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/
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2015
TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee,
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
EECD: Springhill Sch. - Priority List,
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Elections N.S.: By-Elections (07/14/15) - Rept.,
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Global Entrepreneurship Wk. (11/16 - 11/22/15) - Recognize,
Immigration: Refugee Arrivals - Preparations,
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2447, Global Entrepreneurship Wk. (11/16 - 11/22/15),
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2448, Martin, Bob/Sutherland, Dale - Sexual Abuse Survivors:
Vote - Affirmative
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 122, Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act,
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
Grant, Rick - Retirement,
Grant, Rick - Retirement,
Salvation Army Kettle Kickoff Campaign - Best Wishes,
Mun. Awareness Wk. - Participation,
Liberal Gov't. - Tuition Increases,
MacKinnon, Jim - Commun. Commitment,
MacNeil, Sgt. Eric - Salute,
Mining Assoc. (N.S.) - Fuel Tax Rebate,
Samson, Omer J. - Retirement,
Nat. Res. Min.: Speedy Recovery Wishes - Send,
Duguay, Gabriel - Beaverbrook Vimy Prize,
Hon. L. Zann
Tim Hortons Day Camp (Osborne St.): Shearers - Thank,
Anna. Valley C of C Bus. Awards - Recipients,
Econ. Dev. Committee: Screen N.S. Presenters - Comments,
Cole Hbr. Rural Heritage Soc. - Fundraising,
Nicoll, Bill: Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour,
Prem. - Office Renovations,
Georghiou, Mathew/MediaSpark: GoVenture World - Recognition,
Nicholson, Gary: Musical Entertainment - Thank,
Syliboy, Alan - Film Screening,
Megan, Cassidy - Purple Hike for Epilepsy,
MacKay, Peter: Future Endeavours - Well Wishes,
Hfx. Housing Needs Assessment Rept. - Requirements,
Hirtle, Connor: Recovery - Best Wishes,
Bullying Awareness Wk. (11/16 - 11/22/15),
Agencies/Registries - Privatization,
Heating Assistance Rebate Prog. (HARP) - Gov't. Help,
Pound, Mark - Atl. Firefighter of the Yr. Award,
Com. Serv. - Income Assistance - Freezing,
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS:
No. 894, Health & Wellness - IWK: Children - Mental Health Treatment,
No. 895, Prem.: Front-Line Health Care - Investment,
No. 896, Health & Wellness - DHAs: Merge - Cost,
No. 897, Health & Wellness: Budget Reductions - Scope,
No. 898, Health & Wellness: Psychiatric Treatment Act - Changes,
No. 899, Com. Serv. - Children & Fam. Serv. Act: First Nations
No. 900, Prem. - Syrian Refugees: N.S. Resettlement - Numbers,
No. 901, Prem.: Mandate Letters - Release,
Hon. A. Younger
No. 902, TIR - Nova Star: Bills - Payt. Deadline,
No. 903, TIR - N.S. Ferries: Improvements - Update,
No. 904, TIR - Nova Star: N.S. Bills - Details,
No. 905, Tourism: Ontario Marketing Contract - N.S. Spending,
No. 906, EECD: Springhill Sch. - Priority List,
No. 907, Health & Wellness: VG Flood Impact - Update,
No. 908, Justice: FOI Records (Emails et al) - Update,
Hon. A. Younger
No. 909, Health & Wellness: Kentville Hospice - Const. Timeline,
No. 910, Health & Wellness - Centennial Bldg. Replacement:
No. 911, Energy: Alton Gas Permits - Update,
No. 912, Health & Wellness - C.B. Fam. Doctors: Shortage
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 118, Heritage Property Act
Vote - Affirmative
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 120, Discontinuance of The Pictou County Farmers' Mutual
Fire Insurance Company Act
Vote - Affirmative
ADDRESS IN REPLY:
[STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:]
O'Connor, Kendall: Action for Neighbourhood Change - Organizers,
Horvath, John: Death of - Tribute,
Langley, Cassidy: Brigadoon Village - Fundraising,
Ratchford, Dave: C.B. Sport Hall of Fame - Induction,
Broad Cove - Rockabilly Picnic,
New Minas Elem. Sch. - Majestic Trees of Knowledge Comp.,
Resky, Sharon - Atl. Magazine Assoc. Vol. of Yr. (2011),
A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. - Long Island/Brier Island Ferry Contract,
Neil, Cody - Can.-Cuba Goodwill Tour,
Maryann's Gifts - Anniv. (22nd),
Samson, Darrell: Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook MP - Election Congrats.,
Bridgewater & Area Lions Club: Charter - Anniv. (60th),
Experience Through Opportunity Prog. - Launch,
Raftus, Tina - Westwood Park Commun. Garden,
Casey, Dr. Margaret - Order of Nova Scotia,
Hughes-Leck, Heather - Cdn. Fam. Teacher Award,
RCL Calais Br. 162 - Recognize,
Sampson, Anne: River Bourgeois - Vol. Serv. (34 Yrs.),
d'Entremont, Kelly - Teachers Make a Difference Prog.,
Holiday Spirit: Events - Organize,
Walker Robbins, Dr. Dorothy: Phys. Ed. - Dedication,
Nickerson, Lynn - Commun. Contributions,
Antigonish Challenger Baseball,
Dart. North Essay Contest - Winners,
Daniels-Drummond, Angela - Early Childhood Educ. Recognition,
Dooley, Bob/Ace Upholstery - Success Congrats.,
Haider, Alexandra: Global Hfx. Weather Specialist - Congrats.,
Walk for Dog Guides - Evangeline Mall (Digby),
MacDougall, Cameron: Reflections: On the Theory & Practice of Social Work
Blumenthal, Adrienne - Canada's Outstanding Principals List,
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Nov. 18th at 1:00 p.m
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2449, Iskin, Mehmet: Volunteerism - Congrats.,
Res. 2450, Best, Jim: CF - Fundraising/Awareness,
HALIFAX, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2015
Sixty-second General Assembly
Hon. Kevin Murphy
Ms. Margaret Miller
HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL » : Mr. Speaker, I ask for unanimous consent of the House to depart from the order paper to make a statement about recent tragedies. Upon completion, I welcome responses from the Leaders of the other recognized Parties, followed by a moment of silence.
It is agreed.
The honourable Premier.
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, by now everyone in this House is aware of and appalled by the horrific terrorist attack last week in Paris and Beirut. Today I extend my condolences on behalf of the Government of Nova Scotia to the people of France and the people of Lebanon.
While it is impossible for us to fully comprehend what you are going through, please know that we will assist in any way possible as a province. I would like to acknowledge how difficult this must have been for many Nova Scotians that have family and friends in countries that are directly affected by conflict.
The Province of Nova Scotia is formed by many communities, French and Lebanese among them. We have much in common with those who were so ruthlessly attacked. The brutality of these attacks will not turn Nova Scotians against our neighbours. I was moved when I saw hundreds of Nova Scotians showing their support at vigils and on social media. This is one of the many reasons why I'm so proud to be a Nova Scotian. Peace, democracy, and equality are key elements of our society. These are ideals that need to be shared and promoted.
Today, Mr. Speaker, I know I speak for every Nova Scotian when I say that we stand in solidarity with people around the world who support these ideals and who work toward a better and more peaceful world. Thank you.
HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : I am very pleased to join my words to those of the Premier today. Occasionally in this House, we are called upon to set aside our debate about the day-to-day lives of Nova Scotians and speak of the Nova Scotian perspective of what goes on in the world around us.
In the past week, Nova Scotians have been witness to truly barbaric and tragic acts of violence and death in Paris and Beirut. I know all Nova Scotians are horrified by the murder of innocent people in those two cities - people who went to the market that day, people who went to a concert, people who went to a sports event, and then did not go home to their families because they were brutally murdered.
I say we are witness to these events, but in reality, we are more than witnesses. Today we are citizens not only of this great province and country but of the world. I know all Nova Scotians feel in their hearts a great sadness - in some cases, a great fear - but we are judged as much by our actions as we are by our words. Let us use this horrible moment in our history and in the world to reaffirm what's great about our own country: that it is truly a great, diverse, welcoming beacon of light to people around the world who share our values of freedom and peace, the rule of law, and democracy. Those values were attacked as much as the people were.
We read in the news yesterday a very unfortunate story about a Muslim woman being attacked in another part of Canada. Halifax - and this province - is made up of people of all faiths and all religions and all creeds. They're all welcome, and they're all equally Nova Scotian and equally Canadian. Let us reaffirm that today. It's one of the great things about the capital city, that we have people here of all walks of life who either were born here, if they were lucky, or are here because they were fleeing from tyranny, from murder, or from war, because they value peace and freedom as much as we do. Mr. Speaker, we are all equally Nova Scotian and Canadian, and this is a great moment to reaffirm that.
I just also want to say at this time when some are fearful, let us always remain hopeful and make sure that that bright light that Canada is to so many refugees around the world shines brighter than ever and more welcoming than ever in the days ahead. Thank you.
HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place today to extend our sincere condolences on behalf of the members of my caucus, the New Democratic Party, to the families and the friends of those who lost their lives in the recent tragic events on the streets of Paris. I know many in our province have a special and historic bond with France, and we stand in solidarity with them. I also want to express my condolences and those of my caucus to those who have lost loved ones in similar attacks in Beirut and Baghdad, and in African countries as well - throughout the world.
This is a time for people in our province and country to stand together and express our unequivocal revulsion at the use of brutal violence and mass murder on unsuspecting innocent civilians as a tool to an end. It is also time for us to unequivocally stand against hate speech, xenophobia, and bigoted perspectives. All people, including those fleeing violence, deserve to live in peace, and with security. We all have a role to play to ensure that the Canadian values of inclusion, generosity, and freedom are maintained. This is a very difficult time for many people throughout our province, our country and our world, and this is a time for us to stand united, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.
[A moment of silence was observed.]
We'll begin the daily routine.
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES
Bill No. 117 - Public Inquires Act.
and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.
The honourable House Leader for the Official Opposition.
It is agreed.
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS
I beg leave to present a petition, of which I have affixed my own signature. The operative clause reads: "We, the undersigned, ask the Minister of Education to honour the schoolboard priority list for new schools so our children can have safe, clean, welcoming places to learn."
It is signed by 652 residents of the Town of Springhill.
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS
MR. SPEAKER « » : As Speaker, pursuant to Section 163 of the Elections Act, I am pleased to table the Report of the Chief Electoral Officer on the Proceedings of the By-Elections, July 14, 2015, Volume 1: Statement of Votes and Statistics.
The report is tabled.
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS
MR. FUREY « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Joining us today are Kousha Nakhaei and Ehsan Nakhaei from MouseStats, and they are accompanied by Innovacorp President and CEO Stephen Duff, as well as the Atlantic Director of Futurpreneur, Nicole Osmond.
Kousha and Ehsan are brothers and entrepreneurs from Iran who chose to come to Nova Scotia to realize their business ambitions, and they are having tremendous success. They arrived in Nova Scotia just last month, through the Start-up Visa program, which allows high-potential entrepreneurs from around the world to move to Canada. Innovacorp helped them get accepted under the program, and the company calls Innovacorp's Halifax incubation facility their home.
These gentlemen are here to be recognized as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and I want to take this opportunity to thank both Mr. Duff and Ms. Osmond for their leadership in the area of entrepreneurs and futurpreneurs.
I rise today to recognize this week as Global Entrepreneurship Week. This event is marked by more 160 countries, making it the world's largest celebration of innovators and job creators. I would like to thank Futurpreneur Canada for hosting this event and for their dedication to helping young entrepreneurs launch their own businesses.
In Nova Scotia, about 98 per cent of all businesses are small businesses. Many of those are led by entrepreneurs, who are vital to our economy. These are our friends and neighbours, and we should celebrate their individual successes. Global Entrepreneurship Week highlights the contributions of entrepreneurs and inspires others to consider entrepreneurship as a career.
We as government understand the importance of entrepreneurship. That's why the Department of Business is working to make Nova Scotia the most competitive and business-friendly environment in Canada. We're also fostering entrepreneurship and innovation through the Nova Scotia Action Plan for Education, which encourages partnerships with business communities. I offer my admiration to all of our entrepreneurs, Mr. Speaker, and I invite yourself and all the members of this Legislature to join me in celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Today we are rising to show support for Global Entrepreneurship Week. I want to thank the hard-working men and women who together form the backbone of our economy and take on the risk of business through their inspiring entrepreneurial spirit. Our economy, locally and internationally, is built on the success of these dedicated leaders. Unfortunately, the government is content to sit by and watch as our entrepreneurs struggle to make ends meet.
In its annual Red Tape Report Card, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business gave Nova Scotia a C- in 2014, and downgraded the province to a D- this year. Red tape stifles business growth and kills jobs. Of the provinces and territories evaluated in the report card, Nova Scotia received the second-worst rating. This is a sad statistic for a province that was once a leader in red-tape reduction. Our entrepreneurs deserve better. We need to reduce red tape and decrease the tax burden and create conditions for our economy to grow.
Mr. Speaker, I join the minister in recognizing the great entrepreneurs across our province. They are the engine of our economy and our community leaders who create jobs and support teams and community initiatives. I wish them the very best. Thank you.
I would also like to join him in celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in every corner of our province. Entrepreneurship is key to creating social value along with economic value for our province. Entrepreneurs know that government has and should have an active role to play in the work that they do.
The minister today spoke about the importance of entrepreneurs to our province. Yet just seven months ago, the government gutted the credit to the film and television industry, a haven for entrepreneurs. Many of these entrepreneurs have had to close their businesses and move out of Nova Scotia because of the Liberal Government's lack of business insight.
Unfortunately, the current government has taken a hands-off approach to our economy, so it's difficult to understand how we can become the most competitive province in Canada, as indicated by the minister. At the same time, this government was dismantling the only organization solely dedicated to rural economic development. The current Minister of Business was creating a hands-off policy shop, a move that has disconnected this government from the people and the entrepreneurs who count on our support. I do know the minister and I know he is working as hard as he can to overcome the decisions of his government that has been decimating the entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia.
I do applaud the drive and tenacity that exists in our Nova Scotian entrepreneurs and I hope the government will soon recognize that people who dream of turning dreams into reality deserve our collective help as a government and more support. Thank you.
HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to publicly express my condolences to the victims of Paris and the people of France, the victims in Beirut and the people of Lebanon. Both of these cities and these countries are dealing with the aftermath of senseless tragedies. Together as Nova Scotians we stand in solidarity and say, je suis Paris, je suis Beirut.
Senseless violence helps fuels our current global refugee crisis. We, as Canadians, have always shown care and compassion for our brothers and sisters around the world who are fleeing such horrors. As I have said many times, Nova Scotia is ready to do its part and we must do so, keeping the safety and security of Canadian and Nova Scotian families as our top priority. For this reason we have been working across government and with our partners. We will do our part carefully in a safe, co-ordinated and integrated approach to resettle and integrate the refugees that come to Nova Scotia.
I'm pleased to announce that Nova Scotians wishing to offer support for the refugees that will soon settle in our province now have a new way to provide it. Beginning today, November 17th, the Provincial Coordination Centre - using the 211 phone service - will be available to all levels of community, institutions and individuals who wish to offer support. This can include clothing, food, lodging or financial donations. Calls to 211 are toll free from any phone in Nova Scotia.
The provincial government has been working closely with municipalities, community groups and other government agencies to prepare for the arrival of refugees. The database of 211 will help to ensure that supports are coordinated and in place when refugees arrive in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotians are caring; our communities have made it clear they want to help the refugees who will soon be in our province. As we prepare for their arrival to Canada, I encourage all Nova Scotians who wish to help to call 211. Thank you.
MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by thanking the minister for providing a copy of her statement to me earlier today. I know every member who watched the news this weekend with sadness and a sense of horror kept the innocent victims of terrorism in their thoughts and prayers. The senseless attacks strike fear and uncertainty in us all.
In Canada we hold the values of compassion and fairness close to our hearts. That is why Canada is a beacon for those who are oppressed and in search of a better life and that is why Canadians open their homes and hearts to refugees. I have no doubt that Nova Scotians are ready to do their part again, that's the Nova Scotia way, and I do believe the 211 system will help.
I'm relieved to hear the minister say that security is her first priority. Given the frightening uncertainty of the last week, there is definitely cause for concern. The recent attacks in Beirut and Paris are a reminder of that.
Sadly, war and conflict create refugees. My own mother was a refugee in World War II, after the English bombed the dykes in her area and ended up destroying her home and making her a refugee. If you think about it, I think likely most of us somewhere back in our families have had refugees, whether it was from the Scottish Highland clearances, the Irish potato famine, or in other parts of the world.
As I think about this I think we cannot make the world a safer place by turning our backs on those who we can help. I believe that we need to treat others the way we would want to be treated ourselves. As I said earlier, I believe that is the Nova Scotian way and I commend the minister on her efforts for refugees. Thank you.
HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for an advanced copy of her statement. I'm pleased that the Minister of Immigration is making Service Nova Scotia and the 211 coordinated centre available to receive calls from Nova Scotians who want to assist in the resettlement efforts which are now under way.
I know that throughout our province there are many, many, many Nova Scotians meeting in small groups, in groups that are associated with their churches, in groups that are associated with service clubs, or groups that are completely unaffiliated with any particular institutional effort that are raising funds and making plans in preparation to apply, under the private refugee sponsorship program, to bring people who are in need of safety and security into our province.
I would hope that the minister will help us understand more in terms of what the province is prepared to do and is doing over and beyond what we've heard today. I'm sure that in the coming hours and the coming days, we will be asking the minister many questions about the work of her office in coordinating and assisting in this, in many respects, unprecedented situation that we now face in our province and throughout our country. Thank you.
HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : In the west gallery, we are joined today by some students from the Halifax Independent School - I'm not sure what grade, maybe Grade 5 (Interruption) - Grades 3 and 4, excellent.
I'm not sure if I have all of the names. I don't think I have everybody's name, but I have some names here, so I'm going to read the names I have: Christie Elliott, Pamela Rowsell, Jacki Fitzmorris, Kathryn Hull, Jonathan Morgan, Brian Jarvis, Michelle McShane, and Tracey Boyer. I would ask everyone to stand and receive the warm welcome of members of the House, please. (Applause)
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION
RESOLUTION NO. 2447
Whereas Global Entrepreneurship Week launched in 2008 has grown to be the world's largest celebration of entrepreneurs, with around 10 million people participating in 160 different countries; and
Whereas in Nova Scotia, about 90 per cent of all businesses are small businesses, and many of those businesses are led by entrepreneurs who are vital to economic growth in Nova Scotia; and
Whereas Global Entrepreneurship Week highlights the contributions of entrepreneurs and inspires others to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career option;
Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize November 16 to 22, 2015, as Global Entrepreneurship Week in the Province of Nova Scotia.
Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.
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 Justice.
RESOLUTION NO. 2448
Whereas Mr. Dale Sutherland and Mr. Bob Martin have done exemplary work to raise awareness about and provide support to survivors of sexual abuse; and
Whereas Beyond Borders, a national children's rights organization, awarded Mr. Sutherland and Mr. Martin the Rosalind Prober Award for their dedication and commitment to victims at their national symposium in Winnipeg on November 16th; and
Whereas the award recognizes Canadians who have made significant contributions towards combatting the sexual victimization of children, with past recipients including children's rights advocate Sheldon Kennedy and the parents of Amanda Todd;
Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Martin and Mr. Sutherland, and all advocates for survivors of sexual abuse, for their bravery, incredible commitment, and their tireless work to support victims.
Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.
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 122 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 9 of the Acts of 2002. The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act. (Hon. Diana Whalen)
NOTICES OF MOTION
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
GRANT, RICK - RETIREMENT
After 38 years in the news business, Richard John Grant is retiring. Rick Grant began his television news career in Saint John, and also worked in St. John's, Newfoundland before returning home to Halifax. As part of the I-Team, Rick was at the forefront of almost every major news story. He developed a reputation for asking tough questions, and digging up important issues that Nova Scotians needed to know.
Most of all, he was a storyteller who understood his audience. As Rick Grant prepares to retire I know all members will join us in thanking him for his years of service to our province and wishing him well as he takes on new challenges. Thank you.
GRANT, RICK - RETIREMENT
HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, last night one of Atlantic Canada's most trusted reporters signed off for the last time. For 38 years Nova Scotians could count on Rick Grant to report the news with class, with fairness, and with style. It didn't matter what side of the story you were on, Rick Grant would always give you a chance to share the facts and have your side of the issues aired.
On behalf of the NDP caucus, I want to thank Rick Grant for his commitment to unbiased journalism, for his many years of service to Nova Scotians, and to wish him a very happy retirement. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
SALVATION ARMY KETTLE KICKOFF CAMPAIGN - BEST WISHES
MR. JOACHIM STROINK « » : Mr. Speaker, today is the Salvation Army Kettle Kickoff. This is their annual fundraiser that they do every year and is the key component of their fundraising. This fundraiser was started in 1891 by Captain Joseph McPhee and today helps over 1.6 million Canadians every year in 400 different communities.
This year's goal in Canada is to reach $21 million and today, to celebrate the Salvation Army Kettle Kickoff, Scotia Square is going to donate $1 for every like on the Salvation Army Maritime Division Facebook Page. These funds will help local families in need for the Christmas holiday.
I want to wish the Salvation Army all the best of luck on this year's 2015 campaign, and encourage people to donate and say thank you for all that the Salvation Army does in our community. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MUN. AWARENESS WK. - PARTICIPATION
MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, this week is Municipal Awareness Week. Our province is fortunate to have you working for our communities, the mayors, wardens, councillors, public servants, and volunteers who serve in our province and work day in and day out for their constituents. This is a great opportunity to reflect on their hard work and successes. Every community across our beautiful province is unique, which creates the charm we are known for. I encourage all Nova Scotians to get involved with their municipality, reach out to their representatives, participate in their discussions, and voice their opinions on how to grow and improve our province.
In closing, I would like to thank all who participate and give their time to municipal governance. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
LIBERTAL GOV'T. - TUITION INCREASES
HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Government is allowing Saint Mary's University to raise tuition by as much $1,620 over the next three years. That's an annual $540 increase. This further highlights the Liberal Government's broken promise to make university education more affordable to Nova Scotia students.
At a time when we should be doing everything possible to keep our young people here in Nova Scotia, the Liberal Government has done the opposite by allowing tuitions to rise at an unprecedented level. Instead of forcing universities to reduce their executive costs, the Labour and Advanced Education Minister lifted the tuition cap, which places a financial burden entirely on the backs of the students. This is the wrong approach. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MACKINNON, JIM - COMMUN. COMMITMENT
MR. DAVID WILTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Mr. Jim MacKinnon as a long-time volunteer with the Town of New Waterford, and after amalgamation, with the new Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Mr. MacKinnon has sat on countless committees and has held a wide array of positions on these committees.
Among these committees, the one that's closest to his heart is the annual Coal Dust Days committee, where he has sat for the last 33 years. In 1983, the then-mayor of New Waterford asked for local volunteers to form the first organized committee to hold a local festival to honour the rich history of coal mining and volunteer in the community. Jim jumped aboard, and that has been a staple ever since.
For the last 10 years, Jim MacKinnon has been a co-chair for the annual event, and it's his dedication and the rest of the committee that have made this festival one of the longest-running festivals in Cape Breton. The festival runs for a week in July each summer and includes events like Plummer Avenue Day, Antique Car Show, and at the end of the week, a concert and fireworks display at Colliery Lands Park.
I am proud to know Jim MacKinnon and have also had the honour of sitting on committees with him. Please help me thank Jim for his long-standing commitment to our community. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MACNEIL, SGT. ERIC - SALUTE
HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, Sergeant Eric MacNeil, a veteran police officer with more than three decades of policing, is a well-respected deputy chief of the New Glasgow Police Services. Eric works to make the community a better place by protecting and serving the public. He understands the dynamics of his community and is always willing to show courtesy and respect to others, including his colleagues and community members. His confidence in his skills and always staying on top of the ever-expanding knowledge base have been his trademark. During his career he always possessed the capacity for engaging in teamwork and collaborating with others. Pictou County salutes one of our best police officers. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MINING ASSOC. (N.S.) - FUEL TAX REBATE
HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, we know that the Liberal Government has broken yet another promise, and this time it is to the Mining Association of Nova Scotia. In May 2014, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board wrote the association confirming that their fuel tax rebate would begin in 2015. Well, there's only a few days left in 2015, and there is still no sign of this rebate.
To be able to take someone at his word is a cornerstone of relationships built on trust. Time and time again, the Liberal Government has demonstrated that their word cannot be trusted. There are 5,500 people employed by the mining industry in this province, mostly in rural Nova Scotia, all of whom are wondering why the Liberal Government went back on their word.
SAMSON, OMER J. - RETIREMENT
HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, for the past 51 years, Omer J. Samson of Little Anse, Isle Madame, has been providing residents of Cape Breton with door-to-door clothing sales via OJ Samson Mobile Clothing business. Omer was a welcome presence for many families and their children, as he would pull up to their homes with his truck full of new clothing and footwear. Many families relied on Omer for their clothing needs and were always greeted by Omer with a warm smile and engaging conversation.
Known for his ability to always offer a deal, Omer maintained a loyal customer base in communities throughout Cape Breton Island, including the First Nation communities of Wagmatcook, Waycobah, Eskasoni and Chapel Island. Omer also maintained a store at home in Little Anse, which was the place for hunters and fishermen to go to purchase supplies and share stories.
On Saturday, November 14th a posting on his Facebook page announced that after 51 years in business, Omer is retiring. Mr. Speaker, please join me in wishing Omer Samson and his wife, Hattie, a very well-deserved retirement, and thank them for their many contributions to our communities throughout Cape Breton Island.
NAT. RES. MIN.: SPEEDY RECOVERY WISHES - SEND
I want to take this opportunity to extend the best wishes of the Progressive Conservative caucus to the member for Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie, and our Minister of DNR. As the member deals with a medical issue, we send wishes for a speedy and full recovery, and we hope to see him back here in his place very soon. Thank you.
DUGUAY, GABRIEL - BEAVERBROOK VIMY PRIZE
MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Gabriel Duguay, a 15-year-old Truro native was one of 15 Canadian students who were able to take in the First World War experience recently by travelling to England, Belgium, and France, visiting war memorials during the summer of 2015.
Gabriel was a recipient of the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize. His trip included visits to Ypres, Normandy Beach, Omaha Beach, and the Abbaye d'Ardennes. As part of his participation, Gabriel researched a local hero, Westville's Sydney Hale, whose grandson, Gerry, lives in Truro.
Hale was awarded a bravery in combat medal because he crawled into no man's land in order to save his sergeant's life. Gabriel visited his gravesite and left behind a few tokens as remembrance, including his own Air Cadet name tag and rank, as he is a Flight Corporal with the 292 Air Cadet Squadron. From his trip Gabriel says his appreciation of the rights and freedoms has been heightened and it makes him want to live his life in a much fuller way. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
TIM HORTONS DAY CAMP (OSBORNE ST.): SHEARERS - THANK
HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, on June 3, 2015, I was happy to attend Tim Hortons Camp Day at the Osborne Street location in Armdale. This is a very special day when people in the community help send economically disadvantaged kids to camp through the Tim Horton Children's Foundation. Restaurant owners donate 100 per cent of proceeds from every coffee sold.
I was invited by owners Sandy and Bev Shearer to pour coffee and greet customers during their Camp Day campaign. It was a great experience to learn from the staff and to meet so many people in the community, while contributing to such a wonderful cause.
I want to congratulate the Shearers for their commitment to helping disadvantaged children in the community. Their generosity will give many kids an experience of a lifetime. The Tim Horton Children's Foundation has provided 200,000 kids so far with this amazing opportunity. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
ANNA. VALLEY C OF C BUS. AWARDS - RECIPIENTS
MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, today I rise to tell members about the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Awards ceremony that was held on November 5, 2015. Local Valley businesses are nominated in six categories for their outstanding innovation in business achievement. The winner of the Outstanding Exporter of the Year was Spa Springs Mineral Water Company. Frostbyte Interactive took home the Outstanding Innovator of the Year award. The Outstanding Large Business of the Year award was presented to Scotian Gold Cooperative Limited. Beleaf Salon & Spa achieved the well-deserved recognition as the Outstanding Small Business of the Year. The Outstanding Micro Business of the Year went to the Valley Rose Flower Shop. The Outstanding New Business of the Year was awarded to Kings Arms Pub By Lew Murphy's.
Congratulations to all of these Valley businesses. Thank you.
ECON. DEV. COMMITTEE: SCREEN N.S. PRESENTERS - COMMENTS
HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, at a November Legislative Economic Development Committee meeting, Jan Miller, an international film and television consultant, informed committee members that Nova Scotia recently lost a $20 million production of which $14 million would have stayed right here in Nova Scotia.
Jan and other meeting presenters from Screen Nova Scotia were very clear that since the Liberal Government gutted the film and television credit, our province is less competitive. Producers have lost their confidence to do business here.
Mr. Speaker, this is yet another example of "McNeil's movers" working hard to move people and businesses out of Nova Scotia.
COLE HBR. RURAL HERITAGE SOC. - FUNDRAISING
HON. TONY INCE « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment to shine light on something that has been a fixture in my riding for many, many years: the Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society, which was established in 1973, in the words of the society, ". . . to record and preserve what they could of the area's agricultural and natural heritage." The society moved into the Giles House, the oldest remaining house in Cole Harbour in 1976, and it became the site of what we all know and love as the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum.
Mr. Speaker, they are fundraising often throughout the year. I myself helped out on Family Fun Day at a local Sobeys this summer, where constituents had the chance to do something our esteemed members of the Opposition are likely jealous of: sending a government minister splashing into a dunk tank. The other week, I met a constituent who mentioned in passing that he had volunteered his time at the museum grounds often . . .
The honourable member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg.
NICOLL, BILL: KNIGHT OF THE NATIONAL ORDER
OF THE LEGION OF HONOUR - CONGRATS.
HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Mr. Bill Nicoll from Mira Gut on recently receiving the knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour from the Republic of France. The medal awarded for Bill's service and bravery during the Second World War was presented by Russell Power, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 5 in Donkin. A letter from Philippe Zeller, ambassador of France, was presented with the medal, and it explained that the Legion of Honour is the highest decoration in France.
This day was extra special as it also marked Bill's 95th birthday. It is a true honour to congratulate and thank Bill Nicoll for the many sacrifices that he has made for our country.
PREM. - OFFICE RENOVATIONS
HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Last session in the House, we learned that the taxpayers of Nova Scotia paid $42,000 - I repeat, $42,000 - to have renovations done inside the Premier's office. However, according to the Premier, the only change is a new door. That must be some door, Mr. Speaker - made of gold, perhaps.
It is this highly expensive, extra-special door that has been slammed in the face of rural Nova Scotia and the film industry. It is this lavish door that young people cannot get their foot in and therefore are forced to leave our province in search of work elsewhere.
Nova Scotians will now know where to look during the next election when they want to show the Premier and this government the door. Thank you.
GOVENTURE WORLD - RECOGNITION
MR. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Mr. Speaker, in early 2015, Microsoft launched the Codename Goa contest to find the best upcoming games in Canada. On November 10th, the shortlist of games was announced, and it includes GoVenture World by MediaSpark in Sydney, Nova Scotia. GoVenture World is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that can be played on computers, tablets and smartphones. MediaSpark founder and CEO Mathew Georghiou describes GoVenture World as the most authentic business simulation ever created.
Microsoft's recognition is one of many the game has received. Others include selected as one of the 50 brightest new start-ups around the world during Global Entrepreneurship Week a few years ago, identified by CNBC.com in the world's most promising new companies, and i3 Tech's start-up finalist, winning $40,000 in prizes.
MediaSpark has also conducted a game demo via videoconference to senior policy advisers for science and technology at the White House who were curious to discover how GoVenture World could facilitate entrepreneurship on a massive scale to kickstart the U.S. economy.
Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating Mat Georghiou and the MediaSpark team, and wish them continued success.
NICHOLSON, GARY: MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENT - THANK
MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Gary Nicholson, who at the age of 81 is still playing the old songs in senior homes and hospitals. Gary and his friends have been playing for decades and plan to continue. It has always been about doing something to bring a smile to people's faces and brighten their day. It's a pleasure to have the opportunity to thank Gary and his friends for a lifetime of giving and helping others through music. Thank you.
SYLIBOY, ALAN - FILM SCREENING
MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, Truro resident and Mi'kmaq artist Alan Syliboy's animated short film, The Thundermaker, was screened at the 16th Annual ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto in October 2015.
This festival embraces works from indigenous creators pushing artistic boundaries and is committed to dispelling stereotypical notions of the First Nations peoples, through diverse media presentations.
Alan's film is an addition to his art panel series beginning in 2009 with his involvement at the Nova Scotia Community College Truro Campus with the animation students there. The art panel series and animated film tell the story of Little Thunder, who earns and learns about his Mi'kmaq identity through stories from his parents, and discovers how to make thunder for the very first time. As a companion to the panels and the film, Alan is releasing a book due anytime soon. Thank you.
MR. BILL HORNE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to introduce Tori, a student at the Halifax Independent School; I'll ask her to stand. She is a resident of Wellington which is where I live, my community, in the constituency of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank. Thank you for coming, Tori. (Applause)
MEGAN, CASSIDY - PURPLE HIKE FOR EPILEPSY
HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize Cassidy Megan, an incredible youth in our city, on her commendable work towards epilepsy awareness. When she was just in the third grade Cassidy founded Purple Day, an Epilepsy awareness day that is celebrated officially every March 26th around the world. Since then she has worked diligently to foster partnerships to further this cause and has been tremendously successful.
Now 16 years old and in collaboration with a provincial partner, the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia, Cassidy developed the Purple Hike for Epilepsy, which had its inaugural event at the Halifax Common this past October 18th. The turnout was fantastic and there is no doubt that Cassidy's work has made a tremendous impact on epilepsy disorder, the second most common ailment after migraines.
Cassidy is an ambitious, remarkable young human being who has already accomplished so much at the age of 16. I want to formally congratulate Cassidy on Purple Day and the recent Purple Hike for Epilepsy event, and look forward to her future work. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
MACKAY, PETER: FUTURE ENDEAVOURS - WELL WISHES
MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, Peter MacKay, former Member of Parliament for Central Nova, held many portfolios including Minister of Justice, Minister of National Defence, and Minister of Foreign Affairs during his 18 years as MP.
Peter always found time to support numerous local causes and to serve on many volunteer boards. He could be frequently found in every corner of Central Nova attending events, never in a hurry, and always willing to listen to the concerns of his constituents.
Peter was a great politician, but he is an even greater human being. So it came as no surprise to those who know him when he chose to step away from politics to spend time with his family. It is my honour to wish Peter well in his future endeavours.
HFX. HOUSING NEEDS ASSESSMENT REPT. - REQUIREMENTS
MS. MARIAN MANCINI « » : Mr. Speaker, the Halifax Regional Municipality recently published the Halifax Housing Needs Assessment report. Detailed in this report is the dire need for affordable non-market housing in HRM.
According to this report, approximately 20 per cent of households in Halifax require non-market housing options, and this is expected to increase. As of February 2015, the wait-list was over 2,000 for subsidized housing in the HRM.
Mr. Speaker, affordable public housing is what is needed in Dartmouth and across Nova Scotia. The government needs to make this a priority.
HIRTLE, CONNOR: RECOVERY - BEST WISHES
HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, Connor Hirtle began this summer as a typical university student. As many young people do, he enjoyed spending time with friends and family. It was on a trip to Cavendish, P.E.I. that he had a swimming accident that has forever changed his life. Since his accident Connor has been in hospital in Halifax and has recently moved to the Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre. His family and friends have been by his side throughout this entire experience and what we have seen in the community on their behalf has been inspiring. We have seen benefit hockey games, concerts, and bracelet sales to name a few. Thousands have been raised to help offset the family's cost, and the community's support has been overwhelming.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to send best wishes to Connor and thank all who have helped support Connor's recovery. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
BULLYING AWARENESS WK. (11/16 - 11/22/15)
HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, November 16th to November 21st marks Bullying Awareness Week throughout Canada and around the world. It is an opportunity for people at the grassroots level in communities to get involved in this issue. We should not wait for someone else to do something; we should all stand up to bullying, and while we may never completely eliminate bullying from society, it is a fight worth fighting. We can achieve this change by working together on preventing bullying in our communities, through education and awareness.
Bullying Awareness Week is all about an invitation in our community to be the change. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
AGENCIES/REGISTRIES - PRIVATIZATION
HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, for years Nova Scotians have felt the pain of privatization through Nova Scotia Power's increased electricity rates. The people of our province have strongly expressed their frustration over the sell-off of Nova Scotia Power.
Mr. Speaker, I need to ask then, why would this Liberal Government ever decide to privatize Land Registry, Joint Stock, and Motor Vehicle services? This privatization will steal from the public and put billions in the hands of a large outside-of-the-province corporation.
The public will be subject to increased prices to operate their vehicles, to buy land, to run a business, and the list goes on. Mr. Speaker, "McNeil's movers" are at it again, moving money out of the province while moving the cost of living up.
HEATING ASSISTANCE REBATE PROG. (HARP) - GOV'T. HELP
MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight the help our government is once again making available to Nova Scotians this Fall and winter through the Heating Assistance Rebate Program, or HARP.
Mr. Speaker, winter is coming, and as we all know, this time of year in our province can get desperately cold and heating bills can get desperately high. That's why Nova Scotians in need are able to access assistance up to $200 toward their home heating costs. This government recognizes the financial burden that vulnerable Nova Scotians face heating their homes during the cold winter months.
Last year almost 44,000 people and families received a rebate from the HARP program. With compassionate initiatives like HARP, as well as our government's tireless efforts to bring stability to energy prices, here's hoping Nova Scotia's long winter is a little warmer and much easier to manage for people across our province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
POUND, MARK - ATL. FIREFIGHTER OF THE YR. AWARD
MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Mark Pound who has been a firefighter in Kentville for 15 years. Mark is a community builder, a fundraiser, and a dedicated father of two. Mark involves his children in his volunteer activities, whenever possible, to teach them the value of giving back to their community.
Mark was awarded the Atlantic Firefighter of the Year award from Muscular Dystrophy Canada for his heartfelt and long participation in fundraising campaigns for their organization. Heading up Kentville's annual fundraising efforts, the annual Boot Drive, the Buck for Luck campaign, and a ticket raffle on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle are just some of the five yearly projects Mark Pound oversees to support the charity.
Mr. Speaker, it is with pride that I congratulate Mark Pound on his well-deserved recognition and award. Thank you.
COM. SERV.: INCOME ASSISTANCE - FREEZING
MS. MARIAN MANCINI « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am calling on the Community Services Minister to clarify a statement she made suggesting the Liberal Government will continue to freeze income assistance. When questioned by CBC about whether any increases will take place while the minister finishes her review of the Income Assistance Program, the minister was quoted as saying, "We're not looking at incremental changes."
Mr. Speaker, a freeze in social assistance rates is actually a cut. In the past two years the cost of living in Nova Scotia has gone up almost 3 per cent yet the minister has refused to help income assistance recipients bridge that gap . . .
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT MY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS
HEALTH & WELLNESS - IWK:
CHILDREN - MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT
HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Today, many Nova Scotians awoke to the news that the IWK is overwhelmed by the number of children seeking mental health treatment. This fact became only too real when we heard the story of a dad whose son could only get the help he needed after an attempt on his own life. Too many young Nova Scotians are going without mental health treatment in this province.
I would like to ask the Premier, will he now agree that there is a crisis in mental health delivery in Nova Scotia?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. At any one point in time there can be a challenge of an individual not being able to access a service across the province. In terms of the IWK, those who are in trauma and in crisis, as we know from the IWK staff today, they do get those patients in and the Garron Centre is set up to be able to give that kind of treatment.
MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I wish that this was just one point in time, but this is not one point in time - it's an ongoing issue. The staff at the IWK are overwhelmed by the demand for mental health services. They are asked to hit a standard of 30 days in response to a young person who presents themselves in need of mental health diagnosis and treatment, but their own wait-list shows that young people are waiting on average 70 to 90 days, almost three times the standard that we set for the IWK. It is not just a point in time - it is an ongoing issue; it is a crisis.
I would like to ask the Premier, in light of this ongoing crisis, will he now agree to call a public inquiry into the state of our mental health system?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question and I want to assure him that the Minister of Health of Wellness is continuing to work with our partners not only at the IWK but across the province. The investments we made in the SchoolsPlus Program, early intervention, investments that we're making into mental health programs across the province - is there more work to do? Of course there is, but we're going to continue to partner with our partners to ensure that Nova Scotia families get the health care when they need it.
MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, the Premier can quote budgets and facts and figures all he wants, but IWK staff have been very clear - they are overwhelmed by the demand. It will be measured not by the amount of money spent alone, but whether people get the help that they need. And the fact of the matter is that the government is following a physician resource plan which actually calls for a reduction in the number of adolescent psychiatrists in the province, and they are overwhelmed at the current amount. In the last three years we've gone from 17 to 15.5, and further reductions are planned by the government under its own plan. If I could quote from the independent review that was done, that a reduction in those psychologists will adversely affect access to child and adolescent care in Nova Scotia.
Will the Premier at least agree to set aside his physician resource plan and start adding to the resource of adolescent psychiatrists instead of cutting them?
MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, what I know is that over the past four years, since the previous government brought in the Together We Can Strategy, we have dramatically reduced the wait time for assessment. What the question is around assessment - yes, the benchmark of 30 days is what we would like to achieve and are working towards. We once had a wait-list in this province of 975 waiting to be assessed. We have dramatically improved that and we are moving services across the province to meet adolescent mental health needs, and we will continue to do so.
PREM.: FRONT-LINE HEALTH CARE - INVESTMENT
HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question, through you, is to the Premier. During the last election the Premier in his platform promised that reducing the number of district health authorities would lead to greater investment in front-line health care and, unfortunately, two years into the Liberal Government's mandate, the opposite has happened. The health care budget has been frozen, wait times and ER closures are on the rise, and there's a moratorium in long-term care. Yesterday we found out the province has spent $9 million on the restructuring.
So my question for the Premier, why has he failed to keep his promise to invest more resources in the front-line health care?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to assure her that as I travel this province, Nova Scotians continually respond to the fact that we've torn down the barriers that have existed in this province for far too long when it comes to the delivery of health care. Reducing the administration will continue to work to reduce the wait times across this province. At the same time, we're trying to grow the economy so that we can have more money to ensure we invest in the services that Nova Scotians expect to have.
MS. MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, the NDP caucus has obtained the minutes from the June 25th board meeting of the Nova Scotia Health Authority. In these minutes it is revealed that the Chief Financial Officer has reviewed the fiscal situation of the health authority, "The current projected deficit will have mitigations applied to decrease the deficit over time." In the health authority business plan released just three weeks prior to that meeting, no mention was made of a budget deficit.
My question for the Premier is, can he please tell this House what the projected deficit was for the Nova Scotia Health Authority on the day of that meeting?
MS. MACDONALD « » : I'm shocked that the Premier is unaware. He made many promises about the savings they were going to have setting up this entity during the election, but now that it's set up he has no idea what is happening with their budget. Imagine, Mr. Speaker.
In the same meeting, it stated that the CFO of the health authority is meeting with staff around the province delivering a message that they have to meet their financial targets and health cuts are on the way. My question for the Premier is, can he please inform this House what mitigations or cuts are being discussed with health care providers across the province to ensure the board of the health authority meets its financial targets?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm surprised the former Finance and Treasury Board Minister doesn't realize how things work, but then again, all we have to do is look back at the year she was Finance and Treasury Board Minister.
We gave a budget to the health authority, and we expect them to live within that budget. If there are issues coming from the health authority, they'll come back and look for more money and look for ways to deliver those services, but we expect them to deliver within the budget we've given them.
HEALTH & WELLNESS - DHAs: MERGE - COST
HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, speaking of budgets, it was only through a freedom of information request yesterday that Nova Scotians learned the true cost of merging the health authorities, and that it's actually $3 million more than the government had admitted up to that point. In fact, that freedom of information request makes clear that the government did not include the cost of merging the IT systems of the previous health authorities.
I would like to ask the Premier, when was his government planning to tell Nova Scotians the true cost of merging the health authorities?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to speak to the merger and the costs that were presented. That money for the IT was included in the 2014-15 budget year, and a great deal of it, of course, was going to be used to update the nine systems. What we did, however, was take that money and some additional money to have one system, which is already leading, that investment is leading to substantial savings just on the procurement alone.
MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, the fact is that right up until yesterday the government was telling Nova Scotians the cost of the merger was $5.7 million. Now we know it's $9 million, and who knows what else they're not counting? They didn't tell Nova Scotians about this $3 million extra cost. They had plenty of time to do that. It was only when a freedom of information request came forward that the government finally came clean about how much they were spending on merging the health authorities.
I would like to ask the Premier a simple question, why wasn't the government just upfront with Nova Scotians about the cost of merging the health authorities in the first place?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the honourable member that this government has been upfront with Nova Scotians and they responded in such a positive way. We're continuing to see them join us not only as we streamline the administration of health care, but we create jobs from one end of this province to the other to grow the economy, to invest in education, to invest in health care, to ensure that vulnerable citizens of this province get the programs that they need. We're going to continue to work with Nova Scotians despite what the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party says.
HEALTH & WELLNESS: BUDGET REDUCTIONS - SCOPE
HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health and Wellness. In the Nova Scotia Health Authority minutes of the meeting from June, the Chief Financial Officer stated that he has been meeting with staff across the province delivering the message that the board is serious about meeting the targets to reduce the deficit. We've been advised that the health authority has been asked to find a 1 per cent reduction in their budgets by the year end regardless of whether that department is in mental health, addictions, or diagnostic imaging.
So I would like to ask the minister, can the minister advise us if these 1 per cent budget reductions are across the board or they targeted within the health care sector?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, what I can convey to the honourable member, and all Nova Scotians, is that the new provincial health authority is indeed finding many inefficiencies in the system where we had the nine separate districts and, as an ongoing way of saving money and getting it to front-line health care, this will be a global look at all the budget items that are within the Nova Scotia Health Authority purview.
Our caucus has been told that managers have been asked not to hire replacements when vacancies arise. I'm wondering if the minister could tell us, how many vacancies are there in each zone of the new health super board?
MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, what I can tell the honourable member is that on a per capita basis our merger was just really a shadow of what took place in Alberta and New Brunswick. We have done a very, very cost-effective way of starting up one new health authority, and the savings to Nova Scotians and the improvement in the quality and the standard of care will also improve.
HEALTH & WELLNESS: PSYCHIATRIC TREATMENT ACT - CHANGES
HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Two years ago a review of the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act was released, containing 101 recommendations. The purpose of that review required under the Act is to make sure that the legislation is meeting the objectives or not and recommend changes to strengthen it. Two years later, there is no sign that the government has any plans to implement changes that are needed to improve the care that people receive. My question to the Minister of Health and Wellness is why has the minister been dragging his feet on making improvements to the mental health care for patients in need?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the former Health Minister for that question. We know that mental health issues are a concern to all Nova Scotians. We know that incremental improvements, especially in providing rural areas of Nova Scotia with mental health clinicians to reduce wait times - in fact, in two of the zones we've made considerable improvements. Those areas of the psychiatric Act that the member is referring to, I can provide him during this session with an update on the number of those recommendations that are moving forward.
MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, we're halfway through the five-year mental health strategy and the reality is the services are not meeting the needs of people. Nova Scotians are crying out for attention from the government on mental health issues and the failure to implement important changes to the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act is indicative of this government's complacency on mental health issues. It's another good example of important research and policy initiatives that are gathering dust on many shelves in government.
So my question to the minister, will the minister commit to introducing changes to the Involuntary Psychiatric Treatment Act this session?
MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, what I can convey to the member, and all Nova Scotians, is that when these recommendations came forward, some of them started into the system immediately. I've had an update on where we are. It's a huge number of recommendations that came forward and during this session I can provide the member with an update on where those recommendations currently are.
COM. SERV. - CHILDREN & FAM. SERV. ACT:
FIRST NATIONS - CONSULTATION
HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Changing gears a little bit, last week in the Legislature, the Minister of Community Services told the House how proud she was of the work she was doing with the Aboriginal community on changes to the Children and Family Services Act. She specifically quoted her work with Chief Prosper and Chief Deborah Robinson. During the Standing Committee on Law Amendments yesterday, Chief Prosper told the committee that there had not been adequate consultation with First Nations, and that he really wasn't engaged from the beginning.
My question to the Minister of Community Services is, can she explain how the consultations that she was so proud of last week would be viewed as inadequate by the very people she was supposed to be consulting with?
HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : Mr. Speaker, 23 per cent of the children who are in care in Nova Scotia are Aboriginal. It would not be in anyone's best interest to not engage the Aboriginal community. That consultation started in December 2014, which was actually even before we reached out to the staff in our own department.
Since that time, I've personally met with Chief Prosper and Chief Robinson twice; I haven't met with any other stakeholder. I also had given my word on the regulatory process, that they would be involved in the development of that, and also provided funding to hire an Aboriginal lawyer - and we now have a report that we've never had one before in Nova Scotia.
So yes, I'm still proud of the 24 amendments that came out of the consultations that happened from December until last month that affect the Children and Family Services Act.
MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : We also found out yesterday that not only had the consultation been a little lax with the First Nations community but the last witness to Law Amendments yesterday, Professor Rollie Thompson, has said that he had been given plenty of time to talk during consultations, but he didn't believe his comments had been heard. What is the purpose of consultations if the minister is not going to the listen to the people who take time to give their opinions?
MS. BERNARD « » : I'm very proud of the way that we rolled out the amendments to the Children and Family Services Act. I would like to remind everyone in this House that there were 15 years and eight reports of consultations. The last speaker yesterday was the original author of the report, and has repeatedly said that he doesn't believe there should be any amendments to this Act.
I'm very, very pleased with the 24 amendments that came out for the Aboriginal community. I'm very pleased with the 25 meetings we had with 37 stakeholders over the last six months. This bill is too important not to consult with the community, and I would never, in all good conscience, not consult with the very people in the community that this bill will affect in the care of children.
PREM. - SYRIAN REFUGEES: N.S. RESETTLEMENT - NUMBERS
HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : My question is for the Premier. Yesterday, the Province of New Brunswick announced that they are ready and able to resettle up to 1,500 Syrian refugees to assist the federal government with their plan to settle 25,000 by the end of next month.
The Minister of Immigration has expressed her willingness to resettle Syrian refugees but has not outlined specifics of the government's plan. Mr. Speaker, our province is the only one that has not yet announced any targets or any numbers for how many refugees we can accept in this effort.
My question to the Premier is, can the Premier please outline how many Syrian refugees we have targeted to resettle by the end of this year?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I also want to thank the Minister of Immigration, who has been doing a tremendous job on behalf of all Nova Scotians reaching out across our province, responding to our partners in communities who have acknowledged and said they'll play a role in ensuring that any refugees that come to this province - help them settle in communities. We're seeing Nova Scotians themselves stepping up, volunteering.
Today, the minister announced the 211 portal, where we will gather all that information. Next Monday, I meet with the Prime Minister and the other Premiers to talk about the refugee status, where the federal government is on bringing people into the country, what the security pieces will be around that. We'll continue to have that conversation as we go forward.
MS. MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, with a stand-alone department and a minister dedicated to one department only, I would have thought that there would have been ample time to do some planning, that we would have at least the same amount of planning in place as what other provinces seem to have. Yet we are the only province that has not established targets and there are many organizations in Nova Scotia who are anxious to know what it is that we are planning.
My last question to the Premier is, could the Premier detail what conversations our government has had with the federal government on safely resettling Syrian refugees in Nova Scotia?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Immigration has had numerous conversations with her federal colleague so we can go forward. I don't know how the Acting Leader of the New Democratic Party would have any understanding of what other provinces have done in terms of preparing to welcome refugees into the province. Because a province throws out a number, it doesn't mean they've done anything in the due diligence.
Let me assure all Nova Scotians, the Minister of Immigration in this province has been working at building relationships across this province so that when we accept a number of refugees we will take in as part of the federation of Canada, not only will we accept them, but we will accept them in a safe way that will allow them to settle into our province.
PREM.: MANDATE LETTERS - RELEASE
HON. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. In the Fall of 2013, the Premier visited departments to talk about his plans for the new government. He told staff and spoke to staff, at least some staff, about the fact that he had issued mandate letters to his ministers to carry out his direction. This is a common and sensible approach. Since the original mandate letters, has the Premier advised members of Cabinet of any new or updated mandates, either through letters or other means?
MR. YOUNGER » : Mr. Speaker, last week we saw that Prime Minister Trudeau publicly released the mandate letters of his Cabinets so that Canadians could see exactly what the priorities of his government would be. This has been widely hailed as an important show of transparency in government. Will the Premier publicly release the 2013 mandate letters he issued as well as the additional ones, I guess, that he just referred to?
THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the honourable member and all Nova Scotians that the mandate letters delivered to the members of the Executive Council were based on the platform that we ran on and I'm very proud of the fact that we are delivering on what we told Nova Scotians we would deliver.
TIR - NOVA STAR: BILLS - PAYT. DEADLINE
MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Despite repeated assurances from the minister that his department has strong financial oversight in place for the Nova Star ferry, it turns out that they owe more than $2 million to their suppliers. Today we learned that $200,000 of the unpaid bills were to Nova Scotia companies. Nova Scotians support a ferry service but are concerned about mounting taxpayer bills. Clearly this minister's strong financial oversight has failed. My question for this minister is, has the minister given Nova Star a deadline to pay its Nova Scotian suppliers and if so, what is it?
HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question - quite the contrary with respect to financial oversight. The agreement that we had in place for 2015 was $13 million. We followed every penny of that $13 million, by way of monthly cash flows that that we requested, and we were very diligent at looking through.
We satisfied our end of the arrangement. The $13 million was paid. The 2015 season did operate under Nova Star. Obviously we have a new direction with Bay Ferries for 2016, one we are looking forward to. With respect to Nova Star and its creditors, we participated in agreements and we have arrangements with businesses all across this province. At the end of the day, they had business decisions to make. We don't make those decisions for them.
MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the minister for that answer. Given that a $200,000 bill or a part of it owing to a small business could cause a Nova Scotian to go bankrupt, and given that this ferry was financed with Nova Scotia taxpayers' money, can the minister please tell Nova Scotians what steps he did take to ensure Nova Star would pay its bills to Nova Scotia companies?
MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, again, with respect to Nova Star, they had obligations as part of their arrangement with the Government of Nova Scotia and, of course, with the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. The cash flows that we were provided, that we looked through, which were the basis on our disbursements at the end of every month here for the 2015 operating season were based on the general information we had on the cash flows. We don't get into creditors. That's not our place. We don't operate the affairs of small business or any business or any operation for them.
The decisions that were made were on behalf of Nova Star, their company, their entity, we made the protections in place on behalf of the taxpayers of Nova Scotia, we lived up to our agreement for 2015 and we're looking forward to a good season with Bay Ferries and Mark MacDonald in 2016.
TIR - N.S. FERRIES: IMPROVEMENTS - UPDATE
The news of the loss of the Little Narrows Country Store reminded us all the importance of our provincial ferries. Last April during Question Period, the minister said "We will continue for the people of Englishtown and for all our seven operations for the ferries of Nova Scotia to look at ways we can make improvements, increase safety, and increase mobility."
My question for the minister is, what improvements, increases in safety, and increases in mobility has the minister made for our ferries in the seven months since he made that commitment?
HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. Obviously the safety and the operation of our ferries in our province is of the utmost importance for the department. Our relationships with the local communities, with the local stakeholders who use those ferries, are very significant. I have tremendous faith in our department. We have ongoing conversations through Dan Leopold and John Majchrowicz on those particular ferries.
There are issues that have happened in the Narrows as well as the other ferries that we operate. We're doing our very best; there hadn't been any significant reports of major challenges on the whole with respect to our ferries for the season that has gone by. Certainly there are daily conversations and we do our very best to improve those services and reach out to the stakeholders in the community and make things happen as we can. Thank you very much.
MR. MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, that was a great answer, but unfortunately it didn't come anywhere close to the question. The fact of the matter is, the minister said that he was going to put commitments in place for the operation of the ferry to make improvements, to increase safety, and increase mobility. That was his commitment; it hasn't happened. Unfortunately, the ferry service has an impact on the economy and the safety of all of our communities that they serve. Fees for the ferries went up this year, but local residents have not seen a corresponding increase in reliability, and last winter the Little Narrows and Englishtown ferries were closed - they were down most of the time.
So, Mr. Speaker, my question is this, will the ferries in Little Narrows and Englishtown be running on a regular basis this winter?
MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, it is completely inaccurate to suggest that they were down most of the time. I know that the member understands that and knows better. That's absolutely not the case, first and foremost. They weren't down most of the time, honourable member.
Secondly, in respect to safety, again, there haven't been major incidents that I'm aware of but there are huge safety issues; obviously there are challenges with the service when there is ice in that area. We can't operate a cable ferry or a ferry service when the ice is blocking up the channel. I'm not sure what the member is getting at, but certainly we're doing our very best. If he has a specific situation or something that he wants to bring to the floor of the House, then he can do so. We've done everything we can with respect to procedures. We're doing our very best, we're working with the local community. If the member has something to bring up, he can bring it up right here - here I am. Thank you very much.
TIR - NOVA STAR: N.S. BILLS - DETAILS
HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. When a U.S. court order ordered the seizure of Nova Star on November 1st after a complaint of an unpaid bill, neither the minister nor his department had received complaints about non-payment to Nova Scotia suppliers.
Mr. Speaker, through you, since that day, has the minister been made aware of any outstanding bills owed to Nova Scotians by Nova Star Cruises?
HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I was wondering how long it would take a member from the NDP caucus to get up and ask a question about the Yarmouth ferry. I guess the wounds have healed in a certain sense. You can bring in a mirror if a member wants to know where a lot of the challenges started with the service from Yarmouth to Portland, that's for sure.
I can tell you, with respect to the question itself, the answer is no, we haven't been contacted with respect to creditors in Nova Scotia.
Mr. Speaker, Pat Melanson is the owner of the Pipers Guild - I'll repeat that, the Pipers Guild - an entertainment company in Shelburne. He is owed $3,700. I'll repeat that too - $3,700 for seven gigs aboard the Nova Star from kitchen party cruises to Celtic shows. My question to the minister is, who is going to pay the piper?
Mr. Speaker, in all seriousness, the reality here is that Nova Star Cruises had an agreement with the Province of Nova Scotia for $13 million for this sailing season. Every business that has a relationship has obligations that they have to fulfill, whether it is with government or in the private sector. Nova Star Cruises has creditors based on the season, maybe from 2014, maybe from 2015. It's not our place, they are not our responsibility. As a private sector entity, Nova Star Cruises has those duties to its creditors, and they have signalled that they will be honouring those bills that are outstanding, and Mr. Speaker, at this point we are moving onto 2016 with Mark MacDonald and Bay Ferries. Thank you very much.
TOURISM: ONTARIO MARKETING CONTRACT - N.S. SPENDING
MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister responsible for Tourism. The minister's department recently awarded a $6 million tourism marketing contract to the Toronto arm of a national agency, DDB. DDB was awarded the contract over other Nova Scotia companies. This is the first time tourism marketing will be overseen by an out-of-province company.
Will the minister provide a breakdown of just how much of the $6 million in tourism marketing dollars will be spent on the Nova Scotia companies such as DDB's local partner Trampoline, and how much will actually be sent out of the province?
HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from my colleague. I don't have the numbers available with me but I am certainly prepared to access those numbers and share them with my colleague.
MS. MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I look forward to receiving those answers. We have a very skilled and knowledgeable tourism labour force right here in Nova Scotia. Organizations like Destination Eastern and Northumberland Shores have been doing an excellent job working right here in Nova Scotia, but their funding was cut by $60,000 dollars. What does the minister have to say to organizations like DEANS that have seen their funding cut, while millions of dollars is sent out of province to a Toronto company to market Nova Scotia?
MR. FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, the two points that my colleague raises are absolutely two separate discussions. The need for Nova Scotia, consistent with the Ivany report, to transform and double our tourism revenues takes a particular strategy that's focused on marketing. At the local level the need for communities and individuals to identify ways of promoting local communities through 51 municipal VICs is a reasonable approach to take, and an approach we'll continue to advance as government.
EECD: SPRINGHILL SCH. - PRIORITY LIST
HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Education. Springhill has been in need of a new elementary school for many years, to replace the old West End Elementary and Junction Road Elementary schools. For the past two years the Chignecto Regional School Board has identified a new elementary school for Springhill as a top priority on their Capital Construction List, and I will table that for the benefit of the House.
I would like to ask the minister simply, will the minister follow the priority list of the school board and ensure Springhillers that they will get funding for a new elementary school this year?
HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Thank you to the member for the question. I think it's important as we look at requests that come in from school boards, for either new construction or for additions and alterations, that we have the complete picture and I think that the good people in Springhill need to know the whole story. They need to know that in 2008 there was a request of the government of the day for a new school and the government of the day said no, additions and alterations is the best option. In 2010 there was a request to the NDP Government and the answer was the same. In 2013-14, to a Liberal Government, the question was asked, and the same answer given.
The people in Springhill need to know, and they do know, that a renovation can certainly provide a safe learning environment for kids. That is what has been recommended by three different governments, on four different occasions, for the people in Springhill.
MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I can assure you and all members of this House that what the people of Springhill know is that they have two elementary schools where the condition has deteriorated so much that rain actually falls on to the gym floor and throughout both schools; that the gyms in both schools are so small that the ability to deliver standard programming to the children of Springhill has become affected. That's why 652 parents in Springhill have signed a petition calling on the government to provide one new school to replace the two old schools.
The Chignecto-Central Regional School Board has put a new school for Springhill on their priority list. I'd like to ask the minister, when will she tell the people of Springhill that they're going to get the one new school that their own school board has asked for?
MS. CASEY « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure what part of my previous answer the member did not understand. The question about a new school has been received by three different governments of three different political Parties, and every one of them, when those requests were assessed, was told that you have an option to do an A&A, take one of the elementary schools, make sure that it is safe and make sure that it can deliver programs for kids. If the people in Springhill look at the junior/senior high school, between $8 million and $9 million has just gone in to provide them a great renovation. So it can be done, it's in their own community - and I'd love to talk to the people of Springhill and explain that to them.
HEALTH & WELLNESS: VG FLOOD IMPACT - UPDATE
HON. DAVID WILSON « » : My question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. The minister told reporters that the Victoria General Hospital was just about back to 100 per cent on services, requirements, and bed capacity. But operations director Victoria Sullivan disagreed with the minister, telling CBC: "We're not back at 100 per cent. We are at reduced bed capacity. . . . The level of service that we can provide is different." And I'll table that.
Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask why the Minister of Health and Wellness didn't know the actual situation at the VG before speaking to the media?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to convey to the honourable member that I was referring to the intensive care requirements because that's what allows for surgeries to take place. Surgical capacity had been restored, and that was the area that I was referencing. I was very clear in pointing out that the Eye Centre was at 70 per cent capacity, with some of the 30 per cent being picked up at the Cobequid Health Centre.
MR. DAVID WILSON « » : On October 8th, the Minister of Health and Wellness promised regular updates on the damage from the flood at the VG, but in the minister's first and only update four weeks later on November 8th, the minister's information contradicted the operations director. There was no inventory of the damage the flood caused, details on the loss of intensive care capacity, or how they are coping with the reduction in beds.
I'd like to ask the minister, when are we going to see a regular, comprehensive update on the impact the flood had on our health services?
MR. GLAVINE « » : As the honourable member knows, we really should be celebrating the outstanding work carried out by staff at the time of the flood. (Applause) Since then, there have been tremendous strides taken to get the bed capacity up by opening the ninth floor, by opening space at the old VG.
Yes, we did talk about giving regular updates. I know that the Nova Scotia Health Authority is also part of regular updating around operations. This Thursday, we will provide some additional update on what's taking place.
JUSTICE: FOI RECORDS (EMAILS ET AL) - UPDATE
HON. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. Thursday I asked about how the government handles freedom-of-information records from private email, PINs, and so forth. She committed to getting back to the House - does the minister have an update?
MR. YOUNGER « » : Well, following Question Period, I received a letter on behalf of Commissioner Tully, the province's Information and Privacy Commissioner, which I'll table. It says that PINs, BBMs, private email, and so forth, must be retained in accordance with the appropriate government retention policy set out in the government Records Act. The letter goes on to say that the use of private email raises a number of concerns under FOIPOP and the government Records Act, including privacy and protection of records and retention of records. I'm just wondering how the minister responds to those concerns?
HEALTH & WELLNESS: KENTVILLE HOSPICE - CONST. TIMELINE
MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. As the minister knows, the campaign to raise $8 million for the hospice is now complete and the announcement to build has been expected for two years now. I know there have been other announcements in the Valley, in Kingston and Digby since then about other projects. The Valley community anxiously awaits that build announcement. My question for the minister is, when will construction on the hospice in Kentville begin?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to inform the member that the MOU now in terms of the frame - I need to go back and say, the framework has now gone forward. There are two sites that are looking at a hospice, Halifax and the Valley. MOUs are now in discussion with the Valley and possibly with Halifax as well. What will determine the construction date will be when that MOU is signed off.
MR. LOHR « » : Part of the project was for dialysis and this is badly needed in the Valley. Currently a patient on dialysis would spend four to six hours, three times a week, in Halifax. A friend of mine needing dialysis was told by health care providers that he should consider moving to Halifax. My question for the minister is, when can we expect dialysis services at Valley Regional and where will they be housed?
MR. GLAVINE « » : That's a very good question as the two projects had moved to be incorporated into one build. That, of course, is not possible because of the requirements with attaching the hospice to the Valley Regional. The dialysis final design under the provincial renal program is just about complete in the Valley community and the foundation should be hearing very shortly where that project is. Monies have started to be budgeted for that project.
HEALTH & WELLNESS - CENTENNIAL BLDG. REPLACEMENT:
P-3 MODEL - CONFIRM
HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia needs a new hospital to replace the Centennial building; that much is very clear. I'm concerned that the Health and Wellness Minister floated a trial balloon on the Rick Howe Show on September 29th on the idea of a public-private partnership to build this hospital. In Nova Scotia the Auditor General reports found P-3 schools had cost $52 million more, over the life of the leases, than it would have been if they had been built publicly and owned by the province from the start. Will the Minister of Health and Wellness tell us if the new hospital will be built under the P-3 model?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, what we can say so far in terms of planning is that there will be a distributed model of facilities. We have capacity in Truro, for example. We know that the Dartmouth project will create 46 beds in ICU, a surgical tower with eight theatres, so in many ways some of the capacity required from the Centennial and the VG is already underway. Looking at private partnerships such as we see at Scotia Surgery has served this province very well.
MR. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, last December, Ontario's Auditor General warned the government that Infrastructure Ontario could demonstrate no value for the extra $8 billion it spent to procure 74 infrastructure projects via public/private partnerships, rather than the traditional public method - a 30 per cent overrun. Auditors General in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, and the RCMP in Quebec have raised concerns about P-3 projects for schools and hospitals. Given that public-private partnership projects have been criticized by Auditors General across the country, why is the minister considering building a P-3 hospital?
MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, as any Nova Scotian takes a look at the financial situation of our province, we know that we must look at all the options, put them on the table. There is no commitment at this stage. One way or another, we know that when we pay for a procedure at Scotia Surgery, we pay less than we would in the public system.
ENERGY: ALTON GAS PERMITS - UPDATE
MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question through you is for the Minister of Energy. The Alton gas storage facility in my constituency has caused a lot of discussion and raised many concerns. I periodically meet with the manager, whenever he is in Stewiacke from Calgary, to discuss what some of these concerns are, and I will always end the discussion by saying, "what have you heard from the government?" And he says, "nothing."
So I guess I am going to ask the Minister of Energy if he could give an update on what is happening with the permits for Alton.
HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, what I can advise is that there were some concerns which had been raised by the Aboriginal community regarding some of the studies that had been undertaken and some additional avenues that they wanted to have looked at. We funded an additional study based on the concerns that they had raised, and the Aboriginal community was part of those consultations. Department of Energy staff and Department of Natural Resources staff, as well as staff from Aboriginal Affairs, have been working very closely with our Aboriginal community to address all of their concerns. My understanding is that those discussions are proceeding very efficiently, and we do hope to be able to provide an update on this project very shortly.
MR. SAMSON « » : I don't mind doing that, but I can advise the honourable member that I did better than that. I met with the parent company up in Calgary and gave them an update as to the project. They were quite pleased with how discussions were going, and were looking forward to seeing this project move forward once all of the concerns had been properly addressed. Thank you.
HEALTH & WELLNESS - C.B. FAM. DOCTORS: SHORTAGE - ALLEVIATE
HON. ALIFE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. In recent months we've been receiving many phone calls in our office about the shortage of doctors for people in the Cape Breton area. There's a walk-in clinic in Sydney at HealthPark, and as recently as yesterday, if you were to walk in there, you had to sit on the floor in order to get space.
Mr. Speaker, even in an angel clinic you have to phone two weeks in advance to try to get an appointment. People in our area are concerned about not having a family doctor, so my question to the minister is, what are his Party and his government doing to alleviate the shortage of family doctors in the Cape Breton area?
HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, in the area that the member addresses and speaks about, there is a shortage of GPs, family practice clinicians. We know that the Nova Scotia Health Authority will be carrying out recruitment throughout this year, and as the residents graduate, we certainly hope to fill some of those vacancies that are currently in Cape Breton.
MR. MACLEOD « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for his answer. The question on many people's minds is, does this minister have any thoughts of doing more to increase nurse practitioners so they would be able to be there to meet the needs of many people on Cape Breton Island when GPs cannot be obtained?
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING
Bill No. 118 - Heritage Property Act.
HON. TONY INCE « » : Last week in the House of Assembly I introduced amendments to Nova Scotia's Heritage Property Act. Nova Scotians have a rich history, and we enjoy many provincial heritage properties that proudly stand in our communities. The proposed amendments will improve the Act and will help to protect important pieces of our heritage.
Nova Scotia now has 287 registered provincial heritage properties, including the most recent, Beinn Bhreagh Hall. The proposed amendments will improve Nova Scotia's ability to protect heritage properties by making processes clearer and more efficient and by adding cultural landscapes as a type of municipal heritage property.
The work that underpins the amendments began with a comprehensive review of the Heritage Property Act in 2010. Then again, in March 2015, we contacted stakeholders. We received great support from the municipalities. We have listened to their feedback and addressed their suggestions. We also received input from Municipal Affairs, the Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, and the Advisory Council on Heritage Property. The key proposed changes apply to both municipal and provincial heritage property programs.
First, the amendments create new criteria to help municipal councils and the minister consider deregistration applications. We've added undue hardship and included financial difficulty as reasons to deregister. Here's an example: a church could be faced with the need to replace its steeple because of being structurally unsound. The congregation could be dwindling and could not afford to remove the steeple. With this change in the legislation, there is an option for the congregation to ask to deregister the property based on financial difficulty directly related to the property's heritage registration. The property owner will have to demonstrate hardship. The application would be fully vetted by advisory bodies and there is no guarantee that deregistration would be approved.
Second, Nova Scotia will now consider cultural landscapes as a type of municipal heritage property. A cultural landscape is an area whose unique heritage value is based on how nature and humans have affected the landscape. This form of heritage property exists in several other provinces. The process for registering cultural landscapes will be the same as the process for heritage conservation districts. Community members will have input into what they would like to have happen for it to be permitted to be designated as a cultural landscape property. We have heard several times over the years about interest in cultural landscapes in Nova Scotia. Once the regulations are in place to support this, we will begin to receive requests from municipalities.
Third, we are adopting the federal Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada for Nova Scotia. This resource has been used across Canada and has been used in Nova Scotia in the renovations of this beautiful place, Province House. It ensures that everyone involved in the heritage conservation process - the property owners, the municipalities, the province, heritage groups - all have the same understanding about how to best protect property heritage values.
Lastly, a proposed amendment improves the efficiency by making the minister the authority for applications to alter a provincial heritage property. Currently, as minister, I have the authority to approve deregistration as a provincially registered property; however, only Executive Council can consider applications to alter such a property. Changing this will streamline the process for owners of provincially registered heritage properties to make alterations to their properties.
You might ask, how does making it easier to change a heritage property improve protection, and that's a good question. We want more people to register properties with provincial heritage value. We can make it easier for them to do so by providing a reasonable process for making alterations. I give you another example of a problem that has been raised in the past. As previous Ministers of Heritage in the past had to go to Cabinet to allow changes to railings on a deck on a Halifax property, it took six months. During that time, the family couldn't allow their two-year-old daughter on the deck because it was unsafe. That's unreasonable. Many provinces have gotten rid of that part of the process.
If I or any Heritage Minister receives a request for a change that could be sensitive, after getting the recommendation from an advisory council on heritage property I can still go to Executive Council and I would ask their thoughts or their input on that. Some other changes include moving sections of the legislation referring to heritage conservation districts to the regulations. These keep the legislation more focused and allows us to make consistent regulations for heritage conservation districts and cultural landscapes. The amendments make it possible to add pieces related to the conservation by-laws in regulations. The proposed amendments do not have any financial implications to the province. We take seriously the mandate to make best possible use of heritage properties and I look forward to discussions around the proposed amendments. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 118 be now read for a second time.
MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for his comments. Preserving our heritage is obviously very near and dear to the hearts of many Nova Scotians, including myself. It provides a connection to our past that informs, of course, our future and it's very educational and fun, and even when we go around the province looking at many of our heritage properties it can also be very empowering. I know I like to do this with my children when we have the opportunity to take mini-vacations.
We must be a little cautious about not letting that sincere regard for our history hold us back, and that's why our caucus supports the provisions in this bill that streamline to register and deregister heritage buildings. We hope that these changes will allow municipalities and heritage property owners to be more responsive and efficient. I know myself, that I may consider registering my 200-year-old stone building that I never wanted to previously because I always worried about the financial burden of keeping up the maintenance and following very strict guidelines and criteria.
We know that for some Nova Scotians the heritage designation makes appropriate insurance too expensive and can cause other financial hardships. I am hopeful that these changes will give some flexibility to property owners and free them up to preserve their properties without unreasonable costs.
I am concerned about the part of the bill that allows for municipal cultural landscapes. It seems a little vague and I think that we need to dig a little bit deeper in what all that meaning is for municipalities. I'm a little unclear about whether the minister has thought about the impact this might have on small businesses or resource development in our province, so I would like some consideration given to that.
I wonder what the relationship is between the heritage conservation district and a cultural landscape, and I'm hoping the minister will clarify this in future remarks that he will make with regard to this bill. We certainly will be listening with great interest to what the witnesses at Law Amendments Committee will have to say about this particular aspect of the bill.
With those few words Mr. Speaker, I will take my seat. Thank you very much.
MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about the proposed amendments to the Heritage Property Act, Bill No. 118. This is something that is near and dear to my heart. I've often been interested in heritage around the world and here at home in Nova Scotia. I live in an old house myself, but my parents live in the second oldest house in Truro which used be a stage coach stop, and I've been brought up to appreciate and value heritage properties and what they can do, not only the beauty of our towns and our countryside and our cities but for the tourism value of what they bring to provinces as well.
One of the amendments in particular is of interest to me - the designation of cultural landscapes. For those who are not aware, a cultural landscape is actually most often defined as a geographic area associated with a historic event, an activity, or a person. These are areas where the natural environment has played a role in our historic events. One example of this on a national scale would be the Fall Caribou Crossing at Nunavut which is used by local Inuit for seasonal hunting over many, many years. It's an area of such significance in fact that oral history about particular hunts and important events happening in the area have been passed down for generations.
Closer to home, as the minister mentioned last week, is Grand Pré. While it is already recognized nationally and internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also worth recognizing provincially. Many Acadians maintain a strong connection to this place as not only an area where their ancestors lived but as a reminder of the deportation and what they, as a culture, have overcome since then. It has also been an important farming industry area for our province and the Acadians over the years.
In my original country of origin, Croatia, there is a beautiful plain called the Stari Grad Plain which is thousands of years old and the original inhabitants, the Illyrians, of which I am a descendent, started to plant and harvest figs, dates, grapes, and also many other fruit in this area and it has actually been farmed now for thousands upon thousands of years so it is a cultural landscape and is recognized also as a World Heritage Site.
I do have a few concerns because upon perusal of the legislation, the section on the cultural landscape is very welcome but it is just not clear yet if this is already protected or if we need new designation under possibly the heritage conservation districts or heritage properties. With regard to alterations to heritage buildings, the amendment of changing the approval by Cabinet to the approval simply by the minister could actually prove to be a negative since in the name of streamlining, as the minister mentioned the other day, the process, that these changes will actually create less transparency. Currently, alterations need to go to the Executive Council before being approved, which can act as a deterrent to unnecessary and undesirable changes to designated heritage properties. It also provides the one degree of transparency into the provincial heritage process.
On the other hand, the agendas and dates of meetings of the Provincial Advisory Council are secret, and the Advisory Council has no published criteria to use in evaluating applications. The Advisory Council's recommendations are also not made public, so the Cabinet's proposed change move away from openness and transparency.
Also, allowing for deregistration on the basis of financial difficulty of the owner could be seen as a negative, in the sense that someone could buy a heritage property, knowing that it is a heritage property, and then claim financial hardship and have it deregistered in order to be torn down. These changes make it easier to do that.
In the press release and at the press briefing, which I attended, we were told that federal standards and guidelines will be adopted, and yet this does not appear in the bill. This is also concerning.
I hope these amendments will recognize the diverse history of Nova Scotia, and that the minister, in his approval of registered provincial heritage properties, will consider the history of all peoples when deciding which culturally-significant areas will be recognized. I look forward to hearing from Nova Scotians about this bill in the Law Amendments Committee in the coming days. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I'm happy to do this one from my profession. According to the Legislative Library, I am the only architect ever to be elected to this House. (Applause) I feel it's important to my profession that I speak to this bill.
The other reason that I am pleased to speak to it is that in my riding is the Landscape of Grand-Pré, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Le Paysage de Grand-Pré. The Landscape of Grand-Pré is the only cultural landscape that is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Canada. It is a real treasure that is so important to the region, to this province, and particularly to the Acadians throughout North America.
I want to begin by taking a moment to talk a little bit about heritage. Nova Scotia's historic places, its buildings, its districts, and its cultural landscapes are really a living legacy to Nova Scotians, but also to all Canadians, and to recognize them, to preserve them, to guard them, and to celebrate them is ensuring that the future of these treasures will allow the next generations to enjoy, experience, and learn from these places.
All great places of this world have great built heritage. The great cities of London, or Quebec City, or Chicago - even a recent visit to Portland and their historic district there - set a real tone to a place. We, of course, have Lunenburg and Wolfville and the streets of Halifax to celebrate and value, and there are many dozens of others. They are so valuable to us as a people. They draw people to live in these places, they draw people to do business, and they draw people to visit.
Heritage properties reflect our values and our history, where we have come as a people to a place and affected those. Our Acadian, our African Nova Scotian, our English cultures and backgrounds, and of course the Mi'kmaq people, the first peoples of this place, are all represented in the landscapes, the districts, the towns and villages, and the historic buildings that surround us. Our history is told in those buildings and districts: the Hydrostone, Citadel Hill, Louisburg, the railway stations that dot the small towns throughout this province, the ship captains' homes. These all say something about our past, about ourselves, about our culture, and what is important to us.
Of course, I mentioned earlier the landscape of Grand Pré and the remarkable story of the Acadians. If I can digress slightly to the personal, my own family roots go back to Yarmouth. (Interruption.) Thank you. When I look at the ship captains' homes in that town and the Cape Forchu lighthouse, I have a great connection to that place, to that history as I imagine my great-great-grandfather Whitman Butler walking those streets and sailing those channels. I believe that all Nova Scotians can look around at our historic places and feel that connection. It is important to us.
Finally, I would also like to point out in terms of our heritage, it has an economic value to us, as has been mentioned, the draw for tourism, why we are competing for tourists, visitors from around the world. It's our history, our historic places, our streets and our buildings that help attract those visitors to our great province. I'd like now to speak to three aspects of the bill.
Cultural landscapes: this bill allows the Act to provide statutory authority for the establishment of cultural landscapes and it allows municipalities to create cultural landscapes, to protect them, to celebrate them. Grand Pré is a remarkable shining example, which has created a world-wide destination in that landscape. To the member's question, that landscape will draw tourism and affect and support small businesses in the area.
We can think about other places in this province like Peggy's Cove or Brier Island or the Cape Forchu point and lighthouse. These are cultural landscapes that municipalities and communities may want to look at and explore the idea of designating them as a cultural landscape and using this revised Heritage Property Act and the guidelines to give some thought to how to protect and preserve and celebrate those cultural landscapes in their communities.
Secondly, this bill streamlines the province, as my honoured colleague, the Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage has spoken about. One of the challenges with heritage, for those citizens that take on the challenge of an historic building and the cost of maintaining it and preserving that for future generations, is they are guardians of those buildings and are doing it on behalf of their community and of Nova Scotia. So it is important for us as government to look for ways to make alterations possible in a streamlined process so that they don't become fed up and neglect these buildings and walk away from them.
Anything that we can do as government to streamline those processes - I would disagree with my colleague from Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River that the Executive Council is where decisions like this should be made. I believe that these should be made in a streamlined manner by those best served to make the decisions of heritage. I believe that that rests with the minister, with the advice of the Heritage Advisory Committee. I have not sat at the Cabinet Table but I imagine their agenda is packed to the degree to be debating a handrail, as my honourable colleague mentioned, is probably not the best place to be making thoughtful decisions about heritage.
Thirdly, the adoption of the national standards and guidelines. It's important that our laws, our regulations are up to date and the standards and guidelines recently updated in 2010, it's the second edition. It is really the best practices from across the country, all of the provinces but one, all of the territories, Parks Canada, the federal government have brought together all of the best practices across the country. It is clear that is an important document to help guide us as citizens, as communities, as municipal and provincial governments to best preserve, celebrate, and recognize the historic properties and places in our province. It is a comprehensive document and a great resource. The formal adoption of these guidelines will help building owners and communities in identifying, protecting, and celebrating our historic treasures in this province.
In conclusion, these are important amendments. They don't weaken our commitment to protecting our built heritage, these amendments streamline the processes for all concerned - the province, the municipalities and, most important, the heritage property owners. They also expand our options for protecting our heritage through cultural landscapes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The honourable Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
The motion is carried.
Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.
The honourable Government House Leader.
PRIVATE AND LOCAL BILLS FOR SECOND READING
Bill No. 120 - Discontinuance of The Pictou County Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance Company Act.
Over a year ago I was informed of the potential of these two companies amalgamating and, obviously, my first thought with having one of these companies right in my own constituency around the block from my own home, I was immediately concerned perhaps with the loss of jobs or the loss of the company moving completely. After many discussions with board members and policy holders, and a year drafting what these changes would look like, I stand here today and assure you this is definitely a good move.
To give you a little bit of additional background, basically what is needed in order for the companies to be able to amalgamate, I want you to know that the Kings Mutual Insurance Company was incorporated by a federal Act and it is governed by the federal Insurance Companies Act. Pictou County Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company was incorporated in Nova Scotia and is governed by the Nova Scotia Mutual Insurance Companies Act.
Companies wishing to amalgamate must be governed by the same jurisdiction and be subject to the same legislation; accordingly, before Kings and Pictou can amalgamate, Pictou needs to be continued as a federal company under the federal Insurance Companies Act. This Private Member's Bill obviously must be first passed, which will allow for Pictou to be continued as a federal company.
I would like to take an opportunity for anyone who is interested, to go on their website. I encourage members of the Legislature here to go ahead and look at the business plan that was developed; it's worthy of having a glance at it to better understand why this transaction has to happen. The intent is to amalgamate the companies, we are hoping, by January 1, 2016. Both boards are truly excited for the opportunity to form a stronger company to support the needs of their policy holders. In order to be able to amalgamate the policy holders of Pictou, they will also have to approve its conversion to a federal company. The amalgamation will not be effective until the federal Finance Minister approves the amalgamation and letters patent of amalgamation are issued.
The amalgamated company would then continue to operate as the Kings Mutual Insurance Company to take advantage of the market presence and good will developed over 110 years of operation. The current offices of both companies will be maintained after amalgamation, and of course ensuring the needs of all policy holders are supported through the continued local and personal contact.
The amalgamation will better position the companies for addressing many challenges faced by insurance companies, including increasing regulation, high operating costs, and high re-insurance costs. As well the amalgamation will provide the following advantages: increased premium policy holder base, stronger combined capital, mature corporate governance framework, and combined expertise including such things as advanced loss prevention program, finance and regulatory compliance, insurance operations, and inform technology systems.
I think it is worthy of mentioning too that an independent actuary report has been commissioned to provide an objective third party opinion as to the fairness of the amalgamation to both groups, and anyone is encouraged as well to go on the website to have a look at this report to become more informed.
I look forward to moving this bill forward as quickly as possible, considering it is a time sensitive issue. At this point Madam Speaker, I'll take my seat and look forward to other comments from the House. Thank you.
MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Madam Speaker, as a former director of Kings Mutual Insurance from 2006-2013, I would just like to make a few comments about the bill, to speak in favour of it. I think it will be a very auspicious moment when these two companies amalgamate.
A little bit about the history of these mutual companies - they were all started about 100 years ago or more, obviously Pictou Mutual 110 years ago, and at that time it was farmers in Nova Scotia that were not able to get insurance and decided to work together to self-insure and created these companies. They are not unique to Nova Scotia, there's a mutual insurance company like this in Prince Edward's Island. I believe there are four or five of these types of mutual insurance companies in New Brunswick.
When I started as director of the board of Kings Mutual in 2006, there were 60 farm mutuals in Ontario. This trend toward amalgamation had more momentum, maybe, in Ontario. I believe currently there are just slightly over 40 mutual insurance companies of this type in Ontario. All that is to say that in the world of insurance, these are relatively small companies, you understand. The very large insurance companies in the world do billions of dollars of premiums a year and I think in the case of Pictou and Kings Mutual, are both less than $10 million in premiums a year.
I hope that if you have the opportunity to have your fire insurance or your home insurance with either of these companies, all of you would do so. They are true mutuals in the sense that if you are a policy holder, you have a vote. You are a part-owner of the company, you have a vote in the company. In a world of very competitive, very large companies, these companies have survived through service. The main service that they provide is they have a very strong history of inspection. They will come in and inspect your property, and in the case of Kings Mutual, they will get all your electrical panels and will make recommendations on what needs to be brought up to code to reduce the risk of fire, and that's how they've been able to survive.
That being said, as my colleague said, there are many pressures on these very small companies and the cost of doing business, the cost of annual year-end audits, has substantially risen and, as I said, the pressure to amalgamate is there to create efficiency. I think it's a wonderful example of Nova Scotia companies taking steps to ensure that they will be able to provide these services for many years to come. Kings Mutual has been regulated all along, federally; Pictou Mutual has been regulated provincially. To amalgamate, they would both need to be regulated federally and presumably the new company would continue to have federal regulations.
It's an important moment in the life of these two companies and I would commend both of them for having the foresight to take this step to amalgamate and create a stronger mutual company to continue to serve Nova Scotians. Thank you.
The honourable member for Pictou West.
The motion is carried.
Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Private and Local Bills.
The honourable Government House Leader.
I do apologize to my NDP colleagues who may have heard this story already, but just before the contested nomination in Dartmouth South, my good friend Bette MacDonald texted me - unsolicited, I might add. Bette is a well-known comedian, so I know I sound like I'm name-dropping - and she'll love that I said that I was name-dropping. Anyway, she offered three pieces of advice for delivering my speech at the nomination meeting. She said number one, get your roots done; number two, wear your good dress; and number three, for gawd sake dear, don't swear during your speech. The advice has held me in good stead and I continue to try to follow it.
For 30 years I was a member of the Nova Scotia Bar and I am proud I was never reprimanded or disciplined, though I thought as a legal aid lawyer I had my pulse on the life in Nova Scotia until I came to the Legislature. I am excited about my new career and especially at this stage of my life. When people asked me why I ran for the NDP I said it was pretty simple. I am a woman of a certain age, I wear Birkenstocks, and no other Parties would have me.
I would like to thank the people of Dartmouth South for putting their faith in me to represent them. It is humbling to be selected by your community to participate in our legislative and democratic process on their behalf.
My goal first and foremost, Madam Speaker, is to honour the commitment to my constituents to be accessible, understanding, and an effective member of the legislative Assembly who will work for my community and the issues that matter to them. The citizens of Dartmouth South have a history of electing strong members to this Chamber and I hope to carry on the tradition of speaking out strongly for Dartmouth South. With that in mind, I would like to thank and pay tribute to my predecessors - Don Chard, Tim Olive, Marilyn More, and most recently the late Allan Rowe - all of whom have served the riding of Dartmouth South with dignity and grace. Their constant efforts have created positive growth in Dartmouth South. Our downtown has seen a resurgence in local entrepreneurial activity. It is also a community of lakes, rivers, green spaces, and established neighbourhoods. I am excited to be picking up the torch and carrying on their good work.
Of course, Madam Speaker, I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge my campaign team and the electoral district association of Dartmouth South. A candidate is elected when they have an organized, hard-working, and dedicated team of workers and volunteers. My team was no different. It was a determined team of volunteers, and I want to thank them - the teachers, the lawyers, the film workers, the retirees - people from all walks of life who believe in our message and our ideals and are committed to building an inclusive and compassionate society.
I want to thank my NDP colleagues for their tremendous support since I joined their team. I especially want to thank my Leader for being there no matter what, even during the dog days of summer. I want to thank the caucus staff. They're tireless, and they're patient. I especially thank them for their great sense of humour.
Finally, I would like to thank my family. My three children - Charlie, Anna, and Rachael - were incredibly supportive. I think maybe it was a role reversal as I sought out their support and their advice, and never once did they let me down.
I also want to thank my partner, Peter. I'm not sure if he's here, but he did comment this morning that he might not show because he's been here every day since the Legislature opened - only because his office is just one block down the street - and he thought it was starting to look bad. He is looking at retirement by the end of the month, and I think he's terrified. We had made a lot of plans, but those plans have all changed now. He didn't bat an eye, and he was there and is completely supportive. I just want to express my love and appreciation to my entire family. (Applause)
Madam Speaker, Dartmouth South is in transition. From down under the old bridge up to the tree and flower streets, old neighbourhoods are welcoming young families who are hoping to build a life in an accepting and safe community.
Dartmouth South is a constituency with a strong sense of community and identity. We support our local businesses. We connect on Saturday mornings at Alderney Landing's farmers' market. And when HRM puts up a sign at Sullivan's Pond calling Dartmouth the City of Halifax, well, you can be pretty sure Dartmouthians are not going to take that lightly.
Like most constituencies in Nova Scotia, Dartmouth South is no stranger to hard times. The many film workers residing in Dartmouth are now wondering whether they must uproot the new life they've been building with their families and join the cohorts of young people moving out west - a direct result of the cut to the province's Film Tax Credit. In many communities around Dartmouth, frozen income assistance rates have left people worried about keeping up with the cost of living. Cuts to charitable organizations that engage in everything from mental health assistance to working with disabled persons to engaging at-risk youth force parents and individuals to make extremely difficult, and in some cases impossible, financial choices. That is because the helping hand that was once there for them has been retracted.
Wait times for hip and knee replacements have been increasing steadily over the past two years, much to our senior population's detriment. Gynecological surgery wait times have increased by 20 per cent. The snail's pace progress on the Dartmouth General renovations keeps the facility from operating at its necessary capacity. These issues barely scrape the surface in describing the many challenges in Dartmouth South and for people in all of Nova Scotia.
In spite of these challenges, Dartmouth South remains a compassionate and resilient community; the signs of it are everywhere. The people I spoke to on the doorsteps agreed: we do not want to be a society where we leave our neighbours behind, a society where those who need care aren't cared for. That concern for other's well-being transcends politics and transcends borders. It is local, it is national; it is international. It is in the work of Margaret's House. It is in the Grace United Church's Heart of Dartmouth Refugee Sponsorship Program. It is in Two If by Sea Cafe's fair trade coffee purchasing. But the work and values of citizens is not enough. Attitudes by the government and its ministers need to reflect those values.
Taking away bus passes from disabled persons does not reflect those values. Cutting funding to social organizations does not reflect those values. Austerity does not reflect those values. Sunny ways, Madam Speaker - not so much in Nova Scotia. There are people in our community who will always need to be helped, that is the essence of it and it is our responsibility to look out for them. It is a responsibility we cannot forfeit. Our citizens are doing their part, the government needs to do its part.
Of course, it would be easy for me to simply criticize government, but I am hopeful that my criticisms will be constructive. It is my job to hold the government accountable. Democracy runs on dialogue and facilitated conversations. It's the duty of the Opposition to scrutinize and object to legislation by the government that it deems ineffective, unfulfilling or damaging. However, this structure does not inhibit us from working together across Party lines to listen, speak and work together in building a future for this province. While ideological differences will always divide the House, there are times when we can come together as a democratic body to ignite changes that will be beneficial in the long term.
One example that caught my attention was Dr. John Ross's analysis of our health care system, in particular, his article last August in The Chronicle Herald entitled "Reboot multi-tier haphazard 'disease care' system." Dr. Ross paints a pretty grim picture of our health care system. He says it's an outdated, deteriorating system, that immediate change is essential, that now is the time for action. There are aspects of his analysis that I agree with, that government has a large role to play in addressing what the WHO calls social detriments of health such as poverty, poor education and gender inequality. I agree that a healthy population is absolutely essential to our province's progress. I believe we have to rethink our attitude toward end-of-life care, stop treating death as, in Dr. Ross's words, a medical problem.
My traditional political beliefs are challenged by some of Dr. Ross's mandate, when it comes to tiered health and disease care and some of the privatization suggestions, but I am prepared to welcome those kinds of challenges in the Legislature. I truly believe we all have to move beyond closed-minded, uncompromising thinking and toward the achievement of goals.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate what a privilege it is to be here. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the Speaker and the Speaker's Office for their assistance to me during the summer. They were always ready and available to me at a moment's notice. I would also like to thank you for keeping the sittings running efficiently and respectfully. I look forward to working with this legislative body and all of its members. Thank you.
MR. DEREK MOMBOURQUETTE « » : Thank you to everyone here today. I'm honoured to be here and address the House as the new member for Sydney-Whitney Pier. Before I start my comments, there are a few thank-yous that I want to say. Since coming to the House and the transition that comes with becoming a new MLA and the travel back and forth from Cape Breton to Halifax, I have to say that all staff from the Speaker's Office to all the staff at the Legislature have been fantastic to help us with the transition. I'm seeing some of the guys up top, too, so I just want to say thank you all very much for all your support in helping us to be here and for giving me this opportunity to speak this afternoon. Thank you very much.
As well, I also want to thank the caucus staff. I see some of them up in the gallery now, and I appreciate all the emails that at times were probably completely impossible to understand coming from me, with all the questions that I've been asking. I want to thank you. I was a staff member at one point, and I'm honoured to serve as the MLA for Sydney-Whitney Pier, so to all of you, thank you all very much for all of your support too.
Madam Speaker, I caught the political bug very early on in life. I was eight years old, and I had the opportunity to travel and knock on doors and canvass with my uncle Arnie, whom I believe is watching right now from home. My uncle Arnie was a councillor for the City of Sydney for 16 years. From that point on, I knew I was hooked.
After supporting him, I had the opportunity to attend Cape Breton University. Cape Breton University is one of the reasons why I'm here today. I had a great experience there in my time in student government.
There is one person in this House today I do want to recognize because he is the person who encouraged me to seek office at the student union - he's currently the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. His shoes weren't that big to fill back then, but they're pretty big now. Anyway, thank you to the minister for all his support over the years.
I had a great opportunity as a student leader at Cape Breton University, and then the people of Sydney-Whitney Pier and Sydney in general gave me the opportunity to represent our community as a municipal councillor. I take a lot of that experience as a municipal councillor to the Legislature. I had a great experience; I had the opportunity to represent the shipyard area, which is my home neighbourhood.
I also had, and still have, the opportunity to represent the First Nations community of Membertou. The leadership of Chief Terry Paul and the Membertou Council is unbelievable, to say the least. They are a leader across the country in economic development, and the success of Membertou has been the success of the greater CBRM. The message that I want to give the community of Membertou today, to Chief Terry Paul, and to council and staff, is that we've had a great relationship during my time on council, and I want to continue to build on that relationship as your MLA. I was honoured then to represent the community of Membertou and I'm honoured to serve today, and I stand here in the Legislature to represent the community of Membertou. Thank you.
Of course, I also want to recognize during the election two outstanding citizens of the CBRM, two great individuals - one I've known for a long time and one I've had the opportunity to meet, two of my opponents in the by-election.
I'll start with Brian MacArthur. Brian MacArthur is a business leader within the Cape Breton community. I've had the opportunity to know part of his family very well, who also grew up in the shipyard area of Sydney. So I wanted to recognize Brian for his leadership, and I hope I have the opportunity to work with Brian in the future.
I also want to take this opportunity to say a few words about my friend - she's been a friend a long time - Madonna Doucette. Madonna Doucette is a community champion. Madonna supports those who need it the most. I hope she gets the opportunity to read this or hear this someday. I want to reach out and say thank you to Madonna for all she does for the community and thank her for being a great friend.
There are a number of people - and it's funny, I watched the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal's address and he pretty much named the Glace Bay phone book, we won't do that today. It has been a bit of a journey for me. There were two nominations - 1,100 Liberal memberships later I'm here. We won't list all 1,100 but I do want to thank some very special people in my life: first and foremost my wife, Stephanie, who is driving home frantically from school right now to try to catch this. She may have to catch the recording.
Eight years ago she had the opportunity to run away when I told her I was running for council but she didn't, and since then, she is the reason why I stand here today. She is home supporting our 14-month-old Emilie and now we are expecting again. Without her none of this would be possible. I also want to recognize her family: her parents, Barry and Debbie, and I also want to recognize her brother, Shawn, and her sister, Shannon, who are always there supporting me from different parts of the country and beyond.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank my immediate family, mum and dad. You are running in nominations and there is a lot of work to it and you go to your parents' house and see your parents rifling through the phone book looking for names to highlight, people that they could sign up so their son could be successful. They've given everything to me and my brother and my sister and they're watching, Doug and Margaret Mombourquette. Mum's a Novak from Prime Brook, as the member for Sydney River- Mira-Louisburg would know well. So mum and dad, I know you're watching right now, so thank you very much.
There are some key people who were involved with the election this past summer who were integral to running the campaign. I'm going to name some of them and I hope I don't miss anyone; if I do, I apologize. I want to first start off by thanking Janice Waye; I know Janice is also watching right now. Janice has been around a very long time supporting Liberals, supporting me, supporting my family, so Janice, I can't thank you for everything you've done for me, before, current, and into the future. Janice, I know you're watching right now.
I also want to thank the Liberal Executive members who were integral to the campaign: Joe Gillis, Rick Farmer, Gerry MacKenzie, as well as Darren MacDonald, who I know is watching right now. As well, the campaign manager, he was originally from Cape Breton, he came home to help run the campaign, Sheldon Gillis. Thank you all for your support.
I also want to thank Charlie Krawchuk, John Camus, Gerard McNamara, Alison Giles, Garfield Yakemchuk, Joe Savoy, Anne Marie Currie, Nadine Bernard, and Brandon Ellis, who day after day were in our two offices during the campaign. I can't thank them all enough. I also want to recognize my friend Todd Riley, and as well the Conahan family who were very supportive of me throughout the election.
I would be remiss because I forgot to mention as well during the election night, my friend, the member for Richmond is over there laughing right now, but he's more family than he is friend, Steve Sampson, from Richmond County. He really put it all on the line for me and my family during the campaign. He came down and he knocked on hundreds of doors with me and he was there when I needed an ear so, Steve, I believe you're watching today, too, so I want to thank you very much.
There are two other names that I want to talk about. I made two phone calls yesterday in preparing this speech and the first call I made was to Manning MacDonald. Manning MacDonald is no stranger to this House or politics, or Cape Breton in general, and I had the opportunity to canvass with Manning. I met Manning early on as a student in the neighborhood and Manning has been there for me since day one. It's a pretty amazing experience to be 31 years old knocking doors with a man who has been in politics longer than you have been alive and to hear the stories of the support that Manning has given to people in the riding.
Manning, I know you're watching right now and I want to thank you for everything you have done for me and my family. I told Manning I would have a little bit of fun with him as well. Just so you know, since Manning retired, he's had two holes-in-one. So he's busy enjoying his retirement . . .
AN HON. MEMBER: In mini putt?
AN HON. MEMBER: He finally got something right.
The other call I made last night was to Gordie Gosse. I had the opportunity - I could've probably talked to Gordie for four hours last night, but I wanted to call Gordie and I just wanted to give him the opportunity to add anything that he wanted to add to my comments today. What he said to me was that he's enjoying the next chapter of his life, and he's taking some time to relax. (Applause)
Madam Speaker, Gordie Gosse offered compliments to me two years ago when he gave his address, so now this is my opportunity to offer them to him. I want to wish Gordie all the best. I learned first-hand, Gordie, the community champion that you are, and the work that you have done for the people of Sydney-Whitney Pier, and I wish you and Sue and your family continued success and all the best as you continue the next chapter of your life.
As I've said, Madam Speaker, I am honoured to stand here today and be the representative for one of the most diverse ridings in the Province of Nova Scotia. As I've already stated with the community of Membertou, I have the honour of representing the people of Whitney Pier, a community that I've learned, in the last number of months being MLA, is one of the proudest, most diverse, and most supportive communities that I will ever be involved with. They have welcomed us in as we've opened our office in the community. They've offered nothing but support to me and my staff since I've started the position.
The stories and the work, and the commitment of the people - to provide a couple of examples, the work of the Whitney Pier Boys and Girls Club, and what Chester Borden and his staff are doing to open their new building, to see the determination of the parishioners of St. Mary's Polish Church, when it was destroyed by fire, to have it rebuilt so soon. It's a community of perseverance, it's a community of support, and to the people of Whitney Pier, I want to say thank you very much for welcoming me into the community.
I also have the opportunity to represent the historic North End of Sydney. The North End is going through a great transition right now, thanks very much to New Dawn. We're seeing the former Holy Angels site being repurposed into a hub of cultural diversity, of research, of entrepreneurship, of incubation, and we will continue to support that. It's a really great success story for our riding in Sydney-Whitney Pier, and I'm sure that into the future it is going to play an integral role overall in Sydney and the greater area. It's an exciting time in the North End as well.
I want to talk about Ashby. It's our biggest residential community, and I want to thank the good people of Ashby for having me here, and for supporting me throughout the process. It's a pretty amazing neighborhood, and there's a lot of work to be done. We know that there's a lot of work to be done, and I look forward to the task.
And of course, I finally want to mention my home neighborhood, the shipyard area of Sydney, which has supported me through thick and thin over the years. I've gone to them on numerous occasions and asked for their support to be an elected representative in the community, and time and time again my neighbourhood and my hometown have come to support me. So to the people of my neighbourhood, the shipyard, thank you all very much.
I want to conclude my comments by just saying that I'm proud to be here as a member of the Legislature. I'm proud to be part of the Premier's team. I am so thankful for the support that I have received, not only from my caucus colleagues but the support in transition from colleagues on the other side of the Legislature. It has been a journey for me to get here today, as I said - two nominations, two ridings, a boundary review, and a few elections later, here I am. At times it seemed like it was the path of most resistance, but I can say now, three years later, standing here, that it was all worth it.
Thank you all for the opportunity. I look forward to working with all of you, and again, thank you to the people of Sydney-Whitney Pier for giving me this great opportunity. Thank you. (Applause)
MR. DAVID WILTON « » : Madam Speaker, it's my great honour and privilege to stand as member for Cape Breton Centre in the Nova Scotia Legislature. I've had the pleasure of meeting many of you, and I'm proud to be an MLA with this esteemed group of individuals. I look forward to many days ahead, working with you to help better the Province of Nova Scotia.
I didn't get here on my own. I have been blessed with a wonderful family and a loyal community of friends who have helped me get here. I would like to take a few moments to thank the following people.
My partner Shirley Leadbeater, has always encouraged me to run for office. Mary Woodman has been with me since day one. She has been a true supporter of me right from the beginning, right from 2004, when I hired her at Forest Haven. She was there right from the beginning, and she kind of encouraged me to get involved in politics this way, and I kind of took that advice and here I am today, so I really thank her for that.
I come from a large family of 10, and I want to thank my sister Valerie; my sister Michelle and her partner, Raymond Burns; my sister Cathy and partner, Tommy Burke; my sister Lynda and her husband, Leo d'Entremont - I don't know if there's any relation there or not; my sister Sheryl and her husband, Frank MacCormack. I also want to thank my brothers, Paul, Robert, Ronnie, and Russell - and a stepson of mine, Josh. I'd like to thank a few nieces and nephews: Kristen, Stephen, Mark, and Melanie. You've all been such a great help, and I thank you all for your support.
I've had an incredible campaign team. I don't have enough time to mention them all here today. As we all get into politics, we have so many people to thank, but we don't want to miss any, so here we go. I want to thank Jim LeFay, my campaign manager; Sean O'Neil; Johnny Miles; Geoff MacLellan . . .
Jennifer and Jimmy Hefferman made sure that as I went through the riding, they were there to drive me around. They were always there; they almost burnt out their vehicle doing what they did, knocking on all the doors. You don't realize the people who support you and the gratitude that you feel towards them. It has been really rewarding. Good on them, and I thank them for it.
I want to thank my parents, Russell and Beryl, who are both passed on now. My father was an active member in the Liberal Party back in the day, which probably gave me the nudge to go this way, but anyway, my mother - raising 10 kids at home was very hard, and we all seem to have made it through life, so it has been a positive thing, and good on her. It has been very rewarding for us all.
It's my goal to represent you both at my home and here in Halifax every single day. My riding, Cape Breton Centre, has had great representation throughout the years. I intend to continue the work done by my predecessor and will build on the achievements of those who have come before me.
I have had a bit of practice becoming an MLA. Over the past 20 years I've developed several successful businesses that employed local professionals and around 29 people worked for me. It has been very rewarding to see families, helping somebody with a job and I think that's what I want to pass on to my riding, to see if I can grow the economy somewhat there and be a positive MLA for my riding.
Over the years I have been an active member of local organizations, the New Waterford Coal Bowl Classic which is a national basketball tournament, it's celebrating its 35th year this year and everybody across the country, high school teams come and enjoy that facility. They are rewarded in the community with lots of hometown fun and they seem to have fun when they're there, it's a great high school tournament.
I've been a member of New Waterford Minor Hockey, the New Waterford District Community Centre, the New Waterford Centennial Committee, and the New Waterford Sports Hall of Fame. All of these committees do so much in my community and I thank them for all that they do and they have all helped me get here to where I am today, so I thank them for that.
I recently had the opportunity to make my first announcements on behalf of the Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard. The New Victoria Fire Department . . .
MR. WILTON « » : Sorry, Madam Speaker. The New Victoria Fire Department has been chosen to receive a community accessibility grant to help their meeting space become more accessible and welcoming. As an active volunteer myself I can speak about the values of a common hub where members of our community come together, we need to share ideas together, talk about plans for the area, fundraise for community causes and create networks that support our youth and seniors.
Successful projects like this one are the result of strong community and commitments of organizations. The community and government are able to work together toward our shared goal of improving accessibility. Together we are making small changes and these small changes make big differences. I am committed to work on behalf of all of my constituents and organizations and my riding to help where and when I can.
I am proud to be a member of the government and will continue its work to protect the programs and services that are most important to Nova Scotians. Nova Scotians recognize tough decisions are necessary, that we must adopt a new outlook and that there is a better way forward and I'm proud to be part of the government that believes by working together we can create a better Nova Scotia. A Nova Scotia that is more inclusive, more successful and offers people real opportunities to stay, work and raise their families. God Bless Cape Breton, God Bless Nova Scotia and God Bless Canada. Thank you. (Applause)
It is agreed.
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
ACTION FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD CHANGE - ORGANIZERS
MS. PATRICIA ARAB « » : Madam Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Ms. Kendall O'Connor for successfully organizing the day of Action for Neighbourhood Change, in partnership with the United Way of Halifax.
This daylong event, which took place on Saturday, September 19th allowed all residents of Fairview to come together and share their ideas and dreams for the community that they live in.
This day also provided a great opportunity for stakeholders and individuals to come together to share resources and opportunities with each other. It's always so refreshing to have our community come together to work on the betterment of Fairview, and how we can support each other in our initiatives.
I congratulate Kendall, thank her for all of her hard work, and look forward to continuing our own partnership in promoting and improving our beloved community, thank you.
HORVATH, JOHN: DEATH OF - TRIBUTE
HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : Madam Speaker, I rise today to honour the late John Horvath, who recently passed away on April 17, 2015. John Horvath was a very active member of Branch 151 Legion in Howie Centre, and at the time of his passing he was serving as president of Branch 151.
John is survived by his wife Pat, and his two sons Gene and Paul. It is a true honour for me to have known John, and I would like to extend my sincere sympathy to his family and thank Pat for her continued support at Branch 151. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
LANGLEY, CASSIDY: BRIGADOON VILLAGE - FUNDRAISING
HON. KAREN CASEY « » : Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate 20-year-old Cassidy Langley from Crowes Mills, Colchester North, who swam more than 14 kilometres across the Northumberland Strait as part of the Give to Love's Big Swim.
Langley's goal was to raise $2,000 for Brigadoon Village, a non-profit recreational facility that provides camp programming to children, youth and families living with a chronic illness, chronic condition, or a special need. The university student completed her swim in four hours and three minutes and had raised more than $2,400 by the time she finished her swim.
RATCHFORD, DAVE: C.B. SPORT HALL OF FAME - INDUCTION
MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : I rise today to congratulate Dave Ratchford on his recent induction into the Cape Breton Sports Hall of Fame. At 71 years of age, Dave is still actively racing in the Nova Scotia Harness Racing circuit. He has had almost 200 horses in his career and is totally at home with the reins in his hands.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to salute Dave Ratchford for his expertise on the track, and around the barn. He is truly deserving of this recognition. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
BROAD COVE - ROCKABILLY PICNIC
Community members of Broad Cove have come together to organize an annual event in support of their local community hall called the Rockabilly Picnic. This year it took place on the 26th of July with a live band, food stands, and a 1950's theme. This family event had children learning to hula-hoop, neighbours meeting neighbours and an amazing atmosphere of fun and community spirit.
I would like to say, Madam Speaker, it is amazing how much money can be raised in a short amount of time when the prize is throwing a pie in the face of the local MLA. I am proud to report $360 was raised for this particular honour and privilege. I would like to thank the Rockabilly organizers for inviting me to this unique event again this year, and would also like to thank them for their hard work in organizing this community fun event.
NEW MINAS ELEM. SCH. - MAJESTIC TREES OF KNOWLEDGE COMP.
MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Madam Speaker, New Minas Elementary School is a school with spirit. Students, parents and teachers work creatively together to galvanize community-wide support, and claim the $20,000 grand prize in the 2015 Majestic Trees of Knowledge National Competition.
The funds have been dedicated to creation of the Open Sky Classroom, a transformed green space near a brook that allows children to learn in, and about, the great outdoors. Not only will the Open Sky Classroom be important to students who are able to learn in a beautiful and inspiring outdoor space, but will also be shared with and appreciated by the wider community.
On behalf of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly I would like to offer my congratulations to students, teachers, parents and supporters of the New Minas Elementary School for their teamwork, vision and creativity in realizing the Open Sky Classroom. It's a great legacy of progressive and engaging education for our children and community.
RESKY, SHARON - ATL. MAGAZINE ASSOC. VOL. OF YR. (2011)
MR. IAIN RANKIN « » : Madam Speaker, I would like to recognize Sharon Resky of Terrance Bay. Sharon is a multi-talented lady who gives selflessly of her time and talents to better our society. Sharon, vice-president of sales for Nova Scotia at Atlantic Business Magazine, was named Volunteer of the Year in 2011 by the Atlantic Magazine Association.
Sharon gives the gift of music to many worthy causes. She is a member of the St. Timothy's Sunday Rock Music Worship each week and plays in several bands, including Triple XXX and GYPSY, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band. Each year Sharon leads a hugely successful fundraising event that benefits the Parker Street Food and Furniture Bank. Sharon is an advocate for people with schizophrenia, and her dedication and commitment to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia is exemplary.
I would like the members of this Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in thanking Sharon Resky for her generosity of spirit and her commitment to serving those less fortunate. Please join me in wishing Sharon all the best for the future. Thank you.
A.F. THERIAULT & SON LTD.
- LONG ISLAND/BRIER ISLAND FERRY CONTRACT
MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., a family-owned shipyard and large local employer, for being awarded the $7.6 million contract to build the new ferry that will replace the Joe Casey, the ferry that travels between Long Island and Brier Island. This 18-car ferry, which is expected to transport more than 30,000 vehicles and over 75,000 passengers each year, is scheduled to be delivered late next year.
This is one of the best examples you can see of buying local. A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. has built over 700 boats since it opened in 1938, and is a company known for the quality of their work. I congratulate them again. Thank you.
NEIL, CODY - CAN.-CUBA GOODWILL TOUR
MS. PAM EYKING « » : Madam Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Englishtown's Cody Neil, who is about to have a life-changing experience through baseball. Cody, a member of the Sydney Mines Junior Ramblers and a Grade 8 student at Baddeck Academy, has recently been chosen to participate in the Canada-Cuba Goodwill Tour.
The goal of the Canada-Cuba Goodwill Tour is to give Canadians a life learning experience that includes taking much-needed baseball equipment to countries that are considered the very best in the world with talent but very deprived in the availability of equipment. Players are selected through a screening process so that true ambassadors are chosen to represent local communities. I would like to send congratulations to Cody and his teammates, and wish them well on their upcoming tour in February. Thank you.
MARYANN'S GIFTS - ANNIV. (22nd)
HON. TONY INCE « » : Madam Speaker, I rise today to extend congratulations to Maryann's Gifts, a staple of Cole Harbour's business community. Maryann Spears-Ritcey, along with her dedicated staff, recently celebrated 22 years of business. I was fortunate enough to visit Maryann's on October 24th, and I was very impressed to see how many residents came out not only to shop but to wish the warm and passionate team congratulations. The entire store was completely packed when I went to present a certificate to Maryann and her staff.
I could not be happier in seeing the community business continue to grow after more than two decades. I would like to once again extend my congratulations to Maryann and the staff, and continued success for many years to come. Thank you.
SAMSON, DARRELL: SACKVILLE-PRESTON-CHEZZETCOOK MP
- ELECTION CONGRATS.
MR. BILL HORNE « » : Madam Speaker, I'm honoured to congratulate Fall River resident Darrell Samson on his success on being elected Member of Parliament for the Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook riding in the recent federal election. Darrell, a 30-year resident of the riding, is fully bilingual and will make an important addition to our federal government. I know he is anxious to begin his career representing our region, and I look forward to a strong working relationship with Darrell. Congratulations, Darrell. You've done well.
BRIDGEWATER & AREA LIONS CLUB: CHARTER - ANNIV. (60th)
MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Madam Speaker, this year marks the 60th Anniversary of the charter of the Bridgewater and Area Lions Club. On October 20th, the club celebrated with a banquet to honour the occasion. The Bridgewater and Area Lions Club, sponsored by the Middleton Lions Club, received its charter on September 19, 1955. At that time, the club had 25 charter members. The club has since sponsored new Lions Clubs in Mahone Bay and New Germany.
Over the years, the club has been supportive in the local hospital, VON, and the Lions Foundation of Canada. It has participated in youth sight and diabetes programs at the local and provincial levels. Major contributions have been made to school programs at both Bridgewater Elementary and Bridgewater high schools as well.
Like all Lions Clubs, the Bridgwater and Area Lions Club has left a lasting impression on the communities it represents. I encourage all members to join me in congratulating the Bridgwater and Area Lions Club on its 60th Anniversary. Thank you.
EXPERIENCE THROUGH OPPORTUNITY PROG. - LAUNCH
MR. BEN JESSOME « » : I'd like to take this chance to commend the government on its recently announced Experience Through Opportunity program, an initiative launched to keep young people and new graduates here in Nova Scotia.
It is no secret that getting that first job is the key to ensuring our best and brightest remain in Nova Scotia. That's why this government is committed to giving our young workers the opportunity to build a career with the dedicated and talented individuals who make up the Public Service. This week, 70 full-time positions are being advertised in the newspapers across the province, a clear message to young Nova Scotians and their families that they do not need to head down the road to find meaningful, stable, and rewarding work.
This government will also recruit workers for 5 per cent of new government hires for the next five years. Over the last two years, over 1,000 people under the age of 35 started a career with the provincial government, myself included. Thanks to programs like Experience Through Opportunity and this government's focus on youth employment, the future here in Nova Scotia is a bright one. Thank you.
RAFTUS, TINA - WESTWOOD PARK COMMUN. GARDEN
MS. PATRICIA ARAB « » : I rise today to congratulate an amazing woman within my community. Tina Raftus is someone I've spoken of in this Legislature on numerous occasions, recognizing her for her hard work and dedication to her neighbours in the Bayers Westwood area.
Tina once again proved she was an unstoppable force on September 10th, when she organized and hosted a community event unveiling the new children's community garden in Westwood Park named after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This event was a lively and colourful celebration enjoyed by all and was made even more special by the attendance of His Honour J.J. Grant, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, and Mrs. Grant, who officially cut the ribbon, opening the garden on behalf of Her Majesty.
Tina is a gift to our community, and I have to say I feel so privileged to be able to work with her on a regular basis to make our community the best it can be. Thank you.
CASEY, DR. MARGARET - ORDER OF NOVA SCOTIA
HON. LABI KOUSOULIS « » : I would like to congratulate an invaluable member of our community, Dr. Margaret Casey, on being invested into the Order of Nova Scotia this past September. Dr. Casey is a long-time health care provider, educator, and advocate for those suffering through social issues like poverty and racism, causes which she seeks to address through her work with North End Halifax families.
She's also a pivotal member of a vital component in my community, the faculty of Dalhousie University's Medical School. In that role, she has championed the reform of social issues in the health care field and has instilled the community service morale in future physicians and other up-and-coming health professionals. Her tireless work on committees, boards, and organizations has never gone unnoticed, earning Dr. Casey respect and acclaim from colleagues, patients, and the disadvantaged.
In a nearly 50-year career, Dr. Casey's service has left an indelible and inspirational mark on our city. I want to congratulate her on being honoured with the Order of Nova Scotia. It is much-deserved recognition for an exceptional human being.
HUGHES-LECK, HEATHER - CDN. FAM. TEACHER AWARD
HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : I rise today to speak of teachers, those we remember. The strict ones, the funny ones, and those very, very special ones - the ones who, when we are students, open up something inside of our minds and pass along some of their own light. We have one of those lights, those teachers, shining at Dartmouth High School - Heather Hughes-Leck, an English and sociology teacher.
Heather's light has inspired her students to be more involved in their community and the world around them. Through the school's human rights club, she has taken students on service trips to the Dominican Republic and helped the school raise funds for disaster relief for the earthquake that shattered Nepal last Spring. She has also organized cleanups with the eco-club and helped create a memory garden at the school.
How appropriate that Heather was chosen as one of three Canadian teachers to be honoured with the Canadian Family Teacher Award for her dedication to go above and beyond for her students.
I ask that the honourable members of this House join me in congratulating Heather Hughes-Leck and encourage her to keep sharing the light of inspiration with the young people of this province. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
RCL CALAIS BR 162 - RECOGNIZE
HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Madam Speaker, at this time I would like to recognize the members and the executive team of the Royal Canadian Legion - Calais Branch 162, in Lower Sackville, known as the branch with the heart. Serving our veterans and the community is the goal for the organization and I know they meet this on a regular occasion.
Over Remembrance Day, Remembrance week and Veteran's Week, volunteers worked extremely hard to provide the appropriate service that many of the community members were able to take part in and also the volunteers who manned the poppy campaign throughout, to raise the necessary funds to support our veterans not only in our community but the province as a whole.
Again, I would like to thank all of those who contributed to a successful Veteran's Week campaign and wish them much success in the coming year. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
SAMPSON, ANNE: RIVER BOURGEOIS - VOL. SERV. (34 YRS.)
HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Madam Speaker, as part of the 37th Annual River Bourgeois Festival held in September, organizers took the time to recognize local resident Anne Sampson for 34 years of volunteer service to the community.
Anne has been a volunteer for at least 20 different community groups which sometimes involves giving her time six days per week. The tribute for Anne included a thank you from many groups as well as a picture dubbing Anne, "Our Greatest Volunteer" which will hang at the Tara Lynne Community Center. Organizers also unveiled a new sign for the nearby seniors building which will now be called the Anne Sampson Building. The night was capped off with Anne being presented as the CTV Maritimer of the Week.
Madam Speaker, please join me in recognizing Anne Sampson for her 34 years of dedicated volunteer service to the community of River Bourgeois and wish her continued good health and happiness. Thank you.
D'ENTREMONT, KELLY - TEACHERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE PROG.
HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Madam Speaker, it's an honour to recognize special people in your constituency when they go above and beyond the call of duty. Today I have the pleasure of recognizing Kelly d'Entremont, École Wedgeport's phys. ed. teacher. She is one of nine individuals across the province nominated in the Teacher's Make a Difference Program.
Madame Kelly has been teaching phys. ed. at École Wedgeport for 11 years now. Her principal Roseanne d'Entremont says the nomination Kelly receives sums up the impact she makes for her students and schools. She is observant, empathetic and dedicated to her position. She focuses on the positive and makes learning meaningful.
Madam Speaker, Kelly d'Entremont is a teacher who truly makes a difference.
HOLIDAY SPIRIT: EVENTS - ORGANIZE
I know that in my riding, the North of Smokey Parade of Lights will be held on November 28th and Baddeck is looking forward to their 20th annual parade on that date. These are just a couple of events that encourage people to come out in a spirit of holiday togetherness and they also are encouraged to exchange lights for more efficient lights through partnerships with Efficiency Nova Scotia and to give donations for local food banks in support of Feed Nova Scotia.
Madam Speaker, I hope all members, and indeed all Nova Scotians, are able to find some joy in a community event in this holiday season. Thank you Madam Speaker and Santa Claus.
WALKER, ROBBINS, DR. DOROTHY: PHYS. ED. - DEDICATION
MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Madam Speaker, I would like to recognize in the House today, Dr. Dorothy Walker Robbins, a woman of exceptional character and dedication, who has been instrumental in developing physical education programs in our schools and encouraging girls and women to participate in sport.
Dr. Walker Robbins served as supervisor of physical education for the province and was once on staff at the Nova Scotia Teacher's College in the 1960s, when she started a program to encourage female physical education graduates. In 2002, she was the first recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award for Females from the Nova Scotia's School Athletic Foundation named in her honour.
Now in her 90s, she's still in the gym twice a week. Her goal is to be remembered, "as someone who was concerned for the other person, and as someone who maybe made a difference." A worthy goal for all of us, Madam Speaker.
On behalf of the House of Assembly, I would like to congratulate Dr. Walker Robins for a lifetime of dedication to physical education and sports for women, thank you Madam Speaker.
Nickerson, Lynn - Commun. Contributions
Ms. Nickerson is an avid supporter of veterans. The Fairview Legion benefits from her countless hours of support. She serves on the Executive and volunteers with the various programs and activities such as the Remembrance Day Ceremony Annual Dinner held in November. Lynn recently received the associate 20-year pin.
In addition to her busy volunteer life, Ms. Nickerson is also involved with special needs education. Formerly at Citadel High School and now working at St. Agnes Junior High, Lynn helps young adults with special needs overcome their challenges. Sign language is one of her areas of expertise.
Her dedication to veterans and young people with learning disadvantages is outstanding and cherished by those whom she supports, and I am proud to say she a wonderful constituent of Armdale. Thank you, Madam Speaker.
ANTIGONISH CHALLENGER BASEBALL
HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Madam Speaker, this Fall wrapped up the second season for the Antigonish Challenger Baseball. Challenger Baseball is for children with cognitive and or physical special needs. It provides them with the opportunity to enjoy all aspects of this great game with the help of buddies.
Each participant is assigned a buddy to assist them with everything from batting, going around the bases, throwing and catching. This year the program almost doubled with 17 children aged four to 16, and 30 buddies. The goal is to make sure that every child, no matter their ability, has a chance to grab a bat, a ball, and have a good time.
They have been invited to travel to Toronto next June to the Rodgers Centre to participate in the Toronto Blue Jays' Jamboree, and I know they are all very excited. Madam Speaker, I would like to wish them the best of luck with their fundraising efforts for their trip and I look forward to hearing how the trip went and seeing this amazing program continue its success.
DART. NORTH ESSAY CONTEST - WINNERS
HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : Madam Speaker, I've been interested in politics from a very early age and it has been of great importance to me personally to take the time to engage our youngest residents, to inspire them to become more civically engaged.
Taking a page from my esteemed colleague, the honourable Minister of Justice, I initiated a writing contest for Grade 6 students of my constituency. I am so very pleased to report that we had our second writing contest this past May. We had 146 entries from all four elementary schools in Dartmouth North. This year's essay topic was, "What person, past or present, would you like to meet and why?" The answers were vast and varied and the remarkable effort put forward by the students impressed me greatly.
It was with great difficulty that we selected four winning entries, one for each school. The winner from Creighton Park Elementary was Sarah McKeen, who wrote about animator and visionary Walt Disney. The winner from Harbour View Elementary was Amanda O'Connell-Jordan, who wrote about why she would like to meet Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir. John A. Macdonald. The winner from John MacNeil Elementary was Oliveia Willis, who wrote about the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and what his courage meant to her. The winner from Shannon Park Elementary was Lauren Brennan, who wrote about women's rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai.
I wanted to take this opportunity to publically celebrate their efforts. Thank you Madam Speaker.
- EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUC. RECOGNITION
HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Madam Speaker, I would like to congratulate and recognize Angela Daniels-Drummond on her outstanding achievement on being named one of Canada's outstanding early childhood educators. Angela was awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education for her work on bringing empathy, compassion and inclusion to the children in her childcare centre.
Angela is the Inclusion Coordinator at the Dartmouth Day Care Centre, 28 Caledonia Road, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where she introduced the Seeds of Empathy program. This program allows her children to follow a young infant's developmental milestones, thus installing empathy in the children.
Angela is recognized for her excellent work with young children and mentors early childhood educators at Mount St. Vincent University and Dalhousie University, and the Nova Scotia Community College. She has developed specialized learning programs for children with autism. I congratulate and applaud Angela Daniels-Drummond on achievements for her exemplary work with her students.
The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.
DOOLEY, BOB/ACE UPHOLSTERY - SUCCESS CONGRATS.
Ace Upholstery Limited was established in 1975 and since that time has provided professional upholstery services to residential, commercial, and recreational customers. The company philosophy is to provide quality professional upholstery services to meet their client requirements and provide expert solutions for custom projects.
Ace Upholstery's nine member staff deliver friendly customer service, quality workmanship, and expert knowledge of the trade, making Ace Upholstery a leader in the industry. With over 35 years of experience, a talented professional staff, and a guarantee of quality workmanship, Ace Upholstery is confident that they will meet or exceed their customers' expectations.
I would like the members of this Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in congratulating Bob Dooley and Ace Upholstery on their success to date, and wish them all the very best for the future. Thank you.
HAIDER, ALEXANDRA: GLOBAL HFX. WEATHER SPECIALIST
As a young girl Alex would pretend to report news inside her home. With her brother acting as co-host, they would report on household events. Her fascination with the news continued to grow as she grew older and became interested in broadcast journalism. Haider studied radio and television arts at NSCC Waterfront Campus in Halifax.
Alexandra did two internships at Global while taking her broadcast journalism course. After graduation she worked at Eastlink, hosting her own daily show. Her ultimate goal is to grow into a role as an on-air television host one day. For now, she is thrilled to be where she is. Congratulations and good luck on your future goals. Thank you.
WALK FOR DOG GUIDES - EVANGELINE MALL (DIGBY)
MR. GORDON WILSON « » : Madam Speaker, the Walk for Dog Guides is a national fundraising walk held in communities across Canada to raise funds used to provide guide dogs to Canadians with disabilities.
Last spring the Digby and Area Lions held a walk at the Evangeline Mall, in Digby, as part of this effort to provide guide dogs to Canadians at no cost. I would like to congratulate the local Lions for raising a total of $3,500 through this walk, the sale of hotdogs, and an auction.
I also would like to recognize nine-year-old Calie Cosman who raised $539 all by herself. Through the efforts of citizens like this young girl, and Lions groups across the country, individuals with disabilities can lead fuller and more independent lives with their guide dogs. Thank you.
MACDOUGALL, CAMERON: REFLECTIONS: ON THE THEORY & PRACTICE OF SOCIAL WORK - PUBLICATION
Mr. Cameron MacDougall is a retired social worker and his book, Reflections: On the Theory & Practice of Social Work, is dedicated to the late Father John Webb. Father Webb is a priest from Havre Boucher, an Order of Canada recipient, and an honorary degree recipient from Dalhousie University. He dedicated much of his career to helping people battling addiction, including alcoholism.
Cameron's book is a collection of articles he wrote over the course of his career. Many of the ideas for his articles related to social work theory that was inspired by Father Webb. Cameron describes Father Webb as someone who led by example and one of his mentors.
I would like to take this moment to congratulate Mr. Cameron MacDougall on completing his book and for dedicating it in honour of Father John Webb. Thank you.
BLUMENTHAL, ADRIENNE - CANADA'S OUTSTANDING PRINCIPALS LIST
I would like congratulate and recognize Adrienne Blumenthal for her outstanding achievement on being named, by the Learning Partnership in Toronto, Ontario, as one of Canada's Outstanding Principals of 2015. It is a great honour as only 40 principals are named each year based on demonstrating innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and problem solving.
Adrienne is principal of Porters Lake Elementary School and has a strong conviction that each student deserves a quality education. She is recognized for her success in developing a co-teaching model between resource and classroom teachers and has improved student achievements.
Adrienne is recognized for her technology leadership in her board and is a leader who is focused on teaching and learning for all. Her successes have led to a strong interest from other schools to implement similar strategies in the school. I congratulate and applaud Adrienne Blumenthal on her achievements and exemplary work with her students.
HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : That concludes the government's business for today. Tomorrow being Opposition Day, I would now call upon the House Leader for the Official Opposition to give us the hours and the business for tomorrow. Merci.
HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : That's the first time I get to call the hours. Let's say from 9:00 a.m. - no, I'm kidding. Regular hours tomorrow, of course, from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. (Interruption) 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. See, that's why you should have done it. You caught me off guard there.
Tomorrow, on Opposition Day, after the daily routine, we'll be calling Bill No. 32, the Economic Growth Goals Act; Bill No. 119, the Mental Health System Public Inquiry (2015) Act; and if we've got time, we'll call Bill No. 121, the Fighting Hunger with Local Food Act.
I move that the House now adjourn to meet again tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.
Is it agreed?
It is agreed.
Would those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.
The motion is carried.
We stand adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.
[The House rose at 4:36 p.m.]
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)
RESOLUTION NO. 2449
I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:
Whereas Mehmet Iskin has for 15 years actively promoted culture and immigration in Nova Scotia; and
Whereas he has taken the lead role in organizing many cultural events, including the Night of Inspiration, bringing various cultures and newcomers together with local politicians and businesspeople; and
Whereas Mehmet is the familiar and friendly face at the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, where he has served immigrants since 2006 in different positions;
Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Iskin for his important and positive contribution to volunteerism in Nova Scotia and wish him success as he embarks on a new stage in his life.
RESOLUTION NO. 2450
I hereby give notice that on a future day I will move the adoption of the following resolution:
Whereas cystic fibrosis is a disease which has been affecting Nova Scotians throughout the province, either personally or through someone they know; and
Whereas some, such as Berwick pharmacist Jim Best, have taken it upon themselves to raise awareness about the illness and raise funds in order to combat this horrendous disease; and
Whereas Jim Best was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at birth and he has been travelling the country on his motorcycle in order to promote his cause;
Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Jim Best on his endeavour to promote and help find a cure for cystic fibrosis.