRIBLY WRONG."

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

Hughes, Charles Burton: N.S. Sport Hall of Fame - Induction

MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, Charles Burton Hughes, a bricklayer and Second World War veteran from Diligent River, was a remarkable man and a skilled all-round athlete whose nomination is now under consideration by our Sport Hall of Fame. He was known for racing his bicycle at top speeds down our gravel roads in rain or shine, and won many provincial bicycle races in the late 1920s.

After his bicycle career ended, he took up baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter, and was recognized as one of the best goaltenders in the Valley senior league. Before the beginning of the Second World War, he also took up basketball, returning safely after serving his country with the 88th Anti-Aircraft Battery. He married and had eight children - four sons and four daughters.

Mr. Charles Burton Hughes was a man who lived life to the fullest, and I, along with those who remember him well, hope to see him recognized by our province in the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

Justice - Sexual Abuse Victims: Retroactivity - Min. Response

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, the statement went on. It continued that the Justice Minister, in an attempt to explain why she would not amend the law to apply to all victims of sexual abuse, stated that this is not something that has been done in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I quote from the letter in the paper today:

Her statement is blatantly false and she knows it. Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Ontario have all amended their laws so that there are no time limits.

[Page 2705]

The Supreme Court of Canada has already definitively ruled limitation periods can be changed retroactively. In fact the Supreme Court of Canada specifically stated that: "Retroactive statutes are in fact common."
Does it make any sense to you, Mr. Premier, that if we were abused in Newfoundland and Labrador or Saskatchewan or British Columbia or Ontario, we could sue our abuser, but as we were abused in Nova Scotia, we cannot?
Your failure to properly amend this Act only serves to protect historical sexual predators.

That letter was signed by Bob Martin, Dale Sutherland, Barry Sutherland, Alvin MacInnis, Jeff Hadley, and Weldon Reynolds.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I have to bring to the attention of the honourable member for Inverness that it is unparliamentary to indicate that a minister has said something false by quoting somebody else's words.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

FRENCH, DR. SUSAN - ORDER OF CAN.

MR. JOACHIM STROINK « » : Mr. Speaker, Dr. Susan French is recognized as an extraordinary leader who has helped transform all aspects of nursing. In terms of teaching, practice, and research, Dr. French has an impact across North America and around the world. Dr. French played a key role in the development of a national accreditation program for undergraduate nursing in Canada. For two decades she led a multiple-phase project to develop nursing in Pakistan. This resulted in key improvements to health care in the country and established Pakistan's first undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.

On behalf of all the members of the Legislature, I would like to congratulate Dr. Susan French on receiving the Order of Canada and wish her continued success in the future. Thank you.

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

BOSTON CHRISTMAS TREE - DONATION

[Page 2706]

MS. PATRICIA ARAB « » : Mr. Speaker, for over 40 years Nova Scotia has delivered a Christmas tree to the people of the City of Boston in gratitude for their assistance and support following the Halifax Explosion of 1917. Since 1971, this tradition of giving has been a wonderful tradition that allows us to express our gratitude for the help they provided the City of Halifax and the province during a difficult time.

This year the tree was dedicated to the memory of long-serving and beloved Boston mayor Thomas Menino, who passed away on October 30th of this year. The white spruce is over 40 feet tall and is roughly 55 years old. It was cut down during a festive public ceremony yesterday and is here in Halifax at Parade Square with the Premier, Ministers Churchill and Younger, the mayor, the RCMP, Halifax Fire Department, DNR Enforcement Officers, Halifax Police and the Stanfields.

We look forward to following the tree for Boston on its journey. Thank you.

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

HON. RANDY DELOREY » : Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MR. DELOREY « » : If I could direct the members' attention to the east gallery there are a couple of students from St. F.X., part of the St. F.X. Young Liberals, I will ask them to stand. Julia O'Hanley and Elizabeth Burton are here in the city so if you could please give them the warm welcome of the House. Both are political science students at St. F.X. (Applause)

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

YAR. CO. ATHLETIC AWARDS: RECIPIENTS - CONGRATS.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, the Yarmouth County Athletic Awards were held on Friday, November 14th at École secondaire de Par-en-Bas in Tusket. The athletes and teams represented a wide range of sports including baseball, hockey, swimming, karate, track and field, among others. Female athlete of the year was Bobby Lou Reardon; male athlete of the year was Marco Albright; female youth athlete of the year was Bailey Gushue; Fernand d'Entremont, male sport volunteer of the year; Jill-Marie Jacquard was the female coach of the year; and Milton Bourque, male official of the year - to name a few.

The importance of these awards is immeasurable. It encourages athletes of all ages to be active, motivates them to try new things and sets goals for themselves. I want to congratulate everyone on their accomplishments and wish them continued success.

[Page 2707]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

CHRONICLE HERALD PARADE OF LIGHTS (19TH)

MR. JOACHIM STROINK « » : Mr. Speaker, the 19th Annual Chronicle-Herald Holiday Parade of Lights was held Saturday night in downtown Halifax. Despite the cold weather, estimates of 100,000 people attended the annual parade with the route travelling down Barrington Street, Spring Garden, past the IWK, and finally ending on the corner of Robie Street and University Avenue. Many local businesses participated in the parade to offer spectators, young and old, a festive introduction to the holiday season.

Among the floats were attendees from Feed Nova Scotia, Olympic paddler Mark de Jonge, local radio stations, volunteer fire departments, and of course Santa Claus. The parade is a tradition that families look forward to every year, and we are happy that this year was a safe and enjoyable celebration once again.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

FILLMORE, LAWRENCE/PATTERSON, DONALD

- FD LONG-SERV. AWARDS (20 YRS.)

MR. BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak of the important role firefighters play in our community. They put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve the citizens of Nova Scotia. Not only do they fight fires but they are often the first responders in medical emergencies. It is with great pleasure that I speak of two firefighters from Halifax Atlantic who have received recognition for their 20-year federal exemplary service. Lawrence Fillmore of Station 6 Spryfield and Donald Patterson of Station 62 Harrietsfield both received this honour recently.

I ask the members of this House to join me in congratulating Lawrence Fillmore and Donald Patterson on their service to the fire department, and thank all firefighters for their dedicated service. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Guysborough-Eastern Shore- Tracadie.

HAASE, MARTIN RUDY: N.S. NATURE TRUST - CONTRIBUTION

MR. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to draw the attention of the House to a Nova Scotia conservationist who has provided a $100,000 loan to help protect the St. Mary's River watershed. Mr. Martin Rudy Haase has provided a $100,000 interest-free loan to the Nova Scotia Nature Trust to purchase a 54-hectare property bordering on this great Nova Scotia river. Mr. Haase is a 93-year-old environmentalist from the South Shore who has stepped forward to help the Nature Trust acquire this property to preserve its pristine condition for future generations. This property contains over four kilometres of undisturbed river shoreline with massive red maples and yellow birch, providing refuge for hundreds of species, including turtles and birds.

[Page 2708]

This contribution brings the trust to within $20,000 of the $260,000 goal, and I would ask the House to acknowledge the tremendous contribution and generosity in preserving our wonderful nature heritage in our province. Thank you.

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

REID, JOHN - DUKE OF EDINBURGH'S AWARD

MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House a remarkable young man named John Reid. Under his own initiative this year he successfully completed all the requirements of the bronze level of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award in the areas of community service, undertaking an adventurous journey, honing his performance skills, and improving his fitness by participating in hockey and volleyball. This represents many hours of work each week over a period of six months and marks a significant accomplishment in achieving his personal goals.

I was privileged to present this prestigious award to John in the presence of his family, friends, and church community. Please join me in congratulating him on his initiative and hard work, and in wishing him well as he pursues the silver level of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award challenge.

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

NOW LUN. CO. INITIATIVE

MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Mr. Speaker, leaders in Lunenburg County recently gathered in Mahone Bay to learn more about the initiatives in this area. The event, hosted by NOW Lunenburg County, highlighted 16 projects based on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to education, youth engagement, politics, and more. The event was a follow-up to NOW Lunenburg County's launch event in May, where community members from across sectors were invited to a public forum to discuss the challenges facing the area and to take action. The NOW Lunenburg County initiative was inspired by the Ivany report, which encouraged Nova Scotians to take the lead on the change they want to see happen.

A variety of initiatives were brought forward during the May event - some were already in the works and others were being presented for the first time. About 130 people from across the county attended the event. It is encouraging to see the public in Lunenburg County take ownership and to do its part to help the region thrive. It is an initiative to be applauded.

[Page 2709]

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

HOLIDAY SEASON: DRINKING & DRIVING - PREVENT

MS. JOYCE TREEN « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With the holiday season fast approaching I would like to take the time to ask everyone to make a plan to get home safely from holiday parties. We must always be diligent about keeping people from drinking and driving. It only takes a few minutes of your time to communicate with the people whom you are socializing with to come up with a plan to ensure that everyone gets home safely at the end of the evening. A well-prepared plan will save lives. Let all Nova Scotians set a goal this holiday season to prevent drinking and driving. Thank you.

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

MS. PAM EYKING « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to rise to acknowledge the work that the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs has been doing, and to inform the member opposite that our meeting, scheduled for November 13th . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. It's not allowed to refer to the work of a committee during a member's statement.

MS. EYKING « » : Okay. Mr. Speaker, I'm sorry.

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

MS. PAM EYKING « » : I want to rise to acknowledge the work that Veterans Affairs has been doing and to inform the member opposite that our (Interruption) No?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Are you referring to Veterans Affairs federally?

MS. EYKING « » : No.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Okay, that's out of order.

The honourable member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaverbank.

FALL RIVER LIONS CHRISTMAS EXPRESS SOC.

[Page 2710]

MR. BILL HORNE « » : Congratulations to the Fall River Lions Christmas Express Society who have provided Christmas food baskets for over 100 families in the Waverley-Fall River area, including Lakeview, Windsor Junction, Wellington, Grand Lake, Goffs, and Oldham.

For over 20 years this organization has collected dry goods from all schools in the area for this community event as well as Feed Nova Scotia. To the many businesses and individuals who have donated financially and their time during the Lions Christmas Parade and the tree-lighting ceremony, collecting additional dry goods and donations, providing new and slightly used clothing, as well as the many families providing needy families with Christmas gifts.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Legislature, I would like to thank all who help to make Christmas a happier time of the year for all. Thank you.

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

WILE, MARY: CLAYTON PARK WEST - COMMUN. EFFORTS

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I rise today to recognize and acknowledge a former councillor in Clayton Park West, Mary Wile, for her wonderful work in organizing the Remembrance Day ceremony in our community. Over the few years that Mary was the councillor, the park at Stratford Way was developed as a Korean War Memorial and just this year received national recognition as one of the war memorials in the nation.

We are very pleased about that and this year she once again, along with her husband, Gerry, and her son, Scott, organized a wonderful event for recognizing our - particularly our connection to the Korean War and our Korean War veterans - but all war veterans on Remembrance Day and more than 500 people were present for that event. So I would like to recognize her hard work in our community. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Barring more members' statements we can either recess or move on to Government Business.

We'll now recess with the unanimous consent of the House.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The House will now stand recessed until 2:00 p.m.

[1:45 p.m. The House recessed.]

[Page 2711]

[2:00 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS

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

PREM. - CHRONICLE HERALD: ABUSE LEGISLATION - RETROACTIVITY

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. I suspect by now that all members of this House have seen the urgent ad that was placed on Page 4 of the Halifax Chronicle Herald addressed to the Premier. The ad clearly makes the case for retroactive legislation for past victims of abuse. I'll table the ad for the benefit of the House.

I'd like to ask the Premier, what response does he have to this ad?

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I also want to congratulate and thank the Minister of Justice for bringing forward the piece of legislation that has improved lives for many Nova Scotians.

I, like all Nova Scotians, read the ad today. I listened to the debate in this House. We will take that piece of information we received today, compile it with the information we have and as we go forward, like all pieces of legislation, if we can strengthen and improve them for the lives of Nova Scotians, we will do so.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I will say that I appreciate that answer.

During debate the Minister of Justice told this House repeatedly that amending the Limitation of Actions Act to allow for retroactive claims is, ". . . not something that has been done in Canada." The ad makes the very clear point in black and white that in fact such retroactive legislation exists in several other provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Ontario.

Now that the Premier has reviewed the debate and seen the ad today, will he now confirm that retroactive legislation does exist and could be used to enable victims of past crimes here in Nova Scotia to seek justice?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I again want to thank the honourable member for the question. As I said in my previous answer, we will review all the information brought forward. The Department of Justice has laid out information, given information to the Minister of Justice. We'll review that information and provide it.

[Page 2712]

Information was also provided through the form of the ad that the member speaks of. There has been information provided by the member for Inverness. All that information will be looked at and indeed, if it is seen fit that this piece of legislation should be amended or needs to be amended, like all legislation, it is incumbent on all of us that we continue to improve legislation in this province so that it serves Nova Scotians to the best.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that answer. The member for Inverness has brought a new piece of legislation to this House, which actually accomplishes all the things that the people in the ad wish to see accomplished, and actually what I believe all members of this House wish to see accomplished, which is that the full legal rights that are available be provided to past victims of sexual assault.

I'd like to ask the Premier basically, why wait? Will he support the legislation that is before this House today to accomplish this worthy goal?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the honourable member. As I said at the very beginning, we have information from the Department of Justice, officials who provided information to the minister and information that was brought forward in that ad.

I know there is a piece of legislation before us brought forward, but we will take and do the due diligence required to ensure that any changes that are made to the piece of legislation will be a change in the best interests of Nova Scotians. We'll do that and we'll take the required time that we need to do so.

Mr. Speaker, we will do that in the fullness of time and to ensure that any changes that are made reflect the reality across the country.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party.

PREM. - LONG-TERM CARE: WAIT-LIST - GROWTH

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Last week we learned that the home care wait-list in Nova Scotia had grown by 80 per cent in recent months and now today we have learned that nursing home wait-lists in Nova Scotia have ballooned and it continues to grow, having hit a record high in November.

My question to the Premier is this, how could the Premier have allowed the long-term care wait-list to continue to grow at this rate, Mr. Speaker?

[Page 2713]

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the honourable member. As she would know, these wait-lists have fluctuated throughout the year, every year they have been in existence. We made it very clear from the very beginning, because we listened to Nova Scotians who have told us they would like their loved ones at home as long as possible.

We are putting in place requirements to support home care across the province. As a matter of fact, we got more funding to the budget to deal with the needs of Nova Scotians who want to receive that care at home for as long as possible.

We're going to continue to work to improve access to home care, making sure that the long-term beds that are available are used and making sure, quite frankly, that the lists that are there, the lists that the member is referring to, are actual lists of people who require that service today.

MS. MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, there are 2,575 people on the waiting list for long-term care and 303 of those are waiting in a hospital bed. I want to ask the Premier what he plans to tell those families who have a loved one waiting on a long-term care list, who just want their loved one to be placed in a nursing home?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, we're going to continue to do what the Minister of Health and Wellness has been doing, ensuring that we provide a complement of options for Nova Scotia families when it comes to caring for their loved ones. There are some Nova Scotians who are in a bed in transitional care units across the province who potentially have the possibility of going back home. We want to make sure those supports are there, that we provide those options to Nova Scotians and we're going to continue to add funding to make sure that that myriad of options suits the needs of Nova Scotians.

MS. MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, having people occupy hospital beds places a great deal of pressure on the health care system. It means that people who require surgeries can't get into our facilities when people are unable to be discharged in a timely fashion back into their homes or to a long-term care facility. This government and this minister seem intent on reorganizing who's sitting at the boardroom table and taking their eye off the tough issue of reducing wait times for home care and long-term care.

So my question, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier is, will he direct the Health and Wellness Minister to make reducing wait times for seniors a higher priority than obviously is the case now?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to, on behalf of all members of this government and indeed all Nova Scotians, thank the Minister of Health and Wellness for the tremendous work that he has been doing on behalf of all Nova Scotians. That member, of all members in this House, should recognize the tremendous amount of work in the Department of Health and Wellness but she should also recognize that the Minister of Health and Wellness has taken on the challenges put before him that the successive Ministers of Health that came before him ignored and that's ensuring that we've streamlined the health care system at the administrative level, that we take those savings and put them back into front-line health care. That we ensure that our loved ones receive the care in the appropriate place.

[Page 2714]

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

JUSTICE - SEXUAL ASSAULT CLAIMS: LIMITATION PERIOD - ABOLITION

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : My question is for the Minister of Justice. Last weekend in the media the Minister of Justice said that legislation that removes limitations of actions for all survivors of sexual violence, ". . . doesn't exist in any other part of the country." In fact, legislation that abolishes the limitation period for sexual assault claims exists in Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador. I will table that.

Did the minister misspeak when she told reporters that there is no legislation in the country that abolishes limitation period for sexual assault claims, or did she not know about the laws in Ontario, B.C., Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador?

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I very much want to thank the honourable member for that very important question. The statements I made last week were made based on the facts and information that I've been provided from my department. New information has come to light now that I've asked my staff to look into. We will be looking into that.

MR. MACMASTER « » : The minister is now aware there is legislation in four provinces that abolishes the limitation period for victims. It can be done because it has been done in four other provinces. My question, what is preventing the minister from giving victims in Nova Scotia the same rights as victims in Ontario, B.C., Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador?

MS. DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to remind all members of this House that the new bill that we passed has taken a significant step forward for victims of all sexual assault. These are significant steps that improve the existing Act. Now that new information has come to light, I have asked my staff to look into that. We will explore and examine that information, and if necessary, we will look into making reasonable amendments. Thank you.

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

COM. SERV. - HIST. SEXUAL VIOLENCE:

[Page 2715]

LIMITATION PERIOD ABOLITION - EFFECT

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : My question is for the Minister of Community Services. Last week during the debate, the Minister of Community Services made it crystal clear that she did not support abolishing the limitation period for victims of historical sexual violence. Is the minister able to table evidence that proves that abolishing the limitation period for victims in Ontario, B.C., Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador weakens the cases of victims in those provinces?

HON. JOANNE BERNARD » : That's not really a question for my department, but I will answer it. At no point in time did I ever use the word "abolish." I said that I had asked lawyers in my professional and my personal life. I didn't ask them at the Department of Justice, because I'm not the minister. The information I had was that it would weaken the law.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, this government promised in a Speech from the Throne to launch a sexual violence strategy in the coming year. Will the Minister of Community Services agree to consult with officials in Ontario, B.C., Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador as part as a strategy to better understand why abolishing a limitations period for victims in those provinces works but won't work in Nova Scotia?

MS. BERNARD « » : The sexual assault strategy, which will be coming out in April - the first of its kind in the Province of Nova Scotia - will not have any bearing on any legalities that happen in a court of law.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

HEALTH & WELLNESS: LONG-TERM CARE - WAIT-LIST TIMES

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : I'll table a Chronicle Herald article from today that states, "The waiting list for long-term-care spaces in Nova Scotia continues to grow, despite a statement last week from the health and wellness minister that it is moving in the opposite direction." We know now that the Health and Wellness Minister was incorrect when he stated that the long-term care list was decreasing.

So I'd like to ask, now that we know the true numbers of people on the wait-list for long-term care, can the Minister of Health and Wellness tell us how long, on average, people are waiting once they are on the wait-list?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : What I want to inform the member opposite and all members of the House is that we can take any four- or five-week period and get a snapshot of the wait-list. If we look at the past year compared to 2013 - the last 12 months, the first 12 months of our government, compared to the previous 12 months - the number is down by 12 per cent, and the average for the year is around 2,400 on a wait-list.

[Page 2716]

The reality is, Mr. Speaker, that on that wait-list, when one-third of the people in the "next to be called" category are called - one-third do not take the bed that's available to them. In a recent random study by the Centre of Aging, taking the 2,400 or 2,500 wait-list, they found 48 per cent did not want a nursing home bed on that particular day.

MR. DAVID WILSON « » : In a Chronicle Herald article last November, the minister of Health and Wellness said he was conducting a 100-day review of everything related to continuing care. I'll table that, Mr. Speaker. We're now 350 days into that 100-day review. The home care wait-list is growing, and it turns out that the long-term care wait-list is also growing. We've learned that there are over 303 people on the wait-list for long-term care who are waiting in a hospital bed today.

So I'd like to ask the Minister of Health and Wellness, how many people on the home care wait-list are also waiting in hospital while the Minister of Health and Wellness wonders what he should do next?

MR. GLAVINE « » : I'm pleased to say that the department has been working extremely hard, along with consulting with Nova Scotians, a wonderful advisory group from right across the province, and the refresh of the Continuing Care Strategy, that we promised would be kicked off in the first 100 days. It got underway within that period of time, and this Spring we will see that refresh of the Continuing Care Strategy.

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

COM. SERV. - LIMITATION OF ACTIONS ACT:

WOMEN'S RESOURCE CTRS. - AMENDMENTS

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : My question is for the Minister of Community Services. When the current Limitation of Actions bill was introduced on October 29th, I was one of those people that came out in support of it in principle. I did so because I believed the Attorney General when she had stated in a press release that, most importantly, it better protects victims of sexual assault by eliminating time limits and when they can bring a claim forward. Avalon Centre did the same thing.

My question to the Minister of Community Services is, based on her long-standing relationship with women's resource centres, including Avalon Centre, has she followed up with Jackie Stevens or any other members of Avalon Centre on whether they support amending the Limitation of Actions Act to include past victims of sexual abuse?


HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : No, I have not followed up with any service provider. I know that the two people within my staff or within my community who are working diligently on the sexual assault strategy have done that and have been holding consultations throughout the province, but myself, personally, I have not.

[Page 2717]

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows, I've introduced a bill in line with other Canadian provinces that would in fact protect the rights of victims, including the victims of predators who have already escaped criminal justice in this province.

Mr. Speaker, Jackie Stevens, Executive Director of Avalon Centre, said the legislation would help victims who often hesitate to come forward and often don't meet the one-year deadline to launch a lawsuit. And I will table that.

My question is, recognizing that Avalon Centre also expected a full protection of the rights of vulnerable people who often do not report for a significant amount of time, will the minister support the victims and vote in favour of the change that ensures this?

MS. BERNARD « » : I have every faith that the Minister of Justice will do the due diligence and the research and will come back with amendments, if needed.

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

JUSTICE: LIMITATION OF ACTIONS ACT - RESEARCH TABLE

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Justice. The minister in a previous answer said that new information has come to light about what legislation might exist in other provinces or, in fact, does exist in other provinces to allow for unlimited action by past victims of sexual assault. I take her at her word, but once again we have a bill that has come before this House and has been passed by the government without adequate research or consultation - in this case missing whether similar legislation exists in other provinces or not seems to be pretty fundamental to how a bill would come together.

I'd like to ask the minister, in light of her answer, will she table for this House, before this session ends, all the research and memoranda that went to her in preparation for the Limitation of Actions Act?

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, the department did an exhaustive search. Obviously I didn't see all the research that was done. I received information; I received advice from my staff.

I stand behind this bill, Mr. Speaker. This is a very good piece of legislation for all Nova Scotians. It protects sexual assault victims and it also protects anyone who is in need of launching a civil lawsuit, no matter what the lawsuit is in this province.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I just want to remind the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition that he can't ask a question that questions the advice given by officers of the law to the Crown, so please adjust your comments accordingly.

[Page 2718]

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, just to be clear, what I am questioning is how research described as "exhaustive" could not have included looking at similar legislation on the books in other provinces. So while the department sorts out what it knows and what it doesn't know, what the minister should do is be very proud of and support a bill that is before this House right now, well-researched, backed by the victims themselves, who are urging the government to do this, and support the bill for the member for Inverness.

I'd like to ask her, will she get behind the bill that fixes the very problem her department missed?

MS. DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I really, really do appreciate the question. I stand behind the legislation we passed. It's a very good piece of legislation. I've received new information and I commit to the House, and I commit to all Nova Scotians, that we will look and we will explore this information and, if required, we will make changes to the legislation by virtue of amendments. The legislation that we passed on Friday is a good piece of legislation.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party.

PREM. - BILL NO. 1: MEDIATION PROCESS - OUTCOME

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Today we learned that the mediation process laid out by the government in Bill No. 1 has failed. It was a process that the government knew full well would not succeed.

Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 1 is leaving health care workers feeling disrespected and undervalued. So my question for the Premier is, how is taking away the democratic rights of front-line health care workers, leaving them feeling disrespected and demoralized, good for patient care?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I don't agree with the member opposite that we took away their democratic right. We brought in a piece of essential services legislation that will allow them, if they disagree with what's happening at the bargaining table, to go on strike, as long as they provide essential services in this province, something that the previous government did not afford paramedics when they took away their right to strike and forced them back to work.

We're going to continue, and I can tell you, I have been encouraged by the number of health care workers who have come up to me spontaneously and said, Mr. Premier, I appreciate the work your government is doing. You're doing something that is long overdue. It's something that should have been done in the past administration.

[Page 2719]

MS. MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, this government has, indeed, stripped away the democratic rights of front-line health care workers. Experienced nurses are telling us they are ready to leave the profession because of Bill No. 1. Home-care wait times have hit historic highs. Hospitals in rural Nova Scotia are losing their voice. So my question for the Premier is, when will this government admit that the direction it has chosen for health care in our province is negatively impacting patient care?

THE PREMIER « » : I want to assure the honourable member that hospitals in rural Nova Scotia haven't told me that they've lost their voice and I've been in them not only as the Premier of this province but as somebody accessing health care services. Let me tell you, every decision that we make will be focused on front-line health care workers. It will be focused on patients. It won't be focused on those administrative people who sit in the unions across this province.

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

SENIORS: LONG-TERM CARE BEDS - STATUS

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's like recycling questions all over again, and I know the Minister of Health and Wellness asked these questions of a previous government, but we'll try it again.

Seniors in Nova Scotia have been patient with this government, but have waited far too long to see action. More than 2,500 seniors are waiting for placement in long-term care facilities. Of that number, 303 are seniors waiting in valuable hospital beds. I'll table that. It has been a year since The Chronicle Herald did a piece on the crisis in long-term care and at that time, when asked about building nursing home beds, the Premier said there is no question there will have to be more beds. The minister recently said they would not be creating any new spaces, so I was just wondering, can the minister clear out those contradictory statements and let seniors know exactly what immediate action will be taken to address this situation?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, there is no contradiction there. We know that, yes, beds could be filled, but also about 95 per cent of Nova Scotians tell us that they want to remain at home. We will be moving, of course, to a stronger home care program over the next several years, and one of the big areas in terms of that wait-list is that we must have people on there based on risk and need, and not as an insurance plan for them eventually getting into a nursing home bed.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : It seems like in Opposition these questions are being asked by the current government and they were expecting different answers than they are getting today. The minister says that he does not feel that the wait-list of 2,575 people should come as any surprise, given our aging population. What is surprising is the government's failure to address it. The minister mistakenly told reporters that the wait-list for long-term care had decreased due to more seniors opting for home care services.

[Page 2720]

Not only was the minister incorrect, but the wait-list for home care nearly doubled in six months. Altogether, there are 3,335 seniors waiting for this government to take action. My question is, when will the minister make public his plans to provide care and support for these 3, 335 seniors and their families?

MR. GLAVINE « » : We certainly know the number is not the number as put forward by the member opposite. What we do know is that yes, home care and care for our seniors is an ongoing challenge and we need to make sure that we do provide it and provide high-quality care in the home, and that's exactly what the Continuing Care Strategy will be addressing. We know today that if we were to call all people on this list, we might only have about 40 per cent who would go into a nursing home.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

COM. SERV. - CAMP REACHABILITY: FUNDING CUTS - DETAILS

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, in April this year the Minister of Community Services announced she was reviewing all discretionary funding distributed to non-profit organizations. While the review was taking place, she assured members in this House that "No direct service organization will receive any cut in funding." I will table that.

We haven't heard that the review is finished, so I was surprised to recently discover that the minister has cut all funding to Camp reachAbility, which offers a summer camp experience for children and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities. Mr. Speaker, my question through you to the Minister of Community Services is, why was Camp reachAbility's funding suddenly cut with only 60 days' notice?

HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank reachAbility, an organization that we fund in other areas, for front-line services for the work that they've done over the last couple of years.

Actually, reachAbility, the camp itself, is a program of the Department of Community Services, and quite frankly, we're not in the business of providing camping experiences for different demographics within Nova Scotia. I took that $527,000, which was used for eight weeks, and I reinvested it into front-line services for youth at risk, which the money was supposed to be for. The rest of the money is going into services for persons with disabilities. It's a much more efficient use of government funds.

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, I've heard from parents, and they're devastated that the camp will no longer be available for their children. They are shocked that this government would eliminate one of the few camps in our province that cater to people with disabilities, depriving them of the fun, independence, and relationship building that come from attending the camp.

[Page 2721]

I will ask the minister, why is she really depriving the hundreds of campers who attend Camp reachAbility each year of this unique experience?

MS. BERNARD « » : Mr. Speaker, I'll repeat again that camping and recreational facilities are not a core mandate of the Department of Community Services, and the former minister should know that. (Interruption) No, it hasn't. It has been there for two years. It was originally for youth at risk, so that's where the money is going: back into front-line services for youth at risk.

Of the people who went camping at Camp reachAbility, 65 per cent are already in residential facilities within the province. We're already funding them for the programs that they need to live their full outcomes of being self-sufficient in the community. This is a good policy decision and I stand by it.

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

MUN. AFFS. - FISCAL REVIEW COMM.: VILLAGES - EXCLUSION EXPLAIN

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Today I tabled petitions from both the Village of Port Williams and Canning, asking for a seat at the table in the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal Review. In particular, if adopted, recommendations 13 and 14 mean some big changes for Nova Scotia's 22 villages, including the possibility of dissolution.

My question for the minister is, will the minister please explain why the villages are not represented on the fiscal review committee?

HON. MARK FUREY » : Mr. Speaker, the fiscal review that was initiated under the previous government included senior officials in the UNSM and senior government officials. I can't answer the question as to why villages were not included in the first instance, but what I do want to remind the member is that the fiscal review is a consultation document that is out now for feedback from all municipalities and villages. We look forward to the feedback that they provide up until December 15th.

MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia's 22 villages are being left out of discussions which will decide their future. Having just observed Remembrance Day, when we honour those who gave their lives for freedom, it begs the question of why our villages are being denied their basic democratic rights to have a voice in discussions about their own fate. Will this minister assure Nova Scotia's 22 villages a seat at any future discussions about their future?

[Page 2722]

MR. FUREY « » : I thank the member opposite for the question. The member is well aware of the ongoing dialogue and discussions to seek feedback from municipalities and villages, and it was in fact that very action that precipitated the open dialogue and the response the villages have provided. We look forward to the feedback from villages and ultimately will review that information following its submission on December 15th.

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

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: CONTROLLING AGREEMENTS (ATL. CAN.)

- MIN. CORRESPONDENCE

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. On April 2014, controlling agreements in the Atlantic Canada fisheries was supposed to be dismantled by DFO; however some in the industry are concerned that loopholes exist to allow parts of the controlling agreements to remain in effect. As a result, LFA 34 fisheries port reps and the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation are worried that DFO officials, both in Ottawa and Atlantic Canada, lack both the capacity and the willingness to completely do away with controlling agreements. I'll table those letters sent to Minister Gail Shea to that effect.

My question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is, can the minister outline any compensations or correspondence he has had with his federal counterpart regarding the elimination of controlling agreements in Atlantic Canada?

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : I would like to see a copy of those letters and I would be pleased to comment on it.

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Well, for the business of the House, those letters were sent to the minister earlier this year. Mr. Speaker, in both letters I just tabled, independent fishers are requesting that DFO establish an auditing process, separate from DFO in our region, to review all controlling agreements to ensure that they all have been terminated.

My question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is, will the minister ensure to the lobster fishing industry that he supports their request for an audit of controlling agreements, and that he will continue to endorse the policy of preserving the independence of the Nova Scotia inshore fleet?

MR. COLWELL « » : Indeed we do support the independence of the local inshore fishing fleet, and we will continue to do so. They're very important to our economy.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - FLAVOURED TOBACCO LEGISLATION:

[Page 2723]

EXPERTS - ADVICE HEED

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : My question is to the Minister of Health and Wellness once again.

The public feedback the government receives should be reflected in legislation that's brought forward to this House. Many organizations, including the Canadian Cancer Society, Doctors Nova Scotia, Smoke Free Nova Scotia and others, show the government the detrimental impact flavoured tobacco held on young people, and the government reneged on it.

To ensure this does not happen, they must take the advice of the experts. Will the minister ensure that the legislation will reflect the expert advice provided by these individuals?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : I want to thank the member opposite, the former Minister of Health, for the question and comment. We heard over the last week a great deal of commentary and great deal of discussion around this important issue, and over the next number of weeks we will do some further consulting and make sure that the new legislation in the Spring cover the loopholes that obviously have been used for Big Tobacco to get around in the past, and we want to make sure that our legislation is foolproof in that regard.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : We know that the legislation that we'll all be voting for in the next few days is flawed and is not acceptable, really, to a lot of those organizations. The government has introduced more than one flawed piece of legislation this session and Nova Scotians deserve better than the half measures that this government has put forward with certain pieces of the legislation. The government needs to ensure that this does not continue.

Will the minister commit to holding real, open public consultation before reintroducing their follow-up legislation on Bill No. 60 that he will have to do in the Spring?

MR. GLAVINE « » : We all know, and especially after 10 years in the House, that legislation sometimes is by no means perfect and does have some areas that can be improved upon, but I'm very pleased with and I think our Party can be proud of, is the e-cigarette and the hookah legislation that will be coming forth this week, and we know that it is another avenue to protect the youth of our province.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisburg.

HEALTH & WELLNESS - CCSVI TREATMENTS: TRIALS - UPDATE

[Page 2724]

HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health and Wellness. Nova Scotia has one of the highest instances of MS in the country. Many Nova Scotians have travelled all over the world seeking CCSVI treatment to give them a better quality of life. As I have said before in this House on many occasions, time is not on the side of those with MS.

My question is, can the Minister of Health and Wellness provide all Nova Scotians an update on whether or not this government will be going forward with the trials for CCSVI treatments?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : I thank the member opposite. There's a deep concern about this issue, and it's an area that is still under review by the department. I know that over the past year or two a number of medications have come forward that will improve the lives of a number of MS sufferers.

MR. MACLEOD « » : I want to thank the minister for his answer. In Opposition, though, the Liberals were very vocal with their support for this treatment. In fact, the Minister of Health and Wellness introduced a bill to monitor the progress of those Nova Scotians who left the province seeking treatment. Actually, he introduced it three different times, Mr. Speaker, and I've tabled that document.

We have not heard of any plans for this government to support people with MS and their families while they are waiting for the government to take action. So my question to the minister would be simply this, what plans does this government have to provide support to those living with MS in the Province of Nova Scotia?

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, we know that this is an area that is of concern to many Nova Scotians. The department is constantly reviewing other medications that can be put on the list and on the formulary and made available to Nova Scotians in terms of this particular treatment. What I will provide for the member opposite is an update on where we are with this particular procedure.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

HEALTH & WELLNESS - HOME CARE WAIT-LISTS:

FOR-PROFIT CARE - EFFECTS

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, last week we discovered an 80 per cent increase in the number of people waiting to receive home care in Nova Scotia in the last six months. In order to fix this, the minister says he wants to allow for for-profit companies to deliver home care to Nova Scotians. The minister says he can save several million dollars by doing this. However, the president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union is warning this cost-cutting measure could end up hurting the quality of care Nova Scotians receive. So my question to the minister is, how will he ensure his for-profit home care delivery model won't result in worse health care for Nova Scotians?

[Page 2725]

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : What I want to convey to the member opposite and all members of the House is that we are very, very pleased with the quality of VON nursing care in Nova Scotia. We know that it's home support that, in fact, needs a number of improvements over the next couple of years to meet what is a tremendous demand, and in order to be able to give that kind of care to our seniors, we know that we have to become much more efficient in delivery while making sure quality remains high.

MR. WILSON « » : News that the Victorian Order of Nurses or VON may have to compete for home care support contracts in areas of the province where wait-lists are already ballooning is concerning, Mr. Speaker. The president of the Nova Scotia Nurses' Union says that the home care wait-list is growing because we don't have enough staff. We don't need to introduce more insecurity to the VON. My question to the minister is this - why is the minister choosing to cause uncertainty for home care support workers, instead of finding ways to keep and attract them where they are needed most?

MR. GLAVINE « » : I'm pleased that the member opposite has made that distinction, that it is home support that we obviously need to take a look at. We have a range of costs across the province that can be anywhere from $15 to $20 an hour. We know that we have to utilize, maximize, and get full value for every dollar invested in home care and that will be the one guarantee to get the list down over the next number of years.

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

MUN. AFFS.: MUN. GOV'T. ACT (SECTION 372) - CHANGES CONFIRM

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Section 372 of the Municipal Government Act says that "The board may, if requested by all of the councils of the municipalities in a county, undertake a study of the form of municipal government in the county. . ."

My question for the minister is, is the minister contemplating any changes to Section 372 of the Act?

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, it's no secret as I've travelled the province over the last 12 months and engaged 54 municipalities that we will support municipalities in their endeavour to pursue alternate options of governance. If that necessitates change to legislation, we will support change to legislation.

MR. HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, in Pictou County some of the municipalities are working on a memorandum of understanding. Four of the six municipalities have signed on to be part of this MOU. Has the minister given any indication to any of these councils in Pictou County that he will sign off on this MOU, even though it doesn't include all of the councils?

[Page 2726]

MR. FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm well aware of the MOU that the member opposite is referring to and I've met with those four councils and I've also met with the councils that aren't part of that discussion as we speak. It's important to me and it's important to those individuals in Pictou County that our conversation and discussion is open and transparent. There are no secrets in our discussion with municipalities in Pictou County.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member of Pictou Centre.

ENVIRON. - EVANSVILLE COAL DUST CONCERNS:

PIONEER COAL - MIN. CONTACTS

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment. For several years the residents of Evansville, in the area bordering the Pioneer Coal open pit mine operation in Stellarton, have dealt with particulate matter and coal dust covering their homes and properties. As coal is moved from the pit to the surface and transferred by truck, the environment around the neighbourhood consistently becomes dirty with black soot.

My question to the minister, residents continue to look for assistance with curtailing the dust that falls over their properties; has the minister contacted the management of Pioneer Coal to discuss this problem?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question; clearly a concern of his constituents. What I can indicate is that with this particular site, our department has also received some complaints and concerns about the operation and coal dust and air quality in and around.

I can assure the member opposite that that particular site has about six air quality monitoring stations that monitor coal dust and other particles in the air. The organization is responsible to report to our department annually on the air quality but also to report immediately any instances of exceedances in their air quality monitoring. In the past year that hasn't taken place, there have been no exceedances but due to the concerns raised by the member's constituency in and around there, we have done some additional investigation there. We've reviewed the data of the air quality monitoring for the past number of months, we have done an onsite inspection and I'm pleased to report that there have been no violations of the industrial approval at this point.

MR. DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, as production continues at the Stellarton strip mine, residents continue to worry about the air quality and their health. People continue to see dust blowing across their properties from the uncovered piles of rock and crushed coal. Residents in Evansville are now worried that the Department of Environment will give Pioneer Coal the green light to begin blasting in an area of hard rock located near the bottom of the pit.

[Page 2727]

My question through you, Mr. Speaker, will the minister give the House an update when we can expect a decision regarding the request from Pioneer Coal to carry out some blasting?

MR. FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, and thank you again to the member opposite for the question, clearly an issue at a site of concern for his constituents. I am pleased to provide an update; in short, I think the people of the area are aware that the proponent that did some consultation and brought forward its intent to pursue an opportunity or an amendment to blast.

We asked in the department for them to provide us additional information. That information was submitted to the department. I had an opportunity to review it. It wasn't sufficient to make a final decision so what I have advised the organization, the proponent, recently is that if they wish to pursue blasting for that rock seam that they will have to file for an environmental assessment.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

TIR: TANCOOK FERRY - REPLACEMENT

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. The Tancook ferry has been tied up for repairs now for weeks. The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has hired a temporary ferry called Eastern Points. It's not even really a ferry, it's a whaler. People who rely on the ferry have serious concerns about this arrangement because, for example, today it is not operating. This means that children on the island are unable to attend school.

With lobster season set to open on Monday, fishers are worried that their bait will be stranded on the mainland instead of on the island where they need it.

My question for the minister is, what steps is he taking to correct this situation?

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. Look, I want to the member to know, I want the people of Tancook to know that we're doing our best to understand the situation and the specifics that are taking place there.

My understanding from the department, from any of the residents who have contacted the department directly, there are concerns about the fuel and the bait and the passenger numbers. These are things we have to address. There's no excuse; there's no second option here. We've got to get people safety back and forth from the Tancooks to the mainland, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 2728]

With respect to the vessel, the Eastern Points is ready for service. It has been maintained. It is now ready but it can't travel the channel due to the wind that is happening there. It has to wait for the wind to subside so the boat can travel.

Mr. Speaker, at this point I want the member to know and the people of Tancook to know that we're going to listen and get every piece of information we can. If there are specifics that we can improve on, we're going to do that. We understand the importance of this service and we're going to keep it there and do whatever we can to get the people happy and safe.

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, as I expressed to the minister, the time is critical for the people of Tancook Island right now. Can you imagine travelling in the weather that we had yesterday? It's important that we have something that is operational. The kids attending school are missing school. The fishers are starting their season.

The other problem is that residents are concerned that if they have an emergency that the temporary ship is just not equipped to transport people in wheelchairs, for example. So my question through you, Mr. Speaker, when can the people of Little and Big Tancook Island expect a better solution than the one that the minister has presently put in place?

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, once again I want to assure the member opposite that we haven't heard the complaints and the severe issues about lack of service and the adequacy of the Eastern Points; it just hasn't come to our attention. I mentioned to the member many times and I want the public to know that if they have specifics that they're really challenged that are affecting their everyday life, I want to know about that; it's our job to correct those.

Obviously we want the William G. Ernest to be back in the water as soon as possible. This is the vessel that we had that was available and whatever changes we can make, we're going to do that. For us, this is their safety; this is their mode of transportation from the Tancooks to the mainland. We have to provide that service, Mr. Speaker, and we'll continue to do so to the best of our ability.

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

JUSTICE - N.S. CORR. FACILITY:

DANGEROUS OFFENDER RELEASE - EXPLANATION

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. Last week the minister promised that she would provide this House with a complete explanation of what led to the mistaken release of a dangerous offender. Now that the police have completed their investigation and have laid criminal charges, will the minister commit to providing the House with an explanation before the House rises?

[Page 2729]

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the honourable member. I have committed to the House and to the public that we will have the investigation completed and I will provide a review by the end of this week. Thank you.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Well, Mr. Speaker, I know we have only seconds left and I don't really expect any answer on this but I'll ask the question anyway. Is there any indication if there was perhaps a process at fault?

MS. DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I am currently . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The time allotted for Oral Questions Put by Members to Ministers has elapsed.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON » : Mr. Speaker would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 51.

Bill No. 51 - Motor Vehicle Act.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I move Bill No. 51 be now read a third time and do pass.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 51 be amended by deleting all the words after the word "that" and substituting the following:

Therefore be it resolved that Bill No. 51, Motor Vehicle Act (amended), an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Motor Vehicle Act be not now read a third time but that the order be discharged and the bill be recommitted to the Committee of the Whole on Bills for the purpose of reconsidering Clause 3 and Clause 8.

[Page 2730]

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

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise for a few words on Bill No. 51 this afternoon.

Bill No. 51 is a good-intentioned bill. I think the intentions behind Bill No. 51 are very well placed and I think that there is some very good stuff in this piece of legislation and I don't want to detract from that today. But I did hear the Premier, in Question Period today, saying the government will strengthen and improve any legislation that they can, that they will do that.

This is a piece of legislation where we do see some concerns - we're concerned there are some deficiencies in this legislation; we are concerned there's a loophole in this legislation. We will and we have and hopefully we get a chance to discuss some of the amendments we have, but we'll put forward what we think is a very reasoned amendment to Bill No. 51, and we're hopeful that we get a chance to discuss that in detail again.

The effort to address youth impaired driving is certainly to be applauded. We certainly support that and I know the minister in his comments on second reading he said the young drivers will be required to maintain zero blood alcohol content for two years after exiting the learner beginner and newly licensed phase of the program. That zero tolerance is an excellent initiative - we're very happy with that, and we support that 100 per cent. We should have zero tolerance for young people who are forming their driving habits.

That's a very good thing, but the reason I'm on my feet today talking about this bill is I believe it could have gone a little bit further and I believe there's still time for it to go a little bit further, so I am optimistic that we can take steps to go further right now before this session ends.

I am specifically talking about the requirements around the supervisory driver, the graduated licence program, and I'm again going to refer to the minister's comments on second reading where the minister talked about the Graduated Driver Licensing program he quite rightly said that this program gradually moves new drivers from low-risk driving situations to higher-risk driving situations after gaining valuable experience - this includes night curfews, knowledge testing, and driving courses.

The intent of that program is to help new drivers develop better driving habits. It recognizes that new drivers are a higher risk than experienced drivers, so the intent of that program is to have experienced, supervisory drivers teaching new drivers, to have supervisory drivers give new drivers more experience in driving situations. The supervisory driver is there to help the novice drivers because novice drivers need that guidance. They need competent, capable drivers to oversee what they're doing.

[Page 2731]

I'm going to refer to the minister's comments on second reading again where he talks about the bill and he says that "this amendment" - the bill we're discussing today - "recognizes that the supervisory driver's role is critical." We certainly agree that the supervisory driver's role is critical - do we have agreement on that? The supervisory driver "must have solid experience and confidence as a driver to be able to provide proper instruction and guidance to a new driver, particularly in different driving situations or if the new driver is nervous."

Again, for the benefit of the House, I am quoting from the minister's comments at second reading. I am quoting them because I completely, completely agree with these comments. The comments are that "the supervisory driver's role is critical. The supervisory driver must have solid experience and confidence as a driver to be able to provide proper instruction and guidance to a new driver." That's exactly what the supervisory driver does. That's the value that the supervisory driver brings to the table. They bring that experience in different driving situations.

We do have a number of comments around the importance of the supervisory driver. I also want to direct the attention of the House to some comments of the minister on second reading about this very aspect. The reason I'm standing here today is that I am concerned that this piece of legislation allows the supervisory driver to be drunk, and I don't want supervisory drivers in this province being allowed to be drunk. I think that's a deficiency of this bill, and I think that's something that can be fixed right now.

Just having echoed the minister's comments about the importance of the supervisory driver, I'm sure we'll have a lot of agreement in this House that the supervisory driver should be alert, awake, and sober. So that's why we're standing here today, to urge the government to return this bill to the Committee of the Whole so we can talk about a reasoned amendment that requires the supervisory driver to be sober.

Mr. Speaker, I myself have talked to a lot of Nova Scotians on the weekend in my travels. They asked me about some of the things that are going on in the House, and I told them about this bill, about this piece of legislation that has zero tolerance for young drivers and blood alcohol. They said, well, that's great, and I said, that is great. I said, now, what would you feel about the supervisory driver who is supervising that young person being able to be drunk? Oh gee, that doesn't make much sense to Nova Scotians, and it doesn't make much sense to me. I'm hopeful that it doesn't make much sense to the other members of this House and that we can return this bill to the Committee of the Whole and we can talk about an amendment that requires a supervisory driver to be sober. It's not in this legislation, and it's a loophole.

I'm going to talk about some of the concerns I have with what may happen if that loophole is exploited. But before I do, I know the minister said on second reading that this is a bill that talks about when people lose their licence forever, after a certain number of infractions. This bill talks about addressing monsters of society who choose to break the laws. That's exactly what we should be doing here, so I know there's agreement in this House on that.

[Page 2732]

We brought this forward on second reading, and I am respectful of the minister's comments about the legal precedence of trying to enforce laws against somebody who is a passenger in a car. I hope we can have a discussion about that because I do understand reluctance to try to do that but I think that it's something that in this House we should definitely be trying to do. We should be setting laws in this House to keep Nova Scotians safe and then we can let the courts deal with how to make sure that they are enforced, as is the intention of the members of this Legislature.

I did talk to some law enforcement people on the weekend and I asked them about this bill and they certainly applauded some of the good stuff in this bill and they certainly had some reservations about some of the stuff that we're talking about today. I remember one story that was related to me, which was particularly striking to me. A law enforcement officer told me of a story that happened just last week; he said he pulled over a young lady who was going 90 in a school zone. When he came up to the car, the supervisory driver was the young lady's father and leaned over and he was quite indignant and he said, what's the problem? The officer said, well, sir the problem is the driver of this vehicle was going 90 in a school zone. The supervisory driver said, write her a ticket so we can get out of here.

He just looked at me and he said Tim, that's a supervisory driver who was sober. What types of things might we see from a drunk supervisory driver? We had conversations with him and other people and they relayed stories to me that said, Tim, they would just surprise you some of the stuff we see. It would not be a stretch for me to believe that a parent, who could be intoxicated, would tell their young driver, come on let's go, I have to go here, I have to there, and would not think twice about letting that child drive them, knowing full well that they need a supervisory driver before they're allowed to get behind a wheel.

This is the type of deficiency of this bill that would allow that type of thing to happen and you can imagine the advice that a drunk, supervisory driver may provide to a young, inexperienced driver. I think we have an opportunity in this House to help those young drivers by making it illegal for a supervisory driver to be drunk and essentially making it illegal for that parent, in that example, to exert some influence over that young person to drive even when they might not feel comfortable about it.

We can do that, we can do that today. We can protect some of those young drivers against drunk supervisory drivers who may give them bad advice. It would only require a simple change to the bill, as it stands now in section 69 I think, just inserting a clause (a) that requires a supervisory driver, because clause 69A(1) speaks to already - it has been addressed by this bill - the requirements of a supervisory driver. I'd like it to go just a little bit further and I think the members on this side of the House would like it to go a little bit further too. Hopefully that is something that we can discuss today.

[Page 2733]

I just want to try and find that clause. This bill does speak to requirements around the supervisory driver. Sorry, my notes aren't the greatest here today. Clause 69A (1) of the bill that is before us says that a person is qualified to act as a supervising driver for the purpose of this section if they hold a valid driver's license and they're not a novice driver. Those are the requirements of being a supervisory driver. I'm just asking, could we make the requirements of being a supervisory driver go just a little further and say, let's make them hold a valid driver's licence, let's make sure they're not a novice driver themselves, and let's put a C there that says, and they're sober. I think the social benefit of adding that clause would be tremendous, and that's what I would like to see done, Mr. Speaker.

That's the essence of this conversation today. That's essentially all I'm asking for when we ask for this bill to be recommitted to the Committee of the Whole. Let's take a look at that and let's have a meaningful discussion about that clause. Let's uphold the spirit of the Premier's comments today, which were that if we can strengthen and improve legislation, we will. Maybe we can get some action on that right here and right now for the benefit of all Nova Scotians.

It is important to Nova Scotians, because I was looking at some of the statistics on driving accidents. Mr. Speaker, 16- to 25-year-olds constituted 13.6 per cent of the population in 2010 - 13.6 per cent of the population - but they made up almost 33.4 per cent of alcohol-related traffic deaths. They're 13 per cent of the population, and they're 33 per cent of the accidents. Young people are at risk and young people are impressionable. We all know young people are impressionable. I'm not comfortable with the novice drivers of this province having the opportunity to receive driving instruction from a supervisory driver who's drunk. I'm uncomfortable with that.

Of all the young drinking drivers who are killed or seriously injured, the smallest proportion is 16 years of age, but the largest proportion is 19 years of age. So at 19, you're getting in the range where you could be a supervisory driver, you're getting close to that range, and those are people who might jump over in the passenger seat with their young friend who needs a supervisor and say, let's go for a ride. And these young people are learning their driving habits from those types of supervisory drivers. Let's protect them.

Another study I was reading says that the study concluded that young drivers are overrepresented in road crashes for two primary reasons: inexperience and immaturity. Inexperience and immaturity. We have to do a better job, and this bill does speak to that to a certain extent already. I applaud the minister for bringing that in. This is an acknowledgement that we have to do a better job of protecting our young people.

Believe me, I'm not trying to be disrespectful by suggesting this amendment. I do think that this is an opportunity to go a little further to protect young people a little more. I think if we went and we asked Nova Scotians right now, if we went outside on the street here and we stopped some people and we asked them, what are your thoughts on whether supervisory drivers should be sober or not, I think we all know what we would hear back from Nova Scotians.

[Page 2734]

I would ask the government to make this law a little tighter, that makes it illegal for a supervisory driver to be intoxicated, and then if there are issues around enforcement of it, then we make it a little tighter again so that it can be enforced. I don't accept that a supervisory is not merely a passenger in a car, the supervisory driver is necessary for that car to get started, so they have an obligation.

We can find a way to extend the laws to that person because the car won't be moving if not for that person; if not for a supervisory driver there, the car shouldn't be moving. We can find a way to make that happen.

Now the other issue I have, the concern I have - and I don't know, the minister may be able to alleviate this concern on his reading - I don't see anything in this legislation about drug-impaired driving. Drug-impaired driving is a serious issue, as well, that's certainly on the rise. I'd like to see this bill speaking to drug impairment. I'd like to see the Act speaking to people who are impaired by drugs operating vehicles.

Now in terms of the argument about - well the concern, let's call it - about enforcing laws on the supervisory driver, I believe if you can enforce laws on a supervisory driver that requires them to have a valid licence and requires them to not be a novice driver, then you can also enforce a law on them that requires them to be sober. That's something that I look forward to some comments from the minister or from the government side on that.

It is clear with this new bill - and I'm looking at the minister's comments from second reading - what rights do the police officers have, what rights does our government have to check a driver who is not operating the vehicle? I would say, well, if you're worried that you don't have rights to check the driver who is not operating the vehicle, then how do you check that they have a valid licence? How do you check that they're not a novice driver? What do you do if you find out that they don't have a valid licence? So if there's some ramification in law for a supervisory driver, somebody who holds themselves out as a supervisory driver, if law enforcement determines that person does not have a valid licence, what happens then?

I would say that whatever the "what happens then" is, also happens when that person who is a supervisory driver does have a valid licence but is drunk. I would say it happens then but it happens tenfold against that. So that's the point that I'm trying to make and that's the point that we're struggling to understand. So if we can't get there today I would hope that at a minimum we hear like on Bill No. 60, where we heard the Minister of Health and Wellness say that we're going to pause on this one, we're going to get to it but we can't get to it today, I think Nova Scotians would have some comfort at least if the minister said today, well, we are going to get to this, we have some issues. At least it would be there, and people would know that there is a plan to address this.

[Page 2735]

I'd like to see it addressed today but I'd certainly take a little comfort in knowing that it's going to be addressed shortly, if not today. With those few comments on that very specific issue, I will take my seat for now. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I can assure you that listening to the amendment that was put forward earlier today, I was delighted with the amendment that was actually requesting more time to talk about this very issue, because I can assure you, over the last 72 hours, the last three or four days, I prepared my speech on this one theme, about the supervisory driver.

I have to publicly admit, Mr. Speaker, and I'll do it in front of my peers - I took this job as a critic and I enjoy my job and the different roles I have, but I must publicly confess that I learned since taking this critic role in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, that a supervisory driver can be intoxicated and have a graduating driver in the process of trying to get their licence. I was astounded. I sat back and that particular scenario concerned me because there are a lot of other different critic areas and my occupation probably wasn't focused on that and I acquired my licence at a very early age of 16 - I was one of those early ones. It was a number of years ago. But I was deeply concerned about the front part of this bill - it was about creating good habits for those new, learning drivers, and I was deeply concerned about this scenario, so I asked the question.

Occasionally I've asked this question over the last week: Did Nova Scotians know this? And it came back to me loud and clear that there were a lot in that camp that I was in, who weren't aware of this particular law, so in the last 72 hours I have put together my speech and there's actually a little contest at the end, so I ask that everybody pay attention.

Certainly Nova Scotian drivers, we all know, must not use a hand-held cellphone. We put legislation in place to make it safer. Drivers may use a phone, if they have a hands-free device. But first of all, driving is a privilege, and is something that I really appreciate and I really think that a lot of Nova Scotians really take it for what it is, and if you are unsuccessful, if you fail and if you are charged under criminal law, if you refuse a breathalyzer, it's my understanding you will lose that privilege. It is something that I really appreciate.

So when this came up for review, I was shocked about the supervisory driver - that this person can be intoxicated. This is my whole speech. My whole speech is about that individual, for qualifications, and to be able to take control. The point I want to make here is that, later on in my speech, I'm going to ask you a few questions. But the title of my speech today is, Who?

[Page 2736]

Mr. Speaker, who is in control? Who is driving that car when this youth of Nova Scotia is in that graduating scenario and they have a supervisor who may be intoxicated? I think we need to spend some time to understand that. To me, this is all about my job as a critic, to point out the weakness. And so help me, I believe that this particular bill is seriously flawed. I think it's our role as Opposition members to point that out very clearly, and I think that, in the next few hours here, we're going to do a good job of that.

To me, this is about common sense, about an opportunity for the Liberal Government. We talked early last week about some old legislation that was on the books that said Nova Scotians, if there was a snowfall, get shovel-ready. Get ready. All that stuff needs to be updated - and this is a classic example.

Now is the time, when we have on the books that a supervisory driver can be intoxicated - this is a clear message that we need to send to all Nova Scotians and to Canada that this is not acceptable. It's common sense that we correct this at this time. I made a couple of references to a supervisory driver - to me, that person is in charge and can take the job over in a split second.

I want to take a little time here because usually when you have a youthful, inexperienced driver, you may come upon a situation that if you are paying attention and monitoring that, you are observing and you can make a correction in a split second that can literally save lives and people's surrounding property. Now, if that is going to be impaired by alcohol, I raise that question and I raise the question of another scenario.

In the regulations, it talks about the front seat of that vehicle not being obstructed by children's seats or a third passenger, and I understand that when the individual is in that scenario, and a situation arises, the supervisor can make a split-second decision and correct that. The important part here is that scenario has already started. So a serious situation can arise but that individual in the supervisory role must be able to think very clearly and make a split-second decision.

Now just to make that point further, if you do not agree with this correction then how would you feel about a co-pilot in a 747 with 200 passengers back aft, not being in a prepared state to take over the helm of that wheel? I think it would not be acceptable. To me it wouldn't be acceptable if I had a scenario that I just pointed out earlier, with my grandchild or any child riding in the rear seat of that vehicle, knowing that there was a youth in the front seat, an intoxicated supervisor in the passenger side.

Also, Mr. Speaker, over my lifetime I have had the opportunity of working as a volunteer ambulance driver and a number of years ago in my community we had a Woods Harbour ambulance association and I remember being on call on the weekends. This was strictly a volunteer basis, but one of our policies was that we would not have a drink of alcohol. I think we can all appreciate being on call and when you do get that alarm going off that you do not want to be bending over an individual with the smell of alcohol on your breath; I think it's just common sense. To me, there are a number of things that we can look at through life that says common sense needs to play out here.

[Page 2737]

I know where some of the Liberal members may be going, that they will talk about this as a Charter question. Well I'll get to that later on in my speech but common sense is going to kick in here and I think it's going to overrule a Charter of Rights issue. I know I want my child, my grandchild, I want to protect them, as I want to protect all children in Nova Scotia and this is unacceptable. I think over the next few hours we'll show that this has to be tweaked.

Mr. Speaker, talking about driving skills, this is something I have observed. I don't want to paint the picture that I am a professional driver. The category that I think I fall in is an average Nova Scotian driver. I had my license since the tender age of 16, as I pointed out earlier, and I consider myself an average driver. But in my observation in the last 72 hours and over this last week, I have observed the program of Canada's Worst Driver. I have also observed my other colleagues driving to and from jobs and myself being present, and I've also observed, just in the House parking lot, how some of the MLAs have some difficulty getting into the parking stalls, so I've just raised my average up a higher percentage. I just wanted to point that out.

One of the most important lessons I learned as an early driver was from an individual in my community. He passed on a few years ago. The individual's name was Carmen Christie. He was known by professional stock car drivers and race interest groups across Nova Scotia and I can tell you that Mr. Christie could handle a vehicle. Mr. Speaker, through you, I hope the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is paying attention because Mr. Christie pointed out to me some driving skills that I have learned over my life and have actually saved my life a few times. One of the points he pointed out - and I'm going to table that later on - was about driving skills. Sometimes you have to go and steer in the opposite direction to make a correction in order to get your vehicle to go in the right direction, so there's a story in there that, here we have some old legislation where the supervisor can be intoxicated, and we need to make that correction.

There are a number of driving skills that Mr. Christie has taught me and most recently, as I drove home this weekend on Friday, I had an opportunity to engage in those driving skills and we had our first snowfall. Mr. Christie was very clear. This was before Google, and he'd explain to me about how, when it's slippery, people overcompensate. They steer excessively when they're in a skid and the results can be sometimes very damaging, by simply not paying attention and easing back in to the direction you want to go.

He explained to me very clearly - and I'm not a professional, but there is some good literature in here about safety aspects, how to avoid collisions especially in snow storms, and I'm going to table that. I encourage every MLA to read that. It was good advice from Mr. Christie a number of years ago.

[Page 2738]

I just want to point out one more time before I leave the scenario - in order to go in the right direction, you have to do the opposite thing. Here, at this time, we want to go in the right direction that we need to steer this legislation in to correct it - a supervisory driver should not be intoxicated. I'll table that information for the interest of others, Mr. Speaker.

While I was reviewing some of the literature that the Registry of Motor Vehicles actually have on their website, this talks about drivers behind the wheel, and their website highlights that "Alcohol-induced impairment is the greatest contributing factor in many motor vehicle fatalities. The basic rule underlying all safe driving is to keep your vehicle under control at all times." That, to me, is common sense.

You're asking youthful Nova Scotians to begin driving and yet we accept the fact that they may have an intoxicated driver in a supervisory role. I think this - for anybody to stop and understand what I just said - is unacceptable, and so it has been for every Nova Scotian I have asked in the last week. There's an interesting part dealing with the Criminal Code of Canada and under that it says, "Under the Criminal Code of Canada a person commits an offense when operating or…" - great big word - or, "in care of."

Now to me, that supervisory role, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, is in charge or in care of that graduated-licence holder, in that scenario. When you're in care of something, you should be able to take control. I question that if it's not acceptable for the person to be intoxicated while driving the car, why he can be intoxicated while supervising.

What I'm going to point out later on here is a scenario that I think you might find some humour in. I know this is a very serious issue. I had some trouble with it myself, but I think that if you make light of an issue sometimes you can raise a very serious point. This is what I intend to do in the next few minutes; take a serious issue but try to engage with humour and leave you with a very serious question mark in your mind, and our opportunity to make a correction.

Mr. Speaker, as I looked over the last 72 hours for a way to make reference to a serious situation like this. I always make reference to music, to entertainment, and when you're talking about automobiles and driving, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of songs that would fit into the scenario that I'm trying to portray. And none of it worked. None of it worked, Mr. Speaker. But as I took the time there was a skit, and I made reference - who is driving this vehicle.

There was a skit done a number of years ago by famous comedians Abbott and Costello. The premise of the sketch was to identify who was on first, and I'm trying to identify who is driving that vehicle. The sketch leaves Abbott and Costello confused and literally scratching their head about a routine. And finally they understand that, yeah, they finally get it - and they may understand it, but it left the public, I think, with what is going on here?

[Page 2739]

What I'm going to paint with the next few minutes is a scenario that is going to leave Nova Scotians confused and scratching their heads that we do not make this amendment and make sure that the supervisory driver is not under the influence, and that we allow this scenario to continue.

I don't think our role is to create legislation that is going to leave Nova Scotians confused, puzzled, or bewildered. I don't think we want to be leaving people scratching their heads when we have an opportunity to amend legislation and we're dealing with such a serious issue as we are today, that we'll have a time to correct this.

Before I move on, I just want to point out that under the day's scenario, a graduating youth driver, who is named "Who," can call a friend, an advisory driver, who I'll call "I don't give a damn," who is under the influence of alcohol, and request that individual - that supervisory driver cannot go to the home of the youth. They need to request a designated driver, who says, I can't believe this is happening.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I just want to remind the honourable member for Queens-Shelburne that the word "damn" is unparliamentary terminology.

The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne.

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : The word "dam" is a reference to a water dam, Mr. Speaker, so I knew you may correct me on that. Anyway, you need to play along with this, because it really makes a good point.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I'll respectfully disagree with the member and his use of the term.

The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne.

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : All right, I'll move on. The point I'm trying to make, Mr. Speaker - and I respect your decision, I'm not going there, but the point I'm trying to make is that Who is in control of this vehicle, Who is driving this vehicle. You can have fun by interchanging the names, and I'll allow that for your own discretion, but to me this is an opportunity to get it right, and I can't see any opportunity of having on the books that we're going to have a supervisory driver who can be intoxicated.

I know that as soon as I sit down the Liberal Government may get up and talk about Charter rights, and talk about all the constitutional rights that we have. Well, I have a right too, and my right is to stand in this place and say that this law is seriously flawed. It is flawed, because I do not want to have any Nova Scotians, or anybody in a vehicle sitting in that scenario where that individual is not capable of taking over the helm of that car. This is an opportunity to tweak it. It's not about rights. It's about doing the right thing. It's about protecting people's lives.

[Page 2740]

I really enjoy my role as a critic, and my role is to point out weaknesses within our legislation. I look forward to my other colleagues' comments on this particular topic. Mr. Speaker, I thank you for your time, and I look forward to my colleagues' remarks. Thank you.

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

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to be able to have the opportunity to spend a few minutes to speak on Bill No. 51, the Motor Vehicle Act. I will not be tabling anything or talking about any particular stats and there are certainly plenty of them out there in the literature. I'm just going to talk from my experience with novice drivers over a number of years.

There is a lot of good legislation in this particular bill and I thank the minister for bringing it forth. I know that he wants to keep our highways and roads as safe as possible and I think all members in the House certainly would want that same thing. For example, zero tolerance regarding alcohol with the new drivers for a period of two years is good legislation and makes our highways safer. Too many Nova Scotians are impacted by highway and road crashes, often resulting in death and injury. So anything we can do to improve the safety on our roads is certainly positive.

The culture of driving has changed drastically over the last few decades. If we go back 30 years or beyond, things were certainly very different. It was easier to obtain a licence and restrictions were minimal. In fact, to a certain extent, driving under the influence of alcohol was somewhat socially acceptable - not right, but somewhat socially acceptable back many, many years ago. Today driving has become much more complex due to our newer highways, our multi-lane roads, higher volumes of traffic, increased speeds, and certainly numerous distractions that we see on our roadways today. It continues to be increasingly important to have a very alert and responsible supervisory driver.

Rules and conditions of the road are not always clear to the novice driver and that's something we have to remember: rules and conditions of the road are not always clear to the novice driver. We must remember they are still learning, sometimes we become complacent because we know the rules and regulations of the road, we have the experience but they are still in the learning process, regardless if it's the first year, 15 months, or whatever it may be.

Novice drivers may become confused, unsure what to do in certain circumstances. Examples of that would be intersections, entering or leaving, entering or leaving a rotary, entering or leaving a highway, or the proper distance behind a vehicle.

[Page 2741]

If there was one consistent flaw that novice drivers possessed during my tenure as a driver education instructor over 12 years, and thousands and thousands of hours on the road, is the inability to see what's happening ahead of them, not reading and reacting to the driving environment ahead of them. What I mean by that - I don't mean the vehicle in front of them, because often novice drivers become fixated on the car in front of them. I'm referring to the cars that are three, four, or five ahead of them, where perhaps they're not noticing that four cars ahead of them they're applying their brakes or turning into a driveway or turning at an intersection; maybe there's debris on the road, maybe a car in front of them came to a fixed stop, or maybe an animal crossed the road. I often noticed that would go unnoticed with the novice driver. Therefore, a sober and alert supervisory driver is extremely valuable in higher risk settings.

A good example of that is night driving, particularly when it's raining. We all know what it's like on a dark night when it's raining hard on highways and roads - it's certainly different from driving around on a clear, bright day on our roads and highways. Other examples of high-risk settings are wet highways. We certainly know all about hydroplaning, snow-covered roads, peak traffic hours, busy streets, pedestrians, children playing, novice drivers approaching a crosswalk, and expecting the unexpected.

This is probably the best advice I have given to the novice drivers that I have been working with over the years - and that is "expect the unexpected." An example of that could be a novice driver approaching an intersection where you have the right-of-way. We know that that doesn't mean everything is safe and you do have the right-of-way. By law and regulations, yes you do, and novice drivers sometimes take that for granted that everything will be okay as they approach that intersection.

Another example would be driving along, children at a crosswalk and simply standing on a curb or along the side of road with no crosswalk and, again, just because they are motionless, standing and not moving, lots of novice drivers will think they will stay there until I go by, but again experience will tell you that that is not always the case.

Another example, perhaps a third one is an animal, a deer appears on the side of the road, or the mistake not to look for a second one after the first one has crossed the road. An experienced, sober and alert supervisory driver becomes invaluable in these cases. Helping a novice driver identify potential hazards; helping a novice driver become a safer driver.

It has been my experience that novice drivers quickly acquire the skills needed to control a motor vehicle. That's something, with most I've experienced, becomes reasonably easy; however it takes much longer for them to develop a higher order perceptual and cognitive skills necessary to safely interact with their driving environment. That's why a good supervisory driver is so important, because novice drivers need a safer framework, they need help to detect hazards quicker - they are often slower to deal with hazards.

[Page 2742]

For example, tires leaving the pavement - often instant panic sets in - often novice drivers will react very quickly and yank the car back on the road, causing them to dart across the other road and into the lane of oncoming traffic. That is something that has happened many, many times. I recall receiving a call from a parent wondering what I was doing forcing their child to drive their car off the road. I explained to them that it was part of the defensive driving course, that there's a particular procedure we should use if your tires slip off the road. And I do know youngsters from Pictou County who have made that fatal mistake of overreacting and pulling the car on too quickly and becoming involved in a very serious crash; in a couple of cases, fatalities.

Novice drivers certainly have difficulty with a lot of different manoeuvers just simply due to lack of experience. Common sense would indicate that having a sober, alert, and qualified supervisory driver should be compulsory before a novice driver can operate a vehicle. Another thing is family driving styles from parents passed on to their offspring are often cause for concern. Prior to obtaining their licence they're often in a car as a passenger and they're often watching driving habits, sometimes that perhaps should be improved.

Mr. Speaker, how many parents insist that their new novice drivers back into the driveway or into a parking place elsewhere? This is a great skill to possess and they should be very comfortable doing this. Experienced drivers know that driving out of a driveway is very safe, much easier to look left and right driving out as opposed to backing up. Again, unfortunately some people have been hit; some youngsters have been run over with vehicles backing out of their driveway.

Mr. Speaker, initially novice drivers underestimate the risk associated with a range of driving conditions, having difficulty in identifying and responding to road hazards, weak reaction to braking, speed perception, distance, poor perception of potential hazards because of weak observational skills, sometimes their attitudes towards traffic safety, mistakes due to misjudgments, and a lapse in road attention.

Mr. Speaker, another phrase that I used in my class during my driving-instructor days was never, never take your eyes off the road. Even if that was the only advice an alert supervisory driver passes to a novice driver, it would be a large improvement. Anything we can do to improve the safety on our roads is positive. Any effort to reduce the opportunity and likelihood of risky driving behaviour is positive. Novice drivers can gain valuable driving experience under controlled conditions thereby lowering the risk of vehicle collisions. This is where a sober and alert supervisory driver plays a major role. This will make sure their judgment is not impaired.

Mr. Speaker, driving is a complex task that requires full attention. We cannot expect a novice driver to have all these valuable skills simply due to a lack of experience. Road vision is something experienced drivers take for granted; this is not the case with novice drivers. Smart braking, horn usage, sharing the road, lane changes, intersections, entering and leaving traffic, passing vehicles, staying alert, backing up in traffic in crowded areas, and tendencies to become distracted are all very important things for a supervisory driver to be watching out for in a novice driver who has limited experience in driving. It is very, very easy for novice drivers to become distracted.

[Page 2743]

Being distracted even for a couple of seconds is all it takes to cause a fatal crash. Mr. Speaker, texting, emailing, or talking on the phone is a habit that non-novice drivers may see as okay. Texting, in particular, is very dangerous. It does three things: it takes the driver's eyes off the road, it takes the hands off the steering wheel, and it certainly takes the driver's mind off the job at hand. I think the extended amount of time for novice drivers is very important. This will give them the opportunity to experience different kinds of driving conditions. Improving the culture of driving is essential. Strengthening the Graduated Licencing program is important. It should help in reducing motor vehicle related deaths and injuries among young and novice drivers.

Mr. Speaker, I will finish by saying we do not agree with the fact that this legislation does not specifically require the supervisory driver to be sober or awake. This omission undermines the potential to further strengthen the Graduated Driver Licensing system. Thank you.

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

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : I would like to rise to say a few words about this bill. First of all I would say the general direction of the bill to further restrict young people with alcohol driving, I believe is a thoroughly good direction. Over the course of my lifetime in Kings North I know a number of young people who met their deaths through drinking and driving, fortunately none in my own family, but people I knew well, young men who played hockey with my sons. And the devastation of that to their families and the pain is very real. Certainly anything we can do to send a signal to young people about the dangers of drinking and driving and to further restrict it, to create this longer period for which they would have to have zero blood alcohol, I think is very commendable. I believe the direction of this bill is a very commendable one.

I would like to say that the issue about the supervisory driver, I do believe that is a significant one. I think to send the message that the supervisory driver position could be someone who is not sober would maybe detract from the overall direction the bill wants to go; in fact, when I read the bill I wonder if we aren't just trading terms for, previously, the experienced person with the driver. I'm just wondering about that.

When I think about this and I look at Clause 70, and this is referring to the nighttime driving, between 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m., when only accompanied by a person who is a supervisory driver, and in (iii) is actually occupying the front seating position, I guess to me I question if we can specify that the supervisory driver has to be in the front seat, why can't we specify that the supervisory driver has to be sober? It's even possible that the supervisory driver could be impaired in other ways, too, and it seems to me that it should be possible to specify that.

[Page 2744]

I understand from what I heard the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal say about this - I believe it was the minister, I think it was TIR - that there were complications with putting the law regarding a passenger, even if it was the supervisory driver, charging them with blood alcohol over the limit or whatever. There were some complications with that and I can understand that.

I guess for my mind, if I think about a police officer stopping somebody in the middle of the night and the supervisory driver say, being asleep in the back seat, for instance, you know I think the charge would be then that the young person driving simply failed to have a qualified supervisory driver, period. I don't know why that wouldn't apply if the supervisory driver was obviously intoxicated, the charge would be not to the supervising driver but to the young person who simply failed to have a qualified supervising driver.

It seems to me that the law shouldn't have to be brought to bear on that supervising driver, the onus is on the young person behind the wheel - did they have a qualified supervising driver or not? I guess from that point of view I don't really understand why there is a problem with bringing the law to bear on this situation so, as I said, if we can have it for someone if actually between 12:00 midnight and 5:00 a.m. that supervisory driver actually has to be in the front seat, and that can be specified in the law, why can't it be specified in the law that the supervisory driver actually has to be capable at that moment of driving, and if not then the charge simply is that the young person driving failed to meet the requirements of the law? So the law isn't brought to bear on that supervisory driver at all, simply on the young person.

To me, the stipulations that the supervisory driver be qualified to actually be capable of driving are no more difficult to enforce than the stipulation that the supervisory driver is actually in the front seat.

I guess I'm kind of a little bit baffled by this, and I would speak to our amendment that the amendment be put in that the supervisory driver, in fact, be sober. As I said, I don't see why that is a problem in the law. Maybe I don't fully grasp how the law is applied. The question simply is, did the young person driving the vehicle actually meet the requirements of the law? So the law doesn't have to actually be brought to bear, no charges have to be made on the supervisory driver, just to the young person who is driving did not fulfill all the requirements.

I think you could even extend that to if the supervisory driver is stoned, maybe - and I know that's not in our amendment, but in that case too, the law - the young person simply failed to meet the requirements of having a capable supervisory driver.

[Page 2745]

I guess from my reading of this it seems fairly straightforward, and I'm disappointed at that particular aspect of it. I think it sends the wrong message. This is a very serious issue, and even one person who loses their life through alcohol and driving is a tragedy. As I said, most members in this House probably know a number of people who have lost their lives in that way, as I do. Certainly those families - they're not forgotten, and the pain of that goes on for a long time. A very careless moment by a young person is something that sometimes there's no going back. It's the finality of that.

I know that I could say more, but that's really the point I wanted to make about this. I would commend the direction of the bill, and I believe that this should not be an issue that holds this bill up. You should be able to put into the bill that the supervisory driver actually has to be capable of driving, and if the RCMP or the police officer who is on scene deems that the supervisory driver for one reason or another was not capable of driving, then the young person simply failed to meet the requirements of the law. Whatever the penalties are in there for that young person, it would be no different than if they had been caught driving with nobody else in the car in the middle of the night.

It seems to me fairly straightforward, and I would like to suggest that. I think our amendment to the bill, that the supervisory driver be capable of actually taking over and driving the vehicle, is a good amendment. I would like to suggest that the government either accept that amendment or make an amendment themselves to the bill to put that in. To my way of thinking about it, it should not impact - the supervisory driver should not ever be charged one way or another.

It's easy to see that possibly in the middle of the night the young person driving would like to - maybe they have someone who's unqualified to be the supervisory driver in other ways. Maybe it's another young person no older than them, or with the same type of licence. Obviously then, what is the charge? They simply failed to meet the requirements.

I would like to suggest that I think we have a good amendment to this bill and I would like to suggest to the government that they take a serious look at this amendment. Whether they accept our amendment or make an amendment themselves, I would like to recommend that to them. With those few words, I will take my seat.

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

There has been a motion to recommit Bill No. 51 to the Committee of the Whole on Bills.

There has been a call for a recorded vote.

[Page 2746]

Ring the bells for 10 minutes. Call in the members.

[3:58 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Are the Whips satisfied?

I would ask that all members please remain silent until the end of the vote, please.

[The Clerk calls the roll.].

[4:08 p.m.]

YEASNAYS
Mr. MacLeod Mr. Churchill 
Mr. MacMaster Ms. Regan 
Mr. Dunn Mr. Samson 
Mr. Baillie Ms. Whalen 
Mr. d'Entremont Mr. Glavine 
Ms. MacDonald Ms. Casey 
Mr. David Wilson Mr. MacLellan 
Mr. Gosse Ms. Diab 
Ms. Zann Mr. Younger 
Ms. Peterson-Rafuse Mr. Horne 
Mr. Belliveau Mr. Hines 
Mr. Orrell Mr. Stroink 
Ms. MacFarlane Ms. Arab 
Mr. Houston Mr. Delorey 
Mr. Lohr Mr. Gordon Wilson 
 Mr. Rankin 
 Ms. Miller 
 Mr. Rowe 
 Mr. Maguire 
 Ms. Eyking 
 Ms. Lohnes-Croft 
 Ms. Treen 
 Mr. Gough 
 Mr. Jessome 
 Mr. Irving 
  

THE CLERK » : For, 15. Against, 25.

[Page 2747]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is defeated.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, back on Bill No. 51, I know I spoke a little bit about this issue, some of the concerns I had on this bill on second reading, but I thought that I would continue on third reading just to clarify and make sure the government recognizes that as this piece of legislation goes through the process, what we are trying to do is improve this legislation. We're trying to make sure that we have a bill at the end of the day that really strengthens the law in our province, especially around young drivers and especially around the Motor Vehicle Act itself as a whole.

I think throughout the last number of years, I know since I entered this Chamber in 2003, consecutive governments have brought forward changes to the Motor Vehicle Act to try to improve on ensuring the safety of our residents across the province. We have seen some very good changes, I think, over the last 10 to 12 years that really show a commitment to Nova Scotians, to the people who put us here in our seats, in the chairs that we have here from every riding and from every Party.

With Bill No. 51, I think there are some very positive changes. I had indicated that I have two young kids. My daughter is actually scheduled to go for her driver's test on Friday of this week. Part of me is hoping maybe she fails and I'll tell her she needs to wait another six months but she's actually a pretty good driver and I would predict that she'll pass her exam on Friday and away we go.

One of the things I've tried to do is ensure that she knows the rules of the road, she knows some of the dangers that, I think, are new to driving - I have mentioned these before - around cellphones and texting. At this stage in my life I am more worried about that because my kids and my daughter don't think about drinking and driving because they know it's just plain wrong. Compared to years ago when I think there was more of a culture of drinking and driving that was acceptable and it was consecutive governments that really chipped away at that to have what we have now, an atmosphere that most people, especially our young people, are committed to making sure they don't drink and drive.

My concerns were more with having young kids around the texting and the cellphone use and ensuring that there are rules in place that I think they need to follow so that they are safe when they're behind the wheel of car. With Bill No. 51, I think we've seen that as we move forward, as we continue to know that there are distractions there, that we need to improve on their skills as new drivers, and I'll say young drivers, for the most part it's usually young drivers who are new. I do know some people who wait until later in life to get their licence. But young drivers, new drivers need to know that the government and the laws of our province are going to continue to be changed to improve the safety of our roadway. Driving is something that we can't take for granted. It's a privilege for each of us to have our licence to drive around our province and our country, and I think we need to ensure that we abide by the law.

[Page 2748]

One of the areas that I have some concerns about are around the possibility of someone who has been convicted multiple times of impaired driving and who may at this point be suspended for life - under this legislation, there'll be a possibility that they can get that driver's licence back. I'm torn with that, Mr. Speaker, for a number of reasons. One is that, for me, it's very hard to understand someone who may be convicted three or four or five times for impaired driving - to be able to get that privilege back, to be able to go through a process which we don't really know about yet. I know it's through the regulations. I've been told that it will be very strict and it will be very limited.

I'm torn at the fact that someone who may have been convicted four or five times, they'll get their licence back. That's the difficult part where I am, as a young father of kids, one who may be on the street on Friday evening or Friday of this week, of knowing that that potential for someone who has been convicted that many times may be behind the wheel again. I'm a very compassionate person, and I believe that people can change, I really do. But after four or five times I think there comes a time in someone's life that they realize they've really messed up. I think of maybe even just one conviction, how that would feel, how an individual would feel. I would think that would be devastating to an individual. But to know that someone has done it multiple times, that's where I'm a bit torn by it.

The area where I hope that maybe through regulations, or as we move forward with this - I mean, this bill is going to pass. I hope that the consideration is there that at least puts some kind of timeline, that an individual who had four convictions of drinking and driving, that some time has passed. I don't know, I'm not an expert. I don't know if it should be 20 years, or 15 years. I would think that at a minimum 10 years where there's no convictions and there's no infractions around the motor vehicle. I know we've heard that some of these individuals drive anyway. They drive without insurance and they get behind the wheel of their vehicle.

I understand that. I know that. I've picked up people in accidents, as a paramedic, and you can see in their eyes that they are very distraught, and it wasn't because they were injured and I'm working on them as a medic. They'd whisper in my ear, I don't have a licence, I'm suspended. So I know that happens. I know they're out there. But I don't think that is a reason for allowing people, especially individuals who have multiple convictions of drinking and driving, well, let's give them an opportunity to get it back.

I hope the minister and the government look at the possibility of at least having some kind of time period go by - and it's not in the legislation - you can't even entertain looking at getting your licence back if you haven't had a clean record for at least 10 years, even. After your last conviction where you were convicted, your licence has been taken for life and then you are driving, maybe even if it's just because you are trying to get to work, and you are arrested for driving without a licence - in my mind, that individual should not be allowed to request to have their situation looked at, especially if they've had multiple convictions of drinking and driving.

[Page 2749]

So I hope the minister and the government look at the possibility of putting in at least a minimum timeline. I'm a compassionate person. I understand people can change. We've heard a number of cases - I think all of us have received emails from individuals who have turned their lives around, and it's 10, 12, 13 years out. Under the current Bill No. 51, there is no such timeline, and that concerns me.

As I said initially, there are a lot of good things in this bill that I think we all support. We know that more time behind the wheel for a young driver is crucial. It's so important. I have a 13-year-old son, and I mentioned these rules to him and it didn't faze him. At 13, he doesn't understand what's going on with the changes. It's years away for him. By the time he comes around to get his beginner's, I would welcome the fact that, at the minimum, he'll need nine months to drive if he takes driver education, which definitely I will do.

My daughter went through that. She got her beginner's licence in August. With the current situation, you can write your licence after three months, if you take driver education, which is a great opportunity for them to be evaluated other than by a parent or family member. It's not their father telling them what to do and they won't listen; it's a third party who has been doing it.

I know the member for Pictou Centre indicated he was a driver education instructor for, I think, about 12 years. It's good to have someone else evaluate and critique a young driver. I think I've been very clear over the last while about my concerns as an MLA, as a father, as a former paramedic, on why I'm concerned with that aspect of this bill. I would hope that the government recognizes that, and that, as this bill goes through the process, through the creation of regulations, maybe that could be looked at, that issue I have around at least having some time pass - a minimum time of, I would think, at least 10 years of no convictions, that they would potentially be able to look at getting their licence back.

I know we've talked. I've talked with members across the way, the minister, and other members of the government, and I think they're concerned with how we move forward on this. I hope that they recognize where I'm coming from. I know we all bring a personal side to our job here, things we've seen and experienced. This is one that I'm well-versed in as a paramedic. I've gone to many, many motor vehicle accidents and traumatic events because someone decided to get drunk and drive their vehicle, Mr. Speaker. It's devastating for a family. It's devastating for the community. There's nothing worse than hearing of someone being killed because of a drunk driver.

I hope with this, the government recognizes that there are families that have been through such a traumatic event that I would think that the families deserve to be assured that in the future - and I understand through this legislation that if someone was killed through your actions, most likely you're not going to be a candidate to get your licence back, but those who haven't taken a life, those who haven't caused major injury, are just lucky, Mr. Speaker. They are fortunate someone wasn't on the road in front of them. I've seen that often, you know - someone just simply driving into the ditch and kind of making fun of it when the police are there arresting them - oh, I didn't hurt anybody, don't worry. I mean, they're just lucky. They're fortunate.

[Page 2750]

So I don't think we need to just look at if they've had injuries due to their conviction or there is a death, I think all should be looked upon as such a serious incident and that the government will look at maybe including some kind of timeline where an individual hasn't had any infractions, they weren't one of those people who decided to drive anyway after their licence was taken away.

That's where I think I am, Mr. Speaker, with this bill. I'm concerned with it and I hope that the government looks at if we need to make more changes that we were able to do that. I know there have been several pieces of legislation over the last week or so, that there is some good in the legislation, but there are some ramifications that I think could hurt people, could harm people, that isn't in the best interest of the public.

I hope the government recognizes that as an Opposition Party we're going to be monitoring that, and I hope if amendments need to happen to this piece of legislation that the government would entertain it and have a serious look at making sure we bring forward legislation that really is the best possible legislation.

With those few words, Mr. Speaker, I thank you.

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

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : I contemplated whether I would get up because I find this bill, when it was first introduced I thought there were a lot of good things in it and there still is, there are a lot of great elements to this bill and I want to congratulate the minister on bringing it forward. I'm sure he knows much more about the bill than I do and after I speak I'm sure, when he has an opportunity to speak, he'll be able to address some of my concerns.

I took a lot of time speaking to RCMP officers, teenagers, people who have been convicted, and this bill really brings a lot of concern. There are a lot of things in it that I am not feeling good about, and over this session we've brought a lot of bills forward and a lot of them are really good bills regardless of what side they're coming from. A lot of times we have to learn to agree to disagree, but some things to me just are a no-brainer and I wonder often how come we don't agree on them.

Like I said, there are a lot of great elements in this bill, of course the zero tolerance for young drivers is certainly the greatest initiative, I think. We always want to encourage new young drivers to engage more opportunity with supervisory mentors, really, and I know that my daughter, just two weeks ago she got her licence and she did take the driver education course and she spent a lot of time with this gentleman, Carter, whom I had a great conversation with before she set out on her journey with him through this driver education course.

[Page 2751]

It was totally worth the $800, but yet the other day when I finally got home from here I asked my daughter if she wanted to drive, we were en route to somewhere, and she didn't feel comfortable because it was somewhat still snowing and hailing, and I find having a supervisory driver it is extremely, extremely important to have them astute, to have them alert, to have them interested and, obviously, to have them sober.

When I think about, I know I have friends that they're like, I can't wait until my child gets their licence because you know we'll be able to go out and have a few drinks and they can come pick us up. I'm sorry, but I find that appalling. I find it appalling, and when I think about my daughter, who is a really good kid, who is mature - probably more mature than me at times - I would never dare think about having her pick me up at any location with me being intoxicated, but there certainly are those out there who would. That is simply wrong. That is wrong for you to put your child in that position and once again, I totally find it appalling and I find that I have a lot of fear of what might happen, what could happen or what would go wrong.

As we all know, fear is basically the opposite of faith and so I stand here and I don't have a lot of faith in this bill as it stands right now. I would love to have this bill have a fresh set of eyes to look at it and to revamp it to make it better. Once again there are some great things in it but we all know there are some changes that could be made to make it even better. Better for our children, better for you, better for everyone who would be on the road.

Last night or the night before, I think it was around midnight, I sent out an email to my colleagues with a video. If you all have an opportunity - I wish sometimes we could have more visuals in this Chamber because I think they are very effective - but if you do get an opportunity to go on YouTube all you have to type is TAC and I'm looking at the member for Hants East and I don't know if she's had the opportunity to see this video or not but it is so powerful.

It's based from a company in Australia and I want to let you know that after this commercial was launched, the road toll of accidents due to people who were intoxicated fell from 776 to 303. It really proves that visuals are effective, that's why they're using them in high schools with young drivers. I did make my daughter sit down and watch this video. It is disturbing but I wanted her to know what the reality is if she drinks and drives or if she gets in a car with someone that drinks and drives and also that I would never, ever put her in a position where I would be drinking and have her come pick me up and be responsible for getting me home.

[Page 2752]

We stand here and we know that history never passes, it just sort of forms. It's so important that we use the past and our own past experiences not as a hitching post but as a guiding post. I want us all to just step back and look at this bill. What is the moral weight of this bill? What are the calculated risks in pushing this bill through? At times the bill puzzles me and it keeps my mind twirling. How can we actually make it better?

I know that I can't escape my fears or feelings around this bill and that's why I continue to speak to my children about the consequences of drinking and driving. My biggest issue with this bill is around the fact that you can be caught drinking and driving four times within 10 years, four times within 10 years. I'll be honest, I have a dear friend who is a professional, who's a very close girlfriend of mine and she was caught drinking and driving and she was able to have the interlock installed in her vehicle. I think that's a wonderful tool. But I believe that it should be there immediately. I don't like the idea of four years, it should be two years.

Four times being able to be caught for drinking and driving within 10 years? To me that's just criminal. Why should someone get a chance? We're thinking about the victims here but I'm also thinking of the person who obviously has a drinking problem. I think allowing them, enabling them, to be caught four times in 10 years - you're setting them up for failure.

Four times in 10 years - I do believe you should get a second chance, not four, because it is possible that someone will not get a second chance with the actions of your first chance. Does that make sense to you? So why should someone have four chances? We're setting people up for failure and I just feel we can do better with this piece of legislation. I'm very concerned about it, I do look forward to other comments.

I know that I stand here and I certainly don't know possibly as much about the bill as the minister does and I just look forward to everyone else's comments and helping me decide what direction I'm going to go with this bill. Thank you.

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

MS. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm very honoured to stand here and speak on Bill No. 51 again, the amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act. I want to address some of the concerns of the members opposite, but first I want to talk a little bit about Friday afternoon. I think a lot of us were driving home around the same time and the first thing we heard was about a motor vehicle accident in the city. A 17-year-old driver was killed and they were going to notify his parents. I thought, I remember that call, they were going to notify the family and I live that week with them now, going and picking out a coffin, and probably today or tomorrow burying their son and how that's going to be for them.

[Page 2753]

I wondered about what caused the crash and I still haven't found out if it was inexperience or what it was - hydroplaning, whatever it could have been. But then I wonder, if he had more experience, if he had more time learning to drive, if it would have changed things. I don't know that but I think it really makes us wonder.

I've heard a lot of comments in the press and in the House considering the fact that we're putting impaired drivers back on the road. I have to talk about the concerns of the member opposite when she talks about the TAC video. It's a powerful video and I would recommend that everybody in the House watch that. It's an amazing video and Australia has done the best job of reducing impaired driving deaths in the world and we should use them as an example as often as possible, to bring about good legislation.

A few of the things addressed were the amount of convictions for impaired driving. This could be a mix, you could actually have most of this happen in one episode. You could have somebody stunting, driving impaired at one time and that would count as two, or you could have somebody maybe once having been caught for impaired driving, later on driving while suspended, then stunting, and that would count for another two. So it doesn't necessarily mean four times impaired driving. All that will be evaluated by the registrar when the time comes.

Also, the supervisory driver - the member opposite mentioned something about picking up parents who would be out partying, possibly, and could be impaired. I think what the member opposite forgot to mention was that that child is already not supervised going and picking up the parents, right? So you're missing the whole concept of that. They would have to be supervised to go pick up the parents and then be supervised by the parents. So you know it's sort of a roundabout way of doing it. It would be that the teenager with the full licence could certainly go and pick up an impaired parent, an intoxicated parent, but then when you start thinking about that, that too is morally reprehensible. I think that we, as parents, don't want our children at any point picking us up. We are their role models, so you don't want to be impaired at any time, or try not to be impaired at any time.

I'm going to talk a little bit about the faint hope clause. I think the best words came to me last week from a young man named Stephen, and I'm going to read a little bit of his email: He says:

I'm writing this letter with genuine concern for myself, my family and my child. I know that for some of you reading this it will be bittersweet as much as it will appeal to you; it will also disgust you as you have lost those nearest and dearest to you by actions that a younger version of myself has committed.

My younger self, a boy with little perspective into the future for the welfare of himself or any others, was convicted and prosecuted for four counts of drinking and driving. It's something I am far from proud of, something that I have tried to hide and soften to those nearest to me as I hate the thought of their disappointment in me. The recent potential news of the amendment to Bill No. 51 of the Motor Vehicle Act has me hopeful that I can potentially leave that one last part of my life behind that sincerely haunts me every day. It kills me that I can't jump in the car and take my child for Sunday drives or even the park for a swing.

[Page 2754]

On top of all the sentimental reasons, of which there are many, I do feel that it is prohibitive and continues to prohibit me from leading the life that I have worked so hard to deserve. I write to you now as a grown man of 34, not the young man that made these indiscretions - and granted, these are criminal indiscretions - I can do nothing but be thankful that I didn't kill someone or myself. I cannot direct my apologies or sincerity that my adult self now experiences. I have a child and God forbid that anything happen.

So these are the words from him, asking us to please reconsider. To look at this and try to make these changes, because it will affect people like him, who honestly, honestly have changed. This is the opportunity for them to start a new life over. This is a faint hope clause. This is not just a free-for-all clause. These will be under strict regulations.

So Stephen is exactly the type of young man who'll be able to apply to have his licence reinstated. He'll be able to apply to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. He will be assessed for his addiction. There will be a mandatory interlock, and this will guarantee that he will not be able to drive his car impaired, and the car - that will be the only time that his licence will be valid is if that interlock is in place on that vehicle. Now, if he does ever try to drive impaired, when the interlock information is downloaded on it, then he will lose that opportunity to prove himself. All of a sudden he's actually taking a chance at driving impaired and he will lose that faint hope that he has had.

This is not a walk in the park. The cost of interlock, I think we mentioned before, is about $1,700 a year. The cost of insurance is very high, so this is truly just a faint hope and it's only for those who are truly deserving. It is another chance for him to be a father, a provider, to be a contributing citizen of Nova Scotia. MADD Canada is endorsing this program, as am I, and the members of my caucus.

I'd also like to read something, if I can, that really disturbed me when I read it. It goes back to a time when I sat in this House and listened to these very words with a lot of hope. The first says I move that this bill now be read for a second time. The principle that's involved in this bill is related to the graduated licencing system. Mr. Speaker, can I read the whole paragraph or do I need to cut it short? Okay.

[Page 2755]

The system that we have in the Province of Nova Scotia - Nova Scotia has been a pioneer in this regard, within Canada and being a pioneer and being one of the first to bring forward such legislation, eventually it puts you in a situation where other jurisdictions catch up. Other jurisdictions come in with more up-to-date measures in a graduated licencing system. As we come forward with a speech of legislation, it is one that will, again, put us in the forefront, but currently, there is a need for us to move forward and enhance the measures of the graduated-licencing system.

The second clause of this talks about the graduated licensing system and it says that it's one that embodies the principle that experience behind the wheel is the best teacher for newly licensed drivers and beginning drivers. The principle is addressed in the bill by extending the period of time to which newly licensed drivers must spend behind the wheel, and it would go from six months to twelve months. Sounds very familiar.

The third bill in this clause actually talks about fully-licenced drivers accompanying beginning drivers, and it says those who are supervisory drivers that we require that these individuals be fully licensed for a year's experience so that under the measures of this legislation we would have to attain at least the age of 20 before you could find yourself in a supervisory position with respect to a beginner's licence, trying to move on to the next stage.

Then the next clause in this talks about another piece of legislation in here - or another paragraph in here - and it talks about the newly-licenced driver, where, for a period of five years in the province, cannot exceed a zero blood alcohol content - so that, again, for five years. (Applause)

The last one I'm going to read - it says we've also put in measures that would prohibit supervisory drivers from being under the influence of alcohol, and that would require them to have a blood alcohol content of less than 5 per cent. I know that some members feel that this should be zero, unfortunately the legal people suggest to us that we would expose ourselves to Charter challenges by zero in that circumstance because of existing laws that apply elsewhere, so we have put that into effect.

That was part of the debate that day. From one of the members opposite, from the member for Pictou West on that day, she said it doesn't mention any time for proclaiming the bill into law, it simply states the Governor in Council will declare it by proclamation, but there's no particular date so it doesn't come into force until Cabinet decides it might so wish. How prophetic those last words. That day was 2007. Almost a mirror of what we're seeing here. That legislation, I was sitting up in that gallery that day as the newly elected or newly minted president of MADD Canada and I had so much pride in my province in what they were doing because those measures would've been leading in the country and I had an expectation that this bill would be enacted - it had passed with absolutely no opposition in the House.

[Page 2756]

But, Mr. Speaker, nothing happened. And longer, nothing happened, and we waited. But I'm wrong, something did happen. Young people kept dying needlessly on our highways. In the last six years we've lost 61 young adults between the ages of 16 and 19. Statistically, we know that lengthening the learner's stage to 12 months will reduce death and injury by 20 per cent, and we know that extending the zero blood alcohol content requirement to five years will also reduce death and injury by between 15 and 20 per cent.

With those numbers, we know that of those 61 young people who were killed, 20 of them might be alive today. The legislation did not leave the Cabinet Table because it was flawed legislation, because the supervisory piece is not enforceable at this time. I think about those families and those teens, obviously I've lived it. I would hope that the member opposite whose daughter just got her licence, that she never has to live it. But we need to do better; we can do better.

In 2007 the legislation was held up because segments of it were not enforceable and the very thing that the Opposition is discussing in this House, although they are good measures, if they are not enforceable we're putting another piece of legislation on the Cabinet Table that cannot be enforced - and we need to enforce this now. (Applause)

I'm not blaming anyone. This isn't about blame, it's about regret. Regret for those 20-plus families that could have had their young people with them this Christmas instead of having an empty spot at their kitchen table.

We can't look back and say what if. Gosh, if I did that I would drive myself crazy. What if I had insisted my son be home that night, what if, what if. It's like the old saying about a planted tree - the best time to have done it is thirty years ago; the second best time is right now.

Well this House gets to have a second chance, and I'd like to encourage all members of this esteemed House this time to make this right. Let's pass Bill No. 51 immediately, as it is, with everything in the bill being totally enforceable. When we can put in the other piece, we can make amendments to this bill again and that too will save more lives; I know it will. But for right now, we need to pass what we can. Let's not wait any longer, seven years has been long enough. Please, no political posturing, we don't need bells, we don't need a recorded vote. Why not just support this bill 100 per cent? Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the member for Hants East for her words. I remember when she first stood up to do her Address in Reply a year ago, how moved I was by her life experiences which were, of course, unknown to me before I heard her speech, so I thank her for her advocacy on this bill and on many other aspects of this, and I do admire her for having the courage to fix what is wrong.

[Page 2757]

I have been very fortunate that my life hasn't been particularly touched by these types of motor vehicle accidents, drinking or otherwise, but I will say that it was a few months ago when I was out and I came across a MADD booth somewhere and I talked to the representatives there, and I tried on the goggles that they had here. There are goggles there that can simulate different blood alcohol levels, and that was very eye-opening for me. I put these goggles on and I couldn't even get my credit card out of my wallet. It really opened my eyes and that's something I wish those goggles were more readily accessible. Something that I've talked about in caucus and elsewhere was too bad you couldn't have those goggles right at the checkout at a liquor outlet so people can experience that from sober to a high blood alcohol level, just the impact it does have on you - it's pretty striking.

I do respect what's in this bill and the member got my attention when she was talking about the history of enforceability of clauses and I was listening closely to that and I'm sure the minister will be able to shed some more light on that as well. Maybe we'll get there with the supervisory driver bit. I'm pretty disappointed that we're not there now, that we can't get there right now, and maybe in the fullness of time we will get there and protect more people, more people on the roads, more people in the cars and those young people, those very young people who require a supervisory driver. It is morally reprehensible for people to ask a young person, in this case, to drive them somewhere, I agree that is, but there are many people out there who act in morally reprehensible ways. That's why we have this legislation.

Maybe we'll get there, maybe we'll get there someday, and I'm optimistic that we will get there someday around the supervisory driver. I hope we can get there. I know the minister probably talked a little bit more about that.

I do want to talk, just briefly, about the interlock device. From what I've researched and heard from stories from people, including my colleague, the member for Pictou West, the interlock device is a very useful device. It's a very powerful device when it is used. It has a lot of power. I've mentioned earlier that the minister had talked on second reading about this bill trying to address some of those that are monsters in society - and "monsters" was his word, and I certainly agree with that choice of word, because there are monsters among us that break laws continually, let it be drinking and driving or assault or whatever, there are monsters amongst us and the laws should protect the rest of us from those monsters. I know this bill will do that in some instances, in many instances where it's to do with drinking and driving and young people.

Whilst we know there monsters among us, we do agree and accept that there are people who make mistakes, who can be rehabilitated and they deserve a chance. So in talking to people who have four convictions, which I had to get a bit of clarity on, I thought it was four convictions for alcohol-related driving instances but now I understand it might be - that it is a little bit broader. I will take a little bit more comfort in that because that's one of the scenarios I have been thinking of is one person in one shot could accumulate quite a few of these things and I'm glad that we are taking steps to consider that.

[Page 2758]

When you consider the statistics that for every time a person gets caught driving drunk they've likely driven - I think it's 20 times. So if it is four convictions for drunk driving, that's a person who has done a lot of drunk driving, who has put a lot of people at risk.

I did some reading about people who lose their licence forever with no chance of reinstatement, they drive 75 per cent of the time, I think is the statistic, and that was quite an alarming number to me. If 75 per cent of them are still driving after losing their licence forever with no chance of reinstatement, I wonder what percentage of them are driving after just one suspension? I wonder if that's maybe more than 75 per cent of them that are still out there on the roads taking the chance after just one time?

What do we do to protect society from those people that are going to drink and drive? I think the interlocks are a very effective tool for that and my colleague, the member for Pictou West shared the story about her friend who was out drinking and came the next day to get her car and still the car wouldn't turn over because she still had a blood alcohol content. That gives me a great deal of reassurance.

I just hope that when this bill goes forward that we give the Registrar a little more guidance over when to use the interlock. I don't know if that can be done in regulations or what but in researching for the discussion on this bill, I went to the Act and I found Section 280A, which is the ignition interlock program. This section says, "The Registrar may by written notice, from time to time, require the holder of a driver's license to participate in an ignition interlock program established pursuant to the regulations and may suspend the driver's license of any person who fails to participate in such program."

That section says that the Registrar could send any one of us to an interlock program. There is a lot of flexibility in there, "The Registrar may by written notice, from time to time, require the holder of a driver's license to participate in an ignition interlock program . . ." I'm hopeful that when the regulations that accompany this amendment are drafted, I believe the minister will have some power to influence and give the Registrar some guidance over that. Perhaps that could be right in the regulations.

In this instance, it's not that he may require, it's that he's going to require, he has to require. I think that's maybe something that the minister can consider, expanding the use of the interlock program, triggering the interlock program quicker. I think that step alone would keep our roads safer.

In closing, I would just say that there are some good things in this bill. There are other things that we wish were in the bill as well. Some of them, we're hearing that maybe the government wishes they were in there, too, and with the fullness of time they'll be able to put them in with some kind of legal advice and that is comforting to me. Maybe we can hear that there's a movement to expand the use of the interlock program, different decision points.

[Page 2759]

Those are my final words on this bill, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate your time.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River.

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise to my feet today to talk about Bill No. 51, the Motor Vehicle Act. It has been very interesting hearing what all of the different colleagues around the House have been saying about this particular bill.

As I mentioned to my own colleagues in the NDP caucus, I have mixed feelings about the bill. For one thing, taking the extra time for new drivers to practice before they actually get their licence is a very good thing, a very good thing. The idea of having somebody beside them who is supposed to be keeping a watch on their driving who potentially is also intoxicated is a concern. I don't see how they can actually have a clear head, advising a young driver - as many of the colleagues here have mentioned - I don't see how they can have a good rein on what's going on if they are intoxicated themselves. I think that is a problem. I think they should be sober while the person is still a new driver, and until they get their final driver's licence that says that they are a fully accomplished and experienced driver, I don't think they should be driving with someone else who is intoxicated.

I'm just going to give a few facts and figures about alcohol consumption in Nova Scotia, because this is something that also concerns me. To provide some context for this issue: Nova Scotian children are beginning to drink alcohol at an average age of 13 to 14; while 27 per cent of students in Grades 7 to 12 binge drink each year, - and this is from the Nova Scotia Student Drug Use Survey of 2012 - these figures have direct consequences as approximately 30.5 per cent of Nova Scotian students between Grades 7 and 12 will report at least one alcohol-related problem every year. From children to adults, drinking too much alcohol too often is a common problem.

In Nova Scotia, we're consuming a staggering 7.57 litres of alcohol annually, which is actually far more than the global average of 6.2 litres per year. And that is according to the World Health Organization from 2014 - so recent figures. Among the 19- to 24-year-old age demographic, Nova Scotia's rate of alcohol consumption averages 5.5 standard drinks per occasion, and while those above the age of 24 consume an average of 3.2 standard drinks per occasion, to put Nova Scotia's state of alcohol consumption into a national perspective, our rate of heavy drinking comes in at 22.3 per cent, which surpasses the national average of an already high 17.4 per cent, and that's from Statistics Canada, 2012.

[Page 2760]

So it's evident, Mr. Speaker, that we need to implement measures immediately that will effectively reduce population-level alcohol consumption. Driving while under the influence is, unfortunately, still a problem for us here in Nova Scotia and across Canada. So, while it's clear already that we're drinking alcohol at rates that far exceed the official safer-drinking guidelines, a recent 2014 study concluded that Canadians are actually under-reporting their actual levels of alcohol consumption by as much as 75 per cent, so the true numbers may even be more alarming.

Our high rate of hazardous drinking comes at a cost. Over 240,000 people reported harm from another's drinking and alcohol use in 2007. Alcohol burdens our health care system with approximately 3,000 hospital visits and over 420,000 hospital days each year, being attributable to the drug. As a group 1 carcinogen, alcohol negatively affects the consumer as it is a known contributing factor to over 200 different medical and injury conditions. Again, this is from the World Health Organization in 2014, and sadly, approximately 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9 per cent of global mortality, were attributed to alcohol use in 2012 alone.

So as you can see, Mr. Speaker, alcohol costs our society dearly. Financially speaking, it inflates health care costs by increasing the number of acute care days within hospitals. It strains ambulatory resources and drains precious physicians' time.

Alcohol use also incurs significant judiciary costs due to its burden on police and prison resources. At the local level, results from cost benefit analysis found that while provincial retail from alcohol sales reached $224 million, the health care, judicial, and lost productivity costs associated with alcohol in our province reached $242.9 million. That was from Dr. Strang, back in 2011, as cited in the Public Health Services and Capital District Health Authority.

Evidently, we are losing the battle against corporate mandates. Based on the evidence, we need to shift our culture of alcohol in Nova Scotia toward being one of lower consumption. In light of the newly-proposed increase in Nova Scotia liquor store agency stores, there are several critical regulatory clauses that need to be incorporated into our Liquor Control Act to ensure that certain points are addressed before formalizing new NSLC store contracts.

As I've mentioned with flavoured tobacco products, in our society today we are faced with increasingly-pervasive pressures from corporations who seek to mould our environments to suit their corporate needs rather than the health promotion and protective needs of our populations. As this occurs, governments do succumb to these pressures in order to keep their economic relations with these corporations healthy and thereby receive money from these corporations in taxes. This undermines the need for policies with a public health focus, including evidence-based alcohol public health policies.

[Page 2761]

Saying all that, my point is that I think this is a good step forward, but I think we really need to look at the underlying problem of alcohol in our society. Too many people are addicted to alcohol, and alcohol is a drug. It's a depressant. There are many depressions and anxieties that lead to suicides amongst our young people, amongst middle-aged people, amongst seniors. I've talked to doctors who say that one of the biggest problems for our seniors is depression. They're lonely. Many of them don't have very many friends left. They've watched their families and friends die, and they have nothing much left but sometimes the television or the radio, and they tend to get some alcohol to keep their moods, they think, under control. They use it as a self-medicating device.

The problem with alcohol is that at the beginning you may think it's your friend, but it will turn on you. You never know when that is going to happen, but it will eventually happen if you're actually addicted to alcohol. For those people who are alcoholics, real alcoholics, sometimes they don't know the difference between taking the car keys and getting in the car and using it. I've had to throw car keys away before from some people, preventing them from driving, and they were furious, but too bad. I don't want them to go out there and kill themselves, or kill somebody else.

There are also many parents who are in denial about the problems of their children who they feel might have mental health issues - alcoholism is a mental health issue, of course, but they might think the child is having anger issues because a parent has died or has left or whatever, when in fact the child is an alcoholic, and the parent just can't face that yet.

I think we need to spend more time and more money on educating the public about what alcoholism is. I've heard people here talking about these "monsters" that will get in the car and drink and drive several times in a row. I doubt very much that these people do it because they want to and because they're monsters and they just don't care. I would say these people who do this are most likely alcoholics. They're sick. They have a disease, and they need help.

At the beginning, when I first heard about the faint hope clause, I thought, why should we give the keys of a car back again to somebody who has over, and over, and over, drank and misused their freedom of right to be able to get into a car and drive? But to be honest, Mr. Speaker, these people are sick and it is true that some of them can be rehabilitated - not all of them, but some for them can.

For myself I know that I did used to drink, 18 years, 19 years ago almost, and I was rehabilitated and I drive a car - I never did have a car taken away from me, Mr. Speaker, but the thing is that I have friends, many friends who are sober, who are sober alcoholics and I've talked to them in the last few days and weeks about this and they've said that yes you know there are people who were really bad, who were really down and out, who were really sick and in need of help who have proven to themselves and to others that they can stay sober, and they should get another chance. So in that sense, I think that this is a good thing.

[Page 2762]

Again, I like the idea of the interlock on the car so that they have to blow into it to prove that they are sober and that they have not been drinking. I have had friends who have had to do that before and it's a good thing. I have no pity for them, it's like one of our earlier ministers, our Minister of Justice used to say you do the crime, you do the time, and you have to take responsibility for your own actions. Part of the problem with addictions of any sort, including alcohol, is you're in denial - as we used to say, you're Cleopatra, Queen of Denial, until you can actually reach the point where you can take responsibility for your own actions and say yes, it is my own fault - it's not my parents' fault, it's not my girlfriend's or boyfriend's fault because they broke up with me, it's not because I'm sad because of this thing, it's not because I'm happy because of another thing, I drink because I'm an alcoholic, and I need to get help.

Until people reach that point, which some people would call their "bottom," and the bottom is different for different people - sometimes it would take being in a car, having a car accident, and killing someone; sometimes it would take being in a car, having an accident, and really hurting themselves; and sometimes it's a matter of just physically or emotionally hitting a bottom where they feel I cannot do this, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired and I cannot go on anymore, I need help.

Whatever it takes for them to reach that point, that person who reaches that point and actually gets the help that they need has an opportunity to recover, but one thing that I want to stress, Mr. Speaker, and to anybody who might be listening, anybody who might have a problem themselves, is even if you quit whatever it is that you're addicted to, the pilot light is always on, it never goes away, you can never say, oh, I was an alcoholic but I'm not anymore. No, I'm sorry, you're always going to be alcoholic - you may have it under control by not using it anymore, by not feeding that addiction, but until you actually quit for good, one day at a time because that's all you can really do is one day at a time, and you cannot say what I'm going to be doing in 20 years' time but you can say just for today I will not take a drink and for what we can do in 24 hours is amazing because it can change lives and it can save lives, including your own.

With that I will take my place, Mr. Speaker.

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

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that and first of all I'd like to thank all members of the House who offered comment on Bill No. 51. I appreciate the perspectives coming from all sides of the House, lots of different experiences and understandings of what this legislation means and, of course, the perils and the impacts of driving and the importance of road safety in this province.

[Page 2763]

I just want to first and foremost talk about the member for Hants East. We've had a tremendous relationship over the last year and it has been a tremendous journey to get here today. She's adamant that we will do more, and I have given her total confidence that I will do more and I'll work with her to improve road safety by way of legislation, by way of education, and all the tools we have to get people home safely at night.

Mr. Speaker, that member has been through a tremendous painful experience in her life losing her son Bruce and the fact that she can be here today and usher in this legislation and be part of changing Nova Scotia certainly speaks well to not only her strength and perseverance but to our democracy, so it's fantastic to have her here. (Applause)

I'll just quickly recap and then talk about some of the comments before we close debate; I know there are millions watching at home, Mr. Speaker, so I want to make sure that they are fully aware. Basically there are really four anchors of this legislation, it's those things that we've been debating for the last number of weeks really.

First is extending the learner beginner permit from six months to 12 months. As the member for Pictou Centre so eloquently said based on his experience as a driver education teacher, it's about being in the vehicle. It's about seeing the winter and it's about seeing bad decisions by other drivers, it's about distracted driving - it's all those pieces. At this point currently at six months it's the lowest beginner phase in Canada, the shortest time frame, so we're making meaningful changes in that area.

The second piece is the zero blood alcohol content. Not a whole lot of explanation on that - we know the importance of that, and I think all members were very unified on that point.

The supervisory driver piece where we extended it from the current three years to five years, so you need two full years in the vehicle yourself before you can offer that supervisory support and guidance for new drivers. That's an important piece. Obviously the conversation has been around the supervisory angle, but not so much on the part of extending more so about their sobriety.

Finally, the faint hope clause, Mr. Speaker. I know this was one that the member for Hants East and I talked about at great length because of some of the perceptions that are out in the public about the people who get behind the wheel who make those decisions. We wanted to be sure that in our communications not only in the Legislature but to Nova Scotians, that is not what this is about. It was about the fact that people who lost their licence forever - to the tune of 75 per cent drive anyway. That means uninsured, unregistered drivers without licences are on the same roads we are, so you talk about the impact of health and road safety and about the financial aspect of accidents and that's something that we want to pull into Bill No. 51.

[Page 2764]

Also, of course, Mr. Speaker, we've heard some very powerful stories coming from Law Amendments Committee. I know that Scott Burchill was one who had a tremendous impact on the member and I for the last number of months sharing his story about he's made huge mistakes, and the member's talked about the four convictions. It was one DUI, driving suspended, and some other ones that are convictions nonetheless. Those people certainly learn the lesson and we're going to make a pretty tough path for them to get back in the vehicle, no doubt. They'll have the interlock for the rest of their lives, there will be very tough restrictions to maintain that licence, which is a privilege but at the end of the day they'll have the opportunity. What we want to stress on that piece is, no one who isn't fully rehabilitated and deserves that opportunity will get that chance to drive. That's something that will be touched on in regulations which I will speak to as we get towards the end.

So four major pieces and just to go through some of the comments tonight. First of all to the member for Pictou East - with respect to the supervisory driver piece, we agree. There is no disagreement here. I think that again you talk about democracy and how we can get together and actually agree on some things - this is something that we fully understand. The member for Hants East was the first one to bring that to our attention. Although it existed in the 2007 legislation that was never enacted, it was something that made sense but it does become a Charter issue.

I know that the Official Opposition talked about the blood alcohol content but they also talked about, you know, you have to be awake. That logically makes sense but how do you enforce that? If a police officer is parked at a station looking for drivers making all kinds of infractions and violations, how do they know if the supervisory driver was asleep? That's a tougher one to prove than the blood alcohol content by way of the breathalyzer.

They're the questions that have to be ironed out, but they're not for the Nova Scotia Legislature, Mr. Speaker; they're for the Canadian court system. We have a case ongoing in B.C. now that will give us a lot of those answers, so I can assure all members of the House that when that's decided upon, we'll bring it here, we'll have the discussion. We do have the mechanism whereby we're going to use all sides of the House to talk about some of the regulations with respect to faint hope so we'll know those pieces and it will be helpful before the supervisory portion of it as well.

The member also talked about a driver who was in a school zone with his daughter and said - she was doing 90 and he said, give us the ticket and we'll get out of here. To me, there's not a significant distinction between that decision and someone who drives drunk. We can't legislate stupidity, Mr. Speaker. People make bad decisions. I know the member opposite for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River talked about how they're not monsters. I understand that perspective, for sure, but I think that anyone that gets in a car drunk, anyone that gets in a car distracted, anyone that makes a decision to let their daughter drive 90 in a school zone shouldn't have their licence anyway. (Applause)

[Page 2765]

I truly think that's an important piece of this - and this goes back to the supervisory driver, back to the faint hope clause - we need good, reasonable people making reasonable decisions, and sometimes that doesn't happen. The member said if we went to Nova Scotians and asked them, would they support the supervisory piece? Obviously, the answer would be yes, but my reply to that would be, given the context of the legislation, this has been on the books for seven years. So if we asked the same people, what do you think about it not being enacted since 2007, I think they would have the same concerns, that it's not being enacted today. Certainly they would ask why. Again, as the member said, we're not going to play the blame game here. There's lots of time for that in the Legislature, but that's not where we're going.

The reality is that a lot of these changes weren't ushered in because there were challenges. The supervisory piece is part of that, where we don't know if we can enact it and therefore enforce it, and that's the problem. The only other thing I would say to the member for Pictou East is that he asked, will there be more and will we revisit this? I can tell him that the answer is yes. The member for Hants East will continue on her quest to strengthen these, and we'll bring everything back to the House. All the members of the House will know where we're going with all this legislation.

The member for Queens-Shelburne talked a lot about who's in control and what the decisions are, it's incumbent upon him to bring this to the floor of the Legislature and the right to stand here and tell us we have to have restrictions on the supervisory driver. With all due respect, and not getting political, to stand here in this place as TIR Critic and say those things - it's important that he has that right, Mr. Speaker, but in all honesty, he had that right and that opportunity in Cabinet. I'd be shocked if Bill Estabrooks and Moe Smith after him never talked about this legislation - the fact that it sat idle and wasn't brought in - just like the cellphone fines and just like the demerit points on cellphones.

These things are opportunities that we have, and this isn't the time for blame, but the reality is that there's a fair bit of criticism over this piece in particular on supervisory drivers, but it sat idle until today. We're telling the Legislature, we're telling Nova Scotians, that this will be dealt with when it can be dealt with. We're not disagreeing with that, so that's an important piece to remember.

The member for Sackville-Cobequid pulled me aside a number of times to talk about the faint hope clause, and he talked about the timeline. I appreciate that perspective, as do the member for Hants East and the entire road safety committee that crafted this legislation. This is not going to be easy for anybody - for Scott Burchill, who has been a tremendous advocate for having this opportunity, or others. This is going to be a very difficult process. You're going to have to interlock for life medical records, criminal records, drug addictions reports - all of those things. It will come to the registrar, and the registrar is an important figure, an important position in our democracy, in our system, and in our government. That person will have the final say.

[Page 2766]

Having said that, obviously the regulations become very important. What we've offered to all sides of the House is a representative from each caucus, along with the independent member, to sit with Paul Arsenault, the registrar, to talk about all of these issues. If they want the opportunity to speak and have input, they certainly will have that.

So I'll leave it to the Parties and the House Leaders to select their candidate, but at the end of the day we want everyone in this House to craft these. This is an important piece, a contentious piece we're communicating to Nova Scotians, so it's important to have that input.

At the end of the day, this is critical legislation. I think that it's one we can all agree on and we can work together. The member for Hants East is going to be a champion for this, and we'll continue to support her. Let's take the politics out of this and let's support this bill. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 51. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill do pass. Ordered that the title be as read by the Clerk. Ordered that the bill be engrossed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 60.

Bill No. 60 - Smoke-free Places Act and Tobacco Access Act.

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

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 60 be now read for a third time and do pass.

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

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and say a few words on Bill No. 60. Bill No. 60 has had a lot of attention in the House. There has been a lot said about Bill No. 60. We have certainly used every tool at our disposal to talk about Bill No. 60, to bring attention to Bill No. 60, to try to get the government's attention on some of the things we're concerned with on Bill No. 60.

Here we sit today, and at some point over the next couple of days - we have to be realistic - we know this bill will pass with the majority government. I just want to leave a few thoughts in the mind of the government and of the Health and Wellness Minister as he moves forward with this bill.

[Page 2767]

In talking to business owners there is still a lot of confusion about what Bill No. 60 means. What does Bill No. 60 do? What are the ramifications on their business of Bill No. 60? I share some of those concerns because I don't really know, I can't stand here today and tell them that after the passage of Bill No. 60, this is how your marketing efforts, as an example, will be impacted. I can't say this is how you will be allowed to display or not display your product; this is how you will be able to interact with your customers.

These are things that I'm a little confused about and I'm sure Nova Scotians will be confused about as well so I hope that between now and May 31st, and sooner rather than later, that the department and this government will make every effort to explain to those very stakeholders who this bill impacts, what the impact on them is. That's a process that I hope will start very soon and I see the Health and Wellness Minister nodding there, so I know that will be meaningful to the people in the community.

Now at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, after everything we have been through on this bill, I hope it is clear to the government that e-juice is not tobacco. There's a very real difference between e-juice and vaping and tobacco. They are not the same and I hope that the members of the government understand they are not the same.

The sale of the equipment for vaping is a process. People need to understand the product they're buying. They need to know they are getting the correct product for their needs, because there is a variety of products in this space and there is going to have to be some interaction between the sales staff and the customer. Then once it is determined which product they need, they have to be educated on the proper usage of that product, because it is a product that needs to be used properly.

When you look at some of the demographics of the people who are using the product, some of them are seniors. A lot of seniors are moving to this product as well. So they need some help; they need some guidance on how to use this product. I hope the minister and his departments are conscious of that as they do their consultations.

So given the hour we are at in the process here, Mr. Speaker - I would hope that we can have a fresh start at this over the next couple of days, but for the moment I would move to adjourn debate on Bill No. 60 for today.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is to adjourn debate on Bill No. 60. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 2768]

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. Tomorrow being Opposition Day, the House will sit tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight - no, I'm just joking. It will sit from 1:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and then late debate will follow after that, but since it's the Official Opposition's Opposition Day, I would ask that their House Leader now give us the business for tomorrow.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : After the daily routine and Question Period, we'll be calling Bill Nos. 3, 47, and 68. Those are the three bills that we'll be calling, so we look forward to the debate tomorrow.

I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House do now rise to meet tomorrow, November 19th, between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[The House rose at 5:31 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 2769]

RESOLUTION NO. 1003

By: Hon. Pat Dunn « » (Pictou Centre)

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

Whereas paramedics routinely respond to a variety of calls making them quiet, unassuming heroes who help Nova Scotians when they need it; and

Whereas Lieutenant-Governor J.J. Grant presented paramedic Bill Muirhead of Stellarton with the Emergency Health Services Exemplary Award at a recent ceremony in Halifax; and

Whereas in order to qualify for the medal, Bill was required to serve 20 years as a paramedic including a decade in emergency services medical position involving potential danger;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud the dedicated service Bill Muirhead has given our province and thank him for being a valued member of Nova Scotia's EHS System.

RESOLUTION NO. 1004

By: Hon. Lena Diab « » (Justice)

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

Whereas the Halifax Dunbrack Premiere Women's Soccer team participated August 15 to 19, 2014, in the 2014 Provincial Championships; and

Whereas the hard work and dedication of Janice Throwbridge, team manager; Derek Gaudet, coach; and the entire team culminated in taking first place in the competition; and

Whereas the team went on to represent Nova Scotia in October at the Premiere National Soccer Competition in Vaughan, Ontario and claimed 5th place overall across Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Janice Throwbridge, Derek Gaudet and the Halifax Dunbrack Premiere Women's Soccer team as 2014 Nova Scotia Provincial Champions and on their outstanding ranking at the Premiere National Soccer Competition.

[Page 2770]

RESOLUTION NO. 1005

By: Ms. Pam Eyking « » (Victoria-The Lakes)

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

Whereas Mary Denny of Eskasoni has faced and embraced life's challenges; and

Whereas Ms. Denny has overcome her addictions to drugs and alcohol and has found a new focus in life which has led to a healthier lifestyle, weight loss, and a new dream to become a teacher; and

Whereas Ms. Denny is an inspiration for those who struggle with addiction or other issues;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the life changes that Ms. Denny has made and wish her success in her future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1006

By: Ms. Patricia Arab « » (Fairview-Clayton Park)

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

Whereas Café Karachi, located at 16 Titus Street, is a local café offering homestyle Pakistani and Northern Indian cuisine; and

Whereas Café Karachi is a new business in our community; and

Whereas this independent restaurant serves delicious dishes such as butter chicken, onion bhaji and muttar paneer - this restaurant is welcoming and inclusive to our diverse community in Fairview-Clayton Park;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Café Karachi, and wish it continued success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 1007

[Page 2771]

By: Ms. Patricia Arab « » (Fairview-Clayton Park)

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

Whereas Issa's Saj House, located at 19 Alma Crescent, is a local restaurant offering Lebanese cuisine; and

Whereas Issa's Saj House is a diverse business in our community; and

Whereas this independent restaurant specializing in delicious dishes such as savoury flatbreads known as manoush, fatayers, shawarmas, salads, and baklawa - this restaurant is welcoming and inclusive to our diverse community in Fairview-Clayton Park;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Issa's Saj House, and wish it continued success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 1008

By: Ms. Patricia Arab « » (Fairview-Clayton Park)

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

Whereas the YMCA hosted Peace Day on November 15, 2014, at Titus Park in Fairview; and

Whereas Peace Day was a huge success where we all took time to reflect on what peace means to Canada, to the world, and to us as individuals; and

Whereas the art projects, outdoor activities, and giant-sized white peace dove, made the event a time to remember;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate the YMCA for their event, and wish them continued success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 1009

By: Hon. Leo Glavine « » (Health and Wellness)

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

Whereas the late Boyd Laverne Lutz of Berwick, Nova Scotia, was inducted posthumously into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame as an athlete and a builder at the 16th annual celebration of the Hall of Fame on June 14, 2014; and

[Page 2772]

Whereas Boyd earned this honour for his lifelong dedication to sport as a coach, a softball player, and a hockey player, where he played for both on championship teams for both sports and was even invited to the Montreal Junior Canadiens' training camp; and

Whereas Boyd continued to be involved with sports through founding and owning such organizations as the Valley Summer Hockey School, the Valley Select Senior Hockey Club, and the Halifax Windjammers, and through working as a scout for the New York Mets;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the late Boyd Laverne Lutz and his family on his impressive lifelong dedication to sport, earning him his induction into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

RESOLUTION NO. 1010

By: Hon. Leo Glavine « » (Health and Wellness)

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

Whereas George Moody of Grafton, Nova Scotia, was inducted into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame in the builder category at the 16th annual celebration of the Hall of Fame on June 14, 2014; and

Whereas George Moody participated in and coached various teams and sports, also taking a role as president of the Valley Fastball League and eventually becoming co-owner and developer of the Berwick Heights golf course; and

Whereas George Moody continued his role supporting athletics in Berwick by chairing the fundraising committee for a new sports and recreation facility, in which role he was able to secure sizeable donations from Kings Mutual Insurance and the provincial and federal governments;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate George Moody on his notable contribution to the development of sports and recreation in the Berwick area, earning him his induction into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

RESOLUTION NO. 1011

[Page 2773]

By: Hon. Leo Glavine « » (Health and Wellness)

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

Whereas 16-year-old Jennifer Smith of Berwick, Nova Scotia, received special recognition at the 16th annual celebration of the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame on June 14, 2014; and

Whereas Jennifer was recognized for her role in Team Fay, who won the provincial championship at the U-21 level in 2013 and bronze medals at the Canadian Juniors in 2014 under Skip Mary Fay, on which she played Mate and third stone; and

Whereas Team Fay have earned the right to represent the Province of Nova Scotia at the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George, British Columbia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jennifer Smith on her successful curling career at such a young age, earning her special recognition at the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

RESOLUTION NO. 1012

By: Hon. Leo Glavine « » (Health and Wellness)

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

Whereas Joey Whynacht of Berwick, Nova Scotia, received special recognition at the 16th annual celebration of the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame on June 14, 2014; and

Whereas Joey received this recognition for his ongoing support of sport in Berwick and is a constant fixture at the arena and at the ball field, helping out the Central Kings Hockey team and various ball teams over the years; and

Whereas Joey always has a friendly disposition and loves to chat with the kids in the community, and his demeanor and love of life is an inspiration to us all;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Joey Whynacht on his lifelong support to multiple sport teams in Berwick, earning him his induction into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

RESOLUTION NO. 1013

[Page 2774]

By: Hon. Leo Glavine « » (Health and Wellness)

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

Whereas Mike Trinacty, originally of Windsor, Nova Scotia, was inducted into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame as a builder at the 16th annual celebration of the Hall of Fame on June 14, 2014; and

Whereas Mike has been involved in sport from a young age, following in his father's footsteps as an umpire, a referee, and a coach, as well as being chosen Male Athlete of the Year twice in high school;

Whereas Mike accomplished a great deal during his time as recreation director, including establishing multiple leagues, teams, and tournaments of hockey, ball, and soccer; the Gala Day's Strongman competition; and the Valley Olympic Torch Run in 1987, and played integral roles in the building of the Brown Street ball field and the Kings Mutual Century Centre;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mike Trinacty on his enormous contributions to sport and recreation in Berwick, the Annapolis Valley, and Nova Scotia, earning him his induction into the Berwick Sports Hall of Fame.

RESOLUTION NO. 1014

By: Hon. Keith Colwell « » (Agriculture)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association, the governing body that regulates and governs the practice of veterinary medicine, recently held its annual award ceremony to recognize excellence, commitment and outstanding contributions to veterinary medicine and practices; and

Whereas Hope Swinamer is the founder of the Hope for Wildlife Society, the first of its kind in Nova Scotia, which is an animal rehabilitation and education center on the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas Ms. Swinamer received the award of merit for 2014 at the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association awards ceremony recently held at Oak Island.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Hope Swinamer for this achievement, for her contributions to the well-being of animals, and enhancing public awareness and image of the veterinary profession.

[Page 2775]

RESOLUTION NO. 1015

By: Hon. Keith Colwell « » (Agriculture)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association, the governing body that regulates and governs the practice of veterinary medicine, recently held its annual award ceremony to recognize excellence, commitment and outstanding contributions to veterinary medicine and practices; and

Whereas Dr. Trevor Lawson is a graduate of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, the University of Manitoba, and the Atlantic Veterinary College, and focuses his practice on large animals, in particular horses and cattle; and

Whereas Dr. Lawson was named the Outstanding Young Veterinarian for 2014 at the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association awards ceremony recently held at Oak Island.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Dr. Lawson on this achievement as a co-owner of Fundy Veterinarians, for his contributions to the well-being of animals, and enhancing the public awareness and image of the veterinary profession.

RESOLUTION NO. 1016

By: Mr. Keith Irving « » (Kings South)

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

Whereas Mr. Scott Gertridge of West Brooklyn, Kings County, has loyally served the citizens of Nova Scotia in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for 30 years; and

Whereas through his dedicated years of service Mr. Gertridge has shared his talents, expertise, and compassion with countless citizens of our province; and

Whereas Mr. Gertridge has been awarded a Provincial Long-Service Award in gratitude for three decades of service;

[Page 2776]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank and congratulate Mr. Gertridge on his years of dedicated service to the citizens of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1017

By: Mr. Keith Irving « » (Kings South)

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

Whereas Ms. Carey Hewitt of Coldbrook, Kings County, has loyally served the citizens of Nova Scotia in the Department of Community Services for 25 years; and

Whereas through her dedicated years of service Ms. Hewitt has shared her talents, expertise, and compassion with countless citizens of our province; and

Whereas Ms. Hewitt has been awarded a provincial Long Service Award in gratitude for a quarter-century of service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank and congratulate Ms. Hewitt on her years of dedicated service to the citizens of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1018

By: Mr. Keith Irving « » (Kings South)

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

Whereas Mr. Michael MacLean of Coldbrook, Kings County, has loyally served the citizens of Nova Scotia in the Department of Justice for 25 years; and

Whereas through his dedicated years of service Mr. MacLean has shared his talents, expertise, and compassion with countless citizens of our province; and

Whereas Mr. MacLean has been awarded a provincial Long Service Award in gratitude for a quarter-century of service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank and congratulate Mr. MacLean on his years of dedicated service to the citizens of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1019

[Page 2777]

By: Mr. Keith Irving « » (Kings South)

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

Whereas Mr. Michael S. O'Brien of Wolfville Ridge, Kings County, has loyally served the citizens of Nova Scotia in the Department of Natural Resources for 30 years; and

Whereas through his dedicated years of service Mr. O'Brien has shared his talents, expertise, and compassion with countless citizens of our province; and

Whereas Mr. O'Brien has been awarded a provincial Long Service Award in gratitude for three decades of service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank and congratulate Mr. O'Brien on his years of dedicated service to the citizens of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1020

By: Mr. Keith Irving « » (Kings South)

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

Whereas Mr. Doug Pulsifer of Greenwich, Kings County, has loyally served the citizens of Nova Scotia in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for 35 years; and

Whereas through his dedicated years of service Mr. Pulsifer has shared his talents, expertise, and compassion with countless citizens of our province; and

Whereas Mr. Pulsifer has been awarded a provincial Long Service Award in gratitude for three and a half decades of service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank and congratulate Mr. Pulsifer on his years of dedicated service to the citizens of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1021

[Page 2778]

By: Mr. Keith Irving « » (Kings South)

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

Whereas Ms. Flora Reeves of Coldbrook, Kings County, has loyally served the citizens of Nova Scotia in the Department of Justice for 30 years; and

Whereas through her dedicated years of service Ms. Reeves has shared her talents, expertise, and compassion with countless citizens of our province; and

Whereas Ms. Reeves has been awarded a provincial Long Service Award in gratitude for three decades of service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank and congratulate Ms. Reeves on her years of dedicated service to the citizens of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1022

By: Hon. Diana Whalen « » (Finance and Treasury Board)

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

Whereas the Province of Nova Scotia distinguishes its dedicated and loyal public servants by honouring them with a Long Service Award; and

Whereas Tracey Hardiman of Rockingham has had an outstanding 25-year career, during which she became a chartered financial analyst and rose through the ranks to now skillfully manage the Cash Management Division of the Department of Finance and Treasury Board; and

Whereas Tracey is known as a consummate professional and a mentor to many, and is recognized for her ability to foster an exemplary team-oriented atmosphere;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly thank Tracey Hardiman for her 25 years of dedicated service to the Province of Nova Scotia and congratulate her on this well-deserved distinction.

RESOLUTION NO. 1023

[Page 2779]

By: Hon. Diana Whalen « » (Finance and Treasury Board)

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

Whereas Mark de Jonge has become a hero to young athletes since winning the 2012 bronze medal in the K-1200 metres event at the London Summer Olympics; and

Whereas Mark de Jonge continues to be an inspiring mentor and role model to young paddlers at Maskwa Aquatic Club on Kearney Lake Road following his gold medal victory at the ICF Canoe Spring World Championships in Moscow in August 2014; and

Whereas Mark has kindly dedicated the kayak he used in the Olympics to Maskwa, where it hangs in the Heritage Hall as an enduring reminder of the possibilities that hard work and dedication can bring;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mark de Jonge for his athletic achievements and commend him on his generous donation to Maskwa, which will continue to inspire young paddlers to work hard and set their goals high.

RESOLUTION NO. 1024

By: Hon. Diana Whalen « » (Finance and Treasury Board)

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

Whereas The Parkview News is a community newspaper serving 26,000 homes and businesses in the Mainland North area of Halifax, including the neighbourhood of the Clayton Park West and Fairview-Clayton Park constituencies; and

Whereas after a six-year hiatus, the paper was recently re-launched on August 1, 2014, under the new direction and ownership of Bruce Holland and a small group of community-minded entrepreneurs; and

Whereas Bruce has creatively modernized the paper by garnering a popular presence on Facebook, where the community can find electronic copies of the paper, as well as additional unpublished stories and the latest updates on local events;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly applaud Bruce Holland for his success on reviving The Parkdale News, and thank him for his commitment to keeping his community engaged and connected.

[Page 2780]

RESOLUTION NO. 1025

By: Hon. Diana Whalen « » (Finance and Treasury Board)

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

Whereas government offices and divisions are proud to support the United Way through annual workplace donations and contributions; and

Whereas the Department of Finance and Treasury Board set a goal of raising $4,000 for the United Way through its 2014 campaign, led by Louise Comeau and Michael Burke of the Finance Corporate Service Unit; and

Whereas the Department of Finance and Treasury Board greatly surpassed this goal by raising close to $10,000 for the United Way, just short of the amount raised last year despite having only half the number of employees from this time one year ago;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature salute the efforts of Ms. Comeau, Mr. Burke, and the entire Department of Finance and Treasury Board for working together to raise money to support the important community work of the United Way.

RESOLUTION NO. 1026

By: Hon. Diana Whalen « » (Finance and Treasury Board)

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

Whereas on November 19th, the Canadian Progress Club of Halifax Cornwallis will hold its 25th Annual Progress Women of Excellence Awards Dinner at the World Trade and Convention Centre; and

Whereas each year inspirational women are honoured for their exceptional contributions to their profession and their ability to influence, motivate, inspire, and to make our province an even better place to live; and

Whereas Amanda Layton-Malone, Canada Games Centre Diving Club Head Coach, has won the Award in recognition of her outstanding coaching and mentoring, as well as her development of diving program promoting self-confidence through sport;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Amanda Layton-Malone for receiving a Progress Women of Excellence Award and wish her many more years of exceptional work in her community.

[Page 2781]

RESOLUTION NO. 1027

By: Hon. Diana Whalen « » (Finance and Treasury Board)

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

Whereas Ann Divine has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and determination in her efforts to empower black and immigrant women to have successful and fulfilling careers; and

Whereas she has shown incredible strength as a mentor, through her business Ashanti Leadership and Professional Services, and her recently founded Black and Immigrant Women Businesses Networking Group; and

Whereas the progress of black women in Nova Scotia's business community has been enhanced by Ann Divine's success in engaging the Labour and Advanced Education Department as well as many community groups, including the Black Business Initiative, Greater Halifax Partnership, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce and the Centre for Women in Business;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly thank Ann Devine for all she has done to foster equality in Nova Scotia's workplace and wish her continued success in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1028

By: Mr. Allan Rowe « » (Dartmouth South)

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

Whereas on Saturday, Sept 13, 2014, Genny Shaw celebrated the Grand Opening of Hazelnut & Rose, a nursing and maternity boutique at 46 Queen Street in downtown Dartmouth; and

Whereas Hazelnut & Rose is a boutique providing high quality and stylish clothing essentials for pregnant and nursing mothers; and

Whereas Hazelnut & Rose goes above and beyond as a new business in our community, offering workshops, classes, and unique resources to nursing and expectant mothers;

[Page 2782]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Ms. Shaw on the grand opening of Hazelnut & Rose and extend best wishes for continued success as a pillar of support in our community of downtown Dartmouth.