Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

La Chambre s'est ajournée le
26 octobre 2017

HANSARD15-59

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Kevin Murphy

Published by Order of the Legislature by Hansard Reporting Services and printed by the Queen's Printer.

Available on INTERNET at http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/



Second Session

MONDAY, MAY 4, 2015

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1745, Workplace Safety - Nova Scotians: Efforts - Applaud,
4779
Vote - Affirmative
4780
Res. 1746, Wilson, Cruz/Classmates/ Teachers: Video - Congrats.,
4780
Vote - Affirmative
4781
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 113, Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission Act,
4781
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1747, HR Comm. - Pres./CEO: Appts. - Rules Amend,
4781
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
MS Awareness Mo. (04/15) - Take the Pledge,
4782
Prem. - Investment Policy,
4782
Lavers, David et al: N.S. Cattle Producers - Producer of Yr. Award,
4783
Chester-St. Margaret's: Filming - Consider,
4783
NSCC Stellarton: Adult Learning Prog. - Grad.,
4784
Bus. Dept.: Patronage - Appts.,
4784
Veldhoven, Gerald: Gay Rights - Attitudinal Changes,
4784
Star Wars Day,
4785
Seniors Safety Coordinator (Kings Mun.) - Position Save,
4785
Film & Creative Ind. - Economy: Impact - Awareness,
4785
RCL Br. 16 (Pictou): New Executive - Recognize,
4786
Liberal Gov't. - Budget Choices,
4786
Turner, Noah - MacAskill Award (2015),
4787
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 108, Financial Measures (2015) Act
4787
4796
4804
4808
Motion to adjourn debate
4821
Vote - Negative
4822
4822
4826
Vote - Affirmative
4827
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 8:17 P.M
4828
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 8:26 P.M
4828
CWH REPORTS
4828
PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:
No. 109, Tourism Nova Scotia Act
4828
4829
4830
Vote - Affirmative
4830
No. 105, Education Act
4831
4831
4832
4832
Vote - Affirmative
4832
No. 103, Municipal Government Act
4832
4833
4834
Vote - Affirmative
4834
No. 102, University Pension Plan Transfer Act
4834
4835
4836
Vote - Affirmative
4869
No. 101, Private Career Colleges Regulation Act
4837
Vote - Affirmative
4837
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 78, Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act
4837
Vote - Affirmative
4838
[PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING:]
No. 95, Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act
4839
4839
4839
4840
Vote - Affirmative
4840
No. 91, Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act
4841
4841
4842
4843
Vote - Affirmative
4843
HOUSE RECESSED AT 9:10 P.M
4844
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 9:15 P.M
4844
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., May 5th at 1:00 p.m
4844
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1748, Wallace, Ann: N.S. Hist. - Dedication,
4845
Res. 1749, Hope Blooms: Greenhouse - Opening,
4845
Res. 1750, Prescott Group - Anniv. (25th),
4846
Res. 1751, Levy, Stan: Commun. Commitment - Recognize,
4846
Res. 1752, Slaunwhite, Kelly: Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette
- Anniv. (10th), Hon. M. MacDonald « »
4847
Res. 1753, Rensch, Evan: Starfish Student Art Awards (2015)
Finalist - Congrats., Hon. M. MacDonald « »
4847
Res. 1754, Phoenix: Prevention Prog. Outreach -
Expansion Congrats., Hon. M. MacDonald « »
4847
Res. 1755, Austin, Sam: Hfx. - Commitment Recognize,
4848
Res. 1756, Hounsell, Derek - HRM Individual Vol. Award (2015),
4848
Res. 1757, Williams, Nicholas - HRM Individual Vol. Award (2015),
4849
Res. 1758, Carmichael, Laura - HRM Individual Vol. Award (2015),
4849
Res. 1759, Crewe, Norman - HRM Individual Vol. Award (2015),
4850
Res. 1760, Reinhart, Bill - HRM Individual Vol. Award (2015),
4850
Res. 1761, Reinhart, Leslie - HRM Individual Vol. Award (2015),
4851
Res. 1762, Wimberly, David - HRM Individual Vol. Award (2015),
4851
Res. 1763, Building Futures Employment Soc. (Lr. Sackville)/
Futures Café: Opening - Congrats., Hon. David Wilson « »
4852
Res. 1764, MacKenzie, Joseph: Country/Commun. - Contributions,
4852
Res. 1765, Perry, Amy/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4853
Res. 1766, Day, Grace/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4853
Res. 1767, Bishop, Madi/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4854
Res. 1768, Driscoll, Melissa/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4854
Res. 1769, Haider, Savannah/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4855
Res. 1770, Hatter, Samantha/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4855
Res. 1771, Hodge, Rylea/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4856
Res. 1772, Kennedy, Hallie/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4856
Res. 1773, Morris, Taylor/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4857
Res. 1774, Prime, Cassey/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4857
Res. 1775, Sponagle, Chelsea/Sackville Sonics U-15 Girls Tier 1
Volleyball Team - Prov. Gold Medal, Hon. David Wilson « »
4858

[Page 4779]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, MAY 4, 2015

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Session

4:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Ms. Margaret Miller

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1745

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

Whereas May 3rd to May 9th marks National Occupational Safety and Health Week, during which safety organizations, workers, employers, families, and others raise awareness of the importance of workplace safety and share insights about best practices; and

[Page 4780]

Whereas this week is also a time to reaffirm our individual and collective commitments to improving health and safety in workplaces in Nova Scotia, thereby shielding more individuals and families from the heartbreak of workplace injury or death; and

Whereas it is my hope that by showcasing occupational health and safety we will encourage even more employers and employees to be safety conscious on the job;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the efforts of Nova Scotians to build a culture of safety in our workplaces across the province.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 1746

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

Whereas today, May 4th, is Music Monday, which unites hundreds of thousands of young people and their schools and communities from coast to coast to coast through a simultaneous musical event on the first Monday of May; and

Whereas singing and playing the special Music Monday song brings attention to the importance of music as part of a well-rounded education; and

Whereas 11-year-old Cruz Wilson, a Grade 6 singer-songwriter from Sydney who has a passion for music, worked closely with a group of enthusiastic, talented music teachers to create a video of his song - his lyrics are inspiring and his performance heartfelt and moving, and can be viewed online;

[Page 4781]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Cruz, his classmates, and the talented music teachers who are helping students in developing their skills, fostering creativity and innovation, and discovering their passions and realizing their own talents.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 113 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission. (Hon. Keith Colwell)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1747

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

Whereas the Human Resources Committee reviews candidates for appointments to government agencies, boards or commissions; and

Whereas this committee also reviews ministerial appointments to government agencies, boards or commissions; and

Whereas it is a natural extension of the committee's purview to review the qualifications of a person being hired to the equivalent title of president or CEO of government agencies, boards and commissions;

[Page 4782]

Therefore be it resolved that the Rules and Forms of Procedure of the House of Assembly be amended as set out in the schedule to this resolution.

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

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

Is it agreed.

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

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

MS AWARENESS MO. (04/15) - TAKE THE PLEDGE

HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world, and during MS Awareness Month the MS Society of Canada is using a challenge to Canadians to take uniquely Canadian pledges to raise funds in support of MS research.

Participants will be tasked with breaking the office dress code by wearing a toque to work, belting out O Canada in a public place, eating an extra-extra-large poutine - I've done my share, sir - or including maple syrup in all three meals of the day.

Take the Pledge is a way to solidify a participant's commitment to ending this unpredictable disease. People who have joined the challenge will be encouraged to share their pledge on social media and to challenge fellow Canadians to join them. Today, I am asking all members of the House to join me in taking the pledge to end MS. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

PREM. - INVESTMENT POLICY

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, everyone knows the government has a role to play in keeping Nova Scotia competitive and in attracting much-needed jobs - everyone except the Premier, that is. Apparently he thinks investment equates to throwing money around. He even told us last week, ". . . we don't think we need to throw money at people to get them to invest in this province . . ."

[Page 4783]

That's funny, because I remember reading this winter about a $22 million rebate the Premier is giving the Royal Bank of Canada to encourage them to invest here. The Premier has also given over $6 million to DSM Nutritional Products, $3 million to Frito Lay, $6.5 million to Lockheed Martin, and the list goes on. Despite what the Premier says, he has been throwing so much money around his arm must be getting sore.

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

LAVERS, DAVID ET AL: N.S. CATTLE PRODUCERS

- PRODUCER OF YR. AWARD

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate David Lavers of Auchencairn Farm in Rockfield, Blair Battist of Lochview Farm in Lyons Brook, and Danny MacDonald of Little Dan-D Farms in Mount Thom for jointly receiving the Producer of the Year award at the Nova Scotia Cattle Producers annual general meeting that was held in Truro. The three Pictou West beef farmers have been working together for the past six years to retail beef products to local consumers. It is an honour to have this opportunity to congratulate David, Blair, and Danny on their award. This is also a good chance to remind the members to shop local. Thank you.

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

CHESTER-ST. MARGARET'S: FILMING - CONSIDER

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, as you know, Screen Nova Scotia had their first-ever awards ceremony this past weekend. I'm happy to report that the romantic comedy Relative Happiness, which was shot in Hubbards, won Best Feature Film. I always knew that the scenery and people in my constituency were award-winning, but now it has been confirmed. I want to congratulate the cast and crew of Relative Happiness on their award.

Despite the recent gutting of provincial support for the film and creative industries by the McNeil Government, in which Chester actually lost a $12 million production this summer, I do hope many more productions will consider Chester-St. Margaret's as a lovely area to make movies. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

NSCC STELLARTON: ADULT LEARNING PROG. - GRAD.

[Page 4784]

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, "learning is a beautiful thing" recently took on a new meaning at the Stellarton campus of the NSCC. As graduation approached, the cosmetology class, as part of their program, put on a day of pampering for the Adult Learning Program. The Adult Learning Program students traded a day of studying for a day of relaxation as they received makeovers to help them transition from school to the working world. Along with a new hairdo, they were treated to tips and demos that will help them dress appropriately for the workplace. Cosmetology students were marked on their performance and the results, and all indications are that the day was a huge success.

I offer my best wishes to all grads moving forward.

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

BUS. DEPT.: PATRONAGE - APPTS.

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, we know that the civil service is made up of many hard-working individuals, most of whom are unionized and some of whom aren't for a variety of reasons, usually because they are in a management or human resources role.

We learned last month that, much to our surprise, the McNeil Government's new Department of Business won't have any unionized employees. In fact, provincial government employees who want to work in this department will have to quit their union to do so.

I asked the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education about this last week. She told me that this new department fell into the same category as the often-partisan Planning and Priorities Office, where the former executive director of the Liberal Party now works. Should we expect more patronage appointments this time in the new Department of Business? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

VELDHOVEN, GERALD: GAY RIGHTS - ATTITUDINAL CHANGES

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Thank you Mr. Speaker. Gerald Veldhoven, a 74-year-old gay rights activist, recognizes a change in attitude in Nova Scotia. He refers to the decades of campaigning that occurred to change Nova Scotia's definition of marriage to allow for same sex union and the immense changes he has seen over his 40 years of support to this cause. Gerald organizes Pride Week and the Rainbow Flag event each year in New Glasgow. Gerald has spent over half of his life fighting with institutions and individuals for respect and rights for homosexuals. He believes he can finally see attitudes changing but there is certainly work to do. The New Glasgow Royal Canadian Legion allowed members of the gay community to lay a wreath at the Remembrance Day Ceremony last year in memory of gays and lesbians killed in Nazi concentration camps. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

[Page 4785]

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

STAR WARS DAY

MS. PATRICIA ARAB « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Stars Wars Day is a day that celebrates the Star Wars movie franchise created by George Lucas and it is observed by fans of the films and is considered a holiday by all who love them. May 4th celebrates two things that I myself love: Star Wars and clever puns, with those who celebrate declaring, May the fourth be with you, a play on the popular phrase said by the Jedi, the main protagonists in the films.

Today, as fans eagerly await the J.J. Abrams reboot of the film premiering in nine months' time, it gives me great pleasure to say to you and the members of this House of Assembly: May the 4th be with you always.

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

SENIORS SAFETY COORDINATOR (KINGS MUN.) - POSITION SAVE

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, the position of Senior Safety Coordinator is crucial to seniors in the region of Kings Municipality. When seniors need help, Seniors Safety Coordinator, Linda Wenzel is often the first person they call. Unfortunately this program fell victim to budget cuts. Regional RCMP Staff Sergeant, Paul MacDougall is worried that 25 per cent cut will jeopardize the position. Staff Sergeant MacDougall says the program is too important to let die. He said the loss will have a negative impact on local seniors and place a burden on other agencies.

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that when the McNeil Liberals looked for budget cuts, they only found them in organizations that help the most vulnerable Nova Scotians. I join Staff Sergeant MacDougall in hoping the seniors safety coordinator position can be saved. Thank you.

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

FILM & CREATIVE IND. - ECONOMY: IMPACT - AWARENESS

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I was very happy to attend the inaugural Screen Nova Scotia Awards on Saturday evening presented by ACTRA, Screen Nova Scotia, and IATSE Locals 667 and 849. It was an entertaining evening, as you would expect, and reminded us once again how fortunate we are to have so many talented and creative people living and working in our province. I want to congratulate all the winners including: Mary-Colin Chisholm, who won for best female actor; Carol Sinclair, for best female in a supporting role; Mike McLeod, for best male actor and Jonathan Torrens, for best male in a supporting role.

[Page 4786]

If there is one positive to come out of the McNeil Government's short-sighted decisions, it is that the film and creative industries are in the spotlight and they are united. More people than ever are aware of the impact that they have on our provincial economy, both socially and culturally. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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

RCL BR. 16 (PICTOU): NEW EXECUTIVE - RECOGNIZE

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the new executive of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 16, Pictou. New executive members include Ernie Morrison, Norma Jean MacDonald, Shirlee Heighton, and Glen Baker, all executive at large. Charles Landry is sergeant at arms, Donna Redman is secretary, Jason Clish is treasurer, Robbie MacNeil is second vice president, Joe Corbett is first vice president, Viola Arbuckle is past president, and Janice Watters is the president.

The Legion plays a vital role in our community. I am honoured to have the opportunity to recognize the new executive and I wish them well as they serve their term in office. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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

LIBERAL GOV'T. - BUDGET CHOICES

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, last week in the Valley the Premier told a group that he only had bad choices and that he looked forward to a time when his government could make better choices than they are making now. Much of governing is about making choices and the Premier was right when he pointed out that his choices have been bad.

The Liberal Government had a choice to support the film industry but their choice was to drive that growing industry out of the province. They had a choice to support the most vulnerable in our province but the choice was couriers, renovations, and expensive training about truth telling and soul spaces. Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that these Liberal choices are bad, bad for Nova Scotians and bad for our economy.

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

TURNER, NOAH - MACASKILL AWARD (2015)

[Page 4787]

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, the John MacAskill Player of the Year Award is presented annually by the Valley High School Hockey League. North East Kings high school student and goaltender Noah Turner is the 2014-2015 winner.

Noah is a graduating student who is an athlete, a scholar, and an outstanding example of a good citizen. He has received the Lieutenant Governor's Award and is also working on completion of the bronze level of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. This year Noah was a national semi-finalist for the Loran Scholarship. Noah is a leader as a member of the student government executive. He volunteers in the community at the local nursing home and is a mentor/coach with the Acadia Minor Hockey Association.

Noah has a list of academic awards too numerous to mention. He is truly a definition of a student athlete. Please join me in congratulating Noah Turner.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

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

MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, will you please call Bill No. 108.

Bill No. 108 - Financial Measures (2015) Act.

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

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, it's an honour to be able to continue this evening to speak on the Financial Measures (2015) Bill.

Last week when I started my address to this bill we talked a little bit about the choices they made about doctors and their malpractice insurance, and this weekend I had the opportunity to speak to one of the obstetrical doctors in Sydney who gave me a good insight into exactly what was going on with the malpractice insurance for the doctors and how it affects health care in our province, especially in our area in Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, the doctor I spoke to, who is now in her 50s - who said I could say that, by the way - graduated late in life, went to medical school late in life and tried to get work back here in the province when she graduated. At that time she couldn't find work here in the province - they wouldn't allow her to license here - so she moved to the United States.

[Page 4788]

Mr. Speaker, she spent 10 years in the United States honing her skills and is probably one of the best doctors we have on Cape Breton Island as far as obstetrical and gynecological work goes. We have a few real good doctors and she is one of them. A lot of females like to go to her, and they feel really comfortable with her.

When she came back into the country she moved to Cape Breton, back to her home. Mr. Speaker, it didn't take long before she had a large clientele, people who trust her judgment, people who went to her because they had problems, and people who had success in their deliveries and their births. Now as she gets into her 50s, she's talking about doing some locum work and moving to Halifax when her son goes to school, and now she feels she is not able to do that.

For her to take call - there are two gynecological doctors, or two obstetrical doctors, in Sydney who take call. For them to take call, it costs her $51,000 a year to take obstetrical call. Mr. Speaker, if she has delivered two babies a night on call, she can't make enough money back to cover that malpractice insurance. Without her, and her partner at the time who does the same thing, even general practitioners won't be able to deliver babies in Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, as I'm told, without that backup, a lot of the GPs who deliver babies won't be able to do that as well, so anyone who gets in trouble in an obstetrical situation in Cape Breton is going to have to go to Antigonish.

Now we know that time is of the essence when someone is in trouble obstetrically. I'm also told by this doctor - her name is Dr. Dorothy Dolhanty, she gave me the okay to say that - she cares for two people at once. Most doctors don't have that condition, having to deal with two people at once - they have to deal with a baby that is being born and a mother who is having that baby. Yes, there are chances that problems could develop but she tells me that the incidents of developmental problems and problems with the delivery have gone down in the Province of Nova Scotia, although their insurance has gone up because of the legal profession and some of the settlements that have happened.

Mistakes do happen, Mr. Speaker, they are human, but now we're not going to have that opportunity to have them make mistakes because they're not going to be here. The two doctors in Sydney are going to give up the obstetrical call and women who get in trouble are going to have to go Antigonish, if the doctor is there on call and is in town, and if not then they're going to have to go to New Glasgow or Halifax. I'm told that the people in New Glasgow go to Antigonish for their obstetrical and gynecological follow-up. Mr. Speaker, when a woman gets in trouble in her pregnancy and has to travel that distance who knows what can happen.

My understanding is there was contractual obligation by the province to cover their malpractice insurance and they feel that's that not happening. So this doctor in Sydney feels that's twice now she is being thrown out of her own province, a province where she wants to live, a province where she wants to work, and a province where she wants to maintain her family. She thinks that she is going to have to move back to the United States just to be able to perform her duties.

[Page 4789]

That affects every other doctor in our province as well with malpractice insurance, so not only is it going to help with keeping doctors here, it's going to help with recruiting doctors here as well. All in the sake of saving a few dollars, Mr. Speaker, and what's the dollar worth when it comes to a life or the life of a child.

These doctors feel that they're being treated unfairly by the government. Those are not my words, Mr. Speaker - those are the words of the doctors I spoke to on the weekend. It's great that we look at trying to save money in the budget but we are trying to save the money on the backs of the most vulnerable in our community, the people who need the services of the people that provide those services.

Where there are other ways that we can find money, we had cuts to the visitor information centres, we had cuts to the park system in Whycocomagh where there are seven people going to lose their jobs. That doesn't sound like a lot to anyone who works in the city but seven jobs in a community like Whycocomagh, or places like Inverness are not easily replaced. Mr. Speaker, they're not great paying jobs, they're not high paying jobs but they allowed those people to remain in their communities and raise their families. So when we look at cuts, a cut in rural Nova Scotia has a larger effect than the same cut if it happened in a city.

Of course, we don't have a pile of provincial parks in Halifax, we don't have a pile of provincial parks in the major cities but it's rural Nova Scotia that has taken an attack. Mr. Speaker, it seems to be that that's the position and the pattern we're taking here. Cuts to the people that are most affected that could use it, cuts to the vulnerable, it seems like there is no fight back in them but then they took on the film industry.

They started to make a huge cut there and the film industry decided to fight back, and after protest upon protest and thousands of people walking around this building they finally sat down and talked with them again. Mr. Speaker, when it comes to cuts to save money there's got to be better ways than cuts to the people who are most vulnerable and cuts to industries that are going to make money here in the province, or for the province.

Mr. Speaker, we want to look at taxes and the return on our investment and the government's estimating that there is going to be a $150 million increase in personal income tax this year. This is only going to happen one way - more people work, they pay more taxes, or there is an increase in our income tax. We know that the labour force in the province is shrinking, I think I talked about that last week when I spoke. Last year the labour force shrinkage was over 12,000 people in the province. Every region but the Halifax region has lost; as many as 5,700 in the northern region and 5,500 in Cape Breton. That's a lot of money coming out of our economy, that's a lot of tax money for someone who says that they're estimating it's going to be a $150 million increase, that's going to be made up for.

[Page 4790]

We have to either increase the taxes people pay or increase the number of people that are working. Now we know that this hasn't happened, Mr. Speaker, and we know that they've banned industries that could put people back to work and make people pay more taxes in industries such as onshore gas development, shale gas development - better known as fracking. We're not saying do something at the cost of the safety of the Province of Nova Scotia, we're saying look into it, find out how to do it properly - it has been done all over the world; it has been done here in Canada. And we're not hearing any major disasters in those areas, so why can't we look at it? Why can't we open it up to study?

Then they changed the Film Tax Credit and drove more people out of our province, Mr. Speaker. We have to do something in this province to increase the amount of people who are working here, increase the number of jobs, increase the opportunity for people to stay here and/or return home here.

We know that more jobs means both more money and business and more money in a person's pocket, which allows people to spend more money, which allows people to put more money into the public system, but we know that by taxing more people that people are leaving the area and looking for work in other areas of the country or other areas of the world.

The big thing we're hearing is we want to let business do the work; we want to let business create the jobs. But we have to make those conditions so that businesses want to come here to set up here - lower taxes, lower power rates, smaller business tax. Mr. Speaker, if we do that and we allow business to drive our economy, that's good for our province.

Mr. Speaker, the other thing I don't see in this budget is a plan to increase jobs. What I did see was the government increased 1,400 user fees. I could go through all 1,400 of them - I have them right here. I could start at the front and go to the end - there is something in this pamphlet that affects every Nova Scotian in the province, some people two and three times.

Mr. Speaker, taxing the services and the goods that people rely on in this province is not the best way to go. We understand that the delivery of services has a cost to it, but do we know what that cost is? By just raising taxes across the board - is that the way we should go?

Now if we look at taxes and the rising of taxes, especially on something like the ferry that I talked about in my opening remarks, the cost of a round-trip ferry trip in some of the other parts of the province - and I could probably find it in that document, but it's $7 for a round-trip; to go across the Englishtown channel or the Middle Narrows channel it's $7 each way. Mr. Speaker, I'm told that the Englishtown ferry is probably the busiest ferry in our province so we're taxing basically the people in an area who need the help more.

[Page 4791]

Now, Mr. Speaker, also in here there's an increase in our small business tax. We're told that it's a loophole that the government closed, but it's going to raise $30 million on the backs of our small businesses. That's a lot of money and that's a lot of development that is not going to happen in small business, a lot of people in small business aren't going to be able to be put back to work.

Mr. Speaker, our hope is that when small businesses thrive, so do our local areas, so does our province because when they thrive they increase their business, they expand their business or they add more people. Isn't that the goal - to add more people? More people working, they pay more taxes, we don't have to raise the personal income tax.

That $30 million went into the pockets of Nova Scotia business owners. Now I'm no accountant, Mr. Speaker, I don't know if it was a loophole, if it was a tax increase, whatever it is it's money that is coming from our small business owners, money that they cannot reinvest in the province and cannot reinvest in our people.

Most people will tell you that it's a tax grab - it's a cash grab. Now you know, Mr. Speaker, creating the ideal conditions for business, that's not one of them. We also said here that we have an increase in taxes because of bracket creep, another $30 million, something that this government, when I was first elected, talked about changing. It was taboo for the former government not to deal with bracket creep. Then we get the first real budget that this government brings in, the budget that they call their own, and bracket creep is not tackled. That affects a lot of Nova Scotians, affects what they can buy in their local stores, affects what they buy in the grocery store and it affects the amount of money they can spend on cars, homes, furniture, which goes a long way in our province to keeping everybody working and paying taxes.

Things have changed; the stuff we heard when we were in Opposition and the stuff that's going on now seem to have been just completely opposite. We have to look at how we grow our economy, increase our revenues and not penalize the people who want to create the employment or are actually doing the work. Seven jobs or one job in rural Nova Scotia means a great deal, whereas the same amount of cuts here in the city doesn't seem to affect the economy nearly as much.

Other things that happen: we looked at the Joellan Huntley case; the government was going after this lady's insurance settlement but it was only after backlash by people in this Legislature and people outside that they backed down and met with the family. A popular thing to do is to introduce something and consult with it later.

[Page 4792]

How can we forget the Statute of limitations? I do want to again thank the member for Inverness for his tireless effort in making this happen for the victims of sexual violence. (Interruption) I hear the member for Halifax Atlantic saying it's their bill. Yes, it is, it sounds an awful pile like the one that the member for Inverness was talking about and offered up to the government. If the member for Halifax Atlantic is going to stand up and have a few words about that later, I would love to hear what he has to say, really would like to because up to now they haven't said a lot.

Let's look at our film industry again - $26 million invested, $100-some million in return; sounds like a pretty good investment to me. We've heard other provinces that offered the same type of grants and incentives and started cutting them back and their film industry declined. Where did they go? They came here. We know the talks are ongoing and we hope that everybody steps back and looks at this and makes sure we make the right decision, a decision that will be good for our film industry; a decision that will be good for our province.

It's the everyday people who are out there, day in and day out going to work, 8, 10, 12 hours a day, who spend the money here. We can hear about all the millionaires who are paying this and doing that, those are not the people this affects. It affects the everyday Joe who gets up in the morning and puts their work boots on and goes to work. They put their gloves on and they work their eight hours a day to get eight hours of pay. Those are the people we have to protect. Cuts to small business and the film industry, bans on fracking and so on are not helping.

We have to know where the government is going with things like the film industry. They have to know there is security in their business or it's going to go elsewhere. People are going to leave our province. We see them leaving to go work in the oil fields and thank God they do; they should be commended for being there and coming home and spending the time with their family when they can, but it's what they miss when they're not here.

If we didn't have these people doing that, our province would be in bad shape, really bad shape. Our fear is that these people get there, away from their family, and decide to pack the whole family up and leave. That's not how we grow our economy. We have to make sure that the cuts that we are making are strategic but we have to make sure the people can remain employed and paying taxes in our province.

We've seen some other cuts; we had cuts to long-term care facilities. The procurement allocation for the long-term care facilities has been cut in half – 103 of the 143 facilities are not getting any cost-of-living increases. That's 72 per cent of all facilities. If they need to replace furniture, if they need to replace equipment, the money is not going to be there.

But there's talk about home care. The home care workers are scared that the services they provide are going to decline. We've met with them; we've talked with them, and the concern is, with the changes to the nursing home admission, there's going to be more of a need of home care. Which is a good thing - we want to keep people in their home. It's a lot cheaper for us to keep people at home than it is to put them in a facility, or have them have to live in a facility.

[Page 4793]

If there are more people in need of home care we hope that there's going to be more money put into it, and we hope there's going to be more people hired to provide that care. We've had $400,000 in community grants for mental health and addiction services taken out of this budget. It went from $1 million to $600,000, and according to a Chronicle Herald article, it's for organizations like people with AIDS, people with eating disorders, and we had a young lady here in the Legislature last week who had used that clinic, and that must mean a lot for her to come here and have people know that that's an essential service that she required and that it worked for her.

If it worked for her it's going to work for other people. We're talking about cuts to schizophrenia and Alzheimer's, even lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities in rural areas are going to see cuts to their budgets, the CNIB, Hope Blooms, and the young people at risk for mental disorders - these are the people in our society we need to support.

We have to make it so that they can become employees in this province and be able to provide in this province. We have gotten good at what we do; our health care professionals are probably second to none in this province. We have gotten real good at what we do and, because of that, it costs. There's a cost to doing bypass surgery on people with cardiac conditions; there's a cost to replacing hips and replacing knees, and it just means that people live longer. It provides more and if we're going to get good at that, we can't keep cutting those systems and those programs and hope that we're going to survive with the same results.

We're also told that all the grants to the seniors' department were cut by 25 per cent - the actual people who built this province into what it is today. The people we relied on when we were growing up to pay those taxes and support us - and we turn around and start cutting for them. It's upsetting to think that people, the groups, the vulnerable groups that need their money had their services cut. If they were asked to find that within their budgets and the cuts were made before, or after, I think that these groups could probably live with that. We all know that there's probably overspending in certain areas, but allow the people who provide the service to help make that decision.

There were cuts to Community Services grants; reductions in the discretionary grants for nine community organizations including the Canadian Mental Health Association, Nova Scotia Division and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, money that we know helped people travel safely within our community, to teach them how to be independent and whole at home, and to make sure they can survive in a community with their disability or whatever ability they have. I don't like to call some things a disability because some people with blindness, say, or something, have more ability than a lot of people give them credit for because they are surviving in our community with something we don't have and they're doing quite well with it. This is money that helps those groups, and helps those people survive at home in their communities.

[Page 4794]

We know the Deafness Advocacy Association of Nova Scotia had their budget cut; Feed Nova Scotia; the Heartwood Centre for Community Youth Development; the Nova Scotia Association for Community Living; People First Nova Scotia; Youth Voices of Nova Scotia - these associations provide valuable, valuable, valuable services to the people who need them. We know that this is something that if cut, it is going to affect a lot of people, not just the people who need the services but the people who are close to them, family members, friends.

We have also some cuts to post-secondary university, and last year we had the huge debate about the cut to the Graduate Retention Program, an available $50 million that would have gone out to keep students here in our province. We have had some increases over the last little bit - something to the tune of $9 million - but there is $43 million that was on the table, $43 million that we don't see put back anywhere in this budget to help our students. Mr. Speaker, I have met with student groups and they would love to see something upfront and upfront grants so that they know what they're going to be paying when they start.

Now we've got the tuition cap taken off for a year. Mr. Speaker, I misunderstood that when they said it was taken off for a year, I thought it was a one-shot deal - this year coming they could raise by whatever they wanted - but since then I've found out that they can make the plan this year and carry it out over the next number of years, as long as it's been placed this year. We know that somewhere like CBU has already said they will increase their tuition by 20 per cent.

Mr. Speaker, we have one of the finest university systems in the country. We have people who come to our province to go to university here. The cap on their tuition is going to be taken off completely. Graduate students who go to school here are going to see that cap taken off completely. So it's not really a one-time deal. It's something that's going to be amortized over a number of years, which may affect how services could be delivered but more appropriately how many people can actually afford to go to these universities, so it's not really a one-time deal.

Mr. Speaker, we talk about $1.6 million in upfront grants but that may not cover the cost of the increase in some of the tuitions. You know when we saw this budget come out it looked like there was going to be $3.2 million taken out from the student bursary program. Again, this is affecting the people who need it most.

We saw the accountability legislation that we thought at the beginning was going to be a good thing but since that we've heard from a number of different groups, student groups, labour groups, that maybe this is not as good as it sounds. I asked the government, can we step back from it? We've introduced legislation for Community Services, we're going to debate it, and we're going to introduce it back in the Fall. We introduced the smoking bill in the Fall, we put it on the table, we were going to make amendments to it and we just made amendments to it now. So can we avoid that and look back at this accountability legislation and let people have their say on it and see if there is a better way to come up with this.

[Page 4795]

Mr. Speaker, when we get this much push back on a bill, a piece of legislation in this province, we hope that the homework was done and we hope that the government will step back and re-evaluate the program to see if there is something that we missed because you know we need a university system that's accountable. We need a university system that's going to provide our brightest and our best an education that will allow them to stay here in this province, that will allow them to open their own business, that will allow them to employ Nova Scotians, that would allow them to pay the tax that we need to make sure that we can cover general education, our health care system.

Mr. Speaker, we assume that this is going to allow the universities to compete on a level scale. If that's the case, that's a good thing because then that gives choices. If a student wants to go to medical school and they can get in here at Halifax, or they want to take a science degree and they can stay home and take it in Cape Breton, that's a good thing. But when we look at some of the changes here, especially to the student loans and the payback, what about the people who can't get into the system here, the university here - who want a specialty course and have to leave? They don't get any of that when they come back. They don't get the relief on their student loan.

I know that when some kids go away to different parts of the world for something like medicine, they even have a hard time getting their residencies done here, even if they are residents of this province, because they are seen as foreign students. Maybe we could do something to that effect to help those students as well and to help the students who want to stay here in this province to go to school.

We had a cut in the Gaelic Affairs department - a reduction in staff of up to 40 per cent. We've seen a resurgence of Gaelic; more Gaelic is starting to be spoken in our province. It's part of our culture. I know last year, I went to a meeting that the Gaelic Society had in Sydney, and to see young children there - teenagers learning Gaelic from some of the wiser individuals in their community because it's part of their culture - to see them there and actually speaking the language and correcting some of the older people who have spoken it for years and different things that happened was a real treat for me. (Interruption) I'm told by the member for Pictou Centre that there are 300 kids taking and learning Gaelic in Pictou schools. That's a lot of people.

It's part of our fabric, Mr. Speaker. When we start dismantling that and unravelling that fabric, what's going to happen to the rest of our province? What's going to happen to these children if they don't have that opportunity to learn that? Who knows who else it's going to affect? We finally see Gaelic starting to return to the province and we start cutting the department.

[Page 4796]

Mining grants have been cut by $150,000 and the promised fuel tax credit has been put on hold. It says it will be introduced within its mandate, but it was a promise that was made that the mining industry was starting to hopefully - they were relying on that. They use the same type of fuel in off-road vehicles - vehicles that never see our highways.

Mr. Speaker, I could go on and on, but I see my time is drawing short. So with those few words, I'd like to take my seat.

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

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I didn't expect to get up this soon, but I am pleased that I am. It's always a great pleasure to stand and rise in my place and have an opportunity to speak. I'm particularly interested in speaking to the Financial Measures (2015) Bill.

Mr. Speaker, we all come into this Chamber with great, sincere intentions. There is no doubt in my mind and in my heart that every single member in this Chamber wants what is best for Nova Scotians. We may have our disagreements, but it doesn't mean that we can't look after each other, and more importantly, it doesn't mean that we can't look after the people who put us here - the people who put their faith and trust into us. Every single day that I get up, I count my blessings as I am so grateful to be the MLA for Pictou West. I am so honoured that the constituents of Pictou West have chosen to allow me to represent them.

However, there are so many days that I feel truly ineffective while working here in this beautiful, historic parliamentary building. It's just a personal thought, but I truly do feel ineffective. I must say, perhaps it is because I am on this side of the floor and there are decisions that are made that I truly have no influence over, but I really believe that I am more effective and worthy and valuable and helpful when present in my own constituency of Pictou West. I like to think of myself as a hands-on MLA and I truly, truly enjoy my job. I'm also very lucky that I wake up in the morning and I literally have to walk about 23 steps to get to my office.

This evening from time to time throughout my speech I will inject some of my own thoughts and opinions, but what I hope to do most within the next hour - but as we all know I never speak very long - is to convey the concerns of my constituents. It is my responsibility to stand here this evening and be the voice for so many who don't have a voice, who don't have transportation to even come to Halifax and see what goes on here in this Chamber.

[Page 4797]

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege to stand in this exact same place and speak about the budget. At that point in time, after quickly reviewing the budget, having a quick glimpse, I indicated that the budget for me was bittersweet. I spoke for the first five or ten minutes actually with regard to what was sweet about the budget; then I followed up with what I felt was bitter. Now that I've had two weeks to dig a little deeper, to talk to people, to listen to my constituents, and to actually take time to digest and absorb what is actually in the budget and how it relates to the FMA (2015) Bill, it is with a very heavy heart that I find myself standing here only to relay to you that my concerns have increased with regard to how this government is moving forward.

I've had the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to investigate further into the budget and, as well, to take time to speak to my constituents, as well as they've had much time to investigate the budget further and to get back to me with their concerns and displeasures - and with some pleasures, actually. There are some good things and we have spoken about some of the good things that have happened within this bill.

Mr. Speaker, I stand here to express those concerns of my constituents. First I would like to start with seniors. I remember my father's mother - my grandmother - whom I grew up beside in the country, just outside Pictou, in a little community called Three Brooks. I truly adored her; I saw her every day and she was definitely a woman of confidence, intelligence, high morals and values, and she truly was an inspiration to me. She would often say to me - and this was definitely the teacher coming out in her - she would say that the best classroom is at the feet of a senior. I couldn't agree more. I learned so much from my grandparents. I was lucky to have both sets of grandparents who lived so close, and I was able to be so close to them.

Because I really adored my grandparents, in Grade 9 I decided I would start volunteering after school at the Shiretown Nursing Home in Pictou. Normally I would go two to three times a week, from Grade 9 to Grade 12, and I have very fond memories of volunteering there. Each visit proved to be a learning experience - I would read books to them, comb their hair, maybe I would help them write a letter or we would take a walk. Perhaps once the weather got better we would go outside to the garden, as many of them loved to plant gardens and it was an opportunity for them to feel like they were actually living in their own home again.

It became so routine for me and I didn't even look at it as volunteering, I looked at it as I just wanted to go out and have an opportunity to hang with my friends, my friends who were all in their 80s and 90s and, actually, the odd one who was over 100.

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed those times so much and I learned so much about the care of seniors within our province. I learned a lot about the nursing staff and the politics within the nursing staff in a seniors' home. And I am deeply worried about the long-term care facilities within this province. With such an aging population in Nova Scotia, I truly fear what the outcome is going to be in the next five, ten years.

[Page 4798]

Mr. Speaker, when we look at budget cuts and we look at the long-term allocation for long-term care facilities, and we see that it has been cut in half and we are able to recognize that 103 out of 143 facilities are not getting cost-of-living increases, that is 72 per cent of all long-term care facilities. Our seniors expect more and they deserve better.

Mr. Speaker, while we are on the subject of seniors, I want to take the opportunity to highlight a situation right now that is very disturbing that Pictou County is facing. We all know that with an aging population there's a very high demand for CCAs. This course is being offered by Futureworx in Pictou County. It's a 10-month program and they receive their funding through the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

However, we have recently witnessed where a number of employees who have been working at Convergys, and other individuals in the community who had hoped to take the course, went through the process of being interviewed, writing tests. They actually took a few days off work without pay to go through the process, only to be told they were well qualified and very suitable but they don't meet the criteria because they are currently not on social assistance or EI or working a part-time job. They are actually full-time people but knowing that they are going to be losing their job at the end of May.

I know that there is a system in place to help the most vulnerable and I can appreciate that, but I do think that we have to start reviewing the hiring process or application process of this program. We know we're losing a lot of jobs in Pictou County and all over Nova Scotia and we have to do a better job at bridging the gap of going from one job and seeking another job.

These are individuals who are trying hard to find employment and it is our responsibility as government, all of us, to help bridge that gap. I know that many of us do try to do that with our constituents. Actually, two that ended up leaving Convergys early, I had the opportunity to work with them and help them draft up new resumés and they've been fortunate enough to find employment in Pictou County, which I'm very pleased with.

I know that all of us in this Chamber, regardless of where we're from, I think we are all deeply concerned for rural Nova Scotia, and I respect and understand the need to keep the heartbeat of Halifax strong. I really do, I love this city. I'm very proud of this city and I'm truly grateful it is only two hours from my home. As a child growing up it was a big deal if we were able to get to the city; it was like a big vacation. Obviously I'm a country girl and I've always felt that I fought for the underdog, and right now I believe that rural Nova Scotia is the underdog in this province.

We are desperately in need of a jobs plan for Nova Scotia. This government, all of us in here, need to be able to collectively work together to create some kind of jobs plan. We know there is a labour shrinkage everywhere but along the North Shore, where I'm from, we have lost 5,700 jobs. To be honest, I don't think we've hit rock bottom yet.

[Page 4799]

We know that rural Nova Scotia is in a very compromising and delicate time. We realize that there are many challenges faced by those who live in rural Nova Scotia, and when I think of rural Nova Scotia, I think of it as pretty much everywhere but Halifax. Those living in rural areas feel as though they have been once again attacked under this government. They feel abandoned, left astray to figure it out on their own. I am sad and really almost disturbed with how all of us are moving forward in trying to create a jobs plan for Nova Scotia.

In fact, I'm not certain if this government has even dealt with rural Nova Scotia and what's actually happening there. I'm hoping that the new Department of Business will be able to create a business plan for the province that will put a large emphasis on rural job creation.

Unemployment is extremely high in rural Nova Scotia. Unemployment leads to criminal acts, malnutrition, mental illnesses, and essentially lack of proper medical care. Many of my constituents - and I hear from other MLAs representing rural areas, too, when I speak to them one on one - taxpaying citizens feel as though they are not being heard. They feel that this province is in a free fall, which leads me back to the unemployment issue. As you know, as I stated, unemployment relates to poverty and the costs related to poverty, in my mind, are very difficult to calculate.

I've been thinking a lot about poverty because I believe the member for Halifax Needham during our first session here made a statement that 52 per cent of Nova Scotians made less than $30,000. That's a statement that has always stuck with me. I often wonder how people live on less than $30,000, but they do and I've met many of them.

Back to poverty - when we think of costs, we typically think of a number. So how do we measure poverty? Can we measure it by setting a criterion, such as, individuals who earn less than $12,000 live in poverty?

But what of the other costs that are associated with poverty? Poverty costs people their dignity and their pride, poverty causes food instability and housing instability, and poverty, in my opinion, is costing people their physical, mental, and emotional health. How then do we measure the true cost of poverty, how do we measure the cost of medical care due to poverty, and lastly, how do we measure the cost to the judicial system due to poverty? I'm speaking about poverty because I see a lot of it in Nova Scotia in my travels, I see it increasing, and it profoundly worries me because I'm witnessing it every day in Pictou West.

There is no doubt in my mind that Nova Scotians will be paying more and receiving less out of this budget. I truly believe that Nova Scotians are feeling very vulnerable right now. I know many feel they cannot defend themselves. A lot of times I've heard people say, oh, that person shouldn't be so negative; they should get a better attitude; they're just being negative today.

[Page 4800]

But you know, there is a huge difference between being negative about the economic future for Nova Scotia and truly feeling hopeless, and that's what I'm witnessing - I'm witnessing people feeling hopeless. Believe me, my eyes are wide open. As I look around my constituency, I'm seeing that just in the last couple of years, our population has decreased substantially. In 1987, when I graduated, the population was almost 6,000, and now we're down to 3,100.

I know people who come through my door who feel hopeless and even sometimes ashamed because they're so proud and they don't want to come through my door and ask for help. Even though I try to do my very best and I make sure I know all the resources that are out there to help them, sometimes it truly just isn't enough. I struggle with this and it is one of the things that keep me awake at night.

I know, Mr. Speaker, I continue to discuss rural Nova Scotia as it appears to be on everyone's radar with this budget, especially since we've witnessed that many more responsibilities are being downloaded onto the municipalities.

One of my great concerns is with regard to the OB/GYN situation that's happening in rural Nova Scotia. I know that we heard my colleague speak about it just a few moments ago, but like many women from the Pictou West area, I already travel 45 minutes to an OB/GYN in Antigonish who is overworked and long overdue for retirement, but scared to give up the profession because of not knowing if anyone will be there to replace him. I've actually been travelling to this particular doctor for 17 years and I know how much he cares about servicing an area that is so under-represented. I know that he has great concerns for the dreadful situation that we are faced with regarding doctors in general, but particularly the OB/GYN dilemma.

I hope that we can fix this situation together. I know that the Minister of Health and Wellness truly cares about the situation and I have trust that this will work out, but it's going to take a lot of effort. You see, we do have a lot of areas in Nova Scotia that are lacking doctors. A lot of people don't want to accept that truth, but it is true.

In fact, I'm dealing with a very delicate situation right now in the Town of Pictou where we have this wonderful young couple who are both doctors. One is a graduate of Dalhousie and he has been practising now for a couple of years in the Town of Pictou. His contract, however, ends in August. For the last two years, his wife, who is a doctor, has been struggling to find an opportunity to serve her residency here in the province. I have brought this subject up with the Minister of Health and Wellness and I know that his staff is working on it to try to find some resolve to it. The issue is that if it is not solved by August, when the doctor's contract ends, we are now at the threat of losing him, as well as his wife, so we're not just going to be losing one doctor, we're going to be losing two doctors.

[Page 4801]

This is a couple that is very young, jovial, and vibrant, and actually want to settle down and stay in Pictou County and raise a family. They've been active in the community and everyone loves them and so they are just one example, in one little community in this province, of what is going on with the shortage of doctors. It is of great concern.

I want to get back to speaking about the downloading of responsibilities onto our municipal governments. I know that many municipal units are struggling, we just have to open the newspaper every day to witness that. They are overwhelmed and drawing at straws to find solutions to their financial woes. They feel that this budget has made it much more difficult on them in some ways; certainly we see that some of the fiscal review recommendations have been implemented, such as freezing equalization payments. I know this is particularly hurting the Town of Pictou as I understand that we are going to have to invest, I think, up to another $50 or $60 million into our school system.

I know the municipal units are feeling the pressure and many organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Feed Nova Scotia, and even our churches and our fire halls, our pools and our rinks, and the list goes on while the heartbeat of our rural communities slows down. I know that the departmental budget increased by about 6 per cent, and I believe it has gone from about $158 million to $200-some million. I know that a lot of this extra funding is through the Building Canada Fund, which I am grateful for. I know it is extremely important that we continue the responsibility of working towards getting a regional enterprise network set up.

Municipalities will be paying an additional $9 million towards education in the 2015-16 budget and I know the Town of Pictou itself had to allocate another $50 to $60 million towards education and I do hope that there will be some type of resolve in the future with the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development to help offset these downloads onto the municipal units that simply cannot afford to invest more money into the local schools because of the declining student enrolment.

Mr. Speaker, so many of our rural areas look to their community halls or pools or rinks as being their outlet. It's an opportunity to socialize, where the community collectively comes together and finds ways to ensure that there is a community spirit alive and thriving. Citizens in these rural communities take great pride in their local churches, fire halls, and curling clubs. I am deeply upset and concerned about the elimination of the Recreational Facilities Development Fund under the Department of Health and Wellness. Removing this funding will create a lot of hardship for, once again, rural areas, and we will see community halls, rinks, pools, tennis courts, and parks - they will be phased out. They will not have an opportunity anymore to tap into this funding.

This funding was not a luxury. It was a necessity in helping these rural communities survive, and I am certain that this government doesn't realize this or consider what the detrimental effects will be from removing this funding.

[Page 4802]

Speaking about activities in rural communities, it also reminds me of the number of calls I received about the removal of the $500 Healthy Living Tax Credit. This will hurt many young Nova Scotia families. At least we can be thankful that the federal government increased their portion from $500 to $1,000.

It's hard for me not to continue to speak about our rural areas because in this budget we've just seen so much taken away from us. I'm now thinking of the land registry offices, one being Pictou, most of them closing. And of course, our satellite courthouses are another concern. We see seven provincial parks moving to self-service, once again another hit to rural Nova Scotia. I know that we have to evolve and I can appreciate the advancement of technology. However, I guess at the end of the day I'm just a real old soul, Mr. Speaker, and I see the value of face-to-face connections. I see the value in people connecting and I always felt that people buy people. You know when you go to invest in a product, whether it be a car or a new pair of shoes, usually you buy into the salesperson first. I often say to my children, you know people want to know not necessarily what you're doing but why you're doing it.

With this budget, Mr. Speaker, what we have is rural Nova Scotia, especially the citizens of rural Nova Scotia, looking at this budget and thinking and asking, why are you attacking us? Why are you removing all of our funding? They want to know what the motive is behind this budget, what are the net costs for me and my family. When they start adding it all up, what has been taken away from them, that's when the taxpayers of Nova Scotia start wondering if they are better off moving out of this province.

In my constituency they're asking, why are you closing our provincial visitor information centre? We also know that one was closed in Digby. These decisions are again removing good-paying jobs from rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I fear for economic development in rural Nova Scotia. I see where in the budget they talk about strategic spending and how they will be investing $20 million to renew and refocus and rebuild the education system. I do recognize that there has been a $1.1 million investment put into mental health programs in our schools, which I am so very pleased with but sad that the overall budget there has been cut to almost $400,000 in mental health.

Mr. Speaker, someone said to me recently, in the last couple of weeks, that in Nova Scotia we tend to support failures but we discourage successes. Well, I'm starting to think that nothing is more true, considering the fiasco we are in and have watched in recent weeks with regard to the Film Tax Credit. Someone called it a Gong Show; another person called it a fiasco. This is one industry that is just blooming, it's in constant bloom. It's an industry that attracts young, creative minds, young people who want to settle here and start a family. This industry is so closely linked to tourism, it goes hand in hand.

[Page 4803]

I found it odd that during the rally and during the many, many speeches and debates within this House that no one brought up the fact that this is also an industry that is very gentle on our environment, other than the carbon footprint of transportation to get back and forth to their locations. It is truly an industry that is blooming, one that we're looking for because we all know that we could only hope to increase an industry such as that here in Nova Scotia, given the consideration that we all know that other industries are phasing out.

I am so proud of the landscape that we are able to showcase here in Nova Scotia and that so many producers and film companies want to come here. They want to invest their production dollars in Nova Scotia. I'm so proud to think of three films that hopefully will be filmed this year in Pictou County alone. It is a very cool industry, it's a very hip industry, and I certainly will be supporting this industry forever.

Mr. Speaker, on the subject of tourism and fun, I just wanted to let you know that Pictou is receiving 10 cruise ships this summer. That has been a project that started back 15, 20 years ago. I remember going to the very first meeting. I'm so proud that there were a number of people who stuck it out all these years and worked so hard. Two years ago we had one, last year we had two, and now we're up to 10. It just shows what can actually happen when you stick to something and you work hard together.

We are absolutely thrilled with these cruise ships coming in and we hope that it will attract a lot of visitors and perhaps even the members here in this Chamber.

Speaking about boats, cruise ships, ferries, I am deeply worried with regard to the Nova Star. At the end of the day - and I'm not going to get into a lot about this actual project, or venture because we know at this point it's costing us $41 million. The way I see it right now is that Portland, Maine - and I actually lived there for a number of years and worked with the Scotia Prince - it's at the point right now where Portland: you benefit and we pay, we as in Nova Scotia taxpayers. Portland, you benefit, and we'll continue to pay because we are purchasing the goods and services from you but we're paying for it.

It's very closely linked to tourism and I am all for a sustainable ferry from Yarmouth to Portland. Our tourism industry is so underestimated in this province and I have so much hope that this new corporation for tourism will be able to develop a strategic plan that will honestly see the Ray Ivany goal come to fruition and that is to turn the industry from a $2 billion industry into a $4 billion industry within the next 10 years.

This government can't make these colossal cuts without realizing the negative impacts they will have on this province. The Liberals reduced funding to community groups dealing with mental illness and addictions by 40 per cent. Personally, I guess really the idea that mental health funding had enough room to have such a large cut is beyond comprehension for me. I truly believe that it was underfunded and I had hoped that in this budget the funding would have been increased.

[Page 4804]

I don't know what else to say with regard to that because I'm so disappointed but all I can say is that I hope that everyone reaches out to those who they feel need a little extra help and friendship in their lives because they are certainly not going to be able to get the funding they were used to receiving for help.

With regard to the 1,400 increases in fees, I'm not going to go on about this because I know everyone else has taken the opportunity to do so but at the end of the day I just can't understand what the justification for the increase is, perhaps because it's the quickest and easiest way to create a tax grab, in hopes that hard-working Nova Scotians wouldn't notice. I can assure you they have noticed because I've heard from many of them.

I just want to say that I will be watching very closely with regard to how the next year is going to unfold. I will be listening to my constituents. I'm grateful I had the opportunity to express some of their concerns. On that note, I will take my seat. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, Karla said she probably wouldn't go the hour and I know I . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. I would like to remind the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley not to refer to any other member, including his own caucus members, by name.

MR. HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, I was told I could approach this any way I wanted to so that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to approach it from my end because my colleagues are full of knowledge, they're full of the figures, the facts. (Interruptions) I don't retain that stuff in my head so I'm not even going to bother going there.

I do want to start by considering how people look at us. They see us in this huge, nice, beautiful room and they are thinking that we are in here making legislation that is going to be a benefit to us as individuals. They see us as living off them, they see us as, in some cases, being dishonest, not really caring for what happens to the individual who is out there. This is a perception that I knew was out there before I even took this office, and it is certainly a perception that is still very much in play.

I want to tell you the truth that - well it's a truth for me and, Mr. Speaker, I believe it is the truth, period. I spoke this truth at our AGM back in February and I don't know how the statement is going to fit with your hearing and understanding, but I'm going to say it: Politics is ordained by God. Politics is ordained by God. Politics is not something that's evil, it's not something that's bad - politics is politics.

I just want to say that and I want to go back just to a little bit of our history because I know you all remember this, no matter what church you belong to I know that you have heard this story - the story of Moses and bringing the Israelites out of Egypt when they were captive. His job was to take those thousands of people out of a miserable situation and take them to a new land, to a new level of living. That was his job. I see this almost like the Premier's job for instance - chosen by the people to actually try and take this province, lift it out of where it is right now and take it to a different place.

[Page 4805]

Now when Moses got across the Red Sea he got into a little bit of difficulty because the people were feeling they were not being listened to, their concerns were not being met, and Moses was very concerned about that, so what he did was go up . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Parted the Red Sea.

MR. HARRISON « » : No, no that's afterword boys, that's afterwards, stick to your story.

Moses then went up to Mount Sinai and there he received the legislation. God gave him the legislation to come down. Now that legislation was given so that that community of people could actually live better than what they were living now. That legislation was to guide them in their interaction one with the other throughout the community.

I really, really believe this - that that is our mandate, to bring in legislation that is going to make the lives of Nova Scotians better than what their lives are now.

You know what? I had a dream when I decided to take this positon - it's certainly better than nightmares. My dream was . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: It turns into one.

MR. HARRISON « » : It turned into a nightmare sometimes. However my actual dream was to have the government come in with legislation and they would give that legislation to us, we as the Official Opposition would take that legislation and have a look at it, and the NDP would take that legislation and have a look at it. Then we would sit down, all of us, 51, and say okay what is good in this legislation, what do you think needs to be changed, and all of us would get together and we'd make the necessary changes to make that legislation better. That was my dream. You know what? I still have not lost (Interruption) I really haven't lost that dream; I honestly haven't. (Applause)

None of us has a monopoly on knowledge; none of us has a monopoly on insight. When we put all of our thoughts, feelings, and insight together we are going to come up with better legislation for the people of Nova Scotia.

Do I get frustrated at times when legislation comes in, we might give some observations and the observations are just put aside? Yes, I do, no getting around it. I still think that we have the potential in this House to do what we were given the opportunity to do and that is to bring in some very good legislation. By now I have spoken to most of the ministers in this House and I can say honestly, I think every one of those ministers has a concern for what happens to Nova Scotia. They are smart and they are caring. Yes, things can get missed, no question about it, but that's why the rest of us are here. That is why I know that the dream can still come true because we have the folks in this House to make it come true. We can look at the whole truth by all individuals looking at the same issue together; that's what I hope for.

[Page 4806]

Let's get away from the nightmare and just have a look at a couple of things. My constituents are rural constituents (Interruptions) Beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, you're absolutely right. Their needs are reasonably simple. There is a lot of legislation that comes through this House - and I'm not going to say they're not concerned about it, they are concerned, but it really doesn't affect their individual lives. They want to know what legislation is going to come out that is exactly going to affect where they are at any given time. That's their major concern.

As a for instance, we know that Nova Scotia has been hit extremely hard this winter and I think every road in existence has been eroded somehow, either with potholes - my road, for instance, that I go over daily, has just turned to mush. It was a paved road and it has just turned to mush. Of course, when you get back onto the other roads that are gravelled, you really have a problem.

I've had phone calls lately where delivery trucks won't even go over some of these roads now to take goods to people, to the businesses that are out there. I have people with the little cars that are low. They can't get through because the ruts are so deep and the potholes so bad. It is really posing a huge, huge problem in our area.

I understand that there are roads all over this province that need to be looked at. I understand what the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has to deal with in this province, but do you know what? When you go to these people out on those back roads, they don't care what's going on in the rest of the province. All they know is that they need to get to work. They need to get goods in. They need to get an ambulance in, if necessary. They just need that infrastructure to get them from one place to another. So, I get calls upon calls on roads.

I was a little bit concerned when I saw in the budget that money was being cut back, especially in the rural areas where we have so many dirt roads that have been neglected now for years and years. They grade them, but the reality is there is nothing there left to grade; they are down now to base and there's nothing to grade. As soon as they are graded the potholes will come the next day, if it rains. This is a situation that rural people are confronted with, with respect to roads.

Community Services - I said before that I really appreciated where the minister was going in her approach to Community Services because we do need to have a lot of changes, no question. Again, I am concerned about the people who are in remote areas because they feel they are not even getting the service they had before. Things are just getting cut back. People are not travelling to homes anymore for assessments or whatever. A lot of these people are elderly and they don't have the capacity to get from their home to where they are expected to go. These kinds of services are extremely important to individuals. If they see the budget cutting back on some of these services, they are going to be in a little bit of a panic.

[Page 4807]

Education, again - I said before I like where the minister is going with the education system. As I said before, my only concern is the individual students - how they are going to fit into the system and how they are going to get treated.

Health care - I don't think you'll find anyone who is going to argue against bringing those various districts together because it does save a lot of money. But the people I deal with have to go to hospitals. They are waiting for four or five hours to try and get to see someone, and if they do, in many cases, they are rushed out and do not get the follow-up that they need simply because the people aren't there to look after that.

Not enough docs - I know that is a huge problem. How are we going to attract doctors in this area? The docs are going to come to the city area probably more than they will the rural area. It's hard to get good rural docs to be able to come in and do that country kind of service that there used to be many, many years ago, but that's what people are looking for and that's what they really need. They are going to miss that in the health system.

Home care - I know we're going to deal with that particular problem in the upcoming days. The home care workers are getting nervous and also the clients are getting a little bit nervous because if there are cutbacks in that area, they know that they are going to have difficulty staying in their own home. It's these rural folks who are looking for an infrastructure that is going to work for them and for them alone. Yes, they are concerned and they see the big picture out there in the province, but for their living, sometimes it's a very small world that we need to address.

Going back to the time when Moses was in charge of that particular community, it was for every single individual in that community. That's what the legislation was for. It wasn't for this group or that group - the legislation was for every single human being in that community. I'm seeing our role here as trying to develop legislation that is going to help every single individual within our province.

Communities are really taking hold in some cases in rural areas because they keep losing things. I found out last night that with the Co-ops shutting down now - in Upper Stewiacke, if the Co-op closes down, they could lose the gas station. If they lose the gas station, they could lose the liquor store next door. It's just a snowball effect and smaller communities are just losing, losing, losing as they go along. In many cases, they don't have many things left in the community.

[Page 4808]

However, the good part is that some of these communities are actually taking a hold themselves. I know of at least three communities in my constituency where they are now having fairs to display all their businesses and volunteer organizations. It's incredible what they have put together. They are realizing that there is not a lot of money out there for programming and for getting these huge starts, so what they are doing is starting at the base and they are broadening that base and building on that base to make a better community. So that's certainly one of my pluses.

So when I look at this budget, I am concerned about the rural individuals who lack a lot of the services and are seeing a lot of these services being compromised at this point. I am sincerely hoping that I'm not going to keep living a nightmare and I'm going to be able to back to my dream of having 51 members in this House actually sit down and develop good legislation for the whole province.

This is my goal; this is my dream, and I hope we can all do that in the upcoming months. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to stand and speak to the Financial Measures (2015) Bill. It sort of reminds me of, or makes me think of this little joke as we get going. It's sort of like, after everybody spoke and everybody said everything that needs to be said, I kind of feel like Elizabeth Taylor's fifth husband - I know what to do, but I don't know how to make it exciting. So much has been talked about here today.

I also want to thank the previous speaker because when he started talking about Moses taking the Israelites out of Egypt, what he forgot to say was that they almost got caught up in the Red Sea. That's kind of the problem that we continue to see here. There are a lot of waves, there's a lot of water, but we really need to get through that to see a better life.

Where do you start? Where do you start with an all-encompassing omnibus bill, because that's what the first order of business is when you look at a bill of this size - I'll just grab it quickly here - and we talk about our legislation here in the House. And no I'm not using this as a prop, but I kind of am, because that's what you're supposed to do, you're supposed to have a bill before you when you're talking about these things.

You have a huge number of pages and clauses. I just want to look quickly at this one here; we've done a lot of work here so far. Bill No. 108, I forget how many pages are held within it but I think compared to the other legislations that sits in our book, this is probably the most substantial one that we deal with on a regular basis here in the House of Assembly year over year. Not only is it a numbers game, because we've been through the estimates process up to now, we're now on the second reading of this bill, these are the enacting pieces of legislation that put in place the ideas and the way forward put forward by this government. So this Liberal Government, with the budget that's before us, has put a number of ideas forward for debate and for discussion of what they feel is the right direction for Nova Scotians.

[Page 4809]

Quite honestly, I've had the opportunity to be on the writing side of a budget, sitting hours on end in the Cabinet Room, hours on end of chatting about priorities and hours on end of basically defending each and every line within your ministerial responsibility. Quite honestly, to the front bench and a couple of guys on the backbench, on the middle bench, I do commend you for all the work because it is a fair undertaking when Treasury Board and Cabinet get together to provide this kind of budget. Let's not forget, this is a $10 billion budget - $10 billion. That's really hard to truly put yourself into your mind of how much money that is, especially when the average Nova Scotian makes - $40,000, $32,000, whatever the number is, so when you really start talking about billions of dollars, it's really hard to put that into perspective.

I just want to find a little writing here that I had somewhere, just to put a billion dollars into comprehension. Just in size, a billion seconds ago, a second is very small, a billion seconds ago was 1959. That is a long time ago; it's 10 years before I was born. A billion minutes ago - and this is going to the Moses discussion we just had - Jesus was alive. A billion hours ago all of our ancestors were in the Stone Age.

It just goes to show what the idea of a billion is and yet when we see it in our budget documents we as politicians, as legislators, treat it like a bunch of zeroes. We treat it as a decimal point. We treat it like it's just something to be debating on a Monday night in the Legislature. We truly don't comprehend or at least portray the true size of what our provincial budget is. It's huge and it affects the lives of every single Nova Scotian, so the 900 or so thousand Nova Scotians that we have, in one way or another, will be affected by everything that sits in this budget and the things that are contained in Bill No. 108.

A lot of us have had the opportunity, over the last number of weeks, as we've been talking about a whole bunch of things, whether it's talking about the cuts to grants or organizations or whether it's user fees, there are a whole bunch of issues that have been debated over the last number of weeks - the Film Tax Credit - we've heard over and over again from our constituents. When I try to summarize those things, what I hear the most from them is, why are they picking on me? Why are they picking on rural Nova Scotia for the most part?

I know there are a number of MLAs on the Liberal side who represent rural areas as well and I'm sure they are hearing those very same things. When we raise 1,400 user fees, how do they not affect all of us, every Nova Scotian we represent? We heard a lot about the ferries, but when you go and get your licence, when you go to get your licence plate, when you make your application for your birth certificate and it goes on and on from there. I know the member for Northside-Westmount, they keep changing these things on here, he has a full list and its two inches thick. It's a thick document that lays out the increase in those taxes. There have been previous members in this House that have gone on at length of tying a user fee with a tax because that's exactly what it is. It is a user tax, a user fee for the day-to-day things that Nova Scotians need.

[Page 4810]

Even though every Nova Scotian is somehow participating in paying higher fees, I think it is those in rural Nova Scotia, those of modest means who are affected the most. Not only is it tough to pay for them, but when we have to look at all the other taxes that we have, it's hard to add this to that pile, especially if you are a senior on GIS, when you are only making a few thousand dollars a year. When you have to compound that with high gas prices, with high oil prices, with the everyday cost of groceries, having a cellphone or have cable, all of these things that we take for granted - when you add all of these things up, it's making it much more difficult for those individuals to truly make ends meet.

I don't know how they do it - I've spoken about this a number of times, about seniors in my area. To see the burden that they have, I think it does far outweigh maybe the burden here in an urban area because they don't have access to those housing options for example. The biggest one that I have an example for is the fact that a lot of these seniors - widows, widowers - are living in these big old houses that used to be houses for eight or 10 kids. One person is living in it today and it still has all those costs. All the costs of running that house are still there whether it's heat, lights, and all the other things that go with it. I don't know how they make ends meet in most cases.

Then for us to say, well, maybe there's an opportunity in public housing for them to go. In rural areas, truly, they don't have that same option. If I look at the seniors' apartments in my area, there are long waiting lists. There are people trying to get out of their homes. It even creates a bit of a problem as they move into these apartments as there's still the challenge of having to pay that house - or the family has to continue to pay that house while mom or dad or their uncle or aunt is actually in the apartment. There's still the ongoing cost of those things happening.

What we would have liked to have seen in our budget is maybe a better appreciation for seniors' housing, to be able to provide those options in rural areas, and we don't see that. Instead, we see a rise in user fees.

I did want to quickly talk about the grants to organizations. I think that's another one that keeps coming to the top. Not only why are you picking on us or why are you increasing all these fees, but quite honestly, it's also the cuts to the grants to organizations. These are those associations that we, as governments in the past, have depended on to offer the services to Nova Scotians. They're the ones that are closest to the issues, closest to the problems that need our help. When you can enable them to offer a service, I think that's actually better. I think it's more cost-effective in most cases than actually getting government to offer these services. When we see cuts to community grants, I think it makes us scratch our heads.

[Page 4811]

Some of the instances that kind of aren't making a whole lot of sense to us - we understand the austerity idea. We've heard a lot from the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board and we've heard a lot from the Premier and many of the ministers talking about austerity, talking about having to save money, about having competing responsibilities or needs and trying to free up money on one side in order to invest it on another.

But when I see a cut to a community grant for mental health and addictions of $400,000, I have to scratch my head because I don't know how government could ever offer a service like the ones that offer services to people with mental health issues and addictions. They're the ones that are closest to the community, that are closest to the issues and I would say can offer a better service to Nova Scotians than what any government agency would be able to offer. AIDS groups, eating disorders - we've heard about those - Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and several others are all within that group of needs that we don't need less of; we need more of them.

The burden to society is still too high. There are too many people suffering with a mental health issue who just need a helping hand, who need a friend and need a service like those that are provided by community grants groups. It's not that they are knocking down our doors as MLAs, looking for help with a mental disorder or a mental issue, depression, schizophrenia, but I know they are there because I see them in my travels; I see them when I talk to family members. All they are looking for is a little bit of help - to be able to get their loved one, to get themselves, some help.

A lot of times we talk about mental health issues as being sort of a thing we're not supposed to talk about. Society has changed a lot over the last number of years in how we do treat those things, and it's getting better. I remember a few years ago where there was a campaign on for depression and to be able to talk about it. I forget the gentleman's name and I wish I had it before me but we had a great spokesperson. It was a police officer who continues to suffer from depression and he wasn't afraid to talk about it because by him talking about it, it sort of takes away a little bit of that stigma and maybe it allows others to talk about it. You can imagine a big, burly police officer who, for the most part, they are supposed to be tough and impenetrable and it was really hard for him to get up and talk about mental health issues, but having a guy like him was absolutely phenomenal to put that cause forward. I don't think that would have happened without the support of those community programs, those real programs that help people.

I don't know how to explain it better than that, but to go and cut when we need more doesn't make a whole lot of sense. We know what happens in the end when something truly goes wrong, when mental health issues start to act out, when our health system really has to respond to it. Some of those are very expensive treatments and require lots of in-patient days and require a lot of professional help. A few hundred thousand dollars to community groups, taking that away is probably going to cost millions of dollars on the treatment side because of the things that got missed because they couldn't keep their ear to the ground or be available to those people. To me, that is the shame in cutting these grants - you have to be so very careful of what you are cutting, especially something that needs more.

[Page 4812]

The other one that stands out is the cut to the CNIB. I think many members here have talked about the cut to the CNIB - it's a cut of $152,000 to cut services that help people travel safely. It's not all of the CNIB, but at least it's a program offered by the CNIB. What I also found interesting about this whole debate with the CNIB and the government was that they really didn't know about it. It almost seemed, Madam Speaker, that they were not consulted on this cut. They were just told when the budget came out that hey, by the way, you are no longer going to offer this service. I mean, services to the blind, again, is one of those services that we, as legislators, as MLAs, should be concerned about.

There are many illnesses out there that cause a whole bunch of disabilities, but I can't imagine losing my sight and I can't imagine having to find my way through the bureaucracy of trying to find help without the CNIB. I mean, the CNIB is the place to go. We've heard many times of people, it was freeing to finally find those advocates at CNIB to be able to help them navigate through the services that are available. I'm not debating whether there are not services available to people with vision problems, there are probably all kinds of them, but they never do reside in one place and that's why government needs a partner like CNIB, like they need a partner with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, like they need a partner with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. We can pick a whole bunch of these advocate groups because it provides service to that clientele, to those patients who can't find help any other way.

I would challenge each and every one of the MLAs in this House to try to help navigate the system as well as a group like CNIB would do. I would bet everything that you almost couldn't. So why cut grants to community groups when quite honestly by providing them with a stable amount of money, an ongoing base amount, would save government money in the long run? There should be auditing involved. There should be transparency involved in it. There should be everything to make sure that the taxpayers' dollars that we spend as government are used appropriately and make sure that they are received by those patients or clients, absolutely. But to go and cut them out when there is a need for these services - you've got to be kidding.

I wish I had some more data from CNIB but they're seeing more and more people, as our population continues to age, as our rates of diabetes and cancer and other diseases continues to grow, more and more people are having sight problems. Like I said, you try to navigate something like that, try to find out where you can get all the aids that you need to be able to see to some of the basic things that we do today.

I mean you can only make the font so big in a book; you can only make the font so big on an iPhone or a BlackBerry. There are other aids that are sometimes needed by our populations in order to do some of the very basis things like read a recipe, read the paper, do a crossword puzzle, read signs, be able to walk down the street. These are all things that we take for granted but those who are in that situation find it extremely difficult. CNIB needs our help, Madam Speaker; they don't need less, they need more.

[Page 4813]

If we look at the other cuts within this, we did touch the Healthy Living Tax Credit for a few moments. Thankfully the federal government did come up with a higher one on their side.

AN HON. MEMBER: They doubled it.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : They doubled theirs which brought it to $1,000, so in way it negates the mistake made by this government a little bit, but why would you cut something like that?

Saturday night I was at the Yarmouth Town and County Sports Heritage Association's annual induction where we had Rhonda Cook, Jeff Muise, the Bantam A Women's Hockey team, Jody Shelley, and we had Reg - what's Reg's last name? I should have written that down. Madam Speaker, all of them were inducted into the Sport Heritage Hall of Fame who should be, I would say, supporters of sport in our communities, who actually are builders of sport in our communities. In that list there were cyclists and triathletes and hockey players and racquetball payers, and hockey players again.

AN HON. MEMBER: No ballplayers in Yarmouth?

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : There were no ballplayers this time, but there have been a few teams inducted into the Sport Heritage Hall of Fame.

I know that they as athletes want to continue to take youth and provide them with as much opportunity as possible to be able to do their sport, to be able to get better at their sport, and to not only be healthy with their sport, but be able to take that sport and play it around Nova Scotia, to be able to play it around Canada, and to be able to play it internationally, in the U.S. and other places.

If I take Jeff for example - Jeff Muise is a young man. I actually don't know how old Jeff is; I should know, but I don't. He's a cyclist. He was Bicycle Nova Scotia's 2014 Cyclist of the Year. He has won a number of races around Nova Scotia, but more importantly in the U.S. as well. Not only is he an ambassador for his sport to youth in Nova Scotia, he also has been an ambassador for Nova Scotia at international competitions. That happens all the time. We have ball teams going everywhere. We have hockey teams going everywhere. Not only are they supporting their sport and being the best that they can be in their sport, but they are also highlighting and being ambassadors for Nova Scotia.

[Page 4814]

Why would we take that opportunity away from them? We know how hard it is today to get into sport. Like I said earlier, the average wage in Nova Scotia - annual earnings - is actually somewhere in the $30,000 range - if not, just a little below $40,000. If you have a family of two kids or three kids, which is not unheard of in this day, and your children want to play sports - as I think they have a right to - to get into minor hockey is an expensive proposition. Having $500 there to help buy some equipment, to be able to help with their fees, to be able to help with a little bit of the travel - because God knows, today it seems like every hockey team seems to be travelling from one end of the province to the other - may not be everything, but it sure is a help to get that person into sport. I even know some instances where one kid gets to be in sports and the other one doesn't, and that's not fair. We should give them every opportunity to be in sport.

I know the member for Inverness would say we need more goalies to play hockey. Well, you try to outfit a goalie these days, making sure they have the right equipment, pads, hockey sticks, helmets - these are all different and special stuff. It's very expensive to get into. Any little bit of help that we can provide them, the better.

Even today when we talk about soccer or we talk about - I would say - some of the easier sports to get into, they aren't that easy. There are still the inscription fees and the cleats and you can just go on with the items and the equipment that you need. My son's a goalkeeper; he has to have the fancy gloves, he's got to have the protectors, and he needs to have a mouth guard. He actually has no mask, but he needs a mouth guard because he's worried about his teeth, which is a very smart thing.

It's not free for a kid to go play soccer as much as we used to. I don't see it anymore. Here's why everybody has to be in organized sport today - because that is the opportunity that they have. I remember as a kid - which seems like a thousand years ago now - we could go play baseball in the backyard because there were a lot more kids. I'm a rebound - I'm a generation - I guess you would call them Generation X. I'm not a baby boomer, but I'm sort of the next gang. But that next gang, if I talk about all my cousins and friends who lived nearby, there were enough to put on a baseball game. There were enough to have three teams in some cases. We would go in the backyard and we'd be playing all day long. We'd be riding our bikes. We'd being doing a whole bunch of things.

I don't see that happening anymore, so it is up to parents to sign them up for these sports. Thankfully, Madam Speaker, the municipalities are doing their part in having leisure services, of having the sports and recreation departments within those areas that are providing these opportunities to our youth. But again, it costs money, we need to have money to do it. That's why I felt the Healthy Living Tax Credit was an oversight, I think there was a mistake and maybe it was undersold, I don't know. I know it was a good idea when it was brought in and it was well used.

But going back to the Yarmouth Town and County Sports Heritage Association, I mean, I saw what sport can do for people. Rhonda talked about herself and I could get The Vanguard clipping; Rhonda Cook is a triathlete and she said it in her speech so I would imagine it's okay to say it here, she is 50. She has done ironman, she has done numbers of marathons, ran the Boston Marathon. She actually talks about how a few years ago - she was always an active person - it wasn't until she got sick that she realized how important it was to continue to be even better than she was before. I believe it was rheumatoid arthritis or whatever it is, when they figured that out she decided she was going to do an ironman and I think she did the Mont-Tremblant Ironman, which a huge bicycle ride, which is like an actual marathon and I think a six-kilometre swim.

[Page 4815]

It baffles the mind to think that anybody would go out and do that but Rhonda Cook can do it, because of her dedication. But it didn't happen until she got sick, that's when the whole idea of this sport blossomed for her. That's why we want kids doing sport, to keep them well, to keep them active so they don't get sick, so they don't end up in a hospital, so they learn that kind of discipline that is required by an athlete. We do see far too often people having to go to hospital and we know what that costs in the end. That's where the money gets spent, so a $500 tax credit on this side, I would guesstimate again is millions of dollars of savings on the health care system. There's your balance of trying to find the balance between those two things.

I've heard the Minister of Health and Wellness talk about this on many occasions and I probably talked about it when I was minister as well, that we talk about the societal change, the change that we have to make as a society to be healthier, to live healthier, to eat healthier, to be more active so that we have less of this cancer stuff and diabetes stuff, so that we don't have our expensive treatments at the hospital.

I don't know what cancer is costing our province today but it's costing us an awful lot. I don't know what cardiac issues are costing us but it's costing us a lot. We can drill right down to why this is happening. Well sure, it's genetics but it also has to do with the activity levels of Nova Scotians and the obesity levels of Nova Scotians. These are real effects, real people, but real investments that have real returns. That is where I think our priorities are mixed up in this budget.

We can talk a lot about the Film Tax Credit but I know there was a lot of talk over the last number of weeks about this one. What did strike me the most about the Film Tax Credit is the people we were affecting or the people that this government is affecting - I can't say "we" on this because we don't agree here - the very people who we want to move to Nova Scotia and the ones that we truly want working here, the group of people we want to expand here were the very people who were affected. The 2,700 Nova Scotians who were affected by the uncertainty, the chaos created in trying to communicate a Film Tax Credit cut are the very people we want here. If we're talking about a green economy, there's probably one of the best ones we can see where we have people working, making money, paying taxes and it's a very little, low, impact to the environment of Nova Scotia.

[Page 4816]

We can be talking about a whole bunch of different activities that create jobs in Nova Scotia - agriculture, forestry, aquaculture - all of them having an impact on the environment of Nova Scotia, but film and movie production does not. Instead of cutting that, why didn't we expand it? Expansion creates more employment, more people paying taxes, more young people who don't need the health system - it's a win-win from every direction. What's been created by this government is one of uncertainty and one of almost desperation of how to try to fix it.

We've heard a number of times that the government's fixed it, but I guess we're going to have to wait and see. As we talk to the industry and those who work within the industry, I guess we'll see whether the fix is in or whether "the fix" is in - it could be either one of them, they might have fixed it, they might not have fixed it.

But I do know one thing - it will be a long time before that industry trusts this government again. It will take a lot of work and determination to try to bring that group back to the Liberal ways. I think we've heard that many times in the media; we've seen it a lot in the letters to the editor in the Chronicle Herald, we've seen it in many places. It's not the right thing to do. Investment on one side and benefits on the other.

Feed Nova Scotia got a cut; the Nova Scotia Association for Community Living got a cut - these are all things that we need. The interesting one is where there are increases. If we look at trying to balance off spending less, we need to have less people working for us, we need to be able to find that balance. Trying to balance that $10 billion, as big as it may seem, as many zeroes as there are in it, it is still very difficult to do. What we've heard from government members many times is, where would you have cut? What would you have done differently?

One of the big ones was senior management because what we did see in this budget is growth in senior management. There was a 6 per cent increase in senior administration. This was calculated from the estimates; they had to sort of add it all up in order to find it, but it is there. Senior management in a number of departments, increases in senior management - for Internal Services saw $936,000, almost $1 million there; Department of Business, because of its restructuring, moving people over so the cuts they talked about really don't materialize because we see an $886,000 increase in their senior management; and in Finance alone there is $880,000 of increases as well.

Why are we expanding senior management when we have people in Shelburne working at the park in Shelburne or the park in Inverness, or whether they're working for the rural and economic development in Yarmouth - why are we cutting those jobs when we've created more here in Halifax? Quite honestly, we could have maybe redone some things here, let attrition take over and not replace some of those big positions. Instead of firing three positions in rural Nova Scotia you would have just had to get rid of one here in Halifax, and that's the balance; that's the balance between these two things.

Quite honestly if you lose your job in Inverness, or you lose your job in Whycocomagh, if you lose it in Yarmouth, if you lose it in Shelburne, your chances of finding another job are pretty slim, not that easy to do. But I can say that trying to find a job here in Halifax is maybe better because there is more opportunity here. This goes the same with the economic engine that this is.

[Page 4817]

Quite honestly, I think my best example is this one. We had the previous CEO of the Capital District Health Authority, Chris Power - I don't know what she was making a year, $300,000, I don't know what it was, somewhere close to that anyway. She would have gotten a severance - I don't know what that was but I'm going to bet you it was upward of $500,000. The next week, she had a job in Edmonton. The next week.

So we shouldn't be afraid or worried about the positions that we have here in Halifax, because quite honestly - and I think we're lucky to have them because they are good employees and we are lucky to have them, but I think they have enough opportunity here in metro or in Nova Scotia, or because of their skills they're sellable anywhere in Canada, that we shouldn't be so worried about trying to cut back here on that senior administration. But, no, this government has added more.

So the CEOs at this point - and I want to thank my friend, my colleague, the member for Sackville-Cobequid - so far the severance for senior management in the district health authorities is $4.8 million - $4.8 million that could have been used for services.

AN HON. MEMBER: CNIB.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : There could have been 10 CNIBs. Priorities - it's about that balance of priorities of cutting in the right places because we know that our bureaucracy is quite large. We know compared to other provinces we're sort of middle of the road; we're not the most bureaucracy but we're not the smallest one either for the size of population that we have. There should be some management there, there should have been a better way to cut back on positions in the civil service than just getting rid of the small, easy jobs in rural Nova Scotia, not really affecting what happens here in Halifax.

Madam Speaker, we do agree with a number of things in the budget, so let me change the gear a little bit and talk about a few things that we did like. There were a number of things in the Education and Early Childhood Development budget that we did like because, again, it chose that investment in early years and in our best resource, which is our children, which is our youth that are going to conquer the world. To be able to provide them with the best start possible, with the best education possible, will reap benefits for many years to come.

I know there has been this number flopped around a whole bunch which was the cut of $65 million by a previous government, and whether that was a real number or a made-up number doesn't matter at this point, but what we need to see from government is a further investment in educational opportunities for our children and better educational opportunities for our children. I would be remiss if I didn't say my wife's a school teacher, so seeing her happy with something is a good thing.

[Page 4818]

Investments in things like EIBI - that means a lot because, Madam Speaker, there's sort of a group of children today that really doesn't have the opportunity to reach the top of that ladder, to be able to be real participants in our society and our economy. Every bit that we can do to help children with autism to reach their potentials is worth a lot because not only is it better for our society but it actually saves us money in the long run because we're providing opportunities for them.

My wife, as I said before - I've used her as an example here - is a teacher at the Leaning Centre for the CSAP in Tusket. She has a number of autistic children in her class and has to provide each one of them with a different service, with different learning levels, to be able to give them the next step, to be able to continue on so at least they are close with their peers. Wouldn't it be better to identify these children really early and provide them with a service before they go to school so that not only are they in a learning centre but they are actually in the classroom and they're actually participating and learning, just like their peers? This is the actual capability of the EIBI program, to be able to identify it early, provide them with the services they need, with the learning opportunities they need and get that child with autism to the classroom, equal with his or her peers. That's the beauty of that EIBI program.

Now I'll take the criticism that when we brought it in it had a lottery. I will say that the previous government got rid of that lottery but it had a wait-list - kind of the same thing. But at the end of the day, I guess we'll have to see how that gets fully funded and not only fully funded but have the specialists available in all parts of the province because we know it's still difficult to get services in different parts of this province.

The specialists are not easy to come by and the training that they need is fairly intensive, the background they need to be able to offer the service to our children. To see the difference between children who have been identified early versus that group of children who were not identified and ended up in the school system and then having to try to figure it out, the outcomes have been huge. Since time has been measuring things, we can see the humungous outcome from this. I want to thank those advocates who convinced this government this was the way they needed to go.

Education, as I said, is definitely the path to a stronger and better economy. Anything we can do to make that better, I think is a positive thing. Of course, I'll thank the government for their investments in education and I'll thank the minister for her work on behalf of students in Nova Scotia. We do share a few ideas from the past but I do thank her for that investment.

I do want to look at health care quickly before I finish my time here. Health care is still the - I guess we call it the elephant in the room. When you have a $4 billion health budget, it's really difficult to understand why we continue to hear about wait-lists and why we continue to hear about people waiting for home care and why we continue to hear about people waiting for long-term care placement and why we hear about loved ones being warehoused in hospitals. This is the number that will continue to confound government for a few years to come - $4 billion that we spend on health care every year.

[Page 4819]

The answer this government has had up to now has been the amalgamation of the district health authorities is going to save us money. Well we already know that it cost us $4.8 million and God knows what it's going to cost once we get it. Everybody gets a new business card and the new letterhead is done and the new purchase orders and it will go on and on for a year or two as this new health authority gets its feet under it. But really, what did it give to us? How did one district health authority help the patient? How did that get one more hip replacement? How did that get one more loved one into a long-term care facility?

It doesn't because we are talking about administration. It doesn't affect, or shouldn't affect, those people who are offering service, you know, the nurses and the specialists and the doctors. It shouldn't be affecting them, but it does. It does affect them because they are not too sure on a whole bunch of things in the way that the bill was handled by this government. It put a whole sector of health care workers, because of union contracts and because of how this government heavy-handedly wanted to change it to four bargaining units, how we sort of ran upstream on this one.

I hope a lot of that has been calmed down and has been calmed down when the Premier stepped in and imposed exactly what the unions had asked for eight months ago. But did it save it any money right now? When will we be seeing those savings? It's going to be a long time before we see those savings. (Interruption) Never mind, I'm not going to go down that rabbit trap. I saw some cutting and pasting there my friends, I saw some cutting and pasting.

Health care with $4 billion talked about within this budget that we've heard from this government doesn't provide us with the service that Nova Scotians need. I see how the government is going to try to limit the growth of the health care system by 1 per cent. Some of it has been done by prepaying some things, so there was some money left over in last year's budget and because of some deals on CT scanners and other items they were able to pay some things last year that would be used this year. There's very few of those opportunities left anymore and I know all members have talked, all governments have talked against doing that because it does create a problem in your budgeting process. But that's what this government did.

Already we're hearing pressures on that budget; 1 per cent, still a big number out of $4 billion. It's still going to be hard to meet when the majority of that $4 billion is made up of wages and we know that cost of living at this point is still sitting in 1.92 per cent sometimes up to 3 per cent. How is the government going to truly keep that 1 per cent growth? That natural growth that's in our health care system, the natural growth in every health care system in the world, for that matter, there has been tremendous growth in it because of the needs of the patient. It's really not built on just people asking for money or asking for one service or another, it's truly built on need. We know that we're not meeting that need today.

[Page 4820]

Of course, the health care budget needs a closer look.

I was just wondering, Madam Speaker, how much time do I have left there?

MADAM SPEAKER « » : Until 6:41 p.m.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Seven minutes. I haven't even gotten myself started, I have all kinds of notes that I wanted to do here. Maybe the last one I want a kick at is probably home care, which we've been hearing a lot about.

There have been a number of union meetings going on worried about, in most cases, the jobs. And as much as I am worried about the jobs, I'm worried about the service. We need to maintain a certain level of service to the home. If we're talking about home care services, the services of continuing care assistance, we want to make sure that there is a sort of a blanket service that's provided across the province, and it's going to be the same as what we're receiving today if not better. That's what we're hearing, that if this RFP goes forward, which the budgeting numbers that are before us are built upon putting the whole home care service out to an RFP. But if a large company, large association, or conglomerate of some kind comes in and actually wins that RFP, how are we going to guarantee that those services are going to be the same?

On the backside we need to make sure that we watch the money but we need to make sure that we're receiving the services that are appropriate for the population that we have. There are many parts of this province right now that don't have home care service, that don't have access to VON service. When it comes to them I'm hoping it does provide service to them, that we do extend that to them, that it's going to be available to them but I don't want it at the expense of others in my area, in Richmond, or in Guysborough. We want to make sure that those services remain the same or if not, get better. I guess that's one of those things that we're going to have to truly, truly watch how we maintain that health budget at 1 per cent.

Some final thoughts on it again is how it truly affects our population. Not only our families, because our families are consumers as well, they're Nova Scotians as well, and they access services just as much as anybody else, but the communities that we represent, we're not only here to provide the service but also to make sure we're going to be fair to all parts of that province and I want to make sure that somebody in Gabarus is getting the same service that they're going to be getting in the Hawk in Cape Sable Island. I want to make sure that somebody in Pictou Centre is receiving the same service as in Lower Wedgeport. I want everybody to have those same opportunities, and quite honestly, they don't because they don't compare to the services that they are receiving here in Halifax.

[Page 4821]

The one that upsets me the most is when I see people coming to Halifax for cancer service, cancer treatment, radiation, and having to travel away from their loved ones for months on end and not receiving a service in their local areas. They end up at the Lodge that Gives or they end up at Point Pleasant Lodge, or they stay on my couch for cripes sake. That's not fair, that's not a fair service for them.

We need to do better and as much as this is a spend, maybe this is an idea for my friends that are neighbouring my friend, the member for Yarmouth or my friend, the member for Clare-Digby or my friend, the member for Queens-Shelburne - why isn't there cancer service in Yarmouth, why isn't there? Why isn't there a linear accelerator in Yarmouth so people can receive that service? Why do our constituents have to travel so far away to provide it? (Interruption)

There's lots of money to replace the ones we have here in Halifax, there is all kinds of money to replace the one in Sydney, which they need, but we've not had one in Yarmouth, we don't have that service there, and that is costing our population far too much and we need to have the opportunity for them to receive service closer to home.

With those short words, I thank you for the opportunity and I move to adjourn debate on Bill No. 108.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is to adjourn debate on Bill No. 108.

There has been a call for a recorded vote. We will ring the bells for 15 minutes.

[6:40 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please.

Are the Whips satisfied?

The Clerks will now proceed with a recorded vote on the motion to adjourn debate on Bill No. 108. I would ask that all members please remain absolutely silent during the recorded vote. I would ask all members, when your name is called, to stand and say either Yea or Nay.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[6:55 p.m.]

[Page 4822]

YEASNAYS
Mr. MacLeodMr. Colwell 
Mr. MacMasterMr. Churchill 
Mr. DunnMs. Regan 
Mr. David WilsonMr. Samson 
Ms. MacDonaldMs. Whalen 
Mr. BelliveauMs. Casey 
Ms. ZannMs. Diab 
Mr. OrrellMr. Younger 
Ms. MacFarlaneMr. Horne 
Mr. HarrisonMr. Hines 
Mr. LohrMr. Stroink 
 Mr. Delorey
 Mr. Ince
 Mr. Farrell
 Mr. Gordon Wilson
 Ms. Miller
 Mr. Maguire
 Ms. Eyking
 Ms. Lohnes-Croft
 Ms. Treen
 Mr. Gough
 Mr. Jessome
 Mr. Irving
 Mr. d'Entremont

THE CLERK » : For, 11. Against, 24.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is defeated.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I won't be long on this. The reason for that is that I know we have been quite critical of the government and of the budget so far throughout this process. We did not support the budget when the budget vote went through. With the Financial Measures (2015) Bill, it definitely is the mechanism that supports the budget here in the province. We know from the groups and from the individuals who have been in contact with not only our caucus but I believe the PC caucus and members of the government caucus that there are a number of people who were quite upset with the budget and with the FMA and what is contained in it.

Of course a lot of the attention over the last little while has been around the film and creative industry here in our province, around the Film Tax Credit. We know and I know that there will be representatives here, I believe tomorrow, because I believe I'll be the last speaker on this piece of legislation, unless someone else gets up or we have another bell ringing if that's possible. I don't think it is.

[Page 4823]

We want to hear from them. The process that we have here in the Legislature is one of a kind and it's an important process that allows Nova Scotians, especially those who are affected, either in a positive way or a negative way from government policies - legislation, for example, especially a budget - and Bill No. 108 is just one of those cases where Nova Scotians will have a chance tomorrow, in the time that is permitted for Law Amendments Committee to allow Nova Scotians to come into our Chamber here and express either support for a piece of legislation or express their contempt with or their negativity towards a piece of legislation. I think that is what is going to happen tomorrow as we see presenters come through.

I know my Leader has spoken at length on the FMA, on some of the issues that we are concerned with, especially the Film Tax Credit. It's interesting, what a budget does, I think it shows Nova Scotians the path that we'll all be on over the next year, but it also shows the path the government is taking and the manner in which they think the province should go. One of the things that stands out for me with the FMA and, for that matter, the whole process here of the budget, is the fact that what I don't see is the consultation. I think it is key, the key to ensuring that you can bring forward policy, good policy, is to get people on your side, to do the consultation that is needed.

I know I meet with groups, and I have for the last almost 12 years, when I've been in different roles in the House. Many of those years in Opposition, they always asked, what should we do? I always said, you are meeting with me or our caucus and you need to continue with that consultation. You need to make sure your message is out there. You need to make sure that other MLAs hear about what you are advocating for and it comes down to consultation. When you are in government, the key to getting acceptance from Nova Scotians, from taxpayers, is to do proper consultation.

We see that Bill No. 108 and the changes that we're going to see, that really did not take place on many occasions, Mr. Speaker. I'll give the government a little bit of credit that after the fact, when the opposition to a certain piece of legislation created many Nova Scotians to speak up, the government decided at that time that it might be a good time to do some consultation and of course I'm referring to the Film Tax Credit. We had thousands of Nova Scotians around this building just after the news of the Film Tax Credit being cut. It was an amazing sight, I have to say. They were very professional when they came to this House, when they came to the streets around the Legislature, when they tried to ensure that the government understood the implications of what was going to happen if the Film Tax Credit was cut to the extent that was initially proposed in the budget.

I know that since then the government maybe woke up a little bit and realized, yes, the consultation is a key. If we're going to have buy-in from the general public, then that needs to be a component of it, of getting such a change to happen and maybe they could have averted having the thousands of people who were here that afternoon around the Legislature. I know many of them are still going to be here tomorrow and throughout the process.

[Page 4824]

They are quite upset, Mr. Speaker, and I know it has had a lot of attention but there are other aspects of this budget that I think we've been trying - we have a small caucus, but we've been trying to make sure Nova Scotians are aware of the implications and that of course is around the largest component of the budget itself, and that's the health care budget.

Really, a freeze going into next year which ultimately, it's a 0.8 per cent increase, but it's a freeze and you could almost label it as a cut. There are going to be services that will need to be looked at to find savings and reduce operations, not literally - actually I might get to that in a couple of minutes. We're seeing that with this budget that health care is going to be one of the areas that we need to look at reducing services just because of the sheer volume that health care delivers and sees as a service here in Nova Scotia.

For example, $3.6 million was cut from the long-term care equipment budget. These are long-term care facilities that rely on the government to hopefully provide new equipment and help support those seniors, mostly seniors, who live in long-term care facilities. I don't know how the government is going to address the ER closure crisis. We spent a lot of time and money trying to address the ER closures, but it wasn't all about money. It was about trying to ensure we utilized those health care workers appropriately in a setting that will achieve the goal I think government wants and needs, and that's to supply service for Nova Scotians.

Since the Liberals took over we've seen a dramatic increase in ER closures across the province. In my colleague's area, in Shelburne, Roseway Hospital, we've seen over a 1,000 per cent increase in closure rates there. In Cape Breton, the Northside and other areas, huge increase in closures, and when you have a freeze in the health care budget, I don't know how you're going to address those issues. We have a huge wait-list for long-term care and home care and a very small increase in that area. I don't know how the government is going to be able to address those wait-lists as we move on throughout the year.

The organizations that support government's work are a key and many of them were blindsided with this budget. I'm talking about groups like the CNIB, and I know my colleague talked at length about the CNIB and I think everybody would understand how important they are. The Canadian Mental Health Association for Nova Scotia was cut, and Eating Disorders Nova Scotia cut.

We're concerned with those organizations because they live on a shoestring budget, and any cut to them will mean a reduction in services. Most of their services are provided by volunteers; they do have a few paid people and that's what most of these grants went to. The Eating Disorder Clinic, for example, an $11,000 cut. It's really going to hurt their ability to advocate and support young people, especially young women, here in our province with eating disorders and, on top of it, with the freeze in the budget we hear now that the IWK Eating Disorder Clinic will be reduced to two days a week. The full-time psychologist who was there is going to be replaced with a 0.5 position.

[Page 4825]

There were many things that were kind of hidden in this budget and, of course, I understand the Finance and Treasury Board Minister wasn't going to be up front in the Budget Speech telling people that the CNIB is going to be cut and the Canadian Mental Health Association and Eating Disorders Nova Scotia were going to be cut. The other one also was the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia, it was cut totally, 100 per cent, but I believe, between the time I introduced the director or one of the people from the organization in question, the Premier had indicated they would reinstate that money. I was glad to see that and they were glad to see that. But these other organizations didn't get the same treatment, and we're concerned with that.

My colleague also mentioned here we had a cut in a number of these small organizations, very small money in the larger picture of especially the Health budget of over $4 billion.

Severances for the amalgamation that went to senior administrators - $4.8 million. As was indicated, some of them walked from one job here to another one in another part of the country. You have to wonder what you could have done with those funds. Maybe we could have increased the funding to Eating Disorders Nova Scotia. Maybe we could have increased funding to the Mental Health Association and all those other groups.

They do a tremendous amount of work. Mental health and addictions services have been, I believe, ignored for so many years in the province. Not many people talk about it. There is a stigma about it, and I was very proud to be part of a government that brought forward the first Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, Together We Can.

The government needed to continue with that work. I hope that they realize that. Hopefully tomorrow, when we see people and presenters come through Law Amendments Committee, they realize the impact of this budget.

It's not just about money. I know it's $10 billion plus. It's not about money; it's about the people who are affected by the change that we're going to see over the next year as a result of the budget and as a result of Bill No. 108. That's what I'm concerned about and that's what I'm going to look forward to hearing from those tomorrow in Law Amendments Committee who will come forward. I'll be, and I know our caucus will be, listening intently. As we move through this process, I believe we'll have much more to say in third reading when this Financial Measures (2015) Bill - Bill No. 108 - comes back if it doesn't address the concerns we see.

[Page 4826]

With those few words, I look forward to moving this to Law Amendments Committee. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : I thank all of the other members of the Legislature who have participated in the debate for second reading. With that, Mr. Speaker, I move to close debate on second reading of Bill No. 108, the Financial Measures (2015) Act.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 108.

There has been a call for a recorded vote. We will ring the bells for one hour.

[7:12 p.m.]

[The Division bells were rung.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please.

Are the Whips satisfied?

We'll now proceed with the recorded vote. Again I will remind all members to please remain absolutely silent in your seat until the vote is concluded. When your name is called please rise and state your vote with a Yea or a Nay.

[The Clerk calls the roll.]

[8:12 p.m.]

YEASNAYS
Mr. ColwellMr. MacLeod  
Mr. ChurchillMr. MacMaster 
Ms. BernardMr. Dunn 
Ms. ReganMr. Baillie 
Mr. SamsonMr. d'Entremont 
Ms. WhalenMr. David Wilson 
Ms. CaseyMr. Belliveau 
Ms. DiabMs. Zann 

[Page 4827]

Mr. FureyMr. Orrell
Mr. YoungerMs. MacFarlane 
Mr. HorneMr. Houston 
Mr. HinesMr. Harrison 
Mr. StroinkMr. Lohr 
Ms. Arab  
Mr. Delorey  
Mr. Kousoulis  
Mr. Ince  
Mr. Farrell  
Mr. Gordon Wilson 
Mr. Rankin  
Ms. Miller  
Mr. Maguire  
Ms. Eyking  
Ms. Lohnes-Croft  
Ms. Treen  
Mr. Gough  
Mr. Jessome  
Mr. Irving 

THE CLERK « » : For, 28 Against, 13.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON » : Mr. Speaker, for those who have been following the bill, I can advise that that bill will be considered by the Law Amendments Committee starting at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, Tuesday.

Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

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

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

MR. SPEAKER « » : The House will now recess for a few minutes while it resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[8:17 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Ms. Margaret Miller in the Chair.]

[Page 4828]

[8:26 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Kevin Murphy, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK « » : That the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 100 - Universities Accountability and Sustainability Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 109.

Bill No. 109 - Tourism Nova Scotia Act.

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

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 109, the Tourism Nova Scotia Act, now be read a third time and do pass. I'm pleased to have another opportunity to talk briefly about this new legislation and explain why it is so important to Nova Scotia. Tourism is Nova Scotia's leading source of service sector exports and is a key economic driver in many communities across the province. Growing this industry will have a real and tangible impact that benefits everyone.

I believe that the best way to do this is for the government to clear the way and let private business take the lead. That's why we are changing the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency into a private sector-led Crown Corporation.

The tourism industry is changing rapidly and we need to keep up. Businesses must be able to take advantage of opportunities whenever and wherever they arise. I know I've said this before, but I think it can't be emphasized enough. Tourism Nova Scotia will need to operate at the speed of business, not the speed of government. The Crown governance structure will allow them to do just that. The new structure also responds clearly and directly to the wishes of the industry.

[Page 4829]

To achieve the One Nova Scotia goal of doubling tourism to $4 billion, everyone will have to work together in a coordinated, strategic way, and we will all need to understand our roles and focus on the things that we can do best. This new Crown Corporation will help clarify roles and will allow Tourism Nova Scotia to focus on bringing more new visitors to the province. Industry and communities will need to focus on bringing them back.

If we all play our part, I truly believe we will grow tourism and improve the economy from one end of the province to the other. Thank you.

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

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : It is my pleasure to rise and say a few words about Bill No. 109. I do recognize the minister's comments that tourism is vitally important to our province. It is a key industry, and as the minister has said, a key element in the Ivany report is that we double tourism in the next 10 years from $2 billion to $4 billion.

I'd like to say that I do see the value, too, of having an industry so directly involved with the tourism industry - having their representatives on the board of directors. I would echo hopes that it would move at the speed of business, not the speed of government.

I would like to express a few reservations about the bill also. One of the concerns that we have mentioned is that we believe the Ivany goals should be enshrined in the bill. We believe that setting goals and targets has merit and that it would be worthwhile to have that goal in the bill as a goal for this new Crown Corporation.

Another concern of ours that I believe we have already expressed is we believe that the representation on the Board of Industry should be that regions should not get left out on that board, and I know the minister has indicated that that's not their intention. I believe it's a ten-person board but we believe that things happen and sometimes over time these things slide and, all of sudden, an area of the province might go a year without representation on that board, whereas if it were enshrined on that legislation that would not happen. So we're concerned that the board have regional representation on it.

Another concern that we would have is the industry associations, such as TIANS, would have the opportunity to have input and maybe even have a member on that board, and I know there has been a suggestion that some elements of the board's business - there has been some sort of secrecy in the past about passing information back to the board. I think it needs to be clearly understood that the board members who represent certain industry sectors should have the opportunity to bring back information to their industry sectors. I think that needs to be in the Act too, at least in regard to policy; obviously not in regard to things like staffing members or things that are truly confidential. But these 10 board members, if they are representing another association - for instance if a board member is also on TIANS, that that board member would have the opportunity to bring back to the TIANS board the policy type information and things like that.

[Page 4830]

We're concerned I guess in the direction of tourism in the province. If I could just speak briefly about the general direction. If you think about where we're investing public funds in the province, we have invested a considerable amount of public funds in the Nova Star, there's been a considerable amount of public funds in the Nova Centre, and a considerable amount of public funds go into Bluenose II, and if you look at the amount of money that's gone into those three enterprises, I understand it's in excess of $100 million. I think it is incumbent upon this new Crown Corporation to figure out how we're going to best utilize that public expenditure and capitalize on those assets and make them succeed.

I think that maybe is just speaking to the more general issue of tourism than the bill, but I believe that we have to look at where we're spending our money as a province and try to make the best use of it, and I know that the board of directors of the new Crown Corporation understand that very well.

So with those concerns expressed, I think had some of these things been addressed it maybe could've enhanced the bill. I realize that the general direction of the bill, to get greater industry involvement in tourism, is probably a good thing; however, there are these concerns that we have, so I wanted to express those.

With those few words, thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'll take my seat.

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

The honourable Minister of Business.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank my colleagues for the comments. I move third reading of Bill No. 109.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 109. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 4831]

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 105.

Bill No. 105 - Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise to move Bill No. 105 - an Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1995-96, the Education Act - be read a third time and do pass.

I have just a couple of comments, if I may, Mr. Speaker. The response that we received from Nova Scotians telling us that they believed there needed to be some consistency, more consistency, in how we conducted our business in schools with respect to the code of conduct told us that we needed something in the action plan, and so based on that we put an action in the plan that spoke to a provincial code of conduct, and this legislation will allow that to happen.

As I've said before, currently we have a provincial code of conduct, boards have codes of conduct and schools have their own. It led to inconsistency and confusion so this bill is written to address those inconsistencies and to bring more focus on the importance of classroom management and effective discipline, respect for students, one for themselves and for others and for the adults in the school.

Mr. Speaker, that is the focus of Bill No. 105 and if there are comments, I would wait to hear those.

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

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to make a few comments on Bill No. 105. It removes the obligation on a school board to establish a regional school code of conduct. What is good about this particular bill is that there will be consistency across the province with regard to the type of conduct that is acceptable and unacceptable in our schools. From that point of view it is very positive. It provides consistency, clarity; it avoids different interpretation of rules and it's something that I think was lacking in our school system, so this is certainly a positive move in the right direction.

As the minister mentioned, this particular bill will create a provincial code of conduct and it will outline what is acceptable, what is unacceptable and I think it's a very positive move that the schools and school boards will endorse. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I know that Bill No. 105 is a piece of legislation that will be welcomed throughout the school districts here in Nova Scotia. Once you have a code of Conduct that everyone can follow, everybody is clear with it and it's the same across each district, I think this is extremely important.

[Page 4832]

I think for our educators who work extremely hard to educate our young people here in Nova Scotia, this piece of legislation and the changes that we'll see because of this piece of legislation are something that they, too, support and I look forward to it being implemented here in our province.

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

The honourable Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development.

HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for their support for this bill. It truly is what teachers and parents have been looking for. We believe it will deliver on what they have been asking for. I would now move third reading of Bill No. 105.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 105. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 103.

Bill No. 103 - Municipal Government Act.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 103 - an Act to Amend Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998, the Municipal Government Act - be read for a third time and do pass.

The legislation, Mr. Speaker, repeals some provisions of the Municipal Government Act to help ensure a positive future and long-term viability for our municipalities. First, we are repealing the section of legislation that authorizes electors of an area to apply to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for incorporation as a town.

The second amendment repeals the provision of the Municipal Government Act that authorizes the Utility and Review Board to order the continuation of a dissolved town as a village. In other words, Mr. Speaker, these changes prevent villages from becoming towns and towns from becoming villages. The purpose of these amendments is to provide the foundation for strong and viable government structures while promoting regional thinking.

[Page 4833]

Mr. Speaker, we all need to work together to bring about positive change for our citizens and communities right across the province. We believe municipalities have the opportunity to achieve efficiencies while providing the citizens with the services they need and expect. This change does not dissolve any existing town or villages but rather, it lays the foundation for stable, efficient municipal government structures that can promote regional co-operation.

We know our towns are facing challenges, some more immediate than others. We've had several reports that have identified the challenges and the need for change. I've also had many conversations with municipal representatives on the topic of structural change. I've been clear in saying we will not force dissolution or amalgamation on municipalities. We will work with those leaders who recognize and initiate structural change that results in long-term viability for the citizens.

We need local governments to work together to find a better outcome for their communities. We need to find governance models that provide a brighter future for our regions and collectively for the province. With those comments, I'm pleased to move this legislation forward.

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

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, the McNeil Government appears to have given up on rural Nova Scotia. This is a government that has bought into the idea that Nova Scotia should be comprised of Halifax, a few small urban centres, and nothing else. This is a government that has bought into the idea that citizen engagement at the local community level is a bad thing. At the end of the day, bigger is better for this government.

We see that the idea is failing in our health care system and it's an idea that's not healthy for rural communities. Local communities have aspirations and communities like New Minas and Chester have their own ideas about their future.

We're not only concerned that this bill doesn't fully appreciate this, but we're also concerned the government doesn't care. The government says that they're going in another direction and you're either with them or you're against them. A greater effort must be made to ensure the voices of rural communities are being heard.

During the election, this government promised it would not impose its will on municipalities. This bill runs counter to that promise. Each community has a different set of needs, different demographics, and different challenges. They need to be allowed to adapt as they see fit based on the concerns of local residents. I fear, to a certain extent, this bill disrupts the ability of municipalities to chart their own course. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 4834]

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

The honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs.

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I move third reading of Bill No. 103.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 103. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 102.

Bill No. 102 - University Pension Plan Transfer Act.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 102 - entitled an Act to Facilitate the Transfer of University Pension Plans to the Public Service Superannuation Plan - be now read a third time and do pass.

This bill makes it possible for universities to transfer their pension plans to the Nova Scotia Public Service Superannuation Plan. Passing this legislation benefits our universities in two ways. First, it provides them an opportunity to offer their pension plan members the security of the larger and more stable Public Service Superannuation Plan. Second, it offers universities the potential to save millions of dollars, supporting them in their work to achieve financial stability.

The legislation also gives Nova Scotia's Public Service Superannuation Plan options for potential growth in the future. The new legislation allows for the negotiation of transfer agreements between any university pension plan and the independent trustee of the provincial superannuation plan. Both sides will have to consider whether they could benefit from an agreement to join their two plans together.

[Page 4835]

The independent trustee of the Public Service Superannuation Plan will ensure that any university pension plan transfer will benefit or at least remain cost-neutral for the public service plan. A healthy pension plan needs to grow its active members to promote long-term financial sustainability. Increasing plan membership creates an opportunity for risk sharing. The benefits are clear. This enabling legislation is good for universities whose smaller pension and employee groups benefit from the security of a larger plan. It's also good for the Public Service Superannuation Plan, which now has new opportunities for expansion.

I'm pleased that our government has been able to bring this legislation forward. I thank Acadia University for their involvement and for an excellent example of an employer and union working together for the benefit of employees and retirees. I also want to thank the staff at the Nova Scotia Pension Services Corporation, my colleague at the Department of Labour and Advanced Education and government staff for their efforts in supporting us to develop and pass this bill. Thank you.

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

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, it gives me great privilege to stand and say a few words to Bill No. 102, the University Pension Plan Transfer Act. As we said in second reading of this bill, if there was an asset to be had and the universities had a fully-funded pension plan, there would be no need to transfer them into the Public Service Superannuation Pension Plan.

Mr. Speaker, the concern we have is that if the pension plan from the university comes into the superannuation plan and it is unfunded, the province is going to be picking up the funding. It says in the bill, or it said somewhere along the way that there's going to be $3.6 million saved by the university. That $3.6 million is going to be picked up by the taxpayers of the Province of Nova Scotia. If there's unfunded liability when they come in, it's going to have to be picked up by somebody. If the university is not going to pick up the difference, it's going to be picked up by the taxpayers of the province.

Mr. Speaker, the risk is taken on by the province, if is there's a problem with unfunding, and that's something that concerns us and I hope to see what happens when this plan comes into place that it's not going to affect the Public Service Superannuation Pension Plan or the taxpayers of the province.

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

The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, I would just like to quickly respond to what the member opposite has brought up again. I really did address this issue quite clearly on second reading and I have a feeling that the member opposite or his staff or the researchers have not contacted the pension agency. I'd just like to say again that there is no risk to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia in this enabling legislation. The Public Service Superannuation Plan is 100 per cent funded; it's well-managed.

[Page 4836]

The agreement that was passed a number of years ago under the NDP Government was that our only obligation is to make our matching contributions for our own employees into that fund, that it was set up as entirely independent now with a trustee and rules governing just how it operates and when it will offer indexing and so on, which will allow it to stay stable into the future.

At that point when a $500 million commitment was made from the province, maybe four or five years ago, that was to set it up so that it would never come back to the Province of Nova Scotia for further infusions of capital, let us call it.

That is no longer the case, it will not happen. This legislation is only enabling legislation and the transfer agreement between the university - in this case Acadia, which will be the first to do this - and the pension agency trustee will exactly determine what is in it and under what conditions the Public Service Superannuation Plan will accept Acadia University's plan. We have no risk to the taxpayers and that's the point I want to make very clearly.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I move to close debate on this bill which is Bill No. 102, an Act to Facilitate the Transfer of University Pension Plans to the Public Service Superannuation Plan. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 102. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 101.

Bill No. 101 - Private Career Colleges Regulation Act.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Labour and Advanced Education.

HON. KELLY REGAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 101 - an Act to Amend Chapter 23 of the Acts of 1998, the Private Career Colleges Regulation Act - be now read a third time and do pass.

[Page 4837]

Private career colleges give students a variety of training options that link them to jobs. They offer programs in occupations like information technologists, plumbers, cosmetologists, firefighters, continuing care assistants, and carpenters.

Amendments to the Private Career Colleges Regulation Act will improve program quality, hold colleges more accountable, and speed up administrative processes. These amendments are about making sure students are getting a quality education that will help them land good jobs after graduation. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 101. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 78.

Bill No. 78 - Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act.

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

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : First of all, I want to thank my colleague from Sackville-Cobequid for bringing this bill forward. Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 78, the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act, is a bill to allow more Nova Scotians to blow the whistle on wrongdoing in their workplace without fear of reprisals. This legislation will ensure that health care workers, teachers, and hundreds more Nova Scotians can report wrongdoing they see in their workplace before having to worry about how it will impact their job or their future.

I want to tell you about Shawna Boudreau, a registered nurse with more than 25 years' experience. The day my colleague from Sackville-Cobequid introduced this bill, she came out publicly in support of this idea. Shawna has certainly has seen a lot in her 25 years of nursing.

[Page 4838]

Being able to stand up for patients and report things without jeopardizing her career supports nurses, but it also protects patients. Wrongdoing can include breaking the law, misusing or grossly mismanaging public funds or assets, and committing an act or omission that puts the life, health, or safety of people or the environment at risk. This bill improves accountability and better provides the protection and the safety of all Nova Scotians.

The NDP introduced the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act in 2010 for provincial government employees. It also allowed employees to make a disclosure directly to the Nova Scotia Ombudsman and make complaints to the Labour Board in the event of a reprisal. Under the Act, anyone found guilty of a reprisal can be fined up to $10,000.

This piece of legislation would cover agencies, boards, and commissions. We're talking about school boards and the new DHAs - they are not currently covered under the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act. Under this piece of legislation, they would be, as they should be.

This is about some protection so they can speak up, so they can come forward, and hopefully have the matter dealt with without fear of reprisal. They could also come forward because they see mismanagement of public funds and it could also be because they see health or safety at risk at the new district health authority or the IWK.

This is a bill so that witnesses could speak up. I want to certainly thank the government for bringing this bill forward. I look forward, along with my colleagues, to seeing this go through Law Amendments. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 78. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I can also advise that Bill No. 78 will be considered at Law Amendments Committee tomorrow afternoon following 3:00 p.m. so any interested parties should contact Legislative Counsel if they wish to make a presentation as it will be considered tomorrow.

Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Third Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR THIRD READING

[Page 4839]

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 95.

Bill No. 95 - Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act.

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

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Thank you Mr. Speaker. I hereby move third reading Bill No. 95.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, I won't be speaking long on this one. Of course when it comes to aquaculture, I would say school is out on exactly how we are supposed to experience aquaculture in the province. It seems that after serious consideration, a Doelle-Lahey Report, I think careful consideration by the department, a bill that comes before us - to some it's not good enough and to some it's too much, so we must be in the right place in my mind because that's how legislation tends to work in this province.

The only thing I would ask of the minister is that as soon as the three pieces of regulation are complete that are to accompany this bill, because it really doesn't mean anything until those pieces of regulation are complete, to share it with us as soon as he can for comment, his due course in making sure the public knows of it, ask for their input as best you can.

The consultation side of this one is still extremely important, even knowing the negativity that is also brought forward by aquaculture in this province. I, as a supporter of this business, know that it can be done in an environmentally safe method. I know that it can be done safely, from an animal husbandry standpoint. I know that we can do this, that it can truly co-exist in our marine areas but again, the ball is in the court of the minister on the next number of steps on this one. Like I said, not everybody is going to be happy with it and I think that if everybody is just a little mad at some of it, then it must be in the right place. With those few words, of course I will be supporting this bill as it goes forward.

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

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, I'll certainly have a limited amount of words (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order please. The honourable member for Queens-Shelburne has the floor.

[Page 4840]

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. Regarding the bill, The Fisheries Coastal Resource Act respecting aquaculture, I can assure you that I listened very intently through Law Amendments Committee and I can assure you that I feel that there were a lot of good presentations there and I feel that there is an error being made here by the minister not accepting some of the recommendations. One of those recommendations - there was a theme here - was for the bill to accept the Doelle-Lahey Report.

I can proudly stand here and say that we, as a government, initiated that report and it's something that needs to be in the bill. This bill falls short of that. I want to point out that there were a number of presentations by the public through the Law Amendments Committee and I feel that the minister is falling short of the goal to make sure that we have the right protections for the environment in aquaculture. Thank you very much.

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

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Thank you Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the comments made by my colleagues around this bill and indeed as we roll this bill out and look at the regulations, we will be working towards achieving the recommendations of the Doelle-Lahey report. We feel that's an excellent report.

Indeed, we have gone beyond that by setting up a three-person panel to review the applications when they come in. It proves and guarantees it will take any political bias out of it when you put a new site in place. We'll take a very structured way. We'll approve or disapprove whatever sites are there.

A lot of the recommendations that were brought forward in Law Amendments Committee are going to be addressed in the regulations. It's far better to do them there because if you find out something doesn't work, it's a lot easier to change it than to come back to the Legislature and try to change it here, which could take some time.

With those few words, I move third reading of Bill No. 95.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 95. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 4841]

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call No. 91.

Bill No. 91 - Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act.

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

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby move third reading of Bill No. 91.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 91 is the "levy that's now a fee or something or other that's going to do something for lobster fishermen somewhere at some time" bill. I guess that's what we're going to call it, because it is a very sparse bill that just gives the authority to government to take money away or take money for something. We've had our concerns throughout this bill on exactly how the minister is going to be using this authority or how government - Order-in-Council - is going to be able to use this.

We've heard a number of ways and we have a number of concerns, depending on which part of the province you belong to or which part of the province you represent. We have a certain group that were always for the levy and were supportive of the Lobster Council of Canada. We've had other areas that are not supportive of the levy and that want to have nothing to do with the Lobster Council of Canada, and some are ranging in between.

We've heard that the buyers in southwestern Nova Scotia are supportive of a fee of some kind - a collection of fees. I guess I should be alright with that idea, but I'm really not, because the challenge now the minister will have is the fishers will say the buyers already don't give me enough money. If we're going to have to try to cover a fee within the purchase amount or the purchase amount per pound, they're taking money away from me again. I'm being taxed somehow. I know that's a detail that maybe hasn't been all thought out yet, one that I guess we'll have to see how the regulations enact on this one.

This is a tremendous challenge for the minster regardless of which side of the discussion you're on. I just know the fishermen down home are not for the idea. I don't know how you'd ever get them onside for the idea, so anything you can throw on this idea is that you're going to have to try and try really hard to get that to happen. The member for Clare-Digby is there.

I would say it's even hard enough to get in the middle and talk about this without becoming a target of some of these naysayers. We do need to do a better job in marketing our lobster. We have a product that's second-to-none. We have a whole bunch of opportunities for it. At this point, every pound of it is being sold, so there are a lot of pounds right now that don't have it. The last price I heard was somewhere near $8. It hit a high of $12 a pound not so long ago because the availability of that product wasn't there.

[Page 4842]

Right now, we're talking at the wrong time of year, maybe, because of the area that's open. Let's see how the rest of the province does as their seasons open as the ice clears, and so those areas will be able to do it and the guys in southwest Nova Scotia will be able to tie up.

Again, the regulations of this one are going to be extremely important because what this is giving is carte blanche to the minister to sort of do almost anything, whether it's a levy, whether it's a fee, how much that levy or fee is going to be, and how you are going to invest that money. Is it going to be in lobster quality projects? Is it going to be marketing?

Again, there's a lot that the minister could do with this money. For him to just ask us to trust him on it, I think it's tough for me to do that, but I guess we're going to have to see what kind of regulations he brings forward on this bill. Thank you for the opportunity to say a few words on it.

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

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, again, the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Bill dealing with the lobster levy - and I know that "levy" has become a four-letter word most recently. They use all different definitions to call it a collection of fees. I'm struggling to get the right terminology because I don't want to offend anybody, but I do think that this bill offends a lot of people. In the definition of this bill, there are less than 26 words.

I'll point out that I've raised a number of issues regarding this proposed bill. I'll point to a most recent press release that we put out in the last two weeks outlining the concerns and the consultation process. I won't go into it here, but I can tell you that the industry, I believe, will endorse those same concerns. This is something that needs to be addressed and the regulations must go in front of this legislation.

I also want to point out that we tried unsuccessfully - the Opposition, this Party - twice through this whole process to make amendments to this particular bill. I want to point out that the largest landed value - the area west of Halifax in Nova Scotia lands the most value of fish in Canada - I repeat, in Canada. They have not had a thorough vote on this. You are asking the industry to put forward with whatever, just using the old levy scenario of roughly $1.8 million or $1.6 million a year, and saying, trust us. It's not going to go over with the industry.

I'm giving the heads-up. We put out the press releases that these amendments should go in and there's a lot of work that needs to be done on this. You can call it a levy, a collection of fees, or a tax - it's certainly going to come from the people who are on the back of that boat and the industry knows this.

[Page 4843]

So with those few words, I look forward to hearing the report from the industry. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues across the floor for bringing some perspective into this bill. This bill is strictly an enabling bill. It enables the province to collect money on behalf of the fishery, but I guarantee that when we're finished with the regulations, the industry is going to decide where the money is spent and it's going to be industry-driven all the way.

This is just a vehicle for us to collect the money and disburse all the money back to the industry. There's going to have to be a proper structure set in place that this fund can be collected with support from the industry. We've already seen the buyers onside in southwestern Nova Scotia; that's the first time in history that has ever happened, so we're going in the right direction. I know we have to do a lot of work with the fishermen themselves, but we're prepared to do that.

I would ask for both my colleagues to support us on that as we move forward. As I've privately said to them before, we will be consulting both of you when we start working on the regulations to see if we can get some kind of a system put in place that will indeed work.

If the industry is going to grow and prosper and make the economic impact that it is now and beyond that without catching any more lobster, we have to have a structure like this in place to make sure we've got quality, we've got marketing, we have research - all the things that the industry feels need to be done to ensure that this happens.

With those few words, Mr. Speaker, I would like to move third reading of Bill No. 91.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for third reading of Bill No. 91. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 4844]

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, may I ask the House take a five minute recess.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The house will now recess for five minutes and we'll resume at 9:15 p.m.

[9:10 p.m. House recessed.]

[9:15 p.m. House reconvened.]

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for tonight. The House will sit again tomorrow on Tuesday, May 5th from the hours of 1:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Following the daily routine we will go into third reading of Bill Nos. 89 and Bill No. 100. Bill No. 89 is the Boat Harbour Act, Bill No. 100 is the University Accountability and Sustainability Act.

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, Law Amendments Committee will be sitting tomorrow morning starting at 9:00 a.m. where there will be consideration of Bill No. 108, the Financial Measures (2015) Act; Bill No. 75, the Municipal Government Act and Halifax Regional Municipality Charter; as well from tonight, there will be Bill No. 78, the Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act.

With that Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow Tuesday, May 5th from the hours of 1:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is for the House to rise until tomorrow, Tuesday, May, 5th between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

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

The motion is carried.

The House now stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow Tuesday, May the 5th.

[The House rose at 9:16 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 4845]

RESOLUTION NO. 1748

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Ann Wallace was a schoolteacher in rural Nova Scotia for 37 years; and

Whereas Ann Wallace has had a lifelong interest in collecting and preserving the memories of Nova Scotia communities; and

Whereas Ann Wallace has written seven self-published books on the histories of small rural communities in Guysborough and Antigonish Counties;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly thank Ann Wallace for her dedication to teaching us all about Nova Scotia history and recognize her hard work and dedication.

RESOLUTION NO. 1749

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Hope Blooms is a community garden and cooking project in Halifax's North End which contributes to improved local food security and community health; and

Whereas Hope Blooms' 2015 goals are to raise $12,000 for its kids' scholarship fund through salad dressing sales and to produce 3,000 pounds of food, some of which will be used in elementary school lunch programs and community soup kitchens; and

Whereas on Friday, May 1st, Hope Blooms celebrated the opening of its year-round greenhouse, which will dramatically increase its food production and help it reach these goals;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Hope Blooms on the opening of its year-round greenhouse and thank it for its dedication to health and the community of North End Halifax.

RESOLUTION NO. 1750

[Page 4846]

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Prescott Group is a non-profit community-based social enterprise that works to build independence for adults with intellectual disabilities by providing vocational opportunities, programs, and community employment support; and

Whereas Prescott Group provides services and support to over 170 adults in the Halifax area; and

Whereas Prescott Group celebrated its 25th anniversary as a society this March;

Therefore be it resolved the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Prescott Group on its 25th anniversary as a society and thank the many staff members and volunteers who have worked hard to foster the independence of adults with intellectual abilities for more than 50 years.

RESOLUTION NO. 1751

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Stan Levy is a former business owner and retired pipefitter and boiler technician who lives in the North End of Halifax; and

Whereas Stan Levy is a member and regular volunteer at the Mulgrave Park United Baptist Church; and

Whereas Stan Levy volunteers weekly throughout the North End of Halifax, doing everything from building community gardens to improving wheelchair accessibility for community organizations;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize Stan Levy's commitment to improving his neighbourhood and thank him for the many hours of hard work he volunteers for his community.

RESOLUTION NO. 1752

[Page 4847]

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Kelly Slaunwhite is a resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Kelly Slaunwhite is a client of Prescott Group, where she has participated in employment support programs; and

Whereas Kelly Slaunwhite has just celebrated her 10th Anniversary working at Knightsbridge Robertson Surette;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Kelly Slaunwhite on 10 years of employment with Knightsbridge Robertson Surette, and wish her luck in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1753

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Evan Rensch is a talented visual artist, specializing in photography; and

Whereas Evan Rensch has just completed his Master of Fine Arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; and

Whereas Evan Rensch was chosen as a finalist in the Sixth Annual Starfish Student Art Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Evan Rensch being a finalist in the 2015 Starfish Student Art Awards, and thank him for his contributions to the visual arts community in Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1754

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Phoenix is a Halifax non-profit, community-based organization that has been working with youth in need for over 25 years; and

[Page 4848]

Whereas Phoenix offers a variety of support services including food, shelter, counselling, advocacy, employment assistance, and prevention support; and

Whereas Phoenix has just expanded its outreach site for its Prevention Program in the Mulgrave Park community of North End Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Phoenix on the expansion of its Prevention Program Outreach site, and express its gratitude for the difference Phoenix youth programs make in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 1755

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Sam Austin is a volunteer and community organizer working to improve the use and awareness of Halifax's public spaces; and

Whereas Sam Austin has organized community enrichment projects like Tulipmania, in which he and his neighbours planted over 10,000 tulips along Tulip Street; and

Whereas Sam Austin was the organizer of Jane's Walk Halifax 2015, which presented 17 free walking tours around the city, led by knowledgeable volunteers;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize Sam Austin for his commitment to Halifax, and thank him for the many hours of volunteer work he contributes to community building projects.

RESOLUTION NO. 1756

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Derek Hounsell has volunteered for 15 years at St. Paul's Anglican Church; and

Whereas Derek Hounsell has worked hard to facilitate renewed use of the church as a space for musical, social, artistic, and education endeavours; and

[Page 4849]

Whereas Derek Hounsell received a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Individual Volunteer Award for District 8: Peninsula North;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Derek Hounsell on receiving a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Individual Volunteer Award, and thank him for his commitment and contributions to Halifax.

RESOLUTION NO. 1757

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Nicholas Williams is a lifelong resident of North End Halifax's Mulgrave Park and a dedicated volunteer in our community; and

Whereas Nicholas Williams works to improve opportunities available to youth in North End Halifax as a volunteer with many boards, committees and organizations including the Northern Lights Lantern Festival, Speedy Kids Oval Society and the North End Community Circle; and

Whereas Nicholas Williams received a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Individual Volunteer Award for District 8: Peninsula North;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Nicholas Williams on receiving a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Individual Volunteer Award and thank him for his commitment and contributions to North End Halifax.

RESOLUTION NO. 1758

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Laura Carmichael is the Assistant Curator of Education at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and passionate about the promotion of local art; and

Whereas Laura Carmichael's many hours of volunteer work have been instrumental in the success of projects like the Centre for Art Tapes and Nocturne; and

[Page 4850]

Whereas Laura Carmichael received a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Individual Volunteer Award for District 8: Peninsula North;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Laura Carmichael on receiving a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Individual Volunteer Award and thank her for her commitment and contributions to North End Halifax.

RESOLUTION NO. 1759

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Norman Crewe is a merchant navy veteran and resident of Halifax's North End; and

Whereas Norman Crewe is a long-time volunteer with several organizations in North End Halifax including the Royal Canadian Legion, Capital Health and St. Mark's Church; and

Whereas Norman Crewe received a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Individual Volunteer Award for District 8: Peninsula North;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Norman Crewe on receiving a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Individual Volunteer Award and thank him for his commitment and contributions to North End Halifax.

RESOLUTION NO. 1760

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Bill Reinhart is a resident of North End Halifax and a dedicated volunteer; and

Whereas Bill Reinhart contributed countless hours to find, plan and renovate the Carrot Co-op store, a grocery store that provides fresh, healthy food to North End Halifax; and

Whereas Bill Reinhart received a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Volunteer Award by District 8: Peninsula North;

[Page 4851]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Bill Reinhart on receiving a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Volunteer Award and thank him for his commitment and contributions to North End Halifax.

RESOLUTION NO. 1761

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas Leslie Reinhart sits on the board of directors for the Carrot Co-op, a Gottingen Street grocery store that provides fresh, healthy food to North End Halifax; and

Whereas Leslie Reinhart volunteered many hours on-site at the Carrot Co-op to make the store a reality; and

Whereas Leslie Reinhart received a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Volunteer Award for District 8: Peninsula North;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Leslie Reinhart on receiving a 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Volunteer Award, and thank her for her commitment and contributions to North End Halifax.

RESOLUTION NO. 1762

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald « » (Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party)

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

Whereas David Wimberly volunteers countless hours with a number of different boards, committees, and organizations including the Centre for Local Prosperity, St. Margarets Bay Shambhala Centre, and several groups working to find waste management solutions; and

Whereas David Wimberly, a 2015 Provincial Volunteer Award for the Central/Halifax Regional Municipality District of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas David Wimberly received the 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Volunteer of the Year Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate David Wimberly on receiving the 2015 Halifax Regional Municipality Volunteer of the Year Award and a 2015 Provincial Volunteer Award, and thank him for his commitment to Nova Scotia.

[Page 4852]

RESOLUTION NO. 1763

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas the Building Futures Employment Society is a non-profit organization, in Lower Sackville, that has provided employment opportunities and day support options for people with intellectual challenges for more than 30 years; and

Whereas Building Futures serves the community with a wide range of services through their four businesses: All Wrapped Up, The Offshoot Shop, Futures Birds, and the newly updated Futures Café; and

Whereas the Futures Café held their grand opening on April 20, 2015, and are pleased to offer delicious food and coffee with a smile;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Lower Sackville's Building Futures Employment Society on the grand opening of Futures Café, and wish all staff continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1764

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Joseph MacKenzie is an 84-year-old resident of Lower Sackville who served our great country as a member of both the Royal Canadian Dragoons for six years and the Royal Canadian Air Force for 15 years, before working another 28 years with the Canada Post Corporation; and

Whereas Mr. MacKenzie is a dedicated community supporter and a long-standing member of the New Democratic Party, who keeps active by swimming almost every day at the Sackville Sports Stadium; and

Whereas on April 22, 2015, Mr. MacKenzie was honoured by the Lake District Recreation Association for his voluntary service to the Cobequid Community Health Centre Foundation;

[Page 4853]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize Lower Sackville's Joseph MacKenzie for his contributions not only to our country, but to the community, and offer best wishes for continued health and happiness.

RESOLUTION NO. 1765

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Amy Perry is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Amy Perry and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team on their gold provincial win, and extend best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships.

RESOLUTION NO. 1766

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Grace Day is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Grace Day and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.

[Page 4854]

RESOLUTION NO. 1767

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Madi Bishop is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Madi Bishop and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 1768

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Melissa Driscoll is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Melissa Driscoll and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.

[Page 4855]

RESOLUTION NO. 1769

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Savannah Haider is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Savannah Haider and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 1770

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Samantha Hatter is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Samantha Hatter and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 1771

[Page 4856]

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Rylea Hodge is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Rylea Hodge and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 1772

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Hallie Kennedy is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Hallie Kennedy and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 1773

[Page 4857]

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Taylor Morris is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Taylor Morris and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 1774

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Cassey Prime is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Cassey Prime and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.

RESOLUTION NO. 1775

[Page 4858]

By: Hon. David Wilson « » (Sackville-Cobequid)

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

Whereas Chelsey Sponagle is a member of the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball team; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics won gold at the 2015 Nova Scotia Volleyball Championships held on May 1st and 2nd at the Canada Games Centre in Halifax ; and

Whereas the Sackville Sonics will represent Nova Scotia at the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championships to be held in Calgary from May 14th through 19th;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulates Chelsey Sponagle and the Sackville Sonics Under 15 Girls Tier 1 Volleyball Team and their gold provincial win and extends best wishes for success as the team heads to Calgary to compete in the 2015 Volleyball Canada Championship.