Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD14-16

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

MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2014

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

SPEAKER'S RULING:
Unparliamentary language by the Leader of the Official Opposition
(Pt. of order by Hon. M. Samson » [Hansard p.344, 10/03/14])
Not a point of order
1151
SPEAKER'S RULING:
Comments regarding member's mental health
(Pt. of order by Hon. S. Belliveau » [Hansard p.589, 10/08/14])
Not a point of order
1152
SPEAKER'S RULING:
Rotation of questions in Question Period
(Pt. of order by Hon. F. Corbett » [Hansard p.589, 10/09/14])
Not a point of order
1152
SPEAKER'S RULING:
Unparliamentary language by Hon. S. Belliveau « »
(Pt. of order by Hon. J. Bernard » [Hansard p.766, 10/10/14])
Not a point of order
1153
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
DIS - Small Business Week (10/19 - 10/25/14),
1155
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 309, Foster Family Appreciation Wk. (10/19 - 10/26/14):
Foster Families - Commend, Hon. J. Bernard « »
1158
Vote - Affirmative
1159
Res. 310, Walk to Remember: Organizing Comm. - Congrats.,
1159
Vote - Affirmative
1160
Res. 311, Sch. Bus. Safety Awareness Wk.: Safe Transportation
- Ensure, Hon. K. Casey »
1160
Vote - Affirmative
1161
Res. 312, Health Care Aide Day (10/18/14) - Recognize,
1161
Vote - Affirmative
1161
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 44, Victoria Hall Continuation Act,
1161
No. 45, Black Cultural Society Act,
1161
No. 46, Public Consultation on the Canada Pension Plan Act,
1162
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 313, Boudreau, Jacob: Kindness - Recognize,
1162
Vote - Affirmative
1163
Res. 314, Lawrence, Harley - Tree Dedication Ceremony:
Bishop, Brian/Cemetery Comm. - Thank, Mr. C. Porter »
1163
Vote - Affirmative
1164
Res. 315, Small Business Wk. (10/19 - 10/25/14): Small Businesses
1164
Vote - Affirmative
1164
Res. 316, Steinberg, Jean Catherine: Commun. Vol. Work - Recognize,
1165
Vote - Affirmative
1165
Res. 317, St. Andrews & Dist. Veterans Mem. Assoc.: Monument
- Congrats., Hon. R. Delorey »
1165
Vote - Affirmative
1166
Res. 318, Noseworthy, Roger - Vol. Career: Impact - Salute,
1166
Vote - Affirmative
1167
Res. 319, Nat. Res. - Firewood Suppliers: Min. - Meet,
1167
Res. 320, St. Luke's United Church - Anniv. (100th),
1168
Vote - Affirmative
1168
Res. 321, Rupasinghe, Dr. Vasantha: Cancer Research - Contribution,
1168
Vote - Affirmative
1169
Res. 322, Gillis, Fr. Joseph: Retirement - Well Wishes,
1169
Vote - Affirmative
1170
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 6, Petroleum Resources Act
1170
1174
Vote - Affirmative
1176
No. 18, Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord
Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act
1176
1179
1181
1181
Vote - Affirmative
1181
No. 22, Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission Act
1182
1182
1183
Vote - Affirmative
1183
No. 26, Animal Protection Act
1183
1184
1185
1186
1187
1188
1189
Vote - Affirmative
1191
No. 25, Housing Act and Housing Nova Scotia Act
1191
1192
1192
1193
Vote - Affirmative
1193
No. 38, Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act
1193
1196
1197
1199
Vote - Affirmative
1201
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Oct. 21st at 2:00 p.m
1202
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 323, Chute, Esther: Centurion Award - Congrats.,
1203
Res. 324, Johnson, Eric - Bridges Instit.: Retirement - Congrats.,
1203
Res. 325, Fitzgerald, Chris & Stephen: Basketball Can
Bronze Medals, Hon. K. Casey « »
1204
Res. 326, Millard, Ellen: Hist. Writings - Congrats.,
1204
Res. 327, Bezanson, Drew: 2014 X Games - Silver Medal,
1205
Res. 328, Thomas, Charlene: Bk. Publication - Congrats.,
1205
Res. 329, McKenna, Alice - Redcliff Middle Sch.: Serv. - Congrats.,
1206
Res. 330, Fraser, Dana: Prof. Hockey Contract - Congrats.,
1206
Res. 331, Haliburton, Dr. Jane C.: Book Launch - Congrats.,
1207
Res. 332, Goucher-Millett, Audrey: Hall of Fame Award
- Congrats., Mr. C. Porter « »
1207
Res. 333, Parker, Melissa/Arseneau Haliburton, Kristi:
Emergency Baby Delivery - Congrats., Mr. C. Porter « »
1208
Res. 334, Slack, Gary - Canada's Fire Services
Exemplary Services Medal, Hon. K. Casey « »
1208
Res. 335, Kinsman, Gregg - Canada's Fire Services
Exemplary Services Medal, Hon. K. Casey « »
1209
Res. 336, Rutherford, Wade - Canada's Fire Services
Exemplary Services Medal, Hon. K. Casey « »
1209
Res. 337, Slack, Joe - Canada's Fire Services
Exemplary Services Medal, Hon. K. Casey « »
1210
Res. 338, MacNutt, Branden - Canada's Fire Services
Exemplary Services Medal, Hon. K. Casey « »
1210
Res. 339, Martin, Nathan: N. Col. HS Student of Mo. (05/14)
- Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
1211
Res. 340, Farrell, Justin: N. Col. HS Student of Mo. (05/14)
- Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
1211
Res. 341, Tucker, Jackson: N. Col. HS Student of Mo. (06/14)
- Congrats., Hon. K. Casey « »
1212

[Page 1151]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2014

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Session

7:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Ms. Margaret Miller

MR. SPEAKER » : Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine today I'd like to provide the rulings on four points of order registered last week, which I took under advisement, so if you'll bear with us. We squeezed these in between the conference this weekend.

The first point of order was raised on October 3rd by the honourable Government House Leader who complained that the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition said that government members had sold out their principles. He suggested that such a statement is unparliamentary, and certainly if not unparliamentary, that it crossed the line of decency.

SPEAKER'S RULING:

Unparliamentary language by the Leader of the Official Opposition (Pt. of order by Hon. M. Samson [Hansard p.344, 10/03/14]) Not a point of order.

The suggestion that a member or a particular Party has sold out is thrown out fairly often in this Chamber and, depending on the tone used, can seem unparliamentary. It appears, however, that the only example the Clerks were able to find of it being considered unparliamentary was its use in relation to monetary gain, specifically that a Party had sold out for a few pieces of silver, so you can imagine how old that one was. Accordingly, while I share the honourable Government House Leader's distaste for the expression, I am not prepared to rule its use in this particular case as unparliamentary, but I do caution all members against such unpleasant allegations about their colleagues in this House.

[Page 1152]

The second point of order was raised on October 8th by the honourable member for Queens-Shelburne. He complained that the Minister of Agriculture had said that he was losing his memory, and that in light of the many issues around mental illness and the struggles of mental health, I should review the comments as Speaker.

SPEAKER'S RULING:

Comments regarding member's mental health (Pt. of order by Hon. S. Belliveau [Hansard p.589, 10/08/14]) Not a point of order.

I have reviewed the comments in Hansard and I must say I find them less sinister than the honourable member has suggested. The honourable minister simply said that the member had a short memory since the last question he asked in the House was the exact same question and he had just posed it again. I do not read any intimation of mental health or illness into that comment and I find there is no point of order.

The third point of order was raised on October 9th by the honourable House Leader for the NDP caucus, who pointed out there had only been 11 questions asked that day and asked that I look at whether the 10th question in the rotation could be given to the Third Party on days when it was not exercised by a Liberal backbencher.

SPEAKER'S RULING:

Rotation of questions in Question Period (Pt. of order by Hon. F. Corbett [Hansard p.589, 10/09/14]) Not a point of order.

This answer has two parts. The first part is no; and the second part, starting next week with the shortened Question Periods, the governing Party caucus will not be asking for a spot in the regular rotation for a question by a backbencher, so there will not be such a thing to worry about in the future.

Speaking of backbenchers, the fourth point of order, which was raised on October 10th by the honourable Minister of Community Services, was that the member for Queens-Shelburne had made references to some of her caucus members as "back bunchers" and that this was unparliamentary. In addressing this, I want to point out that the term "backbenchers" is defined in O'Brien and Bosc and is widely used in Westminster Parliaments all over the world, including ours.

[Page 1153]

SPEAKER'S RULING:

Unparliamentary language by Hon. S. Belliveau (Pt. of order by Hon. J. Bernard [Hansard p.766, 10/10/14]) Not a point of order.

It is, in fact, included in the last ruling that I just made. In rare cases when the term is used in a pejorative tone - look that one up - particularly in a resolution put before the House as opposed to the cut and thrust of regular debate, it can be found unparliamentary. I do not believe that to have been the case here and I will follow the approach set out by the previous Speaker of this House, in his ruling delivered on November 6, 2012, in finding there is no point of order.

Now, on to more pressing things - I'm not sure they're more interesting, but with regard to our new rule changes, as members know, next week revised Rules and Forms of Procedure will take effect. I want to set out the guidelines for the new order of business in the daily routine which is Statements by Members. In developing the guidelines, I have modelled them largely on the guidelines and principles that are followed in Ottawa, except the prohibition on congratulatory statements. As I understand the intent of the rule changes was that there could be congratulatory statements under this order of business in our House.

The subject matter of Statements by Members is very broad and a member can speak on virtually any matter of international, national, provincial, or local concern. The one-minute time limit is strictly enforced in Ottawa, with the result that members may find themselves cut off in mid-sentence. It is my intention to emulate this order that all members have the same opportunity to use this limited time available to the House. The general guidelines that apply to Statements by Members are as follows: personal attacks are not permitted; a statement about a political position of another member would be permitted, but attacks that are personal would be ruled out of order; any statement questioning a member's integrity, honesty, intelligence, or character is unacceptable; offensive language may not be used. A statement may not denounce a ruling of a court of law, attack the character of a judge, or reflect on the Queen, Governor General, or Lieutenant Governor.

A statement may not make defamatory comments about non-members. Members are not to engage in recitations of poetry, singing of songs, or other frivolous matters. Members may not use verbatim remarks of private citizens as a starting point for their statement. A statement may not be used to raise a matter falling under the administration of the Speaker, or to criticize the Speaker or other occupants of the Speaker's Chair. The statement cannot be used to raise anything concerning the business of a committee of this House.

A statement may not raise a matter a privilege. Points of order respecting anything that takes place during statements by members should be raised after the conclusion of Question Period. A statement may not be used to criticize another member for anything that has been dealt with by the Speaker or which the Speaker has taken under advisement to deal with at a future date. Members who are ministers should not use this order of business to raise matters that fall under their portfolios or to announce government policies or initiatives.

[Page 1154]

A statement should not be used to debate any legislation or resolution currently before the House. Statements may not be of a commercial nature; for example, directly promoting the sales of a product or tickets for any event. If a member delivers any part of a statement in a language other than English, the member must table an English translation of those remarks. If a member uses the names of persons in making a statement, the member must ensure that the correct spelling of those names is sent to Hansard so the record reflects them accurately.

Those are the guidelines I plan to follow for the time being, and as with all parliamentary procedures, there may be further development and evolution of these guidelines in the future, based on the needs of this House and the duty of the Chair to ensure order and decorum. I hope for the co-operation of all members present as we move forward with this new item of business, and I welcome suggestions along the way.

Just to be clear on the timing of Statements by Members, it may vary from day to day but is hoped that we will get to it before Question Period starts. After Question Period each day we will revert to the daily routine to finish any matters that we have not dealt with except further statements by members. We will only deal with as many of those statements by members as we can get through, before the time of Question Period commences at the fixed time every day. In other words, each member will be allowed two statements, maximum one minute in length, and if we only have 15 minutes to do it, we'll only get through, conceivably, 15.

The Clerks have several copies of these guidelines for the House Leaders and electronic copies of these will be sent to the caucuses for distribution by all members. Now on to the point of privilege - I'm kidding. We'll get to that later.

We'll now begin with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

[Page 1155]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Internal Services and the Public Service Commission.

HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker. Small business week is October 19th to October 25th in Nova Scotia. It is the perfect time for all Nova Scotians to celebrate our entrepreneurs and acknowledge the critical role that the private sector plays in growing our province's economy.

One of the ways government is celebrating Small Business Week is by hosting the Reverse Trade Show, an annual event that helps small business owners find opportunities to sell their goods and services to the public sector. The event is a chance for small business owners to meet face to face with buyers from the municipal, provincial, and federal governments - health authorities, school boards, and post-secondary institutions as well.

Before I began my career in politics, I worked as a commercial lender and on various small businesses. I am also a certified management accountant. I know first-hand how important it is for businesses to seek and find new opportunities to get their products and services out there to the right people. Now, as the minister responsible for public sector procurement, my focus is on providing the most efficient service to Nova Scotia while getting the best value for every taxpayer dollar. That's why opportunities like the Reverse Trade Show are so important to an effective and fair procurement process.

A year ago we took a broad look at the workings of government. We saw opportunities to do things differently, and we are now doing things differently. In April, the honourable Premier named me the first minister of the newly-created Department of Internal Services. My department combines government's support functions into one body. They include information technology, accounting, procurement, and building services, just to name a few. The realignment is meant to find efficiencies for us and, most importantly, provide better services for Nova Scotians.

Last month I announced a new internal audit program to increase oversight of public procurement. The new program will help safeguard consistency and fairness to ensure the procurement process continues to be effective, competitive, and transparent. I believe strongly that government should spend and manage its dollars wisely.

We're all working toward a more prosperous Nova Scotia. We recognize the integral role our small and medium-sized businesses play in our economy. We will continue to support the exceptional and innovative work they are doing. Simply put, this government is listening and making targeted investments to support our workforce.

Mr. Speaker, in closing I want to acknowledge the Greater Halifax Partnership, the federal Office of Small and Medium Enterprises, and the Construction Association of Nova Scotia as our event partners for the Reverse Trade Show I spoke about a moment ago.

[Page 1156]

We know we need to do things differently, and the Nova Scotia Government is ready to be a partner in the change. This government understands the need to work with the private sector to grow our economy. At the same time, we know that businesses large and small have to be the force that drives our economy forward. That's what will create jobs, reinvest in our communities, and keep young people here.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Nova Scotia Procurement, who carefully monitor $1 billion in provincial purchasing and manage over 3,000 public tender opportunities every year. I also want to thank all public sector entities that will be taking part in the Reverse Trade Show tomorrow. When the public sector works together, it allows us to harness our collective buying power and ensure we continue to develop potential suppliers offering a wide variety of goods and services. That also means a better deal for Nova Scotians. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I also want to begin by thanking the minister for providing a copy of his statement to our office earlier today. Small businesses are the engine of many Nova Scotia communities. Small business owners are a driving force behind economic growth.

I want to take this opportunity this evening to thank all of the Nova Scotia small business owners who take enormous risks, create jobs, reinvest in our communities, and try to keep young people here at home. Small Business Week is our chance to acknowledge their hard work and their many contributions to our province. This year marks the 35th year that we've celebrated entrepreneurship in Canada this way.

We know that Nova Scotia has great entrepreneurial potential. By taking on risk and working hard, Nova Scotia's small business owners create good jobs, one or two at a time. That's why it's so important not to recognize small businesses and their owners only one week a year, but to provide the economic climate to allow small business to grow and to thrive. That's how to successfully support the exceptional and innovative work that they are doing.

Private sector entrepreneurs willingly take the responsibility for helping grow our province's economy, but they can't do it alone. High power rates, high taxes, and job-killing red tape have taken their toll. It means that many businesses are struggling just to keep their heads above water. It's time that the government took a look at the Ivany commission's recommendations, and took them to heart. It's time to take action to achieve Goal 4, to generate 4,200 new business start-ups per year. It's time to roll up our sleeves to make progress on Goal 6, by increasing the number of Nova Scotia firms participating in export trade by 50 per cent.

[Page 1157]

Many business people said their burden of combined income, property and business taxes are a deterrent to business attraction and development, and I agree. Lowering taxes, reducing power rates, cutting job-killing red tape will ease that burden and allow the hard-working women and men who own and operate the province's businesses to do what they do best: to create jobs and prosperity in their communities.

In closing, I want to congratulate the Business Development Bank of Canada for 35 years of promoting and supporting small businesses and Small Business Week. I also want to thank the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. They are tireless advocates for their members, year-round. And lastly, I want to thank those Nova Scotians who have taken a risk, invested their own money, and worked hard to create a business and jobs right here in our province. Thank you very much.

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

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : I thank the minister for providing a copy of his remarks in advance. Mr. Speaker, we're all looking forward to a prosperous Nova Scotia; I really agree with the minister on that point. We do all recognize the integral role our small to medium-sized businesses play in the economy. I'm very pleased that we're celebrating the entrepreneurs and the many small businesses that truly are the backbone of our economy.

But one thing I didn't hear too much of in the minister's speech was what his government has actually done yet for small business, other than restructuring government bureaucracy. On the other hand, I was proud to be part of a government that made significant improvements for small business.

We reduced the small business tax rate four years in a row, and we introduced the Productivity Investment Program (PIP) that has supported dozens of small businesses across the province. I was also proud to be part of a government that introduced the START Program, and for those who aren't familiar with it, the START program connects unemployed Nova Scotians who have very little job experience with employers who are willing to provide them with the experience and the training that they need to participate in the workforce.

So, Mr. Speaker, I believe that, in addition to our people, it's small businesses that make our communities so special and I, for one, can't imagine the Truro area without all of our independently-owned companies, including our downtown core, because we might call that the hub of the hub town. We've had several well-publicized closures of old family-owned businesses, but the truth is that, for every business that closed, ten new ones have sprung up. In fact, our downtown area is thriving right now. We also have an excellent example of a valued heritage building.

[Page 1158]

Mr. Speaker, I'm having a little bit of trouble being heard here. I wonder if you could maybe call some order to the House.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Please continue.

MS. ZANN « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, as I was saying, in the hub of our hub town, we've had several closures, but there are a lot of new businesses springing up, and one in particular that I'm very pleased about is a new use for an old business.

We have an excellent example of a valued heritage building that is being refurbished, renovated and revamped right in the heart of our town, and it's the old Normal College. It was one of the first teachers' colleges in Canada and it is now going to become our library. We have the farmers' market right beside it. We have the police station beside that, and our fire station, as well. We have a lot of community activities that happen at the fire station and also at the farmers' market.

It's important for us, I believe, to recognize the contributions that all of the different small businesses make in our towns and villages right across Nova Scotia. We also need to encourage our constituents to support their neighbours and to buy local to keep our communities vibrant and unique. This does include our farmers' markets with all the many small farmers and artisans who bring products and wares to the local market as well as the musicians and the artists that perform there because, Mr. Speaker, I believe the creative economy is another important sector of all of our small towns and our cities right across Nova Scotia.

In closing I would like to congratulate the Truro and Area Chamber of Commerce for hosting the awards for small businesses later this week on Thursday night, Mr. Speaker, and that has been going on for a long time now in Truro, thank you.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 309

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

Whereas Foster Family Appreciation Week in Nova Scotia is celebrated from October 19th to October 26th and provides us an opportunity to thank foster parents for providing safe, loving homes for young Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Nova Scotia foster parents work as part of a team of professionals who ensure children and youth receive the love and support they need; and

[Page 1159]

Whereas Nova Scotia is committed to attracting and training caring families who can help children and youth;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Nova Scotia's existing 650 foster families and encourage more families to open their hearts and homes to children in need.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 310

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

Whereas every day a family in Nova Scotia experiences the pain of losing a child as a result of miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal loss; and

Whereas more than 300 parents and families took to the streets yesterday, Sunday, October 19th, to participate in Halifax's sixth annual Walk to Remember; and

Whereas for parents and their families participating in this special day, it is a way to honour the memory of their babies and to share their grief with others who have experienced similar tragedies;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate this year's organizing committee of Natasha Hope, Stacey McClain, Caitlin Brooks, and Tina Thibeau for raising awareness of pregnancy and infant loss and for putting together such a wonderful event that brings grieving families together.

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

[Page 1160]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 311

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

Whereas each day over 80,000 children in Nova Scotia travel to school by school bus; and

Whereas one week in October each year is designated as School Bus Safety Week to promote and foster the highest degree of safety in the transportation of school children; and

Whereas students and motorists, whether riding on a school bus or driving near one, benefit from education and frequent reminders about rules, laws, co-operation, and proper behaviour so that our children always arrive at school safely;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in urging all Nova Scotians to work together to ensure the safe transportation of our students as they are bused to schools across the province, and to promote safety awareness throughout the year as well as during School Bus Safety Awareness Week.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1161]

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

RESOLUTION NO. 312

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

Whereas Nova Scotia values a collaborative care approach to health care in which patients and families benefit from the expertise of an interdisciplinary team; and

Whereas health care aides such as continuing care assistants, care team assistants, and other assistants work in a variety of settings including acute care, residential care, home and community care; and

Whereas these aides work as part of a collaborative team to help patients with important activities of daily living including bathing, feeding and mobilizing;

Therefore be it resolved that October 18, 2014, be known as Health Care Aide Day 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

Bill No. 44 - Entitled an Act to Continue Victoria Hall as a Society under the Societies Act and to Repeal Chapter 115 of the Acts of 1937. An Act to Amend and Consolidate the Acts Relating to the Old Ladies Home. (Ms. Patricia Arab)

Bill No. 45 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 101 of the Acts of 1977. The Black Cultural Society Act. (Hon. Keith Colwell as a private member)

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

MS. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, can I make an introduction, please?

[Page 1162]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MS. MILLER « » : Tonight I have a young man in the gallery who's very important, young Jacob Boudreau. He's here with his parents, Shelley Clee and Paul Boudreau. Jacob's a special little guy. I would ask him to please stand up, if he could. He is the subject of my resolution, actually, so please let me read my resolution before we give him his due.

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

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. We have to do the resolutions - next item of business here. You're introducing a bill. Do you have a bill?

MS. MILLER « » : No.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Can you complete the introduction?

MS. MILLER « » : I'd like members of the House to please welcome Jacob to the House this evening. (Applause)

[INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:]

Bill No. 46 - Entitled an Act to Establish a Public Consultation Process on the Enhancement of the Canada Pension Plan. (Hon. Maureen MacDonald)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 313

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

Whereas every year, on the second Monday in October, Canadians gather to give thanks for the blessings of their lives; and

Whereas 9-year-old Jacob Boudreau decided that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to celebrate with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and he was determined to do something to help; and

Whereas Jacob was willing to give up his own Thanksgiving dinner and, by starting The Jacob Project, encouraged many others to do the same;

[Page 1163]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Jacob's overwhelming kindness and thank him for inspiring others to help support people in need.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Standing ovation)

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 314

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

Whereas Harley Lawrence's name is known to many people in the Valley area due to an incident that led to his tragic death - he may be gone, but he will not be forgotten; and

Whereas in Hantsport recently, there was a tree dedication ceremony for the homeless man, Harley, at the Riverbank Cemetery with a lilac tree and a plaque that reads, "Under my limbs you can rest awhile or take shelter from the sun, rain or wind"; and

Whereas Harley had volunteered many years ago with the restoration project of the Riverbank Cemetery, where he had met Brian Bishop, who helped the cemetery committee organize the tree dedication;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank Brian Bishop and the cemetery committee for honouring Harley Lawrence.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1164]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle-Barrington.

RESOLUTION NO. 315

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

Whereas October 19th to October 25th is the Business Development Bank of Canada Small Business Week, celebrating the outstanding contributions of Canada's small and medium-sized businesses; and

Whereas events throughout Nova Scotia will be celebrating small businesses this week by providing networking opportunities for small business owners; and

Whereas as part of Small Business Week, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business' Small Business Saturday on October 25th will encourage Nova Scotians to support small businesses in their communities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly thank all Nova Scotian small businesses that continue to create jobs and wealth throughout the province, and thank organizations such as the CFIB that support and promote the well-being of small businesses in our province.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Interim Leader of the New Democratic Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 316

[Page 1165]

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

Whereas Jean Catherine Steinberg works as a doula, providing physical assistance and emotional support to women and families throughout childbirth; and

Whereas Jean Catherine Steinberg has volunteered for years in Halifax, including with Chebucto Family Centre and within the prison system; and

Whereas Jean Catherine Steinberg has been instrumental in the development of a new program at the Burnside correctional facility that offers doula services to pregnant inmates, providing support before, during, and after childbirth, and beyond their release back into the community;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize Jean Catherine Steinberg's volunteer work within our community and express its gratitude for her commitment to providing support to new and expecting mothers in and outside the prison system.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment.

RESOLUTION NO. 317

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

Whereas after years of hard work, the St. Andrews and Districts Veterans Memorial Association had a dedication ceremony on October 19, 2014, to unveil a marble monument to honour citizens from the St. Andrews area who have served; and

Whereas the monument has over 300 names of veterans who served in the First World War, Second World War, Korean War, as well as UN peacekeeping missions and Afghanistan; and

[Page 1166]

Whereas this special memorial was made by a local business, Arsenault Monuments, and placed at St. Andrews Consolidated School so that children will learn about the sacrifices our veterans have made;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate the St. Andrews and Districts Veterans Memorial Association for the successful unveiling of this monument, and thank them for their service to their community as we honour those who have served their country.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Northside-Westmount.

RESOLUTION NO. 318

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

Whereas Roger Noseworthy, a long-time baseball official, coach, volunteer and umpire, retired this summer after 39 years; and

Whereas Roger served as regional director with Baseball Nova Scotia, was Volunteer of the Year for Baseball Nova Scotia and also was named Umpire of the Year in Cape Breton; and

Whereas Roger worked seven Canadian championships and the 2006 Senior Little League World Series in Bangor, Maine, and says what he will miss most is the interaction with the kids;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly salute Roger Noseworthy for the tremendous impact his volunteering career has had on Nova Scotia's youth.

[Page 1167]

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 319

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

Whereas the Minister of Natural Resources stated on October 9, 2014, that firewood used by Nova Scotians does not qualify as an energy source; and

Whereas the Liberal Government promised in their election campaign to keep energy costs down; and

Whereas many Nova Scotians, especially in rural Nova Scotia, use wood to heat their homes to reduce their power bills;

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Municipal Affairs encourage the Minister of Natural Resources to meet with firewood suppliers to get a better understanding of how the use of firewood can heat a home and reduce power bills.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 1168]

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 320

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas St. Luke's United Church in Donkin recently celebrated its 100th Anniversary; and

Whereas St. Luke's United Church held an anniversary service on May 18th; and

Whereas St. Luke's is a very strong institution in the community of Donkin and a gathering place for many special occasions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate St. Luke's United Church and all its parishioners on celebrating its 100th Anniversary.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River.

RESOLUTION NO. 321

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

Whereas Dr. Vasantha Rupasinghe is an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus in Truro; and

Whereas Dr. Rupasinghe has been working on cancer research for the past three years related to the effect one's diet has on cancer; and

[Page 1169]

Whereas his research is centred on food molecules specific to cool-climate fruits that are high in antioxidants;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Dr. Vasantha Rupasinghe for his contribution to cancer research and wish him every success in the future.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Northside-Westmount.

RESOLUTION NO. 322

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the honourable member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Father Joseph Gillis recently retired as parish priest from St. Mary's Big Pond and Sacred Heart in Johnstown; and

Whereas Father Joe Gillis has been very active in all his parishes and communities for the last 59 years; and

Whereas after nearly 60 years as a priest, Father Gillis is looking forward to his well-deserved retirement;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly wish Father Joseph Gillis many happy years of retirement and thank him for his dedication to the many parishes and communities he has served.

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

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

[Page 1170]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

MR. TERRY FARRELL » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

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

MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 6.

Bill No.6 - Petroleum Resources Act.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Northside-Westmount.

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise here this evening to speak to Bill No. 6, the amendments to the Petroleum Resources Act. This is a bill that's very important to Nova Scotians - all Nova Scotians. No matter what side of the fence you're on, when it comes to petroleum and natural resources development in the Province of Nova Scotia, it's either good or bad. Some people think it's a bad thing, others think it's a good thing. An old, familiar saying used to be that those who like it, still like it a lot. I think a lot of people remember that here in the Province of Nova Scotia, but those who are against it are really against it.

I want to say that natural gas has proven itself as a reliable, clean fuel source. It meets the energy needs of modern communities throughout the world, and we do rely on a lot of natural resources and a lot of natural gas here in the Province of Nova Scotia. There is talk about a pipeline extending into the Pictou County area, containerized natural gas.

We have a lot of other natural resources here in the province. We have a lot of coal, and we're going to need reliance on coal over the next number of years. There is talk of still developing the Donkin mine, which would put a lot of people in Cape Breton back to work, bring a lot of our people home.

[Page 1171]

Where would we be in this province without energy? Energy is used to heat our homes. It's used for travel. New cars are looking at developing and running on propane. If you go to many of the rinks around the province now, they've gone away from the old tractor-type of ice-cleaning, ice-resurfacing equipment, to the newer Zambonis that either burn natural gas or propane.

If we had that development here onshore, it could very easily help meet the needs of our province's energy in the next number of years to come. We've seen a lot of energy industries grow here in Nova Scotia, thanks to the affordable natural gas. This makes Nova Scotia more competitive, and it makes us more competitive in attracting industries to set up base here in our province.

If I may for a second, there's talk about some communities not wanting to have this natural resource developed in their community. I understand that, and I agree that if it's not wanted in a community, then maybe it shouldn't go there. But if we were to provide some kind of royalty to the communities that were to develop these resources, I think you would see a lot more of the communities wanting to develop that natural resource and have those royalties go back into the community for infrastructure development, job creation, maybe paying down some of the debts in the area, and helping our youth stay at home.

We've seen here with this bill that this is not going to happen in our province in the near future. We know that we're talking about another bill that the government has introduced about the growth of a compressed natural gas satellite distribution network around the province. That would provide access to inexpensive natural gas to areas away from areas in the province that don't have a main line. If we could develop that natural resource, then many of our communities wouldn't have to worry about that large shipping cost. I think it would be very important to the industries in our area that could convert to natural gas and have another way to decrease the cost of their business and grow our economy.

You know, access to the natural gas contributes to our economic case of why a company should invest here. We recently heard of some businesses such as Oxford Frozen Foods that use natural gas in their factories, and what that has done, Mr. Speaker, is allowed them to be competitive on a world market; it has allowed them to cut their costs so they could put out a product in an efficient way and allow them to grow.

Mr. Speaker, it's important that we maintain a stable supply of natural gas in our province. Currently we have two offshore projects producing - the Sable offshore energy project and the Deep Panuke project. The Sable offshore project is expected to be decommissioned over the next several years, which will result in a significant drop in our province's natural gas production and, as the Deep Panuke declines, that number will drop even further.

[Page 1172]

Mr. Speaker, energy security is important in our province, and that's why developing our onshore natural gas is essential. We already have the capability of developing an onshore industry - a supply chain to the energy industry in Nova Scotia has a long history of successful developments off the coast of this province. Many of the companies that have an impeccable record offshore are able to provide similar services onshore. It's unfortunate that the government doesn't recognize that and introduce this bill.

We're hearing businesses say, and companies say, that the closed for business sign has been put up in our province because of this moratorium or so-called ban on natural gas production and development. Mr. Speaker, these businesses put our Nova Scotians to work in good paying jobs and keep our people here. I know myself, my son last year having taken a process operations power engineering course that he graduated with from NSCC. He would like to stay here in the province, but of our children who graduated from that course, some of those children are going to have to, unfortunately, move away. My fear is that when they move away they won't come home. That's kind of a selfish thing on my part, but if my children are going to have grandchildren and are going to move away from the province, when I was to retire, if I was to be close to them, I would probably end up doing the same thing.

Mr. Speaker, that's not how we're going to grow our economy. We're going to grow our economy by keeping our young people here and making sure they have good, stable, well-paying jobs so they can raise their families here.

You know the fact that hydraulic fracturing has been seen as being conducted across our country today and taking a lot of our young people, many of us in this Chamber will realize and know some of the people who have moved out West. Mr. Speaker, I was recently at the Sydney airport picking up a friend of mine and every flight that comes in is either full of people coming home from the oil fields out West or full of people leaving for the oil fields. They tell me it's one of the most successful lines that Air Canada operates in the country, and it's because the planes are full of people leaving here. Fortunately some of them are still coming home and doing the in and out, but I know people who have done this for a while and it was disastrous to their families so they either came back home with no job and realized that they had to move their family out there.

A senior policy expert with the Government of Saskatchewan has stated there are no documented cases of any contamination in the water in the province as a result of shale gas development. Mr. Speaker, we've heard that there's something like 175,000 fracked wells in the Provinces of B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan, with no so-to-speak ill-effects so far.

Mr. Speaker, I was at a conference in Philadelphia this summer and I spoke with a gentleman from Pittsburgh, and we got on the topic of natural resource development and one of them was coal - Pittsburgh is pretty famous for the development of their coal industry. I asked him about his coal industry and he said it was on a decline a little bit because they discovered natural gas in the development of their shale gas development. He had nothing but good things to say about it as a state representative of Philadelphia, that it has put their state back into the shape that it should have been in.

[Page 1173]

They were on a downward slide until this; now they are energy-sufficient. They have their people working and they are able to produce their own energy, which has put them way ahead of the curve than most of the states - they are even able to sell some of that natural gas to other states and grow their economy that way.

A fact sheet released by the Government of British Columbia notes that there has never been a confirmed case of groundwater contamination in B.C., as a result of hydraulic fracturing. Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver criticized the government's ban on hydraulic fracturing, noting that there have been those 175,000 wells drilled and there has been no contamination, and Mr. Speaker, I have the documentation there to support that.

Just like any type of project, Mr. Speaker, if you put the proper regulations in place you can be successful in the development. There is nobody in this Chamber, Mr. Speaker, who wants to see this stuff go ahead unsafely. Nobody wants to push it on to communities that don't want to have it. But if we outright ban this type of natural resource development, we will never know what we are going to have there. If we do that, we are going to continue to lose our young people and families are going to continue to be broken.

There are families that are going to miss out on their kids' hockey, their school plays, their projects, and their piano lessons. Mr. Speaker, I have a neighbour that has to go and he goes three or four months at a time. Fortunately he gets a little bit of time home but not enough to spend the time with his family that he would like to spend with them.

We know the Wheeler report outlines how Nova Scotia could enable responsible development of our shale resources. It says to go, but go slow, and by no means do we want to see that done in an unsafe manner.

It is sad to see the government is introducing this bill, Mr. Speaker. I'd rather see the hard work put into development of updated regulations and to enable of development of the natural resources to bring our people back home, to put our people back to work, and I would love to see that happen - a little bit on my own for being selfish that my own family could stay home - but I would like to see every family in this province be able to have that choice - to stay here and develop our natural resources and raise their families here. I hope that in years to come the ban that we are putting in place here with this bill will be lifted and we will be able to bring our people back home.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I'll take my place.

[Page 1174]

MR. SPEAKER « » : If I am to recognize the Honourable Minister of Energy it will be to close debate on Bill No. 6.

HON. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from all the members of the Opposition. We could sit here and I could go on for the next 60 minutes about a number of the points that have been raised but, really, the reality of this issue is that this is about one thing. The panelists of the Wheeler commission unanimously stated that the social license does not exist in this province, in any community, and it doesn't. We have seen data come out just in the past week which showed in every age group, every educational background, every demographic - it does not exist at this time.

However I want to assure the members, including the ones who I have no doubt are going to vote against this - I want to assure them that the work that is going on at the moment to do the onshore atlas, to update the regulations, and to ensure that we are ready, should communities be prepared and that the social license exists at the end of the day - that work is going on, because that work is important for our other onshore activities which are going on as well. That work will continue and we will continue to be open with communities.

Mr. Speaker, we will continue to grow the economy, especially in the energy sector, which has grown in the past 12 months in every single sector of energy development in this province. Investments and jobs have grown in that economy. In fact just this weekend there were Nova Scotians working in tidal energy off the coast of our province laying cables for our new in-stream tidal devices, people in rural communities, many of them who did not have the opportunity to be working in Nova Scotia and were back here.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I would close second reading on this bill and look forward to Law Amendments.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 6.

A recorded vote has been called for.

We will ring the bells for 15 minutes.

[8:00 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Are the Whips satisfied?

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[Page 1175]

[8:12 p.m.]

YEASNAYS
Mr. Colwell Mr. MacMaster 
Mr. Churchill Mr. Dunn 
Ms. Bernard Mr. Bailey 
Ms. Regan Mr. d'Entremont 
Mr. Samson Mr. Orrell 
Ms. Whalen Ms. MacFarlane 
Mr. Glavine Mr. Houston 
Ms. Casey Mr. Harrison 
Mr. MacLellan Mr. Lohr 
Ms. Diab  
Mr. Younger  
Mr. Horne  
Mr. Hines  
Mr. Stroink  
Ms. Arab  
Mr. Delorey  
Mr. Ince  
Mr. Kousoulis  
Mr. Furey  
Mr. Farrell  
Mr. Gordon Wilson  
Mr. Rankin  
Ms. Miller  
Mr. Rowe  
Mr. Maguire  
Ms. Eyking  
Ms. Treen  
Mr. Gough  
Mr. Jessome  
Mr. Irving  
Mr. Corbett  
Ms. MacDonald  
Mr. David Wilson  
Ms. Zann  
Mr. Belliveau  
Mr. Porter  

THE CLERK » : For, 36. Against, 9.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is carried.

[Page 1176]

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 18.

Bill No. 18 - Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation (Nova Scotia) Act.

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

HON. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I move second reading of Bill No.18, and it gives me great pleasure to rise and speak to this very important bill. Many members of the House will know that originally we had intended to introduce this bill in the Spring of this year. In order to work out some technical challenges with our federal partners and with our partners in Newfoundland and Labrador, we decided to delay this bill until this session.

Mr. Speaker, this is mirror legislation with the federal government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. This will harmonize the regulations as they relate to things such as environmental regulations, as well as, most importantly, the liabilities. Much of this work has been ongoing for a number of years, but has been particularly important in light of what would be well known as the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico a number of years ago which caused many jurisdictions to actually look at their regulations, how they performed, and whether they stood up. This will bring us in line with other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Denmark and so forth, when it comes to liabilities.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Minister of Energy has the floor.

MR. YOUNGER « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I really just want to focus my remarks on a couple of things - namely I want to focus on what this bill does and does not do, because there are two kinds of liability covered in this bill: there's absolute liability and there's general liability. So where there is liability for an incident offshore where fault is found, then that liability remains unlimited. So there is a billion dollar cap that I'm going to talk about momentarily, but in the event that something happens offshore, the liability remains, as it is today - unlimited.

The big change in this is for liability where fault is not determined - which currently stands at $30 million. That liability amount is now raised to $1 billion. The intent of that is to cover situations where there is, in fact, liability not determined. These amendments represent the culmination of a collaborative effort, as I talked about, and they focus on four areas: prevention, response, accountability, and transparency.

[Page 1177]

The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board has a broad range of responsibilities that covers the health and safety of offshore workers. Mr. Speaker, you'll recall, and the House will recall, that the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education and myself introduced legislation amending the Canada-Nova Scotia offshore petroleum Acts in the Spring. Protecting the environment, managing conservation offshore, and issuing of licences are all covered in this bill.

The amendments that we've introduced and are debating today will come into force upon proclamation. It is our understanding that they have now passed the House of Commons and they are waiting to be passed in the Senate, so it will require the passage and proclamation in Ottawa as well as here. We expect that will happen in 2015.

This legislation explicitly outlines the "polluter-pays principle." This means that when an operator pollutes our waters, no matter what the cost, they'll be responsible for that cleanup.

One of the issues has been around deposits, because there really isn't much point in having a liability standard if the operator can't afford to actually pay for the damages that are created. Operators will now have to place a deposit of $100 million in trust with the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board. Alternatively, they would have the option of participating in pooled funds that have a minimum value of $250 million.

The purpose of this is to provide the regulator with immediate access to funds in the event of an incident without having to go to the courts to begin drawing down those funds, and to be able to respond and take immediate action. This means that in the event of an offshore incident, the operators, not the taxpayers, will be responsible, because there will be an immediate pool of cash available from day one in order to address any challenge.

These changes will apply to new projects, as well as the existing projects we have - Deep Panuke and the Sable Offshore Energy Project. Those operators are aware, and they've been involved in these. In fact, there has been quite a bit of discussion on that.

The bill also changes the way environmental assessments are done. The Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board will have the authority to conduct the environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. This authority will come with new responsibilities for Aboriginal consultation, and they will also be able to establish participant funding under that Act, which will allow the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to provide funding to organizations, non-profits, and other agencies that may wish to participate in the environmental assessment process.

The Offshore Petroleum Board will also be given the authority to levy administrative monetary penalties, ensuring that the regulators have the legal tools to deal with smaller infractions before they become big issues.

[Page 1178]

Very importantly on the issue of transparency, the changes will make available to the public information related to safety and emergency response plans, as well as environmental plans and all other documents filed with the regulator. This means that members of the public will be able to go to the board, hopefully online, and review for themselves the safety and emergency plans for all of our offshore installations, as well as the environmental plans.

The changes are extremely important, given the worldwide interest we're seeing in our offshore. It is one of the fastest-growing sectors in Atlantic Canada and represents huge potential for our province. We posted online a map of the various licence areas that are coming for bid over the next couple of years. In just a few weeks, bidding will close on the Laurentian Sub-basin. There has been quite a bit of interest, and even with declining oil prices in the past few weeks, we still hear companies talking quite aggressively about that opportunity.

Of course, we have our two active offshore projects. Sable and Deep Panuke are currently producing up to 500 million cubic feet a day, which is almost double the capacity or use in this province. So we are a net exporter of natural gas in this province. There are also a number of key significant discovery licences for gas offshore, which have already been determined and which, as many of you will have seen from media reports, there are a number of LNG producers looking at developing those gas finds.

The government-led geoscience atlas of Nova Scotia's offshore called the Play Fairway Analysis, estimates there are 120 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 8 billion barrels of oil. Now we have announced another $12 million in geoscience and in marketing to help grow the offshore and better understand more areas not covered by the original Play Fairway Analysis. This represents tremendous potential. Since 1999 the projects offshore have resulted in $3 billion in direct revenue to our province. We have also seen spending start in the province by both Shell and BP in their exploration projects and the intent is to do more.

Mr. Speaker, these amendments, working with our federal partners as well as our partners in Newfoundland and Labrador, strengthen the province's first-rate regulatory regime and they enhance the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board's ability to do their work efficiently and as effectively as possible. This is extremely important. The rules in Newfoundland and Labrador offshore and the rules in Nova Scotia will be harmonized with respect to these issues and they are being done with our partners in the federal government. With that I will conclude my remarks.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand and speak to Bill No. 18 for just a few moments. Of course I'm glad we are here to talk about this bill. The offshore energy industry is incredibly important to our province's economy, whether it was the Cohasset-Panuke Project, the Sable Offshore Energy Project or Deep Panuke, in total they have all contributed billions to our economy.

[Page 1179]

Right now we have Shell and BP proceeding towards offshore exploratory drilling programs. We know how important those are going to be, even if it is just a couple of wells here and there over the next couple of years. Looking at my district or my area, looking at the Shelburne basin, I know that creates a lot of debate and discussion in our area, also as far as what kind of jobs it will create. What kind of economic stimulus will it create?

We know that even in the exploratory part of this program, we know there's probably not going to be a lot of local but we know there's going to be some supplies from here in Halifax. We know Shell has already picked its offshore drilling rig, what kind of work it is going to be doing; we do know that's going to be a phenomenal boost to our economy. It is one of those Field of Dreams kind of feeling - if you build it they will come. Well if there are a few wells drilled, hopefully there will be a few other holes drilled as well, as we roll along. We're looking forward to what Shell will be finding and hopefully as BP gets its project up and running as well, we will see some positive outcomes for there as well.

I think all of us are hoping that not only is it going to be gas finds but maybe some oil for a change. Looking at what's happening in the offshore or what hasn't happened in the offshore in the last number of years, I think it is a very good thing to see it happening.

I also want to say that this is thanks to the investments in the offshore industry with the Play Fairway Analysis that provided the major oil companies an idea of what is offshore, taking all the information that was found in different explorations and putting it in one place so that those oil companies that are making their decisions around the world can look at what we have, what we have to offer, and make those decisions. To think, we have been very successful in being able to get those leases up and running and hopefully as those leases have closed, we will find who the successful bidders will be on some more exploration in our offshore.

As I said, it was a wise investment by a previous PC Government that was expanded upon by the last government and this government, and they continue to work on it. You can see one idea starts and as long as it is followed through, sometimes we can reap the benefits of that and this is one of those instances that I'm proud to say that I think all governments or all Party stripes have had an opportunity to work on over the past number of years. That was a $15 million investment that resulted in $2 billion in bids to date and I can say that is probably an excellent rate of return on things.

For over 50 years companies have explored the geology off the coast of Nova Scotia, with more than 200 offshore wells drilled. Over this time Nova Scotia has developed an incredible supply chain to the energy industry. In fact, many of them were in town last week, or two weeks ago, for the Core Energy Conference where the industry meets annually for updates on energy developments. While this year they were meeting, disappointed in the government's ban on hydraulic fracturing and the potential jobs it would create, the past several years has been very promising when it comes to the offshore.

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Last year Deep Panuke reached first gas, a milestone for our province and the region's energy industry. The project has generated over 4.3 million person-hours of employment for Nova Scotians. Our local supply chain to the energy industry benefits significantly from this. Of course, these projects would never begin if it were not for the expertise of those companies that provide services and goods to the energy industry. The supply chain has enabled the successful development of our offshore resources, time and time again, over the past several decades. As we move forward with potential projects from Shell and BP off the coast, I am confident they will once again be up to that challenge.

I would be remiss not to mention that the offshore's strong regulatory regime has done much to enable the province's success offshore. The CNSOPB has done an excellent job of ensuring operators understand what is expected of them and required in order to conduct operations in our waters. The CNSOPB employs some of the smartest people in the industry. It has an outstanding board to govern it. The board promotes a top-to-bottom approach to ensuring a culture of safety is instilled from the operators across the entire supply chain working on a project.

I support this as it provides the board with greater powers to ensure that their rules are being followed. The best way to limit any potential impact offshore is by preventing it from happening in the first place. Again, that is why the culture of safety that the CNSOPB promotes is so important. This legislation proposes new measures to ensure that, should any incident occur offshore, the board is able to quickly react. The offshore industry is a perfect example of where responsible development can be enabled through effective regulations. This is in contrast to the government's approach on hydraulic fracturing of simply introducing a ban.

That is an example of government adding uncertainty to the investment climate. This bill is an incremental step in improving our offshore regulations, one that the industry stated it supports and understands. It is important to know that to conduct operations offshore, an environmental assessment must be conducted for every step along the way. This is beneficial to everyone, as it follows for potential concerns to be identified early to allow mitigation measures to be created and applied. Despite operating in harsh conditions, the processes put in place offshore allow for safe operations.

In conclusion, I do support these measures that will enable future development to be conducted safely offshore. This is mirror legislation on a federal Act, and of course with our partners in Newfoundland and Labrador as well. I commend the supply chain for the energy industry for their record of impeccable safety and for consistently rising to meet the occasion. Further, I recognize the great work of the CNSOPB in ensuring operations are safe and that what is expected from operators is communicated. With those short words, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to Bill No. 18.

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

HON. FRANK CORBETT « » : Mr. Speaker, I won't be long on Bill No. 18. There is no sense of plowing over the ground that has already been plowed. This has been a bill that mirrors both the feds and Newfoundland and Labrador. As the previous speaker said, this is the third government it has now been in front of. It is finalized so let's move on; let's do it. Let's go forward and let's get on with it. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Energy.

HON. ANDREW YOUNGER « » : Mr. Speaker, just before I close debate, I will address one thing that came up there about local jobs and the exploration. There are actually more local jobs than most people realize. Both Shell and BP are running offices here in Halifax, as well as BP's work through WesternGeco this summer. They actually hired quite a few cadets from Port Hawkesbury aboard their vessels, and I believe all or most have now been hired permanently for their operations worldwide. Obviously those kinds of jobs travel all over the place, wherever the ships go.

So there are lots of very exciting things happening in that respect and there are more things to come. We are expecting some other announcements in the next few weeks which we're very excited about. With that I'll close debate on second reading.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 18. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker would you please call Bill No. 22.

Bill No. 22 - Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission Act.

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

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 22. Harness racing is a sport that has long been a proud tradition of Atlantic Canada. With the changes I am introducing today, the government is laying the groundwork to grant a request for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to join the Maritime Provinces Harness Racing Commission. This change will mean that eventually there will be one harness racing commission to regulate and promote the industry in the four Atlantic Provinces. It will ensure that harness racing continues in Newfoundland and Labrador, something that is very important for the future of the sport in our region.

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Mr. Speaker, this bill is one of the steps to take to make this possible. Once Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island amend their respective legislation governing the commission, and Newfoundland and Labrador introduces new legislation allowing them to join the commission, we will be able to proclaim the amendments contained in this bill and make the Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission a reality. We are very fortunate that Nova Scotia has experienced and talented experts to represent us on the commission. They ensure that our industry that supports jobs and economic activity through our region, especially in rural communities, is maintained. I want to take this opportunity to thank the members of the commission and the staff for all that they do to ensure that the excitement and entertainment that is so much part of harness racing continues in our region.

Mr. Speaker, our government cares about rural communities and wants to see the rural economy prosper, provide a good quality of life for Nova Scotians and their families. In the past few weeks I have been attending events around the province that have shown me that there is a lot of innovation and energy in our rural communities. I am pleased that our government is able to take steps that will support the growth of those communities.

Mr. Speaker, this bill supports continued harness racing throughout all Atlantic Provinces and Canada, and I'm looking forward to working with other Atlantic Provinces to see Newfoundland and Labrador part of this commission. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Northside-Westmount.

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker there is no doubt that harness racing is a popular activity in Nova Scotia. Racing and breeding Standardbred horses is an agricultural business that plays an important role in our province's economy. A lot of credit goes to the industry people who are keeping this activity alive. I know recently on the Northside a new group of people took over running the track there and made substantial inroads towards making the sport of harness racing viable in our province.

Local economies benefit from a range of spinoff jobs: purchases of hardware, computers, electronics, and stationery; there are two local feed stores, harness equipment and suppliers, local farmers for hay and straw, and vehicle maintenance and supplies. Several times a year the tracks - I know the track in Inverness and the track on the Northside host what they call stake races, which brings horsemen from all over the Maritimes who use local gas stations, restaurants and hotels. Not only do they employ about 35 people on-site at the Northside Downs, they have a simulcast suite that runs simulcast races from all over North America and Canada year-round.

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Mr. Speaker, it's important to see that Newfoundland and Labrador become part of our industry, which will strengthen the industry, and I'm hoping that the province has the wherewithal to make sure that the money that goes to the harness racing tracks in Nova Scotia to keep them viable continues, and that we can continue to support this industry and keep it growing in the province and in the Maritimes.

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

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 22.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 22. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 26.

Bill No. 26 - Animal Protection Act.

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


HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : I move that Bill No. 26, amendments to the Animal Protection Act, now be read for a second time.

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand here today before my colleagues in this House and ask them to support amendments to the Animal Protection Act. As the Nova Scotia Minister of Agriculture, I'm bringing forward amendments that will better protect animals here in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I know that animal protection is as important to Nova Scotians as it is to me. Animal abuse is intolerable. As minister, I am committed to doing all I can to make sure that we have proper legislation and regulations in place so that companion animals in this province are properly cared for and protected.

There are three amendments to the Animal Protection Act we are proposing. The first amendment will make it an offence to abandon any animal. Second, cats will be included in the requirements for veterinary certificates of health upon sale. The third amendment will give the Minister of Agriculture the authority to appoint interested municipalities and other organizations to be responsible for enforcement of the Animal Protection Act in regard to companion animals.

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These proposed amendments are a result of public consultations which were held in the summer and Fall of 2013 and winter of 2014. I personally met with many groups as part of the regulatory development process. This consultation process has seen more than 300 Nova Scotians provide their input in the new regulations. These changes will support and complement other measures being taken by my department, including finalized standards of care for cats and dogs; introduction of summary offence tickets to ensure enforcement options; allowing for procurement process to establish an enforcement body across the province; and the creation of a minister's forum on animal protection.

The standards of care for cats and dogs will be fully implemented later this Fall. The minister's forum will also be happening this Fall. As we promised, it will be part of our commitment to ensuring stakeholders continue to see improvements in the Animal Protection Act. I expect we'll see sending out invitations to the forum in the next few weeks. This will be an annual event and will help us continually improve the approach to animal protection in the Province of Nova Scotia. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to stand and speak for a few moments on this bill. You know, sometimes we stand here and we criticize, but when something good happens, you have to stand and say, this is a good move forward.

It wasn't so long ago that I brought forward a petition to this House with - I think there were 800 signatures on it - talking about Mojo, the dog that was found down in Clare-Digby that had been neglected by its owners, and was eventually taken from those owners and then, of course, brought to life. It was a poor little puppy that didn't have much of a life to look forward to, and now is being cared for by its new owners.

The reason that I did want to talk, though, really revolves around how deep or how implicated the SPCAs and the enforcement officers are going to be able to get when it comes to the investigations of cruelty to animals. There are far too many instances in our communities still where animals are being mistreated, animals are not given a chance. I don't know how many puppies we see on Kijiji or the amount of puppies we see for sale and there's really no good way of knowing that all those animals will be getting the life that we would give to our animals.

I know I spend far too much on our family pet and how much love we give her and how much love she gives back, but a lot of families don't treat things that way. They are looked at in many cases as tools, or even worse - as just something that can stay chained outside. So my ask to the minister, as this rolls around, is that hopefully there will be some more powers for the SPCA, again for those investigative measures. The issue of tethering is one that is a very difficult one to really design around, but as long as there's some common sense applied, I think not too many animals will be spending the winter outside without some kind of investigation happening.

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There was a previous government that came forward, and I'll give them credit as well when they looked at this issue of animals in the back of a truck. As much as we see that happen in our communities, there has to be some kind of tethering mechanism or put them inside the darn truck. I've talked to friends who have lost their animals off the back of their trucks because what do dogs do when they're back there and they see something they're interested in, they find themselves over the side. That happens far too often in our communities, so knowing that they helped out with that, brought forward the issue of tethering animals in the back of a truck or basically giving enforcement officers the opportunity to at least pull someone over and tell them they're different, because there was no appreciation in the old Acts for that.

So with those few short words, again there's probably a lot of detail that is still to go on this, there are still a number of regulations that are going to have to go forward to it and of course we hope they will all be positive for animal welfare in Nova Scotia. Thank you very much.

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

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, I, too, rise from my seat to say that I support this bill as well, Bill No. 26, the Animal Protection Act.

I know that it has been important to add cats to this mix and I believe one of the incidents that happened in Truro this summer partly led to this when a gentleman got out of a car and grabbed a cat off somebody's stoop and neighbours said they looked in disbelief - it was at night and he grabbed the cat and threw it around by the tail and slammed it to the ground and beat it to death. It was extremely upsetting and very sad for a lot of people in Truro. We hate to hear about cruelty to animals and this particular incident. They finally did find the man in question but he got off, he didn't really get punished for his acts which I still find rather unbelievable, so I think it's very important that cats have been added to this bill.

Also I know in a lot of trailer parks people will just dump cats off. We have a few trailer parks in the Truro-Bible Hill-Salmon River area and there are a lot of cats, some that are feral, running around in the woods and they come out looking for food - there's a ton of them. In fact Trailer Park Boys is now shooting in Bible Hill, that's their new location, and I hear Bubbles is quite happy that there are a lot of kitties running around, but in fact we do care about those kitties and we'd rather that they have safe, warm homes rather than having to exist on scraps from people - it's very sad.

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The other thing that I think is important for Nova Scotia is that we used to look at animals as just appendages and lots of farms would have little cats in the barns and things like this. But more and more as time has gone on, a lot of people have animals as companion animals and sometimes they don't have families and these are their only families, so I think the more that we can put the onus on the importance of every living being as being important and should be treated with respect, kindness, and dignity, the better our society will grow.

With those few words I take my seat and, again, I support the minster on this bill. Thank you very much.

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

MR. IAIN RANKIN « » : I'm very pleased to speak in support of the amendments to the Animal Protection Act introduced by my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture. As many of you probably know, I attended the anti-tethering march along with my colleague from Dartmouth South, and I understand the minister was at one of the other rallies - in Bridgewater, I believe, in the South Shore.

As the minister has indicated in opening reading on debate on this bill, as did the Opposition, both Parties, animal abuse is intolerable - it is a stain on our province that concerns many Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, none of us wants to see companion animals in Nova Scotia suffer due to neglect or abuse. It goes against our basic instincts as human beings. I am sure many of us have personal experiences with a family pet, a cat, dog, or another animal that has become a cherished member of our household. I happen to have such a pet, my small dog has been with me for nearly seven years, while veterinarians gave him less than a couple of days and less than 20 per cent chance to survive along with the treatment when I purchased him on the side of the road in Quebec.

Mr. Speaker, anyone who has cared for a companion animal knows the joy they bring into our lives, they have personally experienced the warm welcome from the family pet when we come home at the end of the day.

Many Nova Scotians also share in the horror we feel when cases of animal neglect or abuse come to light. We have been appalled to see innocent animals mistreated and in some cases killed due to cruelty and abuse. The circumstance around the sale of my pet dog led to a very challenging period where he suffered from parvovirus because he didn't get the treatment that all dogs and puppies are supposed to get before they are sold to someone. I fortunately had the financial means to be able to help him through this process, and I'm happy that he's 100 per cent healthy today with nothing wrong due to that virus.

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Mr. Speaker, I share the aversion that Nova Scotians feel to this kind of reprehensible behaviour directed at animals. Our government agrees with the many Nova Scotians who have submitted public comments to the regulatory review for animal protection that there needs to be proper legislation and regulations in place to ensure that companion animals are well cared for and protected from abuse.

I am particularly pleased that the minister agreed to meet and listen to the groups representing cats. We together met with the Tuxedo Party, actually resides in my riding, both Stan who went for mayor, as you remember, and Earl Grey who ran against our Premier - but I supported him as well. The result of that allows for cats to finally be included in the bill. This also stems from some of the HRM initiatives where my father, Councillor Reg Rankin, was the first one to bring forth to the floor the neuter and release program for HRM and get funding for the SPCA to help with that program.

The bill that is now before this House represents a step in the process of eradicating abuse for animals, Mr. Speaker, it will allow new regulations for standards of care to come forward. Those regulations will spell out the expectations of Nova Scotians for ways that companion animals should be treated. Enhanced standards of care will help with enforcing the rules against abuse of animals, and it will make clear what an offence is and will allow those involved in enforcement to charge and prosecute individuals who break those rules.

Mr. Speaker, how many times have members of this House walked by a yard where a dog is tethered, barking, and crying, and have wondered how this animal is treated. Once this bill has passed and new standards of care are put in place through regulation, owners of pets will know what is acceptable as tethering and what is not. Enforcement officials will be able to take action and ensure abusers are held to account for their actions. The requirement of the health certificate will help mitigate against the proliferation of puppy mills and other unhealthy ways of selling companion animals.

Mr. Speaker, with this bill and the new regulations it will make possible, it will be clearer than ever what constitutes animal abuse in Nova Scotia and we can make more progress in ensuring companion animals receive proper care and protection. Thank you very much.

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

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : I am also pleased to stand tonight in support of this bill. Protecting animals is the right thing to do, and I want to thank all of those in the province's animal welfare community who work so hard to protect animals and prevent animal cruelty.

The Progressive Conservative caucus supports the changes that make abandoning an animal an offence. We'd like to see this bill go a little further. I think the minister referred to some of the stuff that we might see in regulations, but we're looking to see tougher laws that make sense. I'm speaking specifically about provisions aimed at pet owners who leave pets in hot cars and provisions to prevent the permanent tethering of dogs by including permanent tethering in the definition of cruelty.

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I think those are a couple of things that can be addressed through legislation as opposed to just regulations. We'd like to see that in there. We'd like to see what those changes might be. Our caucus does support strict, comprehensive, and responsible legislation against animal cruelty. As I say that, I'm thinking of the story of Buddy. Buddy was a dog here in the province that was shot by some neighbours. The neighbours didn't seem to particularly care for the dog, and he was ultimately shot, and the excuse was the dog was chasing deer. Apparently you can shoot dogs in the province if they're chasing deer.

These are the types of things that can be tightened up, and we're anxiously watching to see where this legislation goes, to see some of the regulation changes. As the PC caucus at the time strengthened amendments to the Animal Protection Act that was brought forward by a previous government by suggesting it change and strengthen the regulations around the safe transportation of animals, we believe that this bill can also be improved. We're hopeful that through this process, the minister will consider changes to this bill as they come forward through Law Amendments Committee, and through debate on this floor.

I appreciate the time to speak to this bill tonight, and I thank you.

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

MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, first I'd like to thank the minister for bringing Bill No. 26 forward. I don't speak on many bills, but this one in particular I'd like to offer a few personal notes on. It is very close to me, and I think some of the comments made here today are very valid. I also want to thank the members across the floor for their support.

My life revolves around animals, and I just want to share a couple of personal notes of what this means. In a major part of my career I ran a wildlife park. I also had a certified boarding kennel for Labrador retrievers with CKC, and then I moved into the world of natural resources, where I also experienced some more interesting stories with animals. I then went on with the Municipality of Digby and looked after their dog control.

What happened with me was more so how these animals can affect a community when they're not treated right. The scourge on the province can also be reflected in the Digby area. We're ground zero for a lot of bad stories - the infamous Ms. Benoit and the puppy mill, the Mojo experience that we had down there. I was at his facility here just a few months ago. These things tear a community apart when they happen. One of the most important things we always have to remember is that these animals don't have a chance to speak in the Legislature. They're not like a lot of groups that come and advocate. The work that needs to be done has to be done inside yourself to do them. I commend the minister for doing that.

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Just to share a couple of personal things I saw that I think will hopefully deter in the future these actions from happening again. I remember vividly one of the most striking abandonment cases that I ever saw was in the middle of the winter. There was a rifle range that we looked after, and we just had the fortune to be going in and doing some sidearm practising, and we happened to notice some small dog tracks on the side of the road going into the woods. Sure enough, there were eight puppies - they probably would have been about three or four weeks old - dropped off in the middle of the winter. Probably one of the most appalling things I have come across as far as abandonment goes. I am hoping that the awareness of raising this kind of a bill will, at the very least, stop these things from happening, let alone give us the tools to go out and prosecute these people properly.

Another thing, Mr. Speaker, that I happened to be quite involved with - because I had boarding kennels, everybody in the world seemed to like to drop animals off and leave them. At one time I think we had 15 cats. It was easy to do that when we didn't have these laws to go after people for doing it.

Again, Mr. Speaker, these kinds of things go a long way. The TLC Animal Shelter in my area spoke to me, and interestingly enough it was one of the most engaging discussions that I had during the campaign, and they spoke about who is representing the animals. They have been big advocates in my riding and I'm sure they will be very happy to see this. As a matter of fact, they are anxiously waiting to see how well it is enforced.

This is going to give the municipalities another nice tool to help out with animal control and I commend the minister for opening it up to opportunities for that to happen. Hopefully just the fact that we are passing the bill today, and it will get reported, hopefully, in the media, will bring a lot of awareness to people to make them think twice about what they have done in the past. I thank the minister and I thank this government very much for doing that.

With those short words, I'll take my seat.

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

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleagues for the comments they made and the Opposition members for the support of the bill and some of the issues they have raised. I can assure you, under the regulations which are already written, we will ensure that the animals won't be riding in the back of open trucks anymore without proper containment. That is already in the regulations we have.

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Tethering will have some very strict rules around it. That is in place. Enforcement will be taken more seriously than ever before and we are hoping to broaden the range of people who will do enforcement so we get a faster response to the problems that arise. We are also going to provide training to the enforcement officers right across the board so they understand how to write the tickets, what real cruelty is, and how they can judge that to make sure we get better results if we have to go to court because a court issue will still be there, and the tool will still be there, but we need better training for enforcement staff to understand that that is the case and it will work. We are also going to have other things in the regulations around that as well.

Hot cars is another issue that will be addressed in the regulations - it is already in the regulations. We are going to review these regulations on a yearly basis. That is the idea of the ministers' panel. We will bring together all the animal rights groups and all the enforcement people at the end of a year, to see how it is working. This will be an ongoing event every year to make sure we are going with the times and what we've seen that previous year for animal cruelty that we may not have been able to address.

Hopefully we haven't left anything out. We've spent a lot of time and a lot of effort on this so hopefully we are going to be very successful on the first go-around and maybe only have to make some minor tweaks as we go forward.

I want to thank the SPCA for the work they have done in the past and look forward to them working with us in the future in the province. I'm looking forward to working with some of the municipalities that may decide to do some of this work.

Again I want to thank the animal protection community for all the ideas they've brought forward as we look forward to this being rolled out. This is sort of an unusual situation: the regulations are written; the previous bill is passed. We can't proclaim it without the regulations and I can't do the regulations without this bill being passed. So we have to pass this bill first, have to put the regulations in place and pass the second bill. It all goes together as one package so it is a pretty interesting scenario. If that wasn't the case, we would have already had the regulations in place and working, so we need this bill in place.

I thank the members opposite for their support and hopefully this will go through quickly and we can get this in place as soon as possible, before any more animals are injured that we could be protecting under these bills and under these regulations.

Again thank you and with that, I move second reading of Bill No. 26.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 26. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

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The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 25.

Bill No. 25 - Housing Act and Housing Nova Scotia Act.

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

HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : Mr. Speaker, some days ago I introduced an amendment to the Housing Nova Scotia Act. I move that Bill No. 25 now be read for a second time.

Bill No. 25 will formally establish the positon of chief executive officer to lead Housing Nova Scotia. This provides the CEO with the legislative authority and accountability to help this organization deliver on the promises of the provincial Housing Strategy. Under this legislation, the CEO will report directly to the Minister of Community Services.

Mr. Speaker, this legislation will lay a solid foundation for Housing Nova Scotia to move forward on the Housing Strategy, a strategy that was developed through broad public consultation. The Housing Strategy has many exciting new initiatives underway such as affordable housing options for owners and renters, paths to home ownership, and increased support to seniors, persons with disabilities, and vulnerable Nova Scotians, and strategic partnerships with community groups, businesses, and other levels of government.

The Bloomfield Redevelopment Project is a demonstration of the Housing Strategy in action. It's a great example of what we can accomplish by working with the community. Bloomfield is a unique and exciting opportunity for our province to showcase a new sustainable approach to building healthy, vibrant, and diverse communities. The Bloomfield site is a visionary mixed-income, mixed-use development that will create a dynamic hub where community, cultural, and social and economic activities meet. It will include a wide range of homes for sale, from full market rate to affordable homeownership in support of housing options. It's exactly what the community needs. This project has been bringing communities together to develop innovative and affordable housing options to the province, and there is much more work to do.

The Housing Strategy also aims to help seniors live independently and safely in their homes longer. It gives people the tools to buy their first home, and it allows persons with disabilities to make the adaptations they need in order to stay in their homes. It also provides assistance for low-income families to make repairs to their homes.

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Housing Nova Scotia is the perfect avenue to navigate the difficult challenges many individuals and families face each day. The organization's goal isn't just to provide structures, it's to build communities. The right housing options have the ability to change lives. Mr. Speaker, formalizing Housing Nova Scotia's CEO positon is a very important step in establishing Housing Nova Scotia as a dynamic and inclusive organization. Everyone deserves to call a place home and Housing Nova Scotia, with this new strategy, is making that happen.

Mr. Speaker, I speak for both myself and for our community partners when I say that I am excited about the progress of the Housing Strategy, but I recognize there is still much more to be done.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and with that I move second reading of Bill No. 25.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Northside-Westmount.

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I won't speak long on this bill. It's good to see that the Liberal Government has formally established the chief executive officer that has been in place for over a year already, and obviously the PC caucus supports providing safe and affordable housing for seniors and other Nova Scotians.

But we know that one of the major obstacles to finding appropriate housing is the fact that there are not enough jobs, and people don't have jobs and without a job it's hard to get a house, and without a house it's hard to get a job. So, Mr. Speaker, it's a vicious cycle that we hope we'll be able to break with this new establishment of this chief executive officer.

We also know that its high power rates are a hindrance to affordable housing and we're hoping that the Liberal Government will address all those factors, especially the housing part of it, so that people can have affordable housing. We will support this bill, thank you.

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

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I just want to very quickly, on behalf of the NDP caucus, say that we are in support of this administrative amendment in the Housing Act and we would like to see it go forward and we'll be supporting that. Thank you.

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

[Page 1193]

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : Mr. Speaker, I move we close debate on Bill No. 25.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 25. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 38.

Bill No. 38 - Pooled Registered Pension Plans Act.

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

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 38 be read for a second time.

This is a bill I am very proud to discuss here at the Legislature, as we work to bring in PRPPs for Nova Scotia. With the second reading of this bill, we are one step closer to becoming the first province in Atlantic Canada to make Pooled Registered Pension Plans available. Since our days in Opposition we have been actively advocating for PRPPs to be available to Nova Scotians. I introduced the bill twice as a private member's bill and so it gives me a great deal of pleasure to be able to see it moving through the House now and being at second reading here today.

It's actually something that I have thought for a long time and members of our caucus have agreed that it is something we need to offer to Nova Scotians. This is legislation that will give Nova Scotians a new opportunity to save for their retirements, a straightforward option that will help ensure financial security for Nova Scotians when they retire. Just 40 per cent of Nova Scotians currently have a retirement pension. On top of that, less than 20 per cent of Nova Scotians are currently contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan.

We knew it was important to make another retirement pension option available in our province, one that is attractive to employees and employers and one that is easy to set up and maintain. It has long been our goal to provide this low-cost, regulated pension option for employers, employees and the self-employed across our province. We first discussed it in the 2009 election, and I remember well the announcement was made in the Clayton Park riding at the time, the then-Leader of the Opposition and now Premier came to my riding where we made the announcement that this would be one of our platform pieces. It was again in the platform in 2013 so this would be one of our commitments to bring forward as government.

[Page 1194]

Upon introducing this legislation last week, we received a great deal of support from industry. The CFIB, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and Manulife both attended our bill briefing and spoke publicly about the many positive features of PRPPs. If you are wondering just who will benefit from Pooled Registered Pension Plans, I can tell you that the list is long. It includes the self-employed, of which there are about 50,000 in Nova Scotia; small businesses; the non-profit sector, and those organizations that have contract people working for them on a term basis. For example, a number of our universities have suggested that PRPPs will be useful for the researchers they have who work on grant projects for pre-determined periods of time.

Another aspect of our PRPP framework that I want to highlight is the portability of the pension plans. This is addressing a key shortcoming of many of the plans that the companies offer. It means that Nova Scotians can change jobs and employers while choosing to stay in their Pooled Registered Pension Plan. This is because, while the funds are locked in for retirement, employees can choose to move their assets to another retirement savings plan at any time as they see fit. But the ideal thing is that it can stay in a plan and continue to grow and not be collapsed, as happens nowadays when you have a lot of young people, particularly, changing jobs frequently. Whatever money they put in the pension plan at work, if they're lucky enough to have one, gets collapsed if they've been there less than two years. They simply take it away with them, so it's not growing and it's not becoming useful to them.

As I'm sure my colleagues know, Nova Scotia has, as I said, 50,000 self-employed workers, who up to now have not had access to any kind of pension plan like this. They can now begin enjoying the benefits of a plan. With the new option of starting a PRPP, we're confident that the number of Nova Scotians with a retirement pension will rise in the short term and for many years to come. We're thrilled to be able to offer them in Nova Scotia by early in 2015.

Perhaps the best way to describe PRPPs is to say that they are a new way for businesses to provide pension options to their employees. When we spoke to the CFIB, they had polled their members, which are over 6,000 companies and small businesses here in Nova Scotia, and about 35 per cent of them had already said that they were interested in registering and making this PRPP option available to their employees. So we know there's a lot of interest, and that's going to be the ticket to having more people getting into a plan and being able to save for their retirement. We think that's very important, and that's why we're anxious to get going as fast as possible.

The portability of the plan is one of the big pluses that we think makes a big difference for young people. The ease of registering is very important. The plans are going to be offered by large insurance companies. In fact, federally, legislation passed that this fits in with, and it covered federal employees, so there are already five big companies that are registered to offer this vehicle, this pension fund option.

[Page 1195]

One of them is Manulife, which I mentioned had attended our bill briefing, and one of the best things about Manulife being there is that they have a big presence here in Nova Scotia. They also have a lot of employees, and we hope they will be able to do well with this, along with other - we expect it will be the banks and insurance companies that will offer them.

The important part of their role is that the onus of marketing it and getting people signed up and all of the administrative burden lies with the insurance companies or the banks that will decide to offer it. Because they will have everything in place, an employer simply has to register and say, I'll now be one of those companies offering the pension plan. By so doing, that means that all of their employees would be registered.

So I mentioned the portability and the ease of registering. The other part of this PRPP that's very important is that each individual employee and the employer themselves have the choice of how much they want to put in. They can choose to put in 3 per cent or 4 per cent of their income, or they could say in a particular year, this isn't a good year for me to be involved - perhaps I'm on maternity leave or my wife has lost her job and we're down to one income, so for whatever reason, they could say, this year I'm just going to scale back; I'm going to put in nothing this year. Your funds are still going to be growing. You still have a pension plan, and you can choose in a year or two to go back up and change your contribution level again.

So not only is it portable, it's very flexible, and although we hope that employers will put money in and match or provide some matching to the employee, it's not necessary. So again, if an employer feels that it's a difficult time, they can choose to have the plan in place and be registered and let their employees contribute, but perhaps for one reason or another they're not at this time. But they can kick in if they have a really good year or their profits improve, if conditions improve. They can start to contribute as well.

What we're hoping is that over time more companies or more employers will contribute, because they'll see that as a way of attracting and retaining those really good employees that they have, so it'll become a competitive advantage to the company that offers it. So we're hoping that more and more will be registered, and then over time the employers will be active participants in doing that as well.

One of the advantages - as I said, there'd be very low cost to enroll. Really, it's just the cost of the time for the employer, for the company, to actually do the paperwork. I'm told it'll be very short, very easy, very user friendly. All the marketing to the individual employees will be done directly from the company that is chosen, so the employer has to choose one of the providers of this service. Once they've done that, it's very easy. The company that they've chosen will run with it and ensure that information is made available to all of the employees and, really, they market it and package it for them. So the employer has very little cost other than their time to get registered, but beyond that, there's, as I said, a great deal of flexibility for everybody involved. I think that's a big plus.

[Page 1196]

Again, the low cost of administration is the other point that I wanted to mention, because when you pool all the money into large pools of pension money, it's much less expensive to administer. What we know from retirement savings, Mr. Speaker, is that when we have individual plans or small pension plans, the administration costs are high relative to the amount of money that's being managed. For that reason, the funds don't grow as quickly or as robustly as they should. Often, particularly in a period of low interest rates or low returns in the markets, your funds aren't growing as we would hope for retirement savings.

Having a low administration cost on those funds means that everybody benefits that has bought into them, so we see that as really a big plus for both the employer and the employees. Again, Mr. Speaker, I've spoken to the Minister of Community Services, who had said what a good option this would be for many of the non-profit organizations who aren't able to offer anything to their employees.

There's also one big advantage and that is that the deductions will be made at source, so that your contribution would be taken right off your income. That also is a huge advantage, because we all know that if you have to put money aside after it's given to you, after you receive your paycheque - you're trying to save that certain percentage for your retirement or for something special - it's harder to do. A lot of times, with Canada Savings Bonds or with RRSPs, the employer will allow you to take it right off at source before you get the money. This is how this will be done as well, and the big payroll companies have already begun to work all their software to do this.

Quebec is the only province that currently has it in place; they began in the summer. It's early days across Canada for these plans. The federal government's legislation covers only federal employees, so we're really looking forward to being very quick out of the gate with all of the regulations and information in place so that these become a reality in the beginning of 2015. With that, I look forward to hearing from the other members of the House on this bill. Thank you.

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

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Thank you for the opportunity to rise tonight and speak to this bill. I appreciated the minister's comments. I was listening intently to her, trying to get my head around this particular bill, because there's no question that we need to help people save for retirement. We need to help people save in general.

I'm just not sure that this is the way to do it. I mean, most investment advisors - and there are a great number of investment advisors - have a number of tools at their disposal that people can invest in for retirement or otherwise. I'm just worried that this seems like just another one of those, just another investment tool, of which we already have so many.

[Page 1197]

I was listening carefully to a lot of the comments around the low cost of this option, because I'm particularly concerned that this will not be a low-cost option. When we have investment companies, insurance companies saying they're really excited to market this product and they're really excited to sell this product into the marketplace, there's generally a reason why they're excited to do that. That's because they intend to make a lot of money off it. The way they make their money is from fees. So I'm concerned this may not be a low-cost option for a number of people.

Oddly, I guess the minister and myself find ourselves at odds here - I'm at odds with the federal Conservatives, and I think maybe our Liberal Government provincially here is at odds with the federal Liberals. I was reading some comments in preparation for this bill and I found some comments by Judy Sgro, who is the Liberal critic for seniors and pension. "After promising pension reform for four years the Conservatives have decided to go the easy route and just let investment fund managers offer a new type of savings plan to workers," said Mrs. Sgro. She carried on - she said, "The basic idea behind the Conservative's [sic] pooled pension plan is to create another vehicle that will allow banks to chip away at the nest eggs of Canadians with their high management fees."

That is exactly the concern that I have with this bill, but that said, I am optimistic that we can find a way to help Nova Scotians save for retirement. Maybe this is it, but I have a number of concerns and reservations about this bill as it stands.

I would be happy to listen through the Law Amendments Committee and third reading, talk to the minister, and maybe see if I can alleviate those concerns, because if it works for Nova Scotians, that's a good thing, but I am worried that this will not work for the vast majority of Nova Scotians and I'm particularly worried that it won't work for that very group of people who need it the most.

As it stands today, this is not a bill that I am supportive of, but I am open-minded and I appreciate the time to rise tonight. Thank you very much.

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

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to have an opportunity to rise in my place in the second reading debate on Bill No. 38. You know, this piece of legislation was championed by the former federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. I had an opportunity to sit at the table with all the Finance Ministers from across the country and have a discussion with Minister Flaherty with respect to this particular proposal, which he was tremendously keen on and wanted to see adopted by all the provinces.

[Page 1198]

At the time the Province of Nova Scotia had taken the position that it was not opposed to the introduction of these kinds of pooled savings accounts as an additional tool for people to plan and prepare for their retirement. I think, in particular, our province was interested with respect to all of those 50,000 individuals who are self-employed in particular. However, I think beyond that the minister overstates, greatly, the potential of this particular vehicle for other groups of working people in the province.

There is ample opportunity, for example, that registered retirement savings plans, RRSPs, have not been an effective vehicle for many, many people who are in the labour market, people of middle and modest means. In fact, we have seen studies that have demonstrated that for many people who have invested in these plans, the rate of return, because of high management fees and what have you, does not leave much of an investment or pension income for people. As a result, this has not worked well.

Many aspects of the RRSP system are somewhat repeated here. The voluntary nature of these pooled pension programs actually can work very much to the detriment of having adequate retirement income for people. As my colleague in the Official Opposition has just indicated, it is puzzling. The federal Liberal Party has, in fact, been quite adamant that the pension reform of the Harper Government will only enrich the banking and insurance industry who will reap the maximum benefit, while Canadian workers continue to be left behind under this system.

I won't read the quote that has previously been read by my colleague in the Progressive Conservative Party but I will table that article in case members of the Liberal backbench haven't had an opportunity to really drill down and understand that this is a piece of legislation that their federal cousins, or their federal counterparts, have serious concerns about with respect to its efficacy.

The other thing that people really need to think about here, I think, is the Canada Pension Plan. We have in our country - and we should be very proud of this - probably the best and best-managed pension plan of any industrial nation in the world. The Canada Pension Plan is the envy of many other jurisdictions. It is actually a plan that a Liberal Government and Paul Martin put on a much stronger financial footing than it had been for many, many years.

I think back to the mid-1990s when there were real concerns about the Canada Pension Plan. It had not been overhauled for many, many years and Mr. Martin, as the federal Finance Minster of the day, took control of the situation and there was a modernization of that plan, which has resulted in a significant improvement in the performance of the plan, and the plan is one that is very stable. It has excellent returns, very low rates of administrative costs, or management costs, and it covers everyone who is in the labour force as an employee now.

[Page 1199]

It is understood, and the plan managers themselves are concerned about the need to continue to improve on the Canada Pension Plan for the next generation, shall we say, of workers, people who are just entering the workplace now. The conditions of work for many people today aren't what they were 15, 20, 30 years ago where you went into the labour market, you had full-time hours in a job that you held for life. Now there is much more diversity, I guess, in people's employment history, and the Canada Pension Plan needs to be modernized in a way that would reflect that and could benefit workers in the future.

I am disappointed that we haven't seen any commitment from this government to deal with that, unlike their provincial counterparts in the Province of Ontario. You know Kathleen Wynne had attempted to negotiate an expansion of the Canada Pension Plan for the working people of the Province of Ontario, and when she ran up against the Harperites, who kind of see this as the solution for the inadequate public pensions, or pensions of any kind, she said we'll go it alone. We'll establish our own pension in the Province of Ontario and I think those of us who follow social policy issues around social security will be very interested to see what, in fact, she and her government develop over the next period of time. Conceivability they could be leaders and they could have quite a significant impact on where pension security is going into the future for working people.

I think our concern here in the NDP caucus is that these pooled pension plans will really have a benefit more for those who manage and sell the product, high management fees. I think the Australian Government introduced this as a vehicle back in the late 1970s. There have been recent analyses of what the impact of that has been and, in fact, fees have really taken up the growth in investments with those plans and it has not yielded the kind of social security that one would want for people in their retirement. And so, it hasn't turned out to be a vehicle that has been of significant benefit to people who are looking at a very insecure security unless we are prepared, as a society, to use the perfectly sound vehicle that we already have, the Canada Pension Plan.

With those few remarks, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place. We will support moving this bill to the Law Amendments Committee. We look forward to hearing from interventions in the Law Amendments Committee and we will reserve our final position on this bill for when it returns to this House on third reading. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate hearing the comments from the Opposition critics for this area as well. I wanted to particularly just talk about the costs. Certainly the costs in Canada for operating your RRSP plans are the highest in the world. Our administrative costs are very high. I don't know if Canadians are aware of it, but we are paying the highest rates in the world. I do believe this will be a much cheaper, more low-cost option.

[Page 1200]

Again, the benefit that the member for Halifax Needham references about the Canada Pension Plan, the benefit of that is that it's a very large pool of capital. It's in fact so large that they now are investing all over the world because there is not enough investment opportunity in our country. So having a pool of capital lowers your overhead and cost and allows you to have much better returns on the money invested because you can then really have a wide range of things that you can invest in, unlike an individual who might have a self-directed RRSP and you can only choose just so many stocks or so many mutual funds in order to get a diversity and share the risk. So the risk is shared, your chance of making better returns is much improved and it will be a lower-cost option than an RRSP.

I wanted to mention - I know it's a bit of detail, but when you look at a group RRSP that an employer could set up, the employer's contribution to that is considered actually an extra part of your salary, so you have to pay higher deductions for CPP, EI, and the other kind of payroll taxes all go up, including from the individual who is receiving that as RRSP money - they have to pay their matching shares. Having a PRPP will be better from that tax perspective, that it will not be seen as a top-up to your income; it will actually be a pension payment that the employer will be making, so it is better in its treatment. It will be better and more attractive than a group RRSP.

Again, I mention the fact that this way, using a PRPP, your funds that are coming from any little company or organization are pooled with many others so that it becomes a much bigger, more profitable pool of money.

Mr. Speaker, I don't object to some profits in the investment industry, and I think nobody here would. If they provide a good service and they're providing a good return and helping people save for their retirement, then I think it's only right that you pay for their expertise and their management of that money. I do object to the fact that we have the highest rates in Canada, and I think it would be wise for perhaps the federal government to look into that and see why that may be.

But I haven't got control over that, so in the absence of that, Mr. Speaker, what I want to do and what our government wants to do is provide one more tool, one more option that people can avail themselves of, recognizing that 60 per cent of Nova Scotians have no pension plan. What can we do that just provides an opportunity for more people to be able to take that step and start saving their money?

Again, just briefly, the advantages of this rest primarily with things like portability, flexibility, the fact that it is locked-in so it won't be removed. We've had quite a bit of discussion about locked-in pensions in the last number of months, with moves to look at hardship and so on. The same rules would apply in this case as would apply to any other locked-in pension and the low administration.

[Page 1201]

The idea, whether it be mandatory or voluntary, was something that was discussed at length. We would like to see whether or not the large percentage of small businesses that have said they have an interest in offering this - we would like to see whether or not making it voluntary will indeed see a lot more people getting registered into a pension plan and using this vehicle. It is a new vehicle, so we'll have to monitor it and see how it goes. I'm very hopeful that all of us can promote it here, and we can promote it among our constituents. I would hope that groups like CFIB and other business organizations will promote it as well.

At this point in time, we want to hear what people say at the Law Amendments Committee, so I would like to move it along. I'm sure we'll have some more debate later on third reading. At this point I would like to close debate on second reading, and look forward to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 38. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for this evening. The House will sit tomorrow from the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Following the daily routine we will have Public Bills for Second Reading, Bill Nos. 44 and 45, as well as Committee of the Whole House on Bills, and possibly some Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

I want to advise the House that the Committee on Law Amendments will meet tomorrow to consider Bill No. 6, which passed this evening. There will also be an opportunity on Wednesday at the Committee on Law Amendments for Bill No. 6 to be heard. All other bills which have cleared second reading this evening will be heard by the Committee on Law Amendments, as per our new rules, on Monday, October 27th. For anyone who has an interest in those specific pieces of legislation, the bills that will be considered are Bill Nos. 18, 22, 25, 26, and 38.

With that, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow, October 21st, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is to adjourn.

Is it agreed?

[Page 1202]

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 9:43 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 1203]

RESOLUTION NO. 323

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 Esther Chute of Berwick was presented on Wednesday, September 25, 2014, with the Centenarian Award, on behalf of the United Square Dancers of America; and

Whereas this award recognizes Esther as the title holder of the oldest active square dancer in continental America, and she is also a model to seniors and our Valley citizens of community and church involvement at 101 youthful years of age; and

Whereas Esther Chute is a poster person for wellness and a life so well lived that she discovered square dancing at midlife and it has given her a special joy for the past 53 years, with one of the best times being 1967, when she boarded the Centennial train and literally square danced across our country;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Esther Chute on the Centenarian Award and wish her many more years of experiencing the pure joy and fun of square dancing.

RESOLUTION NO. 324

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Bridges is a domestic violence counselling, research, and training institute created for men and their families to address issues of violence in their relationship; and

Whereas Onslow, Colchester North, resident Eric Johnson has been on the Bridges board in Truro where he has assisted with such things as budgets and fundraising, and has served as a facilitator with the organization; and

Whereas Johnson has been committed to this organization, which has assisted almost 200 men in just the last year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Eric Johnson on his retirement after 21 years of service with Bridges, where his unassuming qualities, his perceptiveness, his ability to act as a sounding board for projects, his commitment, and his long-standing support will be greatly missed.

[Page 1204]

RESOLUTION NO. 325

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Chris and Stephen Fitzgerald from Valley, Colchester North, have grown up playing basketball with their father acting as both coach and referee; and

Whereas the brothers attended the Basketball Canada Nationals in Edmonton in July, with Chris playing with the under-17 squad and Stephen with the under-15 team; and

Whereas the two Nova Scotia teams entered the contests as fifth seeds facing stiff competition, but both brothers came home with a bronze medal;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Chris and Stephen Fitzgerald for winning bronze medals at the Basketball Canada Nationals and wish them a successful year with the Cobequid Educational Centre Cougars, the first time they will have played on the same team.

RESOLUTION NO. 326

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Ellen Millard, a resident of Sand Point, near Tatamagouche, Colchester North, grew up with her grandparents on a farm in Wentworth and her love of history stories developed from their storytelling; and

Whereas the Millards were among the first permanent settlers in Tatamagouche; and

Whereas her fascination with history led her to write about the history of the area, and in 1993 she created her first book, titled Back When;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Ellen Millard for her historical writings, including three coffee table books, The Old Nuttby House, Tatamagouche Main Street, and Wallace Then and Now; a children's book called Big Annie; six Back When books; and recently, her seventh Back When book, a collection of stories of people, places, and happenings on the North Shore.

[Page 1205]

Elaine

RESOLUTION 327

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Drew Bezanson grew up in Onslow Mountain, Colchester North, and became an avid extreme sports fan, particularly motorcross and BMX; and

Whereas with the help of his father, Drew built a half-pipe in his father's shed and spent innumerable hours practicing and trying perfect his technique; and

Whereas Drew started his career at amateur competitions with the support of his parents; began to win medals all around the world, became a web sensation with viral videos, and was given a sponsorship deal by Red Bull;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Drew Bezanson for winning the silver medal at the 2014 X Games in Austin, Texas, and wish him continued success with his exciting career.

RESOLUTION NO. 328

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Charlene Thomas, a resident of North River, Colchester North, has an educational background in mental health therapy and nursing; and

Whereas Charlene has run a business for the last twenty years which offers individual and relationship counseling, workshops and organizational training; and

Whereas Charlene, who has been writing for some time, began to observe connections between spiritual and mental health practices, and put together a collection of those spiritual and mental health practices in book form;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Charlene Thomas on the publication of her first book, Achieving Personal Power and Inner Calm, and wish her success with this new endeavor.

[Page 1206]

RESOLUTION NO. 329

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Alice McKenna has been working as a secretary with the Colchester East Hants Regional School Board for forty years; and

Whereas Alice has been secretary at Redcliff Middle School in Valley, Colchester North, since the school opened in 1988; and

Whereas the most positive aspects Alice enjoys in her job are the opportunity to watch the students mature as they move from grade five to seven; to encourage and praise them as they participate in competitions, music, sports or other activities; and to greet them when, as former graduates, they return to the school to say hello;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Alice McKenna for her dedicated service to the educational system of Nova Scotia and to the students of Redcliff Middle School, and wish her well as she continues her fulfilling career.

RESOLUTION NO. 330

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas 24-year-old Dana Fraser from Tatamagouche, Colchester North, a former Truro Bearcat, has already made his mark on the hockey scene; and

Whereas Fraser just came off his senior year with the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers where he was the leading scorer in the Atlantic University Sport Conference; and

Whereas Fraser has signed his first professional contract with the Evansville IceMen of the East Coast Hockey League, joining the team in Evansville, Indiana in September;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Dana Fraser for receiving his first professional contract and wish him success as he continues to use his exceptional talent and skills to advance a very promising hockey career.

[Page 1207]

RESOLUTION NO. 331

By: Mr. Chuck Porter « » (Hants West)

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

Whereas Dr. Jane C. Haliburton has been busy in her retirement years writing a book about a local seniors' facility known as the Gladys M. Manning Retirement Home located in Windsor; and

Whereas Dr. Haliburton, who lives in the assisted living section of the Gladys M. Manning Retirement Home, wrote the book in an effort to ease feelings of stress, anxiety and isolation which are often felt when moving out of one's home; and

Whereas since her book launch in September, the book has received a good response, particularly with the home's residents, employees and family members;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Dr. Jane C. Haliburton on recognizing a need with many seniors for answers and assurance during a transition in their lives and wish her all the best.

RESOLUTION NO. 332

By: Mr. Chuck Porter « » (Hants West)

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

Whereas if you hear the name Audrey Goucher-Millett, you automatically think of a local artist who paints, but she is also a wife, mother, grandmother of 30 grandchildren, teacher and former Apple Blossom Princess in 1937; and

Whereas 97-year-old Audrey has enjoyed painting many of her murals, theme-painted quilts and paintings adorning many walls throughout the region; and

Whereas this prominent painter, Audrey Goucher-Millett of Windsor, is the recipient of the 2014 Hall of Fame Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Audrey Goucher-Millett for being an important member of our art community.

[Page 1208]

RESOLUTION NO. 333

By: Mr. Chuck Porter « » (Hants West)

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

Whereas the nursing staff from the Hants Community Hospital were treated with a rare visit from the stork on September 22, 2014, during a pounding rainstorm; and

Whereas a young lady experiencing stomach pains was quick to learn she was in labour weeks before her new little bundle was scheduled to be born and would not arrive at a facility with an obstetrics unit in time for the birth; and

Whereas two Hants Community Hospital nurses, Melissa Parker and Kristi Arseneau Haliburton, who were on duty that evening, are being praised for their compassion and assistance in keeping the family calm until the air ambulance, which could not fly because of weather, dispatched a crew that braved the weather by road and arrived in time for delivery;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate nurses Melissa Parker and Kristi Arseneau Haliburton for going beyond the call of duty to help bring the darling little baby boy into the world in the early morning hours of September 22, 2014.

RESOLUTION NO. 334

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Canada's Exemplary Service Medals were created to recognize and to express gratitude to the men and women who preserve Canada's public safety through long and outstanding service; and

Whereas Canada's Fire Services Exemplary Services Medal, created in 1985, honours members who have completed 20 years of service, 10 years of which have been served in the performance of duties involving potential risks; and

Whereas the medal is also characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Gary Slack, a member of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade in Colchester North, for being a very deserving recipient of Canada's Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal.

[Page 1209]

RESOLUTION NO. 335

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Canada's Exemplary Service Medals were created to recognize and to express gratitude to the men and women who preserve Canada's public safety through long and outstanding service; and

Whereas Canada's Fire Services Exemplary Services Medal, created in 1985, honours members who have completed 20 years of service, 10 years of which have been served in the performance of duties involving potential risks; and

Whereas the medal is also characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Gregg Kinsman, a member of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade in Colchester North, for being a very deserving recipient of Canada's Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 336

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Canada's Exemplary Service Medals were created to recognize and to express gratitude to the men and women who preserve Canada's public safety through long and outstanding service; and

Whereas Canada's Fire Services Exemplary Services Medal, created in 1985, honours members who have completed 20 years of service, 10 years of which have been served in the performance of duties involving potential risks; and

Whereas the medal is also characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Wade Rutherford, a member of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade in Colchester North, for being a very deserving recipient of Canada's Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal.

[Page 1210]

RESOLUTION NO. 337

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Canada's Exemplary Service Medals were created to recognize and to express gratitude to the men and women who preserve Canada's public safety through long and outstanding service; and

Whereas Canada's Fire Services Exemplary Services Medal, created in 1985, honours members who have completed 20 years of service, 10 years of which have been served in the performance of duties involving potential risks; and

Whereas the medal is also characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Joe Slack, a member of the Great Village and District Fire Brigade in Colchester North, for being a very deserving recipient of Canada's Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal.

RESOLUTION NO. 338

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Branden MacNutt, a Grade 8 student at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche, is hard working, strives for self-improvement and success at his endeavours, and is admired for the kindness and respect he shows in his treatment of others; and

Whereas Branden, interested in farming and technology, is a member of the Miniature Horse Association of Nova Scotia and is very active in 4-H; and

Whereas Branden's diverse interests also include playing soccer, skiing and four wheeling;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Branden MacNutt for being chosen as Student of the Month at North Colchester High School for May, 2014.

[Page 1211]

RESOLUTION NO. 339

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Nathan Martin, a Grade 12 student at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche, is known for his kind and humble nature; and

Whereas Nathan is an avid outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hunting, fishing, trapping, four wheeling and archery; and

Whereas Nathan is a conscientious student who is honest and responsible, a role model for youth and a leader among his peers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Nathan Martin for his contributions to school and community and for being chosen as Student of the Month at North Colchester High School for May, 2014.

RESOLUTION NO. 340

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Justin Farrell is a Grade 8 student at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche; and

Whereas Justin is a pleasant, co-operative, dedicated student who is well-liked and respected by his teachers and his peers; and

Whereas extracurricular involvement is another of Justin's assets, being a valuable member of the boys' basketball team and a member of a local baseball team;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Justin Farrell for his contributions to school and community and for being chosen as Student of the Month at North Colchester High School for May, 2014.

RESOLUTION NO. 341

[Page 1212]

By: Hon. Karen Casey « » (Education and Early Childhood Development)

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

Whereas Jackson Tucker, a dedicated Grade 10 student at North Colchester High School in Tatamagouche, puts in time and effort to ensure success; and

Whereas music is a major passion in Jackson's life and he performs with his band at school and community events; and

Whereas Jackson is known for his excellent character traits, his dependability, maturity and work ethic;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Jackson Tucker for being selected as Student of the Month for June, 2014 at North Colchester High School.