The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD15-62

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Kevin Murphy

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

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



Second Session

THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2015

TABLE OF CONTENTSPAGE

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee,
5109
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Mun. Affs. - 911 Awareness Campaign,
5110
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1957, Dodds, Dr. Colin - Prov.: Contributions - Congrats.,
5113
Vote - Affirmative
5114
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS:
Boudreau, Joline: Miss World Can. Pageant - Well Wishes,
5114
Health & Wellness: Home Care - For-Profit Plan,
5114
Enhanced Support Prog.: Cent. Kings Rural HS - Nolan Award,
5115
Cooley, Devon - Firefighter: Goal - Achievement,
5115
Stoffer, Peter: Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau - Congrats.,
5115
RBC Can. Cup: Windsor Junction - Hosting,
5116
Johnny Miles Marathon - Anniv. (40th),
5116
McNeil Gov't. - Rec. Dev. Fund: Cuts - Effects,
5117
Boudreau, Francine: Strait Reg. Sch. Bd. - Chair Appt.,
5117
Hanneman, Mary: Kentville Rotary Club - Vol. Recognition,
5118
Health & Wellness: Home Care Workers - Min. Comments,
5118
Dhungana, Rupesh/Druk Atl. Youth Soc.: Nepal - Fundraising,
5118
Trenholm, Barry - Commun. Efforts,
5119
McNeil Gov't.: Progs./Services - Cuts,
5119
Health & Wellness - Home Care Changes,
5120
RCL Br. 8 Ladies Aux. - Prov. Auxiliary: Anniv. (50th) - Hosting,
5120
Gaelic Affairs - Budget Cuts/Layoffs,
5120
Cameron, Bethe & Rick - American Gothic Parody,
5121
IODE: Dr. Annie Hamilton Chapter - Anniv. (30th),
5121
McNeil Gov't.: Prov. Parks - Policy,
5121
C.B.-Vic. Reg. Sch. Bd.: Lt.-Gov.'s Awards - Recipients,
5122
W. Pictou Wolverines Boys Basketball Team - Elementary Boys
League Championship, Ms. K. MacFarlane « »
5122
McNeil Gov't. - Small Town: Physical Activity/Economies,
5123
Glace Bay Jr. Miners Hockey Team: Memorable Yr. - Congrats.,
5123
Schizophrenia N.S. - Budget Cuts,
5124
EECD - French Immersion Prog. (Primary): Truro Elem. - Cuts,
5124
Niford, Jayme et al - The 'Burg Classic Hockey Tournament,
5125
McRae, Cecilia/Pictou Co. Mental Illness Fam. Support Group
- Applaud, Mr. T. Houston « »
5125
Williams, Brianne - Artistic Achievements,
5125
100 Youth Who Care CBRM Prog. - Success Wish
5126
Johnston, Owen: Dal. Vet. Tech. Prog. - Grad.,
5126
Can. Health Day (05/08/15),
5126
Health & Wellness: Postponed Surgeries - Rescheduling Plan,
5127
David Atkinson Mem. Bonspiel - Bridgewater Curling Club,
5127
Le Blanc, Gilles G.: décès de - hommage,
5128
Steinhart, Thomas/Steinhart Distillery - Congrats.,
5128
Dockyard Boxer: Album Release - Congrats.,
5128
A Playground for Every Body Proj. Fundraising,
5129
Fawthrop, Dale: YMCA Strong Kids Campaign - Fundraising,
5129
HOUSE RECESSED AT 1:56 P.M
5130
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:00 P.M
5130
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS:
No. 824, Health & Wellness - EA: MacQuarrie File: Prem. - Action,
5130
No. 825, Prem. - Health Care System: Addtl. Cuts - Details,
5131
No. 826, Fin. & Treasury Bd. - Animation Ind.: Digital Tax Credit
- Details, Hon. J. Baillie « »
5133
No. 827, Health & Wellness - Surgeries: Cancellations - Percentage,
5134
No. 828, Com. Serv. - Bus Passes Revocation: Groups - Min. Meet,
5135
No. 829, Fin. & Treasury Bd.: Film Ind. Tax Credit Review
- Min. Response, Mr. T. Houston « »
5136
No. 830, Agric. - Supply Mgt.: Min. - Fed. Negotiations,
5137
No. 831, Health & Wellness: Continuing Care Strategy - Release,
5138
No. 832, Health & Wellness: Malpractice Insurance Issue
- Min. Commitment, Mr. J. Lohr « »
5139
No. 833, Justice - Suspicious Packages: Courthouses/Post Offices
- Min. Info., Mr. A. MacMaster »
5140
No. 834, Fin. & Treasury Bd. - Animation Sector: Importance
- Recognition, Hon. M. MacDonald « »
5140
No. 835, Bus. - Film Tax Credit: Economic Analysis - Min. Awareness,
5141
No. 836, LAE - Workplace Health & Safety Reg. - Consultations
- Status, Mr. E. Orrell « »
5142
No. 837, EECD: Drake Univ. Courses - Accreditation,
5143
No. 838, Health & Wellness: Oncotype DX Testing -
Review Outcome, Hon. C. d'Entremont « »
5144
No. 839, Justice: Drug Addiction (16 - 22 Yrs.) - Supports,
5145
No. 840, Fish. & Aquaculture: Lobster Levy - Ind. Mandate,
5145
No. 841, Energy: Nat. Gas - Ont. Costs,
5146
No. 842, Com. Serv. - Children: Supervision Orders - Stats
(2014-15), Mr. L. Harrison « »
5147
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 2:50 P.M
5148
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 2:57 P.M
5148
CWH REPORTS
5148
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 110, Marine Renewable-energy Act
5149
5151
5153
5154
Adjourned debate
5154
No. 112, Children and Family Services Act
5154
5156
5158
5160
5160
Adjourned debate
5160
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 114, Safer Universities and Colleges Act
5161
5164
5165
5167
5168
5170
Adjourned debate
5170
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., May 8th at 9:00 a.m
5170
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1958, 1st Armdale Scouting - Scotiajamb Fundraising,
5171
Res. 1959, Taylor, Shawn - Mainstay Award,
5171
Res. 1960, Greek Fest. - Anniv. (30th),
5172
Res. 1961, Wheeler, Avis - Birthday (100th),
5172
Res. 1962, van den Heuvel, Riley - Agric. Dept. 4-H Scholarship
5173

[Page 5109]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2015

Sixty-second General Assembly

Second Session

1:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Kevin Murphy

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Ms. Margaret Miller

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

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

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

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

Bill No. 113 - Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition Commission Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Ordered that these bills be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

[Page 5110]

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

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

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to thank our partners for their support and participation in the 911 Awareness Campaign. The 911 Awareness Campaign is a collaborative effort with our first responders. These include the RCMP, our municipal police services, emergency health services, fire services, and our 911 call takers.

Mr. Speaker, may I have permission to make introductions?

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

MR. FUREY « » : I am pleased, Mr. Speaker, to have representatives from these organizations with us today in the gallery. As I call your names I'd ask you to rise, and I would ask the House to hold their applause until I've completed the introductions.

Representing the Halifax Regional Municipality is Deputy Mayor Lorelei Nicoll; RCMP Chief Superintendent Marlene Snowman; Chief of Police for the Cape Breton Regional Police Service, Peter McIsaac; St. Peter's Fire Chief Raymond Ferguson; Mr. Mark Wheatley, the Operations Manager of the EHS; and our 911 call-taker supervisor, Alex Benoit.

I ask my colleagues in the House to bring warm greetings to our first responders. (Applause).

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

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, these individuals are representatives of a much broader first-responder community who work day in and day out from one end of Nova Scotia to the other to provide emergency services to Nova Scotians. Together we are reaching out to the public to help reduce the number of accidental and non-emergency calls to 911 through our awareness campaign.

One of our awareness tools is a short, call 911 emergency video that we just released prior to the Legislature opening today. We hope this video will better inform people on how to use the important lifeline the right way and reduce the number of non-emergency calls to 911.

Mr. Speaker, about 20 per cent of calls to 911 are non-emergency, misdials, or inappropriate calls. Every accidental 911 call must be treated as a legitimate call until the call taker can determine otherwise. Calls to 911 are for emergencies only. Inappropriate use of the 911 ties up valuable 911 and first-response resources that could respond or could be responding to a real emergency. Nova Scotians should only call 911 if their health, public safety, or property is in immediate danger. If in doubt, we do encourage Nova Scotians to call 911.

[Page 5111]

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia's 911 call takers receive approximately 650 calls per day. They play a critical role in protecting the health, safety, and property of Nova Scotians. We want to help ensure that this lifeline is used the right way, for real emergencies.

As the minister responsible for the Emergency Management Office, and on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia, I want to thank our first responders and the 911 call takers for participating in the video and collaborating in our 911 Awareness Campaign. We hope that our 911 Awareness Campaign will help reduce the number of non-emergency calls to 911 and provide an enhanced level of safety to all Nova Scotians. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : First of all I want to thank the minister for providing us with a copy of his statement this morning and I would also like to welcome those in the gallery who participated in the 911 Awareness Campaign. I look forward to seeing the Awareness Campaign video, and I'm confident that it will be an effective take on reducing the number of mistaken or inappropriate 911 phone calls.

The 911 call takers and our province's first responders are dedicated professionals, and every non-emergency call that comes in draws resources from already taxed situations that truly demand their attention. I know all MLAs join me, join the minister, and 911 call takers and first responders in spreading awareness, and will work to help reduce the number of non-emergency calls.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the 911 call takers and first responders for the work that they do on behalf of, and for, Nova Scotians. It's often difficult work but it's crucial to public safety. In the last several days we've seen some high-profile examples of how effective and how important our first responders and 911 call takers are. Just yesterday 10 fire departments and police responded to the devastating fires in Joggins, and despite the large number of fires, no one was injured and we are very grateful for that. Earlier this week, the prompt and professional response to suspicious packages in many public buildings was also very impressive. On behalf of the members of the PC caucus, I extend heartfelt thanks to our 911 call takers and first responders, and wish every success in this awareness campaign.

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

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the minister for providing our caucus with a copy of his statement today. I, too, want to welcome those visitors here with us today. They provide an important service to all Nova Scotians but I want to pull out one of them, Mark Wheatley, a former colleague. We were on the same platoon and same shift out of Sackville a few years ago. I won't get into any stories about Mark. I know he has been working extremely hard for EHS and EMC over the last number of years.

[Page 5112]

It is so important to make sure that the public is aware of the importance of 911 and the ramifications of false calls and those calls that lead to utilizing and dispatching our important services around our province. I welcome the campaign and I look forward to Nova Scotians seeing it and hopefully educating - especially our young people - around the use of 911.

Interesting enough, it was 78 years ago in the United Kingdom that the first attempt of a 911 system was in place but it was actually 999. Interestingly enough, on top of that, Canada played an important role some 58 years later. We had the first city, Winnipeg, to introduce a similar 999 system here in North America. I think we should be very proud not only in our province but in our country to play an important role in the development of 911. I believe it was in the early 1970s when 911 was adopted after the U.S.A. adopted that number across the United States.

We have enhanced 911 systems here in Nova Scotia, I don't know if many people know. Being a former paramedic and volunteer firefighter, when a call goes into the 911 system, if it's geared towards or deemed to need an ambulance, that transfer of call goes to our EHS dispatch centre. Every person there is a trained paramedic and that's when an individual can help with a medical emergency, and they are dedicated men and women who provide care and oversee the system status plan that we have. They know where every single ambulance is in the province, and I was proud to be part of that transition.

Sometimes change is difficult, especially when they knew exactly where you were, because in the past, sometimes we snuck out of our area, I don't know if Mark did or not, but for sure now it is improved and it is for the best of the people that utilize that system. I too want to thank not only the EHS Communication Centre that we have here in Nova Scotia but all those men and women who work for 911. They play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of our residents here in Nova Scotia. I look forward to the campaign being a success, Mr. Speaker.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable Premier.

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL « » : May I do an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER « » : Permission granted.

[Page 5113]

THE PREMIER « » : I'd ask the members of the House to join with me in welcoming in the east gallery St. Mary's University President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Colin Dodds. Colin is not only the president of St. Mary's University but has been a tremendous supporter of our province and is doing a tremendous job on behalf of all Nova Scotians in moving towards and improving the immigration stream for international students. (Applause)

Joining with Dr. Dodds is Dr. David Gauthier, Vice President, Academic and Research; Gabrielle Morrison, Vice President of Finance and Administration; Margaret Murphy, Associate Vice President of External Affairs; Mary Evelyn Ternan from the University Board of Governors; and student representatives from the Student Union including: President Amali Armony, Drew Carson, Marc Hosang, Megan Neil, and Rachel MacDonald. I would ask all of you to stand and receive a warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 1957

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

Whereas today I'd like to congratulate Colin Dodds, president of St. Mary's University, on his retirement after a remarkable career spanning 40 years; and

Whereas Dr. Dodds is a dedicated educator, leader, and ambassador who has made significant contributions to the post-secondary education system in this province, to the St. Mary's University community, and the countless students; and

Whereas through his work Dr. Dodds has helped position Nova Scotia as a leader in delivering post-secondary education across the country and around the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Dr. Dodds, thank him for his tremendous contribution to our province, and wish him well in whatever endeavours he chooses to pursue.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver for notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 5114]

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

NOTICES OF MOTION

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

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

BOUDREAU, JOLINE: MISS WORLD CAN. PAGEANT - WELL WISHES

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, on May 10th Joline Boudreau from Wedgeport will leave for Vancouver to compete to become Miss World Canada. Joline is no stranger to pageants. In 2009 she was crowned the Wedgeport Tuna Festival Pageant Queen; in 2013 she won the title of Miss Maritime International, and also was voted Miss Friendship in the pageant.

At an early age Joline was diagnosed with two learning disabilities and despite those obstacles she graduated high school with honours and continued on earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with first class standings from UPEI. She is currently employed as a registered nurse.

Joline is an inspiration to others striving to encourage everyone to follow their dreams. Mr. Speaker, please join me in wishing Joline sincere best wishes in her bid to becomes Miss World Canada.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: HOME CARE - FOR-PROFIT PLAN

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday we saw hundreds of concerned Nova Scotians visit Liberal constituency offices across the province. They were home care workers, home care clients and their families and friends who are worried about the Premier's plan, or worse, his lack of a plan. There are disappointed that the McNeil Government to taking steps to open home care delivery to for for-profit providers with little to no public consultation. We have seen the Premier make decisions without all the facts before and the chaos it created. Nova Scotians are worried this will happen again in home care.

No one is arguing, Mr. Speaker, that exploring ways to make home care better is a bad thing but the McNeil Government's sole fixation on saving a few dollars here and there leaves out what should always be the most important piece of the puzzle, providing better patient care.

[Page 5115]

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

ENHANCED SUPPORT PROG.: CENT. KINGS RURAL HS - NOLAN AWARD

MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the Enhanced Support Program team at Central Kings Rural High School in Coldbrook for being awarded the 2014 Sheelagh Nolan Award for Excellence in Teaching.

The Enhanced Support Program was created to think outside the box in 2008 and to help students with autism succeed in middle- and high-school classroom settings. The program adapts the classroom environment and the curriculum to accommodate learners with autism.

On behalf of the House of Assembly, I congratulate the members of the Enhanced Support Program - Joanne Porter, Sonya Forman, Tim Moore, Sandy Starratt, Michelle Pretty, Maureen Dykens, Alicia Ogletree, Darla Wood, Andrea Gates, Lori Smith, Jason Keddy, Mike McHugh, Cathy Thompson, Sarah Ells and Shelley Good - for their dedication and creativity in transforming the lives of their students.

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

COOLEY, DEVON - FIREFIGHTER: GOAL - ACHIEVEMENT

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, today I rise to acknowledge and congratulate a young firefighter, Mr. Devon Cooley. Devon joined the cadet program offered by the Thorburn Fire Department when he was just 15 years old. Devon immediately felt like he was part of the team. During training he was not permitted in the hot zone, but he did have duties to perform and he was living his dream of becoming a firefighter. By his 18th birthday he was trained and ready for active duty.

Hopefully, Devon's story will inspire other young people to follow in his footsteps. Devon has achieved his goal of becoming a firefighter and is contributing to his community. We need more Devons stepping up to contribute to their communities.

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

STOFFER, PETER: KNIGHT IN THE ORDER OF ORANGE-NASSAU

- CONGRATS.

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, Peter Stoffer, MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore received the Dutch honour, Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau yesterday, May 7, 2015. This prestigious decoration is bestowed by the King of Netherlands on persons who have rendered outstanding service to society.

[Page 5116]

Peter Stoffer was born in Heerlen, Limburg on January 6, 1956 and immigrated to Canada with his family as a young child that same year. Following a successful career in the airline industry, Peter ran and was elected to the House of Commons in 1997 and has been elected over the last five national elections.

Having grown up in the shadow of World War II and the knowledge of the role that Canadian servicemen and servicewomen played in the liberation of Netherlands in 1945, Peter has become a leading advocate on behalf of Canadian veterans, their well-being, recognition and respect.

The award was announced as Canada and its Second World War II Allies celebrated the 70th Anniversary of victory in Europe, adding further significance to this honour. I congratulate Peter Stoffer on this prestigious decoration.

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

RBC CAN. CUP: WINDSOR JUNCTION - HOSTING

MR. BILL HORNE « » : Mr. Speaker, we are very excited in Windsor Junction to be hosting the 2nd Annual RBC Canada Cup on July 6th. The RBC Canada Cup will cap off the five days of golf in Windsor Junction.

The Nova Scotia Open, the Web.com Tour Event will take place July 2nd to 5th. New Ashburn is one of 25 stops of the Web.com Tour, all four rounds of the 2015 Nova Scotia Open will be televised on the Golf Channel, reaching 81 million households in the U.S. and Canada, and is available to 192 countries.

The Nova Scotia Open features 156 international golf stars and the Canada Cup will feature Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, and Masters Champion, Fred Couples. There is no doubt in my mind that the people of Windsor Junction, Halifax and Nova Scotia will warmly welcome and support the many golf fans and players who will visit our province.

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

JOHNNY MILES MARATHON - ANNIV. (40th)

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize that the Johnny Miles Marathon will celebrate its 40th year running in June. The marathon was founded by Dr. Johnny Miles Williston in 1975. It has evolved into an event weekend, with an option for runners and walkers of all abilities. Event options include a 5k walk, a kids fun run, a 5k run, a 10k run, a marathon run, and a half marathon and a full marathon.

[Page 5117]

The past four years have seen a record number of participants, including people from all over Canada and parts of the U.S. It has become a signature event and has boosted tourism in Pictou County. I offer many thanks and congratulations to the Johnny Miles event organizers and volunteers. Thank you.

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

MCNEIL GOV'T. - REC. DEV. FUND: CUTS - EFFECTS

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, the McNeil Government has cut $1.3 million from their recreation development fund. That's a cut of more than 50 per cent. The minister assured me yesterday that at least a few projects will go ahead this year, but we know that a cut of 50 per cent means even more projects will not.

The Halifax Regional Municipality has learned it may not get the $35,000 it was promised to help the upgrades to Spider Lake Park in Dartmouth. The municipality's Director of Parks and Recreation said that funds from the province have been massively cut, and he warned that the municipality will have to either pick up the cost themselves or put the project on hold.

Most rural municipalities cannot afford to pick up the cost of these upgrades. Sadly, I suspect that we'll hear that the planned renovations for community pools, playgrounds, and sports fields in many parts of the province will be cancelled as a result of the McNeil Government's decision to slash this program.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The honourable member for Cape Breton-Richmond.

BOUDREAU, FRANCINE: STRAIT REG. SCH. BD. - CHAIR APPT.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate Francine Boudreau on being named chair of the Strait Regional School Board in December of last year. Francine was first elected to the school board as the East Richmond representative in 2007 and was re-elected in two further elections. She previously served as both the vice-chair and the interim chair of the board. Francine Boudreau has the experience, leadership skills, and attitude to be very successful in this position.

Please join me in wishing Francine Boudreau great success as the new chair of the Strait Regional School Board.

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

HANNEMAN, MARY: KENTVILLE ROTARY CLUB - VOL. RECOGNITION

[Page 5118]

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, volunteers are at the heart of any community. The Kentville Rotary Club has recognized its community volunteer Mary Hanneman. I rise today to add my voice to the great volunteer leadership shown by Mary Hanneman. She recently received a Paul Harris Fellow award, which is Rotary's way of celebrating those members of the community who best demonstrate the Rotary motto of "Service Above Self".

Mary has spent numerous hours volunteering as Director of Stage Prophets Community Outreach Theatre productions over the past 12 years, as well as Valley skating programs, promoting students on World Youth Day, and participating in critical incident stress debriefing programs. This honour is well-deserved and I wish her continued success as she prepares for next week's production of Mary Poppins.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: HOME CARE WORKERS - MIN. COMMENTS

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health and Wellness's alleged comments that home care workers should be paid less because all they do is wash dishes shocked me. We saw yesterday that I am not alone. Ask James Hutt. Nova Scotians came out in droves, more than 500 of them, to oppose the McNeil Government's plans to privatize home care with no consultation and to express their displeasure with the minister's dismissive remarks.

The largest of these protests was on the South Shore. Apparently, many of the member for Lunenburg West's constituents were as appalled by his colleague's comments as I was. Has the member for Lunenburg West - also the Minister of Business - told his Cabinet colleague how hurtful that was? Has he explained the value of the personal services home care workers provide to our seniors, or does he not understand the industry either? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

DHUNGANA, RUPESH/DRUK ATL. YOUTH SOC.: NEPAL - FUNDRAISING

MS. PATRICIA ARAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and commend Rupesh Dhungana, the Druk Atlantic Youth Society, and the young people involved with the society for their inspiring fundraising efforts for UNICEF and the Red Cross's efforts in Nepal.

The Druk Atlantic Youth Society is made up of youth from Bhutan whose families took refuge in Nepal in the 1990s before coming to Canada. As we know, the devastating earthquake in Nepal has killed more than 3,000 people. The society has been working hard to raise funds for Nepal and has so far raised over $1,600 with great plans to keep going. They will be visiting schools like Halifax West High School and NSCC's Aviation Institute as well as fundraising in downtown Halifax.

[Page 5119]

Through you, Mr. Speaker, I would like to say thank you to Rupesh and the entire Druk Atlantic Youth Society. Their humanitarian efforts are an inspiration to us all.

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

TRENHOLM, BARRY - COMMUN. EFFORTS

HON. PAT DUNN « » : Mr. Speaker, Barry Trenholm has been a community leader in Trenton and Pictou County for most of his life. As a life-long sports enthusiast, he took on various volunteer roles, including coach, manager, league executive, and official of hockey and softball leagues. Barry has served on the board for the Abercrombie Golf and Country Club and volunteered for the Annual Joe Earle Victoria Day Road Races. For the past 25 years he has been volunteering at the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame.

Barry is well-known for his political involvement, four years as a town councillor followed by 16 years as Trenton's mayor - the longest consecutive number of years for any mayor in the town's history. In the Spring, he has often been on a lobster boat in Georges Bay demonstrating the proper way to band a lobster. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MCNEIL GOV'T.: PROGS./SERVICES - CUTS

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, the McNeil Government has still provided no justification to their cuts to many programs and services that so many people rely on. They have cut government resources with their elimination of Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia and the closure of Community Services offices and visitor information centres across the province. They have no explanation for their second annual freeze on income assistance rates, they have cut funding for flood mitigation, and will no longer assist low-income families with well water testing or replacing oil tanks. They have cut funding to small community-based organizations that help people with mental health issues and others that helped people with disabilities access housing. Shame on the McNeil Government for using their majority government to force these cuts on Nova Scotians with no consultation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - HOME CARE CHANGES

[Page 5120]

MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, last Thursday evening I travelled to Amherst to attend a meeting of approximately 150 home care workers, their friends and supporters. They respectfully and articulately explained their concerns about the upcoming measures being taken by our government to respect the recommendations of the Auditor General and to initiate structural changes that will make home care more efficient and sustainable for all Nova Scotians.

I was able to assure these workers that their union representatives had been consulted as part of this process and that the Premier, the Minister of Health and Wellness, and all the members of this government value their hard work and their dedication which they bring to their jobs every day and that this government sees them as part of the solution to health care issues in this province and not part of the problem, as some of our members of the Opposition would have us believe.

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

RCL BR. 8 LADIES AUX. - PROV. AUXILIARY : ANNIV. (50th) - HOSTING

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Branch 8 Royal Canadian Ladies Auxiliary who hosted the 50th Anniversary rally for Provincial Ladies Auxiliaries last week. Because it was the 50th Anniversary, a special guest from Dominion and Provincial Command along with District and Zone Commanders and local government representatives and dignitaries were in attendance. This event also marked the 20th Anniversary of the CBRM, the 125th Anniversary of the Town of Sydney Mines and the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Legion. It's an honour to have the opportunity to thank the ladies for a spectacular evening of food and entertainment, and have a chance to thank them for all their service to the Legion and our communities.

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

GAELIC AFFAIRS - BUDGET CUTS/LAYOFFS

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, we are well into Gaelic Awareness Month in Nova Scotia and people are starting to realize that the McNeil Government's double-speak on Gaelic Affairs doesn't make sense. On one hand the Minister of Gaelic Affairs proclaimed in a news release, "Government will continue to support and deliver programming that ensures . . . and appreciation of Gaels' contributions to our province . . ."

On the other hand, the McNeil Government's budget cut funding to the Office of Gaelic Affairs and they fired two Gaelic-speaking employees in Cape Breton. To quote today's letter to the editor in the Cape Breton Post, "What a lot of gobbledygook. Such hypocrisy." Mr. Speaker, $6,000 is being saved in rent by closing the Mabou office. It's a very puny amount of money but it means a great deal to have an office in Mabou. Thank you.

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

CAMERON, BETHE & RICK - AMERICAN GOTHIC PARODY

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, it has been a cold and snowy winter. Bethe and Rick Cameron of Bridgewater decided to have a bit of fun with this year's difficult weather and have received international attention for the parody of American Gothic. Their photo, which replaced a pitchfork with a broken snow shovel, has been viewed several million times and has put a fun spin on a winter most of us would like to forget. The Camerons' photo has been featured on the CTV morning show Canada AM and the national news on numerous occasions.

I'd like to thank the Camerons for making us all smile and turning the winter blues into winter laughter. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

IODE: DR. ANNIE HAMILTON CHAPTER - ANNIV. (30th)

MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, the IODE was founded in 1900 to promote patriotism, loyalty, and service to others. The Brookfield Chapter of the IODE was founded 30 years ago and was named after the first female graduate in medicine from Dalhousie University, Brookfield resident Dr. Annie Hamilton. This chapter, along with the Truro Chapters Isgonish, Colchester, and Marigold, recently gathered for the annual Founder's Day service - and I will table the list of members in a moment.

I wish to congratulate the Dr. Annie Hamilton Chapter of the IODE on celebrating their 30th Anniversary, and thank these members for their commitment, dedication, and service to their community.

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

MCNEIL GOV'T.: PROV. PARKS - POLICY

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has been successful in killing dozens of jobs in provincial parks across Nova Scotia and replacing these hard workers with artificial intelligence, or R2-D2 machines.

Mr. Speaker, my concerns are not only about the loss of good jobs in rural Nova Scotia, but that these provincial parks are home to many species of wildlife, such as skunks. My fear now is that there could be some crossbreeding.

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With the fallout of the McNeil Government's budget this Spring, the Minister of Natural Resources may be the poster child for creating the Liberal policy that really stinks. Thank you.

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

C.B.-VIC. REG. SCH. BD.: LT.-GOV.'S AWARDS - RECIPIENTS

MS. PAM EYKING « » : Mr. Speaker, on April 30th, 16 students from the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board were presented with a Lieutenant Governor's Medal by Lieutenant Governor J.J. Grant during a ceremony at Sydney Academy. The medal is awarded to one male and one female student from each high school who has shown qualities of leadership and service in the school and in their community, and commendable academic performance.

There are three high schools in my constituency: Baddeck Academy, Rankin School of the Narrows, and Cabot Junior and Senior High School. Lara Fraser and Ryan Mackenzie were the 2014-15 Baddeck Academy medal recipients; Maggie MacNeil and Daniel MacNeil were the medal recipients from Rankin; and Kelsey Burchell and Tristen Stockely were the Cabot medal recipients.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate all the students from Victoria-The Lakes on their awards, and wish them the best of luck in the future. No doubt we will be hearing more about their accomplishments and endeavours. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

W. PICTOU WOLVERINES BOYS BASKETBALL TEAM

- ELEMENTARY BOYS LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP

MS. KARLA MACFARLANE « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the West Pictou Wolverines basketball team for capturing the 2015 Pictou County Elementary Boys League Championship. The West Pictou team is small, but mighty, with seven Grade 4 players, one Grade 3 player, one Grade 2 player, and three Grade 6 players.

The West Pictou Wolverines include team members Cejay MacKenzie, Jordan Cameron, Cohen Ross, Caden Ross, Ian Stewart, Archie Meier, Xander Roison, Cal Maxner, Henry Parks, Aiden Tingley, Caden MacDonald, and Logan MacDonald. The team is coached my Maureen MacDonald, and the tournament all stars were Cohen Ross and Cal Maxner.

I am pleased to congratulate and recognize the West Pictou Wolverines for their 2015 championship win. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 5123]

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

MCNEIL GOV'T. - SMALL TOWN: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY/ECONOMIES

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE « » : Mr. Speaker, the Chester rink, which houses hockey and curling rinks, is well used and enjoyed by community members and visitors. It is the kind of facility that benefits from the province's Recreation Development Fund, which matches funding with what local organizations and municipalities have raised for renovations. Sadly, the McNeil Government has slashed this grant program, so many communities will no longer be able to access those much-needed funds to upgrade their recreation and fitness facilities.

The McNeil Government's budget also hits the Chester area again with their drastic changes to the Film Tax Credit. For the last few years producers of Haven paid $35,000 to rent the Chester Rink. Now it is a double hit - the loss of the film and television industry dollars that assisted the rink and paid for upgrades, and the slashing of the Recreation Development Fund.

Shame on the McNeil Government for putting the physical activity of our citizens and the economies of our small towns and villages in jeopardy.

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

GLACE BAY JR. MINERS HOCKEY TEAM: MEMORABLE YR. - CONGRATS.

HON. GEOFF MACLELLAN « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate my hometown junior hockey team, the Glace Bay Jr. Miners, for what has been a memorable year for their organization and our town. The Miners dominated the NSJHL regular season, finishing first in the Sid Rowe Division with a 27-7 record.

The squad was equally strong in the playoffs, amassing a 12-1 record on their way to the team's first Nova Scotia Junior B Hockey League title. As a result of the banner, the Miners travelled to P.E.I. to participate in the Atlantic junior championship tournament, the Don Johnson Cup. After an exciting run to the DOJO final, the Miners lost a tough battle to the Moncton Jr. Vito's by a score of 4-1.

Our team captivated the Cape Breton hockey community with their highly-skilled forwards, strong, tough D-men, and excellent goaltending. The Miners had depth, leadership, and determination. They played for each other, they played for Glace Bay, and we are proud of their league title.

I want to thank GM Sonny MacDougall and the coaches, players, and volunteers who provided the BAYplex with a great year of hockey. We look forward to the 2016 hockey season - #DOJO2016.

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

SCHIZOPHRENIA N.S. - BUDGET CUTS

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, Linden Gray is on the board of Affirmative Ventures, a not-for-profit organization that provides practical solutions with regard to housing and employment for people on the road to recovery from such illnesses as schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. She says hearing that the Schizophrenia Nova Scotia Society, for example, has had their budget cut by 23 per cent is extremely worrying as it forces individuals within the organization to divert energy that goes toward practical solutions back into fundraising. Such a waste when their greatest talents lie in direct services which, in turn, lightens the load in a very cost-effective way on government services.

The solution to halting rapidly escalating costs to government in relation to mental health lie with the non-profit NGOs. It's short-sighted to trim their budgets and risk killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

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

EECD - FRENCH IMMERSION PROG. (PRIMARY): TRURO ELEM. - CUTS

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm getting a lot of letters from concerned parents about the French Immersion Program in Nova Scotia. In a 2011 interview with Metro News, the former Liberal Education Critic asked if French Immersion is something that needs to stay on the table from Primary to Grade 12. Well, I think it does, so I was disappointed to hear that the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board is planning to cancel the French Immersion Program for Primary next year at our Truro Elementary School.

Parents believe that if the board was fully committed to supporting French programs they would be offering this class next year. I hope the program can stay at the Truro Elementary School and I know the benefits that becoming fluent in another language will bring to these students now and in the future.

Statistics show that early French programs may have many great benefits like working memory used in activities like math is improved, especially among those aged five to seven, plus there are added work opportunities later in life. I strongly believe in this program and I hope we can save it for Truro Elementary.

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

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NIFORD, JAYME ET AL - THE 'BURG CLASSIC HOCKEY TOURNAMENT

MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : Mr. Speaker, three years ago, Jayme Niford came up with an idea to raise money to help people who really needed it. The 'Burg Classic hockey tournament was born.

This year 14 teams from around the province participated in the tournament in two divisions. The community came on board for the very first mention of the tournament which is hosted in Lunenburg. The sponsors jumped at the chance to be part of this great event which has had a big impact on the community in both funds raised and local economic impact.

In three years the event has raised about $43,000. Mr. Speaker, I ask that you please join me in congratulating the organizing committee of Jayme Niford, Dennis Chapman, Lisa Tanner, and Chad Parks for organizing this wonderful community event.

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

MCRAE, CECILIA/PICTOU CO.

MENTAL ILLNESS FAM. SUPPORT GROUP - APPLAUD

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, mental illness is an issue that must be discussed publicly. The Pictou County Mental Illness Family Support Group was founded to be a mechanism for families who are coping with mental illness and the stigma associated with it. This group does tremendous work for our community.

Recently walkers took to the streets, wearing purple shirts and carrying purple balloons to raise awareness of mental illness. It is important to get the message out and to inspire hope for those families dealing with mental illness and I applaud Cecelia McRae and the entire support group for all they do for our community. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

WILLIAMS, BRIANNE - ARTISTIC ACHIEVEMENTS

MR. KEITH IRVING « » : Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate a young, talented and emerging artist from Coldbrook, Ms. Brianne Williams, for the honour of having her work entitled Docked at Blue Rocks, which was chosen by CBC for inclusion in the 2015-16 Sharing Our View calendar.

A dedicated artist with an impressive work ethic, Ms. Williams paints nautical landscapes that evoke the sounds and smells of Nova Scotia. On behalf of the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia, I would like to congratulate Ms. Williams on her achievements, encourage her in pursuing the vocation she loves and to share her talents with this province and the world. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

100 YOUTH WHO CARE CBRM PROG. - SUCCESS WISH

MR. BRENDAN MAGUIRE « » : Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the 100 Youth Who Care CBRM Program that is happening in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. The 100 Youth Who Care CBRM Program was spearheaded by the 100 Women Who Care CBRM group and was founded to show that youth are willing and able to help those in need.

One hundred youth have committed to donating $10 each to a charity. Not only will this organization help local charities but there is no doubt that it will inspire the next generation of community leaders. I would like to wish this group ongoing success as they endeavour to help and inspire others. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

JOHNSTON, OWEN: DAL. VET. TECH. PROG. - GRAD.

MR. BILL HORNE « » : Mr. Speaker, Owen Johnston, 27, will graduate from Dalhousie Agricultural Campus after completing the Veterinary Technology program. Owen is one of only five students honoured with a Board of Governors Award through Dalhousie University. After arriving at the campus in 2013, the Fall River founded the DALOUT Truro Group. This group is a place for those lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual students who don't feel safe being out.

Owen also became involved in the Vet Tech Society, did fundraising, organized Ally training, peer tutored and maintained top grades. He also helped organize a social between first and second year students, giving them all a chance to meet each other.

Following graduation, Owen plans to vacation and visit to family in Scotland before returning to Halifax where he will work at the Fairview Animal Hospital. Congratulations and best of luck.

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

CAN. HEALTH DAY (05/08/15)

MS. PAM EYKING « » : Mr. Speaker, May 8th is Canada Health Day, a day where Canadians are encouraged to join health facilities, agencies, community health organizations, public health units, colleagues, students, teachers and family members in a resolution to be active and involved in their community.

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At one of the local hospitals in my constituency, the Victoria County Memorial Hospital, they are holding a luncheon and a draw in support of the hospital auxiliary and will also have exhibits on display on the main floor of the hospital that help raise awareness of programs and services available in the community.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to acknowledge all the community organizations, societies and auxiliaries that provide sport in our communities. Thank you.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: POSTPONED SURGERIES - RESCHEDULING PLAN

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I asked the Minister of Health and Wellness a serious question yesterday, I asked him about the backlog of postponed surgeries at the QEII and how much longer patients would have to wait to have their surgeries rescheduled. His response was that the new CEO of the Health Authority would have a plan and that plan will be executed.

Mr. Speaker, that's not an answer. That's equivalent of just washing your hands of the whole affair. The sterilization problem was noticed by hospital staff on April 11th, almost a full month ago and the Minister of Health and Wellness still doesn't have a plan to address the backlog of surgeries. He can point the finger at the CEO of the Health Authority all he wants to but he is the Minister of Health and Wellness for the Province of Nova Scotia. He needs to take responsibility for the government's lack of action.

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

DAVID ATKINSON MEM. BONSPIEL - BRIDGEWATER CURLING CLUB

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, on March 7th and March 8th the Annual David Atkinson Memorial Bonspiel was held at the Bridgewater Curling Club. David Atkinson was a young man who would have turned 32 years old this year. An avid curler, it seems fitting that a memorial bonspiel would be organized in his name. Over the years, this has been a well-attended event, sold out every year, with many of David's friends and family coming out to show their support each year.

This year, all proceeds from the bonspiel are being directed to the Journey Room at the South Shore Regional Hospital. The Journey Room will serve as a cancer resource room with funds generated from the bonspiel going toward outfitting the room itself. The bonspiel was a great display of community and a wonderful tribute to a young man taken much too soon. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

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LE BLANC, GILLES G.: DÉCÈS DE - HOMMAGE

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : M. le Président, j'aimerais offrir mes sincères condoléances à la famille de Gilles G. Le Blanc. Il était natif de Clare et travaillait dans l'éducation depuis plus de 25 ans. Il était le directeur administratif de la Direction des services acadiens et de langue française au ministère de l'Éducation. Il était un grand Acadien qui visitait souvent à cette Législature et il était un homme très convaincu de son acadienneté. J'aimerais de nouveau offrir mes sincères condoléances au nom de tous les membres de cette Assemblée à la famille de Gilles G. Le Blanc.

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

STEINHART, THOMAS/STEINHART DISTILLERY - CONGRATS.

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : Mr. Speaker, there is a business in my riding that has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention. Steinhart Distillery operates in Arisaig and is quickly becoming a provincial success story.

Thomas Steinhart is the owner, and his certified-organic vodka and maple vodka can now be found in 20 Nova Scotia liquor stores. He also sells unique flavours like blueberry and cranberry. Using local ingredients wherever possible is an important part of Mr. Steinhart's business plan. For example, he uses maple from right in Antigonish County.

The unique bottles and labels are just as unique as the vodka. The labels are works of art, literally. Each bottle comes with two labels; the top label can be removed to unveil a piece of artwork. Those labels recently won a gold medal at the 2015 Packaging Consortium Global Leadership Awards, where some of his competitors in that category were Polar Ice, Classico, and Heinz.

Mr. Steinhart is one of the best kinds of entrepreneur. He has taken local products - both natural ingredients and talent - and created an exceptional business and an exceptional product. I suspect Steinhart Distillery will continue to grow and succeed. I ask the members of the House of Assembly to join me in wishing Mr. Steinhart the best of luck and congratulations as he continues with his business.

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

DOCKYARD BOXER: ALBUM RELEASE - CONGRATS.

MS. SUZANNE LOHNES-CROFT « » : The music industry is alive and well on Nova Scotia's South Shore. Lunenburg County alone has produced a staggering number of talented musicians.

There is another group hoping to break into that scene. Dockyard Boxer recently released its debut album, Rebuild, to positive reviews. It was an album nearly two years in the making. Dockyard Boxer consists of drummer Mike Smith, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist James Smith, lead guitarist and backup vocalist Shawn Selig, and bassist James Ramey - whom the NDP would know is the former member's son.

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Oddly enough, my home served as the setting for one of their music videos, so I know first-hand just how talented this group is - and they are well on their way. The band has had a number of opportunities to play alongside other artists such as Carmen Townsend and Air Traffic Control and at venues like Riverfest 2014, Casino Nova Scotia, the Seahorse Tavern. They were recently runner-up in a CBC contest.

Mr. Speaker, I ask that you join me in congratulating Dockyard Boxer on their album debut and in wishing them much success in the future.

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

A PLAYGROUND FOR EVERY BODY PROJ. FUNDRAISING

HON. RANDY DELOREY « » : On Thursday, May 14th, there will be a multi-talent show in support of the A Playground for "Every Body" project in Antigonish. This project is being driven by a group of community members who want to see an accessible playground built in Antigonish. It would be a playground for "everybody".

The multi-talent show is an amazing collaboration with six schools participating. There will be acts from Saint Andrew Junior School, H.M. MacDonald Elementary School, Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School, East Antigonish Education Centre / Academy, Saint Andrews Consolidated, and the Antigonish Education Centre.

They will also be hosting a silent art auction of student work and a 50/50 draw. The show is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Saint Andrew Junior School and I look forward to this great event and the funds that are raised for this important project. Thank you.

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

FAWTHROP, DALE: YMCA STRONG KIDS CAMPAIGN - FUNDRAISING

MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to rise today to congratulate Dale Fawthrop of Amherst for his contribution to the YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign. This morning, Dale swam 71 laps of the YMCA pool on his 71st birthday and along with his grandchildren, Daphne, and his other grandson, they raised approximately $1,200 for the Strong Kids Campaign. This is one year after Dale originated this great idea by swimming 70 laps on his 70th birthday.

I rise today to congratulate Dale and his family for their contribution to the YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign.

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MR. SPEAKER « » : Barring no more Statements by Members the House will now recess until 2:00 p.m.

[1:56 p.m. The House recessed.]

[2:00 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER « » : Order, please.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS TO MINISTERS

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - EA: MACQUARRIE FILE: PREM. - ACTION

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week we all heard from a respected doctor who said she was the victim of a deliberate attempt to intimidate her at the Department of Health and Wellness. Sadly, both the Premier and the Minister of Health and Wellness laughed off her accusations. In fact, the minister hasn't discussed the incident with his staff and no one has contacted Dr. MacQuarrie to get her side of the story.

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the Premier, why is he satisfied to do nothing in the face of such serious allegations?

THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable member for his question. I think he should know that the minister and the doctor are meeting next week.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, this is no longer about the minister's staff; it's now about the leadership of the Premier and the minister. By laughing off these serious accusations made by Dr. MacQuarrie, they have basically told her that they don't believe her. Instead of acting to resolve the situation, the government has made it worse - perhaps that is why a meeting will now take place.

Dr. MacQuarrie and all Nova Scotians deserve better, Mr. Speaker. Will the Premier himself get to the bottom of what happened in this very ugly incident?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I want to tell him what we thought was ridiculous was the comment by the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party suggesting that there has been a file kept on any member or any Nova Scotian. No member of this government, no member of the Public Service is keeping a file on any Nova Scotian, and that's what we said was ridiculous and that's what we laughed it off.

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MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, I can assure you that this is no laughing matter, and to basically say that Dr. MacQuarrie made up a file that she says and confirms that she saw, with personal information from her Facebook page and other things in it, is very serious. In fact, the Premier and his government has a policy on these very things - the policy on Respectful Workplace Behaviour. And I'll table that policy, which compels a manager when they know of a disrespectful incident in the workplace to actually take action within ten days.

I would like to ask the Premier, will he ensure that his own government policy on respectful behaviour in the workplace is followed and this will be investigated within ten days?

THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable member and I want to assure him the minister has spoken with his staff. We have an appointment set up with the doctor next week. I don't know what more the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party wants.

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

PREM. - HEALTH CARE SYSTEM: ADDTL. CUTS - DETAILS

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, yesterday Janet Knox, the CEO of the new Health Authority, told the Public Accounts Committee that her budget for this year has yet to be approved. We are a full month into the new fiscal year and Ms. Knox does not expect to see her budget plan approved for at least several more weeks. This is because the minister is considering cuts that were proposed by Ms. Knox as a way to deal with a budget that has been reduced by millions of dollars - at least $10 million; probably more.

My question to the Premier is, what additional cuts to our health care system are being contemplated by his government?

THE PREMIER « » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question. The minister has laid out the direction the health system is going. I want to congratulate him for the fine work he is doing on breaking down the barriers inside our health care system. As all members of this House would know, there were nine district health authorities, plus the IWK - we are now down to two.

As Ms. Knox indicated, her business plan will be in her hands in the very near future, unlike in the past when DHAs were waiting for the business plans in December or January.

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MS. MACDONALD « » : I thank the Premier for the answer. I recognize that these budgets are a challenge. The McNeil Government promised greater efficiency and improved patient care, yet we know through Ms. Knox that more cuts will have to be made in our health care system because the McNeil Government has frozen health care funding, and in the case of the new Health Authority, indeed they are cutting funding.

My question to the Premier is, why is he unwilling to tell Nova Scotians what cuts are being contemplated in the new Health Authority?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question again. I want to remind her and tell all Nova Scotians that the Minister of Health and Wellness has laid out our budget, working very diligently with both the IWK and the new Health Authority. As she knows, they both will be in charge of administering and delivering services to the people of this province and I want to tell her that not only is it more efficient, not only have we broken down the walls inside of government, but we will have the business plans in the hands of the new district health authority much, much quicker than previous years.

MS. MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, actions speak louder than words and it's going to be two months into the fiscal year and we still haven't seen an approved budget for the new health authority. I know the Premier doesn't like being questioned by the Opposition, but health care is important to Nova Scotians and they deserve answers. They deserve to know what cuts this government is going to make and what impacts these cuts will have on patient care.

My question to the Premier is, why is your minister stalling the approval of the health authority budget and letting Nova Scotians know the real cost of cutting the operating budget of the health authority?

THE PREMIER « » : Mr. Speaker, again, I want to remind the honourable member that when she was Minister of Health and Wellness, these plans never got out until the end of the year, that's in December and sometimes into January. We're waiting for business plans; the deputy minister has been in for two months. We very clearly indicated to the Health Authority that they would receive their business plan in the very near future, much quicker than under her leadership.

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

FIN. & TREASURY BD. - ANIMATION IND.:

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DIGITAL TAX CREDIT - DETAILS

HON. JAMIE BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. In her press release yesterday, the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board took the opportunity to thank the animation industry for, ". . . their input and for better understanding the financial situation of the province." That seems very straight forward.

The same release went on to describe the new Digital Media Tax Credit as, and I quote again from her release, ". . . an additional 25 per cent for eligible animation labour on top of the existing digital credit . . ." That also seemed pretty straight forward at the time, but now we are hearing from the digital industry that the release is, in fact, incorrect. The real amount is only half that which was advertised.

That is no way to restore trust or faith in our film industry or the animation industry. I'll ask the minister, why does the press release, which I will table, give the impression that the digital tax credit is better than it actually is?

HON. DIANA WHALEN » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to answer the honourable member's question. There are a lot of numbers involved in that calculation; it's a 25 per cent bonus on top of the 50 per cent eligible. What it all amounts to at the end of the day is a credit that is almost the same - we would say it's approximately the same - as what was already in place under the old Film Industry Tax Credit. I think it's a very good solution. I think that's the point that the member opposite should be aware of, that it is a very good solution to put the animation into a new stream, not the film industry stream, but into a new stream with the Digital Media Tax Credit. Thank you.

MR. BAILLIE « » : Mr. Speaker, there may be a lot of numbers at play here but there is one important principle and that is whether the press release that the minister put out accurately describes the new Digital Media Tax Credit or not.

In the fine print of the Department of Finance and Treasury Board's website itself they have said they have capped the eligible labour at 50 per cent but the press release did not say that. It said 25 per cent of all eligible labour and that simply is not correct. As Adam Mimnagh of Huminah Huminah Productions has pointed out: How can we trust a thing that this government says if they say one thing behind closed doors and then announce something completely different?

I'd ask the minister to please clarify this for all of us. Is the press release incorrect or is the digital industry incorrect?

MS. WHALEN « » : What I can assure the member opposite is that we will have a look at the press release. I know that the one-pager that was put up, which was a fact sheet on the industry, was corrected yesterday because there seemed to be some misunderstanding.

[Page 5134]

It was clarified that the additional 25 per cent is animation labour only. The extra bonus is for the animators themselves, that labour component of the production, and that bonus was to be 25 per cent of the eligible labour, the above number. I did go through a complete example with my staff to understand it myself about how that would be calculated because when you are just talking about percentages it gets confusing.

What I can promise to do is provide that same example - perhaps it would be useful to the members of the Opposition to understand. But just to sum up, the important thing is that the animation industry is seen as an anchor to filmmaking, that they're going to be included in the Digital Media Tax Credit, and that it will be virtually the same as it was before all of this discussion began.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS - SURGERIES: CANCELLATIONS - PERCENTAGE

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, the new CEO of the health authority told the Public Accounts Committee yesterday that the scheduled surgeries at the QEII were up to 100 per cent of those scheduled surgeries, but we know that surgeries are still being cancelled due to the contaminated instruments. Pat Murphy has been waiting for shoulder surgery for over a year and yesterday, while he was being prepped for surgery, his procedure was cancelled. It doesn't sound like 100 per cent to me.

Can the minister please tell us why surgeries are being cancelled, when the new administration of the new, efficient health authority says they are at 100 per cent scheduling?

HON. LEO GLAVINE » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. The issue that the member brings forward to the House is one of those one-off unfortunate situations whereby in order to keep the orthopaedic surgeries - which we know has one of the longest wait-lists in the province - as close to on schedule as possible, they have brought in disposable kits to do the surgery. When the surgeon went to perform the surgery it looked as if it was either compromised or, again, there were specks inside the kit and this is what led to, obviously, concern and patient safety is first and foremost.

MR. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, that will be cold comfort for Mr. Murphy to be a one-off on the over 500 surgeries that have been cancelled since April 11th.

Janet Knox also told the Public Accounts Committee that she did not have a plan to make up for the 500-plus surgeries that have been cancelled, and while the hospital waits for new equipment, instruments are being sterilized at other hospitals. Can the minister tell us, if instruments are being sterilized at other hospitals in the province, how is it that more instruments are being found contaminated?

[Page 5135]

MR. GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, yes, one-off may be a quick way of describing it, but the frustration of these patients that have cancelled surgeries when they've been waiting for a long time is indeed very difficult for the patient and for families. I know this has been, in fact, an extraordinary example of co-operation to get back up to 100 per cent. Some of these kits that have been provided have also presented some difficulties. Again, we know that the new equipment is on order, a plan is in place, and surgeries will be done at other sites.

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

COM. SERV. - BUS PASSES REVOCATION: GROUPS - MIN. MEET

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. This morning I met with representatives of Persons with Disabilities. They have been told that some people with disabilities who are on social assistance have had their bus passes revoked by the Department of Community Services, and many people are very concerned about this, including the Metro Non-Profit Housing Association - and I will table that.

My question for the minister is, has the minister met with any concerned groups regarding bus passes being revoked for persons with disabilities?

HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. When people need transportation within the Province of Nova Scotia and they're on social assistance, they come to the Department of Community Services, they work with their social worker and they get to the destination that they need to be. We do that in the most economical and most efficient way forward to get folks to where they need to be, whether that be a medical appointment, whether that be a volunteer appointment that's associated with any type of employment training.

This policy has been in place since 2001, it has not changed, and we're more than happy to meet with anybody within your riding who is having issues accessing transportation.

MR. LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the minister for that answer. I don't believe we actually have buses in Kings North, so sorry about that, but this is a Halifax issue.

I understand that the minister has said that the policy has not changed, but if people are reassessed and are losing their bus passes this is a big concern. I have been told that one criterion for bus passes for people with disabilities is that if they have more than 12 medical appointments a month - and social worker appointments wouldn't count - it may be on these grounds that passes are being revoked. Perhaps criteria such as this need to be re-examined.

[Page 5136]

My question for the minister is, what is the approximate dollar value the department is saving from revoked bus passes, and is this benefit really worth the added hardship for people with disabilities?

MS. BERNARD « » : I'm not sure what is being misunderstood here. When people come to the Department of Community Services and they need to go somewhere, it is given in the most economical and efficient way. So if it is less than 12 appointments for anything - not medical, anything - that is approved through the policy, they are given bus tickets. It doesn't matter how the person gets there as long as they get there - whether it's a bus pass or a bus ticket, they're both going to have the same outcome of reaching their destination.

Point being - when people need to get transportation in the Department of Community Services, they do. They come to us, we work with them, and that is how the outcome is in terms of economics and efficiency.

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

FIN. & TREASURY BD.: FILM IND. TAX CREDIT REVIEW - MIN. RESPONSE

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. The Liberals campaigned on how great the Film Tax Credit was. In fact, they thought it was so great that they extended the tax credit in legislation just last November. That was then; flash forward to today's crippling changes and we over here on this side of the House have been asking, why? And we haven't received any substantive reasons as to why.

This morning, as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, I received a copy of a July 2014 report entitled the Film Industry Tax Credit - Cross-Jurisdiction Overview - the first I heard of this report, and I'm sure it's the first many people have despite asking questions in estimates and also in Public Accounts. My question for the minister today is, is this the report that led to the minister gutting the Film Tax Credit?

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this further on the floor of the House with the member opposite. As you know, we've been through a year of a lot of difficulty in this province, in looking at our finances, it has been a major, major concern for all of us, looking at the affordability of everything that we do and looking at program review and all of the different services that we offer and I think what the member opposite is pointing out is simply that was part of what we were doing - we're looking across the board at everything that we do in this province.

MR. HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I will table this report, and I will note that it's a "cross-jurisdiction overview" and the issue I have is that a full socio-economic analysis would take into account the full economic and cultural benefits of the industry to Nova Scotia. It would help to project future growth of the industry in Nova Scotia. Incidentally, B.C. is expecting a record year due to the low value of the Canadian dollar and their tax credit, and we could have had that here, too, but we won't under the minister's new plan.

[Page 5137]

So my question for the minister is, did the minster prepare any forecasting of the potential growth of the industry under the new "deal" and compare that to the growth they could have expected under the former structure?

MS. WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, again I appreciate the question from the Opposition. I think one of the most important things for us to recognize is what the member opposite referred to, the low Canadian dollar. The tax credits across the country have been ratcheted up in different provinces over a number of years, and one of the big reasons that they went up is because we had a high Canadian dollar and our industry needed higher credits in order to compete. What we see today is our low Canadian dollar is going to be an advantage right across the country for filmmaking. We believe this will make a big difference in the year to come, and as long as the Canadian dollar is low and we believe that the current fund that's in place is competitive, it is fair and it's going to be transparent for everybody in the industry as well as for the public. Thank you.

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

AGRIC. - SUPPLY MGT.: MIN. - FED. NEGOTIATIONS

MR. CHUCK PORTER « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Agriculture. The minister and all members of this House, I believe, would have received a letter from the Dairy Farmers of Nova Scotia expressing a great deal of concern on behalf of all dairy farmers in the province over what happened under CETA.

The dairy sector as we know in the province is the largest commodity contributing to over 500 on-farm jobs and $350 million in GDP. My question on behalf of those dairy farmers today is, will this government, and the minister specifically, commit to stand up for the dairy farmers in our rural communities and tell the Harper Government that they must not negotiate away supply management?

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : Mr. Speaker, this is a very important topic for the dairy farmers of Nova Scotia. They do indeed employ 850 people in the province and are the biggest factor we have in agriculture.

We are committed to supply management. If supply management was to be done away with in this country, it would spell the end of dairy farms in Nova Scotia.

MR. PORTER « » : Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I appreciate the answer. I have no supplementary based on that.

[Page 5138]

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: CONTINUING CARE STRATEGY - RELEASE

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : The McNeil Government has been working on updating the provincial Continuing Care Strategy for almost two years. Last Fall we were told the report would be available this April but now, according to the Minister of Health and Wellness, part one of his strategy, which saw changes to the way people are put on long-term care wait-lists, has already happened. It happened without any public consultation so, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask through you to the minister, why isn't the minister presenting his whole plan for Nova Scotians to see and provide their input on, before these plans are announced and not after?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, the member opposite couldn't be more incorrect. We actually advertised publicly for people to come in - families, caregivers - to speak to the whole continuing care area. Yes, we've announced the first part. It is an ongoing piece of work.

As the member knows, the last strategy was in 2006. We were closing in on 10 years. We said it would be overhauled after 10 years; that's exactly what is taking place.

MR. DAVID WILSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I know many of the people who are concerned about the Continuing Care Strategy are at home, taking care of a loved one - a husband, a wife, a mother, a father - they don't have time to come in.

The government should show the plan to the public, to Nova Scotians, those who could have input, Mr. Speaker. According to the minister, part two of the update to the Continuing Care Strategy was supposed to happen in April. Now it is May and the government is opening home care competitive bidding, which is obviously, I think, part of that plan.

I'd like to ask the minister, why doesn't the McNeil Government think Nova Scotians deserve a say in their plan for the future of continuing care, for those who cannot come in to the minister's office and tell him what is going on because they are home, taking care of loved ones?

MR. GLAVINE « » : As the member opposite knows, we never get tens of thousands of people to come in to any kind of consultation process. We had good representation from across Nova Scotia. We have a great sense now of dealing with the nursing home list and the corrective measures that need to be taken for home care, that all-important service that we know will need to grow over the coming decades.

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

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HEALTH & WELLNESS: MALPRACTICE INSURANCE ISSUE

- MIN. COMMITMENT

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health and Wellness. The government's decision not to fund the malpractice insurance for the OB/GYNs in Nova Scotia is having devastating results. Dr. Charlie Hamm, chair of the obstetrics and gynecology association of Nova Scotia has expressed his disappointment. Dr. Hamm reported to me that the minister told him that he would fix the problem and the $30,000 fee increase in malpractice insurance would be resolved by the province. It was not.

My question for the minister is, why did the minister commit to Dr. Charlie Hamm that he would resolve their malpractice insurance issue and then not do so?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : Mr. Speaker, normally the malpractice insurance, which actually covers a wider number of areas than just the malpractice, is normally covered, compensated at the 90 per cent level. It is now compensated at the 80 per cent level as a measure with the master agreement now under the negotiating process. I think the obstetricians/gynecologists that I am meeting with next week will find that we are certainly in their court.

MR. LOHR « » : I thank the minister for that answer. Mr. Speaker, as a result, Dr. Hamm is looking for positions elsewhere. His family is supportive of the move and he is considering leaving Nova Scotia. Unfortunately he is not the only obstetrician in the province that we will lose. These malpractice fee increases have cost us doctors. It will be the women of Nova Scotia who will pay the price for this unfortunate government choice.

My question for the minister is, now that the minister sees the serious impact of his decision, will he commit to funding OB/GYN malpractice insurance so the women of Nova Scotia do not have to bear this cost?

MR. GLAVINE « » : I thank the member for Kings North for the question. Next week when we meet with the obstetricians/gynecologists this will obviously be one of the serious issues that will be addressed at that meeting. The CMPA raised the fees by over 100 per cent with no consultation with the provinces. All provinces and their deputy ministers are currently meeting on this issue to try to get it resolved; across the country we have anywhere from 50 per cent to 100 per cent of malpractice fees covered, we want to get to the right place so that we keep all those specialists in our province.

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

JUSTICE - SUSPICIOUS PACKAGES:

[Page 5140]

COURTHOUSES/POST OFFICES - MIN. INFO.

MR. ALLAN MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, this week a number of suspicious packages have turned up at courthouses around the province. Yesterday I was speaking with the manager of the post office in Port Hawkesbury, there was a package received there, and there was so at three other post offices in the province.

My question for the Minister of Justice is, can the minister offer any details about what she has been provided regarding the contents and the origins of these packages?

HON. LENA DIAB « » : Police are currently investigating, we're working very much with local police officials; as well I'm pleased to report that the RMCP is coordinating all the efforts across the province, as well as with some other provinces.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, people are certainly curious about what these packages are, what they could mean. Law enforcement officials have linked the instances in Nova Scotia to similar ones in western Canada, including Saskatchewan. Yesterday the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador investigated the discovery of similar packages which prompted the evacuation of several courthouses, provincial buildings, a school, a cultural centre, and other offices. Could the minister inform the House what connection has been drawn between all of these cases and any potential intent on the part of the perpetrators?

MS. DIAB « » : Again, it's a police investigation but what I can assure you is that at this point in time there does not appear to be anything in those packages that have any noxious substance, some of them have been examined already, or threat to any public safety. What I do want to say is I am very pleased and we want to thank all Canada Post officials because they actually intercepted a bunch of them at the post office. (Applause)

I also want to praise the court staff for their vigilance and they are aware that we will continue to be vigilant with these packages.

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

FIN. & TREASURY BD. - ANIMATION SECTOR:

IMPORTANCE - RECOGNITION

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Yesterday we learned the McNeil Government had finally woken up and recognized the economic importance of the animation industry in Nova Scotia - or it certainly appears that they've more or less restored funding to this important sector. I want to ask the Minister of Finance and Treasury Board, can she explain why she did not recognize the importance of animation as a sector before she decided to gut the Film Tax Credit?

HON. DIANA WHALEN « » : I'm very pleased with where we are today in looking at the announcement yesterday that says that they will now be part of the Digital Media Tax Credit. I think that that's a very appropriate place for them rather than being in the film and television production side. The nature of their work is quite different and I think it has been recognized, and as well the film industry told us very clearly that in order to do their work they need to have animators here in the province. As we've said before we really appreciate and understand the nature of the work, and we're very pleased to see that there will be a go-forward for everybody.

[Page 5141]

MS. MACDONALD « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased that the Finance and Treasury Board Minister has recognized the big mistake she made in cutting the Film Tax Credit and the impact it would have on the animation sector, but she has not yet shown that she understands the impact of the changes on the screen industry.

I'd like to table an article from today's Chronicle Herald about just one screen production and the benefits it brings to the province, and that's Haven. Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister, why has the minster not recognized the economic importance of the film and television screen sector despite evidence like what I've just tabled?

MS. WHALEN « » : Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member of the Opposition. The current system that is now in place, the one that will roll out starting July 1st, is going to recognize every bit of the investment made here in our province, not only labour but every part, in fact, just looking down at what's on line: post-production, special effects, musicians, all Nova Scotia labour, all rentals, carpenters, craft services, food. This is an all Nova Scotia spend - 25 per cent across the board, that's still very generous and it will support this industry in Nova Scotia.

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

BUS. - FILM TAX CREDIT: ECONOMIC ANALYSIS - MIN. AWARENESS

MR. JOHN LOHR « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Business. It seems apparent that the government did little to evaluate the effectiveness of the Film Tax Credit before cutting and capping it. The last detailed analysis of the tax credit we saw was from 2008. My question is this, is the minister aware of any analysis conducted on the economic benefits of the Film Tax Credit prior to the changes in the tax credit and after 2008?

HON. MARK FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, as my colleague is aware, the Film Tax Credit has transitioned to the new Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund. There are additional programs through the Independent Production Fund, the Creative Industry Fund, and just yesterday the Digital Media Tax Credit. There are all kinds of options and opportunities for our creative industry as we speak.

MR. LOHR « » : Other jurisdictions with a film tax credit submit reports that summarize the economic impact of the credit. Massachusetts is one jurisdiction that does that. Every year they publically report and analyze the effects of the tax credit. I will table, at least the title page, this is an eighty page document, I printed off two pages of it. This type of report would help to increase transparency and identify the changes that would be needed to enable the growth of Nova Scotia's film industry.

[Page 5142]

My question for the minister is this, will the minister commit to conducting an annual review of the film tax credit benefits and its economic benefits going forward?

MR. FUREY « » : Mr. Speaker, the programs that I just mentioned will fall under either the Department of Finance and Treasury Board or NSBI in continuing service to the film industry. This model is implemented in Alberta. It's achieving its objectives in Alberta and I'm confident that with the cooperation of the industry that they've demonstrated today in discussions with government, that we will similar objectives and outcomes.

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

LAE - WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY REG.:

CONSULTATIONS - STATUS

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. Earlier this year the government pulled back its draft Phase II Workplace Health and Safety Regulations after considerable opposition from employers across the province. When I asked the minister earlier this year in this session, she indicated the government was starting over and was directly engaging employers in drafting the new regulations - something the department should have done in the first place.

My question to the minister is, could the minister update the House regarding the status of those consultations with employers and would she ensure Nova Scotians that the current level of engagement with employers will be better than the previous attempt by the department?

HON. KELLY REGAN » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question and it was in fact, when we were going out with potential regulations to employers that we discovered they were having difficulties with them. One of the things we are currently engaged in is making sure that they are translated into a plain language document because as the member for Pictou Centre - West? East? - well, one of the Pictous mentioned to me when he was the critic. He read out one of the formulas to me and it was clear to me that it was a very difficult formula and so we want to make sure that all of our employers are able to access the document and use it.

MR. ORRELL « » : I would like to thank the minister for that answer. It's extremely important to have modern and effective workplace health and safety regulations in place that will ensure the safety of workers in this province. In order for these regulations to be effective they must be workable and understandable for employers, including small businesses. Small and large employers want to play by the rules to ensure the safety of their workers.

[Page 5143]

My question for the minister is, for this second attempt at modernizing the Phase II WHS Regulations, could the minister inform the House when the new draft regulations will be released and provide a clear timeline for how this process will unfold?

MS. REGAN « » : I want to thank the honourable member for the question. That's still in development but I do want assure him that as soon as it's ready, when there is a timeline I'll be sure to share it with him. Thank you very much.

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

EECD: DRAKE UNIV. COURSES - ACCREDITATION

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : CBC News is reporting that the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development has changed her mind about Drake University courses. Teachers will now get credit for DVD courses that they have started through Drake University and finish their education through an accredited institution. I'll table that news story, Mr. Speaker.

Can the minister please explain why she has reconsidered her decision to allow teachers to get credit for Drake University courses?

HON. KAREN CASEY » : Mr. Speaker, just to provide clarification. If the member had been paying attention, she would have known the position I have taken. She would have known the work we are doing with teachers and she would know that we are moving forward with what we said we would do.

MS. ZANN « » : Mr. Speaker, I really want to thank the minister for that answer because I have been paying attention. In fact, Drake University courses were approved when the current Liberal Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development was a Progressive Conservative Minister of Education in 2008. Then in April 2014 she opposed them but left open a loophole. Then as recently as March 2015, she banned them completely and now in May she is reinstating them once again.

My question through you, Mr. Speaker, is, how secure can teachers actually be that the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development is not going to change her mind about Drake University courses for a fifth time?

MS. CASEY « » : Well, Mr. Speaker, it's hard to take that question seriously but I will say to the teachers who were enrolled and have completed and who can provide for us proof of registration and proof of a transcript to show successful completion, that the courses they were enrolled in, the money and time they invested, will be honoured and will be considered as part of an integrated program.

[Page 5144]

But to go on and repeat for the member, there have been and there will not be any further approvals for Drake University video conferencing courses.

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

HEALTH & WELLNESS: ONCOTYPE DX TESTING - REVIEW OUTCOME

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT « » : Mr. Speaker, last Fall I asked the Minister of Health and Wellness whether his department would be incorporating Oncotype DX - a diagnostic test for breast cancer and other cancers - into our health care system. This test can help guide decision-making when it comes to decide on a course of treatment.

It is already an incredibly difficult time for women and this test can prevent needless chemotherapy. The minister told me last Fall that his department would be looking into it. My question to the minister is, simply, what was the outcome of that review?

HON. LEO GLAVINE « » : We did not receive an advisory to proceed at this time with that particular procedure to be covered by the Department of Health and Wellness.

MR. D'ENTREMONT « » : Six other provinces already cover this test. It can save the health care system thousands of dollars and, most importantly, allow patients to undergo a less-invasive treatment, where possible. Rethink Breast Cancer, an organization designed to raise awareness and support young women with breast cancer, estimates that 175 women in Nova Scotia could benefit from this very test.

Will the province cover Oncotype DX and improve the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer?

MR. GLAVINE « » : What I know is that the department is constantly involved with this provincial program. Breast cancer and maternal care are part of that program. What I can tell the member opposite and all Nova Scotians is that what we need to be very proud of is that 20 years ago we had the worst outcomes for breast cancer surgery in the country, and on a per capita basis, we now have the best outcomes in Canada for breast cancer.

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

JUSTICE: DRUG ADDICTION (16 - 22 YRS.) - SUPPORTS

[Page 5145]

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. I'm hearing from lots of families that are struggling to help a young person, maybe aged 16 to 22, as they struggle with a terrible drug addiction. Sadly all too often this becomes a legal issue. Many times law enforcement will say we can't help you until the person hits rock bottom.

My question today for the minister is, can the minister explain to the House any supports that maybe available to help these families as they struggle with these drug addictions?

HON. LENA DIAB « » : I can understand the question and where he is coming from, given that at Law Amendments he talked extensively about families and domestic violence. Again, we have many support systems in the Province of Nova Scotia. We work extensively with our Community Services partner; we work with our health partners, with our policing partners, and we are continually collaborating in working across government departments and stakeholders.

MR. HOUSTON « » : This is an issue that I've struggling with and talked to many people in different departments. If the minister is aware of many supports that are available, perhaps she can name just one support today that I can direct people to go and speak to about helping a young person struggling with a drug addiction.

MS. DIAB « » : I can refer you to the drug treatment court program that we implemented in the Valley just last Fall. That is a very good example of how we work together across government departments where Justice and Health and Wellness very much collaborated with the Annapolis Valley Health Authority and with the judge in that courtroom over there as well as our policing partners and other stakeholders.

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

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: LOBSTER LEVY - IND. MANDATE

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Today CBC reported that the McNeil Government has scrapped its plans for a lobster levy. This comes after months of conflicting messages from the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. First he promised a 5-cent levy then he promised a 2-cent levy with a 5-cent in a mystery zone. Then he promised something like a levy but with a different name.

The only thing that has been clear from the minister when it comes to the lobster levy is that he didn't take the time to properly consult the industry. My question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture is, why did he propose a lobster levy without first getting a mandate from the industry?

[Page 5146]

HON. KEITH COLWELL « » : That's a pretty interesting question the member put forward. Indeed we're going to move forward with a financial contribution as the Act has said that's been by this Legislature. We did consultations across the province with 21 meetings and we continue and will continue to consult with the industry until we get a system that works and the system will be operated and controlled by the industry itself.

MR. BELLIVEAU « » : Also reported by CBC this morning was that this government is leaving the door open to collect revenue from the lobster industry for the purpose for marketing. Mr. Speaker, again I point that the minister has not received a mandate - I repeat, a mandate - from the lobster industry to collect fees, dues, or any other term the minister might want to apply to this new lobster tax.

My question to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, before he starts sending out the bills to members of this lobster industry, will he first commit to sending them a ballot to vote on any proposed new fee?

MR. COLWELL « » : Maybe the member wasn't listening. It's not a tax. It's going to be a financial contribution that will be controlled by the industry. Where the money will be spent will be controlled by the industry and it will be the industry, when we get a consensus on how we're going to do, and again I can't stress enough - this is going to be industry-driven and won't simple be for generic marketing.

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

ENERGY: NAT. GAS - ONT. COSTS

HON. ALLAN MACMASTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Energy. Last weekend I was in Ontario and at the home I was staying at I asked the home owner how much they were paying for their heat and hot water, as it was fired by natural gas. I wonder if the minister would hazard a guess as to how much that household is paying for their heat and hot water - and it is a 3,500 square foot home.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, the fact is that Nova Scotians have told us that they are looking for various options when it comes to accessing energy in this province, which is why as part of the electrical review that we have undertaken, the largest review in the last decade, talking with Nova Scotians we have heard them talking about natural gas, wind power, solar power and other forms of electricity. They want to see options, which is why we made a commitment in the last election that we would break the monopoly with Nova Scotia Power. Next Spring you will see the results of those efforts.

MR. MACMASTER « » : Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question was $950 for the year. Some Nova Scotians are paying that every two months in the winter for their heat and hot water. The point of the question is, it's much cheaper under that jurisdiction. Nova Scotians are feeling the pain of power costs, this government has talked about breaking the monopoly. They moved the efficiency fee and now it's hidden within the power price itself. These measures are doing nothing to make power affordable for Nova Scotians. What is the minister doing to improve consistent access to natural gas for this province?

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MR. SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, one of the projects that has exciting opportunities for our province is the Alton Natural Gas Storage Project which is meant to allow companies to be able to store gas, especially during the winter months. In fact, they would take the gas during the summertime and store it and then in the winter months when we continue to see a spike in the price of natural gas, especially in the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, that this would bring rate stability. Heritage Gas has predicted that this could save $19 million for natural gas users in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Whether it's electricity or any other form of energy production in this province and consumption, our government is hearing the message from Nova Scotians. More importantly, we're delivering on that.

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

COM. SERV. - CHILDREN: SUPERVISION ORDERS - STATS (2014-15)

MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. According to departmental statistics, of 14,045 total referrals of suspected child abuse and neglect, there were 3,431 substantiated cases in Nova Scotia during the 2014-15 fiscal year. The department statistics indicated that for that same period 1,200 children were put under supervision orders. My question for the minister is, could the minister provide a breakdown of the outcomes for children put under supervision in that last fiscal year?

HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Generally when children are put under supervision orders, interventions are provided for families, so if there is support needed for parenting classes or for anything to do with addictions or mental health, those supports are offered to the family. I'm pleased to say that Nova Scotia has one of the lowest rates of permanent care apprehensions in Canada. Out of the number you just stated, last year 141 children were taken into permanent care out of all of the temporary care and out of the whole framework of child welfare in Nova Scotia.

MR. HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, I think every one of us in this House would agree that one case is one case too many. We all know that. In 2012-13 there were 9,035 referrals, 6,601 child protection investigations, and 1,249 substantiated cases. In 2014-15 there were 14,045 referrals, 9,530 investigations, and 3,431 substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect. Does this change over the last two-year period cause the minister concern and has her department uncovered any trends with that?

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MS. BERNARD « » : Mr. Speaker, I agree with your assertion that one case of permanent care is one too many. As the Minister of Community Services I've been really proud to come in and really make strong investments within community-based organizations. For $2 million into family resource centres which are all over this province, that's $75,000 for each one of the family resource centres that hadn't seen an increase in over 10 years. I know what those investments . . .

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

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

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

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

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

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

[2:50 p.m. The House resolved into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Ms. Margaret Miller in the Chair.]

[2:57 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Kevin Murphy, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK » : That the Committee of the Whole House on Bills has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 75 - Municipal Government Act and Halifax Regional Municipality Charter.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 110.

Bill No. 110 - Marine Renewable-energy Act.

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

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 110 now be read a second time. Last week, I had the pleasure to bring forward legislation that will allow for clear, predictable, and efficient processes to support the sustainable growth of our marine renewable energy sector.

Mr. Speaker, as you and all members of this House know, Nova Scotia has tremendous energy and economic potential in our tides, ocean currents, waves, and offshore winds. We need to create the regulatory framework in order to maximize that potential in the future.

Over the past several years, the province has attracted many of the world's top tidal energy companies to our shores, in part because of our natural assets but also because of the expertise we are building.

On dit que si vous pouvez réussir dans la baie de Fundy, vous pouvez probablement réussir n'importe où. Il est important que le gouvernement clarifie la législation concernant cette industrie qui est en pleine croissance.

As we grow and mature this sector, developers will want to begin to move their projects from research and development to commercialization, and because of this legislation and the accompanying regulations, they will have a clear path to follow. It will make certain that the industry progresses every step of the way with input from stakeholders and careful consideration of the environment.

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The legislation will govern the development of marine renewable energy resources in designated areas of the Nova Scotia offshore. It will also designate marine renewable electricity areas, which are smaller geographic areas within areas of priority.

De plus, ce projet de loi établira un régime de délivrance des permis pour le déploiement des générateurs d'énergie marine renouvelable. Il accorde également au ministre de l'Énergie l'autorité d'administrer, de gérer et d'assurer le développement sûr et responsable de l'industrie de l'énergie marine renouvelable en Nouvelle-Écosse.

For now, we're focused on tidal energy, but the bill covers all aspects of marine renewable energy including current, wave, and offshore wind energy.

The tidal industry is now in its infancy, but over the next 25 years, it could contribute up to $1.7 billion to Nova Scotia's gross domestic product. The industry will create hundreds of local construction jobs to establish the infrastructure and build and install tidal turbines. Following that, there could be up to 600 full-time jobs directly in the sector. If we position ourselves well today, Nova Scotia's tidal story will extend well beyond our shores. Imagine Nova Scotia professionals from within our industry exporting their expertise around the globe.

The department has consulted widely on this legislation. We sought advice on how to best regulate the sector in order to protect the environment, ensure the sustainable growth of the industry, and provide a framework so that all Nova Scotians benefit from its development. We've asked for input on how to balance the interests of marine renewable energy projects with traditional offshore uses like fishing, recreation, aquaculture, and other marine uses. This legislation follows through on Dr. Bob Fournier's recommendations. Dr. Fournier was commissioned in 2011 to lead public consultations regarding options for marine renewable legislation.

We recognize that the Mi'kmaq people have a long-existing, unique, and special relationship with the land and its resources. I'm pleased to say this legislation has been prepared with input from our Mi'kmaq community. We will continue to engage with the Mi'kmaq as we move forward with this important work.

I would also like to acknowledge the support and involvement of our federal partners in fostering the development of marine energy solutions. Natural Resources Canada and other key players are investing in and actively supporting industry and academia to drive innovation. We will work closely with them to inform our regulations and standards. Building this sector is a massive undertaking and we know that working in partnership with the federal government is critical to our success.

Our government's commitments and actions today are shaping the tidal future of tomorrow. We're committed to playing a role in advancing the sector - incrementally, sustainably, responsibly. I'm confident it provides industry with the clarity and clear direction industry and communities need to move tidal development forward in Nova Scotia.

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As I've indicated previously, it is not the government's intention to see this legislation pass during this current session, but we look forward to hearing comments from the Opposition and, as well, having the summer months for all of our stakeholders to review the legislation and provide any comments on it prior to its passage in the Fall.

With that, I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 110.

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

MR. TIM HOUSTON « » : Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today and speak to Bill No. 110, the Marine Renewable-energy Act. We have an opportunity here in Nova Scotia to develop a truly world-class energy industry. Often, the term "world-class" is overused, but in this case it is entirely legitimate.

The tidal energy industry is one that is relatively new, not just here in Nova Scotia, but it's relatively new around the world. But the potential for this industry, for this technology, to be a literal game-changer is really quite significant. An industry is developing a technology that can harness the natural power of the world's oceans. This has the potential to rapidly reduce carbon emissions not just here in Nova Scotia, but around the world.

Here in Nova Scotia, we have a significant natural advantage with the Bay of Fundy. Each day, 160 billion tons of seawater flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy during each tide cycle. Research has suggested that the Bay of Fundy is potentially the best site in North America for tidal power generation.

We have a world-class resource with an electricity system nearby that it can plug into. According to the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy, some models indicate that the entire Bay of Fundy has the potential to generate upwards of 50,000 megawatts of electricity. To put that number into context, Nova Scotia Power's generation capacity is approximately 2,500 megawatts. The Bay of Fundy has the potential to generate 20 times the amount of electricity currently generated by Nova Scotia Power.

Just imagine if we could develop this resource and export it to our neighbours and into the New England States. While Quebec and British Columbia have vast amounts of hydroelectricity, we could generate vast amounts of tidal electricity. For further context on those 50,000 megawatts from tidal, Hydro-Québec has a hydroelectric generating capacity of 36,000 megawatts. In the Bay of Fundy, we're talking a potential of 50,000 megawatts.

Work on this legislation and how to best enable the development of this industry has been ongoing for quite a period of time. It's my understanding that the initial work on the Marine Renewable Energy Strategy started back in 2007 and much of that work was compiled into the Marine Renewable Energy Strategy released in 2012. This was a strategy that provided an outline on how the industry should be developed moving forward.

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The strategy talked about future legislation that would help to develop this industry, and here we are today with this enabling legislation. That's a good thing. It got off the ground under former governments and the Liberals carried it the rest of the way. That's a good thing, but the reality is that the real credit goes to the hard-working people at the department. I'd like to take a moment to recognize the work of the staff at the Department of Energy for their hard work over the past several years on this legislation.

Over the past decade or more, we have been able to develop a great amount of tidal energy expertise right here in Nova Scotia. One example of that expertise is the people who work at and with the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy, or FORCE, as it's known. The organization is helping Nova Scotia lead the way in tidal energy development and has become an invaluable resource for industry. The board of directors at FORCE represents a wide range of industry expertise. I recently had a chance to talk with the director of FORCE and he shared with me his excitement on the future of tidal energy in this province.

We're lucky here in Nova Scotia not only to have the Bay of Fundy as a natural resource, but to also have a mature supply chain to the energy industry that is able to rapidly develop this industry. We already have companies that are used to installing cables and other components in water. We have expertise in environmental assessments and ensuring the projects are installed safely and sustainably. We have companies with experienced fabrication facilities and staff around the province. We have local companies that have expertise in marine operations. Needless to say, we are perfectly set up to be the world leaders in this industry.

One of the only things that have been holding back the industry's development until now has been the lack of legislation. With this bill, we certainly start to see that hurdle starting to be overcome. That's a good thing, because this is such a new technology and industry. I expect that as the industry moves forward, it may be discovered that additional regulatory and legislative changes will be necessary to better ensure industry development, but we'll be prepared to do that.

The minister has said he will take the summer to talk with stakeholders on the proposed legislation and that's always a good thing. We need to get this piece of legislation right because the opportunity is really so significant. We do have an opportunity to become truly world-class - to develop a world-class energy industry right here.

We will, over the summer, also spend time talking with stakeholders and reviewing the legislation to ensure that it will properly enable the industry. I look forward to seeing how the legislation develops over the next few months, and I know that department officials at the Department of Energy will continue to maintain an open dialogue with industry and with elected representatives.

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I'm excited about this piece of legislation and I'm excited about the future for us here in Nova Scotia in terms of tidal energy. I look forward to seeing this bill move through the steps.

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

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU « » : Certainly, it's a pleasure of interest to have an opportunity to talk about Bill No. 110, the Marine Renewable-energy Act. I can tell you that it's something that our caucus is deeply interested in. I thank the minister for bringing this forward and giving us an opportunity to have discussions with stakeholders and members of the public over the summer. I look forward to next Fall's session of the Legislature.

For someone who is familiar with the fishing industry, I can tell you that we have a renewable energy resource literally on our doorsteps, and that is the Bay of Fundy. I think it has been recognized as - I think it was a contest, it was trying to be one of the wonders of the world. I don't think it was successful, but I know that that is one of the wonders of the world. The tidal flow that changes there not twice a day - a lot of people get this confused - but it flushes four times a day. Every six hours and 13 minutes, there is a tidal change.

In the Bay of Fundy - there is a lot of potential around Nova Scotia not only for tidal, but wave action and the offshore energy, so I really look forward to speaking with stakeholders this summer. The fishing industry - I know that they have some concerns, but I also see a lot of opportunities for our coastal communities and for Nova Scotia in general for this technology. It's something that we're in a good position to seize upon. I look forward to that.

I want to point out that there is a possibility for this sector to grow in a great way in Nova Scotia. I want to point out one of the things that may have been overlooked in here - that we have a lot of natural settings for tidal power in many communities around Nova Scotia. What I mean is that we literally have Petit Passage, we have the head of the Bay of Fundy, the Minas Basin - we're all familiar with those large areas, but there are a lot of areas around Nova Scotia that are in a great position to have a natural location to capture tidal energy and I think that is the potential.

I also want to point out that there is a two-hour lapse from Cape Sable Island to the head of the Bay of Fundy. You can visualize having a smart energy grid that can capitalize on that - when the turbines are turning at their high capacity on Cape Sable Island, that means that in another two hours, that energy is going to be actually put online in the upper Bay of Fundy.

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There is a great potential there. I look forward to this summer and I look forward to having a good discussion with our caucus. I look forward to the minister introducing this legislation in the Fall. Thank you very much for the time.

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

MS. PATRICIA ARAB « » : Mr. Speaker, I move to adjourn debate on Bill No. 110.

MR. SPEAKER « » : The motion is to adjourn debate on Bill No. 110. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHEL SAMSON « » : Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 112.

Bill No. 112 - Children and Family Services Act.

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

HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 112, an Act to Amend Chapter 5 of the Acts of 1990, the Children and Family Services Act, be now read a second time.

Last week, I introduced an amendment to the Children and Family Services Act. The bill, an amendment to the Children and Family Services Act, will allow us to better protect and support our most vulnerable children and families. This bill was introduced because every child and family has the right to live in a safe and caring home.

As members of this House know, ensuring that families and children are able to recover from crises is an issue near and dear to my heart, having devoted most of my career to this matter. I've witnessed first-hand the importance of preventing incidents of violence, abuse, and neglect, because failing to do so has a tendency of shaping victims' futures, steering them down paths they normally would not have chosen for themselves and affecting virtually every aspect of their lives.

Mr. Speaker, I'm sure you will agree that every Nova Scotian has the right to be safe in the place they call home. The time to take action and support vulnerable children and families is now, before a crisis point is reached. These amendments will allow us to take a more proactive approach in the investigation of child abuse and neglect, focus on early intervention and prevention to reduce serious harm to children, extend protection to children from 16 to 19 years of age, update language to reflect current family structures, recognize other forms of abuse and neglect such as developmental neglect, and streamline court practices so that children can return home or find permanent homes sooner. In essence, these amendments will influence investigation, protection, intervention, and adoption.

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It is important to remind ourselves that we are talking about lives and not numbers. That being said, in this situation, a few numbers are revealing. Community Services received more than 14,000 referrals for child protection in 2014. Of those, about 9,500 merited investigation. As a result of child protection investigations, about 2,000 families were offered support. These services include individual and family counselling, parent education, and support for youth. The majority of the time, these supports were successful in strengthening the family.

In addition, last year, 5.6 per cent of court proceedings resulted in children coming into permanent care, 114 in total. Nova Scotia's rates are amongst the lowest in Canada in terms of taking children into care and these amendments will not change that situation.

We can and will improve matters by intervening earlier and strengthening families. Ideally, children will be able to remain in their own families, safe, secure and loved. One of the keys to earlier intervention is to more clearly define what constitutes abuse and neglect. Chronic and serious neglect should be considered as part of child protection. Research has shown the effects of emotional and developmental harm have a long-lasting impact on young children.

Bob Parker is the chair of the Halifax Society for Children, Youth, and Families. He also chairs the overall provincial Coalition of Community Child Welfare Boards. These independent, volunteer-driven organizations are located across the province.

This coalition has called for the definition of neglect to be broadened. As Bob Parker explains, currently there must be clear evidence of physical harm to a child before intervention is possible. Right now, emotional abuse and developmental neglect are not sufficient for intervention even though they can be very harmful to a child. This amendment will enable us to support families earlier and stop situations from escalating.

Delores Feltmate has seen this first-hand. She has fostered 11 children, taught in public school systems, and volunteered on child welfare boards. Right now, she is involved with an after-school program for children at risk in Sydney. She recognizes that changing this definition will be very helpful in reaching out to families earlier, before a situation becomes serious. Hopefully, we can head off a crisis and never come to the point where children are taken into care.

The province's Acting Ombudsman, Christine Delisle-Brennan, also stresses that the situation is going to be better if prevention can happen earlier. Unfortunately there will still be times when efforts are not adequate enough to ensure that a child is safe in their home. When that happens, we need to improve the ability of each child to achieve their full potential. Decisions about a child's future are simply taking too long.

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Research is clear that a permanent home is the most therapeutic and beneficial environment for a young person. Children should not be left in legal limbo waiting years before they can return home or be adopted. We're recommending that court processes be streamlined. Gary Landry is with the Federation of Foster Families of Nova Scotia, and Gary reports that many foster parents want to see improvement in the legal system in the best interests of the child. We continue to place a priority on finding adoptive families for children over the age of eight, sibling groups, and African Nova Scotians.

This responds to the needs of the children who are in our care. The department has a positive working relationship with the Mi'kmaq Family and Children Services of Nova Scotia which delivers child welfare services on reserves. Last year 108 children and youth were adopted by loving families in Nova Scotia. As it stands now, if you're a teenager who has not been involved with child welfare previously, services are only available until you are 15 years old. To compound this situation, in order to qualify for income assistance you need to be 19 years old.

Under this outdated law, 16-, 17-, and 18-year-olds have no safety net if they are abused; this is unacceptable. In today's society a 16-year-old is not able to be self-supporting. Foster parents have expressed their concern about this service gap for a long time. We will extend protection to young Nova Scotians up to 19 years of age. These services will be provided on a voluntary basis because you have to want services to benefit from them. Offering voluntary services to these young people will assist them in making a successful transition to independence as a young adult.

I've outlined some of the major changes that are necessary to assist Nova Scotia's most vulnerable families, children, and youth, to achieve their greatest potential. The CFSA was first introduced 25 years ago, in 1990. For more than a decade now discussions, consultations, and reports have made recommendations to bring Nova Scotia legislation up to date. We expect to hear differing viewpoints, but we will continue to talk with those who are directly affected until the Fall. This government is taking a stand on behalf of a better future for at-risk children, youth, and families, and through them for our province's future. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. LARRY HARRISON « » : Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise today and speak to Bill No. 112, amendments to the Children and Family Services Act.

In his report of 2013, the Auditor General recommended the Department of Community Services move to amend this piece of legislation. It was incredibly out of date, going back 25 years. I am surprised to have the opportunity to debate this bill today - the minister had indicated that she was going to take the summer to do more consultation. I am hopeful that government doesn't rush through this legislation without first completing the consultations, because in the consultations there may even be more changes coming up and I know the minister wants it ironclad and wants to get this right.

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This is an important piece of legislation and it is our hope that it will be as strong and comprehensive as it can possibly be - it's hard to know that without consultation having been completed. I'm hopeful the minister will explain what appears to be a complicated process.

That said, I am very pleased with aspects of this bill, particularly the changes in the definition of a child. As the minister knows, this is something that the Progressive Conservative caucus has been advocating for some time. With my colleague here, the member for Northside-Westmount, he had a constituent, Delores Feltmate, who I'm sure would love to be in the gallery this afternoon. She has been a long-time advocate for the definition of a child to be expanded and to include those previously left out.

The bill also discusses focus on early intervention and prevention to reduce serious harm to children. Last year there were 3,431 substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect reported in one year. Those statistics certainly merit our renewed focus on this horrible problem. The bill outlines a proactive approach in the investigation of child abuse and neglect. The number of children who are abused and neglected is staggering. We support any effort that combats this issue and protects children from abuse. There is no room for error here.

Many children in Nova Scotia suffer from mental health issues, behavioural issues and have experienced a great deal of hardship and neglect in their lives. We need to make sure that we have the services available to help these children and ensure they have the opportunity to grow up and better themselves. This legislation proposes removing the authority of the court to stay proceedings to determine whether a child is in need of protective services when a mediator is appointed.

One angle that I am particularly pleased with is the legislation is proposing a provision that when a court makes a supervision order, a representative of the agency may enter the residence of the child to provide guidance and assistance and to ascertain whether the child is being cared for properly.

For years we have heard about the long waits for adoption in Nova Scotia. Again, I'm pleased to see this legislation will ensure, for example, that a child in Nova Scotia can now be placed for adoption in accordance with laws in other jurisdictions. There are troubled children in this province and this is why I feel it is so good to see in the legislation that criterion is being redefined for admission to focus on the risk of children, rather than the refusal of the services.

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For some children a facility has been the answer to help them with their challenging behaviour. The Wood Street treatment facility in Truro is a licensed facility that for so long has had such short periods of stay for troubled children. I'm glad to see that the government has heard the voices of parents across the province and increased the treatment order from 30 to 45 days, if certain children are not responding.

I am anxious to see what the minister will hear in the consultation over the summer because this bill is extremely important and I will say a bill that should be waiting for passage in the Fall, but we'll have to wait to see. I sincerely hope it will be. Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me this time to offer my thoughts on this legislation.

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

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to my feet to make a few comments on the amendments to the Children and Family Services Act. I want to thank the minister for giving us a briefing of this earlier and I do commend her for many of these changes, which I believe are timely and in this modern day and age, are necessary.

In particular to begin with, removing language that's considered now offensive such as legitimate and lawful wedlock, I think this is bringing it into the 21st Century. Changes to the definition of parent even to be more inclusive of fathers; ensuring that couples in common-law relationships are treated equally to couples in marriages - I think that these are all very good changes.

One in particular that I'm pleased to see is the addressing of the gap from age 16 to under 19 years of age - the voluntary services - because as an MLA, I have come across this issue numerous times. It has always been a disturbance to me because it felt like children who were just falling through the cracks and there was nothing that we could do. I have friends who are teachers and guidance counsellors and sometimes they have come to me and said, it's very difficult when a child is just at that age where they can't be placed somewhere where they can be safe, and yet they know that this child is being abused and misused at home.

A focus on early intervention and prevention to reduce serious harm to children is so important. Those early years from zero to 18 months to seven and eight years of age are so important. These years will define a child's personality, how they deal with life, whether they have anger issues, whether they have self-harm, and whether they, in fact, are set up to have a possibility of having addiction issues and self-medicating in various harmful ways. Oftentimes, they're set during these early years.

Including a child's developmental needs under the definition of neglect and harm is also, I believe, very, very important, and taking a more proactive approach in the investigation of child abuse and neglect is also important.

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Enabling the courts to approve services and treatments as early as possible is very, very good. Decreasing the duration of court proceedings is excellent for young children. Establishing a maximum cumulative time that a child can be in care of 18 months is excellent, and replacing court-ordered access when a child comes into permanent care with the department's ability to facilitate contact - very, very, very good.

Reducing delays in the adoption process - I've known many people who have been frustrated by that, so reducing those delays by extending the time before which a parent can come back to court to apply to terminate permanent care and custody is excellent. Allowing persons with whom a child has been placed under the Maintenance and Custody Act, allowing adoption subsidies to be transferable if an adoptive parent dies or is unable to care for the child - all very good things.

I do want to stress that I think that it's very important to have consultations with parents and with grandparents, and I know that the minister is aware of that. There are many cases where the parents and the grandparents have come and they are very frustrated. In our society today, there seem to be many chances now where the grandparents are actually taking on the job of looking after these young children because the parents, for one reason or another, are unable to. I have noticed an increase in that in our system.

In Truro, we do have the Wood Street Secure Treatment Centre. It is a treatment facility for children and youth with complex emotional and behavioural disorders and issues. At this point, I would really like to put out a heartfelt condolence to the director and to the staff of the Wood Street Centre for a teenager whom they lost recently due to an untimely death. My heart goes out to the staff, to the other children who are there, and to the parents - if they are, in fact, living. We never like to hear these stories and it's very, very sad. But I think that they are doing a good job there. I know people who work there and they take the children and the young people's well-being to heart and try their very best to create a somewhat normal life for these kids.

I think redefining the criteria for admission to focus on the risk to the child rather than the refusal of services is very important, and extending a secure treatment order from 30 to 45 days - excellent, excellent work. Again, I do have some questions. I want to make sure that there is always going to be this consultation and an open door with the people who are involved. I commend the minister for these changes and with that, thank you and I'll take my seat.

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

HON. ALFIE MACLEOD « » : It gives me great pleasure to get up and just speak for a couple of minutes on this very important bill. I think there are two people today who need to be thanked for what is taking place here in the House. One of those is the minister for bringing this bill forward, and I do want to congratulate her on doing that. It is refreshing to have a bill come forward that is very important to a number of people in this province, especially those children who are underprivileged and who don't always have an advocate for them.

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The second person I want to congratulate today is Delores Feltmate. Delores Feltmate is a constituent of mine but besides that, she has become a good friend of mine. The reason she has become a good friend is because we met over this very issue. She has been spearheading this issue for a number of years now, bringing it forward, trying to make it happen and very determined to be the advocate to do what is right for the children.

I think that if at any time in the future when I refer to this bill it won't be the official name that we have on it here, it will actually be the Delores Feltmate bill. I would even support a motion to change it to the Delores Feltmate Bill because Delores is one of those people who is a strong advocate in our community, who works hard in things that she believes in. I have to tell you, Madam Speaker, I wouldn't want to owe her money because she would never give up until she got it all back. But do you know what? That's the kind of person we need when we have an issue like this, to help keep everybody focused, to keep them on the road to doing the right thing at the right time.

I know that Delores was here in the House the day the minister introduced the bill. She literally floated down the stairs, I don't even think she touched any of them, she was that pleased and that happy. Again, that's a rare thing that happens when a bill is introduced here. I think the only thing that could make her happier is if we passed the bill today but I also know that the minister wants to do some final consultations before the bill comes forward and it's pretty hard for me to argue with that.

I do again want to identify and thank both these individuals for this bill coming forward and say that it's the kind of legislation that makes me proud to have the opportunity to sit as a member of the House of Assembly in Nova Scotia. Thank you.

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

MS. PATRICIA ARAB « » : Madam Speaker, I move to adjourn debate on Bill No. 112.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is to adjourn debate on Bill No. 112. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Government House Leader.

HON, MICHEL SAMSON: Madam Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 114.

Bill No. 114 - Safer Universities and Colleges Act.

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

HON. DAVID WILSON « » : I'm glad to rise and speak on Bill No. 114. I know we just heard from my colleague about an important piece of legislation that was just - I move second reading of Bill No. 114, that's the most important part. I look forward to Bill No. 114 moving through the process and eventually landing on third reading and Royal Assent.

Madam Speaker, I know it may not happen this session; I understand that. I've had some discussions with the Government House Leader on this bill and I think with the information that is in Bill No. 114 and the reason behind Bill No. 114, I think that all members of this House would recognize the importance of that. I look forward to it moving through the process.

I'm glad to be up for the second time on a piece of legislation our caucus has introduced this session. Bill No. 114 is critical, I think, in showing that government MLAs are listening and are reacting to the environment that we have here in Nova Scotia. Every year, 60,000 post-secondary students are educated and come to Nova Scotia to be educated in our post-secondary education system. That is a staggering number - it's an impressive number, 60,000.

They come to Nova Scotia, and many of them are from Nova Scotia, and they go to the dozen or so post-secondary institutions that we have. Many of them are well-respected, not only in our own province, but globally. Students come from, as I said, other countries as out-of-province students and foreign students, and people come from other provinces and territories to come to Nova Scotia to be educated.

Sexualized violence in our post-secondary institutions isn't a new issue. Students have been advocating for a number of years to improve policies that would prevent and protect students from sexualized violence. I want to acknowledge the work by various student groups over the years to promote this issue.

Some gains have been made over the last number of years, but still today, it is estimated that one in five women experience sexual assault while attending a post-secondary institution. That's a number and a fact that we need to address. We can't hide from the fact that these incidents happen here in Nova Scotia, and that means there are thousands of post-secondary students in Nova Scotia who are victims of sexual violence while attending here.

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This issue needs to be addressed, it needs to discussed, and it needs to be debated, because often that doesn't happen. We don't want to talk about it. We don't want it to appear that our province and our campuses are unsafe. This doesn't happen in our backyard - but it does, and that's why the work from the student groups and associations, students themselves, and victims themselves is so important for us to address. That's really at the essence of why our caucus brought forward Bill No. 114.

As a dad of a teenage daughter who is about to head off soon to a post-secondary institution - she still has another year of high school, but she has been discussing it up to now - this is a big issue that concerns me. I know that it's concerning for many parents as well as students as they prepare to head off to college or university. I want to make sure I've done everything that I can to make sure that that environment is as safe as possible for my daughter, but for more of those students that go to university and colleges.

We've seen recent cases, unfortunately, of sexualized violence against women in particular highlighted by media, which has spurred, I think, further conversation about this issue. It's not just an issue about women; there is sexual violence towards men and towards the LGBTI community. Often we don't hear about the cases, and more often - even though we have statistics that I mentioned, one in five women - that number is probably greater because many of the victims don't feel confident enough in our institutions or our justice system to report these assaults. That's kind of sad to say and it's something that we need to work on. That needs to change.

We hope that this bill will help address those concerns by requiring post-secondary institutions to have policies in place that have been developed in partnership with the students. That's the key component to this piece of legislation - that partnership with the students.

I know many, if not all, of the universities and colleges in our province have a sexual violence policy. What we've heard from many of the students is that those policies are difficult to find, that they are unclear, and campuses need to do a better job at ensuring the students who go to those campuses know the information, know the policies, know that that environment that they are about to be educated in is as safe as possible.

A victim of sexual violence should feel supported, Madam Speaker, they shouldn't have to fear that maybe they won't be believed or that they may be judged, or a fear that the justice will never come to their perpetrators - often that is why victims don't come forward.

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I've had experience in the past, in my former career as a paramedic, to unfortunately have to respond to emergency calls when sexual violence and violence has happened. It's one of the calls that you dread if you're a medic or a police officer, firefighter, an emergency responder, or whomever. It's one that I know the health care providers dread to see come through the doors of the ERs and into our hospital settings.

Post-secondary institutions are in a unique position to support and educate the next generation of Nova Scotians and those who come to our province, to educate themselves about sexualized violence. They are in a key position and I think in an important position to really change the attitude that is out there.

We know that some campuses have been working on that, but that's why we feel strongly about Bill No. 114, the Safer Universities and Colleges Act, because it is needed. I believe there's a level of accountability that needs to be there and it does need to be in legislation. As much as I have confidence in the universities and the colleges around the province, I think a requirement through legislation would be something that's very clear, very transparent, and I think something that would be welcomed by those campuses around the province.

This bill requires universities and colleges to ensure that students have the information about preventing sexual violence and sexual harassment so they can protect themselves and help protect their fellow students. It also requires post-secondary institutions to support initiatives to reduce sexual violence and sexual harassment and ensure safe campuses, and then report on how effective those initiatives are.

That's the key, ensuring that there are good policies in place but, and more important, making sure that if we see an issue at a certain campus that the policies change and it is initiated and it is effective.

This bill requires universities and colleges to ensure that students are informed about the resources and the support available for survivors of sexual assault. It requires that the information be made available in the students' first week of orientation and throughout the year. It can't stop after Frosh Week, Madam Speaker, it needs to happen throughout the year and to the students in all years of study, not just first-year students.

This bill also requires universities to provide 24-hour-a-day services and support for survivors of sexual assault. That is the key because it doesn't just happen from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., during business hours, Madam Speaker.

I know I was asked when I introduced this during the bill briefing about the cost of implementing that component of this bill. I don't believe there is a big cost there. Our universities, our colleges are a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation now. There is security, there are other individuals who are working in maybe the health clinic or other organizations who can help with ensuring that if someone reaches out for support or asks for support, there's someone there to guide them. They don't need to have all the answers, but at least they can guide them to where they can get the support and where they can continue to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken.

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I want to thank the members of the Canadian Federation of Students and other student representatives who have taken the time to share their ideas that really directly informed this bill. It's their work and their initiative that brought us to where we are today with this piece of legislation. In particular I want to thank and acknowledge Anika Roberts-Stahlbrand, she is CFS Nova Scotia's Women's Liaison Officer; and students from the University of King's College and Dalhousie who spoke at our briefing of the bill earlier this week.

Nova Scotians and students who come from away to study at our post-secondary institutions need to be reassured that there are systems in place to protect them from sexual violence and that if they are a victim of a sexual assault that there is a process in place to address that issue. We think and we believe that this bill is a good first step in providing those reassurances, and I look forward to further comments from our members. I look forward to ensuring that the universities and the colleges in our province understand what this bill is, and I truly believe that they would support this piece of legislation going through and receiving Royal Assent. Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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

MR. EDDIE ORRELL « » : Thank you, Madam Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise and speak a little bit about this bill this afternoon, the bill to make universities and colleges safer. For a lot of our young students today who go to university, it's their first time away from home. There are a lot of experiences that they get to partake in in university life and sometimes they are not all pleasant. I'm glad to see the government call this bill to protect our youngest and our brightest, our future leaders, our doctors, our lawyers, our politicians, and to make sure that anything that may happen to them on campus is reported and they are able to get the help and the care they need in order to move on from that type of assault.

Especially in the recent happenings at Saint Mary's University and Dalhousie University, the sexual assault strategy takes on a whole new meaning. We want to make sure that these young and brightest are protected. We heard a number that 1 in 5 university students receive some kind of sexual assault on campus, and with recent meetings with the Canadian Federation of Students, it was very important to them that this type of legislation comes through this Legislature in order to protect these students. It's good to see that the policy must be developed with significant input from the students and be reviewed with student involvement and renewed every four years.

Four years may be a long time, maybe we can look at changing it so it's reviewed a little bit sooner than that, depending on the situation that evolves in our society. With social media and all the other types of advertising and stuff that goes on in this day and age, four years might be a little too long, maybe a couple of years would be something - but I think that could be a work in progress. We want to make sure that the students have the information about preventing sexual violence and sexual harassment and are informed of the resources and support available to survivors of sexual assault.

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The fact that it's made available to people in their first week of studies, which they call Frosh Week, and available other times throughout the course of their university studies, maybe halfway through their first year, beginning of their second year, is a good thing, to make sure that students don't forget the importance of recognizing sexual assault, of treating sexual assault, and making sure their children can move on. The fact that this data will be open and transparent and it respects the incidence of sexual assault reported to the university is a good thing.

As the former member just talked about, the possibility of cost - I don't believe that the cost would be that great compared to the benefits that this bill will have on a young person attending university, a young person who is going to be well-rounded and come out to be the representatives of our society and look after us as we grow old in this province.

I look forward to this bill moving through the Law Amendments Committee, coming back from the Committee of the Whole, and passing, hopefully in this session, so this can get to work and start in the Fall in most of the universities in this province to make sure that our youngest and brightest are protected. With that, I will take my seat.

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

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD « » : Madam Speaker, I'm pleased to have an opportunity to stand and speak briefly. I'm not going to take a lot of time to speak, but I did want to speak for a few minutes on Bill No. 114, an Act to Make Universities and Colleges Safer Places.

I think this is a wonderful occasion in many respects, because here's a piece of legislation that we all can agree to. No matter what our political ideology is, this is something that we all share and agree to in terms of our values. Some people think that doesn't happen much in our House. They're actually wrong - it happens more often than people would know. But here it is, a piece of legislation that is a good piece of legislation and a shared belief that we can do something collectively to make things better for people, and in particular the young people and maybe not-so-young people who attend our universities.

I'm really proud to be part of a collective effort to do something. This is a bill about changing culture. It's about changing what sometimes gets referred to as the rape culture in universities. But more broadly, whatever the culture is that adopts attitudes, behaviours, practices, actions, and activities that reflect misogyny, that reflect sexism, that reflect homophobia, that reflect racism, I think it's incumbent on us to look at the things that we actually can affect in terms of changing a culture.

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I'm very, very pleased to see this bill here and to recognize the shared commitment to doing something with this bill to make things better for people in our university environment. Yes, we know that we've had some challenges in those environments. Those environments are part of the real world where there's still far too much sexual assault and violence and harassment. But if our universities can't be kind of beacons of the best kinds of behaviour, then there's no hope for us in some ways.

I think this is a very significant piece of legislation. I want to reference the fact that very similar legislation to this has recently been introduced in the Province of Ontario by the Premier of Ontario. I don't know if it has passed through their Legislature yet or not - I haven't had an opportunity to look at that - but certainly it is very similar legislation.

I think this demonstrates that this is an issue that's not unique or confined to universities here in Nova Scotia. This is kind of a universal problem that needs to be addressed across our country and throughout the world. Yes, we've probably come a long way in many respects from the days when I was a young student, but sometimes when I see some of the things that have gone on more recently in our universities, I ask myself, how far have we really come? We have a long way yet to go.

This legislation is an attempt to make some structural change in the way that our universities and colleges operate so that there is a more codified and systematic set of expectations that will be there to ensure that there are policies and support services and that people will know about them and will be supported when they need to use them, all the way from prevention to having to respond to any acts of sexual violence, harassment, or assault.

I, too, want to thank some of the student groups who have been involved. My colleague made reference to the Canadian Federation of Students, who indeed have worked on this issue for a considerable period of time. I also want to recognize Students Nova Scotia, who did a piece of research and who also have expressed a need to do the work to change the culture in our universities and colleges.

Madam Speaker, I'm not going to belabour the point. I think others have spoken very well on this bill. Probably, there will be a few more, which will round out the discussion on this bill. But I'm very, very happy that this bill is before us and I'm very pleased to see the support that it's getting from all sides of the House. Thank you.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JOANNE BERNARD « » : Madam Speaker, I am pleased today to rise and say a few words on Bill No. 114, the Safer Universities and Colleges Act. I thank the honourable member for tabling this legislation and for recognizing that this issue is one where we can all, regardless of where we sit in the House, come together and enact change.

[Page 5167]

Students at our universities, colleges, and schools in communities across this province are ready to talk about sexual violence and provide leadership on this complex issue as we move forward. They are the experts of their own experiences and we must provide the space for them to inform how we effectively respond to and prevent sexual violence.

Last week, I tabled a summary document on engagement sessions with over 100 youth aged 14 to 24 that highlighted some of these key learnings. We know that youth in this age range are at a higher risk of experiencing sexual violence and we need a better understanding of their perspectives and lived reality. They have innovative ideas on how to tackle this issue and we must encourage their leadership on this issue through continued engagement and doing our part to support their health, safety, and well-being.

Opportunities for collective engagement are important. We need to be committed to creating opportunities for students to help them inform sexual assault policies at colleges and universities. I welcome any measures which open and continue engagement with all Nova Scotians about sexual violence.

I am confident my colleagues would agree that strong policies and legislation are but one of many critical areas of the work ahead of us. We must ensure that victims and survivors, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, or geographic location in this province, receive compassionate and timely support.

The good people on the front lines of this work also need the appropriate training to provide this support. We need to continue to build our awareness and understanding of this complex issue. That means we must deepen our understanding of consent, dispel myths, counter victim-blaming, and address the social norms that contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence in our communities. Sexual violence is not a Nova Scotia issue; it's a societal issue that requires a cultural shift in a number of areas. Its complexities require strategic and multifaceted approaches.

Later this month we will outline our strategic directions for addressing sexual violence in our province. The Sexual Violence Strategy will establish a framework to help the province move forward on this important issue. It will lay out concrete actions to improve service delivery, which is victim-centred and community-based, as we work towards preventing sexual violence from occurring in the first place. Our strategic way forward requires collaboration across sectors, departments and communities. It recognizes that we all have a role to play in addressing this issue.

This dialogue needs to continue among all members. For that reason I'm happy to support this bill moving forward for discussion and consultation. Thank you.

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

MS. LENORE ZANN « » : Madam Speaker, it gives me pleasure too, to rise today to speak to Bill No. 114, Safer Universities and Colleges Act, which our NDP caucus has introduced. I think it's about time that we address issues like this and it does give me great honour to be part of a whole government that is addressing such an important subject after so many years of various abuses in colleges and freshmen years and as well for older women and men.

We have been approached by many different students over the last year telling us some sad, sad tales about the struggles that many of them have gone through and how there really hasn't been the support needed when young people are assaulted on campus. Of course we have to take into consideration that many of these young people are away from home for the first time. They are in a new situation, in a new city, with a new group of friends; people who they don't necessarily know so well. Many times there is alcohol and also drugs around and they can sometimes make people do strange things that they wouldn't normally do and trust people they wouldn't normally trust. It does break down the barriers and it does make people relax their barriers and so this also puts young people at risk.

I know that when I first went to university in Toronto, I was only 17 years old on the train from Truro to Toronto. I knew nobody there. There was a lot of drinking going on on campus and I was lucky; I didn't have any particular problems myself that year but I do know other people who did and a couple of people who dropped out because of it. They were ashamed, they were embarrassed, they didn't know what to do, they didn't know who to tell and they were afraid people would talk about them and that they would be labelled with derogatory names, which is sometimes what happens.

As we've seen in the province here in Nova Scotia, there have been many serious problems with young people and sexual abuse, sexual assaults and where the victim is abused further by people of their own age taking advantage of them after the fact and taking pictures of them, sending them around when they are incapacitated and not in a position to help themselves.

As a woman, many of us have noticed, sometimes just walking down the street, minding your own business, somebody who is walking along coming in the opposite direction will utter some kind of horrible derogatory term towards you out of the side of their mouths and keep walking. Sometimes it hits you like a flash - why are they attacking me? What did I do to this person?

In fact the answer is nothing. Your only crime is being a woman and you are treated with disrespect and misogyny and it's just not on. It's time now for us to address these issues face on and say - no more. Bills such as Bill No. 114 start to address this issue. It won't completely stamp out misogyny in our society but at least it brings it to people's attention so that we can talk about it. We can have discussions about it on the floor of the Legislature, in the newspaper, on the front page of the newspapers hopefully, and where young people are introduced to this idea that this so-called rape culture is not cool, it's not okay, it's not a joke, and it's nothing to be made fun of.

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If somebody is making fun of somebody because of their sexuality or their gender, don't join in; it's not funny. It's like racism, for many years people would say things that were very racist and discriminatory - and I think if you stand there and you allow it to happen and you just laugh, then you're just as bad as the people who are perpetrating it.

I've always said to young people, imagine somebody who is a friend of yours standing there and how they would feel if they were being addressed in such a manner or if they were treated badly at a party or after a party in some manner, then wouldn't you want to stand up for that person, wouldn't you want to say hey, excuse me, but this inappropriate behaviour and don't treat that person like this?

Just recently I was walking along at night and I saw a young woman who was completely inebriated. I had seen her earlier with her friends at a bar and went to the bathroom and they were all pretty drunk. I saw her a few hours later and she was by herself; her friends were no longer there. She had her shoes off and her top was starting to come down a little bit. There was a young man there with her and he was trying to get her to come down on the beach, and trying to entice her down - she was not quite going along with him but tempted to go along. I went right over and I said excuse me, but do you need help, do you need some help? Where are your friends, what happened to your friends? I saw you earlier, where did your friends go? She didn't have a clue; she didn't know - she didn't know where she was.

I said to the young man, you know this lady here is not in any positon or in any shape to be making any good decisions for herself, and I really would appreciate it if you would leave her alone because I'm going to try and take her and put her in a taxi and get her somewhere safe - and I did. (Applause)

Thank you very much. I appreciate that from the member for Inverness. I think that he said some things here in this House and brought some issues to the floor of the House that are very sensitive issues. We need to look after each other, because if we just turn a blind eye and we pretend we don't see something then we're not doing our duty as citizens. As I've talked about on the floor of the House before, I've been in situations myself, as a young women, which I would prefer not to have happen to anybody.

A bill like this is very important to address these issues, bring them to the attention of young people, and to tell other young men and women that no means no, and that we really need to look after ourselves and each other. And the more people we can put in place in universities that can help people who need it most, I think it's a positive step forward.

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That's all I'm going to say on the bill today, but I thank my colleague for bringing it forward, and thank you to the government, for all Parties for supporting this bill.

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

MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : I move that we now adjourn debate on Bill No. 114.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is to adjourn debate on Bill No. 114.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. TERRY FARRELL « » : Madam Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. During that time we'll call government business: Committee of the Whole House on Bills, on Bill Nos. 108 and 113.

I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.

MADAM SPEAKER « » : The motion is that the House rise to meet again on May 8th between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 4:16 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

[Page 5171]

RESOLUTION NO. 1958

By: Hon. Lena Diab « » (Justice)

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

Whereas the 1st Armdale Beaver, Cubs and Scouts are having a yard sale, BBQ and bake sale on May 9, 2015, at St. James Anglican Church; and

Whereas this initiative will fundraise for members of the group to attend Scotiajamb 2015, a camping experience in July that celebrates leadership and fun; and

Whereas the division of 1st Armdale Scouting has been active in the Armdale area since the 1930s, helping to positively shape our young people through venture and adventure;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate the 1st Armdale Scouting for their fundraiser and wish them a happy and safe Scotiajamb.

RESOLUTION NO. 1959

By: Hon. Lena Diab « » (Justice)

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

Whereas Shawn Taylor of Halifax Water is the Mainstay Awards recipient named Individual Safety Champion 2015; and

Whereas the Mainstay Awards are presented by the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education; and

Whereas these awards set a standard in the province by recognizing the individuals and organizations who move Nova Scotia toward a safer future;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Taylor for this award and wish him continued health and success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1960

[Page 5172]

By: Hon. Lena Diab « » (Justice)

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

Whereas this year marks an important milestone for the Greek community of Halifax which in June 2015 is celebrating their 30th Anniversary Greek Festival; and

Whereas this important anniversary demonstrates the cohesive nature and vigour of the Greek community in Halifax, a community that is proud to celebrate and share their heritage; and

Whereas vibrant volunteerism has become a hallmark behind the Greek festivals in Halifax, led by Father Peter Maropoulos, George Nikolaou, president and the Festival Planning Committee;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Greek community in Halifax on this milestone festival year and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1961

By: Hon. Zach Churchill « » (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas birthdays are a wonderful time to celebrate with friends and family; and

Whereas reaching 100 years of age and remaining dynamic and sharing in all the memories gathered over your lifetime with your loved ones is a true accomplishment and reason to celebrate; and

Whereas Mrs. Avis Wheeler, born in 1915 in Glenwood, Nova Scotia to George and Bertha Raynard, will celebrate her 100th birthday on June 17, 2015;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Avis on reaching this milestone and wish her many more happy birthdays and continued good health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1962

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By: Hon. Keith Colwell « » (Agriculture)

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

Whereas 4-H is a youth- and leader-focused community-based organization of choice in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas each year, the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and 4-H recognize the development of young people and offer $1,000 scholarships; and

Whereas Riley van den Heuvel of Inverness, Nova Scotia, was the successful recipient of the 2015 Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture 4-H Scholarship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Riley van den Heuvel for winning this year's scholarship and wish her much success with her future education and exciting career in the agriculture industry.