Assemblée Législative de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Les travaux de la Chambre ont repris le
27 mars 2014

HANSARD 10-43

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Charlie Parker

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

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

Second Session

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2096, Fin.: CPP - Expansion,
Hon. G. Steele 3354
Res. 2097, Addictions Awareness Wk. (11/14-11/20/10) - Recognize,
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 3354
Vote - Affirmative 3355
Res. 2098, Newcomers Celebration (C.B.):
Oldford, Eileen Lannon/CBCEDA - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Jennex 3355
Vote - Affirmative 3356
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 93, Motor Vehicle Act,
Hon. W. Estabrooks 3356
No. 94, Motor Vehicle Act,
Hon. R. Jennex 3356
No. 95, Consumer Reporting Act,
Hon. R. Jennex 3356
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2099, Walk the Walk (2010): Organizers/Participants
- Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine 3356
Vote - Affirmative 3357
Res. 2100, Bullying Awareness Wk. (11/14-11/20/10) - Mark,
Mr. J. Baillie 3357
Vote - Affirmative 3357
Res. 2101, Coats for Kids Campaign - Success Wish,
Hon. R. Landry 3358
Vote - Affirmative 3358
Res. 2102, Duke of Edinburgh Award: Recipients - Congrats.,
Mr. A. Younger 3358
Vote - Affirmative 3359
Res. 2103, Lundie, Chief David: Great Village & Dist. Fire Brigade
- Officer of Yr. Award, Hon. K. Casey 3359
Vote - Affirmative 3360
Res. 2104, Crout, Heather: Scott Clark Mem. Art Show - Fundraising,
Mr. S. Prest 3360
Vote - Affirmative 3361
Res. 2105, Ahmed, Shawn: "Uncultured Proj." - Fundraising Congrats.,
Ms. K. Regan 3361
Vote - Affirmative 3361
Res. 2106, Brown, William (Bill)/Colleagues - EMS Medal,
Hon. C. Clarke 3361
Vote - Affirmative 3362
Res. 2107, Park View Pathfinders: Glen Murray Hockey Tournament
- Congratulations, Mr. G. Ramey 3362
Vote - Affirmative 3363
Res. 2108, Smith, Frances - Commun. Contributions,
Hon. K. Colwell 3363
Vote - Affirmative 3364
Res. 2109, Surette, Scott - Yarmouth Co. Coach of Yr. Award (2010),
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3364
Vote - Affirmative 3365
Res. 2110, Job Creation/Econ. Growth/Environ. Protection
- Importance, Mr. B. Skabar 3365
Res. 2111, Thurber, Jim - Digby Mun.: Dedication - Recognize,
Mr. H. Theriault 3365
Vote - Affirmative 3366
Res. 2112, Battiste, Jamie: Honouring 400 Years
- Importance Recognize,
Mr. A. MacLeod (by Hon. K. Casey) 3366
Vote - Affirmative 3367
Res. 2113, Skibsrud, Johanna: Giller Prize - Congrats.,
Mr. J. Morton 3367
Vote - Affirmative 3368
Res. 2114, Glace Bay Christmas Parade: Fundraising -
Donors Congrats., Mr. G. MacLellan 3368
Vote - Affirmative 3369
Res. 2115, Tracey, Jerome - Medal of Bravery,
Mr. A. MacMaster 3369
Vote - Affirmative 3369
Res. 2116, Star of the Sea Parish (Canso) - Anniv. (125th),
Mr. J. Boudreau 3369
Vote - Affirmative 3370
Res. 2117, Telile Commun. TV - G.R.E.E.N. Award,
Hon. M. Samson 3370
Vote - Affirmative 3371
Res. 2118, Clarke, Garnet: Death of - Tribute,
Mr. J. Baillie 3371
Vote - Affirmative 3372
Res. 2119, Rushton, Mallory: Hockey Can. Four Nations Cup
- Best Wishes, Mr. B. Skabar 3372
Vote - Affirmative 3372
Res. 2120, Dart. Whalers Atom AA Team: Gold Medal
- Coach/Asst. Coaches Congrats., Mr. A. Younger 3373
Vote - Affirmative 3373
Res. 2121, Robson, Wanda: Book Release - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 3373
Vote - Affirmative 3374
Res. 2122, Ryan, Kathryn: Tim Hortons Leadership Prog./Scholarship
- Congrats., Mr. A. MacMaster 3374
Vote - Affirmative 3375
Res. 2123, MacDonald, Michael: C.P. Allen Cheetahs - Contributions,
Ms. K. Regan 3375
Vote - Affirmative 3376
Res. 2124, Conrad, Karen: Book Publication - Congrats.,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3376
Vote - Affirmative 3376
Res. 2125, Boudreau, Shaun - EastLink Award,
Hon. M. Samson 3376
Vote - Affirmative 3377
Res. 2126, Heisler, Kevin: N.S. Sport Hall of Fame - Induction,
Ms. D. Whalen 3377
Vote - Affirmative 3378
Res. 2127, Gouchie, Makayla - Leukemia Treatment/IWK Fundraising,
Mr. H. Theriault 3378
Vote - Affirmative 3379
Res. 2128, Dunlop, Mary - Commun. Contributions,
Mr. L. Glavine 3379
Vote - Affirmative 3379
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 85, Police Act,
Hon. M. Samson 3380
Hon. C. Clarke 3394
Ms. D. Whalen 3410
Adjourned debate 3416
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., Nov. 16th at 2 p.m. 3417
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2129, Sack, Marie - CMHA Ford Award,
Hon. K. Casey 3418
Res. 2130, Tse, Nora - Duke of Edinburgh Award,
Mr. A. Younger 3418
Res. 2131, Vincent, Paige - Duke of Edinburgh Award,
Mr. A. Younger 3419
Res. 2132, Huo, Bright - Duke of Edinburgh Award,
Mr. A. Younger 3419
Res. 2133, Vassallo, Lauren - Duke of Edinburgh Award,
Mr. A. Younger 3420
Res. 2134, Whalen, Matthew - Duke of Edinburgh Award,
Mr. A. Younger 3420
Res. 2135, El-Moukhtafi, Natalia - Duke of Edinburgh Award,
Mr. A. Younger 3421
Res. 2136, Lavers, Kate: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3421
Res. 2137, Warnell, Laura: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3422
Res. 2138, O'Brien, Leah: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3422
Res. 2139, Fraser, Lynn: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3422
Res. 2140, Burns, Ryleigh: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3423
Res. 2141, Tilley, Shaye: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3423
Res. 2142, Godin, Breanna: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3424
Res. 2143, Flemming, Grace: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3424
Res. 2144, Hill, Tiffany: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3425
Res. 2145, Carter, Allison: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3425
Res. 2146, Lacroix, Blair: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3425
Res. 2147, Betyna, Brooke: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3426
Res. 2148, Nottegar, Claire: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3426
Res. 2149, Irvine, Hannah: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3427
Res. 2150, Carroll, Julia: Dart. Whalers Atom AA - Gold Medal,
Mr. A. Younger 3427

[Page 3353]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2010

Sixty-first General Assembly

Second Session

7:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Charlie Parker

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Gordon Gosse, Mr. Leo Glavine, Mr. Alfie MacLeod

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I want to welcome everybody back for the start of a new week.

We'll begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

[Page 3354]

3353

RESOLUTION NO. 2096

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas between 2010 and 2036 the number of persons in Nova Scotia aged 65 and over will almost double, to 292,000; and

Whereas the majority of Nova Scotians do not have a workplace pension plan; and

Whereas most Nova Scotians rely on the Canada Pension Plan as an essential element of their retirement income;

Therefore be it resolved that this House support a modest, phased-in and fully-funded expansion of the Canada Pension Plan, as almost all provinces and territories agreed to at the federal/provincial/territorial Finance Ministers' meeting in June 2010, and support the Nova Scotia Government continuing to work with the federal government and other provinces and territories towards this objective.

Mr. Speaker, I will not be seeking waiver of notice and passage without debate at this time, but may ask for that on a future date. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

RESOLUTION NO. 2097

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

Whereas many Nova Scotians experience problems related to alcohol, drugs and gambling, and the significant impact addictions have on Nova Scotians, their families and their communities; and

Whereas government invested $39.4 million in addictions prevention and treatment this year alone, and addressing alcohol, drug and gambling abuse remains a priority of the government, Addiction Services staff, volunteers and community partners across the province; and

[Page 3355]

Whereas we acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Addiction Services in helping individuals, families and friends across the province with prevention and treatment, particularly during Addictions Awareness Week, November 14th to November 20th;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize November 14-20, 2010, as Addictions Awareness Week in the Province of Nova Scotia.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Immigration.

RESOLUTION NO. 2098

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the benefits that newcomers bring to Nova Scotia's economy and our communities are many and significant; and

Whereas recognizing the value of newcomers is a key component of attracting and keeping immigrants; and

Whereas on Friday, at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay, Eileen Lannon Oldford and the Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority hosted the second annual Newcomers Celebration in honour of the contribution they make to Cape Breton;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Eileen Lannon Oldford and her team at the Cape Breton County Economic Development Authority for organizing this important two-day event.

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

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

[Page 3356]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[7:15 p.m.]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 93 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Hon. William Estabrooks)

Bill No. 94 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Hon. Ramona Jennex)

Bill No. 95 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 93 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Consumer Reporting Act. (Hon. Ramona Jennex)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2099

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on June 19, 2010, the first Walk the Walk for Autism was held in communities across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas people in Halifax, the Annapolis Valley, the South Shore, and Cape Breton took part in the event to raise awareness and support for autism in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the walk was a tremendous success, raising much-needed funds and increasing awareness of autism and autism spectrum disorder;

[Page 3357]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate the organizers and participants in the 2010 Walk the Walk, and wish them continued success in future events.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2100

MR. JAMIE BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas November 14th to November 20th is set aside as the eighth Bullying Awareness Week which will feature the theme, Stand Up to Bullying; and

Whereas there are many different types of bullying and they all hurt, whether it be physical intimidation, threats, calling someone names, making someone feel inferior or cyberbullying; and

Whereas Nova Scotians who are the victims of bullies are not at fault, are not alone and deserve to know that they are not powerless to stop bullying;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House mark November 14th to November 20th as Bullying Awareness Week, and encourage parents and educators as they work to Stand Up to Bullying in our schools and other institutions.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3358]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2101

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas October 23rd marked the kickoff of the annual Coats for Kids Campaign; and

Whereas the Coats for Kids Campaign program collects gently used clothing for kids and distributes them to those in need; and

Whereas the work of this program has helped to hand out thousands of coats to those in need, while making it easier on families who would be in a tough situation as the weather turns colder;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly bid the Coats for Kids Campaign great success and thank all involved for their hard work and dedication to a great program.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2102

[Page 3359]

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh Award was founded in 1956 and came to Canada in 1963 and is now present in 126 countries; and

Whereas the award encourages young people to become active and engaged citizens in the area of community service and challenges them to develop personal skills and physical activity and learn what it means to exemplify leadership; and

Whereas Bright Huo, Natalia El-Moukhtafi, Nora Tse, Lauren Vassallo, Paige Vincent and Matthew Whalen, all graduates of Ellenvale Junior High School in Dartmouth, will receive the Duke of Edinburgh Award on Wednesday, November 17th;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate these students on receiving this prestigious award and offer them best wishes for continued success as leaders in our community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2103

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's volunteer fire brigades have been an integral part of rural communities for decades; and

Whereas these volunteers dedicate both time and effort to ensure the members of their communities have the best fire protection; and

[Page 3360]

Whereas training, fundraising, first aid, recruitment and public relations are only a few of the many additional responsibilities of the members of a fire brigade;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Fire Brigade Chief David Lundie for receiving the Officer of the Year Award from the Great Village and District Fire Brigade.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 2104

MR. SIDNEY PREST: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on September 20, 2009, Scott Clark lost his life while fishing when the seas were calm, the water temperature was very cold but conditions did not warrant wearing a survival suit; and

Whereas the life jackets that Scott could afford, in his opinion, were cumbersome and dangerous, posing more potential for getting caught in fishing gear; and

Whereas Heather Crout painted several pictures to auction off at the Scott Clark Memorial Art Show in Oyster Pond for the donation of two workable life vests back to fishermen in the community;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Heather Crout on the success of starting the Scott Clark Memorial Art Show to raise funds for workable life vests to be donated back to the fishing community for the next 10 years.

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

[Page 3361]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 2105

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

Whereas former Bedford resident Shawn Ahmed was so moved to action by the plight of people suffering in natural disasters around the world; and

Whereas Shawn left school to launch the Uncultured Project, travelling alone to Bangladesh and Kenya to distribute supplies, start water projects and rebuild schools; and

Whereas he documents his humanitarian work on a video-sharing site to show donors how their money is being used and sustains his work through donations from subscribers to his vlogging site;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly applaud Shawn Ahmed for his ingenuity in engaging donors to help ease the suffering of thousands of disadvantaged people and wish him safe passage on his travels.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 3362]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2106

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas William (Bill) Brown of North Sydney, along with 10 of his colleagues, was presented with the Exemplary Service Medal for Emergency Medical Services; and

Whereas the medal is part of a national recognition program for people employed in these high-risk professions which contribute to the well-being of our citizens through long and outstanding service; and

Whereas the service medal was created in 1944 to recognize paramedics who perform their duties in an exemplary manner, their good conduct, efficiency, and number of years in service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating William (Bill) Brown and his colleagues for completing more than 20 years of exemplary service and thank them for contributing to the well-being of our citizens.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2107

MR. GARY RAMEY: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

[Page 3363]

Whereas the 8th Annual Glen Murray Hockey Tournament was held at the Bridgewater Memorial Arena from November 11th to November 14th; and

Whereas 10 teams from across Nova Scotia were competing for the honour of being tournament champions; and

Whereas the Park View Education Centre Panthers won the tournament and took home top honours;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the members of the Park View Panthers team, their coaches, their principal, the organizers, and Glen Murray for lending his name to the tournament, and wish the Park View Panthers continued success this season.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2108

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Frances Smith moved to North Preston to teach in 1951, met and married a local resident, and was blessed with eight children; and

Whereas Ms. Smith retired after 35 years of teaching in North Preston and continues to be involved with the youth and with the community even with declining health issues; and

Whereas the organizations that Ms. Smith has been involved with over the years are the St. Thomas United Baptist Church Missionary Society, the North Preston Ratepayers

[Page 3364]

Association, the North Preston Senior Citizens Club; the North Preston Recreation Association, and the Annie V. Johnson Chapter of the IODE;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge Frances Smith for her wonderful contributions to her community and thank her for her continued support of the community.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2109

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Scott Surette from Abrams River has been coaching since he was a young man and has been involved throughout Yarmouth Town and County both as a coach and as an executive member of many organizations; and

Whereas Scott coached the West Baseball League champion and two-time provincial champion Tusket Intermediate Baseball Team for three years and coached the Yarmouth Gateways Mosquito AA Rep Team to Bluenose League, Provincial, and Atlantic titles, as well as forming the Tusket Oldtimers and being among those who brought the Duane Ward baseball camp to Yarmouth; and

Whereas Scott was recently named the 2010 Yarmouth County Coach of the Year and received his award at a banquet held on November 12, 2010, in Yarmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Scott Surette on receiving this well-deserved award and thank him for his

[Page 3365]

dedication and hard work promoting sports and recreation to everyone young and old and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

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

[7:30 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2110

MR. BRIAN SKABAR: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas our NDP Government knows the importance of protecting the environment for future generations while ensuring stable electricity prices for Nova Scotia; and

Whereas opposition Parties in our province have had many, many years to act toward cleaning up our environment and reducing Nova Scotians' dependence on fossil fuels; and

Whereas the recent announcement of funding for the tidal project in the Bay of Fundy is another example of this government making the right decisions for Nova Scotians, as we continue to establish our province as a leader in tidal energy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the importance of creating good jobs, growing the economy and cleaning-up our environment.

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

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3366]

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2111

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Municipality of Digby Warden, Jim Thurber, retired this past summer, less than two months short of his 10th year as warden and halfway through his current four-year term; and

Whereas Jim decided he needed to retire at this time so that his constituents would have time to decide if his replacement would do a god job, before the next municipal elections in 2012; and

Whereas Jim will be missed by the municipality and he will miss his job, fellow councilors and staff, but feels he needs to concentrate on other things in his life that were neglected;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize Jim Thurber for his dedication and commitment to the people of his riding and wish him well in his future endeavours.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester North.

[Page 3367]

RESOLUTION NO. 2112

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Cape Breton West, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas as part of the 400th Anniversary of the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou, a book has been written to chronicle the relationship between the Mi'kmaq people and the Roman Catholic Church; and

Whereas Honouring 400 Years tells the story through Mi'kmaq oral history, as teachings are passed down by the Mi'kmaq Grand Council; and

Whereas the importance of this book, written and edited by Mr. Jaime Battiste, through the voice of a modern Mi'kmaq leader, is a book about faith, religion, Mi'kmaq diplomacy and about two nations coming to an agreement;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly acknowledge the importance of this book in recording a part of Nova Scotia's history and praise Jaime Battiste for having the foresight to record this event.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2113

MR. JIM MORTON: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Johanna Skibsrud of Scotsburn, Nova Scotia, is the winner of the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her debut novel The Sentimentalists; and

[Page 3368]

Whereas Gaspereau Press of Kentville, known for its fine, handcrafted books, is the publisher of The Sentimentalists; and

Whereas the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize shines a bright light on Nova Scotia's vibrant literary and publishing culture;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Johanna Skibsrud on winning the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel The Sentimentalists and recognize Gaspereau Press for its important contribution to this significant literary accomplishment.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 2114

MR. GEOFF MACLELLAN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the annual Glace Bay Christmas Parade, which will take place on December 4th this year, is a longstanding tradition that provides an opportunity for families and friends to gather downtown and celebrate our unique history, culture and shared sense of community; and

Whereas the Glace Bay Volunteer Fire Department's float is the highlight of the parade as it carries the guest of honour, Santa Claus, and is also used to carry Santa through the neighbourhoods of Glace Bay during the holiday season; and

Whereas the department's float was in jeopardy this year due to extensive damage to the flatbed trailer, requiring the department to find a solution or retire from our cherished

[Page 3369]

parade and with the community leading the fundraising efforts, the fire department received approximately $10,000 in donations for the purchase of a new flatbed;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating the people of Glace Bay and surrounding areas for answering the call of the fire department and digging deep to ensure that an integral part of the annual Glace Bay Christmas Parade is secured - we can do anything when we put our minds to it and work together.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2115

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Nova Scotia's Medal of Bravery is bestowed on people who have risked their lives to help other people or protect property; and

Whereas Jerome Tracey, of Port Hawkesbury, will receive Nova Scotia's Medal of Bravery on November 17th for risking his life to save the lives of seven people on the evening of November 10, 2009; and

Whereas his selfless and determined actions helped the Ryan and Sangster families escape from their burning homes;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge Jerome's heroic efforts and congratulate him on this special recognition.

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

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

[Page 3370]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2116

MR. JIM BOUDREAU: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Star of the Sea Parish in Canso held a special mass celebrating the 125th Anniversary since their first mass was celebrated on December 8, 1885; and

Whereas Bishop Brian Dunn and several of the past parish priests joined Father Andrew Gillies in the celebrations; and

Whereas the community of Canso commemorated the 125 years of meeting and celebrating mass at the Star of the Sea Parish on September 19, 2010;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Star of the Sea for 125 years of dedicated service to the spiritual needs of the parishioners of Canso and surrounding areas.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

[Page 3371]

RESOLUTION NO. 2117

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

Whereas Grass Roots Environmental Excellence Network, G.R.E.E.N., Award is sponsored by the Strait-Highlands Regional Development Agency and presented through the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce; and

Whereas a G.R.E.E.N. Award is given to a business or community group which has demonstrated an effective effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and related energy use through behavioural change; and

Whereas the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce hosted their small business week dinner and awards gala on October 20, 2010, where Telile Community Televison received the G.R.E.E.N. Award;

Therefore be it be resolved that all members of this House congratulate Telile for receiving the G.R.E.E.N. Award and commend them for their successful effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 2118

MR. JAMIE BAILLIE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on October 23, 1958 the most severe bump in North American mining history occurred in Springhill, devastating the town for which coal mining was the economic lifeblood; and

[Page 3372]

Whereas Garnet Clarke of Springhill was one of the last survivors of the 1958 bump; and

Whereas Mr. Clarke passed away this Sunday at the age of 81;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their condolences to Mr. Clarke's wife Polly and the rest of his family and take a moment to remember the bravery of all the 174 men who were trapped or lost their lives in the great Springhill bump.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[A moment of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2119

MR. BRIAN SKABAR: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Mallory Rushton, 13, of Brookdale, Nova Scotia, has been scouted at the Atlantic Cup in Moncton to participate in Hockey Canada's Four Nations Cup in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, a tournament that features the women's national teams from Canada, the United States, Sweden, and Finland; and

Whereas Mallory Rushton will play in three-on-three tournaments at the Four Nations Cup, and will participate in an identification for potential Olympians and also receive special training put on by the organization; and

Whereas Mallory Rushton was named top defence player in the Aliant Mainland Peewee AAA League last year and hopes to play at a prep hockey school in New Hampshire next winter and seems to have a very promising hockey career in her future;

[Page 3373]

Therefore be it resolved that this House wish Mallory Rushton all the best on her trip to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, and on her up-and-coming career in women's hockey.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2120

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the 3rd annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team, Head Coach Jason Hill and Assistant Coaches Chris O'Brien and Paul Carroll on their victory, and wish them continued success.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3374]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2121

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Wanda Robson, a gifted storyteller from North Sydney, launched a new book entitled Sister to Courage: Stories from the World of Viola Desmond, Canada's Rosa Parks; and

Whereas this book goes beyond the movie theatre in New Glasgow and takes the reader inside the world and household she shared with her sister Viola; and

Whereas the 184-page book contains photographs and text of Nova Scotia's apology to Viola Desmond and tells an important story from Nova Scotia's past;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Wanda Robson for sharing her memories and stories, and wish her success with her book and the inspiring messages it offers from life lessons learned for a better, respective and inclusive world.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Inverness.

RESOLUTION NO. 2122

[Page 3375]

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Tim Hortons Youth Leadership Program is a much sought-after program that focuses on the development of lifelong leadership skills, teamwork, and independence in campers aged 13 years and older; and

Whereas Kathryn Ryan, of Black River, recently completed the five-year Tim Hortons Youth Leadership Program, with a renewable scholarship; and

Whereas Kathryn is the only young person in Inverness County to achieve this honour;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kathryn and her proud parents, Gail and Jackie Ryan, on this significant achievement.

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

[7:45 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 2123

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

Whereas Michael MacDonald, a Charles P. Allen student who is autistic, had a desire to play football and this led him to try out for the CP Allen football team; and

[Page 3376]

Whereas CPA Coach Mike MacPherson selected Michael as backup quarterback and through his persistent work in practice, Michael earned playing time in most regular season games over the last two seasons; and

Whereas Michael has earned the respect of his coaches and teammates, not only for his play on the field but also for his positive attitude, work ethic, humour, as well as his pre-game speeches;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Michael for his contributions to the CPA football team as a player and teammate and wish Michael and the rest of the Cheetahs well as they continue their playoff drive, they have shown us what teamwork is all about.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 2124

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Karen Conrad, from Argyle, recently published a book entitled Christmas Stories to Warm Your Heart, which is a collection of stories of places, characters and situations with distinctive southwestern Nova Scotia qualities; and

Whereas Karen Conrad worked on this collection of 14 stories for over 20 years to tell how different people celebrate Christmas; and

Whereas proceeds from the book will go to Camp Peniel in Yarmouth County where for 50 years young children have attended at no charge;

[Page 3377]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Karen Conrad on the publication of her book, and thank her for her endeavours and selfless contribution to the preservation of Camp Peniel.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2125

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

Whereas the Outstanding Customer Service Individual Employee Award, sponsored by EastLink and presented through the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce, is awarded to an employee who has demonstrated outstanding service to the customers for their employer over the last year; and

Whereas the Outstanding Customer Service Individual Employee Award recipient must reflect all five customer service attributes - courteous, helpful, accessible, responsive and knowledgeable; and

Whereas the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce hosted their Small Business Week Dinner and Awards Gala on October 20, 2010, where Shaun Boudreau received the Outstanding Customer Service Individual Employee Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Shaun Boudreau for receiving the Outstanding Customer Service Individual Employee Award and commend him for his outstanding customer service.

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

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

[Page 3378]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 2126

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas on October 30, 2010, Halifax Clayton Park resident Kevin Heisler was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame as a builder in track and field in the Halifax area, the province and throughout Canada; and

Whereas Kevin, a retired teacher, has helped grow the sport of track and field in Nova Scotia as a coach, meet organizer, volunteer and promoter for more than 30 years; and

Whereas among the many positions Kevin has held, he was head coach of the Saint Mary's University Cross Country team for 10 years and has directed the Aileen Meagher International Track Meet since 1992;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize Kevin Heisler for receiving this prestigious award and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

[Page 3379]

RESOLUTION NO. 2127

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas 9-year-old Makayla Gouchie from Digby-Annapolis was diagnosed with leukemia two and a half years ago in June; and

Whereas soon after, Makayla started collecting pennies to donate to the IWK on her last day of chemotherapy treatment at the hospital, which took place at the end of June; and

Whereas Makayla was able to collect 162,400 pennies over the course of her treatment and had her family help collect and roll the pennies to take to the bank;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize Makayla Gouchie for her courage in beating leukemia and her outstanding accomplishment of raising $1,624 for the IWK Health Centre.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2128

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas under the artistic direction of owner Mary Dunlop, Mary's Islanders has been in operation for 37 years; and

[Page 3380]

Whereas Ms. Dunlop has taught rhythm, timing, and music origin along with nine dance disciplines at her studio in Greenwood; and

Whereas the dancers who have studied with Mary's Islanders have travelled to various communities performing at festivals and exhibitions, enhancing cultural awareness by focusing on the unique music and backgrounds that are a part of our heritage and culture;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the contribution Mary Dunlop has made to the cultural development of the community through Mary's Islanders and wish her and her wonderfully supportive husband many healthy and happy years in retirement.

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

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 85. I believe it was adjourned by the member for Richmond.

Bill No. 85 - Police Act.

[Page 3381]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise once again on Bill No. 85. I believe it was last Wednesday when I last had the opportunity to make a few brief remarks and as I mentioned on Wednesday, there was so much to be discussed about this bill on justice matters that, obviously, there was not going to be a sufficient amount of time and it's my understanding that I believe I only had the opportunity to speak for seven minutes. So, obviously, that would not have given me the opportunity to properly discuss this bill.

First, let me reiterate again what Bill No. 85 is. It is An Act to Amend Chapter 31 of the Acts of 2004, the Police Act. Now, I realize on second reading we're not usually supposed to go clause by clause but to speak more in general terms of what this bill is, but I think it's important to tell Nova Scotians what the business of the House is this evening. This bill's intent is that it will now require police officers, both municipal, provincial and RCMP, that any time they become aware of someone who's a victim of crime, they need to report that name to Victim Services with the understanding that Victim Services will be able to contact them and offer the services under their program.

Now, the first question we asked when we saw this bill is, why would this just not be a policy, why is it showing up in front of the House of Assembly as a bill? In fact, for this one - I know a previous one I actually counted how many words were in the bill - I didn't take the time to count how many words there were in this one, but it's basically three clauses. It takes up one page, in fact, it only takes up three-quarters of a page.

That's what we're debating here this evening and you might ask yourself, Mr. Speaker, well, why is this in a bill? Why would this not be a policy? We're not really changing a law here, forcing people to have to do something they don't want to. This is basically asking our police officers - both men and women - to provide an additional service, in fact.

The reason it is showing up as a bill, as I've suggested, is because we haven't seen very much from this government and so by making this a bill, when the session is over and the Clerks and yourself, Mr. Speaker, will walk in and you'll start rhyming off which bills have been passed. Then the Government House Leader will say look, we had this many bills passed during the session and it will be to give Nova Scotians the belief that this was a very productive session by the NDP Government.

Mr. Speaker, when we're standing here talking on bills which are three clauses, are simply a matter of words - dozens of words is what it is - I think it is important that Nova Scotians know that. Those who are watching at home who were told that this government was going to have a very productive session, had a great deal of issues to bring forward on behalf of Nova Scotians - and I don't diminish the importance of this issue. I don't think

[Page 3382]

anyone in this House would suggest that we shouldn't do whatever we can to ensure that victims of crime have access to the counselling and support services that are available here in this province, but does this need to be in the form of a bill? It really doesn't. The government knows that but again, this will be counted at the end of the day as being one other bill and the government will compare that to previous sessions of this House to say how much work got done.

To be standing here on a Monday evening at 7:56 p.m. discussing a bill with three clauses that the government would have Nova Scotians believe is major legislation is just not truthful. When one looks at Justice, one would think the minister himself - responsible for Justice and the Attorney General - would have a whole host of issues which we should be debating here in this House on behalf of Nova Scotians. For example, we should be debating the debacle that took place last week, with another individual who was let go by the Justice Department, through the justice system, who should have been incarcerated.

On Friday they discovered during the processing through the courts, an individual who had breached the conditions of his conditional sentence, and who was ordered to serve the rest of his time in jail. Instead, our justice system, wherever you want to point blame within the system, sent him home. On Monday of last week the department - I believe through the Burnside facility - figured out that this individual should be in a cell. Instead, he is out, wherever he wanted to be in our province, I guess. So that's an issue I think we should be talking about in this House because if that was a first-time occurrence, one would say maybe we can accept the minister's claim, human error.

Mr. Speaker, this has happened too many times in this province. It happened under the previous Minister of Justice, it has already happened before under this Minister of Justice and yet Nova Scotians still are told that it is human error. What was more ironic, when Nova Scotians are wondering just how seriously does the Minister of Justice take this issue, in Question Period last week he answered by saying, well why does the member for Richmond consider this man dangerous? Someone with multiple convictions for break and enters, going into people's homes, their private homes, stealing from them, rummaging through their goods, yet it's not dangerous in the eyes of this Minister of Justice. To him, I don't know, maybe he just considers the individual a nuisance but I'd be curious if the property owners whose homes he broke into, whether they consider that individual dangerous.

If one reads the Halifax ChronicleHerald story, there's even a reference to what this individual did in one of the homes, a disgusting act to say the least to have done in a person's home - he defecated on the carpet. Now as I said in response to the minister, is that the type of individual Nova Scotians want sitting at their kitchen table? Is that the type of individual where a judge says he should be incarcerated, that the Department of Justice makes a human error, lets him loose and the Minister of Justice doesn't have an issue with that.

[8:00 p.m.]

[Page 3383]

On Monday, when the department figured it out, rather than immediately putting out a release to say listen, we take these matters seriously and if a judge said you are supposed to be in jail, then we want to make sure you are in jail. Instead, the department waited. The Minister of Justice said, I need more facts. Well, what more facts did the Minister of Justice need? He knew that this individual was ordered by a judge to serve the rest of his sentence - his conditional sentence - in jail and that this man was not in jail. So on Monday night, when the media tried to call the Department of Justice, we find out it wasn't Monday night. This was Tuesday. It took a whole 24 hours for the Minister of Justice to get the facts straight about an individual who a judge ordered to be put in jail and was on the loose. It took him over 24 hours because he needed to get his facts straight. Yet listening to the minister in the media scrum, he said, well, I had to approve the press release because I think there might be a comment in there.

We now know there was no comment from the Minister of Justice in that press release. It was a mere few lines saying here is the name of the individual, here is why he was supposed to be in jail, and we want him to return. Yet it continued when the Minister of Justice said, well, the reason we didn't get the press release out sooner is because I was in Question Period and couldn't answer my BlackBerry. Well now, Mr. Speaker, I'm sure you would take note of the respect he is showing for your authority on that, but Nova Scotians are left to wonder that, rather then sending out the release immediately, the Minister of Justice would have us believe that he was too busy in Question Period and that such matters as an individual who is supposed to be in jail being out roaming - that Question Period was a more pressing matter than him telling his department to put the release out and put it out immediately, don't wait any longer.

So even though Question Period was over, it took until almost 6:30 that evening. When the House of Assembly was done, when the media that usually covers the House of Assembly had gone home, when the nightly newscasts - whether it be Global, whether it be CTV, whether it be the CBC - were all finished or the story was too late for them to get on the air, they sent it out.

There is no doubt in the mind of anyone who has watched this, that that press release was being held back for nothing more than political purposes. The government was trying to do damage control for a damaging situation. We all know that the former Justice Critic for the NDP, when he sat on this side of the House, was highly critical of these mistaken releases. Now he's part of a government that allows it to happen, but I think if he was the Minister of Justice that press release would have gone out the minute he found out; I really believe that. I don't think he would have tried to play politics with an issue like corrections, because he has too much concern for corrections to allow something like that to happen. Unfortunately, it's not the case with the current minister.

[Page 3384]

We've now found out that the police called the individual in question and asked him if he'd come to jail. Now that's what our justice system has become in this province. A judge, a prosecutor, and police have all done their work, they've ordered the individual to be put in jail, the Department of Justice lets him go, and then our police have to resort to calling the individual at home and saying, by the way, do you mind showing up in Burnside for lock-up? Had that individual showed up as requested, the question becomes, would Nova Scotians or members of this House ever have found out about the mistake that was made, the human error that the Minister of Justice asks?

It was quite interesting because the Minister of Justice in this House said, you would absolutely have been told and all Nova Scotians would have been told about this mistake even if Mr. Martell had voluntarily showed up to jail on his own prior to that press release going out. Yet when you read the media reports, one of the communications people from the Department of Justice, when asked the same question - would this release have gone out had the individual shown up beforehand? - the answer was, not likely.

So which one is it? Do we believe the minister or do we believe the civil servants who work in his department who are responsible for communications? Which one is it? Or maybe the communications person who said that to the media made a human error and was in error as well, an innocent error, something that may happen again because the Minister of Justice has no issue with continued human error taking place in his department.

That's the type of issue I think we should be talking about in this Chamber. I think Nova Scotians need to have faith in their justice system. That faith has been shaken significantly during the past number of years. We've seen the case of Mr. Carvery who escaped. We've seen the case of other individuals who were mistakenly released and as I mentioned last week, one of these times someone is going to get hurt. Then it will be too late.

The question will be, why were we not debating that issue in the House of Assembly on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia? Why were we not having discussions about what we can do to ensure that these problems don't continue to exist? That debate is not taking place - instead we're debating a bill that's three clauses long, three-quarters of a page. That's what's before us today.

We know there are overcrowding problems at the Burnside facility. It's not new. It's been an issue for some time. It was an issue for the previous government. It's an issue that this minister would have been well aware of prior to going into the department. That's an issue we should be debating on the floor of this House. What can we do to deal with overcrowding?

We now know that the previous government and the current government, when it came to Burnside, was issuing weekend passes - get out of jail free passes. How did those

[Page 3385]

work? Basically what happens is that it's not uncommon in our court system that a judge may give a prison sentence which is to be served on weekends; it's not uncommon. Often the judge will allow the individual to stay at home and work during the week, Friday night report to the correctional facility and be released on Monday morning. That is a common occurrence. Still, obviously the judge felt the individual should serve jail time so that's something the judge has decided.

The previous government and the current government, when they're overcrowding at Burnside, when these inmates would show up on Friday night, they'd be told, it's okay, no vacancy here this weekend, go home, but stay home because we're going to call you to make sure you're home.

There's this new invention, I'm not sure if the former government or current government is aware of it, it's called call forwarding. The way it works is you can take your home phone and forward it to a cell phone, to a neighbour's phone, local bar, wherever. When someone calls your home, the phone will ring at that location. To suggest to Nova Scotians these people who are getting weekend passes were really under house arrest for the weekend is laughable.

Yet, why was that practice never debated here in the House of Assembly? Why was it never debated when we knew the problems that existed at Burnside? Why was there never a debate to say, what can we do in the alternative to deal with these weekend sentences? The judge felt there should be jail time, we don't have room at Burnside, it's at capacity, so what else could we do?

I think that's an issue that's worthy of debate here on the floor of this House. I think that's an issue that's worthy of the Justice Minister asking the critics and other interested people to sit down and say, let's talk about some possible suggestions here. Can we find another facility, another provincial building we could possibly use on weekends when there's overcapacity at Burnside? I think that's a discussion that could take place. Instead, the easy way out was simply to tell these offenders to go home for the weekend.

What's interesting in that as well is that when the issue was first raised, the Minister of Justice said he had no idea this practice was even taking place. The previous minister came out the next day and said he had no idea that this practice was taking place. We now know there were passes in excess of 1,000 issued during the last number of years. To suggest that a Minister of Justice would not be aware the corrections division of their department was giving over 1,000 passes a year to offenders is really hard to believe.

The next question we asked was, what exact type of offenders were being given these passes? Was it simply for petty crimes, was there any standard applied as to which types of offences qualified and which didn't qualify?

[Page 3386]

Mr. Speaker, reluctantly the Minister of Justice was not quick to give the information so the media started digging and started looking at some of the sentences that had been issued in Halifax and the different offences they were for. When they were presented to the Minister of Justice, he acknowledged that those were the types of offences people were getting passes for: driving impaired charges, assault charges, robbery charges, counterfeit money charges, possessing child pornography charges - and I think that is one of the ones that probably sickened Nova Scotians the most. The Minister of Justice's response was, no longer will anyone who has been convicted of anything to do with assault or child pornography, or anything like that, be allowed to get one of these passes. Yet driving impaired, yes, you can still get a pass; assault with a baseball bat, apparently you can still get a pass; and break and enter, yes, you can still get a pass.

Rather than say okay, this is a very serious issue and we're going to look at trying to find solutions to put an end to this practice, the Minister of Justice said that goes back to when the Liberal Government was in office. Now what a way to govern - when something is identified that is clearly wrong, that Nova Scotians think is wrong, that the minister would try to justify it by saying it was done in the past. There were a lot of things done in the past in Nova Scotia that Nova Scotians don't want to see being done here any more. We can all think of many, many different matters that were done in the past that we never want to see repeated again. It was so unfortunate to hear the Minister of Justice go back and say that when we're trying to figure out what the problems are at the Burnside facility and how can we find solutions so that we still show respect.

What message do these weekend passes give to our police, our Crown Prosecutors and our judges - what message does it give them? They work towards getting convictions - police work towards arrests, Crown attorneys work towards convictions, and the judges issue sentences. The Minister of Justice has tried to downplay this by saying the judge has already allowed them to stay home during the week, from Monday to Friday, they only have to go to jail Friday night to Monday morning, so what's the big deal? Mr. Speaker, I can tell you from reports that we're hearing from Burnside and from many other correctional facilities, there's a reason why a judge feels someone should have to spend time in jail. I believe the reason is the hope that they will not commit crime again, after having spent Friday night to Monday morning in jail, for a number of weekends.

That deterrent is gone when people show up on Friday night, to be told no vacancy, go home. It happened a thousand times - the Minister of Justice says well it used to be around 1,100 and now we're down to 1,000, so it's not that bad. Yet, Mr. Speaker, there's no discussion about how do we put an end to the practice. The Minister of Justice has said well the solution to the overcrowding at Burnside is the new jail going in my backyard of Pictou County. Well, that's fine. I think we are learning now there may be a few issues with that site - more to come, I would say, possibly during this week.

[Page 3387]

On a best-case scenario, that jail is two to three years away, so what do we do for the next two or three years to deal with overcrowding that is taking place at Burnside? I think that's a discussion we should be having on the floor of this House. I think that's something the Minister of Justice - and I don't expect him to come up with all the solutions himself.

But he has to acknowledge that it's a problem, he has to acknowledge that there needs to be a way to address it, and he has to acknowledge that maybe Nova Scotians or the Opposition may have some suggestions which we could possibly explore. To ignore the problem and to play politics with the problem is certainly not going to get us anywhere. The Minister of Justice needs to realize that temporary passes and weekend passes are going to become a reality for the next two or three years, because that's how far away his solution is.

[8:15 p.m.]

Should we wait two to three years or should we have discussion and debate here in the House, and outside the House, about what can we do while we're waiting for this new facility to be ready?

The game of politics with issues - the Minister of Justice has accused us of trying to hype up issues which he didn't feel were very important. The minister knows what double-bunking has done at the Burnside facility - there are more workers there, more correctional officers there who are off on stress leave, off on injuries, and they'll all tie it back to problems with double-bunking.

So what is double-bunking? Let me just explain very quickly. When Burnside was built, it was built with one fixed bed on the wall of each cell. Now what we're told by the previous government is that in the design they built the cells large enough to bring in a temporary cot. If I'm not mistaken, when the Minister of Justice did his first estimates and I questioned him on it, I think he called it a "crate" - in his opinion it was basically a crate that was put on the floor that people could sleep on.

We know the problems that have occurred. There have been stabbings, there have been different assaults that have taken place at Burnside, especially when double-bunking was taking place, so obviously there needed to be a solution. The Minister of Justice turned around and said, we're going to have 100 new beds at the Burnside facility; that's going to help with our overcrowding problem. Well, we all know there aren't 100 new beds. They're basically taking the crates, as the Minister of Justice referred to them, that were on the floor, and they are going to be taken out now and I'm assuming a fixed bed is going to be attached into the cell. So rather than just having one bed attached to the wall, you'll have two - there is no new capacity, you've just taken the crate off the floor and you've bolted it to a wall.

[Page 3388]

How does that alleviate the problem? It does absolutely nothing - nothing at all. The Minister of Justice knows that, but when he first put out that release the average person looking at it would have said there are 100 new beds. They're going to be able to put 100 more inmates in the Burnside facility than they could before this. The Minister of Justice knows that's not true; the government knows that's not true, but rather than have a debate about how do we address the problems at Burnside, they put out a press release which - whether it was their intention or not - I believe left Nova Scotians with a false impression of what was going to be done based on the minister's release. The government knows that, and when they were in Opposition they certainly wouldn't have let the government get away with it, but how things change when they've crossed the floor of this Assembly to sit on the government side. All of a sudden it's a different standard - now it's about politics.

One would have to question what the minister is doing at Burnside, how that fits in as a better deal for Nova Scotia families, because one would think that was a standard the government was applying to all of its decisions - a better deal for today's families. Well, how is the Burnside situation, the correctional facility, a better deal for today's families? I would suggest to you it's not a better deal at all. It has been politics.

Those are the types of issues we should be debating here in this House; instead we're dealing with a bill that has three clauses - something that could easily have been made as a policy initiative by the government.

We've also heard and we're seeing almost, if not daily, on a weekly basis, violence in our province, especially here in the Halifax Regional Municipality. We are hearing of shootings, we're hearing of armed robberies, we're hearing of stabbings - that doesn't give Nova Scotians confidence in our justice system. Yet you have to give credit where credit is due, and the previous government made some significant investments through the Boots on the Street program.

I had the opportunity to meet with - is it Superintendent McCormack? Is he a superintendent - McCormack, down at Cape Breton Regional Police? Superintendent, yes. I had the opportunity to speak to him while we were down for one of our out-of-town caucuses and to ask him, specifically, what has the Boots on the Street program done for you? He really couldn't say enough about how it has allowed them to designate officers to deal with matters that they really never had time to deal with before, and the number of convictions that came out from the work of these new officers spoke for itself - specialized investigations, which they simply did not have the manpower or the ability to do previously, and yet one of their biggest concerns was where this government is going with this program. They've frozen it, and now are we going to be faced with cuts? We're certainly not getting a message from the current minister of get tough on crime.

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to the minister, he has been quoted in this House as saying, you do the crime, you do the time. Yet when he found out on Monday of last week

[Page 3389]

that an individual who did the crime and was supposed to do the time, he waited over 24 hours before letting Nova Scotians know that this individual was supposed to be incarcerated but was on the loose. So I have to tell you, when you weigh that statement - you do the crime, you do the time, from the Minister of Justice, and you look at his actions, they just don't match. They simply don't match at all, and that's the type of issue we should be debating here tonight.

When you look at the list of bills which will be up for debate, I'll have the opportunity again to remind the government and to remind the Minister of Justice of what issues in his department we should be talking about, we should be debating here in this House on behalf of Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, we've had this discussion a number of times here about what the root causes of crime are in Nova Scotia. For the most part you can identify the root causes with poverty. Our Leader, in working with the previous government, worked very hard to try to establish a Poverty Reduction Strategy, of finding ways of bringing together the various government departments and agencies, government organizations and non-government organizations, to try to find ways to fight poverty in our province, because statistics show that poverty often leads to crime.

I'll give the former government credit for that, but in other areas I strongly disagreed with them, because a few years ago you'll recall, Mr. Speaker, where we had a rash of home invasions where youth in Nova Scotia were breaking into homes - mainly of seniors - and stealing from them. At the time when we were trying to convince the government that we had to figure out why these young people are breaking the law and breaking into people's homes, the government response at the time was a video to seniors in Nova Scotia on how to lock their doors and lock their windows.

They just didn't get it, Mr. Speaker, our youth were not committing home invasions because people forgot to lock their doors or lock their windows - there were other reasons why they were committing the crime and yet that just wasn't being captured by the government at the time, and that's an issue we still need to address. One of the things that has been done, again trying to balance criticism with being positive, is that there were a number of investments made by the previous government, and I think there have been some by the current government, into recreational facilities and youth centres in the province.

We can't do enough of that, Mr. Speaker, because young people throughout our province are bored. They don't have a lot to do outside of the school setting and that in many ways leads to problems, so we must continually work toward making sure that if we see youth at risk, we do everything we can, and we invest in them to make sure that they stay on the right path, that they become productive members of society rather than choosing a life of crime. Those are the types of issues which we should be debating here in the House of Assembly.

[Page 3390]

Unless we start having discussions and unless we start having a Minister of Justice who acknowledges some of the problems that exist, then we're not going to be able to address the very issues facing our province. Until the Minister of Justice is prepared to stand up and say do you know what? That press release, the minute we found out that Mr. Martell should have been incarcerated and he wasn't, that press release should have gone out immediately - it didn't need my stamp of approval, I have a competent staff that could deal with it.

I think they've mentioned that the Department of Justice now has six communications people, which is hard to believe to start off with, but to suggest that they would still need the Minister of Justice to tell them how to put out a press release for someone who was mistakenly released, with all due respect, Mr. Speaker, they have experience in doing that because it happened before. It's not like this was a first occurrence and they didn't know how to handle it, it has happened before.

I will give credit where credit is due, the previous Minister of Justice, through these difficulties, did implement a policy that the minute they found out about a mistaken release the public would find out. On top of that, if I'm not mistaken, they implemented a policy that if there was going to be a disruption at Burnside, the public would find out.

Now on the flip side of that what we are hearing in talking to correctional workers at Burnside is there has almost been a reverse effect on that policy relating to any disruptions there are at Burnside. What we're being told now is that management doesn't want to recognize anything as a disruption because if they do, then it is going to have to go public and it will be an embarrassment to the government.

We're now hearing anecdotes of serious incidents taking place at that facility which management is dismissing as a minor occurrence in order that it doesn't have to be reported to the public. That is the kind of issue we should be debating in this House. That is an issue I would like to hear how the Minister of Justice feels when he's being told of that possibility existing at Burnside. Is he aware that managers might be downplaying situations for fear of having to report these incidents to the public and if he is, is he going to take any action on it? That, I think, is something that we should be debating here in the House of Assembly.

We also have the issue around how the site selection for the jail took place. The people of Antigonish and the people of Debert were left to believe that they were actually in the running for the site. While this discussion is taking place, while Antigonish Municipal Council and both the town and county are working on figuring out how to get water and sewer to that facility, how to get municipal services, doing whatever they can to identify land and everything - I'm sure Debert was doing the same thing - all along the Minister of Justice had a report from October 2009 that told him - and one can only assume that he would have had some input in that - that said that facility should go to Pictou County. Why was that not

[Page 3391]

given to Warden Herb DeLorey or Mayor Carl Chisholm? Why would they not have been given access to that document? Had they had access to that document, I think it would certainly have gone a long way in telling them exactly what the end result was going to be.

Many Nova Scotians, rightfully so, believe it was a political decision as to where that site was going to be put. It was interesting to hear the member for Antigonish say, no big deal, Antigonish didn't really lose here, it wasn't going to bring in much money to start off with, they don't really pay taxes on jails, so no big deal. Pay no attention to the 40 jobs that are going to be lost in our community, all the local suppliers who could have been giving services to that facility, the member for Antigonish said, I don't see a problem. Good for Pictou. No big loss for Antigonish.

What is interesting is that the member for Antigonish, I'm not sure if he gets to read The Reporter, which is the paper in the Strait area, but he may want to pick up a copy from last week. It appears that the president of the Antigonish Chamber of Commerce has a bit of a different opinion than the member for Antigonish as to what the true impact is on the loss of that correctional facility, the loss of those jobs. (Interruptions) Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice said he was a big Tory; well, if one reads what he says, I think if you're president of a chamber of commerce and you're talking about economic impact to your area, I don't think it really matters what your politics are because when you're talking about lost opportunity, lost income and lost growth for your area, it doesn't matter what your politics are.

If the Minister of Justice uses the fact of whatever the president's politics might be to dismiss his arguments, once again it leads us to conclude the Minister of Justice just doesn't get it. Then again, according to the president of the chamber of commerce, it would appear that the MLA doesn't get it either in making the statement that there was no real economic loss for the people of Antigonish in doing so.

What we should be talking about as well is when the member for Pictou East suggests there are going to be 70 new jobs for the people of Pictou County, when in reality we know, and had he read the documents from the Minister of Justice, those jobs are going to be offered to the current staff at the Cumberland County facility and at the Antigonish facility. It's basically existing employees who are going to move over to a new facility.

[8:30 p.m.]

There are not 70 new jobs for Pictou County. That's not accurate. We're finding out more and more that it doesn't seem the community was so enthused to get the facility to start off with. Only time will tell. I think the member for Pictou East said for every one person that was unhappy, there were 100 that were happy. I'm sure he has numbers to back that up and

[Page 3392]

only time will tell - quite possibly we may see a letter from the chamber of commerce as well to correct the good member for Pictou East. Only time will tell.

I came across a document tonight which, once again, shows that this government, for a political Party that spent its entire existence in Opposition, you really would think they would have gotten it right when they finally got in government. Yet, I think this week we'll have an opportunity to discuss further the document that was on my desk this morning. That document will clearly show this government just doesn't get it when it comes to good governance here in this province.

Those are the types of issues that we should be debating when we talk about justice matters in this province. Instead, we're here talking about Bill No. 85, it has three clauses, takes up three-quarters of a page. I guess one could say it's a green bill - environmentally friendly, I guess, in that sense, that it's only one page. In fact, as we go on to debate tonight, I believe you'll see that a few other Justice bills are environmentally friendly as well because the next ones coming up will be just as brief as this one is.

When one looks at where Nova Scotians' confidence is in our justice system right now, we should be having debate in this House as to how we can work together to find solutions. Rather than the Minister of Justice dismissing the concerns of a president of a chamber of commerce in Antigonish by saying he's a big Tory. That's not having a reasonable debate about issues that are facing justice here in this province.

When you go to the root of this bill, when it talks about victim services, we should as well have a discussion about what exactly should victim services be offering in this province to victims of crime. I believe my colleague, the member for Halifax Clayton Park, will have some comments to make on that very issue because she stood in this House in the past and raised concerns about what exactly was available to victims of crime.

We've heard great feedback from individuals who have had the opportunity to access the staff through victim services in this province. That's not where the problem is. The problem is in the hourly rate being paid for counselling, the amount of hours it's capped at. Those are some of the issues. I know my good friend, the member for Halifax Clayton Park, will speak more about that. Unfortunately we've seen some examples of some very horrific crimes here in this province - very horrific crimes - crimes that we would hope no Nova Scotian would have to deal with. For the government to turn around and say we're going to cap how many hours you can receive counselling, where in one case a family lost their daughter, that's a system that's not working properly in this province.

It's a system that was based on a general principle of what should be available to victims of crime and is not looking at specific circumstances of when families have had to deal with very horrific circumstances. That's a debate we should be having, especially when the Minister of Justice introduces a bill that's going to require, make it mandatory for all

[Page 3393]

police officers - municipal and the RCMP - to report to victim services the names of victims of crime so that they can follow up and offer their services.

One would naturally conclude from that there is going to be increased demand. Yet there is absolutely no indication from the Minister of Justice whether additional funds will be made available to Victim Services as a result. That's what I think Nova Scotians need to hear when we're debating a bill with three clauses, is what is the end goal here? Is the end goal to make sure more victims of crime have access to these services? Or is this political posturing by the government, something that could have been a policy decision being brought in as a bill which at the end of the session - as I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, yourself along with the support of our wonderful Clerks, will read off the title of all the bills passed in this House and the Government House Leader and Premier will say, what a productive session we've just had, look at the amount of bills that got passed.

Mr. Speaker, it is my intention to point out at every reasonable opportunity, exactly the type of bills that we are being asked to debate on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia. It's 8:35 p.m. now on a Monday evening and this is what we're debating when one looks at the issues facing the Justice Department here in this province.

In light of the fact that there may be other Justice bills called this evening, I'll have the opportunity to discuss once again what type of issues are facing the Department of Justice, in the hopes that it will encourage the Minister of Justice and the Premier to be bringing those issues in front of the House of Assembly. When the Premier says he wants to have a productive session and put the House back to work, this is not the type of bill that is putting this House back to work.

We should be debating the issues that are of most concern to Nova Scotians. We can't talk about Victim Services if we're not going to have a discussion about how much funding, is the funding going to remain, is the funding going to be part of the Minister of Finance's 10 per cent cut that he has called upon all departments? Will Victim Services be a victim of that - pardon the pun - or can the Minister of Justice stand in his place and say, no worries, I've talked to the Minister of Finance and I have already indicated there will not be any cuts in funding to Victim Services.

Mr. Speaker, it is important as well to realize and I'd be curious the next time we have a chance through estimates because funding for Victim Services - part of that funding comes from court-imposed fees. Whenever you go to court and you're given a fine, there's a surcharge called the victim impact fee surcharge. It is basically an extra tax that you have to pay via the courts that goes to Victim Services. From the discussions I've had before on budgets, I believe that the province kicks in additional money as well but there is funding that comes from those who have gotten into trouble with the law and have had to pay fines towards this program.

[Page 3394]

I remember, having been in this House now almost 13 years, I still remember, if I am not mistaken, it was the member for Halifax Chebucto, when he was on this side, who raised the issue when the Hamm Government was actually taking money from the Victim Services fund, which was the result of these levies on fines, and was diverting it to other programs. Now everyone agreed it was wrong, the Hamm Government got caught red-handed. One can only wonder whether the new Leader of the PC Party, when he was the chief of staff, whether he was aware that this practice was taking place.

Nova Scotians are well aware of the importance of Victim Services and the government was forced in that case to retreat and ensure that all funds raised through this victim impact surcharge on fines was actually being spent on Victim Services. I'll be curious whether the Minister of Justice can stand in his place and reassure us that that is still the case, that that money is not being used for any other purposes. That is something I'd like to see debated here on the floor of this House and a discussion take place. As I pointed out, discussion on what should be the cap on hourly rates for counselling, what should be the cap on the maximum amount of hours that can be provided. Those are issues which one must be able to discuss if one is to vote in favour of this bill moving forward. Mr. Speaker, you can't talk about enhanced support of Victim Services if the funding is not there to make it a reality.

So, Mr. Speaker, with those few remarks on Bill No. 85, it is certainly my hope that the Minister of Justice will take the opportunity to reflect on some of the issues which I have raised. I can tell you, having been here 13 years, I would remind the government members that on many occasions I watched the former member for Sackville-Cobequid, when he was the House Leader for the NDP, get up and make a few brief remarks as well. So if they wish to take solace over there for the length of this debate, they may want to look back at a pioneer in this House at standing and making a few brief comments, which tended not to be brief and not to be few.

I know some of my other colleagues are looking forward to having debate on second reading of Bill No. 85. I do hope, again, the Minister of Justice has been listening intently to some of the issues that I have raised around this bill and around justice matters in this province. In light of the fact that my time is soon running out, I look forward to the opportunity to have further discussion on this bill. I see from the order paper we'll have the opportunity to talk on justice issues in the very near future again this evening.

With that, I look forward to the bill going to the Law Amendments Committee to see what discussion takes place there. I do hope that we will have some representations from groups that have dealt with Victim Services and with victims of crime and that we can have a further discussion of whether this bill goes far enough - I should say this policy, it's more a policy than a bill - but even more importantly, the whole financial issue of whether Victim Services has the funding necessary to make this the worthwhile program we all want it to be. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity and I look forward to hearing more debate on Bill No. 85.

[Page 3395]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to say it's my pleasure to rise to talk on Bill No. 85 this evening. However, what we have is a topic that's very serious and a bill that, quite frankly - as has been indicated by the member for Richmond - is a joke. This government very clearly has a legislative agenda that the tank is empty, that they are void of any of the ideas that they claimed to have when they were in Opposition, to be the voice of the people and working families of Nova Scotia. We now see that since they moved from one side of the House to the other their agenda has become quite weak and quite light and it's being reflected in what this government is bringing forward.

It's very unfortunate because, quite frankly, we think in our caucus that they're playing politics with a very serious issue. There are a number of things that I would like to reflect on this evening, but to show you proof positive of how light this government agenda is and how much they're trying to distract people into thinking they have an agenda when they don't - I know that the now-Minister of Finance, when he was on this side of the House, would have taken note of Clause 3: "This Act comes into force on such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation." I do seem to recall if the Minister of Finance, when he was on this side of the House, with great indignation - as with some of his other colleagues (Interruptions)

What it speaks to is, if there was even a modicum of sincerity by this government to address this very serious issue they would have had an immediate proclamation date. But as the member for Richmond has indicated, this minister is so bereft of ideas down in the Department of Justice, as Attorney General and Minister of Justice, that his Cabinet and caucus cannot come up with substantive things. What they're trying to do is provide Nova Scotians with rabbit tracks to take them away from - more importantly, not what the government is doing, it is what the government is not doing for and on behalf of the constituents they once claimed that they were going to represent so nobly. What we see, quite frankly, is a farce when it comes forward in this House, when, indeed, if the minister was sincere in wanting to do this - as was already indicated, and I'll just echo - there would have been a directive. There would have been a policy put in place.

Then again, we have a minister who can't follow the directives and policies that are in place already, so why should we give any credence to this piece of legislation that they thought that the title would get people's attention, they thought that Nova Scotians would think that this government was going to do something more. They thought that those members who now sit in the Cabinet ranks, who had experience on the Opposition side of the House would provide integrity and provide definitive solutions for the problems facing Nova Scotians.

[8:45 p.m.]

[Page 3396]

Mr. Speaker, I want to be very clear, there is one area, and I agree with many of the comments that my honourable colleague, the member for Richmond, has talked about but one of the things he forgot a little bit about is the history of some of the issues that have come forward. As the statistics would show, he goes to the current and previous government but he fails to talk about the government he was part of and their statistics. He fails to talk about the fact that a failed P3 design, an effort that resulted in Burnside today, that was supposed to be I believe in Bedford, had to be carried forward and dealt with. That actually delayed more constructive work to deal with our corrections infrastructure in this province and that the member (Interruptions) I will be balanced as well, if the member for Richmond is suggesting about balance. Well, I will be balanced but we need to be correct about the context because what is correct is that the justice system will always be faced with issues of the day because society's pressures will always change and government has to try to respond as best as possible.

When government negates, forgets, sets aside, dismisses, then that's a whole other matter, Mr. Speaker, and that's what we're witnessing now. To address what seems to be something that should, quite frankly, move through this House with great speed, we're seeing that a lot of members of this House have something else to say because it speaks more clearly about this government. What's not in this bill is any discussion of supports for Victim Services because I'll tell you, I can say with clarity that when I was the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, I also remember the day when we had issues because there are a lot of good women and men who work within the Department of Justice, Justice partners who work with regard to day-to-day issues affecting victims of crime, providing them with services, and attempting to deal with their challenges.

When I was minister, I know that the member for Halifax Clayton Park would come directly to me and deal with those issues, would deal with our officials, and I commend her for being constructive. She will also know that there were times when I was admitting the fact that we had parameters of what we could or couldn't do, but we did want to sit down and listen and try to deal with those issues. I also recall the matters being raised by the member for Sackville-Cobequid on behalf of his constituents when he came in. I remember the now Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, the member for Timberlea-Prospect, he would come forward to the department and want to work on issues on behalf of his constituents. That's what you should be doing and try to respond - both directly as minister for your colleagues in the House as well as working with your staff and making sure that your colleagues, as members of this Legislature, are being dealt with respect, even if there are constraints on the work that you have to do, that you're giving them the full benefit of knowing that every effort is being expended.

I know that the member for Halifax Clayton Park brought forward a number of initiatives, brought forward things that she would like to see. We tried to work with her in the day and I'm sure she will speak to her own examples; the point being, Mr. Speaker, there was constructive dialogue that dealt with real changes and trying to deal with services, trying

[Page 3397]

to deal with counselling supports, trying to deal with limited resources, but being constructive in the process.

We don't see a government that's being constructive in how it's going about its legislative agenda and matching that up with the resources. One of the things, Mr. Speaker, I often think about, you know, when the Cabinet decided to fire the Chief Clerk, I'm estimating it's about $0.5 million now. When they turfed the Chief Clerk from this Assembly, that $0.5 million would have gone a long way for Victim Services. I don't see that reflected in this bill. I mean, I think it's probably over $0.5 million that this government - because someone in their democratic right chose to speak up and tell the truth, that they were canned, gone, thrown out the door. No budget deficit by the Minister of Finance, no getting back to balance because if there was balanced thinking, there would have been resources applied to things that are real issues to Nova Scotians but Nova Scotians who are victims of crime have paid in excess of $0.5 million to can the Chief Clerk - an outstanding career, I believe, that expanded over 34 years of distinguished service to the people of this province, providing good, fair, unbiased counsel to this Chamber. That shows you what this government has reduced themselves to and what they've brought this Chamber to, so why are we surprised if they will take over $0.5 million to throw out the Chief Clerk and throw him under the Dexter bus.

There's nothing funny - the member can laugh - there's nothing funny about a Chief Clerk of this Assembly, when all those members who were here during the 250th Anniversary of Parliamentary Democracy and holding up this institution - something happened on the way to government, and that was making promises that they now know were not real, making commitments they're not fulfilling, saying things that they philosophically may have believed over here but have abandoned on the government side of the House, and to highlight it all, they are willing to spend over $0.5 million to throw someone out because he spoke the truth.

We're talking about Victim Services because people are looking for the truth, but they don't have the advantage of this NDP Government - now a failed socialist experiment. They don't have the benefit of the money they have been recklessly spending and throwing out with no regard - in total disregard - for the Nova Scotians most in need. The example of the Chief Clerk being fired - and there hasn't been the Premier or a Cabinet Minister or a member of that government to get up and say that he hasn't been fired, nor the Speaker of this House, because they know he was fired. The order came to the Speaker from across the way at One Government Place to fire the Chief Clerk. That's what this government reduced themselves to because he spoke the truth on behalf of parliamentary democracy.

How is it that the Minister of Justice, the Attorney General, who is supposed to uphold fairness and make sure that justice is served, can see such injustice to our institution of parliamentary democracy and then stand in this House and try to herald a bill that his own Cabinet Ministers - his own members who believed with great conviction there should have

[Page 3398]

been a proclamation date - doesn't even have a dollar attached to it, and wants to say they're doing something for Victim Services.

Mr. Speaker, if any of those members want to stand I'll yield the floor to them, if they want to stand and defend their government's non-record and their dismissal of the needs of Nova Scotians and the fact that they have failed their own membership. Forget Liberals and Progressive Conservatives. I know New Democrats, lifelong New Democrats, who actually believed in what they espoused when they were on the Opposition side of the House, people who believed that when they came forward with a bill such as this Bill No. 85 for Victim Services they'd actually mean something by it, that they would do something with the bill and improve the lives of Nova Scotians. Well, we see it's just more smoke and mirrors again by this failed socialist experiment here in the province.

I'll tell you, they want to talk about what it is they are doing. Well, not only is it bad enough that they dealt with this, if they were interested in serving Victim Services, why is the minister failing the police services, the RCMP, municipal police services, the school boards of this province, First Nations of this province, and actually clawing back policing positions to the Boots on the Street, which has now become the Boots Off the Street. He has cancelled the position. We're hearing it from communities, we're hearing it from the volunteers who serve on police boards, who serve in their Neighbourhood Watches, who have seen the devastation already - this minister wants to shrug his shoulders and laugh it off.

It's no laughing matter in the communities that I go into throughout this province. They are not laughing. They are concerned. They are afraid of what other retaliatory actions will happen if they speak out, because of the impact that is being put on them, and a negative one at that, in their communities. They're finding that the best "victim service" is to make sure a crime doesn't start in the first place, but what does he do? Takes the resources away from the front-line people who are making the greatest impact. That's what this Minister of Justice, that's what this Dexter NDP Government is doing right across, from one end of the province to the other.

When he had the choice in his own region to add to and contribute to that, what did he do? He pitted one municipality against another, one service against another, rather than adding to that and we're seeing that.

I know in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality where I reside and represent the good people of Cape Breton North, but care about all of the region, with the Cape Breton Regional Police Service, know that the officers, the inspectors know that they've been told from on high forget it, you're getting clawed back. All of that good work that is stopping the root causes of crime, that's dealing with intervention and prevention and more importantly imposing the proper penalties to those and calling into account those who would break the law, all of those things are going by the wayside.

[Page 3399]

To sit here with some frivolous words that sound nice about wanting to deal with victims' services when you actually are compounding the problem day to day, community by community, police force by police force, that is what the Dexter NDP has now reduced themselves to. They've reduced themselves to trying to make it seem like they have a legislative agenda. Their campaign rhetoric and their campaign propaganda of the day suggested they were going to put the House back to work.

By gosh, it took a long time to get back here this Fall, an awful long time for this House to resume, so I thought this socialist regime would actually have gotten their - well I know what they say in Cape Breton - act together; they say something else in Cape Breton that they might have gotten together. But, we thought they'd actually get their act together and would come forward to this House with substantive, meaningful legislation that would improve the lives of working families as they espoused in their election propaganda.

I'll tell you chairman Dexter has just that, propaganda. We hear it every other day. He's fuelled the Dexter bus and he's rolling through this province taking out citizen after citizen, community after community, community groups. There's a real need for victim services - it's called the voters of Nova Scotia. You know what? They will voice their opinion and they will be loud and clear, let me tell you. (Applause)

I'm glad that it's in Hansard that the government members are patting themselves on the back and they somehow feel proud for the drivel they've brought before this Legislature. . .

MR. SPEAKER: The bill.

MR. CLARKE: . . . because Nova Scotians believed they actually could put and string together two pieces of legislation that meant something. But they don't. That's the reality.

Mr. Speaker, the bill is, we're talking Victim Services. Nova Scotians, the voters, need a reprieve from this disaster in democracy. You know what? The voters are always right. We, in Opposition, also have been elected by voters.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's right.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, if they don't even want to respect the Opposition, that's why I know they fired the Chief Clerk, they couldn't take the truth from him, they can't respect the Opposition and the parliamentary democracy we have because they don't want to respect this institution. What they want - everything they're doing is about anything to hold onto power at any cost and they'll take through and tear through anyone who tries to get in their way.

[Page 3400]

Well, I'm telling you, Nova Scotian resolve is much stronger than that whole lot over there and Nova Scotians know this institution's been here a long time. When I came into this Chamber, a lot of them said I'd never get re-elected, well, four times the people have chosen to send me here. I'll tell you, in Cape Breton North, they're glad they weren't the victim of the Dexter bus. They don't believe chairman Dexter has anything new to tell them because they actually believe some people

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask you that you refer to the honourable member as the Premier. It's not chairman Dexter, please.

[9:00 p.m.]

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, it's been said many times in this House already, but obviously you know of whom I speak then because I wasn't referring to the individual directly. But the Dexter NDP has been devastating Nova Scotia.

I'm sorry if the term, chairman, before the last name of the Premier has caught the attention because it speaks to the failed socialist experiment we've been subject to here in Nova Scotia. It speaks to the wrongs that Nova Scotians are witnessing. The truth may hurt, but I'll tell you what's really going to hurt is election night whenever this government has the resolve to drop a writ. I've taken my place in this House for the people of Cape Breton North and I can say, whether I was on the government side or the Opposition side, I've had a job to do and I respect it. I'd like to think I've respected the institution here.

The member responsible for horses out there on Sable Island is over there and maybe we can get some hay to feed him in the cafeteria. When they talk about biosolids, there's a lot of manure that member has been serving up, and I'll tell you, it's more than just the island of Sable. I think we've struck a chord, and I'm going to tell you, even the horses are sorry that member has been elected again. If the horses could vote, I can tell you they'd be saying, oh "neigh-neigh, neigh-neigh" to the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island.

The Progressive Conservative Party, as part of the Opposition, respect the choice and decisions of Nova Scotians in June 2009. What we would hope is that the government, the Dexter NDP, would respect what it is that Nova Scotians voted for, or thought they were voting for, and they thought they were voting for more than this drivel we see as legislation. They thought they were voting for an agenda that would speak to working families. They thought they were going to deal with the economy and moving things forward. Well, the opposite has occurred and it is a very disappointing reality that we face.

As we deal with this government's inability to grasp the magnitude of what they've done - and the Minister of Justice, who always likes to sit there very smugly and mock the Opposition as though father knows best over there because I'm an RCMP member and I'm a lawyer. Well, it's not being reflected in the outcomes. In fact, one would think things would

[Page 3401]

be a lot better. Given how wise and noble he is, you would think he would have stopped the Chief Clerk from being thrown under the Dexter bus at a half million dollars and that money could have been used for Victim Services. You would think he, in providing the legal counsel of the government said, you might want to do some second sober thought before you move to cause further harm to Nova Scotians, but he's been at the front of the queue. I think he has been fighting for the reins of the wheel of the bus because he has been hurting more and more of the integrity of the justice system in Nova Scotia. He can stand in this House and talk about Victim Services and, you know, how can you vote against something that deals with trying to support Victim Services?

As the member for Richmond has said, again, this bill has nothing to do with actually helping Victim Services. I know the member for Halifax Clayton Park has a lot of experience, and I give her credit for taking the time and interest. As I've indicated, members now of the government that did have an interest (Interruption) You will hear from her and you're going to hear from me. This is only second reading. We know you have the numbers. It's just a question of how long before this goes through the House. Nova Scotians know that and Nova Scotians know that this joke of a bill is eventually going to go through. As the member for Richmond said, you're going to pat yourself on the back for doing nothing, for sitting in government with a no-proclamation clause on something that should be self-obvious.

This government, this Cabinet, has no idea what they're doing. They had to have some fillers, so here we are, but it provides an opportunity for Nova Scotians who are watching Legislative Television to see what this NDP failed socialist experiment is doing to them on a day-to-day basis. It's bad enough we have to suffer through this session of the Legislature and this sitting, but it's even worse for what Nova Scotians have to go through.

When you look at what the government has done for Boots Off the Street, taking away commitments that are reducing impacts of crime, helping to reduce victims of crime in general. This government is prepared to do it and, at the same time in another breath, bring in this ridiculous bill and somehow herald it as something noble and we should all applaud the government and thank the minister. I would thank the minister if he actually could do the right thing, but we have not witnessed that hardly at all, Mr. Speaker.

Then you go and say, well how do you help victims of crime? Well, you improve the correctional infrastructure of Nova Scotia. So again, here we go. You would think because the Premier himself said, yes, we would honour the past government's commitments. Many times the former member for Cumberland South would stand with his petitions and copy and table copies of the news media, from the Halifax ChronicleHerald which indicated that, which assumed in Cumberland South, as part of the business plan model, working with Corrections Canada - and we've now seen a $40 million investment, but apparently that was not real, but I guess if you talk to the Honourable Vic Toews they obviously were in good, sincere discussions.

[Page 3402]

The minister says, oh well, the feds did something, why should we have to do it? Rather than talk about that there was a very informed discussion about building the integrity of the correctional infrastructures to deal with pressures, pressures that have evolved under Liberal, Tory and now NDP, pressures that would have been alleviated had we followed through on a plan, the government came out and criticized the previous government and talked about a 50-50 cell model. Then it had to be corrected in the media because it was 50 and 100 cell facility. Then we had to go and find out, and we know that the member for Antigonish, I think was misled by his own colleagues because they thought they were sincere, a by-election was going forward, people thought the government actually would honour its commitment to the people of Antigonish for a 100-cell facility, and actually would have been 100 beds and 200 beds, so 300 additional bunks would have been provided.

We do know that they say there was no plan, but there was $18 million in the budget that the government of today voted against, to make sure that Springhill would move forward. What they are not talking about is the business plan that was in place, a business plan that was to ensure that Springhill, as a facility, would be complementary with the Government of Canada, that the facility in Springhill was a smaller facility. The reason for the smaller facility - and I can tell you why there was a business plan, because if the former member, Murray Scott - it was all about politics - would have put a 100-cell facility in Springhill - 50 went to Springhill for a reason, because it was strategic to deal with high- violence, high-offence inmates who would go into that facility so they could be contained and they would receive support services from Corrections Canada.

All of a sudden the government doesn't want to recognize that and with Antigonish and with Cape Breton it was to have a 100-bed facility in Antigonish that would be available and that all of this infrastructure would have complemented one another, but the government likes to say and pretends that there is no business case. Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General of Nova Scotia, I think, would have something to say and I would welcome any comment. I would welcome the government referring any of the documentation to the Auditor General for interpretation when $1 million was spent on putting in place those two facilities, those two facilities that were to try to deal with the impact on citizens of this province who are victims of crime, people who thought that if they did the crime they would be behind bars, rather than having to face them in the local Tim Hortons because they were let out because the institution wouldn't be there.

That's the NDP reality, Mr. Speaker. That's the reality of this Minister of Justice who was so desperate to be political and not be practical in how we dealt with correctional infrastructure. So here we have in Springhill, to help victims of crime, to make sure that high-risk and high-occurrence offenders who were problem offenders could be dealt with in a smaller facility, could be contained so that those individuals who are causing problems currently at Burnside would have a smaller facility to go to, would have a facility at the national level where they would have a partnership arrangement. They could work to deal

[Page 3403]

with those offenders in a practical way, to make sure that Burnside would not face those pressures, would not have riots, that there was thought and there was a plan, a plan that had over $1 million go into it, a plan that $18 million in the budget that they voted against, but oh, that's right, they wanted to vote and spend over $120 million on dirt rather than on people, so they were more fixated on buying dirt, and we find out people are being treated like dirt, and victims of crimes are not being more adequately dealt with.

That is the NDP Dexter reality that we face today. That is what this government has brought Nova Scotians to and in the meantime we have a Minister of Finance who's claiming to want to try and balance the budget. So now we know.

In terms of compounding things, we've got school boards worried about a $193 million cut that they're suggesting has to come out of Education. Well I can tell you, if you reduce that funding and take it out of the front lines of Education, you're going to see it at the front lines of policing, which this Minister of Justice has taken away. You're going to see the need for more Victim Services, which this government will not support. You're going to see further compounding problems within our correctional facilities that this government has failed Nova Scotians in trying to deal with. That is what we're seeing.

That's just Education, but why should we be worried about this? Because these are just words on pages with regard to victims' rights and services and the fact that they won't even put in the clause, something so simple they couldn't even put in proclamation immediately. But as we know, the member for Richmond had said, this is a directive, this isn't even a piece of legislation.

That's how desperate the minister is to try and go around and claim something positive, but the reality is he has nothing positive to talk about because everything through the Department of Justice has been negative. I know it can be very difficult at times to deal with those matters that come before a minister, especially in a portfolio of Justice, because society is always changing, the dynamics always change. But when you make choices to go back rather than go forward, that's ill-headed and it speaks to the politicization that this NDP, socialist, failed regime seems to be fixated on constantly, and I will say it's a failed experiment in this province, time and time again, because that's it.

Nova Scotians went and were willing to cross that political line and say maybe, just maybe, they mean what they're saying, that their propaganda somehow actually will be put into effect. Well, we now see the impact of that effect. We hear it in the coffee shops. Talking of Victim Services, as I say, how is it that a victim of a crime has to go into a Tim Horton's and look at the perpetrator in the first place.

That's what it's about. That's what this NDP government is doing to Nova Scotians today. That's what this minister knowingly has done to harm the infrastructure, and indeed, in expanding the integrity of the system to support victims of crime, yet somehow I have to

[Page 3404]

have some platitude to go out there and try to espouse to Nova Scotians that we are, as a government, in this legislature, dealing with serious legislation.

I know the member for Halifax-Clayton Park will probably talk about a number of things this minister could deal with (Interruption) and by the way, the member for horses over there, again - you know, there's enough horse patties to pad this whole joint. We need a moat around this place, because I'll tell you, maybe the Minister of Energy can send the member responsible for horses out there for a little bit more, to get more contact with his constituents, because I'm sure they treat each other better than that socialist lot are treating Nova Scotians.

I'll tell you, there are a lot of things. We talk about the policing positions and Victim Services, policing positions that are getting cut back. Well, we're dealing with child pornography, port security, school officers to deal with liaison, dealing with mental health services. We are putting policing positions in to help those with mental health issues that find themselves in the justice system and what's this government do, claw those positions back, and we know, I've just seen it in my own constituency.

Someone I went to school with - and I won't get into the details - but to be someone who is faced with an issue, has some issues, and now the system is less able to respond to that individual thanks to this NDP government. We have to take a lot of resources to deal with the impact of those individuals with mental health problems who find themselves in the justice system and you know, this bill does nothing to help an individual who has found themselves distraught and has lost their way. It does nothing to support the family in trying to cope with that individual, help that individual and care for that individual. It does nothing to improve the outcomes for justice here in this province. It does nothing for accountability; there are no accountability measures in here. There are no reporting measures in this piece of legislation. We all know it's fluff but, again, how can you vote against it? They would say you were voting against support for Victim Services, when it doesn't mean a hill of beans. We know that.

[9:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, maybe we won't support it. Maybe we have to have the public more aware, and maybe we have to create the reality and know that through our media this government doesn't have an agenda. This government is misleading Nova Scotians when they tell them they actually were planning on doing something for them, and actually they're cutting services in Nova Scotia.

This bill speaks to what is lacking, and what this bill speaks to is a Cabinet that knows, every single one of them, they were all there - when they'll spend $0.5 million to fire the Chief Clerk, trying to uphold the integrity of this institution, how can they hold their heads and look forward, knowing they had spent over $0.5 million taxpayers' dollars to fire

[Page 3405]

someone because he spoke the truth? Hansard shows that truth, but they can't handle the truth, so how in the heck can we think they're going to help victims of crime? It's a shame what they're doing to this institution, it's a pity for Nova Scotians.

Now, today I spoke to the Political Science Society of Cape Breton University. (Interruptions) Would anybody like to speak to it? I don't know of anyone else who has been down there to speak to them, but I'll tell you that one of the things we talked about was the institution of the Legislature. One of the things we talked about was that there was a time when you could come to this House - and there are members, such as the member for Cape Breton South, who would know - and vehemently argue the issues of the day and walk out of this Chamber and be colleagues and friends. But we don't have and share in that. I know that and, again, I'll always say I think everyone (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, it is true. I'll tell you, and if the government that's not acting like a government would listen to the fact that (Interruption)

Mr. Speaker, if the member for Sackville-Cobequid would like the floor - I don't know if there's enough room for him and his mustache at the same time, but anyway if he would like the floor, feel free. Oh, but he's not allowed to speak. That's right. They're not allowed to speak, because even when the Minister of Education was down in Cape Breton - you know, there you go, victims again, Holy Angels High School, victims of this government trying to not do the right thing and try to - so what did they do? They went down to the school board and said we're going to strike a committee. Well, what was the school board supposed to do? They were desperate. They had no other alternative and so they came out and said, oh, well, we'll form a committee, because it's the only sign of hope they might have. Even when you have an exemplary model of academic excellence and the only all-girls public school east of Montreal - 125 years - what does this government do? It makes them victims too.

Is this piece of legislation by the Minister of Justice going to protect the students of Holy Angels? They're now victims of this government's ineptness. They're now victims, Mr. Speaker, because they won't stand up and do the right thing. I do give the Minister of Education credit for going down, walking through the crowd and speaking with them, but I also note that the Premier's Office had to have a spin doctor with her to make sure she stayed on the message of the 7th floor.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I think we would all agree that, interesting as it might be, it has absolutely nothing to do with the bill. I wonder if the member could be brought back to the bill that's actually on the floor.

[Page 3406]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cape Breton North on the bill - Bill No. 85.

MR. CLARKE: As I was saying about controlling the message, case in point by the Minister of Finance here tonight, because do you know what? The real victims are Nova Scotians, of anything this government brings forward in a piece of legislation. Bill No. 85 is another example, because no thing that any government member is allowed to do - we saw it with the Minister of Justice when the foul-up occurred most recently around corrections, the Premier and the Minister of Finance had to rush down to control the message - get the communicators, where is Dan O'Connor, quick, get the spin doctor to tell them what they have to say.

So here's another example where I'm sure Dan O'Connor in his infinite wisdom said, you know, Attorney General, maybe this is a way to give some filler, maybe this is a way to fool Nova Scotians a bit more that we actually have a legitimate interest in their well-being and that we actually will do something to improve outcomes for those who find themselves victims of crime, but that is not the case.

I always find it interesting, Mr. Speaker, I really find it interesting, and I take it as a compliment - the Minister of Finance who, when the truth really hurts, has to do something to deflect from the fact that he is part of a government that has not honoured the commitments that they would say, and Bill No. 85 is not honouring a commitment that they said they would do on behalf of Nova Scotians. So when the government members say so you're going to vote for it to move on, well I didn't say - I said it's hard not to vote for it, but it speaks to what this government's inadequacies are. It speaks to the failings of the Dexter NDP; it speaks to a government that cannot relate to the real issues, that cannot deliver for the real needs of Nova Scotians; and it speaks to a government that's glad to sit over there and heckle away because it doesn't matter, boys and girls, we got the numbers, we're just a matter of biding the clock and biding our time.

Well, I know what certain members of the current government would say when they were over here because we don't have to go any further than Hansard - and my how times have changed when it comes to Bill No. 85. I can't imagine the things that the now Minister of Finance would have said. I can't imagine the things that the member for Halifax Chebucto would have said and I know he would have had a great dissertation - he's sitting there smiling because he can only think of the things that he would have said when he was sitting over here about fluff like this that speaks nothing. The member knows, look. Pat yourself on the back because you would never do that, would you, honourable member?

Bill No. 85 - and there are government members who know - if, when it was the reverse, that they themselves - even the member responsible for horses would have had a lot to say when he was on the Opposition side of the House. Well, he has a lot to say but he's really not saying anything, just like this bill. It might take up some ink but it doesn't do a

[Page 3407]

darn thing. I know what some of these members would have said in their constituencies if the previous government, Tory or Liberal, brought forward Bill No. 85 in its current form and tried to present it as something being legitimate and worthy of the legislative agenda.

I can't imagine what the Chief Clerk who was fired for over half a million dollars would have thought or provided counsel. I can only imagine what the Chief Legislative Counsel did. They must have been giggling over there in the Howe building when they looked at this piece of legislation, saying, how bad is it that the government has reduced themselves to having to bring forward a bill like this? Not one resource; not one action. Oh, by the way, RCMP and municipal services, you come across and report it but it won't tell you what to do and it won't tell you how to resource it. We're not even sure if these people are still going to have a job the way the minister is firing people these days and clawing things back through attrition. The supports aren't there.

Funny how the announcements about crime prevention, intervention at community grassroots level, those things seem to have gone to the wayside. We only know the Minister of Finance has probably to gut that even more. We also know that in a time of economic uncertainty it is a time when you have to invest in more recreational opportunities, when you have to invest in more intervention and prevention activities.

Some of the government members here from the HRM may want to mock and laugh as they do, but when you come from a community with over 53 times the unemployment rate of the HRM, it's no laughing matter when children don't have the resources to participate in sports. Who is the victim then? It's no laughing matter in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality when people come to me and they can't afford a basic - in the run of a month can't even take their grandkids out to have a pizza because the monthly cheque doesn't cover it.

I know when those NDP members on the government side were in Opposition, there would have been great indignation about the realities that I deal with. I always say, I can speak with authority and it's a rather dubious honour - and it's not even an honour, it's a statistic - Cape Breton North unfortunately has the highest per capita caseload of community services recipients in the province. No great honour, but I'll tell you this much - I know about the impact on victims of crime. The Minister of Justice, what he is doing is an insult to the people in my community who are looking for support, looking for services, are looking for a government that is going to respond. That's the reality of what this government has reduced themselves to.

In the HRM, they can go and you can have four, six, whatever amount of rink services you can. Lots of places can't have that. It takes you years to get it. When you have three times the unemployment rate - the impact in those areas.

[Page 3408]

The minister may want to slight those people, but I don't think it's any laughing matter. I don't think the fundamental philosophy - and I can tell you it's not because I know a lot of lifelong, dedicated New Democrats that this Bill No. 85 does not represent. It doesn't represent them. It's not the government they thought they were part of trying to help elect. It isn't the reality of what they thought this government, when they had their political propaganda - and that's exactly what it is.

If we'd like to go clause by clause through the NDP campaign brochure, we're going to quickly find out there's a new reality in Nova Scotia. There is a lot of disappointment that goes with that. We're going to see it, because I know that the words about Victim Services are going to be further compounded when the next budget comes around. The government is one day closer every day to going away. That's what I take comfort in, that's what Nova Scotians take comfort in.

I can tell you that I will be here at every opportunity I have and I'll use every day I have. If the government members will allow, it seems...

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. The honourable member for Cape Breton North has the floor.

MR. CLARKE: Well, it seems to me, I look, and while the Minister of Justice, Attorney General, may think it's funny to dismiss the real issues of real Nova Scotians and their community, to take away benefits that were supposed to be there and services for them, that's not the case. If they think this bill is going to breeze through this House in the session, it is going to be used to highlight the shortcomings of this government and will be, in part, what becomes the beginning of the end.

This session is truly defining. We look at when the government came in and could have had a balanced budget, but chose political opportunism instead, benefiting whomever they felt was on the ledger sheet they had to try and appease, or quiet down, and spent with great - well, Mr. Speaker, it actually speaks to the fact that they're willing to spend. I'm talking about resources here. They were willing to spend on so many things, and rack up record deficit in this province, and then have the gall to come in here with Bill No.85 to talk about Victim Services and not one red cent attached to it, no proclamation date associated with it.

Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, you know and I know - I won't get into your constituency issues - but you know, looking across the harbour to my community, as we look across the harbour to yours, there are real life issues. There are people in those communities who are volunteers, or people on what I would call working poor wages, or just getting by, who are trying their best to actually reflect what this bill supposedly would do. The minister just dismisses them, doesn't even recognize what they're doing, doesn't even try to support them

[Page 3409]

in what they're doing. This Cabinet and this government will sit there and try to pat themselves on the back for doing something that, quite frankly, they should be ashamed of as far as I'm concerned.

It's always telling, I keep going back and I will remind them, if you'll spend over $500,000 just to fire someone for saying the truth, if you'll spend that, it tells you to what extent you'll go. Yet you bring forward a bill, with not one red cent in it, and talk about Victim Services and expect to be applauded. I think it's shameful.

I think anyone sitting at home, if they can go on the Internet, they can get access to this bill, especially those proponents for Victim Services, as the member for Halifax Clayton Park is, as certain members of the government have been. If they choose to take the time to look at this - I know the member will speak to it, and will speak to this in much greater length when it comes back through these doors at another time. This is not going away. One thing that will go away with enough time is this government, and thank God for that. Thank God for that. With time comes all things and that will be the clarity of what they understand.

[9:30 p.m.]

I spoke before of the political science students of Cape Breton University. I want to go back to that discussion because we were talking about this institution. What we were talking about is the fact that you could have informed debate here and you could have vehement arguments here and walk out the door, as a Bill No. 85 would be, and say you know what? That's fine, those are your opinions. But this speaks to a reality, Mr. Speaker - we're not there. I always say, I don't believe anyone is insincere here about their desire to represent their constituents or their interest in making sure that life for their constituents can be improved whenever and wherever they can. When you are part of a political Party and a government - if the Minister of Justice wants to roll his hands as though I should stop talking, I'll tell him we're going to keep going because I respect this institution. There is the very point, Mr. Speaker, I was making to the students of political science at Cape Breton University today.

When the NDP were in Opposition they would, as the member for Halifax Chebucto, as the member now and the Minister of Finance from Halifax Fairview would take whatever time they had, as the member for Sackville-Cobequid would, and stand here for an hour and say that he had a democratic right to stand in this Chamber and speak on behalf of Nova Scotians but they are in government and, by gosh, we don't.

Well the institution - this is what I was talking to those students about - the institution of the democratic process of Nova Scotia has been fundamentally harmed and the Minister of Justice further indicates, sitting there going, enough time of that. (Interruption)

[Page 3410]

Well Bill No. 85 - the member responsible for horses wants me to speak to the bill. Well, Mr. Speaker, I have been, he just hasn't been listening, nor is the Premier, nor is the Cabinet, nor are the government members, looking at the real issue. If there's one member of the NDP Dexter socialist regime that can say that Bill No. 85 is somehow something you can go out these doors and hold your heads high with, I can tell you that the students of Cape Breton University Political Science Society, as I was saying to them, we've hit it. We've seen it with the dismissal of the Minister of Justice - the member for Richmond was speaking, he was dismissing him, I speak and he just wants to disregard it. He really doesn't care what we're doing, this is just a matter of process for him to get on and dictate some other - well, it's not even a directive. If it was a directive it would be concrete, someone would be doing something. This doesn't do a darn thing.

Bill No. 85 doesn't do one thing.(Interruption) I think that was another victim of the NDP Dexter bus, I don't know, it sounded like someone squealing over there. See, they're everywhere, even in their own caucus. It can happen at any given time. There is no clock when it comes to the NDP being thrown under the Dexter bus, none whatsoever. No one is safe, Mr. Speaker, not even in this Chamber. Well we all know, because the Chief Clerk wasn't safe; they spent half a million to fire him. Gosh knows what that squeak is going to cost Nova Scotians over there, it's hard to say. Careful, Acting Clerk, you might be next. Apparently the package is pretty high.

Mr. Speaker, there's enough money to fire people but not enough money to serve people, isn't that funny, isn't there an irony about that? The irony for the political science students at Cape Breton University is the fact that I talked about this institution being fundamentally harmed and I truly believe it. (Interruption) Does the member for Halifax horses over there want to speak? If he does, he can get up. Maybe he has a point of order, like the Finance Minister, Mr. Speaker. I'll tell you, this is exactly - this is one of those moments, Mr. Speaker, you don't anticipate, they actually show Nova Scotians - it culminates for Nova Scotians what is wrong with this government. Nova Scotians are not fooled, nor is the Opposition fooled.

We thought we would have an ability to have informed debate on this but what is there to debate? Nothing there. We've got a minister who can't even give a directive. Obviously we have a minister who can't follow them either, because they are on the books. If he was there he would have disclosed because on January 24, 2008, a directive went down, a policy was put in place to immediately disclose to the public if there was a mistake in release. He can't even follow the policies of the Department of Justice so why the heck should we think that Bill No. 85 is going to have any credence or any effect in the lives of Nova Scotians when it comes to having Victim Services and for those impacted by those who would choose to break the law and create victims? That is the question, Mr. Speaker.

The minister hasn't said one word about this, the government hasn't spoken about this. But then again, that as much highlights exactly what the government has been about since day one. But do you know what? It was about smoke and mirrors, but the smoke is

[Page 3411]

clearing and Nova Scotians have a much clearer picture of what this government is. The youth are not impressed with this assembly.

If the member for Sackville-Cobequid who is beaking off over there wants to go to Cape Breton University, I'm sure those students would like to know - in an area where they have three times the unemployment rate as the area that he comes from, are faced with issues on their street, are concerned about victims of crime in their community - that he might have something more to say and could actually stand up for his people. He had no problem saying something over here when he was on the Opposition side, but all of a sudden he's given the deputy of something-or-other over there and he can't even keep himself in line. That just goes to show you there is no discipline in that lot, so how can there be discipline in Bill No. 85?

We have a Minister of Finance who won't provide the resources or a minister of retaliation in the Department of Justice because no one is being served. Everyone is getting cutbacks. How can he talk about victim services when he continues to cut back from the very front-line people? When the policing officer in a high school says, I don't know if my position is going to be here anymore because they're saying it may not exist, where are the victims going to be served there? We know there are impacts. We've seen it time and time again, and Bill No. 85 does nothing to restore or provide any confidence.

The Minister of Justice at some point may talk to the Minister of Finance and get some resources so he can actually get his job done, because this bill doesn't do a darn thing for Nova Scotians. I'm sure the member for Shelburne sees the benefits of this in Shelburne, don't you? Real great, isn't it? The folks down there are feeling really safe tonight, aren't they? (Interruption) They should be.

You know, you have the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who again wants to beak off over there, and he just highlights again the fact - there you go with the hand gestures. Maybe he wants to get up and do a song and dance. If I actually thought that this topic was a serious - and the topic is serious, but if I actually thought the minister's actions were serious to go with the topic, then we would be having a much different discussion and debate here tonight. But it doesn't exist. We see it time and time again, and that's why this bill is part of highlighting the inadequacies of this government and its ability to address the real issues of real Nova Scotian families.

I believe that when the history books are written - and they will be rewritten to account for the change in government that will come. It's just a matter of time. They're just one more day closer to the door. I can't wait for the member for Cape Breton South when he gets up and does his estimation - because you're going to see the finger go, and with great accuracy, I would say. The member for Digby-Annapolis knows what great accuracy, and some of the members there know his statistics usually prove true. I've noticed his finger has been waving a lot at a lot of people. Thankfully, his finger has been waving at the Minister of Justice.

[Page 3412]

He may want to try to get this bill through, but he's not going to fool Nova Scotians any longer when it comes to the day when they'll have a chance to judge and democracy will reign true. They can pay as much money as they want in severance, fire the Chief Clerk, the Assistant Clerk, spend millions of dollars recklessly as they have instead of investing in things like victim services, but another day and Nova Scotians will have their say and democracy, once again, will truly be served. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I have been listening with great care to the earlier speakers on Bill No. 85 and I'm pleased to have a chance to rise as well and to speak about Victim Services. Although this bill refers to Victim Services, we have to remember that it is the Police Act that is being amended. Bill No. 85, as has been mentioned by others - it needs to be reiterated - is a very short bill and it talks about directing the police services, whether it's RCMP or police, to notify either their own Victim Services offices that they have - the people who are working within their own departments - or the Department of Justice Victim Services Program when they actually find a victim or deal with a crime where there are victims. Very often that is the case.

The fact is, this is simply an administrative change, and from our experience and from the talks we've had, I think it's virtually in effect anyway. Everybody is doing it and so it makes this bill a bit of a mockery because it's very light, it's not even necessary. Just to be more clear, I had looked at the Police Act because I wanted to actually see where this might fit into the picture of the overall Police Act and what it had to say.

In the very first pages of the Police Act, Mr. Speaker, I have so many papers here on this I can't quite put my finger on the Police Act, but in a very first section of the Police Act it has the duties of the minister. The second or third section down, it says it is the duty of the minister to make directives for administrative and procedural changes and with it or without it, it's clear. Anybody can access the Police Act of Nova Scotia and they will see that that is one of the requirements of the minister, that it is his job, that's okay, thank you very much.

I have too many papers because there's so much to be said about Victim Services and because the member for Cape Breton North was so eloquent for quite some time, I think I'll only be able to touch the surface of it tonight. Mr. Speaker, the Act is clear - the minister has those duties and, in fact, those powers rest with him already. There is no need for a bill to do this although it is good PR. It looks good to address the issue of Victim Services because we know that there are victims of crime in this province and they have tremendous needs and those needs need to be recognized.

People need some care and concern from the government when they are experiencing crime and, Mr. Speaker, the impact of crime can be devastating and we all know that.

[Page 3413]

Whether it's a burglary, a break-in where your home has been vandalized, or your privacy and security has been threatened, or something right down the whole spectrum to murder. The reason that I am interested in this bill and in Victim Services is because in the time that I've been an MLA, unfortunately, very unfortunately, there have been murders that have affected people in my community and loved ones who are living in my community of Clayton Park. It has been a very unhappy time for everybody, I mean a devastating time for the family, but very disappointing for me as an MLA to discover that what I thought was in place to help people who are in the midst of a crisis, in the midst of an unimaginable horror, that there is scarcely any help from the government at all. At the time when they most need that intervention and help and some concern from government, they're met with a wall of bureaucracy.

I raised these issues two years ago at the Public Accounts Committee and had a discussion there with the deputy minister and a few changes came about as a result of that but very few changes, Mr. Speaker. I want to suggest that this Bill No. 85 before us doesn't begin to talk about the needs within that Victim Services area and how we're allocating resources to victims. Honestly, we have a bureaucracy built up around this. We have four offices or more around the province that are looking at it. There's a budget of over $2 million - I'm not sure the full budget - 27 employees as of 2008, and very little intervention for the victims of crime.

I was reading the minister's press release around this announcement of the bill and it is such hyperbole and such fiction, it's unbelievable that in this announcement he would suggest that, and I'm going to just read a little bit, "All victims of crime in Nova Scotia wanting to know about support services will be informed how to get it after an amendment to the Police Act . . ."

How wonderful. Was that not available before? Was there nobody who would approach people before? We've agreed that the police were already doing that. In the minister's former position he said the police were ordered to do that and that this was a common practice. I mean the police, in fact, I will say, Mr. Speaker, are the most sensitive in the face of crime. In the particular murder case that touched my life and people in my community and, in fact, friends of mine, the police offered tremendous support. The family said afterwards that that was where they got the help, it was from the police chaplain, it was from the very sensitive and supportive approach of the police officers who helped them and walked with them, in fact, through the first days of this crime.

Mr. Speaker, days and days went by before they had any contact with Victim Services and, in fact, it was something like eight or 10 days before they got the first letter at all from Victim Services, and that was after I had called to say, aren't we doing something? Isn't Victim Services a program we have? I was told, oh, you have to send in a letter and request to see if your application is accepted. You have to get a letter from the police to verify that

[Page 3414]

you are a victim of crime. In this case, I was so outraged and the police said they don't need a letter from us, we will verify that. There should be no delay at all.

[9:45 p.m.]

The first letter they received was days later. It wasn't until a full week after this and it's completely perfunctory, it's completely bureaucratic. In fact, three letters were received and the third one, when the counselling award was agreed to, is the first time the letter says: Please accept our condolences for the tragic loss you have suffered. The first letters don't even mention it, they just say: We've received your application, here's what we're going to do. It's unbelievably insensitive.

I would hope the minister is looking not just at one little directive which he didn't need to write a bill about, but looking at the procedures and the way the staff are trained and how they interact with people who are suffering the worst unimaginable kind of loss. All of us here can appreciate, those who are parents and have loved ones, we have children, parents and relatives, you can't believe the difficulty in accessing services.

I had spoken to the deputy minister at the time about the ridiculous list of counsellors that we give to each and every victim of crime. It depends on which area of the province you live in. If you get accepted, they'll say here's a list of counsellors, you pick one, you find one that will help you. There's no guidance into what crime you've been a victim of and who might be able to help. In the case of my friends, when they called through that list - imagine being in trauma, in shock and trying to wade your way through a list of 19 counsellors that are all talking about the different therapies they use, using words like Gestalt therapy. Who knows what that is? I don't know what that is.

I've been told in the meantime, the list has been perhaps reviewed, but when I called the director of the Victim Services office in Halifax, the director for all of Victim Services at the Department of Justice, this individual wouldn't give me any guidance as to who might have the capacity and understanding to help a victim of murder - to help somebody whose family member was murdered. As this family went through the list, they found one after another who said, oh, I deal with sexual assault, or I deal with domestic violence, I'm not equipped to help you, I can't do it.

When we have a case that is like that - that year there were 11 murders in Nova Scotia. I haven't added them up this year, but we know it continues - those victims of such a tremendous loss need a little guidance, they need a little hand holding, a little sensitivity. But I got the same approach I would have gotten if I asked, who's the best printer in Nova Scotia? I can't tell you because you have to choose your own printer, if you're getting printing services or what have you.

[Page 3415]

You can see that the bureaucracy built up here in Nova Scotia around Victim Services isn't doing nearly as good a job as the police force themselves. A lot of them do have their own victim services people and I'm not sure they always are able to meet the bill but I know they certainly rose to the occasion and helped in the cases that I know of in my community. There's more than one where there were parents who have lost their children in my community, and as I've said, it's devastating and the government has not been there in the form of Victim Services to help.

Every one of us, when we get a ticket for traffic violations and so on, other than parking, we pay a surcharge - 15 per cent of the ticket goes to a victim assistance fund. What happens to that money? I'd like to know where that money goes. I don't see a correlation between that amount of money and the services we provide in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, and members of the House, all we provide is counselling services. That sounds okay if you've recently been a victim of crime and you need counselling, you'll get an hourly fee that would be charged, once you've found the counsellor that's on the approved list. You have to make sure that counsellor is one they approve of and has been pre-screened by the department. When you find that counsellor, the maximum hourly amount the government fund will pay for is $85 an hour. That was raised from $65 when I first brought this up, I will acknowledge that, and I'm glad to see when changes are made.

I think my point is just as valid today as it was two years ago, if you look at the cost of psychologists and what they charge for their counselling, an hour with a psychologist is going to be $120 to $150 an hour. I think the members know that from other people you may have helped in your community. Those are roughly the costs. So we're now asking victims of crime to find a counsellor who is willing to do it for $85 an hour or to dig into their own pocket and hopefully have enough money to pay the difference and be able to hire the counsellor they want.

That again means we're leaving out a whole segment of victims who don't have the financial wherewithal. If you imagine someone who has had the worst kind of loss, losing a loved one, they don't have an ability to work for a period of time and, in fact, it could be a long time before they're able to work again. Financial difficulties are going to be paramount. They have to pay for funeral costs, they have lost income, they have costs of medication or other therapies. They really don't have the money in many cases or they don't have their own private plan to pay for the counselling, so $85 an hour is not enough.

I'm going to leave that point very loud and clear here with the members of the House and with you, Mr. Speaker, that $85 still does not do it. If we insist on staying at $85, then I would suggest the minister should put his attention, when it comes to Victim Services, to devising a different plan that will at least look at the means of the individual and see whether or not some people are entitled to the full compensation for the cost of the counselling.

[Page 3416]

We've already got a maximum amount. The maximum was $2,000 for anybody who is approved and it was previously two years from the date that they approved your counselling.

There's another case that has been raised, and I know the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal knows it very well. It is the case of Paula Gallant and her loss. Her family actually had said - and I had correspondence from them as well. I had the opportunity to sit in a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Justice and the sister of Paula Gallant, where they said they didn't want to access the Department of Justice Victim Services counselling program because at that point in time there had been nobody charged. They had only two years from the time the award was granted, so if they applied for it, it would expire. If they began to use it, it would expire - either they use it up or the time elapses. So they held off, even when they were definitely in crisis. The family has - really, none of these families will ever completely recover, because you never get over it. They knew that if it ever came to trial they might need the counselling then, and they just didn't even apply. That's how useful this program is.

Now, the amount for homicide victims has been increased to $4,000, bearing in mind still that it is not $4,000. It's if you can pay for the difference or if you can find counselling at $85 an hour, then you'll get to draw down that $4,000. A lot of victims don't even go for any counselling because they don't have the money.

It has been increased to $4,000, and again, recognizing that the trauma is much worse for victims of homicide, they have extended it to one year past the prosecution time or whenever it has gone to court. They will give you one year after it finishes in court. That is a lot better, but we still have a cap on it. We're still saying there's a limit to how much counselling a person who has been a victim of the worst possible crimes can access.

I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that there are people who need counselling beyond that level and that the minister should be looking at this, or the director of Victim Services should look at it, on a case-by-case basis. There are so many more problems around that award of funds. One is the description or the determination on which family members are entitled to receive the counselling. In the case of Ms. Gallant's extended family, one brother-in-law was allowed the counselling award and one brother-in-law was not. In a very close-knit family where all three sisters were very, very close - and they all lived in the city, they are all close together - why would one brother-in-law be allowed and one denied? It made no sense whatsoever.

The appeal process allows only 30 days to appeal if you're not entitled to this. It leaves people, when they are in the most vulnerable and sad and devastated state, at the point that they have to make these cases and fight with bureaucracy about the legitimacy of their claim when nobody in the world would ever want to be in their place and have to even apply for this award because it's such an horrendous position to be in.

[Page 3417]

Mr. Speaker, I have so much more to say. I'm not sure how your time is, if you would like me to wrap it up for the moment. I will say one more thing on victims of crime (Interruption)Thank you, three more minutes would be great. There are so many shortcomings and that's what I'm really trying to say. This bill raises the issue of Victims' Services and I'm delighted that it has because I think we all need to look at it. Any one of us as members of the Legislature may have people come to our office who want direction on what they can do and how they can get help and we will - any one of us - be very disappointed at the limitations on this program. We should all be working in the best interests of the people of Nova Scotia to improve those awards and improve the kind of care that people are getting.

The Victim Services division provides some help through the courts, directing people through the court experience and explaining to them what will happen and that sort of thing as well and they help them write victim impact statements. That seems to be about the extent of what we're looking at in terms of the value that they bring.

I have to introduce one other issue and that is, again, going back to friends of mine and people who I know in my community who very recently were at court for the sentencing and the trial of the people who were found guilty in the murder of their daughter. On the very day that the family had to present their victim impact statements and go through all of that - you can just imagine the trauma of having to prepare it and then actually speak in court after more than 40 visits to court, I might add, over that two-year period; I think it was close to 50 visits in court, which was just horrendous - the final day, the day that this culminates when they have to go and speak and they also had the media that they had to speak to and all of the concern, at the end of that day, after they've already been out to lunch and paid their parking and everything else, they were presented with the victim impact statement travel fund claim form.

So they discovered at the end of the day that they could, in fact, charge taxi fare, bus fare, train fare, gas, parking, meals, accommodations, if that had been an issue, but they got it at the end of the day; nobody told them in advance. They'd already incurred all of those costs and they had no receipts. How much good do you think that did that family, especially at the end of a day like that, to be given this form and they say, oh by the way, here we'd like to give you this form and help you out. It was like a little bit too late, too little too late. That defines that Victims' Services program right now.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would ask the honourable member to adjourn debate on Bill No. 85.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to adjourn debate for another day on Bill No. 85.

[Page 3418]

MR. SPEAKER: I would also like to remind members, when they're reading from a statement or reading from articles that they table those articles to the Table, please.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. We will meet from the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. tomorrow. After the daily routine, we will be calling Bill No. 83, the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act; Bill No. 85, the Police Act; Bill No. 87, the Court Jurisdictions and Proceedings Transfer Act; Bill No. 88, the Summary Proceedings Act; Bill No. 89, the Personal Health Information Act; Bill No. 90, Auditor General Act; Bill No. 93 that was introduced today; Bill No. 94 that was introduced today; and Bill No. 95 that was introduced today. I move that we now rise and meet again between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion for adjournment has been made. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

We will now rise to sit again tomorrow between the hours of 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

[The House rose at 9:59 p.m.]

[Page 3419]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2129

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Colchester North)

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

Whereas 23 years ago Marie Sack's family experienced the grief and pain that comes when a loved one takes their own life; and

Whereas since her brother's death, Ms. Sack has actively worked in the Indian Brook community to develop and promote support services and has trained others to help with suicide prevention and to support families of suicide victims as the mental health crisis worker and counsellor at the Indian Brook Health Centre; and

Whereas Marie Sack recently received an award from the Canadian Mental Health Association, the Freddi Ford Award, for her work with families of suicide victims;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Marie Sack on winning this award and thank her for her selfless dedication to the families of suicide victims.

RESOLUTION NO. 2130

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 Duke of Edinburgh Award was founded in 1956, came to Canada in 1963, and is now present in 126 countries; and

Whereas the award encourages young people to become active and engaged citizens in the area of community service and challenges them to develop personal skills and physical activity and learn what it means to exemplify leadership; and

Whereas Nora Tse, a resident of Dartmouth East, will receive the Duke of Edinburgh Award on Wednesday, November 17th;

[Page 3420]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Nora on receiving this prestigious award and offer best wishes for continued success as a leader in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2131

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 Duke of Edinburgh Award was founded in 1956, came to Canada in 1963, and is now present in 126 countries; and

Whereas the award encourages young people to become active and engaged citizens in the area of community service and challenges them to develop personal skills and physical activity and learn what it means to exemplify leadership; and

Whereas Paige Vincent, a resident of Dartmouth East, will receive the Duke of Edinburgh Award on Wednesday, November 17th;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Paige on receiving this prestigious award and offer best wishes for continued success as a leader in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2132

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 Duke of Edinburgh Award was founded in 1956, came to Canada in 1963, and is now present in 126 countries; and

Whereas the award encourages young people to become active and engaged citizens in the area of community service and challenges them to develop personal skills and physical activity and learn what it means to exemplify leadership; and

Whereas Bright Huo, a resident of Dartmouth East, will receive the Duke of Edinburgh Award on Wednesday, November 17th;

[Page 3421]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Bright on receiving this prestigious award and offer best wishes for continued success as a leader in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2133

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 Duke of Edinburgh Award was founded in 1956, came to Canada in 1963, and is now present in 126 countries; and

Whereas the award encourages young people to become active and engaged citizens in the area of community service and challenges them to develop personal skills and physical activity and learn what it means to exemplify leadership; and

Whereas Lauren Vassallo, a resident of Dartmouth East, will receive the Duke of Edinburgh Award on Wednesday, November 17th;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Lauren on receiving this prestigious award and offer best wishes for continued success as a leader in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2134

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 Duke of Edinburgh Award was founded in 1956, came to Canada in 1963, and is now present in 126 countries; and

Whereas the award encourages young people to become active and engaged citizens in the area of community service and challenges them to develop personal skills and physical activity and learn what it means to exemplify leadership; and

Whereas Matthew Whalen, a resident of Dartmouth East, will receive the Duke of Edinburgh Award on Wednesday, November 17th;

[Page 3422]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Matthew on receiving this prestigious award and offer best wishes for continued success as a leader in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2135

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 Duke of Edinburgh Award was founded in 1956, came to Canada in 1963, and is now present in 126 countries; and

Whereas the award encourages young people to become active and engaged citizens in the area of community service and challenges them to develop personal skills and physical activity and learn what it means to exemplify leadership; and

Whereas Natalia El-Moukhtafi, a resident of Dartmouth East, will receive the Duke of Edinburgh Award on Wednesday, November 17th;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Natalia on receiving this prestigious award and offer best wishes for continued success as a leader in our community.

RESOLUTION NO. 2136

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

[Page 3423]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Kate Lavers on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2137

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Laura Warnell on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2138

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

[Page 3424]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Leah O'Brien on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2139

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Lynn Fraser on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2140

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Ryleigh Burns on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2141

[Page 3425]

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Shaye Tilley on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2142

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Breanna Godin on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2143

By: Mr. Andrew Younger (Dartmouth East)

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

[Page 3426]

Whereas the 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Grace Flemming on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2144

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Tiffany Hill on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2145

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

[Page 3427]

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Allison Carter on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2146

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Blair Lacroix on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2147

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

[Page 3428]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Brooke Betyna on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2148

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Claire Nottegar on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2149

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Hannah Irvine on her victory and wish her continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2150

[Page 3429]

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 3rd Annual Chicks with Sticks hockey tournament was held in Yarmouth from November 12-14, 2010; and

Whereas 26 teams from around the province competed across all divisions; and

Whereas the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA female hockey team won the championship game in their division and proudly brought home the gold medal;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Dartmouth Whalers Atom AA team member Julia Carroll on her victory and wish her continued success.