Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD15-48

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

FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2015

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Prem./Fin. & Treasury Bd. Min.: Workable N.S. Film Tax Credit
- Establish, Hon. J. Baillie »
3853
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 89, Boat Harbour Act,
3855
No. 90, Tobacco Access Act,
3855
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
Taavel, Raymond - Remember,
3856
Taavel, Raymond: Life - Reflect,
3856
Cole Hbr. - Hockey Community,
3856
Miskoff, Sarah: Film Tax Credit Cuts - Reconsider,
3857
Bus. Dept. - Mandate,
3857
Theriault, Nicole: Can. Games - Participation,
3858
Organic Water Productions: Film Plans - Jeopardy,
3858
Film Tax Credit - Gov't. (N.S.): Attitude - Change Explain,
3859
"Bullet": Animal Rescuers - Thank,
3859
Duel, Abby: N.S. Creative Ind. - Relocation,
3859
Colbert, Stephen: Prem. - "Truthy",
3860
Himmelman, Sandra: Teacher Award - Nomination,
3860
Donat, Richard & Maggie: Film Ind. - Future,
3861
Film Tax Credit Cuts: Consultation - Lack Explain,
3861
E. Hants Commun. Learning Assoc.,
3861
Bibby, Shelly: N.S. Film Ind. - Relocation Motivation,
3862
House of Assembly: Parking Lot - Designated Spaces,
3862
Saulnier, Peter: Street Name - Honour,
3863
Bus. Dept. - Broten Review: Recommendations - Consultations,
3863
Petite Palette Art Show: Organizers - Thank,
3864
Stewart, Kyle - Engagement/Commitment,
3864
Wong, Jessica - Natl. Women's Dev. Hockey Team (2014-15),
3865
Miller, Clayton & Fam. - Thoughts & Prayers,
3865
Mun. Units: Shared Services - Commend,
3866
East. Passage et al - Free Skate,
3866
Fox, Terry - Legacy,
3867
Horton HS Girls Griffins Hockey Team - NSSAF Banner,
3867
Natl. Vol. Wk.: Vols. - Thank,
3868
Prospect Rd. Bus. Assoc. - Congrats.,
3868
E. Hants Commun. Learning Assoc. - E. Hants Commun. Rider,
3869
Sackville Seniors Advisory Coun. - Silver & Gold Seniors'
Drop-in Ctr., Mr. S. Gough « »
3869
Northwest Arm Heritage Assoc. - AGM,
3870
Barkhouse, Rosie: N.S. Firefighters Burn Treatment Soc
- Volunteering, Mr. L. Hines « »
3870
Weir, Corrine/Heppy's Pie Lady - Thank,
3871
Vol. Bds. - Importance,
3871
Tom's Pizza (Baddeck) - Pizza Hall of Fame Award,
3872
Lions Club Zone Speak Out: Participants - Congrats.,
3872
IWK Dance Marathon - 13 Schools: Sackville High - Hosting,
3872
Nevin, Lauren: Theatre Antigonish Anl. Awards - Congrats.,
3873
THE HOUSE RECESSED AT 9:56 A.M
3873
THE HOUSE RECONVENED AT 10:00 A.M
3873
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS:
No. 633, Prem. - Film Tax Credit: Mess - Fix,
3873
No. 634, Prem. - Film Tax Credit Changes: Path - Change,
3875
No. 635, Prem.: Film Ind. Meeting (04/17/15) - Attendance Confirm,
3876
No. 636, Prem.: Film Ind.: Transition Plan,
3877
No. 637, Prem.: Film Ind. Meeting (04/17/15) - Attendance,
3878
No. 638, CCH: Film & Creative Industries - Alternate Contact Info.,
3879
No. 639, Fin. & Treasury Bd. - Community Counts: Cutting - Justify,
3881
No. 640, CCH - Film & Creative Industries: Musicians
- Transition Concerns, Ms. K. MacFarlane « »
3882
No. 641, Justice - Maintenance Enforcement Review:
Gwen Williams - Consult, Mr. A. MacMaster « »
3883
No. 642, TIR - Nova Star: Maine Line of Credit - Status,
3884
No. 643, Health & Wellness - Obstetrics: Rural N.S. - Availability,
3885
No. 644, Fin. & Treasury Bd.: Dept. Senior Management
- Increases Explain, Mr. T. Houston »
3886
No. 645, Health & Wellness - Continuing Care Strategy:
Support Groups/Caregivers - Consult, Hon. A. MacLeod »
3887
No. 646, Prem. - Screen Ind.: Attitude Change - Timeline,
3888
No. 647, Environ. - NSP: Emission Reduction - Confirm,
3890
No. 648, Fin. & Treasury Bd.: Film Ind. Meeting (04/17/15)
- Attendees, Mr. T. Houston « »
3891
No. 649, Agric. - Off-Road Tires: Fee - Details,
3891
HOUSE RECESSED AT 10:53 A.M
3894
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 11:15 A.M
3894
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON SUPPLY MOTION:
3896
3899
SPEAKER'S RULING:
Scheduling of Estimates Debates
(Pt. of order by Hon. J. Baillie « » [Hansard p.3892 Apr. 17/15])
Not a point of order
3903
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CW ON SUPPLY AT 11:50 A.M.
3904
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 4:08 P.M
3904
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Apr. 20th at 4:00 p.m
3905
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1504, Orovec, Adèle - Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
3906

[Page 3853]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, APRIL 17, 2015

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Ms. Margaret Miller

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, may I make a few brief introductions as I present my petition?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Thank you, sir. In the gallery today are a number of individuals from the film and creative industries. I'd like to introduce them to the House. With us today is Cory Gibson from 22 Minutes; Ann Bernier from Vertical Productions; Shaun Clarke from Lunenburg, who is a media consultant and location scout - I'll be talking to him about the beauties of Springhill after the session today; Caley MacLennan, a filmmaker; Bill Niven, who is the producer of many projects, including The Book of Negroes; Jan Miller; and my old friend from Neptune, Jeremy Webb. I'd like them to stand and receive the welcome of the House of Assembly. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from members of the Nova Scotia film industry and their many supporters. The operative clause is:

[Page 3854]

"We, the undersigned, ask the Premier and the Minister of Finance to establish, in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Film Industry, a workable Film Industry Tax credit that will stabilize and preserve the industry while ensuring a fair cost to all Nova Scotia taxpayers."

Mr. Speaker, this petition contains 4,592 names, collected in only seven hours on Wednesday. These names join the more than 30,000 signatures of support that were collected electronically that we would have liked to have tabled today, but as you know, they are not permitted under House Rules.

Mr. Speaker, I have proudly affixed my name to this petition and I so table it now. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The petition is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

HON. KELLY REGAN » : Mr. Speaker, on an introduction. This week is International Adult Learners' Week. This week celebrates the achievements of adult learners, the organizations that support them, and the value and rewards of lifelong learning. In the east gallery this morning we have the winners of the Adult Learners' Week essay contest and the team from Literacy Nova Scotia. Literacy Nova Scotia asked for the essay submissions to be on the theme of Literacy Changes Lives. I ask that each guest rise as I say their name.

Jon Adams of Halifax, who is in the Options Work Activity Program category; Tiffany Rhodenizer of Pictou County in the Community-based Learning Programs including ALP Levels I and II category; Mahnaz Musawi of Halifax in the English as an Additional Language (EAL) category; and Samantha Lundrigan of Sackville in the Adult High Schools, NSCC, Community-based Programs and Workforce category. We are also joined today by Literacy Nova Scotia staff: Jayne Hunter, who is the executive director; and Heather Lauther, Marie David, and Elaine Frampton.

I ask that all members of the House of Assembly give them a warm welcome and congratulate them on their hard work. (Applause)

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

[Page 3855]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

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

HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MR. KOUSOULIS « » : Perhaps if our guests would stand as I call out their names. In the Speaker's Gallery this morning I am pleased to be joined by Chief Andrea Paul of the Pictou Landing First Nation. With Chief Paul is community elder Don Francis. They are joined by band councillors Derek Francis, Dominic Denny, Gordie Prosper, Wayne Denny, Crystal Denny, and Candace Denny. As well, Michelle Francis-Denny, a community member, is here this morning as is the band's lawyer, Brian Hebert. I ask the members gathered here today to offer our guests a warm welcome to the House of Assembly. (Applause)

Bill No. 89 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Cessation of the Use of the Boat Harbour Effluent Treatment Facility for the Reception and Treatment of Effluent from the Northern Pulp Mill. (Hon. Labi Kousoulis)

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

The honourable Minister of Health and Wellness.

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, if I could make an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : In the east gallery today we have Kelly Cull and Heather Creighton Spriet from the Canadian Cancer Society, if they could please rise; also Jennifer English from the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Nova Scotia Division; and Dr. Rob Strang from the department. I may have missed one name so if you would stand as well. Please give them the warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

Bill No. 90 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 14 of the Acts of 1993. The Tobacco Access Act. (Hon. Leo Glavine)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Page 3856]

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

TAAVEL, RAYMOND - REMEMBER

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, today we mark three years since the sudden and very tragic death of Raymond Taavel, a man of great honour. As the years pass, his loved ones remember him fondly. On this day we would be remiss not to think of the great contributions he made to the LGBT community, and the work he did to make our community safer and more inclusive for all Nova Scotians. Even on the night he lost his life, Mr. Taavel was bravely trying to help another person. If his death teaches us anything, it is that we still have important work to do to build an inclusive, open society; we still have a ways to go.

To his friends and family Mr. Taavel was an inspiration and hope. We ask that we take a moment today and remember him fondly. Thank you.

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

TAAVEL, RAYMOND: LIFE - REFLECT

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, Raymond Taavel was a respected community activist and a man of deep faith who believed in social justice and human rights. He worked extraordinarily hard to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, and transgender Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, Raymond was tragically taken from us three years ago today, and I ask that all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly take a moment today to reflect on Raymond Taavel's life, the contributions he made to our community, and resolve to work in the spirit of Raymond Taavel to make our province a better and more inclusive place.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I just want to take a second to remind members of our gallery, our visitors here today, that it is unparliamentary to show acts of favour or displeasure with the proceedings on the floor.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Portland Valley.

COLE HBR. - HOCKEY COMMUNITY

HON. TONY INCE « » : Mr. Speaker, as some members might know, Cole Harbour has a significant hockey community. The Cole Harbour Bel Ayr Minor Hockey Association has had an exceptional season with two different teams becoming provincial champions. The Midget B Cole Harbour Wings demonstrated their power of strong teamwork by working their way to the recent provincial championships. After securing the top spot in the Central Minor Tournament of Champions, the young men soon moved against the North Conference Champions from Trenton, in Truro a number of weeks ago.

[Page 3857]

The Midget B champions and the AA champions in Cole Harbour have both shown their excellent talents and abilities to move forward and win the championships in the provincials. Thank you.

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

Miskoff, Sarah: Film Tax Credit Cuts - Reconsider

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, Sarah Miskoff is a 29-year-old from New York City who is working as an animator here in Halifax. In New York the job market is abysmal for animators. Sarah struggled to make a decent living and finally found a job here in Halifax.

Sarah has told friends back in New York that they should come to Halifax because there is a thriving young community of creative people. Then, last week, her company told her that the tax credit that helps them to hire the young talented people was in jeopardy and when that goes, so will many jobs. Without the tax credit we will be just like New York - spotty jobs and living hand-to-mouth at best.

Sarah adds her voice to the thousands asking the McNeil Liberals to reconsider the cuts to the Film Tax Credit.

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

BUS. DEPT. - MANDATE

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, what do land registry offices, court houses, Community Services offices, Visitor Information Centres and ERs have in common? You might say dedicated staff, which would be true, but the other answer is they are all things that are closing or are being closed in many rural communities, thanks to this Liberal Government.

Now the McNeil Government has turned their sights to picking the pockets of rural ferry users, and picking fights with doctors and creative industries.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I want to remind the honourable member for Queens-Shelburne that the phrase "picking the pockets" is an unparliamentary phrase.

The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne.

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for your wisdom.

[Page 3858]

Nobody knows what the mandate of the Department of Business is, but I think I've just figured it out - they are going to be mass producing "out of business" signs for rural communities courtesy of the Liberal Government.

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

THERIAULT, NICOLE: CAN. GAMES - PARTICIPATION

MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise to commend the performance of a young athlete, Nicole Theriault of Meteghan River, at the Canada Games. These were Ms. Theriault's third Canada Games. She competed in the division of Compound Bow Archery. It is admirable when a young person sets a laudable goal and then works so diligently toward achieving that goal. Ms. Theriault would even spend her noon hours training. These efforts were rewarded; she made the team and competed at the games. Unfortunately, her hopes of medalling were dashed when she lost in a close quarter final round.

On behalf of the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia I'd like to acknowledge the hard work of Ms. Theriault in making the Canada Games, the only athlete representing the Clare-Digby area on the Nova Scotia Canada Games team. I would also like to congratulate her and tell her how proud I am of her performance there while representing the province.

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

ORGANIC WATER PRODUCTIONS: FILM PLANS - JEOPARDY

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : On behalf of my colleague, the member for Northside-Westmount I would like to read the following statement:

Together with Lisa Rose Snow, Lora Campbell is the owner of Organic Water Productions. Since forming the company they have created three short films: Ghost Walk played festivals in Canada and internationally; multiple-award-winning Two Penny Road Kill was next and was chosen as one of the nine films in Canada to compete in the 2014 CBC Short Film Faceoff; and in 2014 they were awarded a National Screen Institute Drama prize for their short film When Fish Fly, which recently won an Audience Choice Award at the San Jose International Film Festival and has been screened all over the world, including several times in L.A. and Australia.

The loss of the Film Tax Credit has put the feature film Organic Water Productions was planning in jeopardy. Lora believes she will have to leave Nova Scotia to pursue her career, another casualty of the McNeil Liberals.

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

[Page 3859]

FILM TAX CREDIT - GOV'T. (N.S.): ATTITUDE - CHANGE EXPLAIN

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, in 2012 the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board told this House that she believed the Film Tax Credit is an essential part of this industry's success here in Nova Scotia. At Economic Development Committee a few months ago the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage said that the film crews were in her community "quite a bit and our community really enjoys seeing it all and all the activity and stuff it brings, it's really nice."

What has changed? It appears this decision was made directly by the Premier who has no time for the opinions of his ministers or his backbenchers.

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

BULLET: ANIMAL RESCUERS - THANK

MR. IAIN RANKIN « » : I would like to recognize the sheer determination and commitment of Claire Paruch, Dorth Whillier, and Annette Armitage, President of the Animal Rescue Coalition, among others who were key in the successful rescue and adoption of Bullet the dog.

Bullet became the poster dog for the lobby to strengthen legislation around rules of tethering of animals last year. The unwavering support and love for Bullet demonstrated over years by these selfless and loyal animal lovers finally resulted in Bullet being liberated and adopted by a caring animal-friendly family. Bullet is now welcomed in the family home and is indeed now a fully-fledged family member himself.

Amazingly, the years he spent outdoor chained and lonely have not affected his warm and friendly personality. I would like the members of this Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in thanking Claire, Dorth, Annette, and ARC for their dogged determination and congratulate them on their successful rescue.

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

DUEL, ABBY: N.S. CREATIVE IND. - RELOCATION

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Abby Duel is a 22-year-old animator who has just moved to Halifax from the United States to pursue her dream and profession in Nova Scotia's creative industry. Canada provides wonderful opportunities for young professionals and experienced professionals alike to make their way in the world of film and animation.

The film community is what drew Abby here and is what she lives for, and to hear about changes to the tax credit is scary. The industry in Nova Scotia is a new beginning for Abby and she is terrified it may end so quickly.

[Page 3860]

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

COLBERT, STEPHEN: PREM. - "TRUTHY"

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, if Stephen Colbert was watching the Premier's media interviews and Question Period performance over the past week, he would probably say the Premier was being truthy. "Truthy" is a condition where the message bears no resemblance to the facts. The Premier has said that the Film Tax Credit still exists, that it hasn't been cut, and that it won't have much of an impact on the film industry.

Mr. Speaker, I would recommend to the Premier that he stick to the facts and forget about being truthy.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I'm going to take that member's statement under advisement and review the word "truthy," and I'll come back to the House.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

HIMMELMAN, SANDRA: TEACHER AWARD - NOMINATION

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge an educator from Hebbville Academy. Sandra Himmelman is one of this year's recipients for the Provincial Education Week Teacher Award for Lunenburg County. The award ceremony, taking place on April 20th, is a wonderful way to thank our educators who go above and beyond to make the school experience a positive one.

You can find Sandra teaching family studies, where she has taught for several years. Sandra is also the organizing teacher for the school's social justice committee, and has made herself available to students who need a helping hand or someone to talk to. She has taught students how to really pay it forward and is teaching empathy and kindness.

Congratulations to Sandra Himmelman and to all teachers who are making a positive impact on our youth.

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

DONAT, RICHARD & MAGGIE: FILM IND. - FUTURE

[Page 3861]

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, Maggie Donat and her partner, Richard, moved to Nova Scotia in 1989 from careers in the film industry in Toronto. Maggie became involved in establishing a strong union of professionals in a legitimate industry.

They have two sons who decided that Nova Scotia was a great place to live. One is a teacher, and the other a massage therapist with a family. They belong to a rural community and are proud of the work they do.

They would like to feel that their industry has a future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

FILM TAX CREDIT CUTS: CONSULTATION - LACK EXPLAIN

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, an important meeting between the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and film industry representatives is taking place today. Our hope is that the minister realizes the real impact of gutting the Film Tax Credit and puts her plans on hold.

I'd like to thank the many leaders who have emerged from our creative community in the last weeks, including Truro's own Cory Bowles, whose rallying cry, "We are culture," has helped to invigorate and inspire an entire province, and has gone viral online, spreading our message around the country and the world.

What everyone is wondering, Mr. Speaker, is why wasn't consultation done prior to the decision? A thorough analysis of the industry's economic impact was never done. The Progressive Conservatives cut Nova Scotia's Arts Council when they were in power, and the Film Tax Credit was cut under the Liberals. The NDP restored the Arts Council and improved the Film Tax Credit. As Cory Bowles would say, we are culture. Thank you.

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

E. HANTS COMMUN. LEARNING ASSOC.

MS. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, the East Hants Community Learning Association, located in Elmsdale, is a registered charity, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing accessible learning opportunities for adults in the East Hants community. Gaining the education skills we need to be successful is very important, and the East Hants Community Learning Association is helping individuals meet their goals.

They offer programs to improve literacy skills, upgrade skills, GED preparation programs, family literacy, and the Skills Work! program. Tuition and books are free in their Levels classes and they have continuous intake, so you can start at any time. They also offer reduced-cost transportation to help their students get to class.

[Page 3862]

The East Hants Community Learning Association believes in a stronger, connected community. With a hands-on learning approach and the availability of transportation, they are empowering individuals to live with a sense of freedom and confidence, which in turn helps create a more prosperous and proud community. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

BIBBY, SHELLY: N.S. FILM IND. - RELOCATION MOTIVATION

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, Shelly Bibby sold her home in Toronto in 1998 and returned to Nova Scotia to work on a TV series. When the show was nearly finished, Shelly's family made the decision to stay here. Since that time, they have had two children, three stepdaughters have moved here from Ontario, and several members of her extended family have made the move to Nova Scotia.

They have incorporated a small business, and they are buying a house for Shelly's mother-in-law, who will be relocating here from North Wales in the U.K.

There is no doubt in Shelly's mind that the province's investment in the film and television industry was the catalyst for this influx of people into our province. We know that population growth is a chief driver of GDP growth.

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

HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY: PARKING LOT - DESIGNATED SPACES

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, the snowbanks are disappearing and Spring is underway. However, those who try - and I repeat, try - to park within the properly marked designated parking spaces in the House of Assembly parking lot cannot continue to blame ice and snow for their violation in having their vehicles over the lined space allowed for them.

We all need to keep politics out of parking. Some MLAs like to be right of centre, some may like to be left of centre. It is my hope that the Minister of TIR supports my quest to have all vehicles parked in the House of Assembly parking lot properly aligned. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I will remind the honourable member for Queens-Shelburne that the parking lot falls under the jurisdiction of the Speaker and I'd be glad to look into it for you.

[Page 3863]

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

SAULNIER, PETER: STREET NAME - HONOUR

MR. BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member may be commenting on my parking skills. I rise today to speak of Peter Saulnier, a lifetime resident of Spryfield who passed away in 2008. Mr. Saulnier was best known for his role as Santa Claus for 29 years in the Spryfield Santa Claus Parade, which also happens to be the longest running Christmas parade in HRM.

Peter was also quite the historian and was instrumental in forming the Mainland South Heritage Society. In later years he found he had another talent and began making miniature replicas of local buildings. To this day, Peter's replicas can be seen at the Captain William Spry Library. Peter Saulnier is now being recognized and a street is now being named after him to honour his memory and his significant contributions to Spryfield. The Cowie Hill Road connector joining Cowie Hill to the Northwest Arm Drive will be renamed the Peter Saulnier Drive. The Mainland Heritage South Society has worked with the City of Halifax to have this street renamed and the sign should go up this Spring.

Peter Saulnier played such a huge role in his community and I am so pleased his name will be honoured with this tribute. Thank you.

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

BUS. DEPT. - BROTEN REVIEW: RECOMMENDATIONS - CONSULTATIONS

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker in 2014 the Liberal tax review made many recommendations. These included putting the HST back on family essentials like diapers, books, children's clothes and home energy. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board was quick to quell fears that she would not implement certain recommendations like putting the HST back on books. On other recommendations she has been silent.

On Budget Day, one of the documents we were given was about the new Department of Business and one short line should give us all pause. It says the Department of Business will implement the regulatory recommendations from the tax review. Has the government consulted industries affected by the recommendations or is the new Department of Business going to follow the lead of the Finance and Treasury Board Department and do their consulting after the fact?

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

[Page 3864]

PETITE PALETTE ART SHOW: ORGANIZERS - THANK

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to speak about the Petite Palette. This past September was the 3rd Annual Petite Palette Art Show, which spanned nine venues and 60 different artists and was organized by the Petite Riviere Arts and Crafts Society. During a three-day period in September art lovers were able to move within the participating venues, to find art that may not otherwise be found in a gallery. This gives much needed exposure to many of the artists, opening up possibilities and giving art lovers a chance to discover some amazing up and coming artists. I would like to recognize the hard work and long hours spent organizing this event by the board of directors and I look forward to this Fall's event. Thank you.

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

STEWART, KYLE - ENGAGEMENT/COMMITMENT

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to tell my fellow members about a remarkable young man in my community. Kyle Stewart is a Grade 11 student at Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School and is one of the most promising youth I have ever met. When I first met Kyle, I was immediately impressed with his level of engagement and commitment. This is a high school student who spent hours volunteering at my constituency office and other organizations within the community last summer and over his March break. He loves politics, and I have no doubt he will have a seat in this Legislature or in the House of Commons someday.

He is self-motivated, proactive, enthusiastic, and dedicated. He runs the student newspaper at his school, has volunteered with organizations like the Canadian Red Cross, has been nominated for the Lieutenant Governor's Education Medal this year, has travelled to Ottawa with the Forum for Young Canadians program, and is hoping to spend one month this summer in Quebec as part of a French-learning program.

While he is only 17 years old, Kyle is an inspiration, and I hope other youth follow his amazing example. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction, please?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction of those people who have worked on a variety of films and television shows across Nova Scotia. If they would stand when I read their names: Melani Wood, producer; Kevin Fraser, cinematographer; Shannon MacDougall; Cailin O'Neil, assistant director; Jan Miller; Dan Stewart, producer and sound recordist; Caley MacLennan, director and editor; Josh Denaro, camera assistant; Alaura Shaw, production coordinator; Nicole Feriancek, fourth assistant director; Zander Rosborough, sound recordist and stunt performer; Jessica Tate, production assistant; Kristin Arason, transport coordinator; Cory Bowles, director, writer, actor; Jeremy Webb, actor; Mark Tetreault - and I apologize if I read anybody's name wrong - producer; Ann Bernier, producer; Josh MacDonald, actor and writer; Ange Bateman, costumer; Mary-Colin Chisholm, actor; Shaun Clarke, locations manager; Andrew Sheridan, locations manager.

[Page 3865]

You can see that we have many people in the industry, and I'd like to welcome them here today. (Applause)

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

WONG, JESSICA - NATL. WOMEN'S DEV. HOCKEY TEAM (2014-15)

MS. PAM EYKING « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to recognize Jessica Wong of Baddeck, who was selected to Canada's 2014-15 National Women's Development hockey team. Ms. Wong was part of Team Canada's gold medal win in the Nations Cup in Füssen, Germany, in January 2015.

Jessica has trained hard, worked hard, and played hard over her career to reach this point, and is a role model for female hockey players in our country. Mr. Speaker, I'd like to send congratulations to Jessica and to her teammates on their athletic achievements. Thank you.

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

MILLER, CLAYTON & FAM. - THOUGHTS & PRAYERS

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, the family of Clayton Miller has experience tremendous heartache. It has been about 25 years since they lost their son, and reports released yesterday may not have provided them with the answers they expected.

May they find peace. May we keep them in our thoughts and prayers this weekend, and may Clayton rest in peace.

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

MUN. UNITS: SHARED SERVICES - COMMEND

[Page 3866]

MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that many of our smaller municipal units, particularly in rural Nova Scotia, are struggling to remain financially viable. Even those that aren't necessarily struggling are aware of what is happening around the province, and are being proactive to preserve their municipal status long into the future.

The towns of Bridgewater, Lunenburg, and Mahone Bay met this week to discuss shared information technology services. The three towns have already teamed up to share waste management services.

The willingness to work together with shared services is something that should be celebrated. It doesn't mean the loss of identity, and it doesn't mean amalgamation. What it means is that these towns are serious about offering the best available services to their residents and that they are serious about moving forward.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all members join me in commending these three municipal units for taking these steps forward and working together to create a stronger region.

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

EAST. PASSAGE ET AL - FREE SKATE

MS. JOYCE TREEN « » : Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, April 12th, the communities of Eastern Passage, South Woodside, Cole Harbour, and Cow Bay came together for a great event that got families out and active. A free skate with hot chocolate and cookies was the perfect addition to a sunny Sunday. After a long winter it was nice to have so many community members come out and enjoy a skate and have some fun. The turnout was huge and it was wonderful to see people come together, smiling, laughing, and enjoying one another.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN » : May I make an introduction please?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MR. MACLELLAN « » : I would like to draw the House's attention to the east gallery where we have my CA all the way from Glace Bay, Ms. Sara Howarth.

Sara has done exceptional work as my CA. She works really hard; she's a great teammate with Dorothy Smith and they have done incredible work on behalf of the constituents of Glace Bay and the people of my community. Sara has been a tremendous addition to the team and I know that she can make all Nova Scotians proud by the work she is doing to help people get to a better place. Again, I want to ask Sara to rise and receive the very warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 3867]

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

FOX, TERRY - LEGACY

MR. STEPHEN GOUGH « » : Mr. Speaker, Terry Fox was an 18-year-old, first-year kinesiology student at Simon Fraser University in 1977, when he was diagnosed with bone cancer that resulted in the amputation of his right leg. Terry began his Marathon of Hope in St. John's, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980. After running 26 miles per day, seven days a week on pavement and also on an artificial limb, Terry was forced to stop his cross-country run at Thunder Bay, Ontario, on September 1st of that year. The physical enormity of what he did is almost beyond comprehension.

Every year on the second Sunday following Labour Day teams from around the world run the Terry Fox Marathon and to date they have raised over $650 million with 84 cents of every dollar going directly to cancer research. Terry Fox, the youngest person ever named to the Order of Canada, is an inspiration to millions of people today. May his legacy live on.

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

HORTON HS GIRLS GRIFFINS HOCKEY TEAM - NSSAF BANNER

MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Horton High School Girls Griffins Hockey Team on winning the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation D2 Girls Provincial Banner on March 29th in Kingston. The 2014-15 team is the first Horton team to win the high school provincial hockey championships and as the team captain Mariah Carey said, "it was the girls who did it first."

Carey and her assistant captain Reghan Hiltz attribute Horton's success to the great chemistry built over the last two years the team played together. On behalf of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly I would like to congratulate Mariah Carey, Reghan Hiltz, and the players, coaches, volunteers, and parents of the Horton Griffins for their dedication and teamwork and for making Horton hockey history at the 2015 D-2 Provincial Championships.

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

NATL. VOL. WK.: VOLS. - THANK

[Page 3868]

MR. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, the National Volunteer Week 2015 theme is: Volunteers are Part of the Ripple Effect. A volunteer action is like a stone thrown in a lake: its effect has a direct impact. At the same time, like ripples, volunteer efforts reach out far and wide to improve communities. Undeniably volunteers rock. Now in its 73rd year, National Volunteer Week is all about volunteer recognition. Volunteers make a tremendous contribution to our communities, province, country, and across the globe.

Today volunteers are involved in more ways than ever. Volunteers help in so many ways. They govern organization as board members, sign and share petitions to encourage change; they lead rescue efforts when disasters strike, organize benefits when individuals or families are in crisis. These are just a few ways people so generously give of their time to help their friends, their neighbours and their families each day. It's the commitment of all our great volunteers who continue to give freely of their time and talents that make our communities strong and our province vibrant. Volunteers are the cornerstone of our province and continue to make a tremendous difference in the lives of so many. Thank you to each and every one of you.

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

PROSPECT RD. BUS. ASSOC. - CONGRATS.

MR. IAIN RANKIN « » : I would like to recognize the Prospect Road Business Association which serves small businesses from Goodwood to Peggy's Cove along the Prospect Road. The area is made up of a number of small rural and coastal villages, which together form a thriving community with many residents who own their own business or are self-employed.

The Prospect Bay Road Business Association determined that there is a need to increase awareness of what local businesses have to offer, both to our area and to HRM as a whole. While some of these local businesses have storefronts, the majority of businesses may not have their own building, and many are home-based businesses selling goods or services and are only known through word of mouth.

I would like the members of this Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in congratulating the Prospect Bay Road Business Association on their initiative, and thank the dedicated volunteers supporting and promoting local businesses in the area. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

E. HANTS COMMUN. LEARNING ASSOC. - E. HANTS COMMUN. RIDER

[Page 3869]

MS. MARGARET MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, this is a follow-up to my last member's statement. In 2006 the East Hants Community Learning Association started the East Hants Community Rider to overcome one of the biggest barriers to education: transportation for adult learners to get to class. Over the years the service has grown to help the East Hants residents, of all ages, get to medical appointments, job interviews, classes and skills training, grocery shopping, personal errands, sporting, and after-school activities.

Social isolation is common in rural areas and the group helps people remain socially engaged in the community by providing transportation to social events and family gatherings. Presently they have a fuel-efficient car and two vans that are accessible to people with physical disabilities. This Fall they hope to add a Ford Transit van to their fleet that can carry up to eight ambulatory passengers. They are also supported by a group of committed and trained volunteers who use their own vehicles.

The East Hants Community Rider is invested in the community and residents of East Hants, and they are making a difference to the lives of our citizens. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

SACKVILLE SENIORS ADVISORY COUN.

- SILVER & GOLD SENIORS' DROP-IN CTR.

MR. STEPHEN GOUGH « » : Mr. Speaker, the Sackville Seniors Advisory Council was formed in 1987 and is managed by a board of directors made up of 15 volunteer members. The main project of the council is to oversee the operation of the Silver and Gold Seniors' Drop-In Centre, which boasts a membership of over 400. The council attends conferences and workshops on a regular basis in order to ensure current information is available on matters that impact seniors.

Open daily, the Silver and Gold Centre is a source of friendship, information, and assistance to all who drop in, offering activities such as the Wednesday lunches, income tax assistance, card games, and crafts. The centre is a focal point for seniors of Sackville and the surrounding area.

Today I want to recognize the Sackville Seniors Advisory Council, those dedicated volunteers who make the Silver and Gold Drop-In Centre such a great success. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

NORTHWEST ARM HERITAGE ASSOC. - AGM

[Page 3870]

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Northwest Arm Heritage Association on hosting their annual general meeting on March 26th at the Armdale Yacht Club. This dedicated group works hard to ensure the well-being of the Northwest Arm. Their mandate is to preserve the Arm for the enjoyment of future generations.

Sarah-Jane Raine, Commander of the Halifax Power and Sail Squadron, gave an illustrated talk, titled Safety on the Northwest Arm: Then and Now. She presented historical information about the Arm patrol as it was, and gave practical advice for safety on and around the Northwest Arm today. The successful turnout is a testament to the value and importance the Northwest Arm has with the people in the area.

Mr. Speaker, as the MLA for Halifax Armdale, it's my absolute pleasure to extend best wishes to the members of the association. Thank you very much.

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

BARKHOUSE, ROSIE:

N.S. FIREFIGHTERS BURN TREATMENT SOC. - VOLUNTEERING

MR. LLOYD HINES « » : Mr. Speaker, each year Nova Scotia firefighters receive thousands of emergency calls. In 1983, eight firefighters founded the Nova Scotia Firefighters Burn Treatment Society. Approximately 60 adults and 40 children are treated annually at the province's two burn treatment centres. Most burn victims require the use of specialized, highly technological equipment, and the equipment is expensive and funding is limited.

The Nova Scotia Firefighters Burn Treatment Society's motto is Taking Pride in Helping Others; however, the society also needs help - your help. Rosie Barkhouse of Sheet Harbour has been volunteering with the Sheet Harbour Volunteer Fire Department for 20 years. The last three years she has organized a fundraiser for the Nova Scotia Firefighters Burn Treatment Society, raising over $2,500.

I am honoured to have Rosie in my constituency; I admire her dedication to helping others. It is through efforts like her own that continue to make our communities bright and wonderful places to call home. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

WEIR, CORRINE/HEPPY'S PIE LADY - THANK

[Page 3871]

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure today to rise and congratulate Corrine Weir who is a constituent of Halifax Armdale and has been so for 47 years. She's a proud business owner of Heppy's Pie Lady, which first began creating pies in 1991 with her expert mother, Yvonne. The company's slogan is: High Quality Alternatives to Fast Food, for Today's Hectic Lifestyles. The appeal and quality of her products are based on her principle to use only locally sourced ingredients which include free-range meats. Heppy's is an excellent example of the Buy Local movement. Her products have absolutely no preservatives, additives, or MSG.

What makes Ms. Weir stand out even above such high standards for quality is her constant community support. She supports the local farmers, hires locals, provides free meals, fundraises for terminally ill people, and picks a family in need every Christmas as the recipient of a full festive meal with all trimmings and desserts.

It's my pleasure to thank Ms. Weir and her dedicated staff for making a positive economic and social impact in the area. Thank you.

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

VOL. BDS. - IMPORTANCE

MR. BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : Mr. Speaker, it probably comes as no surprise, I've eaten a few of those pies and they are pretty good.

I rise today to speak about the importance of volunteer boards. Many of our non-profit organizations are governed by volunteer boards. Our non-profits depend on committed community members willing to give their time to oversee the operations of their organizations. The Boys and Girls Club of Spryfield is one such organization that relies on volunteers to oversee the operations of the club and make sure it adheres to the principles of the Boys and Girls Club of Canada. The board is made up of several members from the community who not only meet once a month to help oversee the overall management of the club but also give their time to sit on various committees such as fundraising.

All board members have a common interest: to make sure the club provides a safe, accepting environment that fosters positive relationships for the children and youth of Spryfield. I ask the members of the Nova Scotia Legislature to join me in commending all volunteer board members that give their time freely to make sure our non-profit organizations run smoothly and continue to provide much-needed services for our community.

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

TOM'S PIZZA (BADDECK) - PIZZA HALL OF FAME AWARD

[Page 3872]

MS. PAM EYKING « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise today to recognize the owners, operators and staff, and of course the loyal customers, of Tom's Pizza in Baddeck. Tom's Pizza is the 2014 Provincial Pizza Hall of Fame winner in the Saputo's Pizza Hall of Fame contest. Anyone who has stopped into Tom's knows that the win is well deserved. I'd encourage anyone who hasn't had a slice to stop in and indulge. Thank you.

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

LIONS CLUB ZONE SPEAK OUT: PARTICIPANTS - CONGRATS.

MS. JOYCE TREEN « » : Mr. Speaker, on March 30th the Zone Speak Out for the Lions Club Speak Out was held at the Eastern Passage Lions Club. Three high school students from different areas competed to enter the district level competition that was to be held in Antigonish on April 25th. A Grade 9 student, Jake Sheppard from Eastern Passage, presented his speech on the Sea Cadet program; Alexa Johnson who is a Grade 12 student from Cole Harbour spoke about hypocrisy; and a Grade 9 student Logan Munroe spoke on bullying. All the participants received a trophy, certificate, and a monetary prize. The winner was Alexa Johnson and she will be going on to represent Zone 11 at the district level.

These competitions are a great opportunity for our youth to challenge themselves and to demonstrate how much they are listening and watching the world around them. Thank you.

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

IWK DANCE MARATHON - 13 SCHOOLS: SACKVILLE HIGH - HOSTING

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, last evening our youth throughout HRM put on an IWK Dance Marathon in hopes of raising over $50,000 towards the IWK. It was amazing to see. Students from over 13 high schools came together at Sackville High who were the hosts. They had an amazing time and they raised over $53,412.74. They exceeded their goal. Last year they raised just over $21,000.

I'd like to thank the students at Sackville High, the staff, and all the volunteers, but also the other high school in Sackville - the Millwood students, who supported those at Sackville High - and the other 11 high schools that sent students to Sackville High to raise these funds for the important cause, and of course, that's the IWK.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Before we move on to the next member's statement, I want to take the opportunity here while we have a minute to come back to you on the word "truthy."

Earlier today I took the word "truthy" under advisement. Having the explanation of its context offered by the honourable Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party, I'm ruling that its use was in fact unparliamentary. Any suggestion that another member is not being truthful is unparliamentary. While such words may have been used on The Colbert Report, they have no place in this House.

[Page 3873]

The honourable member for Antigonish.

NEVIN, LAUREN: THEATRE ANTIGONISH ANL. AWARDS - CONGRATS.

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, Theatre Antigonish wrapped their 40th season in March with their one-act play festival and the handing out of their annual awards.

I'd like to take a moment to congratulate one of three winners who were honoured at this award ceremony. Lauren Nevin received the Doctor Hubert J. Spekkens Award, which is given to the volunteer "demonstrating dedication to the excellence of the craft or technical theatre." The award is named after the late Dr. Hubert Spekkens, who demonstrated all of these attributes I just listed. Lauren was presented the award on behalf of Theatre Antigonish's board of directors. I congratulate Lauren on receiving this award, and thank her for being an integral member of Theatre Antigonish.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Barring any more members' statements, the House will now recess until 10:00 a.m.

[9:56 a.m. The House recessed.]

[10:00 a.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. We'll now move on to Oral Questions Put by Members to Ministers.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS

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

PREM. - FILM TAX CREDIT: MESS - FIX

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Today I tabled a petition of more than 4,500 Nova Scotians asking the government to fix the Film Tax Credit mess it has made. Those names are in addition to the 30,000 people who signed an online petition as well - 34,000 people willing to believe that this is all just a big mistake and they are now looking to the government to fix it.

Mr. Speaker, I will simply ask the Premier, will he assure these 34,000 Nova Scotians who want a vibrant film industry to remain in our province that this mess will be fixed later today?

[Page 3874]

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL » : Mr. Speaker, I can assure all members of this House and all Nova Scotians that the government has laid out a proposal around the Film Tax Credit. The industry has told us that that will not work for them.

I am very pleased with the collaboration they have shown over the last number of days. There is a meeting today; whether or not there will be a resolution today, I'm not certain, but I do know that both sides are working to find a common ground that will work for taxpayers and for the industry.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, this is 34,000 people calling on the government to fix the mistake it made in the film industry - that is 70 times more than the 500 people who will be helped by the $20 million that the government gave in a rebate to the Royal Bank. Now they want to know how saving 2,700 jobs is not worth the same amount of money as goes to the film industry to create 2,700 positions.

The Premier says that this arrangement works for him. It's clear it doesn't work for the industry - will he commit that the government will stay at the table today as long as it takes to fix this mistake?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. What I said is the arrangement didn't work for taxpayers.

The honourable member knows full well that the arrangement with the payroll rebate that the Royal Bank, and anyone else who has applied for a payroll rebate in this province, is about 9 cents. We're talking about the most lucrative Film Tax Credit, which is 50 per cent to 65 per cent of the labour cost, Mr. Speaker. There is a substantial difference, and the honourable member knows that. He is using divisive politics.

I am very grateful for the fact that the industry is sitting down with government to find a solution that works for them, Mr. Speaker.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, look, we are all willing to say that this was just a big mistake. We don't believe the government intentionally wanted to wipe out an entire industry in this province - a young, creative, growing industry.

Now there's going to be a meeting this afternoon; there is a chance to fix this mistake. The Premier says it's the richest in the country. I'm not sure who is trying to be divisive - we've asked him to table that information, but we have yet to see any evidence of that, Mr. Speaker. If we look at other provinces, eight of them support their film industries. Nova Scotia is now one of the ones that is proposing not to. Let's just call it what it is: a big mistake.

[Page 3875]

Will the Premier assure the 2,700 people who work in our film industry that he will stay at the table and do what it takes to fix this mistake and save those jobs?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to remind him and all Nova Scotians that in this budget we've invested $18 million in the creative economy. For the first time, we've set aside money for the recording industry in this province. As he knows and as all Nova Scotians know, we're known around the world for our music. We've invested money in publishing, we've set aside money in a digital tax credit where we're seeing tremendous growth in this province.

We have money set aside for the film industry, Mr. Speaker. What the industry has told us is that the delivery model of sending that money out to them doesn't work for them. We've said to them, show us back a model that works for you, we will listen. We're very grateful they're sitting down at the table to find a solution that works for them and taxpayers.

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

PREM. - FILM TAX CREDIT CHANGES: PATH - CHANGE

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, today is a big day here in Nova Scotia, a lot is on the line for a really important industry, an industry that is worth $138 million in our economy, an industry that employs between 2,700 and 3,000 people.

The Premier has been absolutely intractable in his commitment to the path he is on. I want to ask the Premier, please, is he prepared to back away from the path he is on - yes or no?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. I've been saying since before the budget was introduced: if there is a better way to deliver the financial envelope that we have, we're more than prepared to listen to industry. Industry has been working with government to find a solution that works for them, and we're very encouraged by that. We're encouraged by the way that they have done so; they've been extremely professional about this. We're working with them and we're going to continue to work until we find a solution.

MS. MACDONALD « » : Thom Fitzgerald, a very well-known international producer of film, someone we're very proud of here in Nova Scotia, has crunched some numbers. He has crunched numbers of a million dollar project into our economy and he has looked at what that million dollar project would get in every province across the country. Guess what, Mr. Speaker? The project would get $81,000 in Nova Scotia under the new regime that this government is recommending, compared to $300 million in Manitoba. I want to ask the Premier, does the Premier seriously want Nova Scotia's film industry to be the same size as the film industry in Nunavut?

[Page 3876]

THE PREMIER « » : I think the honourable member misspoke in her amount that Manitoba will be giving. I don't believe they're giving $300 million for that production but I take her point. The reality of it is this province is in tough financial challenges. We have laid out a proposal to the industry that works for taxpayers. The industry says that it doesn't work for them. I'm very grateful to the industry for coming to us, looking for a solution on how we can move forward. I know it's hard for the Opposition members to understand that government is working with industry to find a solution both for taxpayers and the industry, but that's the reality.

MS. MACDONALD « » : I want to remind the Premier that the film industry is not the financial problem of this province, it is the financial solution to this province. I ask the Premier - through you, Mr. Speaker - will he please reconsider the direction he is taking this industry in, will he look at the numbers that have been provided by Thom Fitzgerald and people in the industry and do the right thing, not only for this industry but for our province?

THE PREMIER « » : Of course we'll look at that information, we've looked at all kinds of information that the people have presented to us. The reality of it is this province is in deep financial challenges, and we cannot continue to do things the way we've always done them. She knows that, she has been on this side of the House and ran up a deficit that we have to deal with. The reality is, Mr. Speaker, we presented to the industry a model that works for taxpayers and the industry has told us it doesn't work for them. We're listening to the industry to work to find a solution that will work for taxpayers and the industry.

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

PREM.: FILM IND. MEETING (04/17/15) - ATTENDANCE CONFIRM

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : The Premier is saying that he wants to work with industry now on a solution to a mess of his own government's making. Mr. Speaker, there were thousands of members of the film industry outside our doors just two days ago, but the Premier didn't see fit to go out and see them then or we could have been much further along today on finding a solution. But there is a meeting today, and if this is important to the Premier, I will ask him, does he plan to attend the meeting that is going to fix this mess?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, if I was outside I would have been like the Leader of the Official Opposition looking for a camera every time to jump in front of and grandstand. The reality is the industry was very respectful, Nova Scotians were very respectful here this week showing a demonstration of their support for the film industry. We listened to them, the industry is sitting down with government to find a solution. We're prepared to work with the industry to find common ground that works for the taxpayers and works for the industry.

[Page 3877]

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, unlike the Premier I was out there listening to what the film industry had to say, unlike the Premier who drove by in a big van to go up to CBC and tell Tom Murphy as he drove by 3,000 people wanting to talk to him that he wants to listen. I asked him if the meeting is important enough that he would attend. I guess the answer is no, because he didn't answer the question.

I'll redirect to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, as it's her department that is responsible for the credit. The Minister of Finance and Treasury Board said yesterday, we're willing to listen. I want to ask the Finance and Treasury Board Minister a very direct question: will she be at the meeting this afternoon, yes or no?

HON. DIANA WHALEN » : Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows, I attended the full two-hour meeting on Tuesday that was held this week, along with officials from three departments and the deputies and ministers from three departments. I will be there to meet the people today, but I'm not intending to stay for the whole meeting. I think it's much better to allow them to sit down, and let's start working on the big solutions.

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

PREM.: FILM IND.: TRANSITION PLAN

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, the McNeil Government has certainly created a lot of stress and chaos in the film industry. It's only going to get worse. Film professionals are particularly worried about the dismantling of Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia. Andrew Sheridan, a local manager, says there is nowhere for potential employers of film crews to go to get important information. The new entity that the Premier likes to talk about is not even coming until 2016-17.

I want to ask the Premier, what is his plan to provide support and transition to the industry after he dissolved Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to tell her that in this budget there is $18 million for the creative economy. There is $6 million that is in NSBI, which she would know full well is there for the recording industry, for publishing, for the film industry. There's an additional $6 million that will be administered as a digital tax credit. There is also an additional $6 million that is there for the film industry.

We're working with them today, and will continue to work with them to find a solution that works for them. I'm very grateful for the collaborative approach they've shown, and we will continue to move forward.

MS. MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I don't think the Premier understands. He may have these programs in place, but there's no one there to administer them. When you call, all you get is an answering machine. People in the industry with projects underway can't even get a person on the phone to answer important questions.

[Page 3878]

I want to ask the Premier, why didn't he make sure that there were qualified people ready to answer the many calls from people in the industry who are very concerned about the chaos that has been created?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. Again, I want to remind her we're working with the industry today to look for a resolution to the challenges facing the industry. We have laid out a plan that we believe works for taxpayers. They say it doesn't work for them. We're prepared to look at finding a solution that works for them.

At the same time, we've heard from people in the industry who are obviously concerned about the changes. Last week was a difficult day for a lot of Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians were sent home without a job. These are difficult decisions that we have to make as a government. They don't come easy. They weigh heavy on every member of government. I know they weigh heavy on families across this province.

It is not with great joy that I sit here and realize I have to rein in the costs of government. I would like to be in a position where I had $200 million extra to invest in programs. If they'd only negotiated a labour mandate, the growth of the economy - that's how much additional money we would have today to invest not only in film but in programs all across this province.

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

PREM.: FILM IND. MEETING (04/17/15) - ATTENDANCE

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe my ears. I truly can't believe what I'm hearing. We just spent a week in this House hearing the Premier and the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board say - well, they didn't say they made a mistake, but clearly they did make a mistake - that they're willing to hear proposals from the film industry itself. Now, just a few moments ago, we find out that neither the Premier nor even the Finance and Treasury Board Minister are going to go to the very meeting where they're going to hear the proposals from the film industry.

How can the Premier say that they want to listen to what the industry has to say when neither the Premier nor the Finance and Treasury Board Minister want to go to the meeting?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party would just shrink his ego for two seconds - the reality of it is there have been ongoing conversations with the industry, there have been ongoing conversations over the last number of days. Staff members are sitting down to go over proposals to work out details to find a solution that works for them.

[Page 3879]

He knows full well, Mr. Speaker, that the Premier doesn't sit in on every meeting that takes place in government; he knows full well that is not the case, it has never happened in our history.

Mr. Speaker, staff will be there working with the industry on proposals that have been presented to find a solution that works for staff.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, apparently the Premier didn't take the advice of Bubbles and The Trailer Park Boys in their video when he advised people: don't be mean, don't be rude, swearing at them and stuff. I wish he would follow that advice because this is not about me; it is not about him - we are asking questions about 2,700 jobs, a young, growing, dynamic industry. That's what this issue is about.

He says he wants to listen. He won't go to the meeting, that's fine. But I am shocked that the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board won't go to the meeting since estimates here for Finance and Treasury Board were actually postponed today because she was supposed to be going to that meeting, Mr. Speaker.

How can the industry take this government seriously when they make a big mistake and then they won't even go the meeting that is supposed to fix it?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, again I want to say to the honourable member, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board said she would be at meeting at the beginning to deal with both our staff and the people there from the industry. It is important that both sides get an opportunity to put on the table the things they have been talking about over the last number of days in a way that is constructive and allows them to move forward.

Mr. Speaker, we've been listening to the industry. We are sitting down to find a proposal that works for taxpayers and works for them.

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

CCH: FILM & CREATIVE INDUSTRIES - ALTERNATE CONTACT INFO

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. The talented staff at Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia was the first place out-of-province filmmakers, advertising agencies, and commercial makers, called to make inquiries about shooting in Nova Scotia. Staff was able to connect with producers, with local contacts to find photos of locations, crew availability, permits, and costs. With the closure of Film and Creative Industries, those job creators have nowhere to call now and no one to turn to for assistance.

[Page 3880]

Now that the government has axed Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia and the Department of Business will not be fully operational for some time, where are filmmakers and television commercial producers supposed to call until July, while the industry is still alive?

HON. TONY INCE « » : Well thank you, first of all, for that question. Mr. Speaker, Film and Creative Industries was never under my portfolio, it was under the Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. Secondly, what I'd like to say is our government truly appreciates the contributions of those working in the creative industries. To that, we have committed to putting $70 million into the creative industries.

AN HON. MEMBER: You don't even know your budget - it is $61 million. Where do you get the $70 million . . .

MR. INCE « » : Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member is sitting on this side of the House and knows the numbers, she should stand up and talk about them. Thank you.

MS. MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, it is in the budget that the actual total budget is $61 million, not $70 million. I wish there was a $70 million investment.

TV work brings about $1.5 million into our province each year. That is work that is not able to recover or receive the tax credit but piggybacks on existing infrastructure and the excellent crews we have out there. TV inquiries have traditionally gone through Film and Creative Industries.

An international fast food giant wants to come to Nova Scotia to shoot a commercial. Luckily this company has worked with Shaun Clarke, a Lunenburg location scout, on these other jobs. If the company didn't know Shaun, they wouldn't have known who to call in Nova Scotia, and that work and those dollars would have gone somewhere else.

When the decision was made to close Film and Creative Industries, did the minister . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The time allotted for the member's question has expired.

The honourable Acting Leader for the New Democratic Party.

FIN. & TREASURY BD. - COMMUNITY COUNTS: CUTTING - JUSTIFY

[Page 3881]

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, it is becoming increasingly clear this is a government that doesn't make decisions based on evidence or data. Yesterday I asked the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board about the Community Counts program in the Economics and Statistics division of her department, which has been eliminated and she said it wasn't a core service and this is why. The Ivany commission had this to say about the importance of having good information on economic performance and making it available to the public. It said it is essential if key sectors in our province will be drawn into the project of building a stronger economy.

I want to ask the minister, how can she justify cutting the Community Counts program when the Ivany report clearly states the importance of good information, good data, and the transparency and availability of that data to build a stronger economy?

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : We had this discussion yesterday; I'm glad you brought it up again today because this is an important question. What the people of Nova Scotia need to know is that all of the information that was held in the Community Counts program is available through Stats Canada, the Canadian agency that has the statistics for all of Canada. The information is available to everybody, to academics and all.

Mr. Speaker, we had to look at duplication. We had to look at things that were not core to the running of this province and how best to save money and to get us to a position where we will have the money to invest in community services, to invest in autism, to invest in better child care - all of the things that are pressing in this province.

MS. MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, the minister neglects to say that the Stats Canada data costs a large amount of money to get information that can be used in our local economy.

The Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy, the Ivany commission, actually used Community Counts to prepare recommendations for their report and additionally a recommendation of the commission was to encourage the provincial government to look at other ideas on how to expand data resources. My question to the minister is, did she not consider this recommendation in the Ivany report before making the decision to eliminate Community Counts?

MS. WHALEN « » : I think it is well worth mentioning again that last Thursday, a week ago, was a sad day for a lot of people. Every department had job losses. Every department had to look for things that were not absolutely essential for us to do, and that's not easy to do. It meant people, it meant their lives, it was difficult.

Mr. Speaker, all the information was available and will be available through Stats Canada but more importantly the member has asked a question about more data and I would like to mention that the Government of Nova Scotia is looking at more open data, opening up a lot of our data resources. That's an important thing. The City of Halifax has begun to do it and we are going to be doing it too.

[Page 3882]

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

CCH - FILM & CREATIVE INDUSTRIES:

MUSICIANS - TRANSITION CONCERNS

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. The Premier has tried to soften the blow of the Film Tax Cut by saying the government is making an investment in musicians and you know who else used to invest in musicians, film and creative industries in Nova Scotia. In fact they offered two programs: the Emerging Music Business Program and the Export Development Program for Music, and I might also add that the music industry development officer was also employed with this organization.

Did the minister understand when he was taking away from the province's music industry that the decision that was being made was to shut down an important asset to Nova Scotia's cultural community?

HON. TONY INCE « » : I'll bump that question to my honourable colleague Mark Furey who is in charge of Business.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I'd like to remind the honourable minister not to refer to any other member of the House by their proper name.

The honourable Minister of Business.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : I first want to recognize the importance of the creative industry in Nova Scotia and I think my colleague shares the same concerns. What I would want to share with my colleague, there is a $6 million creative economy fund to meet the very needs that my colleague has identified. In addition to that, and I'll share the website with my colleague, we have a website established, through the Department of Business, a link to NSBI and the contact information for those individuals that my colleague has referenced. We'd be more than happy to accommodate the dissemination of that information.

MS. MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, the music industry development officer at Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia did a lot more than administer the funding programs for Nova Scotia musicians. He managed relationships with music industry organizations and a host of international organizations interested in Nova Scotia's music industry.

My question to the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, who will Canadian and international music organizations interested in Nova Scotia's musical talent, turn to now that his government has locked the doors at Film & Creative Industries Nova Scotia?

[Page 3883]

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

MR. FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, the creative industry remains and the creative economy fund remains in place to support the music industry. What we've done is we've transitioned three positions from the former department and we've transferred those positions into NSBI so that they bring with them continuity and subject matter expertise in the area of film, music and tax.

Those resources will be based in NSBI to serve the very purpose that my colleague has identified.

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

JUSTICE - MAINTENANCE ENFORCEMENT REVIEW:

GWEN WILLIAMS - CONSULT

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice and the subject is maintenance enforcement. The Department of Justice indicated that a review is underway and it will be completed this Spring and made public.

This past March, Gwen Williams, an advocate for single parents involved in the program, spoke out about the need to make significant changes to hear the voices of the families affected. She also started a letter campaign to raise government awareness on these issues.

Mr. Speaker, will the minister consult with Ms. Williams to ensure that the views of single parents are reflected in the program changes?

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, thank you very much to my colleague for that very, very important question. We recognize that the Maintenance Enforcement Program plays a vital role in helping parents collect court-ordered payments.

We also understand that there are challenges and it's a difficult program to administer. For that reason we've developed a committee that has been studying and reviewing and we hope to have the result of that committee within the next month. So definitely all information that anybody has we'll be very pleased to be able to obtain. Thank you.

MR. MACMASTER « » : I thank the minister for that response. Parents are concerned that this review may not amount to significant and needed changes, and actions taken by it may not produce the kinds of changes needed to fix the system so that children don't have to go without because of parents who refuse to look after their responsibility.

[Page 3884]

Ms. Williams said that anything less than a complete reform won't do. I can appreciate that the minister will be doing her best with this issue but for the sake of transparency, will the department and the minister release this report prior to making changes to the legislation so that Nova Scotians can provide feedback on those changes?

MS. DIAB « » : Thank you again to my colleague, a very important question. We recognize the need to make the program as effective and as responsive as possible to all Nova Scotians, particularly to families that require these court-ordered support payments.

The review will look at all internal operations, policies and practices. Yes, we definitely will be making it available prior to releasing any legislation. Thank you.

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

TIR - NOVA STAR: MAINE LINE OF CREDIT - STATUS

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Nova Scotia taxpayers have committed over $40 million so far to the Nova Star ferry. Maine shares in the benefits of this service and according to a February government news release, which I'll table, it states that the government expects the state to deliver on its commitment to contribute $5 million. This would reduce the company's reliance on money from Nova Scotia taxpayers.

Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is this, can the minister provide any information on this line of credit for Maine and when we can expect it?

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. I don't have those details specifically at this point. For me it's important to understand them face-to-face so when the season opens for the Nova Star from Yarmouth I'm going to take the service down to Maine. I'm going to talk with the Governor of Maine, the mayor of Portland, and any other officials who may be helpful with this information.

We want to know what's on the table. We know this service is going to work; we're committed to that and I'm going to garner all the information that I can and make sure we make the very best choices for the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the minister for that answer, and I appreciate his commitment to meet with all of those officials.

So far, in the 127th Session of the Maine Legislature, there have been 1,351 bills introduced - an Act enabling a line of credit to be granted to the Nova Star is not among them. In fact - and I will table that - there has been an Act that requires horse-drawn carriages and wagons to be equipped with reflectors. I will table that.

[Page 3885]

The fact that this has been introduced, but the line of credit for the Nova Star has not, highlights where the State of Maine's priorities are. My question for the minister is, why did the government not receive a solid commitment from the governor to support the Nova Star ferry?

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure the member the purposes of that visit to Maine, when we go there, as soon as possible, using the Yarmouth ferry service, will be to ascertain exactly those details. We want to know where the government of Maine is, the State of Maine is, we want to know what their commitment is. We're looking for a partner; we're hoping for a partner. Everything that I've understood so far since getting this file is that there's a commitment to making this work.

Mark Amundsen, one of the Nova Star officials indicated very firmly that Maine is committed; they want to work long term. They have a number of conversations and details that they want to discuss with me. I can assure the member, and all members of this House, the people of Nova Scotia, we'll do everything we can to make sure this service is sustainable, and I know we'll get there.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - OBSTETRICS: RURAL N.S. - AVAILABILITY

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, obstetricians across Nova Scotia are having to make difficult decisions about whether to retire, move, or work to the point of exhaustion due to the unhealthy environment created by the Department of Health and Wellness. Don Wescott, an obstetrician from Antigonish, is being forced to be on call most every night. He says, "I am truly exhausted . . . If I get tired and have too many nights on call, we have a problem. And I can't make an error." Mr. Speaker, I will table that.

What is the Premier going to do to ensure the availability of obstetrics in rural Nova Scotia isn't at risk?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I will ask the Minister of Health and Wellness to respond.

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for that important question. About a week ago today we moved with Doctors Nova Scotia to pay for 80 per cent of the CMPA fees. Everybody will understand that we're currently in negotiations for a new master agreement. I am sure that obstetricians, along with all physicians in the province, will be pleased where we arrive, and we hope to see that development occur in the very near future.

[Page 3886]

MR. DAVID WILSON « » : That still doesn't answer an issue and a concern of rural obstetrics here in Nova Scotia. They reneged on a contract, they were supposed to get funded 90 per cent up to March . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I would just ask the member not to refer to the government as "they" (Interruption) Oh, reneged. There's that word again, "reneged." Sorry.

MR. DAVID WILSON « » : Through you, Mr. Speaker, the people across the aisle from me went back on a contract that was supposed to pay 90 per cent. The Premier has created this unhealthy environment himself. Instead of focusing on what's important to the health care system, he is busy picking fights with nurses and, now, doctors. Dr. Arthur Zilbert, an obstetrician, says there aren't people beating down the door to come practise in Nova Scotia. There's a poisonous environment that has been created by the Department of Health and Wellness.

I would like to ask the Premier - the Premier has already created a poisonous environment with nurses. Can he explain why he has decided to do that with doctors?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to thank all those who work in the Department of Health and Wellness for the tremendous work they've been doing over the last year. Through their great work we now have essential services legislation in this province that will ensure health care is available to Nova Scotians from one end of this province to the other.

At the same time, health care workers have preserved their right to strike. With the great work from the people of the Department of Health and Wellness, we've reduced 50 bargaining units down to four. We now have leads at those tables, and I want to tell you that family doctors across this province and doctors across this province are encouraged by the fact that we're finally tearing down walls inside the health care system to allow one health care system for this province.

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

FIN. & TREASURY BD.: DEPT. SENIOR MANAGEMENT

- INCREASES EXPLAIN

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : My question is for the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. Mr. Speaker, in the midst of all kinds of tough talk and belt tightening, we learned about a $140,000 party and $220,000 courier bills. Now we learn that the minister increased the budget for senior management for her own department by nearly $500,000 - $63,000 for Communications, $35,000 for Policy Analysis, $100,000 for Pension, $260,000 for Treasury Services.

[Page 3887]

At a time when the minister is asking Nova Scotians to tighten their belts, why is the minister increasing budget for her own senior management?

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : I think those kinds of questions, if we could, I would like to deal with in estimates. I've been called for two full days, so there are eight hours of estimates for Finance and Treasury Board possible.

MR. HOUSTON « » : I do look forward to that. I had hoped those estimates would start tonight, but we were told the minister was unavailable because of a meeting with the film industry.

On Tuesday in Question Period, the Minister of Business said the province is broke. Nova Scotians feel broke too, Mr. Speaker. Struggling Nova Scotians would find it a little rich that the minister is bolstering her own senior management while her Cabinet colleague stands up and says we're broke.

How can the minister justify this increase of administration to Nova Scotians who do feel broke, just like the province?

MS. WHALEN « » : I do believe the answer to that lies in us taking in some more staff from the Pension Agency. That did change our budget. As everyone in the House knows, there has been a lot of staff movement to realign with Internal Services, to create the new Department of Business, and so on. But last summer, around September, we took in the pension group. That was five staff members, so I believe it is more than $100,000 to bring in an entire agency to manage all of the pension work for all of the businesses of this province.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - CONTINUING CARE STRATEGY:

SUPPORT GROUPS/CAREGIVERS - CONSULT

HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : My question through you, Mr. Speaker, will be to the Minister of Health and Wellness. Family caregivers at home with seniors who are fortunate enough to have a loved one able to care for them, are in need of support. Public home care is not available for roughly 30 per cent of the seniors in Nova Scotia, based on geography.

The government has not announced plans to remedy this. The new strategy must address this problem and provide additional supports for those family caregivers who are under so much stress. Too often families work themselves sick caring for another or injure themselves trying to provide support. So many seniors live in rural areas where no public home care exists. This government must take this seriously.

[Page 3888]

My question to the minister is, has the minister had any consultations with caregiver support groups and Caregivers Nova Scotia to help with the design of a new Continuing Care Strategy?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : I'm pleased to say that this is an area where when we set up our continuing care refresh of a strategy, in fact, it will pretty well be a new strategy, since the 10 years are up in 2016. We actually invited caregivers and families receiving care into the Department of Health and Wellness to give us first-hand what is working and what needs to be improved over the next decade. I thank the member very much for that question, and I think we have some very, very real-life experience and examples to take into consideration as we formulate that new policy.

MR. MACLEOD « » : Seniors in need of care across Nova Scotia are worried. The family caregivers who make sure that they have support that they need each day - they're worried. These families have yet to hear about the government's plan for advancing the Continuing Care Strategy, well over a year beyond the 100 days that were promised, that there would be a commitment made. We expected the budget might provide an idea to what the government planned to do for seniors, but there was no notable investment that showed a clear path of how they were going to be helping seniors.

Mr. Speaker, the question is, when will the department release the updated Continuing Care Strategy that was promised to be delivered in 100 days?

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, just for clarification of the House - I think the member opposite is well aware of this but this is also a forum for theatre on many occasions - what we said about the 100 days was that we would start the refresh, we would put those people in place in order for us to formulate what needs to go forward over the next 10 years.

I would have to say that when we get the estimates on the budget I am sure the good member will ask that question and we can talk about the additional $1.3 million that we've invested for caregivers in the province. Thank you.

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

PREM. - SCREEN IND.: ATTITUDE CHANGE - TIMELINE

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, in the shifting world of terminology of this Liberal Government, I noticed that today the Premier has stopped using the incorrect word "grant" when addressing the Film Tax Credit. I also notice that he is suddenly saying that he plans on working with the screen industry so obviously he's feeling the pressure that we've been mounting both outside and inside Province House.

[Page 3889]

Last month the Premier sent a letter to members of IATSE saying that our local creative economy has established a rich, vibrant industry that allows IATSE Local 849 to contribute to the development of our province. I will table that.

Of course this letter was sent before the province gutted the Film Tax Credit.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Does the member have a question?

MS. ZANN « » : My question for the Premier is, what happened to change his mind about the vital importance of the screen industry workers to the development of the province when he signed off on gutting their very lifeline, the Film Tax Credit?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for her question. I want to thank her for listening today to what has been happening. We have said all along, since this budget was introduced, we've held a number of meetings with people within the industry, we're very proud of the fact that we've invested in the creative economy. The industry has told us that it doesn't work for them. We have said to them, here's the envelope of money that we have, tell us how we can best deliver that to you.

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind all members of this House that every decision we make affects Nova Scotians. There's pressure mounting on our government on every decision we make but we will make the decisions that we believe fundamentally are in the best interest of every taxpayer in this province.

MS. ZANN « » : Well thank you, Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to hear the Premier say that he is listening, but I have to say that I stand before you today saying that for six years now I have been talking in this House about the importance of Nova Scotia's screen industries and our growing creative economy.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, this is something I am truly passionate about and have worked my whole life for this industry. I truly care about these artists and tradespeople. They are taxpayers, too, of this province.

My question is now for the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage. How can this minister support the decision of his government to make life harder for the sector he also represents and was one himself? Is he prepared to step out from the herd and vote against this flawed budget?

HON. TONY INCE « » : Mr. Speaker, as was mentioned several times in the room today, the industry is meeting with the Department of Finance and Treasury Board and we are hoping that all parties can come to a common ground after this meeting. Thank you.

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

[Page 3890]

ENVIRON. - NSP: EMISSION REDUCTION - CONFIRM

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment. In looking at Nova Scotia Power bills you can see they've increased 25 per cent in the last three years. I noticed this a few weeks ago, looking at historic bills.

Cost increases were driven with the purpose to reduce emissions. Mr. Speaker, 46 per cent of the emissions in the province are due to Nova Scotia Power. If we look at emissions from sulphur dioxide and sulphur dioxide intensity, we can actually see that those emissions are increasing. I'll table those documents, those come right from the Nova Scotia Power website.

Nova Scotians are paying more for energy because of a government policy to protect the environment but has there actually been a benefit to our environment, because these numbers do not suggest it?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. In fact I was at a conference summit in Quebec earlier this week on this very topic, concerning climate change and air emissions, greenhouse gas emissions. I assure the member opposite and all the members of this House and the public of Nova Scotia that in fact Nova Scotia is one of the only provinces in the Country of Canada that is on target to meet its greenhouse gas emission commitments, which is to reduce their 1990 levels by 10 per cent by 2020.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister's words but when I see numbers like this it troubles me. In January 2009 a climate change action plan laid out targets. Those targets were doubled a few years later. People are paying hundreds of dollars more each year for their electric heat and power. These numbers suggest that the pollution is actually going up. Will the minister table information to prove these past energy policy decisions have actually reduced emissions and emission intensity?

MR. DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, there are a number of reports out recently that are reconfirming the information that I just provided to the member opposite and to the House that in fact we are meeting both our renewable energy targets and also greenhouse gas emission targets. We are one of the examples of a province here that is actually on target and I'll be happy to table information to demonstrate that.

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

FIN. & TREASURY BD.: FILM IND. MEETING (04/17/15) - ATTENDEES

[Page 3891]

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : My question is to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. We learned today that the Premier won't attend the meeting with the film industry and we also learned that the minister is going to drop in but that she won't stay. My question for the minister is, who has the Premier and the minster delegated responsibility to fixing this mess?

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : That's a very good question. Of course our top civil servants, our deputy ministers will be at that meeting.

MR. HOUSTON « » : I'm sure the concern that I have and I'm sure the industry shares is that these may very well be the same people who scripted this cut to begin with. My question to the minister is a simple one, how can the people in the film industry, who take this issue so seriously, take comfort in the fact that the minister and the Premier don't even rank this on their agenda for a Friday afternoon?

MS. WHALEN « » : I think the members of the House know that this has been a top priority for me all week, absolutely, you know that. More importantly, Mr. Speaker, the industry representatives from Screen Nova Scotia know that. We met on Tuesday and we sat for two hours and had a very productive meeting. They know that I care about the future of the industry and they told me they want to stay and they want to continue to produce movies here in Nova Scotia. We have already established a level of, I think, respect and understanding and it is now time to move forward on looking for that common ground.

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

AGRIC. - OFF-ROAD TIRES: FEE - DETAILS

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : My question is for the Minister of Agriculture. The Department of Environment is proposing to add a fee on the purchase of off-road tires. This would add another fee for farmers who have to pay a fee on tires for their tractors. My question for the Minister of Agriculture is, has the minister told the Minister of Environment that he imposes increasing costs on Nova Scotia farmers?

HON. KEITH COLWELL » : I'm going to turn this over to the Minister of Environment. Yes, I have discussed it with the minister and I think he has some pretty interesting news for you.

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : I thank my colleague for actually having the discussion. We have a great working relationship, Mr. Speaker. I think it's very important that all the colleagues here have a great working relationship.

With respect to the question around fees around tires for the agriculture industry, we've already reached out to the agriculture association and we've advised them that there will be no such fee coming.

[Page 3892]

MR. LOHR « » : Okay, I'd like to thank the minister for that answer.

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

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health and Wellness. Back in December the minister, after meeting at the Northside General, had said there would be a full clinical review across the province of emergency care services and lab services, but he expected the issues of the Northside in the ER and the lab's point of care would be dealt with early in the new year. We are now into April; the people on the Northside are getting anxious. The ER is still closed, it's closed most of the day. It's open from eight o'clock until three o'clock in the afternoon and we're hoping the minister could give us an update on exactly what the plans are and what the review is going to entail.

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

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. It is in the Rules of this House that the Opposition picks the five departments to examine their estimates here in the main Chamber, and we selected the Department of Finance and Treasury Board for this afternoon.

A few days ago the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board approached us and asked if we would agree to move that to another day so that she could attend a meeting with the film industry. Mr. Speaker, given the importance of the issue, we in good faith took the government at its word and agreed to move the Finance and Treasury Board estimates to another day.

Now we find out that other than to go and shake a few hands and leave the room, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board does not intend to attend that meeting. Mr. Speaker, we are feeling a little hard done by here, because in good faith we accepted the government's word on that and tried to help.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the minister may be busy, but the number one job of a Minister of the Crown is to come to this House and defend her estimates. I'd like to clarify through you, sir, on this point of order, will the minister be here today to do her job and defend the estimates or is she attending that meeting?

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party may not know but they actually did not call Finance and Treasury Board to the main Chamber on the day of the budget, they called Justice. They didn't even call Finance and Treasury Board to this budget.

[Page 3893]

As a matter of fact, when his Finance and Treasury Board Critic stood up in the House, Mr. Speaker, to debate the budget, he never even mentioned the Film Tax Credit at the beginning until the media started covering it.

The reality of it is that they came to us and they said, would you mind if we moved Justice out into the Red Room and moved Finance and Treasury Board back here? We agreed, Mr. Speaker, we accommodated them for that.

What we said is there is a meeting today, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board is going to that meeting, she is going to have her staff in that room. This is a very cordial relationship she has built with members of the screen industry. For the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party to stand in this House to grandstand when we've accommodated his Party, he did not even call Finance and Treasury Board to the main Chamber.

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

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, as House Leader for our caucus, the Premier is just wrong. It is the rule and the ability for the Official Opposition to call whatever estimates in this main Chamber. They have been accommodating the government to this point. They came to us - and the member across the way is saying it is not true. The Official Opposition has the ability to call the estimates here in this main Chamber, right up until five minutes before if they wish.

They were courteous to explain to the government that they wanted Finance and Treasury Board in here, Mr. Speaker, and it was a couple of days before estimates started. So for the comments of the Premier, they're not right. The Official Opposition has the right. They came to us, asking us if we would mind moving Finance and Treasury Board to another day because the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board was going to attend a meeting with the film industry. We supported that.

Mr. Speaker, it is on the government side to live up to what they say they were going to do here with estimates.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I will take the comments of all three Leaders of the Parties under advisement and the House will now recess. We'll come back just before we resolve into Committee of the Whole.

The House will now stand in recess. We'll consult with the Clerks and we'll come back before we resolve into Committee of the Whole on Supply.

[Page 3894]

[10:53 a.m. The House recessed.]

[11:15 a.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Internal Services on an introduction.

HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, if I could direct everyone's attention to the west gallery, today we are joined by the Grade 8 class from Armbrae Academy, as well as their teacher Jamie Langille and advisor Katherine McEller. Please give them the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON » : Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that a point of order was raised by the Leader of the Official Opposition while I was away attending a meeting. Just for your information, as you know, as per the rules of this House, once the budget is delivered, the onus is on the House Leader for the Official Opposition to provide me as Government House Leader with the list of five departments which are to have their estimates examined within the main Chamber.

I will provide you with a copy of the first version of this, which I did receive from the Official Opposition House Leader, and you will note in it that initially the five departments that were provided were Agriculture, Business, Justice, Internal Services, and Health and Wellness. Based on a request made to me as Government House Leader by the House Leader of the Official Opposition the day after the budget, it was asked if we could switch the Department of Justice to the Red Room and bring in the Department of Finance and Treasury Board.

There was no obligation as per the rules of this House to agree to such a change, but in good faith we did agree that we would allow that switch to take place. In light of the discussions that are taking place with film and Screen Nova Scotia and the meetings taking place with the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and other government officials today, it was agreed yesterday with the Opposition House Leader that the Department of Finance and Treasury Board estimates would be considered on Monday - next Monday, in fact - and that today would be the conclusion of the Department of Business, followed by the Department of Internal Services.

I will provide you with the estimates schedule provided to me yesterday by the Opposition House Leader, which clearly indicates that on Friday, April 17th, the estimates to be considered in the main Chamber are those of Internal Services and the Public Service Commission. It will show that on Monday, April 20, the estimates of Finance and Treasury Board are expected to be held in this Chamber.

[Page 3895]

Mr. Speaker, based on that and based on the co-operation which has been shown all around, it was clearly agreed - and I believe the Critics for the Opposition are aware that once the estimates are concluded, if they are concluded today of the Department of Business, the next department to be considered would be that of Internal Services and the Public Service Commission.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I thank the honourable Government House Leader for that information. I will take the point of order raised by the Leader of the Official Opposition earlier, and I will come back with a ruling. It has been brought to my attention that the estimates from yesterday for the Department of Business remain unfinished, so I will entertain a motion to go back into the estimates.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

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

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

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I think we're all completely confused now. Are we doing another round of debate on the point of order, as you allowed a government member to get up and speak on it one more time? Or are we moving on to the estimates?

As interesting as the Government House Leader's list of events was, it's completely irrelevant to the point that the government duped the Opposition out of debating the Finance and Treasury Board estimates today.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader was absent and brought forth information that is relevant to the point of order. I will take all that information under advisement. After we have resolved ourselves into the Committee of the Whole on Supply, myself and the Clerks will conduct some research and evaluate all the facts and come back with a ruling.

In the meantime, we're going to proceed with the honourable member for Inverness with the debate on the Supply motion for the Department of Business. I anticipate that we will be back with a ruling well in advance of the conclusion of that particular debate.

[Page 3896]

The honourable member for Inverness.

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, I think the big event that happened this week is outside of the walls of this building and that was the subject of the Film Tax Credit. It is the topic of the week and quite very well may be the topic of this sitting of the Legislature this Spring.

Mr. Speaker, one thing that is for sure is that jobs exist in the film industry. The other thing that is true is that with the changes proposed by the government to the Film Tax Credit, those jobs will leave because producers are saying that they are going to relocate to other jurisdictions where tax credits are much like they have been here until this budget.

Mr. Speaker, we have jobs here now but we're also hearing people who are responsible for organizing productions of film here in this province are going to be relocating. We have heard from the government that we can't afford this tax credit and by extension we can't afford these jobs, but what I would suggest is we can't not afford to have these jobs right now.

In the area I represent in Inverness on the western side of Cape Breton, I have seen a continued decline in our economy. It likely peaked back in 1975 when we had a heavy water plant in the Strait Area, a Gulf Oil refinery, and a paper mill with about 1,000 jobs. We have a paper mill that's still alive and doing well with about 300 jobs in the mill but that's down significantly from what it once was. There were probably at that time at least 1,000 jobs in the forestry sector supplying that mill.

Mr. Speaker, we have seen a marked decline in our rural economy in the Strait area. These jobs in the film industry are found not only in Halifax but also in the rural area. I heard colleagues, other members in the Legislature, speaking about the activity on the South Shore with productions like Haven.

I don't understand how the government can stand and say that we can't afford this tax credit because two things are true: there are jobs here now because of it and they're going to leave with the change to the Film Tax Credit proposed in the budget.

Mr. Speaker, one thing I've seen is that there has been some study on this in the past. Is this tax credit actually contributing some net benefit to the province? In other words is the money that's going out to pay the tax credit coming back in in taxes? There is not a really clear answer on that because no research was done by the government before they made this decision. However I've read through the media that there was a study done a number of years ago and at that time there was a very small net benefit to the province. It may have only been even 1 percent.

[Page 3897]

Let us just assume for a minute that this a zero-sum gain, that whatever money is put out in the tax credit, only that much comes back to government. One could say - why subsidize any activity that's going to do that? Well, Mr. Speaker, I think the business we are talking about here, the film business, the very nature of it is short-term; it comes and it goes. It is project-based, film-based. That being the case, if it is a zero-sum gain, I think it's okay because whether it's here for half a year or two years or three years - it could be multiple years if there is production for television for a series - while it's here it's creating work for people. That's important.

So if it's a zero-sum back to government, I'm not too concerned about that because it is creating benefit, it's creating work for people. We all know how many jobs have left the province even in the last five years but I can tell you from the area I represent - massive depopulation since the mid-1970s. I can think of our local high schools in Inverness County, even in the last 20 years there has been a 50 per cent decrease in the number of students attending the school. That's a real problem, Mr. Speaker. I guess what it means for students is they've got longer bus rides to school, and they have fewer opportunities to find jobs when they graduate.

I know that my own class that I graduated from in Judique, the school is no longer there. Very few of my classmates are still living in the area because there's no work. So why would government in this budget make a decision that is going to have an impact on the amount of work out there for people? We need to be moving in the other direction.

Mr. Speaker, I say with this tax credit that if people are working, even if it is a zero-sum game back to government, what's so bad about that? When I was out during the protest - I almost want to call it a rally because I felt it was - I must say they were very well behaved and I don't want to sound like a parent talking about a child, it's not my intention. My intention is to suggest and to say that I was impressed with people's actions.

There's a lot on the line here, Mr. Speaker. There are livelihoods, there are jobs on the line, there are families that may have to move because of this change. People kept their emotions in check and they were here to deliver a message and I thought they delivered it very respectfully.

Mr. Speaker, when I was outside one of the people told me about Pirates of the Caribbean 5 - I believe it's the fifth one, I know my nieces would know that right quick - I was told that Queensland, Australia, had offered the producers $70 million. They outbid Puerto Rico, I believe, to bring that production to Australia. That's a lot of money, $70 million.

Obviously they were doing that for a reason because they knew that that $70 million investment was going to bring a tremendous amount of activity - a very expensive movie production no doubt - bring a lot of jobs to that area of Australia.

[Page 3898]

Mr. Speaker, other jurisdictions in the world are doing this because they are seeing value in it. Until this budget, Nova Scotia was seeing value in it and was doing it and doing it quite well. To the point, where now we have Nova Scotians who have experience, who have valuable skills that are going to attract film production here. All of that valuable experience will be out-bid by other jurisdictions that are going to have tax credits much like we had before this budget.

Mr. Speaker, I also think of the tourism benefit. Nova Scotia is a beautiful place and I won't go on at length about that but people are seeing Nova Scotia in these films and these television productions. From what they see, they are wanting to come here and that's also good, good for rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I know that today the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board is going to meet with the film industry and I do believe that - I know if I was the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board I'd be there for the whole meeting. I would and I can tell the member for Bedford that I certainly would because how much bigger an event is there really for the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board in this sitting of the Legislature than this Film Tax Credit? If I was tasked with that responsibility I would be there for that meeting, the full meeting. I hope she changes her mind and is there for the full meeting.

Mr. Speaker, I want to speak a little more about the rally that was out here this week. I've seen some protests here at Province House and I will have to say this was, without a doubt, the most entertaining protest. I had a number of constituents on the stage - Mike Ryan from Inverness of the Town Heroes, who I was very impressed with. I have never had a chance to hear him before, live, but I must say I was very impressed. He was showing his support; Mary Jane Lamond who I know has lived - I'm not sure where she is living right at the moment but I know that she has lived in Inverness County, a Gaelic singer; and Wendy MacIsaac, a violin player who I know well, I know her family well, and Dave MacIsaac, a family friend of ours who lives here in Halifax, all sharing their talents and support of their colleagues in the entertainment industry.

Mr. Speaker, this was a very well-done expression on behalf of the industry, and I know that things have gotten heated in this Legislature on this matter, but I would like all members to acknowledge that the rally this week, while it was very exuberant, I thought it was very positive and I've even heard that there were some who came, I believe, to crash the rally, to make their own cause out of it, and they were even asked by some of the organizers not to be doing that because it was going to detract from the message that was intended - and the message was simple, restore the tax credit.

I think this matter can be fixed, I think at the very least the government should maintain the tax credit at 65 per cent, at least until a review is done; at least until a review is done that confirms that the rebate is working. We found out at Public Accounts Committee this week that there was no effort made, there was no study made to determine whether the tax credit is having an impact in terms of the government saying we can't afford it. Mr. Speaker, no study was done to prove that. At least maintain the tax credit until that review is done.

[Page 3899]

Mr. Speaker, we can fix this in this Legislature, and all members will have a chance to vote on the budget. We can fix this by ensuring that this is changed. The budget contains the same amount of money this year as it did last year to support this tax credit. Now I know people in the department when they come up with these estimates they determine what kind of productions are coming up and what the cost might be to budget for that, and they would know more than I would on this, but I think to see that the budget is the same, a decision to restore this credit this year may actually not have much impact on the bottom line of the government for this upcoming year. It may very well be that this budget contains enough money in that line item for the Film Tax Credit to support the same level of credit that has been provided the last number of years to the industry. That's another reason why I think we could fix this.

Mr. Speaker, I can think of something else that was fixed at the start of this sitting and that was the Limitation of Actions Act. The Legislature got together to fix that matter and the shortcoming in it was that there was going to be no recourse, no option for past victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse to go after the people who did that to them in a civil court of law. We fought hard for that, the government changed its mind, and that was fixed.

We're fighting hard for the people in the industry today for this matter, and I think that the government can fix this.

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

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : It's a pleasure to have a few minutes to stand on the motion to go into Supply. Over the last week or so we've been hearing in our caucus, and I've been hearing from many Nova Scotians, and of course over the last week or so many of those are Nova Scotians who work within the film and television and creative industry.

So I'd like to start my comments just on an overview of the budget, its impact and what I feel, and we feel, is really a budget that goes after what's really behind the Ivany report and that's to grow our province, to turn things around, to improve the conditions so that we retain our young people here, we attract new people to come to our province, and that we can grow the economy so that we can move forward and we can address some of the issues that we know are there with the finances of the province.

We have said that this, in our view, is an anti-youth, anti-rural Nova Scotia budget - and I'll give some reasons why, Mr. Speaker. The young people we need to have stay here, many of them go to university, they go to community college, they go to the colleges and the educational institutions that we have in our province.

[Page 3900]

For example, last year the government decided to eliminate a $50 million program - the Graduate Retention Rebate program - that went towards recently graduated students. We see that as an attack on young people. Why are they going to stay if they can't gain access to that? Some of them feel used by the government because they utilized some of their arguments - that they'd rather see those funds somewhere else; they weren't fully supportive of the Graduate Retention Rebate. I can understand that. If you're a student, you're worried about what's happening in your life that day, the tuition you are paying that month or that year. The Graduate Retention Rebate was for those students who had graduated.

They felt somewhat used because their pitch to government was not to just eliminate that $50 million program and not reinvest it. They wanted that $50 million reinvested in grants, reinvested in lowering tuition. There was some effort - I'll give credit to the government - to put some of that money back in, but by no means did they put back and reinvest $50 million.

In this budget, we see it again. The sights of the government are on our young people, the young people who are in university. The government is allowing the universities to lift the cap on tuition next year to allow universities to adjust for market value - I think that's what I heard at one point. They can adjust their tuition, and they are allowed to increase it to whatever they want. It will be up to the universities in our province. The students are concerned about that.

We turn ourselves and look at some of the investment - or some of the lack of investment, which I would call it - that we need to do in this province to sustain services that we have, but to create that environment that the Ivany report so strongly advocated for.

As the former Minister of Health and Wellness, I know it's a challenge to bring forward a budget. At the time I was there, it was just shy of $4 billion; I think it was $3.9 billion. I think this year it's $4.1 billion or $4.3 billion. We've seen an increase - well, I wouldn't call it an increase. It's really a freeze. An increase in the budget by 0.8 per cent is really a freeze. That's going to be a challenge for the government and for this new health authority that's overseeing delivery of health care to maintain the services. There are going to be cuts. There's no question. I was there. If you have a freeze in the budget, there are going to be cuts coming in health care and Nova Scotians are going to feel the pain.

We're already seeing that. We're seeing it in rural Nova Scotia. Rural Nova Scotia really is affected first, I think, when it comes to health care delivery, when we see a reduction in funding or a freeze in funding. We're seeing an increase in emergency room closures - the first time in five years. Under the Liberal Government, now we're seeing an increase in emergency room closures. We're seeing an increase in vacancies for nurses in our province. We're seeing the need for the government to hire nurses to fly in here and work to maintain the services we have.

[Page 3901]

We see wait times for home care increasing by 80 per cent in just six months under the Liberal Government. We see long-term care wait-lists at a record high, and now a moratorium put onto any new long-term care placements and creation of new long-term care beds. We're going to feel that as the months tick by here. It will be our role and our job to make sure that we are a voice for those people who feel that they have been affected by what is in this budget.

The Ivany commission stated quite clearly that we need to increase the economy and the chances for our economy in young people and, for that matter, anybody to create business here in our province. They contribute the taxes that are needed to ensure these services are provided.

We've heard, over the last week or so, government members trying to rationalize why the government went after the Film Tax Credit. I heard one thing that really - I thought at the time, I can't believe they're using that argument. It was around the fact that what would you rather have - a tax credit for film and television production or services for children with autism?

I thought, my Lord, Mr. Speaker, they have it all wrong; they don't understand it. The Film Tax Credit here in this province, it's worth almost $140 million annually. That's where the money comes from to support autism programs, to support home care, to support long-term care, and to support our seniors. That's where these funds are generated - and to hear that argument, I can't believe I've heard that.

The interesting thing, Mr. Speaker, is with the gutting of the Film Tax Credit, we saw just the other day how many people it will affect. Even for myself I knew the numbers were high, over 2,000, almost 3,000 direct jobs. I heard an interview from an individual who owns a company who shined some light on it - it's not just those 2,000 or 3,000 jobs, people who are directly involved in production of a film or a movie or a television show, it's all those other individuals who support that industry, from the food truck that feeds the people on set.

The other day I heard this interview and it was from a lady who owns a company that provides extras for movies and televisions and commercials. In her company alone she has over 13,000 Nova Scotians she calls on to work in the film industry as extras. Now it's not their main job, but they subsidize their income through this. I don't believe that the numbers we've been given reflect that - 13,000 people that she has, who she can contact to provide support and have additional employment here in the province.

I ran into a gentleman who is a minister of a church. I went up to him, he had the collar on, thinking that maybe he is in character, but he wasn't. He runs a congregation in Lantz and his congregation benefited from the film industry. He himself works as an extra. He says he doesn't have to, but he likes to. It is part of who he is and it contributes to our economy in the province - he pays taxes on that when he does work.

[Page 3902]

So to try to condense the impact and minimize it, which I think is what the government is doing, on the impact of this industry in the province is just wrong. I, too, as the member who just spoke, I really hope that the attempts today are genuine, that they will listen to the industry to come up with a solution so they don't gut the Film Tax Credit. We see, and I know that we'll feel that impact - just like I mentioned we will in the months ahead, in health care, we'll feel the impact and rural communities will feel the impact.

Mr. Speaker, what is my time? (Interruption) I've got a few more minutes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I just want to go back to one thing. Of course we were in government a number of years ago, Mr. Speaker, and I had the honour to be the first minister of a new department - Communities, Culture and Heritage. We worked extremely hard as a new department to show Nova Scotians and show those who work within the arts and culture and heritage sector here in our province that government was serious about supporting them; we were serious about investing in them.

I had the honour to table a piece of legislation - Bill No. 1, which was in the Fourth Session of the 61st General Assembly. It was on March 30, 2012, and it was Status of the Artist Act. We did that because we wanted to show those within the arts and culture community here in Nova Scotia that government was serious about this. No matter what government came after us, and no matter what government continues to govern into the future, they have to respect the laws that are in place, they have to respect the Acts that are in place from previous governments.

In Bill No. 1, Mr. Speaker, under Section (7) it says that "The Government undertakes, so far as it considers reasonable and appropriate, to … (d) work with artists and artist associations to guide and inform the Government on matters relating to arts and culture;"

Mr. Speaker, I think that says enough that the change to the Film Tax Credit does just that - it changes the environment for arts and culture here in our province and under legislation it says the government should consult with them. The main thing I heard the other day was that these decisions came about with no consultation with the industry. I know they have attempted to do that over the last few days but the government was forced to do that. They weren't going to consult.

So we have a piece of legislation on the books from a number of years ago, which states the government should consult when major changes to this sector happen, and that didn't happen and I guess the Liberal Government will have to answer for that. It's a shame that we are here today to see that.

[Page 3903]

Our Leader tried to indicate to the Premier today the impact, if a million dollar investment was made in the province, how much that will be different now, the rebate that program will get, and it showed it across the country. So if a million dollars was invested in the project here and across every province and territory, we are pretty much at the bottom. So out of that million dollars that production may get up to $81,250. New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, P.E.I. and Saskatchewan wouldn't get anything but then it's us.

At the top is Manitoba and under that $1 million investment into that project, those productions will get about $300,000 back, and then the rest of the provinces are there. Quebec would get back about $280,000; Nunavut would get about $270,000; B.C. $267,000; Quebec $260,000; the Yukon, people who do productions in the Yukon would get $250,000; and there is a number of them and I won't go through them. That is from Thom Fitzgerald who knows that we have those numbers and I hope that the government will look at that and say we need to rethink this, but I don't know.

I've seen the Premier on media recently and he's really talking tough with them, just like he talked tough with the unions in health care, Mr. Speaker, but there was some sunshine there. The government retreated. They came back and they actually introduced almost exactly what the unions had indicated they were going to do in the first place. So I'm hoping that this will happen in this case, that the sun will shine and the government will realize that it's okay to come back and revisit this. That would be our hope so that we can continue to see a thriving film and television industry, so we can continue to see an arts and culture community here in our province that contributes so much to the economy here in Nova Scotia. I'll end on that and I appreciate your time today.

MR. SPEAKER « » : In the absence of more speakers for the debate going into Supply I will take the opportunity to deliver my ruling on the point of order raised earlier by the Leader of the Official Opposition.

SPEAKER'S RULING:

Scheduling of Estimates Debates (Pt. of order by Hon. J. Baillie [Hansard p.3892, Apr. 17/15])

Not a point of order.

The point of order raised earlier by the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition was based on the proposition that the Estimates of the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board had been scheduled for the Chamber today. Rule 62D (1) of our Rules and Forms of Procedures state, "The House Leader of the Official Opposition, or his or her designate, in consultation with the Minister leading the House at the time, shall determine which five Ministers of Government's Estimates are considered by the Committee of the Whole on Supply and the order in which they are to be considered."

[Page 3904]

The honourable Government House Leader advised the House of the various consultations the House Leader for the Official Opposition had with him and provided with me the most recent schedule for the main Chamber, which shows the Estimates for the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board having been moved to Monday and Tuesday, with the Estimates for the Minister of Internal Services and the Public Service Commission being set for today. Accordingly I find there is no point of order.

[11:50 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CW on Supply with Deputy Speaker Margaret Miller in the Chair.]

[4:08 p.m. CW on Supply rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Ms. Margaret Miller in the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK » : That the Committee of the Whole on Supply has met and that the committee has made some progress and begs leave to sit again.

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

MR. TERRY FARRELL » : Madam Speaker, I move that the House do now rise, to meet again on Monday, April 20th, between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. At that time we will call the order of business, Government Business: Public Bills for Second Reading - Bill Nos. 89 and 90; Public Bills for Third Reading - Bill Nos. 79, 83, and 84; and Committee of the Whole on Supply.

With that, Madam Speaker, I move that the House do now rise, to meet again on Monday, April 20th, at 4:00 p.m.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House rise, to meet again on April 20th, from the hour of 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 4:00 p.m., April 20th.

[Page 3905]

[The House rose at 4:09 p.m.]

NOTICE OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 3906]

RESOLUTION NO. 1504

By: Mr. Stephen Gough « » (Sackville-Beaver Bank)

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

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is an exciting personal challenge for young Canadians, encouraging personal growth, self-reliance, perseverance, responsibility, and service to the community; and

Whereas more than eight million young people from 143 countries have taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award program, including 44,000 Canadian youth since 1963; and

Whereas Adèle Orovec of Lower Sackville, through her exceptional efforts in the areas of service, skills, physical recreation, adventurous journey, and a residential project, has been awarded the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, C.D., C.M.M., C.O.M., C.D., Governor General, and Commander-in-Chief of Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Ms. Orovec on her exceptional achievement.