Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
21 septembre 2017

HANSARD16-88

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Kevin Murphy

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

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



Second Session

THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2016

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3128, Clare-Digby/Kings South MLAs - Deputy Chairmen of
Commitees/Deputy Speakers, Hon. M. Samson »
7693
Res. 3129, Estimates: CW on Supply - Referred,
7694
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 149, Mineral Resources Act,
7695
No. 150, Sound Recording Tax Credit Act,
Mr. A. Younger
7695
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
Intl. Day of Pink - Organizers Thank,
7695
Opposition Bills - Premier's Response,
7695
Northside Peewee A Vikings - Prov. Championship,
7696
Doucette, Vernon - Chevalier de l'Ordre Nationale de la Légion
7696
Hfx. Typographical Union - Members Recognize,
7697
Ingham, Jeremy: Athletic/Academic Career - Well Wishes,
7697
Fraser, David: Sergeant-at-Arms - Welcome,
7697
Basque, Elsie: Death of - Tribute,
7698
Fougere, Kathleen/Keizer, John: Order of N.S. - Nominations,
7698
Natl. Vol. Wk.: Vols. - Thank,
7699
Roseway Hosp. - ER Closures,
7699
Marine Interpretive Ctr.: Autism Drop-In - Supporters Thank,
7700
Cameron, Marion - Birthday (81st),
7700
MacDonald, Maureen - Retirement Wishes,
7701
Simpson, Jason & Maria: Vegetorium Country Farm Market
- Expansion, Mr. B. Horne »
7701
Sexual Assault Awareness Mo. (04/16) - Survivor's Bill of Rights,
7702
Com. Serv. - Income Assistance Rates,
7702
Johnston, Kristin: Death of - Tribute,
7703
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS:
No. 2030, Prem.: Film Ind. - Value,
7703
No. 2031, Prem. - Seniors' Pharmacare: Changes - Effects,
7705
No. 2032, Prem.: Ind. Cut - Effectiveness,
7706
No. 2033, Health & Wellness - Seniors' Pharmacare: Changes
- Reasons, Hon. David Wilson « »
7707
No. 2034, TIR - Ferry Deal: Political Decision - Confirm,
7708
No. 2035, Prem. - Yar. Ferry: Schedule - Confirm,
7710
No. 2036, Prem. - Seniors' Pharmacare: Tax Grab - Confirm,
7711
No. 2037, Environ. - Northern Pulp: Water Usage - Details,
Mr. A. Younger
7713
No. 2038, Prem.: N.S. Film Ind. - Econ. Benefit,
7714
No. 2039, Fin. & Treasury Bd.: Film Tax Credit Cut - Info.,
7715
No. 2040, Health & Wellness: Anna. Valley Hospice - Update,
7716
No. 2041, TIR - Gravel Roads: Work - Status,
7717
No. 2042, EECD: Sch. Closures - Assets,
7718
No. 2043, Health & Wellness: Aberdeen Hosp. Short-Stay Unit
- Status, Hon. P. Dunn « »
7719
No. 2044, Health & Wellness: Electronic Medical Records - Privacy,
7720
No. 2045, SNS - Registries: Privatization - Consultant Advice,
7721
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Apr. 15th at 9:00 a.m
7722
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3130, Youssef, Archbishop - Welcome,
7723
Res. 3131, Beatty, Erika: Screen N.S. Exec. Dir. - Appt.,
Mr. A. Younger
7723
Res. 3132, Big Brothers Big Sisters: Bowl for Kids
- Anniv. (40th), Mr. A. Younger
7724
Res. 3133, Bourque, Dr. Marie Claire: Laughlin Fellow - Congrats.,
Mr. A. Younger
7724
Res. 3134, Chesnutt, Stacy - Women Active N.S. Award,
Mr. A. Younger
7725
Res. 3135, Collins, Pres. Norm/Crosswalk Safety Soc. (N.S.):
Role - Congrats., Mr. A. Younger
7725
Res. 3136, DiscoverAbilities Events Soc.: Work - Recognize,
Mr. A. Younger
7726
Res. 3137, Ecology Action Ctr.: Environ./Sustainability
- Recognize, Mr. A. Younger
7726
Res. 3138, Hamilton, Kate: Bus. Success/Advocacy - Recognize,
Mr. A. Younger
7727
Res. 3139, Healthy Honey Beez: Commun. Role - Thank,
Mr. A. Younger
7727
Res. 3140, Jagger, Eric & Susan - Retirement - Wishes,
Mr. A. Younger
7727
Res. 3141, MacDonald, Luke: Youth Work - Recognize,
Mr. A. Younger
7728
Res. 3142, MacDonald, Luke: Commun. Dedication - Recognize,
Mr. A. Younger
7728
Res. 3143, Nickerson, Ernie - Birthday (80th),
Mr. A. Younger
7729
Res. 3144, O'Hearn, Shaun & Danny: Nine Locks Brewing Co
- Opening, Mr. A. Younger
7729
Res. 3145, Olsen, Marcia - Bodybuilding Accomplishments,
Mr. A. Younger
7730
Res. 3146, Prince Andrew HS Underwater Robotic Team
- Accomplishments, Mr. A. Younger
7730
Res. 3147, Schultz, Nancy & Bernie: Commun. Achievement
- Recognize, Mr. A. Younger
7731
Res. 3148, Shubenacadie Canal Commn.: Restoration Work
- Recognize, Mr. A. Younger
7731
Res. 3149, VETS (Canada)/Lowthers/Staff: Veterans Support
- Thank, Mr. A. Younger
7731
Res. 3150, Walsh, Alyssa: Achievements - Congrats.,
Mr. A. Younger
7732
Res. 3151, Miller, Clarence & Marion - Anniv. (50th),
Mr. A. Younger
7732
Res. 3152, James, Ronald T. & Margaret J. - Anniv. (60th),
Mr. A. Younger
7733
Res. 3153, Harvey, David R. & Sylvia M. - Anniv. (60th),
Mr. A. Younger
7733
Res. 3154, Eisener, Harley W. & Eileen V. - Anniv. (60th),
Mr. A. Younger
7733
Res. 3155, Davidson, Tim/Coast to Coast Consulting:
Commun. Planning - Recognize, Mr. A. Younger
7734
Res. 3156, Jellicoe, Sara/Coast to Coast Consulting:
Commun. Planning - Recognize, Mr. A. Younger
7734
Res. 3157, Wheeler, Christina/Coast to Coast Consulting:
Commun. Planning - Recognize, Mr. A. Younger
7735
Res. 3158, Feng, Mia/Coast to Coast Consulting:
Commun. Planning - Recognize, Mr. A. Younger
7735
Res. 3159, Walker, Kaitlyn/Coast to Coast Consulting:
Commun. Planning - Recognize, Mr. A. Younger
7736
Res. 3160, Smith, Dylan/Coast to Coast Consulting:
Commun. Planning - Recognize, Mr. A. Younger
7736

[Page 7687]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2016

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Session

1:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Gordon Wilson

MR. SPEAKER » : Order, please. The honourable Premier.

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL » : Mr. Speaker, I ask permission of the House to depart from the regular routine of the day to make a few comments about current and former members of the House.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday the former member for Halifax Needham, Maureen MacDonald, announced her retirement from this House after serving the constituents of the north end of Halifax for 18 years, the longest-serving female member of the Nova Scotia Legislature. (Applause)

Maureen served her constituents in the Province of Nova Scotia as the Minister of Health and Minister of Finance - I think it's fair to say that the job she enjoyed the most would be Minister of Health, surprisingly enough, I believe her passion was in the Department of Health.

[Page 7688]

I can tell you, as a person who was on the opposite side of this House, watching her being engaged with questions, there was no question that she understood the depth of that department but also understood the impact it was having on citizens across this province. When I came to this side of the House, Mr. Speaker, when she stood up to ask questions, I was hoping that it was about anything but Health and Wellness, because of her depth of knowledge on that file.

I know all of us want to wish her the best of luck, the best of health in the next phase of her life, and congratulate her for the hard work she did on behalf of the citizens of the North End and, indeed, all Nova Scotians, as a member of government and the Executive Council. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, Maureen also represented her Party well by stepping in to become the Interim Leader at a time after the last election to ensure a safe transition from one Leader to the new Leader. I want to welcome, on behalf of all members of our caucus, Gary Burrill, who is here - I think Gary is here. (Applause) Welcome back, Gary. We are looking forward to working with you over the next number of years to ensure that you hold our feet to the fire, to make sure that Nova Scotians' views are represented in the House of Assembly. So well done and congratulations to you.

I also want to say congratulations to the member for Dartmouth South who has been asked to be the Leader in the House. It is a great honour to be a Leader of a political Party at any time but to be able to stand on the floor of the House of Assembly and represent your Party and the people who believe in your Party is a tremendous honour. I want to congratulate you for being given that honour. (Applause)

I know I speak for all members of our Party and I think all members of this House, and indeed all Nova Scotians, when I wish the member for Chester-St. Margaret's a speedy recovery. Mr. Speaker, I wish her and her family all the best as they deal with her health issues. I look forward to her coming back to the House, and I hope you translate that back to the member that I sincerely look forward to her coming back to the House of Assembly. With her tenacity and the way she represented her constituents and represented your Party here, I know it's with that same kind of fighting tenacity that she will ensure that she returns to good health so that she can fight the next election campaign on behalf of her Party and her constituents. (Applause)

And finally, Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize a former member of this House who we have lost, the former Dr. Mike DeLorey, who was a member for Lunenburg West, who passed away recently. He served this House from 1970 to 1978. He was a Member of Cabinet in the role of Provincial Secretary, Minister of Lands and Forests, and Minister of Tourism. On behalf of all members of this House, I want to send our condolences to his family, and after my colleagues have had a chance to speak, we'll have a moment of silence to remember Mr. DeLorey. Thank you. (Applause)

[Page 7689]

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

HON. JAMIE BALLIE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's very telling when a member retires, when an politician retires, when a Party Leader and a former minister retires, that that person's retirement is greeted by all sides of this House with both sorrow at the loss of such a strong voice here in the House and also as a time to celebrate a career of integrity, a career of ability, a career that was marked by many accomplishments and successes, and truly celebrate at the same time as we feel that loss.

That is a rare combination, Mr. Speaker, but I know we feel it here on this side of the House, and I know that members on all sides of the House feel all of those things as we mark the retirement of the former MLA for Halifax Needham, Ms. Maureen MacDonald. It's with great honour that I join our voices to those on the government side in marking a remarkable, accomplished woman who was first and foremost a strong constituency person, who knew the ins and outs of the north end of Halifax - what made it tick, what made it run - who the people were that needed help and who the people were that could provide that help, and basically spent 18 years putting them together in ways that help people in need.

It's been said by many that the job of Minister of Health and Wellness is the worst, most despicable, awful job that one can have in the Executive Council. That may be the case, Mr. Speaker; there are others in this House that would know better than me. But when it's handled with class, when it's handled with such determination, when it's handled with a true passion for making things better, it shows that even with the most difficult of portfolios, a person who has the courage of their convictions can make things better. We have accomplishments like the Collaborative Emergency Centres, like the first mental health strategy, which I know Ms. MacDonald is so proud of, and others, that are lasting legacies of her time as a Minister of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Speaker, if I can say so personally, as someone who served alongside Ms. MacDonald as a Leader together on the Opposition side of the House, I got to know her better when we were both on the same side of this Chamber. I saw the values that she believes in first-hand. I saw the way that she conducts herself when she's opposed to a motion before this House and when she's in agreement with something that's being done, and I admire her greatly.

We had many talks both here on the floor and outside the Chamber, and one of the things that I think it's important for everybody to know is that, for me, those talks, both private and public, were a reminder that despite our differences of Party in this House there are a lot of common Nova Scotia values that we all share. I know Maureen and I found that, and I know many members find that on the same side and across the aisle here in this Chamber. I wish more Nova Scotians could see that.

[Page 7690]

We absolutely are sad to lose such a strong voice in this Chamber. I might add that it's great to see women leaders standing up and taking their place. We need more, and for the young women out there making career choices, look to Maureen MacDonald as a shining example of all that can be done. That is a great lasting legacy as well.

So we're absolutely sad to see that voice retire from this Chamber, but we also celebrate an 18-year political career that can end in such a way where we all come together and speak about how highly we feel about that person.

Before I stop, Mr. Speaker, I also want to recognize that her successor, the new Leader of the New Democratic Party, is with us in the gallery today. I want to wish Mr. Burrill all the best. It is a tough job, as I think he is already finding out, but it's also a very rewarding job. I look forward to finding the ways that he and I and all of us share common Nova Scotia values, so we can do things together as well.

For the member for Dartmouth South, who is taking up the role of Leader in the House of the New Democratic Party, welcome aboard to the front bench. I look forward to the contribution that I know she is capable of making as a Leader in the House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago I did have the opportunity to speak directly with the member for Chester-St. Margaret's. On behalf of my own Party, we were very concerned and interested to know how she was doing. I know that she is going through a difficult illness and I just want to say, alongside of the Premier and the government side that we wish her a full and complete and speedy recovery, and we absolutely do want to have her voice back in the House as soon as possible.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, although I did not know Mr. DeLorey, I think it is very important that we note when a former member of this House, a public servant, a person who gave so much of their life to the political arena and all that that means, has passed away and so we join with the members on the government side in expressing our condolences to the DeLorey family and thank them for the service that he provided to this province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Leader in the House of the New Democratic Party. (Applause)

MS. MARIAN MANCINI « » : Hello. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the kind words. This was not something that I anticipated when I ran in the by-election last July, to be in this role. I also note that I now know three Health Ministers, one current and two past; and, I'm telling you right now, even if you ask, I'm not taking your job. (Laughter)  Anyway, firstly I do want to extend condolences to the DeLorey family on behalf of the NDP.

[Page 7691]

I am rising here to speak today about my friend and colleague, Maureen MacDonald, who I consider one of the best MLAs to ever sit in this Legislature. Her dedication, sharp political mind, professionalism and experience are undisputed. Her leadership both in and out of the House has been incredibly invaluable to me, personally, and I will greatly, greatly miss her. She will be greatly missed by the many NDP MLAs who came before me.

Maureen has always been steadfastly committed to equality and helped social democratic values and goals, but also recognized the need to find practical ways to reach those goals. It is sad to not have Maureen with us today, as we begin another sitting of the Legislature, but I know that we will all be happy that she is enjoying her well-deserved retirement.

This sitting also marks the beginning of a new chapter for the NDP with our newly-elected leader, Gary Burrill. Gary's vision for social, economic, and environmental justice has been widely endorsed and his goal to eliminate child poverty resonates with many Nova Scotians. I know that our caucus looks forward to bringing many of these issues forward during this sitting, and we stand united with Gary as he leads our Party toward the next election. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : I would ask now that all members rise in a moment of silence in remembrance of the Honourable Mike DeLorey.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

Before we proceed with today's daily routine, we have an important item of business to deal with. As honourable members are aware, since this House rose, the member for Hants East has been appointed to the portfolio of Minister of Environment. So, just before we proceed with the formalities to replace the honourable member's position as Deputy Speaker, I, as Speaker, want to extend my formal thanks to the honourable member for Hants East for her service to this House in the role as Deputy Speaker and her commitment to the Office of the Speaker. The incoming Deputy Speaker will certainly have big shoes to fill, so thank you very much on behalf of everybody to the honourable member for Hants East. (Applause)

So we now have to elect a new Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker to take the place vacated by the member for Hants East.

Pursuant to Rule 11(2), we will now proceed with the election of a Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker for the remainder of this General Assembly. Ballots have been prepared, and I note that the Chief Clerk has produced the traditional ballot receptacle in use for the conduct of this vote.

[Page 7692]

At this time I open the floor for nominations for the election of a member as Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker.

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, it's my privilege to nominate the member for Clare-Digby for the position of Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Does the member for Clare-Digby accept the nomination?

MR. GORDON WILSON » : Yes, I accept.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The member for Clare-Digby is a candidate for election.

Are there any further nominations for the election of Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker?

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : It is my privilege to nominate the member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg for the position of Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Does the member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg accept the nomination?

HON. ALFIE MACLEOD » : I do.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg is a candidate for the election.

Are there any further nominations?

There being none, we'll now proceed with the secret ballot election. The Assistant Clerk will have the Pages distribute the ballots to each member present. Members are to print the proper name of the member they vote for on the ballot provided to them and fold the ballot to obscure the name. Once they've filled out the ballot, members will then proceed to the Clerk's Table and deposit their ballots in the receptacle provided for that purpose by the Chief Clerk.

Order, please. Have all the members wishing to vote deposited their ballots? Last call - have all the members wishing to vote deposited their ballots?

The Chief Clerk shall now withdraw from the House and count the ballots with the Assistant Clerk as a witness. I invite the three House Leaders to accompany them to witness the counting.

[Page 7693]

The House will now recess for a few minutes while we await the return of the ballots.

[1:25 p.m. The House recessed.]

[1:36 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The Chief Clerk will now announce the results of the vote.

THE CLERK » : Mr. Speaker, the member for Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg received 15 votes, and the member for Clare-Digby received 31.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The member for Clare-Digby is declared elected as the Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker. (Applause) The Clerk shall now destroy the ballots.

I'd like to extend a warm welcome from the dais to our new Deputy Speaker, the honourable member for Clare-Digby.

We'll now proceed with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 3128

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

Therefore be it resolved that:

(a) the honourable member for Clare-Digby and the honourable member for Kings South be the Chairmen of Committees and Deputy Speakers of the House of Assembly;

[Page 7694]

(b) the member for Clare-Digby be the Deputy Speaker within the meaning of Subsection 14(3) of the House of Assembly Act and within the meaning of the House of Assembly Management Commission Act;

(c) the annual salary of the Deputy Speaker, established pursuant to the House of Assembly Act, be divided equally between the two Chairmen of Committees and Deputy Speakers.

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

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Finance and Treasury Board.

RESOLUTION NO. 3129

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall:

(1) read and table the message from His Honour the Lieutenant Governor transmitting the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the province for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, for the consideration of this House;

(2) table the Estimates Books;

(3) table the Government Business Plan;

(4) table the Crown Corporation Business Plans;

(5) table the Estimate and Crown Corporation Business Plans Resolutions;

(6) deliver my Budget Speech; and

(7) move that the Estimates of Sums required for the service of the province for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, being Supply to be granted to Her Majesty and the Crown Corporation Business Plans, be referred to the Committee of the Whole on Supply.

[Page 7695]

Mr. Speaker, for the information of the House, the Budget will be presented on April 19, 2016.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The notice is tabled.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 149 - Entitled an Act Respecting Mineral Resources. (Hon. Lloyd Hines)

Bill No. 150 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 217 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Income Tax Act, to Provide a Nova Scotia Sound Recording Tax Credit. (Mr. Andrew Younger)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

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

INTL. DAY OF PINK - ORGANIZERS THANK

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : I rise today to recognize the fight against bullying and discrimination through the International Day of Pink.

The International Day of Pink is an opportunity and a reminder to all of us to treat each other with respect and dignity. Many in this House wore pink on the International Day of Pink. It is a small yet powerful gesture to combat bullying and discrimination in our schools and across our communities. I want to thank the organizers for continuing to raise awareness of bullying, homophobia, and transphobia. Let us all do our part to foster understanding and caring in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, and in our communities across Nova Scotia.

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

OPPOSITION BILLS - PREMIER'S RESPONSE

MS. MARIAN MANCINI « » : Upon assuming his position in 2013, the Premier said he would give Opposition bills a chance to move through the House. He said, "If they've got good legislation we can allow it to move into law amendments to have the public debate that bill."

[Page 7696]

Since that time, the NDP caucus has introduced multiple pieces of legislation designed to improve life for Nova Scotians. Given that the Premier has not shown any support for our legislation, we are left to conclude that he thinks increasing access to dental care for children and making hearing aids more affordable for seniors is not good legislation.

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

NORTHSIDE PEEWEE A VIKINGS - PROV. CHAMPIONSHIP

MS. PAM EYKING « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate the Northside Peewee A Vikings hockey team on winning the provincial Peewee A Championship this past weekend at the 2016 RBC Day of Champions at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. The Vikings, who were the North Conference representatives, captured the provincial title with a thrilling 4 to 2 victory over South Conference representatives from Halifax.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to congratulate all the Vikings players and coaches on their fine performance this season and wish them the best of luck for the next season to come.

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

DOUCETTE, VERNON

- CHEVALIER DE L'ORDRE NATIONALE DE LA LÉGION D'HONNEUR

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : On Friday, March 11, 2016, at a ceremony in Royal Canadian Legion Branch 155 in Wedgeport, French Consul General Vincent Hommeril, on behalf of the French Government, presented Vernon Doucette with a medal, naming him as a chevalier de l'Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, or a knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honour.

Vernon Doucette joined the Canadian Army in 1939 and became a member of the First Special Service Force, which was a joint Canadian-American military unit. Last year, he was among some of the members of this unit who were honoured in Washington, D.C., with the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the role that they played in World War II.

Please join me in offering congratulations to Vernon Doucette for receiving this prestigious honour. We thank him and all veterans for their exemplary service to their country.

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

HFX. TYPOGRAPHICAL UNION - MEMBERS RECOGNIZE

[Page 7697]

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize members of the Halifax Typographical Union who have been on the picket line for months, enduring the cold and wet weather. The NDP supports labour rights and the collective bargaining process. Our caucus has been very vocal over the last few years about the poor example this government has set as one of the main employers in the province.

I am proud to be part of a caucus boycotting a publication that is trying to continue to do business as usual by circumventing its workers. I encourage both sides in this dispute to respect and use the collective bargaining process to arrive at a workable solution. In the meantime, I offer my support and the support of my caucus to the Halifax Typographical Union, Mr. Speaker.

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

INGHAM, JEREMY: ATHLETIC/ACADEMIC CAREER - WELL WISHES

MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, it is inspiring when positive thinking and perseverance triumph over the toughest of difficulties. Three years after being diagnosed with cancer and undergoing a complete hip replacement, Jeremy Ingham returned to competitive swimming for Acadia University.

Jeremy started swimming with the Wolfville Tritons in 2002 at the age of seven. His coach said he was one of the hardest-working swimmers he had ever worked with, and the Triton Swimmer of the Year Award was renamed the Ingham Award.

At his first AUS meet after his return Jeremy was very happy with his results, especially his eighth-place finish in the 100-metre backstroke, directly after competing in the 100 IM. He says that being part of the Acadia swim team is a dream come true.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the House of Assembly, I would like to congratulate Mr. Jeremy Ingham on his return to the sport he loves, and wish him well in his athletic career and academic career.

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

FRASER, DAVID: SERGEANT-AT-ARMS - WELCOME

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise in my place today to welcome David Fraser, our new Sergeant-at-Arms in the Nova Scotia Legislature.

His RCMP career will be remembered by all who worked with him as one filled with achievement, leadership, integrity, respect, and friendship. Mr. Fraser is well-known to be very meticulous with detail, a great quality to possess in his new career.

[Page 7698]

His distinguished career covered the time span from February 1981 to February 2016. David completed the final years of his career with the Protective Services at H Division Nova Scotia Headquarters in Dartmouth.

I am positive that all members of this historic House of Assembly wish Mr. Fraser great success in his new career, the new Sergeant-at-Arms in the Nova Scotia Legislature.

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

BASQUE, ELSIE: DEATH OF - TRIBUTE

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : On Monday, April 11th, just three days ago, our province lost the incomparable Elsie Basque. At age 99, Elsie Basque was one of Canada's oldest residential school survivors and the first Aboriginal graduate of the Provincial Normal College in Truro, the former teachers' training centre. Elsie was also the first Mi'kmaq to teach in a non-Aboriginal school.

Elsie in her long life received an honorary doctorate from Acadia University, and at age 93 she received the Order of Canada. She also received the Queen's Jubilee Medal. Elsie was a tireless advocate for education and for reconciliation.

The NDP caucus today commemorates and honours Elsie Basque.

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

FOUGERE, KATHLEEN/KEIZER, JOHN:

ORDER OF N.S. - NOMINATIONS

MR. STEPHEN GOUGH « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize two Sackville-Beaver Bank constituents, Kathleen Fougere and John Keizer.

Both of these individuals have been nominated for the Order of Nova Scotia. Mrs. Fougere has been nominated for her outstanding volunteer work and dedication in helping seniors in her Beaver Bank community. Mr. Keizer has been nominated as a prominent entrepreneur and community supporter in Middle Sackville.

Of the 100-plus applications submitted, only five will be selected for this honour. We have been advised that both Mrs. Fougere and Mr. Keizer have been successful in the first stage of this process. Will the House please join me in congratulating Kathleen Fougere and John Keizer on their nominations, and wish them success in all their undertakings.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Before we proceed with the next member's statement, I'll take a couple of minutes to do a very important introduction. I'd like to ask members to turn their focus to the Speaker's Gallery. We are delighted to welcome today to Nova Scotia the Right Honourable Tricia Marwick, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, together with the Presiding Officer's Principal Secretary, Billy McLaren, and the Head of the U.K. and International Relations Office for the Scottish Parliament, Fergus Cochrane.

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The Presiding Officer is the first female to occupy this important post, similar to that of our Speaker. She is soon vacating that role, after a very distinguished and successful five years as their Presiding Officer and 17 years serving as a member of their Scottish Parliament. However, she has pledged publicly to continue to be active in public service in other ways in the future and we know that our Scottish friends will hold her to that.

Presiding Officer, we are pleased to welcome you, on the first day of this sitting of our Legislature, and we wish you well in all your future endeavours. Honourable members, please join me in offering a warm welcome to our visiting Scots. (Applause)

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

NATL. VOL. WK.: VOLS. - THANK

MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, this is National Volunteer Week. Our lives, our communities, our province, and our country are lifted up and served by countless people who give their time and compassion to causes that are big and small. Every helping hand counts. Are we, as individuals, giving time to causes that we believe in? Are we making an effort to thank the people who do?

It is widely known that most volunteers prefer a simple, genuine thank you for their efforts. I'd like to call on the members to reflect on these two things and join this national week of recognition to take the time to offer heartfelt thanks to a volunteer.

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

ROSEWAY HOSP. - ER CLOSURES

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, this April marks the one-year anniversary of the Liberal Government's super health authority. Last Fall in the Town of Shelburne we heard the Minister of Health and Wellness announce his plan to address the frequent ER closures at Roseway Hospital.

Mr. Speaker, closures at the Roseway ER have gotten worse since the minister's announcement. The super health authority has failed rural Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, for the members of this House and for the public, in the coming days I will announce all ER closures at the only hospital between Yarmouth and Liverpool since the Minister of Health and Wellness' announcement that he would keep the Roseway ER open. To be continued.

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

MARINE INTERPRETIVE CTR.: AUTISM DROP-IN

- SUPPORTERS THANK

MS. JOYCE TREEN « » : On January 30th a fantastic event took place at the Marine Interpretive Centre. An autism drop-in was hosted to benefit families, parents, and caregivers who are affected by autism.

Autism Nova Scotia set up a fabulous sensory area that kept many of the children busy for hours. Over a dozen vendors came to share information about the attendees, and the first 25 families were fortunate enough to take home goodie bags filled with fun items and information for both the kids and the caregivers.

Helping Hands youth group organized and worked with three craft stations that included cookie decorating, Minions crafts, and necklace making. Even though the Saturday was dampened by a snowstorm, the turnout was great.

I ask all the members of this House to join me in thanking everyone who supported this event.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Bedford on an introduction.

HON. KELLY REGAN » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the members' attention to the east gallery, top row, where I am joined today by my constituency assistant, Paula Diab, as well as Jonah Van der Linden, who is a co-op student from Charles P. Allen High School. He will be with me for 100 hours - or with Paula, more likely - over the next while.

I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

CAMERON, MARION - BIRTHDAY (81st)

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, this week I heard a commercial on the radio for Bay Days and it took me back about 25 years to a time when The Bay used to send five Bay dollars out monthly to every cardholder. Carol and I would go around and I'd create all these Bay dollars and go to The Bay on a little shopping trip. I could always count on my friend Rodney to say, Tim, Mum has five Bay dollars for you. And if I ever tried to pay her back for those Bay dollars. I'm sure it would be in the hundreds of dollars now.

I won't try to do that, but what I would do instead is acknowledge Rodney's Mum's 81st birthday when I wish Marion Cameron of Brooklyn, Annapolis Valley, a very happy 81st birthday.

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

MACDONALD, MAUREEN - RETIREMENT WISHES

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, most of us in here have had political mentors in our careers - people who gave us sage advice when we needed it and set an example for us on what it means to be an MLA. I'm incredibly fortunate to call Maureen MacDonald one of mine.

As we all know, Maureen announced her retirement earlier this week after serving the people of Halifax Needham for over 18 years - what a great accomplishment for her. Maureen also served as Finance Minister, and was one of the most thoughtful and innovative and dedicated Health Ministers our province has ever seen. Maureen's voice and leadership will be greatly missed in this Legislature. Her experience, her tenacity were second to none, Mr. Speaker. While we aren't caucus colleagues anymore, Maureen will always remain a close friend.

I want to wish her a healthy and fulfilling retirement.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Waverly-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

SIMPSON, JASON & MARIA:

VEGETORIUM COUNTRY FARM MARKET - EXPANSION

MR. BILL HORNE « » : Mr. Speaker, the Vegetorium Country Farm Market, in Fall River, co-owned by Jason and Maria Simpson of Beaver Bank, is more than doubling its size. The expansion will provide space to allow them to carry more organic and gluten-free products. The Vegetorium stocks their shop from a 45 acre farm they own in Sheffield Mills, and they work with local farmers to supply other products they carry such as fruit and free-range meat and eggs.

A true family business, Jason works on the construction while Maria tends to the store during the day. The Simpsons plan to have their expansion finished and open for business in the summer of 2017.

This young family deserves our congratulations for their hard work and dedication. They have a promising future ahead.

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

SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MO. (04/16)

[Page 7702]

- SURVIVOR'S BILL OF RIGHTS

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I rise in my place to share a Survivor's Bill of Rights, and ask that we all reflect on it and support it.

Survivors have the right to be believed.

Survivors have the right to seek and receive help.

Survivors have the right to courteous, efficient treatment.

Survivors have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, without prejudice against race, class, lifestyle, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or occupation.

Survivors have the right to accurate information presented to survivors in a way survivors understand.

Survivors have the right to ask questions.

Survivors have the right to make their own decisions.

Survivors have the right to change their mind.

Survivors have the right to get help and support from others.

Survivors have the right to heal.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

COM. SERV. - INCOME ASSISTANCE RATES

MS. MARIAN MANCINI « » : Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Government and the Minister of Community Services have been clear that our province's most vulnerable should not expect an increase in their income assistance rates until 2017 or 2018. Freezing income assistance rates is actually a cut when you factor in inflation and the rising cost of living.

Mr. Speaker, while the Liberal Government is waiting for another day to address poverty, our caucus is working to eliminate poverty now. Thousands of Nova Scotians are looking to this government to start immediate action, Mr. Speaker, and we hope this government starts listening.

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

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JOHNSTON, KRISTIN: DEATH OF - TRIBUTE

MR. JOACHIM STROINK « » : In our lives we come across people who have true impact on our community and in our individual lives. These people open their hearts and embrace people around them.

I had the great fortune to meet such a person. This person had such an impact in Halifax; her heart was so big, not only to the people around her but also to rescue dogs - especially her dog Charlie. I had the great honour and privilege to know this person. I remember the first time meeting her when she was sitting in a coffee shop planning a marketing strategy for her new yoga studio.

She talked about what she wanted to do, what she wanted to bring to Halifax, and how she was going to make Halifax her home. Then she asked when I was going to come to her studio - as most of you know, yoga and I do not mix, but from that day forward it was going to be her personal mission to get me into that studio. Every time I saw her, she asked when I was coming, with a big smile on her face. So one day, out of the blue, I decided to go to her hot yoga studio. When I walked in there, she jumped up, ran around the counter, and gave me a big hug and smile. I will never forget that smile.

Kristin Johnston's presence in Halifax had a lasting impact on many people in our community. Her love and openness for the people around her will be missed. Rest in peace, Kristin Johnston.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS

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

PREM.: FILM IND. - VALUE

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : My question is to the Premier. Mr. Speaker, it has been a year now since this government took an axe to our film industry, and one year later the results are clear, it is clear that young people have lost their jobs. Many of them are moving away. There is less opportunity for work here and our economy has suffered a horrible loss.

I'd like to ask the Premier now, in light of all of this evidence, does he still believe that the value the film industry brings to Nova Scotia is less than the cost of the tax credit?

THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question and for an opportunity to stand up and tell all members of this House that we provide a 25 per cent all-in spend to the film industry in this province on everything that is purchased in the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 7704]

I'm very encouraged to tell this House that youth employment is up and population growth is up in in the province. We are seeing the economy move in the right direction.

We believe the film industry is an important part of that, and we've shown that by the investment we've made in it. I look forward to them taking advantage of that fund to make sure that they continue to provide films here in the province.

MR. BAILLIE « » : There is the problem right there: the Premier knows the cost of things, but he doesn't know the value of anything. We have evidence today from an independent report, an economic assessment of the film and television production industry in Nova Scotia that shows that the industry actually generates a 7 to 1 return to the Province of Nova Scotia, to our economy - $7 in for every $1 that's out. This industry actually pays for itself. It more than pays for itself: it makes money for this government to pay for important services that we all want to see - more for health care, more for roads.

Mr. Speaker, how can the Premier say what he just said? How can he say that and stick to his old line in the face of evidence that the industry returns $7 for every $1 that it costs the government?

THE PREMIER « » : I'm not sure what the question was, Mr. Speaker, but as I said earlier in my first response, we have a $10-million fund; it's a 25 per cent all-in spend. It's the largest subsidy we make in any sector in the Province of Nova Scotia. That is a positive investment. It clearly identifies what we - Mr. Speaker, the challenge about government is you have to make choices. We believe we've been fair to the film industry, at the same time creating youth employment jobs in this province, investing in daycare when it comes forward, investing in classrooms across this province, and investing in home care. All of those are the choices that government has to make.

He's obviously prepared to make a different one. We're prepared to invest in Nova Scotia in what we believe is an equitable way.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Yes, government is about making choices. You have to make good choices, not bad choices that cost jobs, that cost more when you make them than you need to spend. The Premier and his government cut something that actually pays for itself and more than pays for itself. This industry makes money for the government. That's what the Premier doesn't understand. That's how you pay for health care, for schools, for roads: by encouraging things that actually return money to the government - 7 to 1 in this case. Besides that, it employs 3,200 young, mobile, educated, creative people - the very people we need more of in this province.

I ask the Premier to stop being so stubborn and tell us that he'll look at the economic report today and commit to re-examining the bad decision he made when he cut this industry.

[Page 7705]

THE PREMIER « » : I don't believe the Leader of the Opposition is suggesting that investing in home care is bad public policy. I don't believe he's suggesting that investing in public education across this province is bad public policy. I don't believe he's suggesting that investing in daycare and ensuring that people are paid properly is bad public policy. Those are the choices we have to make.

On top of that, Mr. Speaker, we have a 25 per cent all-in-spend subsidy in the film sector.

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

PREM. - SENIORS' PHARMACARE: CHANGES - EFFECTS

MS. MARIAN MANCINI « » : My question is for the Premier. His government's proposed changes to Seniors' Pharmacare created anger and frustration among seniors in Nova Scotia. Many Nova Scotians, myself included, were left scratching their heads when almost a month after the changes were announced the Premier told the CBC that it was brought to the government's attention that instead of solving the problem they actually shifted it to another group of seniors who were just over the income threshold. I'll table that.

My question for the Premier, is it really his position that neither he nor anyone in his government was aware of the effects of the proposed changes to Seniors' Pharmacare prior to the roll-out?

THE PREMIER « » : It's my position that I listen to Nova Scotians. They clearly identified the challenges associated with this program. When they provided us the information it became obvious. I'm very proud of the fact that many low-income seniors now will have their premiums eliminated; that's a very positive thing. We will continue to move forward to ensure that as we make public policy, that if there is a mistake or an error in it, I'll admit that and we've done that in the seniors' program, Mr. Speaker.

MS. MANCINI « » : Mr. Speaker, following the Premier's line of reasoning, it seems that all the unrest and uncertainty felt by seniors could have been avoided if the government had consulted with somebody, or anybody, prior to acting with such a heavy hand.

My question for the Premier is, why would he allow substantial changes to such an important program be proposed without adequate consultation?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to correct the honourable member's question. There was consultation with the Group of lX. There were many opportunities for people to talk about the program. The reality of it is that when seniors get an opportunity to look at the program and the impact that it would have on them individually, many of them very thoughtfully and respectfully reached out, told us the experience they were having.

[Page 7706]

It became obvious, Mr. Speaker, that we moved the problem that we were trying to solve for a group of seniors who were having to make very difficult choices about medication and food and we moved it to another group. That was not our intention and when it was pointed out to us, I think any reasonable Nova Scotian, any reasonable government would do the right thing and reverse that decision. What we did was we made sure we protected the most vulnerable citizens of this province.

MS. MANCINI « » : Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians were shocked to learn that the Premier had issued a public apology on the proposed changes to Seniors' Pharmacare, using taxpayers' dollars. The Department of Health and Wellness paid $17,000 for the Premier to apologize for a reckless decision his government made in haste, without public consultation.

My question for the Premier is, after two and a half years of nickel and diming groups and organizations across the province, why does he think it is okay to use taxpayers' dollars to apologize for his government's mistake?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, as the Premier of this Province, I represent all Nova Scotians. It became obvious that many seniors across this province - there was no question the honourable member said there was a level of anxiety. I believe that it is my responsibility, the responsibility of government, that we would make sure we communicated directly with seniors. One of those ways was through that ad, to identify, to tell them that a lot of the changes would be happening positively.

We're often asked to reach out and communicate with citizens. I can tell you that I have not heard from a single senior citizen who was complaining about that, Mr. Speaker. They are grateful for the fact that we listened to them and acted properly.

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

PREM.: IND. CUT - EFFECTIVENESS

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, it is bad public policy to sign a $100 million bad ferry deal. It is bad public policy to reach deep into the pockets of seniors on fixed incomes with a tax grab, through the Pharmacare Program, and it is bad public policy to actually cancel an industry that the government makes money off. The film industry actually helps pay for the public services that we want. That is the bottom line from the report that was issued today, independently, that the Premier refuses to read.

The Premier wants to tell us about government making choices - how is it good public policy to cut an industry that actually contributes to the economy of the province and makes money for the government at the same time?

[Page 7707]

THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to remind him that 25 per cent all-in spend is the largest subsidy in any sector that we make in the Province of Nova Scotia. We're looking forward to continuing to have that happen, continue to grow and we look forward to this sector continuing to be here in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, the largest subsidy in the history of this province is the $100 million that government signed over to a private company to run a ferry, because they couldn't negotiate a good deal for the taxpayers of Nova Scotia. We could have four film industries for the cost of that bad deal.

How the Premier can lecture us on this stuff when that's what he's prepared to sign away is beyond me, but I can tell you this: it's time to explain to the 3,200 jobs that are at risk because their Premier is too stubborn to take another look at this industry why they're cut but he's prepared to sign away $100 million on a bad ferry deal.

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to thank all members of this House, and I want to thank Nova Scotians for continuing to work with our government to bring back fiscal health so that we can invest in things like quality daycare and ensuring that those looking after our children are being properly paid; investing in home care; and making sure that the provincial hospital gets on the path to being a safe place and to be rebuilt, at the same time allowing us to pay a 25 per cent all-in investment subsidy in the film industry as we grow the province.

Youth employment is up. The population is up. We are seeing positive signs that the province is moving in the right direction, and I want to thank all Nova Scotians for helping us move there.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable House Leader for the New Democratic Party.

HEALTH & WELLNESS - SENIORS' PHARMACARE:

CHANGES - REASONS

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, on March 27th of last year, here on the floor of this Legislature, I asked the Minister of Health and Wellness about funding for Seniors' Pharmacare. The minister stood here in this House and made an explicit promise. He said, "What I can tell the member opposite, and all Nova Scotians, while I'm Minister of Health and Wellness there won't be an increase in premiums in Seniors' Pharmacare." I'll table that.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the Minister of Health and Wellness is, given this promise to all Nova Scotians last year, why did the minister propose changes to Seniors' Pharmacare that would have seen raised premiums for thousands of seniors across Nova Scotia?

[Page 7708]

HON. LEO GLAVINE » : Mr. Speaker, in the question is the operative word "would have." Today every senior on the Pharmacare Program is paying no premium, or less, or the same as they always did.

MR. WILSON « » : Well, I guess he was just teasing the seniors here in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. That's not a way of dealing with seniors and Seniors' Pharmacare.

The minister failed in his attempt to sell the proposal and the proposed changes to Pharmacare as a good news story to Nova Scotians. It has caused many Nova Scotians to lose trust in the minister. The minister's reluctance to release information following the rollout only added to this mistrust. These events have strengthened the argument that changes to Seniors' Pharmacare should be debated on the floor of the Legislature.

So I'd like to ask, will the minister commit to bringing any future proposed changes to Seniors' Pharmacare to this House for public debate?

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand in my place any day and discuss Seniors' Pharmacare or any other health issue that impacts the lives of Nova Scotians. What we will now engage in is a wider consultation with seniors and all Nova Scotians on how this program can be shaped for the future without an increase this year. The downside, Mr. Speaker, is that we will not be able to add any new medications, any new drugs, to the formulary.

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

TIR - FERRY DEAL: POLITICIAL DECISION - CONFIRM

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, it's obvious to just about every Nova Scotian that this government made a very bad deal when it signed away $100 million dollars to support a boat between Yarmouth and Portland. It's so bad that the private company actually can't lose. Government officials confirm that in light of the subsidies from this government, the only way that company can lose money is if it's hit by an asteroid. The government itself confirms they didn't do any economic analysis to see whether this deal would be a payback for Nova Scotians or not. I think we're seeing a theme here.

Will the Premier admit, finally, that these are just political decisions and he's not even considering whether they're good for jobs and the economy or not?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I'll ask the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to respond.

[Page 7709]

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN » : Mr. Speaker, it's rich that the Leader of the Official Opposition would say this is political. He's using a number of $100 million, which is absolutely not true - not even close, Mr. Speaker. Not even close. (Interruption) The member for Pictou East, you'll get a chance too. Don't worry about it. You'll be up too.

Mr. Speaker, here's the reality of this. We signed the best deal that we could, with the best operator, based on the process . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has the floor.

MR. MACLELLAN « » : With the best operator that we have. It is not $100 million. That's the political number that the Tories across the way are going to use to try to create this narrative. The reality is we've got a two-year agreement with Bay Ferries on this vessel, on a 10-year overall agreement, Mr. Speaker. It's the best thing for our province; it's the best thing for the region.

We're not giving up on Yarmouth, Mr. Speaker. If they want to make this political, they're going down a bad road because we're not giving up on the people of that region. They know it's right. The member for Argyle-Barrington is not saying a word, Mr. Speaker. He is hiding under his chair.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, it's a little rich, coming from that side (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order please. The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition has the floor.

MR. BAILLIE « » : It's a little rich, that side lecturing us about numbers. After all, one of the main numbers, which is how much the secret management fee is, the government is so embarrassed that they won't even tell us how much profit that company is going to make while they underwrite every single dollar of losses.

You know what? The Premier can clear it up right now because Nova Scotia taxpayers deserve to know. How much does the government think this is going to cost them over 10 years? If it's not $100 million, tell us how much you've committed us to - that's what they should answer, Mr. Speaker - and tell us how much that company is going to make in secret profits. Get the permission and tell the people. Commit to that right now.

THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question. The Government of Nova Scotia has entered into an arrangement with Bay Ferries to provide a transportation link to our largest trading partner, to our largest opportunity when it comes to tourism.

This is a program that has been put in place with an operator who has provided that service before in the past. We are encouraged by the relationship we've been able to build with them. We're encouraged by the work that is coming and, quite frankly, the people of Nova Scotia are encouraged by the fact that they have the Nova Scotia ferry back. We're hearing from tourism operators across the province who see growth.

[Page 7710]

I want to thank all those Nova Scotians who have been patient as we worked our way through this over the last number of months to ensure that we had that service there as they were making investments in their businesses for the coming season.

PREM. - YAR. FERRY: SCHEDULE - CONFIRM

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, this is such a bad deal. The Premier traded away our opportunities for trade, he traded away trucks. He traded away an opportunity for taxpayers to actually get a break. They traded away any hope that there will ever be an end to the subsidies for that boat, as all you can see for 10 years is losses after losses. In fact they traded away their own financial credibility. The only thing we have going for us is the schedule and the timing of that boat in Yarmouth on the Nova Scotia side, and now we find out they may not even have that.

I'll ask the Premier, will he confirm that the schedule that was published the other day will be the schedule that Nova Scotians can rely on, and that the people of Yarmouth can rely on for having that boat on our side?

THE PREMIER « » : I'll ask the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to respond.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, the agreement that's in place was developed over a year between Bay Ferries, the City of Portland, the people who are there making decisions on behalf of the city.

Mr. Speaker, the decision that is before the City of Portland is based solely on the agreement that has been put forth. (Interruptions) Again, this is a process that has to take place with the City of Portland. The councillors and the elected people there get to make this final decision. The pieces have been put together by Mark MacDonald, Bay Ferries, with their colleagues down in Portland. They'll go through that process and we'll respect their decision when it is made. Thank you very much.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, let me get this straight. We're going to put in $100 million. We're going to underwrite every loss short of an asteroid and they get all the jobs. There are no Canadians on that boat, there are no trucks, there will be no lobsters going across or softwood or anything else and it's up to the people of Portland, who are putting in zero dollars, whether we get the schedule we want or not. That is not good enough. That should all have been worked out when the government was busy putting $100 million on the table of Nova Scotia taxpayers' money.

[Page 7711]

Mr. Speaker, what is the plan? In light of all that Nova Scotia taxpayers have been asked to do, what is the plan to ensure that at least we get the sailing schedule that we need?

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, we've done absolutely everything we can to get every aspect of this ferry service right. We've gone through a rigorous process, we've had proponents make bids. The best choice by far was Mark MacDonald - a reputable company, a good operator here that that Party used to support back in 2009. They've had the same relationship and a very similar contract with Bay Ferries, to the point that $10 million per year was their deal back in 2009. Look, the reality is (Interruptions) Oh, it's not true? Okay.

Mr. Speaker, this is the reality. We came to the absolute best deal for the people of Yarmouth for that reason. They want to make this their political story. This is what they want to do: they're going to attack the service. They're going to attack Mark MacDonald. We're not giving up, and this is going to work because we put the time in. We've got the best deal and the best operator, and this will be to the benefit of all . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

PREM. - SENIORS' PHARMACARE: TAX GRAB - CONFIRM

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I was so enraptured by that answer that I lost track of where we were.

On January 15th the government issued a press release which led seniors to believe that they were actually going to get a break on their Pharmacare premiums. But it turned out that wasn't the case because many seniors saw increases of up to 200 per cent. At the same time the government told seniors that this was necessary to make the program sustainable. But what the government didn't tell them was that it was taking $10 million of its own money out of the Pharmacare for its own use, Mr. Speaker. Clearly, that's not what a government does when they want to truly make a program sustainable.

My question to the Premier is this, will he now confirm for our seniors that in fact this whole fiasco was simply a tax grab to take money out of seniors' pockets and put it into the coffers of the government?

THE PREMIER « » : That's just a ridiculous question. The program has been there; it's $166 million. All Nova Scotians contribute about $110 million. Roughly $54 million comes from the premiums that are provided. As the minister alluded to earlier, the formulary is restricted. This was no windfall for the Government of Nova Scotia.

We believe in this program. I believe all Nova Scotians believe in this program. The adjustments were being made when we realized that it was having a negative impact on a group of senior citizens that we had not anticipated. We did the appropriate thing and responded back to that. That program is there. The minister is going to do further consultation to work with seniors across this province to make sure that not only is a program there but also that we can spend the formulary to cover the much-needed medication and drugs that seniors across our province require.

[Page 7712]

The good news, Mr. Speaker, is there are many, many more seniors today paying less on the Pharmacare Program than they were a year ago.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Oh, Mr. Speaker, if this is such a great thing, why did the Premier trip over himself several times apologizing to seniors for what he did to them at their expense? The fact of the matter is seniors are paying more because the government is going to put $10 million less into the program. That will actually destabilize it.

I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, we've heard from seniors across the province, and they've been very clear. They want the program to be there for them. They want to know they're going to get access to the medicines that they need. They want the government to know that they are on a fixed income, and you can't keep digging deeper and deeper into their pockets.

In addition, they now have, under threat, given the government their private tax information, and they want it back. I've written to the Premier on this before. Will he take this opportunity today to assure seniors that he will destroy the private information that the government got under threat?

THE PREMIER « » : I want to again thank all Nova Scotians who responded around the Pharmacare Program. I want to thank them for their patience, their hard work, and for telling us their personal stories. We responded to that.

The information that was required for that, as the honourable member knows, that doesn't come to us. It goes to Revenue Canada. It wouldn't be information that we would get. It would just tell us based on what the premium would be. Any information that would be here would not come to the Department of Health and Wellness.

What's unfortunate, Mr. Speaker is that when you get inside of this theatre, people will take information to build up the rhetoric, to put fear into seniors across this province. The bottom line is (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. The honourable Premier has the floor.

THE PREMIER « » : The honourable member was criticizing me, Mr. Speaker, for apologizing. Is he too big a man to apologize when he's wrong? I think most Nova Scotians want the Premier to apologize when they believe he's wrong.

[Page 7713]

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

ENVIRON. - NORTHERN PULP: WATER USAGE - DETAILS

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment. On February 8th she issued a response to the appeal of Northern Pulp's industrial approval and in doing so agreed to increase their allowable water usage significantly up to a maximum of just over 92,000 cubic metres a day, despite the fact that comparable mills in Canada are around 70, and I'll table that.

Mr. Speaker, the water availability study that she received for the Granton area which she received in December, which I will also table, stated that the maximum sustainable water withdrawal is around 95,000 cubic metres. Essentially the minister has approved an amount very close to that, and that's just one company. Michelin and others also draw from that location. The study also assumes there will be no commercial, industrial, or residential development in the future in that watershed of 239 square kilometres, so why did the minister agree to such a significant increase when comparable mills can do much better?

HON. MARGARET MILLER » : Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member opposite for the question. This is my very first question in the room. (Applause) As the honourable member opposite knows, the government has worked very hard these last two years to ensure a cleaner and safe operating mill and to ensure that we support Nova Scotians in the desire for an environmentally healthy and prosperous Pictou County.

So we did, as he said, change the numbers on some of the water emissions, but there was a new study done that has shown that the amount of water that could be brought into the mill was certainly available through the source and that it was something that the government and the mill could work with and so we approved that.

MR. YOUNGER » : Mr. Speaker, you're welcome on the first question. Yes, there is enough water, it says in that study, as long as there is no residential, commercial, or industrial development anywhere in a 239-square-kilometre area of Pictou County in the future. It states it right in the water-usage study that I just tabled. So the owners of Northern Pulp recently upgraded a B.C. mill they owned to bring down their water usage to 68,000 but here the minister has decided that measures expected in mills in B.C., Quebec, and Alberta don't need to apply in Nova Scotia. This also makes the effluent plant the province has to build much more expensive, so will the minister explain why residents in Nova Scotia, and Pictou County in particular, deserve less scrutiny on their water usage in their watershed than do residents in British Columbia, Alberta, and Quebec?

MS. MILLER « » : Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member opposite. I certainly can't speak to what's happening in other areas. We looked at all the information that we had. The department has worked to come up with the solution for Northern Pulp. Studies were done that showed that this water was available to use. The effluent levels would be at an acceptable level, and we approved that measure.

[Page 7714]

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

PREM.: N.S. FILM IND. - ECON. BENEFIT

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Premier. As we've all heard earlier here in the House, and also in the CBC interview today, the Premier continues to demonstrate an unwillingness to accept that before his government recklessly axed the Film Tax Credit, Nova Scotia's film industry actually provided a net economic benefit to the province, and I'll table that.

Today, Screen Nova Scotia posted highlights of a new report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the world's leading independent accounting firms, which concluded that Nova Scotia's screening industry, as it operated under the Film Tax Credit, did in fact provide a clear economic benefit to the province. I would also table that.

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

MS. ZANN « » : The study reports, Mr. Speaker - here's the question.

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

MS. ZANN « » : Yes, Mr. Speaker, as the study reports, the film industry did provide many jobs . . .

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please. We'll move into the supplementary time for the member for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River.

MS. ZANN « » : My question for the Premier is, what evidence can he provide that would suggest that he is in fact correct while one of the world's leading independent accounting firms is wrong?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to remind her that there is a $10 million fund that is there that is 25 per cent all-in spend, a grant to programs and films that are in the province. That is a tremendous investment. I hope that the numbers she is using are accurate. That means that $10 million was a good investment by this government. We're looking forward to seeing the return and the revenue on that $10 million.

We have to make choices, Mr. Speaker. We've invested $65 million back in the classrooms that she was a member of a government that cut out. We've invested $44 million in home care. We're going to do more when the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board stands up; we're going to invest in child care, in daycare and daycare workers, the thing that they ignored while in government. It's a balance; we believe we're being fair to all Nova Scotians.

[Page 7715]

At the same time, Mr. Speaker, youth employment is up, population is up, we're seeing the economy grow in a positive way.

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

FIN. & TREASURY BD.: FILM TAX CREDIT CUT - INFO.

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. Arcadia Entertainment has been in business for 15 years, providing good, full-time, permanent jobs. But because of this Liberal Government's short-sighted policy, Arcadia, a Nova Scotia success story, is now in jeopardy. Staff at Arcadia remember full well when the Premier campaigned for their votes, promising to extend the tax credit when this government passed a bill to extend the tax credit and then swiped it away with a swipe of the pen.

My question for the minister is, what can the minister tell the good folks of the film industry what information he relied on when the department got rid of the Film Tax Credit?

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : As has already been noted by the Premier to the previous questions earlier today and for the past little while, governing is about making choices. What we've done is we continue to recognize the support and support the industry. We've established a fund for $10 million for the investment into the programs. That is operated under Nova Scotia Business Inc., which falls under the purview of the Minister of Business.

Mr. Speaker, we're still investing in the industry. I look forward to the returns that the industry provides. We continue to make investments in other priority services for Nova Scotians.

MR. HOUSTON « » : This government is reporting to us that actual revenue is way, way below projected revenue - part of that hole is probably because of what they did to the film industry.

I'm asking what information the department relied on. I think we heard the answer - nothing, except for a matrix that asked bureaucrats to give information about whether decisions would have political implications. One of the things they wanted bureaucrats to say was: would the expected outcry and responses be manageable? They wanted bureaucrats to rank that as political sensitivity - high, moderate, low.

[Page 7716]

I'd like to ask the minister, how did the bureaucrats rank the political sensitivity on this decision - high, low, or moderate?

MR. DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, for the film industry and the role that's going on, we no longer have a Film Tax Credit. We have a fund with a $10 million investment for individual applications that come forward. That fund will provide rebates available for eligible applicants, upwards of 25 to almost 30 per cent, to support all-in Nova Scotia spend. That is supporting not just the people directly in the film industry but supporting spanned out in the community, returning into people with restaurants, the tourism sector, accommodations - all of those are being supported by the new grant.

This is good for Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker, and it's also fiscally responsible, the approach that we've taken here.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: ANNA. VALLEY HOSPICE - UPDATE

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. I think this is an annual event that I ask the Minister of Health and Wellness about the update on the hospice. As the minister knows, and we know from the Annapolis Valley, the fundraising for the hospice in the Annapolis Valley has been completed now for a couple of years and we want to know when the announcement will be.

Can he tell me, and the citizens of the Annapolis Valley, when will the announcement be for the build on the hospice in the Annapolis Valley?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, what I am pleased to say today is that our government is committed to hospices. There are no hospices in our province. We have worked out a framework that will allow communities in the future to be able to have hospices.

We know that the MOU process is currently underway and negotiating with two communities as we speak.

MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the minister for that answer. I'm not sure I'm really that pleased with that answer. I know that the minister has said several times in the past the announcement would be very soon. I didn't hear that right now. I know that if I was to be told that I did not have long to live, I would want to hear that from the minister, that I would pass away very soon, because I would think I could be confident that I would last a couple years.

Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is, what does he have to say to the citizens of the Valley who gave $8 million to this fundraising campaign? We see the value of that money continue to erode as inflation eats away at that, as construction costs continue to rise. What does he have to say about that to the donors of that money from his constituency and mine?

[Page 7717]

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm glad the member opposite is in good health, because we do have a little ways to go.

This was a very difficult file. When I became Minister of Health and Wellness and started to talk about palliative care in the province, we had very little direction in the department. There was no framework for envisioning how palliative care would be done across Nova Scotia. We now have a palliative care coordinator, we have a framework in place, and over the next little while those MOUs will be finalized. I certainly look forward to the day when I invite the member opposite to an announcement.

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

TIR - GRAVEL ROADS: WORK - STATUS

MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Gravel roads make up about one-third of the road infrastructure in my constituency. I've received many complaints in the past few weeks, and I've actually travelled to see the basis for those complaints. The potholes are so bad you have to drive about five kilometres an hour just to get through them, and in some places the only way to get through is with a truck or an SUV.

My question is, what is the status of the work to be done on gravel roads this year?

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that question was planted by some members of my own caucus. With respect to gravel roads, look, the situation varies from year to year. This has been a tough one. There is no doubt about it.

In all seriousness, in all regions many communities have been struggling with gravel roads. The reality is that with the precipitation and with the Spring thaw, some years are just tougher than others. This is a particularly tough one for us, and really, what we do now is we look at what's passible and what isn't. We react from the depots, from the individual stations across the province that TIR operates to get there, and make sure that for emergency purposes, for urgent situations, we get them open, Mr. Speaker. We can't really get our equipment in to do a whole lot of work because of the weight restrictions, and of course, it's tough to even drop gravel this time of year, so it really is a case-by-case basis. As always, to the member, if there is anything specific that we can bring forward, I would be happy to do so.

MR. HARRISON « » : Thank you, and you're absolutely right. There isn't an MLA here who wouldn't have written that question, I'm sure. Is there any plan for a capital project to start bringing these roads to a reasonable standard?

[Page 7718]

MR. MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker - a very good question, a very fair question. We actually are looking at that opportunity. As the member knows, a lot of the gravel work, brush cutting, and other annual maintenance is done through an operational envelope. If it was capitalized, that would certainly give us additional opportunities to address at least the most pressing roads with respect to gravel. We are looking at that and doing some of the numbers and seeing what we can do, and obviously, with the weather, with the way that the season has turned out, there is a merit for looking at that. So we will certainly do so. Thank you.

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

EECD: SCH. CLOSURES - ASSETS

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, as you know, yesterday the announcement was made to close 17 schools in Cape Breton. This is devastating news for the families and communities that will be directly affected by these closures. Two of the schools were built using the P3 model, and as the NDP has said many times, the P3 process is fiscally irresponsible. This government invested more than $2 million in contract payments for those two schools this year alone, and these assets paid by the people of Nova Scotia will now be handed over, lock, stock, and barrel, to private developers.

My question for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development is, why is the minister allowing private developers to take public assets that were paid for by the hard-working people of Nova Scotia?

HON. KAREN CASEY » : Thank you to the member for the question. I would like to begin by congratulating the communities in Cape Breton who have wrestled with and made some very tough decisions but they made them in the best interests of the students.

As every member in the House knows, school reviews have for a long time, and will continue to be, emotional activities for communities to go through. We believe that the changes that were made in the school review process have allowed things like the Cape Breton decision to be more acceptable because the community is part of the decision-making.

I'm very proud of the work the folks in Cape Breton did and I'm very pleased to know that they are looking forward to how they can provide facilities that provide quality programs for their kids.

MS. ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the minister for her answer and I'd like to also say that as far as I'm concerned, the communities she is referring to are actually placed between a rock and a hard place, when they have to make these decisions.

[Page 7719]

Nova Scotia needs strong schools in strong communities. Schools provide the essential building blocks for a prosperous and healthy province. We need robust leadership from government. Just this morning in a radio interview, the Premier acknowledged that education is a priority issue for Nova Scotians.

With more than 30 P3 schools in the province and decision notices on some imminent, my question for the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development is, will the minister tell Nova Scotians how she plans to address the fiscally irresponsible and reckless situation created by the P3 school contracts?

MS. CASEY « » : To respond to the first part of the question, I'd like to remind everyone in the House that it's not the mortar and bricks that make a school, it's what takes place in the classroom in the school.

As for the P3 decisions, there was a decision made by a previous government to provide quality buildings in communities. That was the decision of the government of the day. We are now moving forward with looking at how we provide quality buildings but, more importantly, quality education in the classroom.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: ABERDEEN HOSP. SHORT-STAY UNIT - STATUS

HON. PAT DUNN « » : This question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. Families in Pictou County continue to be left in the dark concerning the future of the short stay mental health unit at the Aberdeen Hospital. What was intended to be a temporary closure now appears to be indefinite and families continue to suffer.

My question to the minister, will the minister finally be upfront and tell the people of Pictou County what will become of the short-stay mental health unit at the Aberdeen Hospital?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, it's my understanding that the three MLAs who represent Pictou County have had a meeting and had information provided about mental health services in Pictou County. What I can assure the member opposite who just presented the question and all people of Pictou County is that mental health services are stronger today than they were one year ago.

MR. DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, constituents who come to my office certainly would not agree with that last statement by the minister. We have learned that this government used a chart to gauge the reaction to cutting certain programs. Among the things considered under this chart is the effectiveness of a program in political considerations. I'll table that.

[Page 7720]

My question to the minister is, what was the expected public outcry to closing the short-stay unit at the Aberdeen Hospital? Did the minister feel that the negative socio-economic impacts could be minimized or managed?

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, I think what the member has become aware of and probably all people now in Pictou County is that what was a short-term mental health unit was not one that met the standards for Nova Scotia short-term mental health unit. What is happening now with the refurbishing of the ER in the Aberdeen is that there will be two beds to provide observation of those who come in in any kind of mental health trauma.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS - PRIVACY

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : My question, through you, is also to the Minister of Health and Wellness. It revolves around the information that we have within our electronic medical records.

A business owner in Bedford alerted the media last week after years of trying to stop sensitive mental health records from being incorrectly sent to her office. The information was intended for a mental health referral office and included not only patient names but private information concerning their mental health. The owner estimates that she received dozens of faxes containing private patient information over the years.

What action has the minister taken to fix this serious breach of Nova Scotia private medical information, and will he assure the House that this is the only instance of this happening?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : What we're all aware of is that this had gone on for a considerable period of time, about 10 years; in fact I believe the member opposite was also Minister of Health while this unfortunate incident happened.

We have moved very quickly with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and with the privacy officer to investigate and make that very, very simple correction around getting a fax number correct. It really is a very simple solution here. I know we have very much data collected on people in the Department of Health and Wellness, and therefore we asked as well a third party to look into this issue.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Nothing should prevent Nova Scotians from seeking the help that they need, especially the mental health treatments that they require. I'm shaken that confidence in the privacy of their private and medical information should dissuade someone from seeking the care that they need. They shouldn't be worried about their files being faxed willy-nilly around the province.

[Page 7721]

Failure to protect private medical information goes against the Personal Health Information Act, which provides penalties for these kinds of breaches. Despite pointing to the health authority and doctors, ultimately the minister is accountable for this one.

Will the minister assure all Nova Scotians that their private mental health records, and health records in general, will not be improperly distributed again?

MR. GLAVINE « » : One of the aspects that I conveyed very strongly when interviewed by media was that I was truly disturbed by this incident. We moved very, very quickly to hopefully have it corrected once and for all in this particular instance.

But it does cause me as minister to take a look at how the transmission of very private information takes place in this province. I know we are the custodians of tremendous amounts of private information about Nova Scotians, and we certainly give it the highest regard in terms of its secrecy.

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

SNS - REGISTRIES: PRIVATIZATION - CONSULTANT ADVICE

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : My question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia. Since the last Fall sitting, the minister has made public the fact that his department has spent over $800,000 on consultants in legal fees regarding potential privatization of the registries. This amount is substantial, especially given that the department has also made public that the land registry system could be upgraded for $2 million to $3 million.

My question to the minister is - and I think taxpayers deserve to know - what costly advice has been provided to the minister by these high-paid consultants?

HON. MARK FUREY » : The work that has been undertaken at Service Nova Scotia has been very thorough, to ensure that all options that government could pursue have been considered. That takes, inherently, a tremendous amount of work and a tremendous amount of time and equally associated costs. We don't have all of that subject matter expertise within government, Mr. Speaker. We truly wanted an independent response, and we believe we've received that.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

[Page 7722]

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, as is customary when we start a session, there is no government business. As Bill No. 149 was introduced today, it will be ready for debate tomorrow. In light of the fact that we're scheduled to sit today until 6:00 p.m. and the fact that due to the election of Speaker and other speeches earlier today, by my calculations, only 18 members' statements were actually read, so, in light of that, knowing it's the opening day and everyone has lots of members' statements they would love to make, I would ask you to seek the unanimous consent of the House to revert to the order of business, Statements by Members.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, in light of that, that will conclude the government's business for today, in light of the decision by the Opposition not to continue work today.

We will meet again tomorrow on Friday April 15th, where following Oral Questions Put by Members to Ministers and the daily routine, we will go into debate on Bill No. 149 and also on Resolution No. 3128. The House will meet tomorrow from the hours of 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is to adjourn until tomorrow, Friday, April 15th, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

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

The motion is carried.

The House now stands adjourned until Friday, April 15th, to sit again at 9:00 a.m.

[The House rose at 2:52 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 7723]

RESOLUTION NO. 3130

By: Hon. Lena Diab « » (Immigration)

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

Whereas His Excellency Bishop Youssef Soueif, Archbishop of the Maronites of Cyprus, will be making his first trip to Canada, visiting Halifax from April 16 to 18, 2016; and

Whereas His Excellency was ordained a priest in 1987, earned a PhD in Oriental Ecclesiastical Studies in 1992, ordained Archbishop in 2008, and in 2010 was appointed Special Secretary for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East for His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI; and

Whereas I am pleased a Member of the Executive Council of Nova Scotia and as member of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Parish to welcome His Excellency to Halifax and wish him a wonderful stay in our beautiful province.

Therefore be it resolved that all Members of the House of Assembly welcome Archbishop Youssef and wish him continued health and good years under God's protection.

RESOLUTION NO. 3131

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Erika Beatty has extensive experience in the creative sector; and

Whereas she is an active board member for the Halifax Partnership and the Creative and Cultural Advisory Board for the Banff Centre's Lougheed Leadership Institute; and

Whereas Ms. Beatty has just been appointed Screen Nova Scotia's new executive director;

Therefore be it resolved that Members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Ms. Beatty on her appointment, and wish her all the best for the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3132

[Page 7724]

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Big Brothers Big Sisters, headquartered in Dartmouth, delivers mentoring programs designed to encourage and inspire young people; and

Whereas Bowl for Kids' Sake is their largest annual campaign which provides funding to support our youth mentoring programs; and

Whereas for 40 years the bowlers and supporters of Bowl for Kids' Sake made a real difference in the lives of children;

Therefore be it resolved that Members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Big Brothers Big Sisters on the 40th Anniversary of Bowl for Kids' Sake, and wish them all the best for the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3133

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas the American College of Psychiatrists comprises more than 750 psychiatrists who have demonstrated excellence in the field of psychiatry and have achieved national recognition for their work; and

Whereas the college selects Laughlin Fellows from an elite pool of psychiatrists deemed likely to make a significant contribution to the field of psychiatry; and

Whereas Doctor Marie Claire Bourque of Ste. Anne du Ruisseau, Nova Scotia, a psychiatry resident at the Queen Elizabeth Health Sciences Centre, was selected as a Laughlin Fellow for the 2015 year;

Therefore be it resolved that Members of the House of Assembly congratulate Dr. Bourque on her achievements and wish her continued success in her contributions to the field of psychiatry in Canada and internationally.

RESOLUTION NO. 3134

[Page 7725]

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Stacy Chesnutt, a resident of Dartmouth East, is concerned about women's and girls' health and physical activity level; and

Whereas in order to get women of all ages active, Ms. Chesnutt has founded Sole Sisters Women's Race Series, Li'l sisters Races and Girls Gone Gazelle Run Clubs; and

Whereas Ms. Chestnutt has recently received the first Women Active Nova Scotia Program Trendsetter Award for Practices;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing the achievement of Stacy Chesnutt and her dedication to women of all ages, and wish her and her volunteers the best of luck with future activities.

RESOLUTION NO. 3135

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas the Crosswalk Safety Society of Nova Scotia has been installing bright orange flags at marked intersections for walkers to use to enhance their safety; and

Whereas crosswalk flag installations are currently in the Halifax Regional Municipality, Port Williams, Hantsport, Windsor, Berwick, Aylesford, Chester, New Ross, and Hubbards; and

Whereas the 100th set of crosswalk flags was installed on Rocky Lake Drive in Bedford on Wednesday, March 23, 2016;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating President Norm Collins and the members of the Crosswalk Safety Society of Nova Scotia for their important role in our communities.

RESOLUTION NO. 3136

[Page 7726]

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas the Discover Abilities Events Society hosts workshops, events, and skills development conferences for adults with disabilities; and

Whereas their goal is to help individuals acquire the skills and connections they need to remain active members of their communities and find meaningful work; and

Whereas the Discover Abilities Events Society is hosting Ignite'16 on May 7, 2016, at Mount Saint Vincent University, which will feature sessions on social, recreational, and employment skills for adults with intellectual disabilities;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing the Discover Abilities Events Society for their valuable work in the community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3137

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas the Ecology Action Centre has been a strong advocate for environmental issues in Nova Scotia since 1971; and

Whereas the Ecology Action Centre continues to create and support initiatives on a local, national, and global level; and

Whereas the Ecology Action Centre for will celebrate the grand opening of their newly-green-renovated centre this April 22nd;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing the Ecology Action Centre for their dedication to the environment and sustainability, and we wish them the best of luck with their future projects.

RESOLUTION NO. 3138

[Page 7727]

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Kate Hamilton, a resident of Dartmouth East, has been recognized as an enterprising young woman in Dartmouth from the success of her downtown Dartmouth store "Bodega Boutique"; and

Whereas Kate has worked to improve the downtown Dartmouth area and be an advocate and inspiration for young entrepreneurs to stay in Nova Scotia to run their business;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing Kate Hamilton for the success of her business, her advocacy for young entrepreneurs, and her community spirit that she is using to better the downtown area.

RESOLUTION NO. 3139

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas the organization Healthy Honey Beez has initiated an environmentally friendly and engaging project right here in Dartmouth to promote sustainable communities; and

Whereas Healthy Honey Beez has a youth program called Healthy Teenz Dartmouth that teaches those aged 12 to18 how to manage bee hives, and then how to market the honey in order to learn entrepreneurial skills; and

Whereas Healthy Honey Beez strives to advocate for the importance of bees within the ecosystem;

Therefore be it resolved that member of this House of Assembly join me in thanking Healthy Honey Beez for their role in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 3140

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

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Whereas Eric Jagger, a financial advisor, and his wife Susan, a dental firm administrator, have lived in Dartmouth East since 1999; and

Whereas Eric has been involved in all aspects of the Dartmouth East Rotary Club, as well as the Read-a-long program, Maritime Fiddle Festival, Halifax Hospice Society, and various other community events; and

Whereas family and friends gathered on April 10, 2016, at the Austenville Owls Club in Dartmouth to celebrate their retirement;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in wishing a happy and healthy retirement to Eric and Susan as they return to Ontario to enjoy their grandchildren.

RESOLUTION NO. 3141

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas for over 30 years, Luke MacDonald, partner at Aerobics First, has been establishing local, national, and global partnerships that benefit many communities; and

Whereas Mr. MacDonald gets local young people active through running with projects like Run for Life, the Youth Running Series, and KidsFest Running and Reading; and

Whereas Mr. MacDonald expanded a shoe-fitting program and exchange in Gambia and regularly sends iPhones, soccer uniforms, and running shoes to Gambia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing Luke MacDonald for his dedication to working with the youth of our province and around the world.

RESOLUTION NO. 3142

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Luke MacDonald, partner at Aerobics First, has been working hard in the community for more than 30 years; and

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Whereas in 2015, Mr. MacDonald created the National Litter Run, whereby participants collect garbage along running and walking paths in their community; and

Whereas through social media and word of mouth, runners picked up garbage throughout metro Halifax and as far away as Kenya and Gambia, resulting in this year's first World Litter Run;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing the achievement of Mr. Mac Donald and his dedication to the community and in wishing him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3143

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Dartmouth resident Ernie Nickerson was born on July 13, 1936; and

Whereas Mr. Nickerson will be celebrating his 80th birthday with family and friends on July 13, 2016;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Mr. Nickerson on his 80th birthday on July 13, 2016, and in wishing him many more happy days ahead.

RESOLUTION NO. 3144

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas cousins Shaun and Danny O'Hearn, both of whom call Dartmouth home, have recently opened Nine Locks Brewing Company; and

Whereas the Waverley Street location pays tribute to the original nine locks of historic Shubenacadie Canal; and

Whereas their Dirty Blonde, IPA, ESB, and Porter are all made of natural ingredients with no preservatives, no pasteurization, and never any filtration;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Shaun and Danny O'Hearn on the opening of Nine Locks Brewing Company and in wishing them all the best for the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3145

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

Whereas Marcia Olsen, a resident of Dartmouth East, is the winner of two trophies from the Arnold International World Qualifier for bodybuilding; and

Whereas she took home the 5th place in open divisions and 2nd place in the women's figure masters in a competition that had over 600 participants; and

Whereas she placed in the top eight in her divisions at the Canadian Bodybuilding Association National Competition held in Halifax in 2015;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing Marcia Olsen in representing Canada on the world stage for her bodybuilding, wishing her best of luck in upcoming competitions, and in congratulating her for her personal success in her athletics.

RESOLUTION NO. 3146

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

Whereas Prince Andrew High School's Underwater Robotics Team engages students to learn more about remotely operated underwater vehicles; and

Whereas Prince Andrew High School's Underwater Robotics Team is preparing to compete in the MAT ROV Underwater Robotics Competition where they will be challenged to create a robot that can be operated in a simulation of Jupiter's moon, Europa, explore aquatic life on the sea floor, as well as retrieve equipment for NASA and take oil samples;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing the accomplishments thus far for the Prince Andrew High School Underwater Robotic Team, and we wish them well with future competitions.

RESOLUTION NO. 3147

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By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

Whereas Nancy and Bernie Schultz are residents of Dartmouth East; and

Whereas Mr. and Mrs. Schultz co-founded the Last House on the Block Society in 2012, a non-profit organization that provides resources to those struggling with addiction, have been victims of abuse, or are homeless; and

Whereas Mr. and Mrs. Schultz have received the 2016 Family Volunteer Award from the province to honour all of their hard work;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing the achievement of Mr. and Mrs. Schultz, and their dedication to the community, and we wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3148

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

Whereas the Shubenacadie Canal Commission has been working hard to restore the waterway that connects Halifax Harbour to the Cobequid Bay, spanning 114 km of beauty, with their Canal Greenway Project; and

Whereas most recently they have restored the old inclined plane marine with a full-size replica of the original marine boat cradle at the Dartmouth inclined plane section of the Shubenacadie Canal from Halifax Harbour to Sullivan's Pond;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing the Shubenacadie Canal Commission in all their work to restore the Shubenacadie Canal and restore the beautiful waterway that we have here that spans from Dartmouth to Halifax.

RESOLUTION NO. 3149

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

Whereas Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada (VETS Canada), founded by Jim and Debbie Lowther in 2010, is a national, volunteer-led, grassroots movement based in Dartmouth; and

Whereas VETS Canada has assisted hundreds of homeless and in-crisis veterans with a view to helping reintegrate them into civilian life; and

Whereas VETS Canada launched "Guitars for Vets", a program which offers peer support through guitar lessons, and regularly holds "Boots on the Ground" walks in search of veterans living homeless;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in thanking the Lowthers, VETS Canada national staff, as well as the hundreds of dedicated volunteers across the country who demonstrate their support for our nation's heroes.

RESOLUTION NO. 3150

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Allyssa Walsh, a resident of Dartmouth East and recent Prince Andrew High School graduate, received the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre Scholarship for her work in volunteering for numerous human rights initiatives; and

Whereas Allyssa is also the recipient of the Beaverbrook Award from the Vimy Ridge Foundation for her essay on how we can ensure that history remains relevant to our younger generations; and

Whereas Allyssa has chosen to continue her education here in Nova Scotia at Dalhousie University and continues to volunteer with youth mental health initiatives and Camp Hill Veterans Memorial;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing Allyssa Walsh, all her achievements, and the hard work she gives to her community, and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3151

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Dartmouth residents Clarence Miller and Marion Miller were married on August 31, 1966; and

Whereas the Millers will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary with family and friends in August 2016;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Mr. and Mrs. Miller on their 50th Wedding Anniversary on August 31, 2016, and in wishing them all the best for the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3152

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Dartmouth East residents Ronald T. James and Margaret J. James were married on April 5, 1956; and

Whereas the Jameses will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary with family and friends;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Mr. and Mrs. James on their 60th Wedding Anniversary on April 5, 2016, and in wishing them all the best for the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3153

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Dartmouth East residents David R. Harvey and Sylvia M. Harvey were married on June 23, 1956; and

Whereas the Harveys will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary with family and friends on June 18, 2016;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Mr. and Mrs. Harvey on their 60th Wedding Anniversary on June 23, 2016, and in wishing them all the best for the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3154

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Dartmouth residents Harley W. Eisener and Eileen V. Eisener were married on March 10, 1956; and

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Whereas the Eiseners will be celebrating their 60th Anniversary with family and friends in April;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Mr. and Mrs. Eisener on their 60th Wedding Anniversary on March 10, 2016, and in wishing them all the best for the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 3155

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Coast to Coast Consulting is a team of six Masters of Planning students from the Dalhousie School of Planning; and

Whereas the Main Street area of Dartmouth wants a more walkable, safe and comfortable community with more public amenities and green spaces; and

Whereas Coast to Coast created a public infrastructure plan that advanced Main Street Business Improvement District's vision of becoming an urban village;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in the recognizing Tim Davidson of Surrey, British Columbia, a member of Coast to Coast Consulting, for his effort in providing a plan that can build Main Street into a better community, and wish him all the best in his future career.

RESOLUTION NO. 3156

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Coast to Coast Consulting is a team of six Masters of Planning students from the Dalhousie School of Planning; and

Whereas the Main Street area of Dartmouth wants a more walkable, safe and comfortable community with more public amenities and green spaces; and

Whereas Coast to Coast created a public infrastructure plan that advanced Main Street Business Improvement District's vision of becoming an urban village;

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Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in the recognizing Sara Jellicoe of Halifax, a member of Coast to Coast Consulting, for her effort in providing a plan that can build Main Street into a better community, and wish her all the best in her future career.

RESOLUTION NO. 3157

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Coast to Coast Consulting is a team of six Masters of Planning students from the Dalhousie School of Planning; and

Whereas the Main Street area of Dartmouth wants a more walkable, safe and comfortable community with more public amenities and green spaces; and

Whereas Coast to Coast created a public infrastructure plan that advanced Main Street Business Improvement District's vision of becoming an urban village;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in the recognizing Christina Wheeler of Halifax, a member of Coast to Coast Consulting, for her effort in providing a plan that can build Main Street into a better community, and wish her all the best in her future career.

RESOLUTION NO. 3158

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Coast to Coast Consulting is a team of six Masters of Planning students from the Dalhousie School of Planning; and

Whereas the Main Street area of Dartmouth wants a more walkable, safe and comfortable community with more public amenities and green spaces; and

Whereas Coast to Coast created a public infrastructure plan that advanced Main Street Business Improvement District's vision of becoming an urban village;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in the recognizing Mia Feng of Halifax, a member of Coast to Coast Consulting, for her effort in providing a plan that can build Main Street into a better community, and wish her all the best in her future career.

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RESOLUTION NO. 3159

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Coast to Coast Consulting is a team of six Masters of Planning students from the Dalhousie School of Planning; and

Whereas the Main Street area of Dartmouth wants a more walkable, safe and comfortable community with more public amenities and green spaces; and

Whereas Coast to Coast created a public infrastructure plan that advanced Main Street Business Improvement District's vision of becoming an urban village;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in the recognizing Kaitlyn Walker of Toronto, a member of Coast to Coast Consulting, for her effort in providing a plan that can build Main Street into a better community, and wish her all the best in her future career.

RESOLUTION NO. 3160

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas Coast to Coast Consulting is a team of six Masters of Planning students from the Dalhousie School of Planning; and

Whereas the Main Street area of Dartmouth wants a more walkable, safe and comfortable community with more public amenities and green spaces; and

Whereas Coast to Coast created a public infrastructure plan that advanced Main Street Business Improvement District's vision of becoming an urban village;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing Dylan Smith of Nanaimo, British Columbia, a member of Coast to Coast Consulting, for his effort in providing a plan that can build Main Street into a better community, and wish him all the best in his future career.

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