Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD14-01

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

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

ARRIVAL OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
1
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
2
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
An Act Respecting Oaths of Office, Hon. L. Diab »
16
SPEECH FROM THE THRONE:
16
19
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
24
Adjourned debate
27
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Sept. 26th at 9:00 a.m
28

[Page 1]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2014

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Ms. Margaret Miller

[The Second Session of the 62nd General Assembly was opened with historic ceremony on a warm, sunny day.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor.

[The Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable J.J. Grant, preceded by members of the Official Escort, his Private Secretary, his ADC and by Mr. Ken Greenham, Sergeant-at-Arms, bearing the Mace, entered the House of Assembly Chamber. The Lieutenant Governor then took his seat on the Throne.

The Sergeant-at-Arms then departed and re-entered the Chamber followed by the Speaker, the Honourable Kevin Murphy; the Chief Clerk of the House, Neil Ferguson; and the Assistant Clerk, Annette Boucher.

The Speaker, with the Sergeant-at-Arms on his right and the Clerks on either side, took up his position at the foot of the Table of the House.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: It is the wish of His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, that the ladies and gentlemen be seated.

[Page 2]

SPEECH FROM THE THRONE

Introduction

THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: It is my great honour and privilege to welcome you to the Second Session of the 62nd General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature.

Less than a year ago, my government was elected with a mandate to provide constructive change and a deliberate path forward for Nova Scotians. At the most fundamental level, these tasks require government to rebuild a relationship of trust and respect with those it serves. In this respect, government must lead by clearly stating its positions on the issues and challenges facing our province. And in turn, government must then maintain its commitments and openly provide rationale for its decisions.

In the 11 months since government was offered the responsibility to lead the public affairs of Nova Scotia, the majority of its election commitments have been met:

  • The "efficiency tax" is being removed from electricity bills, which will result in real savings across our province.
  • Definitive steps have been taken to address the deep wounds at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.
  • After significant cutbacks, investments in education are restoring programs to prepare young Nova Scotians to excel in a changing work environment.
  • A fractured health system is being replaced by a unified authority which will permit Nova Scotians to access care on a more timely basis.
  • The long-standing environmental scar of Boat Harbour will be addressed through legislated solutions by mid-2015.
  • The concerns of Pictou County residents have been heard, and Northern Pulp will be expected to comply with a Ministerial Order to reduce air quality emissions that exceed approved limits under the industrial approval that allows the company to operate in our province.
  • Antiquated economic development practices that favoured a select few over the interests of the many have been rejected and replaced.

[Page 3]

  • My government has appointed the One Nova Scotia Coalition, a non-partisan group of Nova Scotians, to examine ways to confront many of the long-term challenges facing our province.
  • A deliberate program to balance the legitimate aspirations of public employees with the realities of our province's revenues has been initiated.

Taken together, each of these initiatives have been designed to respond effectively to the needs of individual Nova Scotians and their families, while simultaneously promoting our collective interests as a unified and progressive jurisdiction.

However, these accomplishments must be put in the context of the province's fiscal sustainability for years to come.

The central challenge facing our public finances right now is the cost of labour. Most recently, the wage pattern devised by the former government saw increases of more than 7.5 per cent over three years. It is important to remember that each percentage point equates to an additional $50 million of tax dollars that become embedded in the cost of government. The current public sector contract has cost taxpayers $711 million so far.

Unlike the previous administration, this government will take a more deliberate and careful approach to labour relations in Nova Scotia. There will be no improvised and ad hoc decisions that ultimately cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

Last spring's Essential Services Act restored a long overdue degree of balance to the relationship between employer and employees. Simultaneously, the broad collective of Nova Scotians now have the security of knowing that the health care system will function, while maintaining respect for collective bargaining.

Furthermore, it has to be understood that 58.6 per cent of the provincial budget is devoted to wages and salaries. To put the province on a sustainable course, all partners in this must be reasonable - all partners must ensure that the long-term interests of the province take precedence in the renovation of our fiscal foundation.

Matters of Recognition

Since I last addressed this Chamber, we have lost many Nova Scotians who gave much to the life and spirit of this province.

Noel Knockwood, a pillar of his community, touched the lives of many Nova Scotians. He was the first Aboriginal Sergeant-at-Arms for this Legislature, a Mi'kmaq elder and spiritual leader who shared his knowledge of Mi'kmaq heritage and culture generously with us all.

Lawrence Paul made tremendous contributions to improve the economic conditions of his community of Millbrook, and at the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs.

[Page 4]

The beauty and complexity of Cape Breton was never more aptly captured than through the writings of Alistair MacLeod. Mr. MacLeod's work was celebrated nationally and internationally.

Buddy MacMaster told the story of Cape Breton through music. He was a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia in recognition of his lasting musical legacy.

Purdy Crawford, a respected lawyer, businessman, and philanthropist, made an important mark on a generation of business leaders across this country.

John "Nova" Chisholm owned one of the province's leading road construction businesses and paved the way for large, successful industrial projects in this province. His legacy is one of kindness and generosity to his community and his province.

Former members of the Nova Scotia Legislature - Paul Kinsman, Ronald Barkhouse, and Maxine Cochrane - are all worthy of our thanks for their contributions to their communities and this province as a whole.

We feel the loss of these outstanding Nova Scotians, and many others who have left us, but we are richer as a province for their many and varied contributions.

Guiding Priorities

In the last 10 years government has lacked a clear, coordinated, and focused strategy. This has led Nova Scotia to a critical juncture and government to a turning point. Now is the time to work together and take the right actions to build a better Nova Scotia.

Government has a clear strategy with four critical priorities that align with the recommendations of the One Nova Scotia Commission: fiscal sustainability, the economy, demographics, and education and skills training. In each of these areas, we are taking specific action that will contribute to change. We will maintain focus and execute with discipline as we advance towards a better province.

Fiscal Sustainability

Families and business people work hard to balance their personal budgets and to stay in the black. Government has no less of a responsibility to do the same with every taxpayer dollar. Budgets must be approached with diligence, based on priorities, and have some flexibility when there are unexpected costs.

But in the past, that is not how things have been done. When revenues were growing, government spent. When revenues fell, government spent.

[Page 5]

There is no question that the road to sustainable spending and a balanced budget is long and steep. But it is a road that must be travelled. My government will balance the budget by 2017-18 and will do so, in part, by eliminating programs that are not achieving their desired results.

To get there, my government is looking with a critical eye to determine how to best deliver services - including asking if the service could be better delivered by the private sector. My government will also reduce or eliminate spending in areas where the costs clearly exceed what Nova Scotians want and need from their government today.

As I have mentioned, wages make up the vast majority of government spending. Over the years, unsustainable wage increases have exceeded government's ability to pay for them and added to a mounting debt. My government has already directed a hiring slowdown and will take steps to achieve a more sustainable wage pattern.

My government committed to take a closer look at taxes, fees, and regulations based on the principles of fairness, sustainability, simplicity, and competitiveness. The upcoming tax and regulatory review will fulfill this commitment and will be delivered this fall. The goal of the review is to better position Nova Scotia to deal with its demographic, fiscal, and economic challenges.

Economic Growth

A thriving private sector is essential for Nova Scotia to prosper, create new jobs, attract private investment, and attract newcomers to our region. However, undue direct intervention in the private sector can inhibit growth.

Therefore, my government sees its role clearly: to create a climate that fosters and supports growth in the private sector.

To start, my government will focus efforts on the areas where the greatest impact will be felt.

In a responsible and sustainable way my government will support sector development in areas such as fishery, forestry, farming, information and communication technology, ocean technology, and oil and gas resources. This will be supported by a world-class regulatory regime that reflects the values of Nova Scotians and is rigorously enforced. The sectoral approach is equitable and resists the past practice of choosing winners and losers.

As one step toward supporting growth in our resource sectors, my government will establish an industry-led Nova Scotia Lobster Industry Advisory Committee involving harvesters, processors, and buyers. This committee will provide advice and play a key role in advancing the aspirations of this important export.

[Page 6]

Work will also be undertaken to double agricultural exports over the next 10 years. To help drive this, my government is committed to working with stakeholders to develop a strategic plan that will increase production to realize this target.

The concerns raised by Pictou residents underscore the need for a stronger regulatory regime surrounding the environment. This work will be an area of focus for my government in the months ahead.

One of the most important energy opportunities is off the coast of our province. My government is steadfast in its efforts to champion offshore energy projects and will work determinedly to make certain those resources are developed in a safe, sustainable, and responsible manner.

Both Shell and its partners and British Petroleum continue to show great promise with their large-scale exploration and development plans. My government will seek out new opportunities through strategic investments in geoscience to further demonstrate the resource potential off the Scotian Shelf.

My government believes Nova Scotians must remain the primary beneficiaries of our own resources. Through the Offshore Growth Plan, resource development that advances our province and local communities will be pursued. Offshore projects are a vital building block to achieve future prosperity and realize the potential of this province.

Recognizing the success of our offshore Play Fairway Analysis, the Department of Energy is undertaking a similar program through geoscience mapping to create an atlas of onshore energy potential. This important work will further advance our knowledge and understanding of hydrocarbon reserves on our lands. This effort will improve the probability of success with onshore energy projects that can be undertaken in an environmentally friendly, safe, and sustainable manner.

My government will also pursue greater regional cooperation and freer interprovincial trade to expand and create new markets for Nova Scotia products and opportunities for businesses. Through this focus, key sectors will grow, and opportunities in foreign markets including Europe and Asia will allow the province to increase its exports. Nova Scotia looks forward to freer trade, but expects the federal government to ensure that all provincial jurisdictions are treated equitably.

Through a new focus on entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia's high-school curriculum, students will also learn how to build their own businesses and take advantage of existing and emerging markets.

[Page 7]

My government recognizes that the way economic development has traditionally been managed in this province needs to be streamlined to better position the private sector to lead economic growth. To that end, the way government's economic development department and agencies do business has changed. Legislation will be introduced this fall to confirm the roles for economic development agencies.

The creation of a new office of Service Nova Scotia last spring was a step toward a better climate for business and evidence of a strong commitment to improved service and reduced red tape.

  • Nova Scotia Business Inc. has been named as the single government entity responsible for trade operations, working directly with businesses to deliver provincial trade programs and connect them with new markets and new export opportunities.
  • Innovacorp will take on all equity investments for high-potential business start-ups to make it easier for them to access venture capital.
  • And later this fall, government will request proposals to establish a new venture capital fund to supplement existing initiatives.

My government will focus on supporting the economy by creating the winning conditions for business, developing our workforce, supporting rural communities, promoting entrepreneurship, driving innovation, and growing tourism.

My government will play a key role in advancing the development of the Donkin coal project in Cape Breton. In Fall 2014, government will complete a due-diligence process to ensure that the new majority owner of the mine can safely develop the project, has the technical expertise to operate the mine, and has the financial capacity to develop the project without government funding.

At all stages in the development of the mine, the Donkin project would help to grow our provincial economy, provide new jobs and training opportunities for Cape Bretoners, and provide new revenue for government from coal royalties and taxes. Coal from the Donkin mine could help to reduce electricity fuel costs for Nova Scotia Power, help to reduce the need for imported coal, and help to create an affordable energy future for all Nova Scotians.

Demographics and Population

[Page 8]

Much discussion has taken place since the release of the One Nova Scotia Commission report about the need to increase our population and to tackle the systemic attitudinal and economic issues that have held the province back.

My government recognizes that population growth can only happen if our economy is strong, diverse, and growing. It can only happen with forward-looking policy changes that effectively allow us to adapt to changes in our demographics. Youth out-migration is a factor that is increasingly impacting the economic success and demographic future of our province.

Government will work with partners to retain our youth through initiatives that help them get jobs, build their networks, and tap into the experience of mentors. We will streamline processes and direct our resources to the programs that are successfully getting more people into the workforce.

My government will lead efforts in the Atlantic region to advocate for increased flexibility in the national immigration system. Efforts to increase immigration will be ineffective without the support and partnership of the federal government. My government has already seen results negotiating with Canada as we opened up a pathway for international graduates. They are now applying and being nominated. They see their future here and want to build a life in Nova Scotia.

In August, the Premier announced the membership of the Premier's Immigration Advisory Council. Mr. Wadih Fares is the national chair, working with private sector partners and advising the Premier on the immigration challenges and opportunities that exist for Nova Scotia businesses. Dr. Colin Dodds, as international chair, will provide advice and guidance on international relations and recruitment efforts, particularly regarding international students. The advisors are already active and working.

My government has ignited a dynamic partnership between Nova Scotia, the YMCA, and Immigrant Settlement & Integration Services to provide services to support and truly welcome newcomers across the province. Work will continue with the broad range of partners who contribute to the critical job of welcoming new people in our province.

Over the next year my government will work to realign the Nova Scotia Nominee Program, enhancing existing immigration streams and introducing a business stream to attract entrepreneurs and investors to Nova Scotia.

Education

[Page 9]

Improving educational programs is the key priority of my government. The reason is simple: A well-educated workforce prepared to enter into and contribute to the labour force is a necessary building block for a growing economy for all of us and a prosperous future for each of us.

My government will increase workforce participation and entrepreneurship by improving the Primary-to-12 education system. Incremental steps have already been taken, but much remains to be done. My government has begun to restore education funding that was previously cut. Those restored funds will help keep class sizes small for students. Our first step is to ensure small class sizes for our youngest students in grades Primary to 2.

More students interested in pursuing the skilled trades after high school will have access to a skilled trade education because of skilled trades centres located in schools across the province. There are currently 11 schools with centres, including Glace Bay and Cole Harbour, which just recently opened.

Helping students succeed in math and literacy is an important part of my government's commitment to ensure students have the skills they need for jobs now and in the future. Over the next year, we will continue to provide additional math and literacy supports for students and teachers to ensure that students have the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.

Students and families in communities throughout Nova Scotia will have greater access to services and after-school programs with a multi-year expansion of SchoolsPlus and the addition of more mental health clinicians in schools. My government is opening four sites at schools in Glace Bay, New Glasgow, Aylesford, and Inverness to support more students and families with important services such as homework support, health-related information, and guidance and mental health counseling. My government has also pre-approved additional SchoolsPlus sites for the next two years. This will make SchoolsPlus available in all 18 counties.

The first comprehensive review of the education system in many years will be completed next month. More than 19,000 Nova Scotians participated in the Review Panel's consultations. Their thoughts and ideas, along with expert research, will form the basis of the final report. My government wishes to thank all Nova Scotians who took the time to share their thoughts and ideas about the future of our education system. Within a few weeks of receiving the review, my government will act quickly to respond, and deliver on the commitment to improve the education system in Nova Scotia.

Our post-secondary system is among our greatest assets. In the weeks ahead, my government will consult with universities and colleges to enhance their contributions and increase focus on their areas of strength with the goal of creating a sustainable system. One that links this sector to economic growth opportunities, innovation through research and development, and improvements in immigration. The feedback of students and families will also be considered in these consultations.

[Page 10]

My government will move forward with the implementation of graduate scholarships for innovation and research in the fall. This program will focus on putting money directly into the hands of smart, talented graduate students who are conducting research that is connected with industry, is innovative, and has the potential for commercialization.

We will continue to increase opportunities for ongoing skills development and knowledge growth through our post-secondary education system. Focus on apprenticeships, internships, and co-op programs will increase, and the Graduate to Opportunity program will launch, helping our youth get that all-important first job after graduating and connect them with our workforce - an important part of keeping them here.

My government believes that the public service must also work harder to create an environment that attracts and retains young people. The Youth in the Public Sector Strategy will focus on creating entry-level positions that welcome new graduates with little or no experience, comprehensive training for new hires, and internships and coop opportunities for students.

oneNS

This time last year, Ray Ivany and the commissioners of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy - or oneNS - were travelling around the province working and talking with communities.

This important report was provided to all Nova Scotians, and eloquently makes the point that we all need to work together to build a stronger province. The members of the One Nova Scotia Coalition are doing their part and are pursuing the difficult task of helping to find and shape joint solutions. My government is taking action on the goals over which it has direct control. All other goals and recommendations have been adapted as foundations for key priorities.

My government will also be a vocal champion of private sector and community leaders who have come together to take action, and we will actively support the efforts of the newly formed oneNS Coalition. This fall, it will ramp up efforts to engage Nova Scotians in next steps, as it commits to immediate actions and continues its work on the 10-year plan to reach goals called for in the oneNS Report. This work will include encouraging community-led action, change, and engagement.

Health care

[Page 11]

Using Nova Scotia's health care assets in the smartest, most-efficient way possible is an enduring challenge faced by countless governments over many, many years. My government is committed to ensure the focus in health care is placed where it should be: on front-line care.

Steps will be taken this year to unify our health care system. This program of unification has one overarching goal: improving access to needed health care services.

Within the North American context, Nova Scotia is a relatively small jurisdiction. A splintered health care system that places arbitrary barriers between communities makes little sense. Instead, a unified health care system will permit greater mobility of Nova Scotians so that they can access high-quality care on a more timely and effective basis.

My government will build a health system that thinks and acts like one so Nova Scotians receive the highest quality care in the safest way possible.

Consider the reality of Nova Scotia's health delivery system: nine health authorities with nine different business plans, nine different visions and missions, nine strategies - all competing for equipment, staff, and doctors.

That is the past.

On April 1, 2015, Nova Scotia will launch a new structure to create the foundation for a health system that thinks and acts as one. Nine current district health authorities will be consolidated into one provincial authority, partnering with the IWK Health Centre - acting and caring as one for Nova Scotians.

This change will enhance consistency of policies and procedures, while allowing the health system to act with consistent vision and goals, for the benefit of all Nova Scotians. Through consolidation, steps will be taken to reduce wait times in critical health areas and improve patient and client experiences with the health system. And the health system's ability to focus on patient quality and safety will increase.

Consultations with more than 1,000 Nova Scotians inside and outside the health system along with the input of doctors, nurses, CEOs and front-line workers, unions, and employers has been solicited and considered. An advisory panel is in place to guide the work, and a CEO-designate has been selected.

As the Nova Scotian population continues to age, there will be increased pressure on the provincial health care system to deliver timely and appropriate care to people living with dementia.

My government will introduce a dementia strategy in Spring 2015 to meet this increasing demand and to ensure that Nova Scotians living with dementia, as well as their families and caregivers, are well supported by public services.

[Page 12]

Mental health issues touch the lives of many Nova Scotians including our young people. My government will continue to invest in programs that provide students with access to mental health supports in their schools. Work will also continue on the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.

Communities

Supporting and building strong, inclusive, and thriving communities is a priority for my government. In the months ahead a variety of activities will be undertaken to support communities across this province.

In 2015, the construction of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown will be completed, and we will welcome the facility to the Nova Scotia Museum system, addressing a significant gap in the interpretation of our shared provincial story.

Province-wide consultations will soon begin on Nova Scotia's culture strategy. Nova Scotia's culture is a broad, interconnected community that includes libraries, museums, heritage properties, cultural identities, languages, the arts, creative industries, and culture education.

My government's strategy will explore options to grow the significant individual, social, and economic impacts of culture and to better understand the role cultural diversity and expression plays in welcoming people to Nova Scotia and strengthening our communities.

Nova Scotia has a long and proud military tradition that includes honourable service during the major armed conflicts of the past century. A military presence in Nova Scotia brings jobs, economic opportunity, and vibrancy to many communities and connects Nova Scotia to the global priorities of peace, security, and prosperity.

As Canada and the world mark the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, my government will continue to place importance on its relationship with the Canadian military. As the only province with a Minister of Military Relations, Nova Scotia recognizes the tremendous contributions that current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the military reserves, and cadets make to the defence of our country and the vitality of our communities.

Nova Scotia will continue to promote and support the role of the military in our province.

My government is dedicated to Aboriginal women's empowerment, equity, and leadership, which will be the focus of the 4th National Aboriginal Women's Summit that Nova Scotia is proud to co-host this October at Membertou First Nation in Cape Breton.

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The summit will provide a forum for governments - Aboriginal, provincial, territorial, and federal - and community-based representatives to share expertise and knowledge; showcase innovative and promising practices; and identify opportunities for working collaboratively on a range of issues affecting Aboriginal women, their families, and communities.

Sexual violence is an important societal issue that affects us all. The complexity of improving services for victims and preventing sexual violence from occurring requires the support and efforts of all Nova Scotians. In the year ahead, a sexual violence strategy will be launched.

My government is acting on its promise to make Nova Scotia a more accessible and inclusive place to live and work. Changes will be made in how social services are delivered in this province. Choice, self-reliance, dignity, and inclusion will be the cornerstones of a new approach to supporting persons with disabilities to live more independently in their own communities. Work continues on accessibility legislation planned for 2016, beginning with consultations this fall.

Bloomfield Centre in Halifax is a former school being redeveloped as a mixed-use, mixed-income community that will include non-profit, community, and commercial space. The innovative private-public partnership will provide nearly 500 units at mixed price points for families. During the summer, community volunteers led public engagement to shape the final design, to be announced this fall.

Nova Scotia is a province where families and communities come first. My government will make a major step forward to increase home ownership and reduce wait-lists for affordable housing.

Nova Scotia's roads help to connect us to our partners in business and trade. They also connect us to those we cherish most - our families and friends. My government is taking steps to improve road safety through the use of new signage and a social media campaign to raise awareness of key safety issues, such as seatbelt wearing, speeding, and distracted driving.

My government will also proclaim a 2010 piece of legislation that will double fines and add four demerit points on conviction for cellphone use while driving. This will give Nova Scotia some of the strongest distracted-driving legislation in the country.

My government, through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, has already started a review of regulated child care programs; this review is focusing on the safety of children in child care and identifying ways to make child care more accessible and affordable for families, enhancing the quality of programming for children, and supporting staff who work with our youngest children. Recommendations from the review will be ready in the Spring of 2015.

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My government supports an integrated approach that will enable partnerships with community-based providers of programs and services for young children, pre-birth to school entry.

Four Early Years centres have been established within regional school boards, with four new sites planned for 2014-15. These centres are located within a school and are a model of integrated service delivery, which links programs within the early-years sector.

Many Nova Scotians worry about their retirement and their ability to maintain the same standard of living they currently enjoy and have worked hard to attain. In this sitting of the Legislature, my government will introduce legislation that will help Nova Scotians better fund their retirements.

Through Pooled Registered Pension Plans, this legislation will create retirement savings options for individuals, including those who are self-employed, that will allow them to benefit from lower management fees and will be portable if they switch jobs.

My government will continue to help towns and rural municipalities reduce the size of government and reduce red tape for potential new businesses.

My government will encourage and support those municipalities showing leadership in proposing governance changes that will make their population, finances, and infrastructure more sustainable.

Legislative Agenda for Fall 2014

During this Second Session of the 62nd General Assembly of the Nova Scotia Legislature, my government will bring forward a legislative agenda that includes:

  • The Health Authorities Act
  • Amendments to the Housing Nova Scotia Act
  • Amendments to the Animal Protection Act
  • Limitation of Actions Act
  • Shared Services Act

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  • Amendments to the Consumer Safety and the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Acts respectively
  • Amendments to the Smoke-free Places Act and Tobacco Access Act
  • Amendments to the Maritime Harness Racing Commission Act
  • Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act
  • Amendments to the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act

Conclusion

My government understands that trust and respect are privileges that must be earned. And so, my government will continue to focus on fulfilling its commitments to all Nova Scotians in a deliberate and well-considered manner.

My government will remain open and accountable. And, my government will encourage all Nova Scotians to take an active and equal role in addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities we collectively face.

My government believes that by working together, we can create a better Nova Scotia. One that is more inclusive, is more successful, and offers people real opportunities to stay, work and raise their families.

God bless Nova Scotia.

God bless Canada.

God save the Queen.

[The Speaker and the Clerks left the Chamber.

The Lieutenant Governor left the Chamber preceded by his Private Secretary and Aide and the Sergeant-at-Arms.

Mr. Speaker took the Chair.]

SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: His Honour the Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER » : Please be seated.

The honourable Attorney General.

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a bill entitled An Act Respecting Oaths of Office.

[Page 16]

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

His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, has been pleased to make a Speech to the members met in General Assembly, of which Speech, for greater accuracy, I have obtained a copy which the Chief Clerk will now read.

THE CLERK » : It is my great honour and privilege to welcome you to the Second Session of the 62nd General Assembly of the Nova Scotia . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL » : Mr. Speaker, I move that the Speech from the Throne be taken as read.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the Speech from the Throne be taken as read.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare-Digby.

MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Welcome back, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, it's an honour to rise today and move the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne as read by his Honour Brigadier-General, the Honourable J.J. Grant.

I am equally proud and humbled to address this Assembly as the elected MLA for the constituency of Clare-Digby. On behalf of the constituents of my riding, I would also like to extend my sincere congratulations to the Premier on his first year of leading this government. Recognition should also be given to the Cabinet and my fellow MLA colleagues, who played an important part in the continued success that we will see in the future.

The Liberal platform that was outlined over one year ago, during the campaign, continues to be shown as well-thought-out, thorough, and more achievable than we would have ever expected. I would like to say that this guide continues to ensure that all Nova Scotians are given an opportunity to move forward, and for that, I thank the Premier very much.

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Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity again to thank all of the residents of Clare-Digby riding for their support to date, the overwhelmingly warm welcome wherever I go, and encouragement of my government's work is an inspiration to me. I look forward to continuing with representing all the residents of Digby County and will strive to be a strong voice for our area. I would also like to thank my amazing riding executive and all the dedicated volunteers who keep me close to the ground and focused on the people of my riding.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to pass on congratulations to Brian Gallant's Liberals in New Brunswick for their success in the provincial election. (Applause) Greater regional co-operation, freer interprovincial trade, and growing partnerships are crucial. New Brunswick plays an important part, as a close neighbour to the Clare-Digby riding, through the long-standing Digby-to-Saint John ferry link. We must continue to grow new opportunities and make new partnerships with our neighbours in Saint John, throughout New Brunswick, and the New England states.

Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to note that the Clare-Digby riding is blessed with a very positive economic environment. Throughout our economic challenges and shrinking communities, the people have continued to see opportunities working together and celebrating their successes. The Clare-Digby riding has an excellent working relationship with all levels of government, and this serves as a necessary backbone for the future. I would like to challenge all elected officials on both sides of the floor to build on relationships within their ridings, within their regions, and within the province. (Applause)

We have many challenges in rural Nova Scotia, and stopping the out-migration of our finest citizens must be seen as the number one concern. One Nova Scotia emphasizes the basic need to grow our population throughout the province and, in particular, in rural Nova Scotia. Negotiating for international graduates, re-aligning the Nominee Program, and creating the Premier's Immigration Advisory Council are but a few of the important beginnings to turn around our population decline.

Mr. Speaker, there is no one answer at this point to our economic challenges, but I believe we can do better to promote the awesome resources found in our communities. This province must seize opportunities to keep our resources within the province to be processed, and to find value-added products to manufacture. As I stated in my previous reply to the Speech from the Throne, it's important for the future sustainability of our rural communities to see the benefits of these resources invested locally.

We must continue to focus on the economic pressures of our coastal communities as they face population decline, while continuing to protect their natural beauty and the environment. Our Premier noted in the first Throne Speech, November 28, 2013, that the government is committed to continuing discussions with the federal government to extend twinning on Highway No. 103 and to complete Highway No. 101. I am pleased to note that Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal staff are having regular, positive meetings with a Highway No. 101 task force comprising elected officials from the Town of Digby, Municipality of Digby, and the Municipality of Clare.

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I would like to note that the mink industry has worked very diligently to progress through the summer months. Since the dramatic fall of mink prices globally last Spring, there have been many hard decisions made by the farmers in my riding and throughout the province in this crucial agricultural industry. The mink industry is developing tremendous, innovative solutions as it continues to invest in infrastructure upgrades resulting from the new regulatory requirements. I am pleased to see industry and government working together as we weather this financially challenging time and grow stronger into the future.

I would like to comment on the budget our government passed in April. This year's budget started great new investments and will benefit our province for years to come. Many difficult decisions will need to be made in the future to solve our economic problems. This budget is a good first step.

Despite many positive investments, it is no secret that our province has some serious financial restraints, and honest and frank conversations need to continue. We have committed to not burdening Nova Scotians by increasing taxes; however, not increasing taxes will put a burden on our government to find cost savings elsewhere.

While we are committed to keeping all of our campaign promises, the decisions our government needs to make won't be easy. The deficit was not created overnight and it will take time to solve. With my caucus colleagues, Cabinet and the Premier, we will commit to getting our province's finances under control to ensure that future generations are not burdened with the costs of today.

The Bay of Fundy, which touches on all the shores of the Clare-Digby riding, is one of the miracles of the natural world. It's where more than 160 billion tons of water flows twice a day. That's more than four times the combined flow of every freshwater river in the world. Our tidal industry is capturing the attention of the global marine renewable energy industry and creating economic development. We are also becoming the centre of excellence in the global tidal energy industry. In the riding of Clare-Digby, I am pleased to note that Fundy Tidal Inc. is progressing and their efforts are helping create the Bay of Fundy as a research and development centre. Within the Clare-Digby riding, the Port of Digby is recognized as the port of choice for tidal energy development and maintenance in the Bay of Fundy by our provincial government. This is a tremendous opportunity.

To close, I would like to stress that it is important for the future sustainability of our rural communities to see the benefits of all our natural resources invested locally. We're very blessed with a wealth of renewable resources in the Clare-Digby riding, from our lobster and our scallop industry to aquaculture, to forest resources, to one of the best wind regimes along the North Mountain, to the endless Bay of Fundy tides. We are blessed.

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We have a unique opportunity because of these wide, diverse renewable resources to showcase and develop our renewable resources. It is important for the future sustainability of our rural communities to see the benefits of these resources invested locally. I believe that developing the renewable resources in our riding is the future and I will work very hard to promote this. Thank you very much.

Mr. Speaker, it is now my pleasure to thank His Honour for the Throne Speech, and with great pride and great confidence, I move that the Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne as read by His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, do pass. (Applause)

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

MS. MARGARET MILLER « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is indeed an honour and a privilege to be here once again before my humble colleagues - and my honourable colleagues as well - and to represent the beautiful people of Hants East.

Last year as I began to speak it was with the anticipation of the promise of the next few years as a member of the Nova Scotia Liberal Government. I stood with my ideals and hopes, and just a few fears: fears of the unknown, fears that my hopes and dreams for the people of Hants East might be too much and that I might be expecting too much.

I was wrong. I still believe, as the MLA for the people of Hants East, that all things are possible when there is a will for change and the commitment to make decisions with our eyes set on the future. Our government is doing the best job possible in representing the people of Hants East, and indeed, the people of Nova Scotia.

I came to this House last year with a whole new group of colleagues. Many were somewhat familiar, but there were none that I would have said I knew really well. I wondered how we would work together, if we would all get along and support each other. We all shared a mutual respect for our Leader and Premier, but could we bring that level of commitment and support to our own group? After almost a full year, I can say I have never been more impressed with any group of individuals, and we are that.

Each of us has a particular set of strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits - the things that make us individual. Beyond that, I can only admire this caucus, who share a real, basic desire to help our own constituents and serve the people of Nova Scotia. In fact, I believe that as I stand here in support of my constituency, my 32 colleagues also stand here with me, as I do with them. What is good for each of us is better with all of us.

A year ago, our honourable Premier selected his first Cabinet. He chose very wisely. Our government has brilliant minds in key positions, and as I hear them speak about things that matter to Nova Scotians, I continue to be impressed daily. Our Cabinet Ministers are true leaders in their portfolios. It's a pleasure to work with them, and as MLAs, our input and thoughts on a variety of subjects are always sought out and taken very seriously.

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We all learn from each other, share our own successes, and sometimes even share the things that don't work quite as well. This government works together in a spirit of sharing knowledge, experience, and collaboration, Mr. Speaker. This combined effort is what ensures our actions are carefully considered and reflective of our shared needs and the most appropriate solutions for Nova Scotians.

Today's Throne Speech identifies these very solutions - fiscal sustainability, economic growth and development, immigration and population strategies, as well as in education and a streamlined health care strategy. These are all measures to build our province and make it all that it can be.

Mr. Speaker, as you know, the position of MLA is all consuming. There is not a day that goes by that the welfare and interests of the people of Hants East are not at my foreground. Whether it's an issue of a dusty road or child custody, all concerns are treated with the same level of understanding and concern by my constituency assistants, Bernadine Taylor and Victoria Versteeg, and by me.

We have an office in Elmsdale, and like many others, we try to keep it very central. It's visible and accessible to the community. It has been our goal to make the Hants East constituency office more than your typical government office. We provide information on government programs and tourism opportunities, and information on and for local businesses, community groups, and anything else to make our office a hub for our residents.

We display the works of art of local artists, and we have a food bank drop-off zone and a book exchange. We encourage our residents to come in at any time and for absolutely any reason. To serve residents from all over Hants East - because it is so big - we also have limited office hours in Mount Uniacke. The citizens on the Noel Shore, that are still almost an hour away from my office, are encouraged to come, or to call to make an appointment, and we will meet with them at a convenient location in their community.

Every Nova Scotian deserves no less than to be able to see their elected representative within a reasonable distance of where they live. These connections are enduring and long-lasting. By being there for residents, we will have fostered a spirit of inclusion and made sure that all people know that their thoughts, concerns and ideas for our constituencies matter.

Mr. Speaker, Hants East has had many issues that face all of our citizens. Many of these issues are faced by both provincial and municipal governments and I've chosen to work with my municipality very closely. Acknowledging that shared concern and commitment to citizens, it has been my practice to meet with my municipal officials and leaders on a regular basis, at least once a month, so that we can work together to address issues and concerns to improve our quality of life in Hants East.

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One of the things we've dealt with recently has been fracking. It was identified very quickly in our campaign as well as after becoming a government member, and it's a very legitimate concern. The people of the Noel and Kennetcook area were faced with Triangle Petroleum, who had drilled several test wells within the area. As a result, millions of litres of waste water were being held in holding ponds in the Kennetcook area. Given the legacy of distrust, local citizens were very concerned. Based on their earlier response from government, they were skeptical that this government would also be receptive to their concerns. They believed that in the past, the government had used them as guinea pigs, who thought the citizens to be ill-informed and not likely to resist change. They were wrong, and the citizens of the area protested loud and long.

Our government heard their protests and organized meetings in all the affected areas to inform concerned individuals about the fate of the fracking waste water. With the co-operation of our Environment and Energy Ministers and our entire government, the residents of Kennetcook, Noel and all of Nova Scotia know that their thoughts matter and that their voices will be heard.

With a government that is willing and actively working to hear the voices of its people, I can happily say that we are headed in the right direction and laying the groundwork for a better future. This is something I am tremendously proud of and thankful for.

Tourism is also alive and well in Nova Scotia, especially since the reactivation of the Yarmouth-Portland ferry. (Applause) The damage caused by the cancellation of that crossing four years ago was felt by all Nova Scotians, but I am pleased that there is a renewed hope in our tourism industry as visitors and explorers are literally brought in by the boatload.

In speaking with tourism operators this summer, I often heard that they are so happy, that they've had the best season that they have had in many years and are looking forward to continued success. By celebrating the success of operators and all Nova Scotians, the enthusiasm can almost be felt and is contagious across all sectors.

As others, my job as an MLA is to see potential in my riding and to work towards realizing the full potential. The whole Bay of Fundy, as my colleague has said, has so much to offer, and the Hants Shore area from the Shubenacadie River to Walton is an opportunity waiting to be capitalized on. This area of the province has so much unrealized potential with unlimited vistas of beaches, the Bay of Fundy, the bright red mud cliffs and so much more. This area could be a kayaker's dream, a camping, bicycle or touring Mecca - and even more, we in East Hants have Burntcoat Head, the site of the world's highest recorded tides. Not Hopewell Rocks, no place in New Brunswick - we have the highest recorded tides. (Applause)

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In terms of tourism value as an attraction, they tell me that Burntcoat Head in the Bay of Fundy is equal to the Grand Canyon. So think about that for a moment. Yet only recently did we even get a sign on our main highways telling people which way to go to find the Bay of Fundy or to find Burntcoat. Can you imagine going to the Grand Canyon and not even seeing a sign that directs you to it? Can you imagine how many jobs are created around the Grand Canyon and how many could be created around the Bay of Fundy and the Burntcoat area?

The Hants Shore has much more than that to share, and I would encourage all members of the House to visit Maitland. It's Nova Scotia's first historic conservation district and it's just waiting to be explored. The shipbuilding past has produced some phenomenal architectural masterpieces in the community. Some have become bed and breakfasts, but there are many more for sale, just waiting for that entrepreneur with a vision who wishes to invest in the community.

Central to the village is Frieze and Roy General Store. It is the oldest general store still operating in North America and it's being restored by local entrepreneurs Glen Ferguson and Troy Robertson.

I was visiting them a few weeks ago and they were telling me about their forays into the attic of the store, opening boxes that had been shipped to the store in the early 1900s - and everything was still in its original packing. I would love to explore that attic.

When I am in Maitland you can look around and you can see the closed-up buildings and you can be very negative about the whole community. But I don't; I don't see the old store that needs all the repairs that it is finally getting - I see the oldest general store in North America. I don't see a waterfront with limited access - I visualize a waterfront boardwalk and park. The bed and breakfast should always be full, restaurants busy, and locals in historic costume should be celebrating their passion for the historic status of the village. I see it as a destination for tourists and Nova Scotians alike.

The unfortunate truth is that like so many other small villages, Maitland is dying - there's no bank, there's no access to gasoline, and now residents are afraid that their small school will also be closed due to declining enrolments. It is small towns like Maitland that are standing with their hands extended - not asking for a handout but asking for a hand up. Their collective successes of our province and small towns like Maitland will serve as a beacon of hope and success, and a source of inspiration.

This will take hard work and time, but I know firsthand that is something the people of our province, and indeed all of Nova Scotia, have never shied away from - we know how to work hard.

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Agriculture is also a big employer in my constituency. There are many dairy farms in the area and most are facing the same challenges of trying to make enough to ensure a living for their families and employees, while still planning for the uncertainty of the future. In Hants East producers are using many innovative methods and ideas to preserve their industry. Diversity and sustainability have become the industry objective and it is being taken very seriously.

Biogas production is on the horizon for a few of our agriculture operators in Hants East. With the COMFIT agreement, they are able to diversify into energy production while providing agricultural goods for all Nova Scotians in a safe, environmentally friendly way. Today's farming is not your father's farming. The agriculture sector is moving ahead in leaps and bounds, with food production at the foreground.

We are very fortunate in our area, along that same shore, to have a perfect microclimate for growing grapes. This microclimate is something that is uniquely ours. Although there has not yet been an influx of grape growers setting up in the area, the potential is there and it is unlimited. Producers with a bold and entrepreneurial spirit can find bright and promising opportunities in Hants East.

Mr. Speaker, speaking today for my full hour would have been very easy, but I will not do that. There are so many issues and so many things that I could speak of but, for the sake of audience members and the members of this House on this historic day, I will leave much unsaid as we move into this Fall session of the House.

As we strive for economic prosperity, we know that sacrifices and tough decisions will have to be made, but that just makes success all the sweeter. I am confident that through the co-operation of this whole House, we will better the prospects and futures for all Nova Scotians. As we embark on this Fall sitting, I would like to remind all members of this House that Nova Scotia has the assets and the opportunities. The future is about us, our courage, our imagination, and our determination to do better.

Mr. Speaker, also I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to acknowledge and thank my husband and family who support me in my role as a member of this House. For all our loved ones it often means long days or evenings alone, as we do what needs to be done to better our province. We can't do it without their love, support, and encouragement. Thank you. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured at this time to second the motion that the Speech from the Throne do pass. Thank you.

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

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HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking the mover and seconder for their wise words here this afternoon on behalf of their constituents. I would also like to thank His Honour Brigadier General, the Honourable J. J. Grant, our Lieutenant Governor, for his address in this House today.

Beyond that, of course I want to thank my constituents, the people of Cumberland South, who put their faith in me - as the constituents of other constituencies have elected their members - for their continued support and confidence as I represent them. I know every member of this House, no matter what other title they may hold - be it Premier or minister or House Leader or some other title - knows that the most important one they will ever hold in politics is that of the representative of their constituency, and so I do want to thank the people of Cumberland South once again.

I'd also like to extend my best wishes and those of the Progressive Conservative caucus to the member for Sydney-Whitney Pier and the member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg for being here today. We've all watched as each has faced significant health challenges with great grace and great courage, and I am proud to be a colleague of both of them. (Applause)

I also want to mention one other member who I believe has shown the importance of teamwork, of working together, of supporting one another. If you don't mind, I just want to acknowledge someone who has been unheralded in the past few days but has been a good friend and a good member and just a good person and a great Nova Scotian - that is the member for Northside-Westmount. He is too modest to say it, but I have watched the support he has provided to the member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg, and I know he would agree with me that part of the reason he's able to be here today is because of the support of his colleague, who beyond the call of duty has been there for him and is here today. I just want to say thank you to that member. (Applause)

The last year was marked by the passing of too many notable Nova Scotians. I am honoured today to add my voice and the voice of the Official Opposition to those who are paying tribute to those Nova Scotians that we have lost. I do want to particularly note a few, including Mr. Buddy MacMaster, who was mentioned in the Speech from the Throne and is the father of the member for Inverness. It was a great honour and privilege to be at his service to see not only the sadness of the church service itself but the celebration of joy in a life well lived across the street at the Judique Community Centre thereafter. It was a great Nova Scotia moment.

In addition to those who were named in the Speech from the Throne, who I just want to add my own voice to, I would like to recognize a few that are close to us. Mrs. Clara Bacon, for example; Monnie Abbass; Ron Elliott, we lost just recently; Malcolm MacQuarrie of Truro; and Robert Layton, who some members may know was the longest-serving volunteer firefighter in Nova Scotia when we lost him this year.

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There are many important people here today, be they Premiers or ministers or Supreme Court Justices, but I would like to take a moment to recognize someone who is more important than all of us. Seated in the west gallery today - if you don't mind, Mr. Speaker, a quick introduction - is Mr. Rob Henderson. Rob is a crane operator, and for the last two years he's been commuting back and forth to Alberta for work. Just two weeks ago, Rob moved his family out West permanently. He wanted to stay and raise his kids here in Nova Scotia, but it just wasn't possible without meaningful work.

This Legislature should be focused on keeping bright, talented Nova Scotians like Rob working here in our province. We should be focused on bringing families back together by creating good jobs right here at home. Nova Scotians only have to look at the government's decision to ban shale gas developments to know that good jobs for people like Rob are not a priority in this Throne Speech and not a priority for this government.

The Liberals chose the path of least resistance. They took the easy way out. In defence, they say that an outright ban was necessary because Nova Scotians aren't yet ready for shale gas development. That is not leadership - it is a failure of leadership. When given an opportunity to lead Nova Scotians in this crucial area, to take up the challenge of looking at one of the few new ways to create new jobs in this province, this government ducked. They ignored the report from Dr. Wheeler and his panel on shale gas development here in Nova Scotia.

In fact, the Wheeler report does not suggest a ban or moratorium. On Page 5 of that very report, it says, and I quote directly: "… we are not proposing a moratorium or any other political device…" In fact, after months of work, those experts concluded the province should do the hard work of doing further research. They said to go slow, but to be clear, they did say to go. This government saw no need for that. After just three days, they said no to new jobs, no to the potential for new opportunity and no to the thousands of people like Rob Henderson who have moved their families away to find work.

Mr. Speaker, the government has sent a loud, clear message to Nova Scotians, and the message is Nova Scotia is closed for business. Well, we fundamentally disagree with that. I want to be clear: under a Progressive Conservative Government, Nova Scotia will be open for business again, and our work will not stop until people like Rob have a chance at a good job and a family life here at home. (Applause)

Every one of us in this place has a family member, a friend or a neighbour who has moved away for a job. The government owed it to those people to do their homework on shale gas development. They have a responsibility, a moral obligation to all those families who are divided because someone is at work in another province. But instead of fulfilling that obligation, this government simply turned their backs and said no. Mr. Speaker, that was wrong.

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This week, many Nova Scotians will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year - among the holiest of days in the Jewish calendar - and I want to take this moment to wish Shanah Tovah to all Nova Scotians of Jewish faith celebrating today. I can't help but think how fitting it is, however, that this is a holiday where people of Jewish faith look back on the mistakes of the past year and promise to make changes in the New Year. It sounds like the Throne Speech, Mr. Speaker.

Today this government, not yet one year old, is already casting aside the speech from last year. They are calling a mulligan, a do-over, a reset. This government's second Speech from the Throne in less than a year is an admission of failure, that the course that they followed in the past year turned out to be the wrong course for our province. Our unemployment rate is now the third highest in the country; in fact, there are 9,000 fewer Nova Scotians working today than one year ago. Our debt grows to a record level, placing an even greater burden on our children to pay.

Mr. Speaker, the government is attempting to erase the last year of failure and incompetence with a do-over Speech from the Throne already. Last year, they said seniors would get the service and care they need in the Speech from the Throne; they have not delivered. The government's 100-day review is already 137 days too late.

In the last Throne Speech, the government talked about being fiscally responsible. Apparently that was the comic relief portion of the speech, because since, they've posted the highest debt in our province's history and put each and every Nova Scotian on the hook for a new total of $15,700 for every man, woman, and child to pay back someday. Our children, our grandchildren.

The first Liberal speech talked about stopping power rate increases, and yet we've seen two more already. They broke a fundamental promise of the election to take the efficiency fee off our power bills. All Nova Scotians now see that for the shell game that it is, as it will end up right back on our power bills.

In the last Speech from the Throne, the government told us that Bluenose II had, "… been lovingly refurbished … to the highest standards of safety and quality." And yet the refit of that beloved vessel is mired in delays and cost overruns.

So, Mr. Speaker, the government's record of inaction is clear. They failed to deliver. They blew their first year in office. Last November, they said they'd be different. Well, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians are not impressed. They are frustrated. They now see that the Premier and his Cabinet were incapable of delivering on the first Throne Speech.

Nova Scotia employers now see that the government is either unwilling or unable to do the heavy lifting of getting our economy turned around. Only last month, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce begged the Premier to change course. The Chamber said, "… we need you to visibly lead." So it is disappointing to see how little has been done in the first year and how little is promised in this new second Speech from the Throne.

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Mr. Speaker, the Ivany Report - entitled Now or Never: An Urgent Call to Action for Nova Scotians - was a call all Nova Scotians of all Parties could get behind to see real action taken. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, in a very revealing comment, described the Ivany Report as a great catalyst for discussion. Mr. Speaker, the Ivany Report was the discussion. That's where the government has gone off track. It is not meant to be a great catalyst for more discussion - it was meant as a catalyst for action, for change. Ray Ivany did not ask for more discussion. He gave us a road map for action.

Mr. Speaker, this is a great province, but we do face great challenges. We're at an important crossroads. The task of rebuilding our economy, and creating jobs for people like Rob to come home, cannot afford more delays. Saying no now and postponing the difficult decisions to later has become the hallmark of this government.

We can see it in today's speech. Today was an opportunity to unveil a plan to get our finances in order, to get our economy going, to look after people in need. But the Premier and his government continue to promise more study, more for tomorrow, more down the road, but they say no, not today, to the urgent needs of Nova Scotia. This speech could have told Nova Scotians how the government will actually balance the budget, but they say no, that's for another day. It could have told Nova Scotians when they might expect some tax relief, but they say no, not today. It could have provided a true and real plan to get our economy to create jobs, but they say no, not today. In fact, they are going to ban one of the few new ways to create new jobs.

Well, you can't say no to everything and expect Nova Scotia to get ahead. Saying no won't bring Nova Scotians back home and it won't turn our province around. Saying no is the easy way out. It may be politically expedient, but it is not what Nova Scotians expect from their government and it is not true leadership.

Mr. Speaker, tomorrow I will continue my remarks with a demonstration of what a Progressive Conservative alternative plan to the government's inaction will look like, and I know how much members on the opposite side are anxious to hear that. But, in light of the hour, Mr. Speaker, with those few remarks, I move that we adjourn for the day and I will continue tomorrow when we reconvene. Thank you.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, at the conclusion of this session, on your behalf, I would like to invite all members of the House and members of the gallery to join us in the Red Room for a reception.

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON » : Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Following the daily routine we will have the continuation of remarks by the Leader of the Official Opposition, followed by the remarks by the Leader of the NDP and then we will continue with further members giving their Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne.

With that I would move that the House now rise.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House do now rise to meet tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The House now stands adjourned until tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 3:46 p.m.]