The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 09-35

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Charlie Parker

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

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

First Session

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
DHAs 1-9 Anl. Repts., Hon. Maureen MacDonald 2238
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Agriculture - Agriculture Land Review Comm., Hon. J. MacDonell 2238
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1050, Tim Hortons Brier 2010 - Halifax: Hosting - Support,
The Premier 2241
Vote - Affirmative 2242
Res. 1051, Month of the Lobster (12/09) - Celebrate,
The Premier 2243
Vote - Affirmative 2244
Res. 1052, Intl. Baccalaureate: Grads 2009 - Congrats.,
Hon. M. More 2244
Vote - Affirmative 2244
Res. 1053, Diabetes Awareness Mo. - Mark,
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 2244
Vote - Affirmative 2245
Res. 1054, Digby Clare Mental Health Vols. - Commend,
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 2245
Vote - Affirmative 2246
Res. 1055, Atl. Agricultural Hall of Fame: Inductees - Congrats.,
Hon. J. MacDonell 2246
Vote - Affirmative 2247
Res. 1056, N.S. Crop & Livestock Insurance Commn. - Anniv. (40th),
Hon. J. MacDonell 2247
Vote - Affirmative 2248
Res. 1057, Natl. Mussel Coun.: Aquaculture Assoc. (N.S.) - Involvement,
Hon. S. Belliveau 2248
Vote - Affirmative 2248
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 63, Elections Act, Hon. S. McNeil 2249
No. 64, Personal Health Information Act, Hon. Maureen MacDonald 2249
No. 65, Donkin Coal Mine Act, Mr. A. MacLeod 2249
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1058, LeBlanc, Bonita: Voyage de recherche dans l'Arctique -
Sélection, Mr. A. Younger 2250
Vote - Affirmative 2251
Res. 1059, Health - Prem./Min.: ERs - Promise Keep,
Hon. K. Casey 2251
Res. 1060, Community in Bloom Prog.: New Glasgow - Contribution,
Hon. R. Landry 2252
Vote - Affirmative 2253
Res. 1061, Starlink Aviation - Work Experience: Students - Congrats.,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 2253
Vote - Affirmative 2253
Res. 1062, Robitaille, Normand (Deceased):
Chignecto-Central Reg. Sch. Bd - Contributions, Ms. L. Zann 2254
Vote - Affirmative 2255
Res. 1063, MacLeod, Alfie/Family: Grandson - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 2255
Vote - Affirmative 2256
Res. 1064, Kent, Ian: Table Tennis Medal - Congrats.,
Ms. B. Kent 2256
Vote - Affirmative 2257
Res. 1065, Health - Services: Digby - Prioritize,
Mr. H. Theriault 2257
Res. 1066, Van Zoost, Dr. Steven -
Prime Minister's Teaching Excellence Award, Mr. C. Porter 2258
Vote - Affirmative 2258
Res. 1067, Lun. Co. Lifestyle Ctr.: Belliveau, Paul/Organizing Comm. -
Funding, Mr. G. Ramey 2259
Vote - Affirmative 2259
Res. 1068, MacPherson, Sandra: Glace Bay Food Bank - Serv. (25 Yrs.),
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 2259
Vote - Affirmative 2260
Res. 1069, MacLeod, Kyle: Intl. Space Sta. - Q & A,
Mr. A. MacLeod 2260
Vote - Affirmative 2261
Res. 1070, Keizer's Auto - Anniv. (25th),
Mr. M. Whynott 2261
Vote - Affirmative 2262
Res. 1071, Power, Stephanie - Natl. Student Leadership Award,
Ms. D. Whalen 2262
Vote - Affirmative 2262
Res. 1072, Joggins Fossil Cliffs Ctr. - Silver Leaf Award,
Hon. M. Scott 2263
Vote - Affirmative 2263
Res. 1073, Beck, Mrs. Vera - Birthday (104th),
Ms. P. Birdsall 2263
Vote - Affirmative 2264
Res. 1074, Fowler, John - Windsor Chair: Creation - TV Movie Inclusions,
Mr. H. Theriault 2264
Vote - Affirmative 2265
Res. 1075, Smith, Dr. Paula/Team - Sail Able Prog.,
Hon. C. Clarke 2265
Vote - Affirmative 2266
Res. 1076, Arimathea Funeral Co-operative - Anniv. (15th),
Mr. G. Burrill 2266
Vote - Affirmative 2266
Res. 1077, Intl. Day of Climate Action (2010) Truro/N.S. Communities -
Participate, Ms. L. Zann 2266
Vote - Affirmative 2267
Res. 1078, Mills, Sgt. Stu - Corps of Commissionaires Medal,
Hon. K. Casey 2267
Vote - Affirmative 2268
Res. 1079, Cobequid Commun. Health Ctr. Fdn. Walk/Run Fundraising -
Congrats., Mr. W. Whynott 2268
Vote - Affirmative 2269
Res. 1080, Springhill HS Golden Eagles Girls Soccer Team -
Northumberland Reg. Div. Championship, Hon. M. Scott 2269
Vote - Affirmative 2269
Res. 1081, Mahone Islands Conservation Assoc.: Fundraising Efforts -
Congrats., Ms. P. Birdsall 2270
Vote - Affirmative 2270
Res. 1082, Shaw, Nicole/Poirier, Lindsay: Book Publication -
Congrats., Mr. A. MacLeod 2270
Vote - Affirmative 2271
Res. 1083, Sydney Mines Jr. High: Cultural Challenges Congrats.,
Hon. C. Clarke 2271
Vote - Affirmative 2272
Res. 1084, Barker, Cheryl & Cassidy: Ovarian Cancer Awareness Mo.
(09/09) - Applaud, Mr. C. Porter 2272
Vote - Affirmative 2273
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 289, Health: H1N1 Vaccine - Children (0-6 Mos.): Parents -
Exclusion, Hon. M. Samson 2273
No. 290, Health - Health Care Workers: H1N1 Vaccine - DHAs Info,
Hon. K. Casey 2275
No. 291, Prem.: P3s - Position,
Hon. S. McNeil 2276
No. 292, Prem.: Demand Side Mgt. Charges - Stance,
Mr. A. Younger 2277
No. 293, Health - H1N1 Vaccine Prog.: Regular Flu Shots - Effects,
Hon. C. Clarke 2279
No. 294, Health - Cobequid ER: 24/7 - Plans,
Ms. D. Whalen 2280
No. 295, HPP - AG: H1N1 Preparedness Plan - Implementation,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 2281
No. 296, Status of Women: Domestic Violence Prevention Strategy -
Details, Ms. K. Regan 2283
No. 297, Prem. - ERs: Election Promise - Commitment,
Hon. K. Casey 2284
No. 298, Health - Psychiatrists: Contract - Sign,
Ms. D. Whalen 2285
No. 299, Prem.: Donkin Mine Proj. - Status,
Mr. A. MacLeod 2287
No. 300, Health - Richmond Co. Home Support Services Soc.: Audit -
Implementation, Hon. M. Samson 2288
No. 301, Health - ERs: Prem./Health Min. - Statements,
Hon. M. Scott 2290
No. 302, Health - Care: Digby Area - Shortages Explain,
Mr. H. Theriault 2291
No. 303, SNSMR - Victoria Co. Mun.: Mapper Position Replacement,
Mr. K. Bain 2293
No. 304, Educ. - Lakeview Cons. Elem. Sch.: Replacement - Plans,
Hon. K. Colwell 2294
No. 305, Energy - Hydro Québec/N .B. Power: Negotiations -
Awareness, Hon. C. Clarke 2295
No. 306, Justice: Sheriff's Dept. - Staffing,
Hon. M. Samson 2297
No. 307, Health: Nakile Home For Special Care - Proj. Update,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 2299
No. 308, TIR: Bridges - Renewal Plan,
Ms. K. Regan 2300
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. No. 955, re Health - H1N1 Clinics: Pub. Concerns - Respond -
notice given Nov. 2/09 - (Ms. D. Whalen) 2301
Mr. L. Glavine 2301
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 2303
Hon. C. d'Entremont 2304
Ms. D. Whalen 2306
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 56, Public Utilities Act, Mr. A. Younger 2310
Mr. A. Younger 2310
Hon. W. Estabrooks 2312
Hon. M. Scott 2316
Hon. K. Colwell 2319
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Can. Winter Games (2011): Supporters - Congrats.:
Mr. M. Whynott 2323
Hon. C. Clarke 2325
Mr. A. Younger 2327
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., Nov. 5th at 1:00 p.m. 2329
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1085, Rockingham Heritage Soc. - Anniv. (20th),
Ms. D. Whalen 2330
Res. 1086, Power, Chris/Capital Dist. Health Auth. -
Top 15 Employers (N.S.), Ms. D. Whalen 2330
Res. 1087, MacKinnon, Peter/Col. E. Hants Health Auth. -
Top 15 Employers (N.S.), Ms. D. Whalen 2331
Res. 1088, MacDonald, Kevin/Guysborough Antigonish Strait Dist.
Health Auth. - Top 15 Employers (N.S.), Ms. D. Whalen 2331
Res. 1089, Little, Dr. Cameron/Coll. of Physicians & Surgeons -
Top 15 Employers (N.S.), Ms. D. Whalen 2332
Res. 1090, Brown, Don: Dinosaur Carving - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 2332
Res. 1091, Kentville Vol. FD: Role - Recognize,
Mr. J. Morton 2333
Res. 1092, Waterville & Dist. FD: Role - Recognize,
Mr. J. Morton 2333
Res. 1093, Canning Vol. FD: Role - Recognize,
Mr. J. Morton 2334
Res. 1094, Port Williams Vol. FD: Role - Recognize,
Mr. J. Morton 2334
Res. 1095, Halls Hbr. FD: Role - Recognize,
Mr. J. Morton 2335
Res. 1096, Grandy, Bruce: Piping Accomplishments - Congrats.,
The Premier 2336
Res. 1097, Mitchell, Devin: Natl. Gymnastics Comp. - Gold Medal,
The Premier 2336
Res. 1098, Rhodenizer, Donna/Duinker, Andy - Musica Viva Award,
Mr. J. Morton 2337
Res. 1099, Medical Radiation Technologists: Work - Recognize,
Hon. Maureen MacDonald 2337
Res. 1100, McGee, John/Zwicker, Peter - Lun. Town Councillors:
Lun. Commun. Christmas - Success, 2339
Ms. P. Birdsall 2338
Res. 1101, Fahie, Geline - Birthday (75th),
Mr. J. Boudreau 2338
Res. 1102, Heart & Stroke Fdn. Big Bike Fundraiser: Guysborough Team -
Congrats., Mr. J. Boudreau 2339
Res. 1103, Cdn. Cancer Soc.: Guysborough Vols. - Dedication,
Mr. J. Boudreau 2339
Res. 1104, MADD: Guysborough Co. Chapter - Support,
Mr. J. Boudreau 2340
Res. 1105, RCL Four Harbours Br.: Importance - Recognize,
Mr. J. Boudreau 2340
Res. 1106, RCL Sherbrooke Br.: Importance - Recognize,
^Mr. J. Boudreau 2341
Res. 1107, RCL Courcelette Br.: Importance - Recognize,
^Mr. J. Boudreau 2341
Res. 1108, RCL Cambrai Br.: Importance - Recognize,
^Mr. J. Boudreau 2342
Res. 1109, RCL Liscombe Br.: Importance - Recognize,
^Mr. J. Boudreau 2342
Res. 1110, RCL Torbay Br./Larry's River : Importance - Recognize,
^Mr. J. Boudreau 2343
Res. 1111, RCL Chedabucto Br.: Importance - Recognize,
^Mr. J. Boudreau 2343
Res. 1112, RCL Al Patterson Br.: Importance - Recognize,
^Mr. J. Boudreau 2344
Res. 1113, RCL Guysborough Br.: Importance - Recognize,
^Mr. J. Boudreau 2344
Res. 1114, Parks, Anna: Col. Reg. - Contributions,
Hon. K. Casey 2345
Res. 1115, Willow Lodge Home for Special Care - Kraft Hockeyville Contest,
Hon. K. Casey 2345
Res. 1116, Manthorne, Andrea: Adult Literacy - Work Applaud,
Hon. K. Casey 2346
Res. 1117, Pettipas, Ms. Dana - Weston Fdn. Award,
Hon. K. Casey 2346
Res. 1118, Wilson, Howard: N.S. Character - Example,
Hon. K. Casey 2347
Res. 1119, Stellarton Communities in Bloom - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 2347
Res. 1120, Rafih, Abdul: Truro African N.S. Commun. - Recognition,
Hon. K. Casey 2348
Res. 1121, Harpell, Kathy: Smith, Wayne/Vols. - Renovation Proj. Thank,
Hon. K. Casey 2348

[Page 2237]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2009

Sixty-first General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Charlie Parker

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. Gordon Gosse, Hon. Wayne Gaudet, Mr. Alfie MacLeod

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We'll get today's proceedings underway.

Before we go to the daily routine, I will announce the issue for the late debate under Rule 5(5):

Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate the many organizations, individuals, and government departments and agencies who have committed their support to the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax, and ask all members to consider what they will bring to these games.

That was submitted by the honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville and at the hour of interruption, 6:00 p.m., it will be debated.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

[Page 2238]

2237

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the Annual Reports of District Health Authorities 1 to 9.

MR. SPEAKER: The reports are tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

HON. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, before I do my statement, if you would allow me an introduction. I would like to acknowledge some guests who have joined us in your gallery. These individuals are three of the five members of the Agricultural Land Review Committee. So if members would direct their attention to the Speaker's Gallery, I would like to introduce John Van de Reit from Shubenacadie, Hants County; Bill Swetnam of Centreville, Kings County; and Lise LeBlanc of Newport, Hants County. I would ask all members to give them a warm welcome to the House. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, agricultural lands play a very important role in our province. Farming is a huge part of our history and culture, and a vibrant and sustainable agri-food industry will continue to benefit Nova Scotians for generations to come.

According to a 2007 report prepared for Nova Scotia's Agriculture and Fisheries and Aquaculture Departments, the agri-food industry in Nova Scotia contributed $894 million to the provincial GDP in 2006-07 and supported about 7,200 full-time jobs. There is room for this sector to grow, but that requires the support of Nova Scotians and the availability of prime agricultural lands.

Several land issues have been raised both within and outside the agricultural community. These relate to how much land is required for food production; whether all prime agricultural land should be protected from non-agricultural developments like housing or recreation; and whether land uses for things such as homes, hospitals and daycares, which may be incompatible with agricultural operations, should be restricted in these areas, Mr. Speaker.

To move these discussions forward, I recently appointed a new committee to review agricultural land use in Nova Scotia. The five committee members include Rick Williams from Salt Springs, John Van de Reit from Shubenacadie, Bill Swetnam now of Centreville,

[Page 2239]

Lise LeBlanc of Newport - the three I've already introduced, and also Patricia Bishop from Port Williams.

The new committee members recognize the importance of preserving agricultural land while fairly representing the interests of all Nova Scotians. Through their committee work they will explore whether additional steps need to be taken to protect agricultural lands or whether the measures already in place are sufficient.

Some of the existing measures include programs from the Department of Agriculture to assist farmers to help make farming more viable and to attract new people to the industry. As well, the government provides exemptions for farmland from municipal taxes, related support for municipalities, and a statement of provincial interest in the Municipal Government Act that requires municipalities to preserve agricultural land during land-use planning exercises.

Mr. Speaker, we believe that Nova Scotians should have a say in how our prime agricultural lands are protected. The primary mandate of the new Agricultural Land Review Committee is to seek public input around the management of agricultural lands in the province. The committee will engage in a series of consultations in communities across the province, including six consultations from members of the public. Sessions will also be held with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, and the Aboriginal community.

[2:15 p.m.]

The committee will work throughout the Fall to explore agricultural land-use issues and develop a consultation document. Consultations will begin early next year. I look forward to receiving a final report from the committee in the Spring of 2010. The various perspectives heard during the consultations will be considered in the development of the committee's report, and the report will form the basis for a provincial planning strategy for agricultural land use.

Mr. Speaker, I encourage people throughout the province to support the work of the committee by taking part in consultations. After all, agriculture is not just about farmers and their families. It impacts any Nova Scotian who eats local foods, visits farm markets, has a farm in their community, or who cares about the sustainability of the agricultural sector and the growth of our provincial economy. How we choose to use and protect agricultural lands is a discussion for all Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise in my place today on what has been presented as a very important committee being struck. I do want to thank the minister

[Page 2240]

for giving me an advance copy of his statement. However, if there was one little iota of disappointment, while this is such an important issue, I was hoping it was going to be the beef strategy today that we would be talking about - but maybe with one day remaining we will still hear about that.

But I am not disappointed, because the preservation of agricultural land is a very significant issue from Cape Breton County to Yarmouth County, from Boularderie Island to Kings County. We have Class 2 and Class 3 soils that must be given very strong consideration. We're at a crossroad in terms of pressure on farmland - Hants County, Kings County, they've already gone through a whole number of sessions with their planning departments, with regulations put in place by the county, and I really think it's a very significant time for the province to be coming forward, to be a leader on this issue.

I'm very pleased with the committee that has been put together, and to see three of them here in the House today bodes well for the work that this committee will be doing. It's an opportunity, as we start to work through Select Nova Scotia, the local food movement; it will only thrive and move forward if we have agricultural land that we keep preserved for future generations.

I just want to make one quick diversion here. In 1970, as a student in Toronto, I had an opportunity to fly over the Niagara Peninsula. Flying over the same area today, it is almost unrecognizable in terms of how much farmland has been lost. We here in Nova Scotia must now look very seriously at the future of preserving agricultural land for the present and future generations. This will be a process that I hope engages many Nova Scotians at the sessions that will be coming forward, and I want to wish the committee the very best in their work.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, it's with considerable pleasure that I rise today to respond to the Minister of Agriculture's ministerial statement on agricultural land review. The committee has a number of exceptional people like Lise LeBlanc, who is here today with us from my own constituency of Hants West; Bill Swetnam is here, as has been announced as well, a long-time industry leader who farms turkey, poultry, carrots, and onions; and Patricia Bishop, the current president of the Kings County Federation of Agriculture.

Mr. Speaker, I want to make it abundantly clear that I support the formation of this Agricultural Land Review Committee. It was something that our government decided to do last Spring, when debate raged on in certain areas of the province over the protection of agricultural land. In saying I support this, I do because it's imperative that we continue to purchase local home-grown food any time that we possibly can.

Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker, have to buy into that same philosophy, and we look forward to that becoming more and more important as we move forward in the future, and we hope that the review of this committee will provide that for us. I recognize there are many

[Page 2241]

passionate views that exist across Nova Scotia concerning the issue and the use of farmland. For example, the battle has raged in Kings County. It's important that the government stress in this report as to whether it has any intentions of taking away the municipal unit's land-use bylaws.

The most important thing, I believe, that can be addressed is the following: the release of this report is that farmers will be able to lay to rest the issue of agricultural land use and they will be able to get on with farming. A clear stand will be taken, which is important to the farming community in Nova Scotia.

With that, Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, member.

The honourable Deputy Premier on an introduction.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, you may see in the east and west and partly in your gallery some very bright people and I assure you none of them are MLAs. (Laughter) As Minister of the Public Service Commission, I'd like to acknowledge that today is Take Our Kids To Work Day, and there are two departments represented here: the Departments of Community Services, and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. I wonder if the House could give the appropriate welcome. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome all our guests here today and it is great to see a good contingency in our gallery.

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

HON. DARRELL DEXTER (The Premier): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is my pleasure today in your gallery to introduce to the House a two-time world and Olympic curling champion, Russ Howard; the 2004 Brier champion, Brad Gushue; and Craig Moore and Linda Peers with the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier Host Committee. They are in the House today to help drive some of the excitement around the 2010 Brier. We welcome them and ask the House to provide an appropriate welcome. (Standing Ovation)

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1050

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

[Page 2242]

Whereas Halifax Regional Municipality will be hosting the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier in March; and

Whereas the Men's Canadian Curling Championship will bring world-class curlers like the two-time world and Olympic champion Russ Howard, 2004 Brier champion Rob Harris, and current Olympic champion Brad Gushue to the region; and

Whereas the competition will also bring thousands of visitors to the province, help boost the local tourism industry, and promote Nova Scotia as a top travel destination;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House offer their full support to this national sporting event and welcome all the competitors, coaches, and fans planning to attend the 2010 Tim Hortons Brier.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle on an introduction.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to call the attention of the members to the Speaker's Gallery where we have four guests as well. Brenda Libby is the regional sales manager with Starlink Aviation of Yarmouth. With her today are Tiffany Nickerson, Kayla Brake and Brittany Cottreau. They are Grade 9 students at Drumlin Heights Consolidated School in Argyle.

The students are learning about the importance of Starlink's customer service reps which check passengers on the plane, manage the reservation system, the flight attendant whose main responsibility is to provide service and safety to the passengers, as well as the role of the sales representative who has to promote the new air service, which is critical to sustaining Yarmouth International Airport and economic growth in southwest Nova Scotia.

They are here as part of Take Our Kids To Work Day and they did get to fly in the airplane, which I am sure was a heck of a day for them so far. I'd like to ask Brittany, Kayla, Tiffany and Brenda to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 2243]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health on an introduction.

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to draw the attention of members of the House to the area of the House where members of Communications Nova Scotia sit in the Speaker's Gallery, on this side. Today we're joined by Neil Van Horne, who is a student at Lockview in the riding of the honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development. He is here today with his dad, who works in the Department of Health with Communications Nova Scotia, Ryan Van Horne. I would ask them both to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House on this day where you take your child to work. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 1051

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

Whereas the lobster fishery supports many people in our rural coastal communities and has annual exports of $400 million, making Nova Scotia the largest lobster-supplying province in Canada; and

Whereas Nova Scotia lobster is a delicious seafood, which is managed in a sustainable manner; and

Whereas on November 30th in the early morning hours of the first day of the season, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, on my behalf, will read a proclamation to fishermen declaring December the Month of the Lobster;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House join me in using the vehicle plates provided by the Year of the Lobster Committee in Shelburne County, and promote Nova Scotia lobster in this and any other way they can in celebration of the Month of the Lobster.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2244]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1052

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

Whereas the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is an internationally recognized program designed for ambitious students in Grades 11 and 12; and

Whereas in June 2009, 312 students graduated with their IB diplomas, the largest class in the history of the program in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's IB students out-performed North America and the world in 18 of 25 subject areas including math, English, biology and economics;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House offer our sincere congratulations to the province's Class of 2009 International Baccalaureate graduates for their stunning achievement and wish them the best of luck as they begin their university careers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1053

[Page 2245]

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

Whereas diabetes affects more than 75,000 adults and 750 children in Nova Scotia today and which numbers are expected to grow by another 20 per cent in the next five years; and

Whereas diabetes markedly increases a person's risk of cardiac disease and stroke, kidney failure, amputation and eye disease; and

Whereas the province has invested directly to keep Nova Scotians with diabetes healthier through the Nova Scotia Diabetes Assistance Program, Family Pharmacare, and our own provincial Diabetes Care Program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly join me in marking Diabetes Awareness Month, show leadership by modelling healthy lifestyle practices, and support the organizations that support people with diabetes.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[2:30 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1054

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

Whereas Digby Clare Mental Health volunteers promote the mental health of Digby County residents who are trying to overcome the discrimination toward people with mental illness in their community; and

[Page 2246]

Whereas the group has been working for several months to introduce information about mental health illnesses into the curriculum of Digby County high schools; and

Whereas the Canadian Mental Health Commission will assist the group to increase the effectiveness of the program;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislature commend the fine work of the Digby Clare Mental Health volunteers and congratulate them for the national attention that they have received.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1055

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

Whereas the Atlantic Agriculture Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding individuals who have contributed significantly to the development of our agricultural industry, provincially and in local communities; and

Whereas four individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame on October 29th at a ceremony, including Lottie Austin Cook; and

Whereas Lottie Austin Cook started farming at a young age with her parents, was an active member of the 4-H, competed at the Royal Winter Fair, graduated from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, and went on to become the first female agricultural representative in Canada, and later a chicken farmer with her husband, George Cook;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the late Lottie Austin Cook, as well as Albert Earl Ings of Prince Edward Island, John E.

[Page 2247]

Robinson of New Brunswick, and Rhonda Thornley of Newfoundland and Labrador on their induction into the Atlantic Agriculture Hall of Fame.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1056

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

Whereas the Crop and Livestock Insurance Act was assented in 1968, creating the Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission, and the commission began offering insurance protection to Nova Scotia farmers a year later; and

Whereas the commission now offers 13 crop insurance plans covering 34 different crop and two livestock insurance plans, as well as a wildlife compensation program, serving a total of 780 clients and over $100 million in insurance coverage; and

Whereas the objective of the commission has been to make programs available that assist in years of reduced yield, lower revenue, and loss due to insurable perils to Nova Scotia farmers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the Nova Scotia Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission as they celebrate their 40th Anniversary.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 2248]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 1057

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

Whereas the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia has been instrumental in organizing a National Mussel Council; and

Whereas the National Mussel Council will develop and roll out a marketing program to boost sales of this affordable, tasty, nutritious shellfish; and

Whereas this unified marketing approach will be the first of Atlantic Canadian growers who were, until now, marketing as individual companies;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in commending the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia for their involvement in the National Mussel Council and urge Nova Scotians to visit www.discovermussels.com.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West on an introduction.

[Page 2249]

MR. GARY RAMEY: Mr. Speaker, M. le Président, I wish to call the attention of the members assembled here to the east gallery, that beautiful looking crowd right in front of me. These are 32 Grade 12 high school students, Global History students, from Bridgewater High School in the beautiful riding of Lunenburg West, and they're accompanied by Ms. Sandy Bergeron, the Global History teacher, and M. Simon Côté-Desjardins, French-language monitor. So I would ask the folks assembled here to please welcome them in the traditional way. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes on an introduction.

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the members' attention to the east gallery. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities is starting meetings here in the city today and they'll be meeting until November 7th. I would like to acknowledge one of the members of the Victoria County Council who is in attendance - Merrill MacInnis. I would ask if Merrill would stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome all our guests here in the gallery this afternoon.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 63 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 140 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Elections Act. (Hon. Stephen McNeil)

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, before I table this bill I would like your permission to do an introduction, please.

MR. SPEAKER: Sure, go ahead.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in the east gallery, I would like to draw members' attention to some guests we have who have joined us. Suellen Murray, who is the project manager for the personal health information project, joins us today - she's largely responsible for a great deal of the work, many hours of work, that has gone into the bill I'm about to introduce - and with her is Dennis Holland, who is the senior legal counsel to the Department of Health. I would ask them both to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House, please. (Applause)

Bill No. 64 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Collection, Use, Disclosure and Retention of Personal Health Information. (Hon. Maureen MacDonald)

[Page 2250]

Bill No. 65 - Entitled an Act to Promote the Use of Donkin Mine Coal by Nova Scotia Power Incorporated. (Mr. Alfie MacLeod.)

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

The honourable member for Pictou East on an introduction.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Thank you, it's a great pleasure for me to rise in the House. In your gallery, Mr. Speaker, we have Ian Russell who is the great promoter of Nova Scotia in Scotland and he has led delegations to Scotland, repeatedly, very recently a very successful delegation, over 40 members, and a very aggressive and successful delegation. I would like Ian to stand and receive a very warm welcome from this House for great work done for Nova Scotia. (Applause)

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1058

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: M. le Président, à une date ulterieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que Bonita LeBlanc est une éleève à l' École du Carrefour à Dartmouth et qu'elle effectue une recherche sur les courants océaniques au moyen de bouteilles lancées à la mer; et

Attendu qu'au cours des deux dernières années, Bonita a envoyé vers l'Arctique 580 bouteilles biodégradables et contenant des messages afin d'aider les chercheurs de l'Institut des sciences de la mer à étudier les courants océaniques; et

Attendu que Bonita a été choisie par Sciences jeunesse Canada pour se joindre, pendant deux semaines, à des scientifiques lors de leur voyage dans l'Arctique à bord du navire de recherche de la garde côtière Amundsen pour les aider dans leur recherche expérimentale et pour mener sa propre recherche;

Par conséquent, il est résolu que les membres de cette assemblée félicitent Bonita LeBlanc d'être une inspiration pour les jeunes grâce à ses réalisations, y compris le fait qu'elle soit la seule jeune personne choisie pour accompagner le voyage de recherche dans l'Arctique pour étudier les courants océaniques.

[Page 2251]

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

Whereas Bonita LeBlanc is a student at École du Carrefour in Dartmouth and has been actively researching ocean currents using drift bottles; and

Whereas over the past two years Bonita has sent 580 biodegradable bottles with messages to the Arctic to help researchers at the Institute of Ocean Sciences track ocean currents; and

Whereas Bonita has been selected by Youth Science Canada to join scientists on their journey to the Arctic aboard the Coast Guard research vessel Amundsen for two weeks, assisting in their experimental work as well as conducting her own research;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Bonita LeBlanc for inspiring youth through her accomplishments, including her selection as the only youth chosen to accompany the Arctic research trip studying ocean currents.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1059

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

Whereas the Premier and his government campaigned on a promise to keep emergency rooms open 24/7; and

[Page 2252]

Whereas the Minister of Health today acknowledged that the NDP promise to keep emergency rooms open was a measure to make Nova Scotians "feel secure" in their access to emergency health care; and

Whereas today the Minister of Health acknowledged in a briefing that keeping emergency rooms open was a "bold promise";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly request that the Premier and the Minister of Health honour their commitment, bold promise or not, to Nova Scotians to keep emergency rooms open 24/7, as promised.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[2:45 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 1060

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

Whereas the Town of New Glasgow was the finalist in the 8,001 to 10,000 population category of the 2009 national edition of the Communities in Bloom competition; and

Whereas the Town of New Glasgow was named one of three finalists across all population categories for the Community Gardens Criteria Award; and

Whereas the achievements within the Communities in Bloom program recognizes the pride and hard work the residents of New Glasgow contribute to making their town not only beautiful, but a welcoming place to visit, and a place that all residents should be proud of;

[Page 2253]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the important contributions the residents of the Town of New Glasgow make to their community and to the Communities in Bloom.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Argyle.

RESOLUTION NO. 1061

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

Whereas each year employees, companies and students across Nova Scotia participate in an exercise to familiarize students with work environments, different career experiences, and help them think about their plans for their own futures; and

Whereas Starlink Aviation, a company providing a vital transportation connection between Yarmouth, Halifax and Portland, Maine has, with their regional sales representative Brenda Libby, this year participated in the program; and

Whereas Starlink and Brenda have provided an opportunity for Tiffany Nickerson, Kayla Brake and Brittany Cottreau, Grade 9 students at Drumlin Heights Consolidated School, to learn about the work of customer service representatives, sales representatives and flight attendants, an experience which has included a flight to Halifax and back to Yarmouth including a visit to the Legislative Assembly;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in welcoming Brenda, Kayla, Brittany and Tiffany to this House, congratulate Starlink Aviation for participating in this very important educational component and supporting our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2254]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture on an introduction.

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, if I could draw the members of the House attention to the east gallery. I have some family members I'd love to introduce, starting with my brother-in-law, Mr. Carl Amero, I'll ask him to stand; my sister-in-law, Audrey Belliveau; my youngest sister, Gale Messenger; my favourite mother-in-law, Lorriane Larocque; my youngest daughter, Suzanne Belliveau; and probably my number one supporter for the last 36 years, and especially the last 30 days, my wife Luella Belliveau. Please give them a warm welcome.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg on an introduction.

MS. PAM BIRDSALL: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to make an introduction. In the east gallery, I'd like to introduce two members from my constituency, from Lunenburg, who are hard-working Party members. I would like to introduce to the House of Assembly, Mr. Paul Kellogg and with him, I think it's my husband, Harry Covert. I ask for a warm welcome.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1062

MS. LENORE ZANN: Mr. Speaker, merci, M. le Président, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas many teachers of French in schools throughout the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board will remember Normand Robitaille with affection and gratitude, especially for his enduring passion for the French language, teaching and bilingual education; and

Whereas Normand Robitaille was for many years an exemplary French teacher, and later a French curriculum supervisor, who had a warm, debonair personality and a kindly manner; and

[Page 2255]

Whereas Normand Robitaille passed away on October 18, 2009;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the late Norman Robitaille for his contributions to the teaching of French in the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board and extend its deepest sympathies to the Robitaille family and friends.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution, may I beg leave to do another introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Absolutely.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, the individual that I am about to introduce is certainly no stranger to this House but we're certainly proud to welcome back one of Nova Scotia's newest grandparents, the newest grandfather from the metropolis of Garbarus Lake, and the member for Cape Breton West. I would ask the members to give the member a warm welcome back, Grandpa. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1063

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

Whereas Daniel MacLeod and his partner Amber of Garbarus Lake welcomed their newborn son to the world on November 3, 2009; and

[Page 2256]

Whereas Keegan Daniel was born happy and healthy, weighing 9 pounds 2 ounces; and

Whereas all members of this House eagerly await stories and updates from Cape Breton West MLA and proud grandfather Alfie MacLeod;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Daniel, Amber, Alfie, Shirley and the rest of their families on the birth of Keegan Daniel on November 3, 2009, and wish the family continued health and happiness.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

We welcome all grandpas here to the Legislature today. (Laughter)

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

MS. BECKY KENT: Mr. Speaker, with your permission I would like to begin with an introduction as well. Although this young gentleman is not one of my three sons and take your child to work with you, I do have the pleasure of sharing the day with Robert Brown. Robert is a Grade 9 student at Eastern Passage Education Centre.

Robert has a strong desire and interest in politics and, in fact, last year when he was in Grade 8 and they didn't have the job shadowing program, he still chose to come to the House of Assembly with me. So he is learning a lot and I know he's struggling a little bit, perhaps, in staying awake during this part of our session, but no doubt the liveliness will start very soon for you, Robert. So, I would like to ask that we give him a warm welcome back to the House. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1064

[Page 2257]

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

Whereas Ian Kent is a 48-year-old Eastern Passage man who competes internationally as a disabled table tennis player and one of his most recent achievements included competing at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games for Canada; and

Whereas in early October, Ian competed in the 2009 Parapan American Table Tennis Championships in two classes representing Canada in Margarita Island, Venezuela; and

Whereas Ian played through a pressure packed final match in Venezuela to win the

Gold Medal, which earned him a bye to the 2010 World Championships in South Korea;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Ian Kent of Eastern Passage on his Gold Medal win at the 2009 Parapan American Tennis Table Championship and wish him every success in his training for the 2010 World Championship in South Korea.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1065

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

Whereas southwestern Nova Scotia, particularly Digby and area, has probably the worst health service in this province; and

Whereas over half the people in Digby have no family doctor, no nurse practitioner, no emergency room to visit and the H1N1 panic is starting to set into this area; and

[Page 2258]

Whereas we see the situation getting worse in the next while in the Digby and surrounding area, with no hope of it getting any better;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier of this province direct his Minister of Health to make the Digby area a priority today before tomorrow brings on even worse conditions that will make him wish he did deal with it today.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1066

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

Whereas Hants County educator, Dr. Steven Van Zoost of Avon View School, was recently awarded the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence by the Right Hon. Stephen Harper on October 5th in Ottawa; and

Whereas Dr. Van Zoost was one of only six Nova Scotia teachers to receive this impressive honour and the only one to get the Certificate of Teaching Excellence; and

Whereas 15 years of hard work and commitment to the public education system have paid continual dividends to his students and broader community therefore making him a deserving recipient of this distinguished award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Dr. Steven Van Zoost on receiving the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence and thank him for his continued hard work and dedication to the students of Hants County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 2259]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1067

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

Whereas the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre is a proposed facility to be built in Bridgewater consisting of two NHL-sized rinks, a 25-metre, six lane pool, a new home for the town library and an indoor track with seating for 1,800 spectators; and

Whereas a facility of this kind has been proposed and planned for over 30 years; and

Whereas this project required the co-operation of three levels of government for funding and particularly the co-operation of the two major municipal units in the area to work out a number of ancillary issues;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Mr. Paul Belliveau and his organizing committee as well as the federal, provincial and municipal governments who worked together to provide this funding for a $32.7 million project known as the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre which will be an invaluable recreational and community asset to the region.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 2260]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 1068

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas in September of this year, Sandra MacPherson of Glace Bay had been a volunteer at the Glace Bay Food Bank for a quarter of a century; and

Whereas Sandra first volunteered at the Glace Bay Food Bank at its inception 25 years ago and now serves as a coordinator; and

Whereas Sandra MacPherson has been helping the people of Glace Bay and surrounding area by filling food orders, organizing food drives and fundraisers, finding doctors, finding homes and many other tasks necessary when people are in need;

Therefore be it resolved the members of the House of Assembly recognize and congratulate Sandra MacPherson for 25 years of dedication to the people of Glace Bay through her work at the Glace Bay Food Bank.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1069

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

[Page 2261]

Whereas on October 28th a select group of students from across Nova Scotia had the unique opportunity to ask questions of astronaut Robert Thirsk; and

Whereas Kyle MacLeod, a Grade 9 student from George D. Lewis School in Louisbourg, was selected as one of 48 students to participate based on the fact that from the questions about the space program submitted from across the province, Kyle's stood out for being the most articulate and intriguing; and

Whereas this initiative is the result of a partnership between the province and the Canadian Space Agency with the intent to enhance science and technology research, teaching and learning for all stakeholders in the Nova Scotia education system;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Kyle MacLeod on his selection to take part with this impressive group and wish the ongoing partnership between the province and the Canadian Space Agency continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[3:00 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

RESOLUTION NO. 1070

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

Whereas on Thursday, August 20, 2009, Keizer's Auto celebrated the grand opening of their new auto collision centre on Sackville Drive; and

Whereas the occasion was observed with a celebration at the new building with friends, family and colleagues; and

[Page 2262]

Whereas Keizer's Auto has been an upstanding business in the community for over 25 years;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Keizer's Auto on their 25 years in business, over three generations of the family, and on the grand opening of the new collision centre.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 1071

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

Whereas Stephanie Power has been acknowledged for her outstanding contributions to Memorial University by receiving the 2009 Student Affairs and Services Award for National Student Leadership; and

Whereas the SASA Association is a division of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services and the award was presented at Waterloo University at their annual conference in June; and

Whereas Stephanie has exhibited leadership on the executive of the Memorial University Student Union and as a volunteer for numerous international, community, and university organizations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Stephanie Power of Halifax on receiving the SASA 2009 National Student Leadership Award and on the contributions she has already made to Nova Scotia, to Canada, and to the world.

[Page 2263]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1072

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

Whereas the Joggins Fossil Centre has been honoured with a Silver Leaf Award for its work in engaging stakeholders and communications; and

Whereas the Silver Leaf is one of 30 national awards presented by the International Association of Business Communicators to recognize communications professionals for outstanding achievement of projects recently completed; and

Whereas the Joggins Fossil Cliffs were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2008 for their outstanding universal value in revealing the world's most complete fossil record of life in the Carboniferous period;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Joggins Fossil Cliffs Centre on receiving the Silver Leaf Award and wish them continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 2264]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1073

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

Whereas Mrs. Vera Beck was born on October 13, 1905, in Newburne, Lunenburg County, and spent most of her childhood there before attending Teachers College and moving to Mahone Bay; and

Whereas Mrs. Vera Beck devoted her life to teaching in Lunenburg County taking positions in Mahone Bay, Clearland, Lower Kingsburg and Centre, before retiring in the late 1960s; and

Whereas Mrs. Vera Beck, a resident of Harbour View Haven Home for Special Care in Lunenburg, just celebrated her 104th birthday, surrounded by friends, family and staff;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mrs. Vera Beck on reaching the milestone of her 104th birthday, and wish her many years of continued health and happiness.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 1074

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

[Page 2265]

Whereas John Fowler of Bear River created a custom-made Windsor chair with whales carved into the hand pieces using the traditional way it would have been made 200 years ago; and

Whereas John Fowler made the chair in just a week using a combination of wet and dry wood taken straight from a tree in the Annapolis area and then painted with a mixture of milk powder and lime; and

Whereas the chair was made for a television remake of Moby Dick that started filming this past September on the South Shore and in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize John Fowler for having his beautifully made chair displayed in a television movie for all to see and wish him well in his future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1075

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

Whereas the Northern Yacht Club Junior Sailing Building was recently refurbished with help from the Province of Nova Scotia, the Government of Canada, and the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, as well as community contributors; and

Whereas Bobby White, Executive Director of the Canadian Paraplegic Association, and Canadian Paralympics sailor Paul Tingley toured the facility with Dr. Paula Smith and Walter Pelley to observe the Learn to Sail program; and

Whereas both Tingley and White plan to return this Spring to help establish a new disability sailing program;

[Page 2266]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Dr. Paula Smith and her team for their dedicated efforts in the creation of the Sail Able Program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1076

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

Whereas the Arimathea Funeral Co-operative received its initial operating licence on October 15, 1994, thereby becoming the first funeral co-operative in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas over the 15 years since its founding, Arimathea has helped hundreds of families in times of bereavement, offering funeral services on a non-profit basis through the ministries and facilities of local churches and congregations; and

Whereas as it marks its 15th Anniversary, Arimathea now has over 1,200 members and extends its ministry through 36 sponsoring congregations, and is part of a national network of funeral co-operatives, now also including Nova Scotian funeral co-ops in Coldbrook and the Margaree Valley

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly extend its congratulations to the staff and directors of Arimathea on the co-operative's 15 years of achievement and offer its best wishes for Arimathea's ongoing ministry of support.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 2267]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 1077

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

Whereas Saturday, October 24th was the International Day of Climate Action; and

Whereas world leaders are being urged to sign a global agreement to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million; and

Whereas a number of different events, which included the ringing of church bells for 35 chimes at 3:50 p.m., were held in the Town of Truro and area;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature encourage the Town of Truro and area, along with communities across Nova Scotia, to participate in events planned for the next International Day of Climate Action in 2010.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1078

[Page 2268]

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

Whereas in April 2009, a commissionaire at the Cobequid toll booth noticed a five-ton delivery truck approaching the plaza area at an excessive speed; and

Whereas Sergeant Stu Mills, while placing himself in peril, managed to instruct the driver to rush through the toll to avoid collision with an oncoming truck; and

Whereas while managing to save these people from harm, Sergeant Mills was left buried under debris, soaked with diesel fuel, and suffering from several fractured bones;

Therefore be it resolved all members of this House congratulate Sergeant Stu Mills for his outstanding performance of duty and for receiving the Corps' meritorious service medal from the Commissionaires Nova Scotia Board of Governors.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

RESOLUTION NO. 1079

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

Whereas on Sunday, October 18, 2009, many members of the community took part in the 16th Annual Walk/Run for the Health of the Community, in support of the Cobequid Community Health Centre Foundation; and

Whereas the exciting event brought the community together as they worked towards encouraging healthy and active lifestyles; and

[Page 2269]

Whereas all donations received directly fund the purchase of new equipment at the Cobequid Community Health Centre, a facility that is a unique, leading-edge, state-of-the-art, ambulatory care facility that provides a range of health and social services to one of the fastest growing areas in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the participants, the community, and the 16th Annual Walk/Run for the Health of the Community in support of the Cobequid Community Health Centre Foundation, and wish them best of luck in all of their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cumberland South.

RESOLUTION NO. 1080

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

Whereas history is made in Springhill as the Springhill High School Golden Eagles Girls Soccer Team won a regional championship for the first time; and

Whereas it was a wet, muddy day on the Springhill Lions soccer field as they beat East Antigonish by a score of 3 -1, earning themselves a 2009-2010 Northumberland Region Division 3 Girls Championship; and

Whereas the championship team included coach Kerry Curtis, Taylor MacDonald, Kaitlyn Macdonald, Shauna Ryan, Brittany Barton, Emily Moore, Leah Crowe, Trevor Boyd, Jill Casey, Jenna Rushton, Jorden Tabor, Carly Leuchter, Danika Beaton, Sammy-Jo Hayden, Trisha Thompson, Meaghan Moore, Rebecca Smith, and Shelby McPhee;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Springhill High School Golden Eagles Girls Soccer Team on winning the

[Page 2270]

Northumberland Region Division 3 Girls Championship, and wish them continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 1081

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

Whereas the Mahone Island Conservation Association has raised approximately $0.5 million since its inception, in 2003, to purchase and protect island properties around Mahone Bay for public use; and

Whereas the group's accomplishment over the past seven years would not have been possible without the support of its members, local residents, and businesses who have supported their mandate; and

Whereas the Mahone Island Conservation Association is holding its major fundraising gala at Oak Island Resort in Western Shore on November 6th, featuring a three-course dinner, silent auction, musical entertainment and more;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Mahone Island Conservation Association on their fundraising efforts and wish them success at their event, "Experience the Islands", on November 6th at the Oak Island Resort.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 2271]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1082

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

Whereas Nicole Shaw and Lindsay Poirier of Inverness County have just written their first book, entitled The ABCs of Cape Breton; and

Whereas this was Nicole's and Lindsay's first-ever publication and it sets out not only to teach children their ABCs, but to teach them the history of Cape Breton; and

Whereas these two young women put a great deal of time, effort, and financial resources into realizing their dream and teaching the young about all the splendour Cape Breton Island has to offer;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Nicole Shaw and Lindsay Poirier on their literary debut, and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[3:15 p.m.]

[Page 2272]

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1083

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

Whereas each Fall, Sydney Mines Junior High has been highlighting Mi'kmaq history with daily school quizzes based on information learned in the classroom; and

Whereas the three highest-scoring students then take part in a real Jeopardy game at a school assembly, with the same format used every Spring, in conjunction with Black History Month; and

Whereas Principal Donnie Holland feels the Jeopardy challenge helps build the students' self-esteem by providing them with a greater appreciation of other cultures through a novel learning atmosphere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating staff and students of Sydney Mines Junior High on this innovative approach to cultural learning and understanding.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1084

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

Whereas ovarian cancer is the most serious of all gynecological cancers, with over 2,500 Canadian women being diagnosed every year; and

[Page 2273]

Whereas registered nurse Cheryl Barker of Falmouth, Hants County, and her 10-year-old granddaughter Cassidy Barker walked door-to-door in West Hants during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September, handing out brochures to help educate women about ovarian cancer; and

Whereas public awareness is the most effective way to get the word out and help others know the symptoms and to realize this is a serious disease and often with subtle symptoms that may not be easily recognized as ovarian cancer;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize and applaud Cheryl and Cassidy Barker for their dedication to Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and wish them health and wellness in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time now is 3:17 pm. We'll go to 4:47 p.m.

The honourable member for Richmond.

HEALTH H1N1 VACCINE - CHILDREN (0-6 MOS.):

PARENTS - EXCLUSION

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, while the addition of a child is an exciting time for families, many Nova Scotians are very concerned as a result of the H1N1 flu. Under the current immunization guidelines, children under six months of age cannot be vaccinated. When the government first announced plans for public vaccinations, new parents were

[Page 2274]

encouraged to be vaccinated to protect the health of their babies, yet under the revised priority list of this government, parents of children under the age of six months are excluded.

My question to the Minister of Health is, why has your government excluded parents of children under six months of age, who cannot be immunized, from your government's priority list for H1N1 vaccinations?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. I know that parents who have wee ones under the age of six months would be very concerned. The reason moms of very young infants and the infants cannot be vaccinated, the reason moms haven't been vaccinated is because they have antibodies that can be passed on to their infants. I believe that is the answer, although I'm not a medical person, but I want to assure the honourable member that we are looking right now at the next tier of people who will get vaccinated, and what we will do for these families is a high priority and is utmost in our minds.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, new parents being of high priority in the minister's mind is of little comfort to them as they fear for their children as we speak today. I'm sure the minister and the Premier would understand the level of anxiety facing new parents in light of dangers involved with the H1N1 flu. Parents of children under six months include those who have premature babies, mothers who are breast-feeding, and children who remain in hospital due to health complications.

Many parents were surprised to hear the Minister of Health state in the House yesterday that, "We are looking at who will get sickest if they get H1N1, and we are providing protection for those people first because we don't want people in our emergency rooms, in our ICUs for many, many weeks . . ."

My first supplementary to the Minister of Health, is it your government's position that premature babies and those under the age of six months are not in the category of those who would get sickest if they get H1N1?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the sequencing for who would get the sickest if they have H1N1 flu is established by an arm's-length panel of medical experts. They look at the medical information and the evidence and they provide that to the Chief medical officers of all the provinces and to the federal government. We base our sequencing on the information they provide.

Mr. Speaker, we know that the groups we have targeted first are the groups who would become very, very ill if they were to get H1N1 and we're very aware that there are other people, including infants, including children over the age of five who have cancer, and as we are able to extend the sequencing to other groups, which will be fairly soon, we will be doing so.

[Page 2275]

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that new parents throughout the province would share with me the surprise of hearing the Minister of Health state that medical evidence is such that children under six months of age and premature children are not considered high risk when it comes to H1N1.

Mr. Speaker, parents are very confused because when they see what's happening in New Brunswick and P.E.I. where they are considered to be a priority because of their newborn children, suddenly they are no longer a priority here in Nova Scotia. The minister stated yesterday that "The vaccine we have has to go to people who will become the sickest if they get H1N1, and that is pregnant women, children under the age of five, and residents of First Nations communities."

Mr. Speaker, this excludes parents of premature babies, mothers who are breast-feeding new babies and parents of children under the age of six months. So my final supplementary to the Minister of Health is, when will your government do the right thing and include parents of children under six months on the priority list for H1N1 vaccination in Nova Scotia?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I said in my previous answer, as long as our vaccine supply holds, and so far we are doing quite well in that regard, we feel confident that we are going to be able to extend the vaccine to other groups, and this group will be under active consideration in the sequencing order according to the medical advice we are getting.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to indicate that I had a conversation with the Minister of Health in New Brunswick and, unfortunately, that province is facing no vaccine for still a considerable number of their high-risk population.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

HEALTH - HEALTH CARE WORKERS: H1N1 VACCINE - DHAs INFO

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Mr. Premier, the Minister of Health stated yesterday that she had not received information from DHAs so she does not know how many health care workers have received the vaccine or how many more are still needed. My question to the Premier is this, would he please find out and share with Nova Scotians when the Minister of Health made the request to the DHAs regarding the number of health care workers who had received the vaccine and by what date that information should have been shared?

[Page 2276]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what I can share with the Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party is that conversation with respect to the immunization program for health care workers is an ongoing one. In fact, the information is requested, the information and data that is available is shared on a daily basis.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, without knowing how many health care workers have received the vaccine and without knowing how many more need the vaccine, how can this minister implement her new plan to immunize a second priority group when she does not know how much demand there still exists in the first group?

THE PREMIER: Well, Mr. Speaker, as I pointed out, that information is being held in the district health authorities. They are transmitting it to us. We are following that data. For the Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative's information, more than 15,000 health care workers have been immunized already. That's more than 55 per cent. One of the obvious questions is, where in the health care paradigm are those workers - are they front line, are they administrative staff? Those are legitimate questions, and of course we're following this closely so that we make sure we have an accurate picture of how the immunization of health care workers in the province is going.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could ask the minister to table that information prior to the closing of the House this session.

My last question. It is a lack of planning, a lack of using important data, and lack of managing supply that has created frustration, confusion, and anger among Nova Scotians regarding the H1N1 crisis. My question to the Premier is, will he, as the Leader of this province, apologize to Nova Scotians for the lack of leadership shown in dealing with this file and this crisis?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I don't think it's my place to apologize on behalf of the former government. I know what we're doing here, and what we're doing here is making sure that we're conducting the largest immunization program in the history of the province. That is being administered, I believe, in a forthright fashion and, in fact, the Minister of Health and health care workers across the province should be congratulated for the work that they're doing.

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

PREM.: P3s - POSITION

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week, the Premier stated that he had asked the federal government to help fund two public-private partnerships in Nova Scotia, but in the past the Premier and his Party have endlessly

[Page 2277]

criticized these agreements. I think this House and all Nova Scotians need some clarification from the Premier. So my question to the Premier is, what exactly is your position on public-private partnerships?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have in fact said for many years that public-private partnerships are a misnomer, that the government enters into public-private partnerships almost every day. We don't run construction companies, we don't have building companies, what we do is we provide them with a set of specifications, they make a bid on a project, we choose the best tender. So those are always underway in this province, always have been, and I expect likely they always will be. (Applause)

MR. MCNEIL: It continues, Mr. Speaker. In the Spring of 2008, our current Premier said he planned to reintroduce an amendment to the Auditor General Act requiring the province to audit and perform a cost-benefit analysis of all P3 projects valued at more than $5 million. The Premier didn't introduce the amendment in the Spring of 2008, and he didn't introduce the amendment in the Fall of 2008 either, and he hasn't introduced the amendment since becoming Premier. So my question to the Premier is, if the revisions around P3 financing were so important to you, and this amendment was so critical, why have you neglected to introduce it since becoming Premier?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think there's a very straightforward answer: now that we're government, we don't have to worry about it. We simply won't do it.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that all Nova Scotians are reassured by the fact that he says we won't do it. It is just another example of the NDP saying one thing in Opposition and doing quite another in government. Now we hear that CUPE is going to fight government on this matter because they don't think it is a good idea. It's time for the Premier to own up to his past comments, stop the hypocrisy, and be forthright with Nova Scotians. So my final question for the Premier is, are you going to allow CUPE to dictate the direction for Nova Scotia, or will you, as Premier, handle the file on P3s?

THE PREMIER: Well, Mr. Speaker, none of those choices is logical or reasonable. What we intend to do is conduct business on behalf of the Province of Nova Scotia in the best interests of the people of this province. That's why we got elected, and that's what we will do.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

PREM.: DEMAND SIDE MGT. CHARGES - STANCE

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Premier. Yesterday, the government passed legislation to administer the demand side management charges paid by consumers through higher power bills. However, the Premier's Chief of Staff

[Page 2278]

made a submission to the URB in June 2009, claiming a rate charged to Nova Scotia Power customers would be ill-advised because ". . . to place this surcharge on their power bills at this juncture would add unneeded and counter-productive costs to residential and business users."

[3:30 p.m.]

Yesterday the Premier's Chief of Staff spent more time than I've ever seen him in this building, trying to downplay the importance of that submission to the media. So, Mr. Speaker, I want to know if the Premier still believes, as stated in the NDP review board submission, that power customers should not pay DSM surcharges on their bills in January?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I believed it was a well-reasoned and well-thought-out brief at the time. I have to say, though, the URB made their decision and we're not going to interfere with the decision of the URB. As he knows, the Utility and Review Board is an arm's length organization set out to consider these matters. They heard all the briefs, they made a decision. We're acting to make sure that through a demand-side management program that these funds are, in fact, administered to the greatest benefit of the people of the province.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, this Premier had options. This Premier had a choice and the choice he made was to raise Nova Scotians' power bills on January 1st, this at a time when customers in New Brunswick are seeing their rates frozen and, in some cases, decreased. This is completely the opposite of what the Premier said in June. Four days before the election the Premier said, "This is the wrong time to impose a rate surcharge for the next three years. The bottom line here is affordability . . ."

Mr. Speaker, this government had options and the people who are in the backbenches now stated many times, when they were in Opposition, that they would be willing in government to overrule the Utility and Review Board.

Mr. Speaker, I want the Premier to answer, why, since the DSM charge wouldn't even exist until January, why didn't he instruct his Minister of Energy to craft legislation which would live up to your election position and not charge customers this fee?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I just pointed out to the member opposite, the Utility and Review Board is an arm's-length board. They made a decision, they weighed out the benefits to the people of the province, they came to a conclusion. Whether I agree with it or not, I respect the decision of the Utility and Review Board.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, the Premier knows full well that the Utility and Review Board operates under whatever provincial legislation exists, and interprets it, and operates at arm's length only to interpret that legislation.

[Page 2279]

Mr. Speaker, obviously the submission to the Utility and Review Board was made solely for political purposes and the NDP had no intention of moving on this. The NDP had every reason, at that point in June, to know that they would become government four days later and they would have the power to make whatever changes they wanted to surcharges. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to hear that the government agrees with me. The Premier knows that the URB makes light of decisions within the context of provincial legislation. It's funny how during the press briefing on this bill, the Minister of Energy forgot to mention that power bills will go up.

Mr. Premier, will you now admit that your Party wrote the Utility and Review Board on this issue without any intent of ever fixing this when you became government?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'd certainly like to begin by thanking the member opposite for an endorsement of the good sense of the people of Nova Scotia. What I can say to him is that during the election campaign, we made a decision that we would commit to a reduction, with respect to the HST, on electricity. We introduced it and we completed it just as we promised.

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

HEALTH - H1N1 VACCINE PROG.: REGULAR FLU SHOTS

- EFFECTS

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. It is bad enough that the NDP has botched delivery of the H1N1 vaccine through the knee-jerk reactions of management by the moment. They deviated time and time again from what they stated, short weeks ago, with confidence. Obviously more time has been spent patting themselves on the back than putting pen to paper for a real plan that Nova Scotians could have confidence in. Now it extends to the regular administration of flu shots across Nova Scotia. Will the minister inform this House whether or not the NDP botching of the H1N1 vaccine is affecting distribution of regular flu shots as well?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the regular flu shots are going ahead as planned. In fact, on the Thanksgiving weekend when I was home in Antigonish County visiting my parents, who are in their late 70s, early 80s - sorry, Mom - I took note that flu clinics were happening throughout Antigonish County for people for the regular influenza.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the minister's answer does not address the current-day reality in other places in Nova Scotia. General practitioners who are looking for regular flu

[Page 2280]

vaccines are being denied access to the full supply. Last year their orders of 800-plus doses were filled; now this year the Department of Health is restricting that supply to 80-100 at a time. Again, can the minister explain why doctors are being told to pick and choose who is worthy of a flu shot or not?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm really not sure where the honourable member is getting his information. Doctors throughout the province are, in fact, getting vaccine for regular influenza, and many of them are administering the influenza vaccine to their patients. Additionally, there have been the regular influenza clinics prior to H1N1 becoming an issue.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, while I appreciate it's important for her parents to get their shots at a clinic, I do understand that there are Nova Scotians that are not getting their shots. Doctors' supply has been restricted, were asking for week after week with no full supply provided. Seniors are especially worried about the now two strains of the flu. Being denied access to a regular flu shot while the NDP scramble to determine their thought du jour is not acceptable. The minister knows the flu can be a killer for seniors, yet her government and officials are not responding adequately. Will the minister detail why her government has been restricting the supply of regular flu shots from the department, especially for seniors in parts of this province?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I didn't say my parents got the flu shot, I said I noted when I was visiting in Antigonish County that there were clinics advertised around Thanksgiving time.

The influenza shot is still recommended for people over the age of 65, and it's recommended for them because it's believed they have the greatest degree of immunity to the H1N1 virus. Still, we feel that seniors over 65 need to have the regular flu shot. Many seniors have already had those shots, and those shots will continue to be available throughout the province in doctors' offices and at clinics. Thank you.

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

HEALTH - COBEQUID ER: 24/7 - PLANS

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. As we are all aware, this government made a commitment to make emergency rooms, and in particular the emergency room at the Cobequid Community Health Centre, a 24/7 operation. While this promise may be popular with the public, we learned today during Public Accounts it may not be all that practical. Given the minister's stated commitment to evidence-based decision-making, my question to the minister is, will the Cobequid ER become a 24/7 operation if the evidence and recommendations don't support that decision?

[Page 2281]

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government came into office knowing that we had very serious difficulties in our emergency rooms, both here in the Capital District and around the province, especially in rural communities.

We have a plan. We made a commitment to hire an emergency room advisor in the current year, we moved quickly to put that in place, and we're very pleased that Dr. John Ross is on the job. We are in the process of moving forward with other aspects of our plan, which we committed to for the coming year.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, we learned today that the development of an in-patient unit would be almost necessary if we were to move toward a 24/7 operation at Cobequid. We also learned that the District Health Authority and their business planning process were recommending an expansion in operating hours for the Cobequid, but not necessarily a 24/7 operation. We on this side of the House are most concerned about how we spend our limited financial resources, and most importantly, we don't want to see another 24/7 operation plagued with frequent closures.

My question to the minister is, given the mixed messages received today, between the promises and the expectations and perhaps the evidence, could the minister please indicate whether she has a report within her department that contradicts government's promise to make Cobequid a 24/7 operation?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, this government came into office and made a commitment that we would deal with emergency departments. Part of our planning process is to evaluate where the situation is as it currently stands. We're not particularly interested in looking back on the 10 failed years of the former government and any reports that they might have commissioned with respect to emergency rooms. Their policy was obviously quite different than our policy - their policy was not one to deal with emergency room closures.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I hear the minister saying that they made a commitment or a promise, she said, to deal with ERs, and that's true, but the fact of the matter was the detail said to keep all the ERs open and, in the Sackville area, to open up the Cobequid Centre 24/7. That's quite different from what we're hearing today, where we hear that John Ross, our new emergency room advisor, will come back with something in a year's time.

The question today to the minister is, will she abide by other recommendations aside from the 24/7 opening of all emergency rooms and the opening of the Cobequid Centre 24/7? I'm hearing her say she's going to listen to Dr. Ross. I want to know whether everything is open for discussion and that promise is open for discussion.

[Page 2282]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I don't know what more the honourable member wants. This Party ran on a commitment to deal with the problems in the emergency departments around the province and during the election campaign, we laid out the elements that we felt would address many of the difficulties in our emergency department. We have already completed some of those elements and we are proceeding to complete other elements of that plan, and the details of that will be made known to the member and other members as they are achieved.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HPP - AG: H1N1 PREPAREDNESS PLAN - IMPLEMENTATION

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. It has been three months from the time the Auditor General's Special Report on Pandemic Preparedness was issued to the time that the H1N1 vaccine started to be administered in Nova Scotia, yet the aspects that were raised by the Auditor General seem to have underlying problems with the government's H1N1 plan.

My question through you to the minister - you've had the Auditor General's report since July, but the recommendations to improve the H1N1 preparedness plan have not been heeded. What aspects of the Auditor General's Report has this government actually implemented?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, there really isn't enough time left in Question Period to outline all the recommendations that we've completed out of the Auditor General's Report. There were 33 recommendations out of the Auditor General's Report. Not all of those recommendations were applicable to the Department of Health or the Department of Health Promotion and Protection, but a large number of them were, and we have achieved practically all of the recommendations that have been made by the Auditor General.

[3:45 p.m.]

We signed the Good Neighbour Protocol, Mr. Speaker. We ordered the supplies. We're in the process of filling the epidemiologist position and the other officers of medical information in the DHAs. We have allocated additional resources for a pandemic. We have, unlike that former government, whose plan was criticized by the Auditor General, taken action, immediate action, and soon I will report to the Auditor General the considerable progress we have made with respect to his recommendations.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thoroughly enjoyed the non-answer from the minister there. The only answer that she can come up with these days is, well, you guys didn't do it, or you guys didn't do it, but Nova Scotians are getting tired of the funny smirks

[Page 2283]

and the blame game that continues to go on by this government. It's time that they become the government. It's time they become the government.

Mr. Speaker, we know that there needs to be a risk assessment done when any plan is put in place. That was one of the main recommendations of the AG's Report. In that plan you would know your supply of vaccine, the priority groups, how it could be administered effectively with the resources available, along with a host of other critical questions. My question through you to the Minister of Health, did you perform a risk assessment, as recommended by the Auditor General, and ask the critical questions of your vaccination plan?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I know the honourable member probably won't understand the response to this question given that the plan that was being worked on was part of the process for it. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'll let her try to answer the question. Let me see if she can answer the question, like a responsible minister who's responsible for the Department of Health. People are asking questions about H1N1 and wondering if she has followed the recommendations from the Auditor General's Report. Did they follow a risk assessment when it came to putting together the pandemic plan for H1N1?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General made 33 recommendations. Many of them applied to the Department of Health. We have implemented most of those recommendations and we are working on the others that we haven't fully implemented. The risk assessment is an exercise that you do prior to a pandemic occurring. Unfortunately, this pandemic has occurred before any further work on the pandemic plan was possible.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

STATUS OF WOMEN: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION STRATEGY

- DETAILS

MS. KELLY REGAN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Recently the Report of the Domestic Violence Prevention Committee was posted to the Department of Justice Web site. The government has not addressed this report and has not tabled it in the House, despite promising to respond to it during the Speech from the Throne.

Mr. Speaker, the first recommendation of the report was to, "Develop, in collaboration with the community, a domestic violence prevention strategy for Nova Scotia

[Page 2284]

. . ." Since I'm quoting from a report the government hasn't tabled yet, I'll table it in its entirety for the House.

My question to the minister is, as the minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act, are you working with your government to develop a domestic violence prevention strategy, yes or no?

HON. DENISE PETERSON-RAFUSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the honourable member for her question. I know it's an issue that is concerning to her and it's an issue concerning to me and the staff of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Yes, we are going forward, and we do have a plan in the consultation process to look at the entire issue of domestic violence against women.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, according to the report, an estimated 21,000 Nova Scotia women were victims of domestic violence between 1999 and 2004. Ninety one per cent of domestic violence victims are women, yet during estimates the Minister of Justice cautioned us about where we genderize the issue.

Now, with 91 per cent of victims being women, and with the Minister of Justice reluctant to deal with this issue from a gender perspective, you can see why it's important for the minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act to be involved with the implementation of this report. My question to the minister responsible, will she outline the specific steps she has taken to address domestic violence?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, I think one of the first steps that we were able to do through Community Services, actually, was the fact of pushing up the funding to the transition houses of half a million dollars, which is the first time that has been done over 10 years. The former government did not move on it at all. We became government and we moved on it. (Applause)

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, it's clear the report of the Domestic Violence Committee understands that women and children are most often the victims of domestic violence. One of the recommendations made by the report was to establish men's intervention programs. My colleague from Halifax Clayton Park brought up the recommendation for men's intervention programs during the estimates, but the Minister of Justice did not address the issue. My question to the minister responsible, are you committed to implementing the recommendations of the report in their entirety, including a men's intervention program?

MS. PETERSON-RAFUSE: Mr. Speaker, one thing it's very important to know is yes, we take the recommendations, we look at what is in the recommendations, and as a new government then we need the opportunity to discuss that further, along with all those key players that are involved. It is vitally important for us to go forward, and we do not work in

[Page 2285]

a silo in this government, we work with all the other different departments, and that's exactly what we are doing, have been doing, and will be doing.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

PREM. - ERs: ELECTION PROMISE - COMMITMENT

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Premier. Today in a bill briefing on personal health information legislation, the Minister of Health admitted that keeping emergency rooms open was, "a bold promise", and that the NDP was merely making a campaign commitment to make Nova Scotians feel secure.

My question to the Premier, as I table some documents, the first page of one of those I would like to read: "Nova Scotia's New Democrats say they will keep hospital emergency departments open, if elected." My question to the Premier is this, in light of the Minister of Health's bold and revealing comments today, are you telling Nova Scotians that your government is about to break another election promise, that being to keep emergency rooms open 24/7?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I think the Minister of Health was absolutely correct when she said it was a bold promise. It was one that recognized the importance of emergency rooms in this province as part of the health infrastructure. Of course, like all the other commitments that we have kept, we're going to work on keeping this one as well.

MS. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, did I hear an almost all, or just all? The minister has repeatedly said and in response to questions about keeping ERs open: I'm not prepared to say.

This seems to be always the minister's fallback statement. Nova Scotians are paying the price of having a minister who just does not know the answers to important questions. We have seen this recently, yesterday and today, and in every question in this House. My question to the Premier is, what is your minister hiding from Nova Scotians about your plan to keep emergency rooms open?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, far from hiding it, we're actually demonstrating the implementation of that plan. We've hired the Emergency Room adviser, we've introduced legislation that demands consultation by the district health authorities with respect to emergency services. We've done more in the few months we've been here than that government did in 10 years.

MS. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, this government obviously does not have a plan in place for quality health care. In fact, Barbara Hall, vice-president of

[Page 2286]

Capital District Health Authority today is now questioning the NDP's promise to keep ERs open 24/7. The Deputy Minister of Health, in his own words today said, the NDP Government won't be able to keep that promise.

The final question for the Premier is, will you commit to keeping emergency rooms open 24/7 as you promised Nova Scotians during your election campaign?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what you can be assured of is that we are working to make sure we implement all of the promises we made.

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

HEALTH - PSYCHIATRISTS: CONTRACT - SIGN

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Yesterday in Question Period we had a number of questions about the under-resourced mental health system in this province. We heard the Premier state that there has been, ". . . a negotiated agreement with those doctors and that is in the process of being approved over the next week or so."

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health then indicated to media that this is not her priority and not something she would be looking at in the next 10 days. My question to the minister is, will you ensure that a contract is signed with psychiatrists in the next week or so as per the Premier's promise? Yes or no?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the former government negotiated an MOU with the psychiatrists at the School of Medicine at Dalhousie. Although that MOU was never formally signed or authorized by the Cabinet, it was understood that it was an agreement between the Parties. We will uphold the terms of that MOU which includes a provision to negotiate an AFP.

When the Premier said yesterday that we would uphold the MOU, he was correct. We will in fact do that, and that includes having to negotiate an AFP. The negotiating of the AFP will not happen overnight.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm disappointed to hear that we won't have an agreement signed within the next week or so. I think it is an important issue for this province on a number of fronts. You can't ignore one problem simply because you have a lot of other issues on your plate. Psychiatrists are leaving this province and that's a challenge, it's a challenge the government should not be ignoring. Yesterday the Minister of Health indicated that departmental officials are putting together a mental health strategy as well. My question to the minister is, who has the minister consulted in order to develop this mental health strategy?

[Page 2287]

[4:00 p.m.]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it's very true that in the Department of Health, we don't have the luxury of doing one thing and then moving on to the next thing - we have to do many things at a time, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, many of the health care unions have indicated that they are prepared to pull back from collective bargaining to allow the department ample time to deal with the H1N1 difficulty, and that's all I was asking for as well with this particular group of psychiatrists with respect to their AFP. We will get to it as soon as we can, and we ask for their patience. We do value the services they provide.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate what the minister is saying, but yesterday we had seven psychiatrists who took time out of their busy days and out of the pressures they are under to come here and ask the minister to move on signing a contract with them.

Part of their fear is the loss of their colleagues as they leave the province, as they are not available to help in what is becoming an increasingly difficult situation. What I am asking - and the minister has said that they already have an agreement in place, that there's a MOU that you're abiding by - why not sign the contract and put their fears to rest? That is my question to the minister right now - why don't you sign that contract and simply set this aside so that people can get on with business?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I said, we will be negotiating the terms of the AFP, which is one of the provisions of the memorandum of understanding, as soon as we can get to it within the existing staff resources allocated to the pressing issues that are facing us in the Department of Health with H1N1.

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

PREM.: DONKIN MINE PROJ. - STATUS

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Premier.

On September 22nd , Resolution No. 110 on the Donkin mine was given unanimous consent of this House. The operative clause was:

"Therefore be it resolved that this government give their support to this project so Nova Scotians can enjoy electric heat generated by Cape Breton coal."

[Page 2288]

My question to the Premier is, what has the Premier, and his government done, since taking office, to help this project move ahead?

THE PREMIER: Well, thank you for that. Mr. Speaker, It's a project that, of course, all of the Parties in this House I think would be interested in. I paid careful attention to it since I have come into office, making sure that I keep up to date on Xstrata's plans. There is a constant flow of information going back and forth between the project proponents and the government. Of course this is a project that really has to work for everyone, so we're very cognizant of where they are. They are very cognizant of the programs that are available through government to provide assistance and this is - all I can say about it is it is under consideration and negotiation.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Premier for that answer. As the Premier is aware, the Province of Nova Scotia is making great strides toward green energy and everybody in this House is very supportive that, but the Premier should also be aware that 70 per cent of the electricity generated in Nova Scotia comes from coal-fired generation plants. That coal-fired generation plant burns about three million tons of coal a year - only 800,000 tons come from Nova Scotia. So this project, in its exploratory stage, would have an ability to give Nova Scotians from across the province stable power rates, buying coal within Nova Scotia in the same currency and, of course, creating jobs.

I am also told that during the exploratory stage, Mr. Speaker, that it is $110 million that will be spent in capital and $45 million in operating costs. My question to the Premier is, can he tell the residents of Donkin and surrounding area what he and his government plan to do to make sure that this initial investment is not lost to Nova Scotian workers?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member opposite for the question. I'm sure he's aware that not only am I well aware of the details of this plan, I've actually been down the mine, I went there because I'm very interested in this project. But you have to understand that it is a business proposal. It is a project and a proponent that is coming forward with a project for which the government will have to be responsible for certain aspects of it. We're considering it. I think if you talk to the proponent, they will find that our offices have been open to them, we've been clear with our advice to them and are continuing to work with them in terms of the flow of information that they need in order to be able to move the project forward.

Mr. Speaker, that's where it is. This is a business deal. This is a project that needs to go forward and to satisfy a range of interests including the economic ones.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, I would say through you to the Premier that I'm well aware of the proponents of the project, I speak to them on a regular basis. I'm familiar with Donkin coal, because I actually worked in the lab that did the processing on that coal when it was first mined.

[Page 2289]

At the end of the day, this project has a significant impact on all of Nova Scotia, certainly environmental and for electrical purposes. Mr. Premier, are you prepared to take the steps needed to allow Nova Scotia Power to burn Donkin coal during the four-year exploratory stage and open the door for hundreds of millions of dollars of investment into our province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as you may know, the question of whether or not there is a contract between Nova Scotia Power and Xstrata is a matter of the private business relationships between those companies. What I can tell him is that I'm well aware of the importance of the project, both to his district, to the surrounding area and to the province as a whole. So, we're well aware of it. We are communicating with the company. We've given them the benefit of the advice that we can on the project. They have to make certain assessments as well, many of which are on an economic basis and, of course, we're going to respect that. So at this point there is nothing for me to report on the project except to say that information continues to flow between the government and Xstrata as the proponent.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

HEALTH - RICHMOND CO. HOME SUPPORT SERVICES SOC.: AUDIT

- IMPLEMENTATION

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health commissioned an operational audit of the Richmond County Home Support Services Society, which operates home care services in Richmond County. The report was done by MMC Consulting and is dated December 1, 2008. The report highlights a number of deficiencies in the operation of the home support society and finds that client service has been negatively impacted as a result. The report concludes that the current society, which was made of a volunteer board, must dismiss the executive director and if they refuse to do so, the report recommends that the minister replace the Richmond County Home Support Services Society with an alternate agency.

My question to the Minister of Health is, what steps are you prepared to take to implement the findings of the operational audit for the Richmond County Home Support Services Society?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for the question. The board of the Richmond County Home Support Services Society have approached the department with a request for a meeting with myself and that meeting is scheduled for Friday here in Halifax.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the volunteer board of the Richmond County Home Support Services Society has, so far, refused to dismiss the executive director, as the minister

[Page 2290]

is well aware, even following threats from the Department of Health to cut off their funding. Meanwhile, unionized staff continue to work in a poisoned environment and families have not had their concerns over decisions made by the executive director addressed.

The report found the Department of Health data indicates that while Richmond County has the highest per capita wait lists for long-term care beds, it also has the lowest rate of home care service. It is clear that families are not getting the home care services they should be receiving, and the report lays the blame squarely on the executive director. So my question to the minister is, now that you've indicated you will be meeting with the board on Friday, is the minister prepared to enforce the findings of the operational audit when she meets with the board on Friday?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, it's my intention when I meet with the board on Friday to discuss the deficiencies that were laid out in the auditing statement, and beyond that, I'm reserving my judgment in terms of what the conclusion of that meeting will mean.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, one of the issues is that the audit called upon the board, which is made up of volunteers - they're just ordinary residents of Richmond County - and told them they had to fire the executive director. Naturally they're concerned about the legal implications on them personally as volunteers. The minister knows that. So the time has gone by for the minister to reserve judgment on what the meeting outcome is going to be.

The board is looking for the Department of Health to take the legal responsibility of firing the executive director themselves and take that burden away from them. This is, again, similar to the issue in Digby with the nurse practitioner, where Nova Scotians are looking for the minister to provide leadership - leadership which she already knows has been given to her as a mandate through the findings of the operational audit.

So on behalf of the residents of Richmond County, will the minister commit today that if the board does not fire the executive director on its own, either the Department of Health will do it for them or, in the alternative, will replace the board with a new agency in Richmond County to ensure home care services for our residents?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I said, I will meet with the members of this board of directors on Friday. I will discuss the findings of the audit and the deficiencies in the audit, and beyond that, I think I will reserve my judgment, and my decision will certainly be made known in the near future.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

HEALTH - ERs: PREM./HEALTH MIN. - STATEMENTS

[Page 2291]

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier, contrary to statements that were made during a recent election campaign by the Premier, it seems that the Minister of Health is now bringing into question the future of ERs in Nova Scotia. So I would ask the Premier today, who should Nova Scotians listen to - statements by the Premier or by his Minister of Health?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health, I think, accurately sets out exactly what the agenda of the government is. She has been proceeding with the plan. She has hired the ER adviser. She has made sure that they have implemented or brought forward the legislation with respect to accountability - these are measures that are designed to actually implement the commitments we made. I know that makes the member unhappy.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, to the Premier, what would make this member happy, and I'm sure all the people in Nova Scotia happy, is a commitment from him to keep his word that he gave during the election campaign.

Mr. Speaker, I'm going to table a couple of documents here. The first one is from the Cape Breton Post, dated May 14th. It says, "Hospital emergency rooms would stay open more under an NDP government, Dexter said . . ." and the second one from the Cape Breton Post, May 30th: Dexter later clarified by saying that as Premier he would accept the responsibility to make sure that those ERs are open.

Mr. Speaker, I'm asking the Premier today, contrary to what staff in the department have said this morning, as he stated during the campaign, will he accept the responsibility, in his words, to make sure that those ERs are open, and that means across Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Well, I want to thank the member opposite for bringing forward those campaign news reports and point out to him that this is exactly what we're doing. We're taking responsibility and we're taking steps to make sure that we're able to provide services in those communities for years that have not had adequate emergency services. Is it going to be resolved overnight? We never said that. What we did say is that it's time to make sure we have a plan to implement that delivers health care services to the people of this province. It is what we're doing.

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again through you to the Premier, I'd suggest that the Premier look at statements that have been made today, both publicly and outside of this House in regard to officials from the Department of Health about that very issue. You may want to look at that and rethink what is being said here today as well.

Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health has provided additional funding in Cumberland County for ERs, in Pugwash and Parrsboro. My understanding is that will

[Page 2292]

continue until January 2010. I want to ask the Premier today, will he commit to ensuring that money stays in place and that those ERs will not close?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the reason why we have a Department of Health and a minister and a plan for all of this is to make sure that services, just like the ones you've outlined, are able to continue to be offered to the citizens of your communities and, in fact, communities right across the province.

The planning process, the work of the minister, the work of the department will continue and, as I've pointed out earlier, I don't believe there's any contradiction between what I've been saying and that the Minister of Health is saying. In fact, I think we're saying exactly the same thing, that we truly want the best possible health service for the people of the province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

HEALTH - CARE: DIGBY AREA - SHORTAGES EXPLAIN

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Premier. Yesterday it was announced that the emergency department at Digby General Hospital will be closed every Monday and Wednesday in November because of a doctor shortage. Health care access in Digby has already been compromised as a result of the firing of a very capable nurse practitioner that we have to deal with. Now we have to deal with ER closures on top of this. My question to our Premier is, why isn't this government providing accessible health care to the people of Digby, Digby Neck and Islands?

THE PREMIER: I want to thank the member opposite for the question. I know that the situation that his constituents face is not the best circumstances that we could find in the province but this, as he knows, goes back a long way.

The department, the minister and departmental staff are doing what we can do in order to address the shortages that you point out. As I pointed out before, this is not the kind of thing that is going to be resolved in every community overnight. What you need to know, though, is that there is a plan, that the adviser is in place, that the departmental staff are aware of the challenges that are there. They are doing the appropriate consultations to try to make sure that we're able to provide the services that your community needs.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, today in the Public Accounts Committee my colleague, the member for Halifax Clayton Park, questioned the Department of Health official about the Corpus Sanchez report, what was meant by a shared service model for the Annapolis and Digby ERs. The official reply was that the shared service model may allow one of the two ERs in the region to remain open full time.

[Page 2293]

It is possible that one of these ERs will be kept open at the expense of the other. My question to the Minister of Health is, will she accept the recommendation from the South West Nova District Health Authority that would see the ER at Digby General reduced to something less than the 24/7?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the member for the question. As the Premier indicated, we are very aware of the challenges that have existed in this area of the province for a considerable period of time.

We have encouraged, with the advice from the district health authorities, that they look at various ways, various models of providing services to meet the needs of the population but, Mr. Speaker, in no way are we going down the road to close emergency rooms in the Annapolis Valley or in the Digby area. Our objective is to provide good emergency room services in that honourable member's community and in the surrounding communities.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, this government's lack of action leads us to believe that it's not concerned about the well-being of the people of Digby, Digby Neck and Islands. The Minister of Health should prove this isn't the case by meeting with the people of this area and taking meaningful action to improve health care accessibility in that area.

My question to the Minister of Health is, will the minister commit to personally holding a public meeting in Digby this month to address the concerns regarding accessibility to health and the nurse practitioner who is being fired?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, last week I met with the warden for the area, and other concerned citizens from the area, who have been involved with a liaison committee between that community's clinic and the district health authority. It is my intention to visit various parts of the province to meet with health care providers, to look at and learn more about the issues that I and my department are expected to be working on. That schedule will very much be dependent on the amount of time I have to put in with respect to dealing with the H1N1 pandemic situation, but I want to assure the honourable member that, in the not so distant future, I will be making a visit to his community and I'll advise him of when I'm in the area.

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

SNSMR - VICTORIA CO. MUN: MAPPER POSITION REPLACEMENT

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. The legal community, as well as the Municipality of the County of Victoria, are quite concerned about the loss of the mapper

[Page 2294]

position for the Victoria County Land Registry Office. Last Friday was the final day for Mr. Lauchie MacLean, who retired after many years of service.

My question to the minister, is the minister able to confirm if this position will be advertised and a replacement named for Baddeck and Victoria County?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, before I answer the question, I would like to say that I appreciate receiving this question today, but if any citizens or any group in Nova Scotia would like an answer from me on any issue, they can contact my office directly, or with the staff.

I will assure that there will be the required mapping services at Victoria Land Registration Office. At this time, there is an electronic system in Nova Scotia. So, across the 18 different land registration places, we will be able to make sure that services are provided so that there's not too much at one, that they're being able to be distributed evenly across the province. I would like to make sure that you understand, there will be no loss of staff at the Victoria Land Registration Office.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to hear that, provided that the job in Victoria County will be a five-day-a-week job that will stay in Victoria County.

The Municipality of Victoria is very concerned that the loss of services, and the loss of employment in small communities like Baddeck, will have a drastic negative effect on the viability of small communities in Victoria County. The minister has explained the rationale about the computerized systems and everything else, but I'd ask the minister if she could explain the rationale, as it stands right now, in making the people in Victoria County use the Sydney land office.

MS. JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, there are full services at the Victoria County Land Registry Office. As for the mapping, there will be as required, the mapping person will be there. I don't understand where this information is coming from. The service is being offered through that office and I would like to say that we too, this government, is very, very dedicated to making sure our staff across the province stay in place and that we make sure that our smaller communities are retaining their staff. Thank you.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, it's certainly pleasing to hear that the service will be there, but I think the understanding is it might only be a couple of days a week, which would be a hardship to anyone who's having work done by the legal community or the municipality. The minister might have received this letter, if not I will table it, but the Municipality of the County of Victoria wrote a letter asking for a meeting to discuss this issue of the mapper remaining in Baddeck. I'm just asking her, would she agree to meet with the municipal council as soon as possible?

[Page 2295]

MS. JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, no, I have not received that letter, but I also want to repeat that if any group or citizen needs to meet with me on any of the issues around Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, I definitely will meet with them. Yes, I will meet with them as soon as my schedule allows. I also want to say, to assure you, that the staff at the land registry office will remain in place. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

EDUC. - LAKEVIEW CONS. ELEM. SCH.: REPLACEMENT PLANS

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. For years there have been promises of a new school in Porters Lake. On April 18, 2008 the former government announced they would invest $10.4 million to replace Lakeview Consolidated Elementary School in Porters Lake. The school was expected in September 2010, but there has been no construction, and this school was not on the priority list for 2009. My question to the minister is, was there ever a plan to build this school in Porters Lake?

HON. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, yes, we are committed to that school. Originally it was a renovation, but it's been turned into a new construction. There has been a delay, it turned out that the preferred site had considerable wetlands and so there had to be negotiations with the Department of Natural Resources to provide wetlands in lieu of that area. There was also a problem around a neighbouring trail system. We're working through those issues. The final delay has been a request from HRM to put some community enhancements into the building, so we're trying to work through that, and we're hoping to be able to move into the final design and hopefully start construction in the Spring. Thank you.

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, this school has been promised for a long time and I'm pleased to hear that the minister is committed to continuing with this project. Will the other school in the Chezzetcook area, the small school in that area, close at the same time?

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I understand the new school will replace two schools in that region. I don't have the names of those particular schools, but they will not close until the students have been transferred into the new building. Thank you.

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians have been promised various schools and renovations for years. School boards prior to this haven't been listened to by the previous government, have set their own agenda, and then they fail to complete the projects they've promised, in a timely manner. My question to the minister is, will the minister clarify what schools the government plans to build over its mandate and when they plan to have them open?

[Page 2296]

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I'm not clear if the honourable member is asking for a complete list of the capital construction projects. I provided that information during Budget Estimates. I'd certainly be pleased to table that information. I don't have the budget information with me today, but certainly, I provided that detail during the Budget Estimates and certainly would be pleased to offer it again.

[4:30 p.m.]

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

ENERGY - HYDRO QUÉBEC/N.B. POWER: NEGOTIATIONS

- AWARENESS

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Minister of Energy. The recent $4.75 billion deal between Hydro-Québec and New Brunswick Power has alarmed many within Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Maine, and the New England States - and justifiably so. The details of the deal are coming out more and it looks like Hydro-Québec could dictate energy prices for eastern North America. The hopes of bringing clean energy from the Lower Churchill Falls project to Nova Scotia, and through it, is in possible jeopardy because it may be carried through the Hydro-Québec grid.

Mr. Speaker, to the minister, when were you aware of the negotiations between Quebec and New Brunswick Ministers of Energy, and what measures did you take to ensure the protection of Nova Scotia's energy interests in that process?

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Thank you for the question, member, I appreciate the little activity and thank you, Mr. Speaker, for recognizing me.

I had the opportunity this Fall, as the previous minister is aware, to attend an Energy Ministers Conference in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. During the exchanges that were held at that time with Minister Dunderdale and Minister Keir - and of course we were also joined by ministers from other parts of the region - Richard Brown was there from Prince Edward Island, and we had an opportunity at length to discuss some of the possibilities in the future of the things that we could be addressing. At no time was there any discussion on this particular matter.

If I may, and I know you're going to allow me - thank you, member - I want you to know that when this piece of news reached my office my first reaction, of course, was as someone who grew up on the Tantramar Marsh, the concern about the fact that this is an important and tough decision to have been made. There are implications for our province because after all when we solve problems in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador, we're discussing regional issues. That's the concern that the Premier, I'm sure, will be taking forward to the conference that will be held

[Page 2297]

in Lower Churchill in the next few months and it's something that I'm looking forward to seeing what his report back to me will be on.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows, energy interests of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador may now be negatively affected. The significance of this energy deal with the Province of Quebec makes Premier Graham the pupil of Joey Smallwood on brokering energy deals with Hydro-Québec. This deal and the reluctance to grant an energy corridor for transmission could effectively cut Nova Scotia out of the New England market and anyone can see that Hydro-Québec's energy intentions are to become the dominant, if not sole, energy force within eastern Canada.

My question is, what discussions have you had with the executives from Emera and Nova Scotia Power to ensure that they're not engaged in talks with Hydro-Québec regarding even partial ownership of our dominant energy supplier here in Nova Scotia?

MR. ESTABROOKS: Again, I would like to reinforce the fact that those discussions are ongoing things which we're going to be discussing in the department. One of the issues that I want you to be very clear on, as soon as I found this out I was aware of the Act of 1992, and I think - not that that particular member isn't aware of this, but for other members of the House - an important Nova Scotia Power Privatization Act introduced at that time very clearly restricted that non-resident ownership could not exceed 15 per cent. That is a real concern because, as the Deputy Premier has said, as the Premier has said, we want to make sure that we, in this province, are in control of the energy supply. I would like to table that Act from 1992 if I may.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, Emera is a publicly traded company and there's no denying that Hydro-Québec is in a financial position to take a stake in Emera. Hydro-Québec will certainly be engaged, if they're not already engaged, in discussions with Emera as they now want to move their energy into the northeastern United States by the Bangor Hydro Electric Company.

Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, to the minister is, what results have yielded in any discussions between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, either Premier Williams or his minister, regarding a transmission corridor for the Lower Churchill project through Nova Scotia, both entering Nova Scotia and leaving Nova Scotia, to the New England States, thereby negating Hydro-Québec's possible dominance over the regional grid?

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, it's always a pleasure to have conversations on the importance of a regional grid and the fact, of course, that we have to share these issues regionally. Let me assure the member opposite the Lower Churchill proposition gives us many opportunities. Unfortunately, from my perspective as a New Brunswicker of many years in the past, Hydro-Québec has now changed the water on the beans, if it's appropriate

[Page 2298]

to say at this time, because now, as neighbours of ours, we're going to have to continue to make sure that we work with Hydro-Québec if the deal does go through.

The concern, of course, that we have is that we want to make sure that regionally we solve the issue. I know the Premier will bring that concern to the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and I want you to be reassured that Richard Brown from Prince Edward Island and Kathy Dunderdale from Newfoundland and Labrador are people that I have a great deal of faith in because we want to make sure that Nova Scotia's interests are a top priority. But thank you for the question, you have made my day. (Laughter)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE: SHERIFF'S DEPT. - STAFFING

HON. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, sheriffs in the province work very hard to ensure the safety and security of the public and provide court security and they safely escort prisoners, among other services. Concerns have been raised that the Department of Justice has not kept up with staffing needs in the Sheriff Services division. So my question to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General is, could the minister please report to the House what the current staffing levels are in Sheriff Services?

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, I believe that the numbers - I don't have them here in front of me right at the moment - but I believe that in the last couple of years there have been about 20 to 30 added positions to sheriffs and at the present time I do know, having discussions with my staff, that the staffing complement of the sheriffs is in a stable condition. So I'm quite confident that there are sufficient resources there and we're continually looking at ways of how we improve the quality and delivery of service and ensuring that the services are positioned in the right places.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it has been brought to our attention that there are applications for new sheriffs that are on hold and that appointments are still sitting on the deputy minister's desk since the change of government took place. In fact, it seems that the High Sheriff is having problems filling shifts and is having to bring in sheriffs from out of town, throughout the province, at times due to lack of sufficient staff. In one particular instance, the person was told that they were to be hired for the position but once the NDP took over, everything was put on hold and that the status hasn't changed over the last four months. My question to the minister is, how many vacant positions are there in Sheriff Services and how many positions have been filled since you have assumed the position of Minister of Justice?

MR. LANDRY: I would like to thank the honourable member for the question. I'm quite satisfied with the staffing levels and the concerns that he raises have not been brought to my attention in that manner. In fact, I had assurances that the sheriffs have appropriate

[Page 2299]

resources and any vacancies that may be there, the normal staffing processes are intact and we'll let the process take care of itself. But I want to assure this House that there are no positions resting on my desk that are awaiting signatures.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, hopefully the Minister of Justice can find time to speak to his deputy minister and find out if she might have some applications sitting on her desk which have not been signed off on.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians learned of some of the obscene overtime being paid to some of the nurses in the Capital District due to nursing shortages. The concern here is that a lack of sheriffs is once again going to cause overtime and extra travel when they're having to be brought in from other parts of the province due to staffing shortages.

Mr. Speaker, we know the important role sheriffs play in court security and just two weeks ago in a Halifax courthouse a man threatened a Crown Attorney in the middle of a hearing. We need to ensure that our justice system is working properly and that the security of everyone involved in it is being protected, especially with the proper complement of sheriffs.

So my final supplementary to the minister is, will the minister commit to providing this House with the detail as to whether there are any shortages that exist with Sheriff Services in Nova Scotia?

MR. LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his question. I just want to talk for a moment on the sheriffs department, that I have all the confidence that they're doing an excellent job. In conjunction with the deputy minister's position, I can assure him that nothing sits on her desk and anything that needs to be brought forth to me is done in a very timely manner and I have great confidence in the services she provides.

Concerning the sheriffs department, I am also very confident with the quality of service and the director who is within that department. Concerning the issue of vacancies and its pattern, we can get him that information, but I'm very confident that it is in a very stable position.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HEALTH: NAKILE HOME FOR SPECIAL CARE - PROJ. UPDATE

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health. I've taken the opportunity on a number of occasions to talk and ask questions about the long-term care facility in my constituency, Nakile Home for Special

[Page 2300]

Care. I thank the minister for the meeting that we had with administrator, Bertha Brannen, on September 9th, but since that meeting the tenders for the 22-bed expansion expired and there has been no correspondence since September 3rd. Mr. Speaker, could the minister update the House on this very important long-term care project?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Indeed, I did have an opportunity to meet with the honourable member and the administrator for the home. The Continuing Care Strategy has allocated additional allotments for beds for that particular home, they are needed in that community.

Mr. Speaker, my department and myself, this government, are committed to work with that particular facility and with the honourable member to see how we can achieve what he desires and what we desire.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, that's what the community desires. The board of directors and the administrator do feel a little abandoned right now. There has been no correspondence, there have been no phone calls, no e-mail. Do you think that the department might want to let Nakile know what the next steps are?

Mr. Speaker, could the minister commit to writing a letter to Nakile, to give them an idea if they're still on the list for the 22-bed expansion and, if so, what are the next steps?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: If they have any confusion about what the next steps can or should be, I would be happy to communicate with them, to bring some clarity to them on this. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Again, I thank the minister for the answer. As I've been saying, they haven't received an answer since September 3rd, so even past the time that we had the meeting, on September 9th, there really has been no follow-up from her department. So they are feeling a little left out in the cold right now. They don't know whether they still have a project or not.

Will the minister - and actually, Mr. Speaker, they've spent about $600,000 to get to this point today, with the tendering, with the well, and all the stuff that they've needed to do to get the project going; but now that there's nothing really going on, Nakile is worried about the loan that they took out to cover these costs.

So, Mr. Speaker, will the minister also, in her letter, commit to ensuring that the department will help cover the servicing cost on the loan while the project is in limbo?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated in my earlier response to the member, we would like to see the additional beds added to this facility, in this

[Page 2301]

community, and we're more than happy to continue to work with that particular operator, to see what it is that we can achieve for the community and for our Continuing Care Strategy.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Bedford-Birch Cove.

TIR: BRIDGES - RENEWAL PLAN

MS. KELLY REGAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A story last week in The ChronicleHerald reported that several bridges in Halifax Regional Municipality are in dire need of repair. These are not the only examples of aging bridge infrastructure in the province. While some of these bridges may not be under the jurisdiction of the province, the safety and maintenance of all our bridges should be a top priority for government.

Mr. Speaker, a Statistics Canada paper from 2008 indicated that Nova Scotia has the second-oldest bridge infrastructure in the country. My question to the minister is, what is the government's plan to renew the unacceptable state of Nova Scotia's bridges?

[4:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Who is your question to, member?

MS. REGAN: The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, it's an important question, bridges across the province. How I travel to work - I travel, of course, across an overpass that's of some importance some days as you come down to Quinpool Road. However, the concern that we have, and the important issue that I want the member to understand, is that we do have bridge inspectors, and the bridges that they're responsible for, each and all of them, are inspected each and every year, but in a different way. We can talk about it further at a time where I could explain it more thoroughly, but I do appreciate the question.

MS. REGAN: Mr. Speaker, it's often difficult for Nova Scotians to get information regarding the maintenance of bridges. If this information were readily available on-line it would be easier for the average person, maybe cut down on a little red tape. My question to the minister is, will you make completed bridge inspections by your department available on-line?

MR. ESTABROOKS: Thank you to the member opposite, and you never answer a question yes or no - to the young member opposite, I want him to know. The issue comes down to the fact that with 20 bridge inspectors, they're out there doing their job. Now, if I'm going to ask them as a minister to take the time to file reports, to make sure all that paperwork is done on time, I'm taking them away from the job that they are most important

[Page 2302]

to do, out there in the field doing their work each and every day. If we were going to do this on-line, the problem would be, of course, we'd probably have to hire extra staff.

If someone is concerned about a bridge . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the Oral Question Period has expired.

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 955.

Res. No. 955, re Health - H1N1 Clinics: Pub. Concerns - Respond - notice given Nov. 2/09 - (Ms. D. Whalen)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise in my place today and speak on Resolution No. 955. We know in Nova Scotia that the H1N1 rollout of vaccinating Nova Scotians was very problematic from the beginning. In fact, on October 22nd the government said that they would not be turning anyone away from clinics. If there was anything that we could have learned in this province - and across the country, really - from what happened in the Spring, what happened in other jurisdictions, we knew that the rollout had to be prioritized. We knew from experience that its vulnerable groups needed to be targeted, and we didn't do that. This is what has led to much confusion and now doubt about whether all those who are most in need of the vaccine will get it in a timely fashion.

The government should have known from day one that all health care workers should have been a top priority. If our front-line workers and those who are to administer the vaccine and care for those who get sick, if they in turn get the flu - get the H1N1 - then it does leave us with gaps in the delivery of the vaccine and of health care.

It is unfortunate because we knew that the province was wanting about one million doses. We knew that we would not be receiving it all in one delivery, we knew that coming in, yet Nova Scotia did nothing about a priority. We still have some of our health care workers not vaccinated, and that is a concern to the community.

I've had calls from pharmacists in my riding, again, who were not targeted to be vaccinated, and yet many of them are on the front line of making sure that our citizens are

[Page 2303]

getting prescriptions, that they are able to stay on the job and not have to close pharmacies - as one Pharmasave with three stores did make a contingency plan that if they lost pharmacists they would close one store and keep two open with the hope that it wouldn't be going any further.

Today in Question Period, we led off with, again, a very vulnerable group when it comes to H1N1 and that is, of course, those from infancy to six months. They cannot receive the vaccine, we're well aware of that, but young mothers are in great fear of passing on the virus to their babies. Again, it's a group that we should have given considerable priority to.

One of the other areas that I still remain baffled that we didn't do as other provinces and vaccinate our school children, our school aged population. We know that our neighbouring province has been vaccinating school children. So far we've been very fortunate in the country that we only have recorded a small number of fatalities, but two of those have been a 10 year old and a 13 year old. If we take a look at what happened at King's-Edgehill last year, we know how quickly a virus will go through a school population.

In fact, Newfoundland has moved today to vaccinate from Primary to Grade 3. Again, the youngest children are most vulnerable and yet it's not a group that we have targeted in this province. We heard very, very weak reasons as to why not - getting the forms filled out was going to be problematic. As a former educator and administrator in a school of 900 students, sending forms home for the entire school population and back is a very, very easy thing to accomplish. We used that as part of our reason for not doing it. Our school children, who are indeed extremely vulnerable, are still without the vaccine.

We have many very, very, worried parents and they should be. We had almost one-half of our public schools, 177 yesterday, who were well above the normal absenteeism for this time of the year. In the HRM school district alone, 452 teachers were off the job yesterday. We know that the flu is starting to move quickly into this second wave. I'm convinced that while we have vulnerable populations with those with chronic disease, but in terms of the spread, there is no place like the school environment to be able to vaccinate those children who should be a high priority.

One of the areas that I'm still a little bit without a lack of understanding and I hope the minister may address this today. I just have a very few seconds, but when we look at having 160,000 doses, another 19,500 coming this week - if we had made priorities, we would have our children under five years, our health care workers, our First Nations, our pregnant mothers, all looked after and yet we could have been into running full clinics. We have made mistakes with the delivery of this. We will have thousands of doses of vaccine not delivered at this week's end that could be available. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

[Page 2304]

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have an opportunity to enter into the discussion here this evening with respect to the sequencing of people who get vaccine and to answer some of the issues that were raised by the honourable member who spoke preceding me. I agree with the honourable member. If we're going to have these discussions, we need to try to have as factually informed a discussion as we possibly can, especially on something that's as important as the flu pandemic.

The honourable member talked about the way that H1N1 is now sweeping through schools in the province, and indeed we are seeing an increasing presence of absenteeism in the schools and we can attribute this to H1N1. But the fact that young people in schools get H1N1 doesn't mean that they will be the people who will get the most ill, that they will be the people who are the most threatened. For most young people who are healthy young people, they in fact will not experience severe illness, they will not get deathly ill. We need to reassure the public that the epidemiology demonstrates that young people, in fact, will get this, but they are not in a risk group in terms of becoming deathly ill, not withstanding those tragic deaths in Ontario.

Pretty much every province in the country in the sequencing, used the sequencing that was established through the opinions of an arms-length expert group who examined what occurred in other countries around the world when H1N1 hit those countries, Australia and South America and indeed our own in the first wave. This is the reason why a school-aged and school-based vaccination program was not the chosen model in provinces, including our province.

I spoke today with the Minister of Health in New Brunswick with respect to the approach they took, because in fact they put school-age children into their priority group, although they did not do school by school by school. Some schools in New Brunswick were places where they had community clinics, the mass clinic was in the school, and while they were there they did the school-age population. The outcome of that particular choice and strategy is that today New Brunswick will run out of vaccine for the high priority groups in the sequence. That's not to point fingers, it's just the mechanism and the model that they had, and then the implications for that, given that we had a vaccine shortage that no one could predict, and so they were unable to predict that they would have an interruption in supply. This means now they will have to make some decisions as we await to hear what the supply will be in the coming days and weeks.

It is the case that we have had to make choices. I'd like to quote from Dr. David Butler-Jones who everybody is becoming familiar with now as Canada's Chief Medical Officer, who back on the 18th of September - I think the day after this Legislature went into session - talked about the sequencing of vulnerable groups. He basically said that while we have a sequence for groups that are vulnerable, and including Nova Scotia, we have a sequence, there is enough vaccine to go around, we won't turn people away and everybody should get the vaccine.

[Page 2305]

[5:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I'll table this report that was in the Kirkland Lake Northern News newspaper because it does demonstrate where we were on September 18th in the country. We were in a situation where a lot of preparatory work had been done and we knew that some groups were more vulnerable not to get the disease, but to become really sick if they got the disease. That's what the sequence is based on. It's not who's most likely to get this disease - the sequence is based on who's most likely to become really, really ill if they get the disease.

We know that is small children, especially under the age of two, actually, but children under the age of five have the least amount of ability to fight this infection. Pregnant people, members of First Nation communities and, of course, we have to protect our health care workers because, ultimately, we need them on the job, in our health care facilities, dealing with this problem.

So, this is why we have a sequence. In addition, we have people who have chronic illnesses and chronic conditions as part of the sequence. That covers a very broad range of illnesses - it can be cancer and it can be asthma. There are people who have asthma who have mild cases of asthma, and it is quite well managed, but there are also people who have asthma who have very serious asthmatic conditions. Mr. Speaker, as we move through the highest risk groups and they are vaccinated, we will move to the next groups of people who are next at risk. As the supply of vaccine comes back into the system, we will also be able to respond and broaden the categories of people.

I hear members talk about the kids in the schools and I really understand why families are anxious about these children, they are in places where they congregate and they're picking it up. We've seen those dramatic and tragic deaths in Ontario. We will consider what we can do, but we have to go with the epidemiology, what the medical experts are telling us.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to stand for the next few moments and speak to this resolution. I think as every MLA in this House has been receiving a number of calls, especially when it comes to the clinics for H1N1, and the misunderstanding that they're having on the way in which information is being rolled out.

Mr. Speaker, I want to read a couple - unfortunately, I can't release the names, but I want to understand the kind of question that I'm getting asked at my constituency office and I want to look to members opposite, and maybe the members on this side, let's see if they're going to shake their heads and see if they get the same phone calls that I get.

One had to do with her children, or the feeling that her children are in the targeted group, under that age and not being able to get it. We're finding that we're having to pass

[Page 2306]

along the 1-800 number, or the 1-866 number, so people can try to get more information. But a lot of time they just need a place to vent. They're upset, they're scared from the information that is flowing around by the media of worse case scenarios of what's happening with swine flu.

Mr. Speaker, to support the minister on this, a lot of times there seems to be a hysteria around this particular flu when we know full well that throughout the years, more people die of the regular flu and the complications of the regular flu than the H1N1. So even though maybe a number of weeks ago, many would say, I'm not too sure if I'm going to be getting the vaccine, maybe saying, I don't trust the vaccine because it's new or what have you - two weeks ago everything changed. To use a comment from the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal just earlier, the water on the beans changed when we saw a healthy 13-year-old pass away in Ontario, when we saw, I believe, a young girl pass away in Cornwall, Ontario as well.

By looking at that, saying, now how can it possibly be that these two very healthy young children - young boys, young girls - can all of a sudden be swept away? That's what's created a lot of this angst, so we've gone from half of the people, less than half of the people, wanting to be inoculated to - I haven't really met more than two people in the last two weeks that have said they're not going to get the inoculation when it is their opportunity to get it. So we've gone from - and I forget what the exact number of people that actually get the regular flu inoculation, it's very low - to what this one is going to turn out to.

We know that we received somewhere near 160,000 vials of vaccine, and as of yesterday from Emergency Debate approximately 80,000 arms have been stuck, so we know that we probably, over the next number of days, are going to be able to dispense another 80,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine.

The complication, I think, that also happened here is that two weeks ago the minister, the government, even myself, we were saying to Nova Scotians, go out and get it, you're going to have to get it. We were being told, don't worry about it, the supply is there, the supply is coming, the supply is going to be early. Well, things changed. By saying it's open to everybody, even though you're high risk, even, say, maybe you're not high risk, go to the lineup anyway and you should be lucky enough to get one, but today they're not doing that. I haven't got any updates yet today on maybe how some of the other clinics are going, nor do I know how the H1N1 clinics are doing at the Sportsplex or at the Forum to see how they're presenting.

I was pretty happy with the comment that Ms. Hall brought forward during the Public Accounts Committee meeting this morning when she said that the assessment clinics are actually doing well by diverting people out of the regular emergency room into the assessment clinics, so people are understanding that flow. Hopefully, we will garnish a lot of information off that one as the number of days go.

[Page 2307]

Again, the sequencing issue is one that the government should have stuck to right from the start. It seems like we've deviated away and we came back to it, and that's what has caused, I believe, the majority of the complication over the last number of days.

We need to be able to provide a better sense to Nova Scotians - and I don't necessarily have the good suggestions, whether it's ads, whether it's radio ads or TV ads or what it is to explain this issue beyond what's being written in the newspaper, beyond what is being clipped on the radio station, because what we are getting are just little snippets. We're not providing Nova Scotians with the best information. I know Dr. Strang is providing his updates, I believe, almost every day, but I don't know what the "listenership" or how many people are watching that. A regular Nova Scotian that's actually probably out in a lineup is not going to be listening to Dr. Strang.

I again thank the minister for the presentation that we will have tomorrow. I believe the Opposition Critics will be getting an update on the pandemic tomorrow morning, I believe somewhere around 11:00, so I think it will be a good opportunity to ask questions of Dr. Strang. In the meantime, there are still a lot of people wondering what's going on. We have children that are out of school. Today in Windsor Elementary there are 40 kids out of school. I haven't spoken to my wife yet today - as you know, she's a school teacher - and I don't know how many people might be missing, out of the schools in my district, but I do know that even in her school and other schools around it, parents are keeping their children away from school now, you know, they're scared that their children might contract it by playing with their friends or what have you.

So all I can ask, and hoping to get a response for over the next number of hours and hopefully by tomorrow when we have that opportunity to meet with Dr. Strang, is to try to get some of those answers, those answers that we need to pass on to Nova Scotians so that they feel comfortable and protected during this H1N1 pandemic, and protected and taken care of by their government. So thank you very much for the opportunity to speak to this one today.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to be able to wrap up the debate that we're having today on the resolution about H1N1 and to continue the discussion that my colleagues have begun and that the minister herself has participated in.

Mr. Speaker, this continues to be a major topic of discussion in every corner of this province. When we stand here and say that we've received e-mails from our constituents, we also know that we are talking about it everywhere we go with the people who live in our area, here in the city, and we're hearing from everybody. It doesn't matter your age or your condition. People are concerned about it and they're concerned for their friends and their neighbours as much as for themselves. They're concerned for their family and their children.

[Page 2308]

Certainly the most heightened awareness is from those with children who are young and who want to get the vaccination.

We heard today in Question Period the question around nursing mothers and parents of those tiny children between the ages of birth and six months who are not eligible. They're very concerned that just in their daily lives they're going to be picking up this virus and either getting sick themselves and not being able to care for their children or perhaps even transmitting it to their children which is a great concern because these are very small infants. So, you know, we haven't heard what's going to be done about that and whether this group would be the next tier of priority for our province.

Mr. Speaker, that's the kind of question that we really want answered. I know that Dr. Strang gave another update today and we heard that, in fact, he was giving some update on how many had been confirmed. There are apparently 377 lab-confirmed cases of H1N1 in the province to date but we've been told, as well, that you could multiply that by at least a factor of 20 for those who did not get as ill, didn't come in, and didn't get a lab test done. So we're into thousands of cases.

I can say myself that one of my family members has had that as well and, as the minister said, although young people may be more apt to get it, they can also weather the storm. Most of them will not get seriously ill. My daughter was sick with it over a week ago, almost two weeks ago, and she was just fine but it did take her four days of having a miserable flu. I think people do need to keep calm and realize that most of us, if we do get this, will be feeling badly and have flu-like symptoms that will last a little bit longer and have fever, but not be seriously ill and not require hospitalization.

At the same time, Mr. Speaker, we have to be aware of how this is rolling out and of the priority group, and the minister has said repeatedly the priority groups are those who will get the sickest, who have the greatest chance of having complications. We want to ensure that they get inoculated. Now, yesterday in our emergency debate one of the government members actually tabled the number of people in each of these categories. The people in our primary groups that we want to get inoculated, including the children, six months to five years, the health care workers, First Nations communities and pregnant women, the total of all of that is 88,000, just over 88,000.

We were told that 82,000 have been inoculated. We know that a mistake was made in week one by holding open vaccination clinics. Everybody was welcome and we had urged them to come. We know that a lot of the first 82,000 who were inoculated were not in these four top areas, but we've now had three days, this being the third day of targeted clinics, priority groups only, and I think we should know from the minister how close we are to getting this 88,000 target group, priority group, inoculated because we need to know who is next on the list of priority.

[Page 2309]

We're hearing a lot about all of the medical officers and their evidence base, they're looking at how this disease actually affects different people in different age groups, so based on that surely they know who is next. Newfoundland and Labrador has included the parents of infants and New Brunswick has. We have a note from yesterday that was tabled that said that the federal government had that as one of their areas, I think that they were looking at - they had all the different health - no, we don't need to table it again, it has already been tabled.

[5:15 p.m.]

We're hearing different things again, Mr. Speaker. We need to know who is next because I don't hear a rollout plan. I've heard the first group, in fact, I've heard a mistake. The first week we made a mistake and only in HRM did we focus on health care workers, which were a top target group. All the other clinics were for everybody and they drew people from HRM to them as well, because they wanted to get it. So we haven't had a proper rollout. We've changed tracks right away in the first week, we've only used, according to yesterday's figures, a little over half of what was sent to us, so we will have lots of vaccine here, we're not getting it out.

I'd rather hear that we had inoculated 160,000 people and we're waiting for the next batch than to compare to New Brunswick and say they're doing badly because they're running out. They have actually delivered all their vaccine to the people who want it and who need it. So they are actually, I think, doing a better job.

It is not good to interrupt the vaccinations, but if you've used all your supply, you've done your job. You've been efficient in getting it out to the people who need it most. So I'm a little frustrated here, Mr. Speaker, that there is no rollout plan because that plan would say, by Friday all of the target groups will be done, the next important group will be - and they will talk about school children.

Again, a number of the provinces have begun with their Primaries or Grade 1s. I think we said P.E.I. didn't have Primary, they did some school children, but that would be the next group, I would say, the ones who are five years old and six and seven, the next youngest groups and those nursing, mothers and fathers of newborns. We need to know, and I'm only guessing when I proposed that here in my position in the Legislature, I'm guessing where the government is going next because there is no rollout plan. I think Nova Scotians would feel a hell of a lot better if they knew what was intended. (Interrruption) Oh, I'm so sorry, excuse me, Mr. Speaker, I'm glad you're watching - they would feel significantly better, they would feel so much better. I just wanted to see if everybody was awake.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, I don't have much time so I must continue. I am really urging the government to look at their plan. I believe that somebody has got one, somebody must know who is next. I want to know who is on first, who is on second, who is on third, how we're going to roll out this game and how everybody is going to get inoculated. I have every

[Page 2310]

confidence that by Christmas, by December as we've been told, every Nova Scotian will have received the vaccine if they're willing and able to take it.

I'm not suggesting we won't get there, but right now this pandemic is actually progressing faster than was ever anticipated. We're not in the peak of the pandemic, we haven't hit that point yet. We know there's a life cycle to these things and this second wave is still growing. That's why I feel that we need to hurry up. As I said, the flu has definitely visited my household, and I'm sure many others in this House, because you just have to look at how widespread it is in the population. We know it is growing and there are people who are most at risk.

Again, I go back to this total, if it's only 88,000 that were in this first targeted group, the first four primary groups, when can we know for sure that we can move on to the next ones. There were 160,000 doses of vaccine sent here. We must have about 100,000 left, I would say. When can we get on to the next important groups?

Nova Scotians are happy to wait their turn, Mr. Speaker. They are happy to get in line and understand that. I don't think it's anything to crow about, 9 per cent being inoculated at this point, that's not very many Nova Scotians. We know there are a lot of people with chronic illnesses. I've heard from people who have relatives who are fighting cancer and other chronic, really serious diseases. They want to know when their number is coming, so they can get in line.

Mr. Speaker, I'm calling on the minister during this debate to give us the rollout plan. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Time for debate on Resolution No. 955 has now expired.

The honourable Acting Official Opposition House Leader.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting Official Opposition House Leader.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 56.

Bill No. 56 - Public Utilities Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 2311]

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: I am pleased to rise today to speak to a very important and, in fact, time-sensitive bill, that has actually become increasingly time sensitive in the past few days, which is Bill No. 56 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 380 of the Revised Statutes of 1989, the Public Utilities Act.

This is a reasonably straightforward amendment and it has actually been endorsed now by the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities because there are a number of municipalities that have found themselves in a bit of a situation and have actually sent representations to the province asking them to pass this. This is the second time the House has been asked to look at this. The first time they were asked in the Spring session of this year; however, the bill never actually came forward from any Party, because as we all know, the House fell and an election was called.

So I'm bringing it forward now, and essentially what we have is a situation where, obviously, I think we all recognize that the Public Utilities Act was written at a time when things like geothermal energy were not considered. I think we all understand the benefits of geothermal, but one of the things that some members may not be aware of is that there are a number of municipalities in particular that are doing projects - small scale projects, under 10 customers, potentially, where they're trying to reduce the carbon footprint of the province.

The most prominent example I would give is the Alderney 5 project in Dartmouth, in the Minister of Education's riding, in fact, which is the world's first seawater storage system. It builds upon the success of the Purdy's Wharf system, which was the world's first seawater cooling system. As members may be aware, that system can't be used during the summer because it uses direct seawater, whereas this is actually a cooling system.

At the moment the municipality can distribute that energy, that cooling energy, and the future heating energy to the five existing municipal buildings on the site, but they have had for some time, as part of the financial plan for this project, arrangements with the federal Department of the Environment to distribute cooling energy to the Environment Canada building, which is Queen's Square, as well as the King's Wharf project. I know the Minister of Education was there to cut the ribbon for the King's Wharf project, and I know everybody very much appreciated her attendance there for that. It's a very, very important project that redevelops an existing brownfield site.

They are at the point where in the next couple of weeks they will be getting a stage B development agreement approval, or expected to get that, from Harbour East Community Council, which will allow them to start actually putting shovels in the ground on that site in a major way. They need to be able to put the geothermal pipes from the Alderney 5 project in at the same time and if the House does, as we expect, recess in the short term and does not come back until the new year, it may be too late to take advantage of some of these opportunities without significant financial risk to all the players.

[Page 2312]

It's not just in HRM that this is an issue. Springhill, I know, is also looking at a small scale system. Cape Breton is looking at similar systems, parts of Cape Breton are looking at disused coal mining areas. I understand that in around Pictou they're also looking at small systems, which is, of course, why this received the consent of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities to bring this forward. I have no doubt the Minister of Energy would have brought this forward on his own at some point in the future - I know him to be a thoughtful person, who I'm sure has this on his list, but he has a number of things on the list.

So I'm quite confident that when the honourable member for Preston speaks on this later and calls for the question on second reading that the government will support this. It certainly furthers the government's - it very much supports the government's aims on this, and I know there are a number of members of the government benches who have expressed support for this, to at least move it on to the next stage.

This is extremely important. It's important to understand why it's important to have this amendment that removes the requirement to go through the Utility and Review Board for projects that are under 10 customers. The issue is cost, and the Utility and Review Board itself has indicated that if they had the power, they would actually waive their oversight for similar projects, but they don't have that power under current provincial legislation, and therefore they don't have the opportunity to do that.

What happens is you have a situation where investments are made in large geothermal heating and cooling projects, there is excess energy that is able to be distributed to the neighbouring community, and the neighbouring community therefore has a situation where there is excess energy that could be sold, we could reduce our carbon footprint, reduce energy costs and yet, unfortunately, they don't do this now and people stay on fossil fuels.

When I look at the King's Wharf project in particular, they are at the decision-making point of whether they basically have an oil-fired furnace or a gas-fired furnace in the basement, or they run on geothermal. I think every member in this House would rather see them run on an environmentally friendly source of energy rather than a fossil fuel.

Not only that, it protects the costs for the future residents of that development as well as the commercial tenants, which is good for our economy. It also furthers green jobs, a green economy in Nova Scotia, as most of these projects, including the Alderney 5 Energy Project, are being done by Nova Scotia companies, in that case a Dartmouth-based company, High Performance Energy Systems, and they're using made-in-Nova Scotia technology. So this is an extremely important bill and, Mr. Speaker, I can't underestimate the time sensitiveness of this.

The director of legal and risk management from HRM was down here last evening expressing her concern, her hope that this could get through in this session of the House.

[Page 2313]

Obviously, they had hoped that would get through in April, but we all know that there was an election and the House fell, so it was never introduced. But this is extremely important because, at the moment, projects of this small scale, that are solely aimed at using Nova Scotia technology, reducing our carbon footprint, creating opportunities, reducing costs for Nova Scotians, result in a very serious issue and that very, very serious issue is that they don't go ahead and our carbon footprint instead grows, the costs increase and these projects do not become cost effective.

So you can imagine that even outside the Alderney 5 Energy Project where it's extremely important, there are at least a dozen projects in Nova Scotia that I'm aware of, that are sitting on the drawing board waiting for this amendment to go through, and have been waiting for at least six months in municipalities across this province.

Mr. Speaker, so I very much encourage and hope that the government would give their consent to this bill to pass second reading and move on to the next stage of the legislative process. I'm confident that the minister understands why this bill is very important and what it offers, and in all honesty, it's offered in the best of faith. We have limited it to under 10 customers, as the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities also endorsed, or 10 and under, and the reason we did that was so that you end up getting into situations where you get large utilities running very large projects. But I think we all understand that geothermal projects have a distance limitation on them before you lose so much heat or cooling energy that it really doesn't make it very worthwhile at that point in any case.

Mr. Speaker, in my last few seconds, I very much do not want to underestimate the urgency of this as expressed particularly because of the Alderney 5 Energy Project and the King's Wharf project and the Environment Canada project on the Dartmouth Waterfront, which are effectively stalled if this does not get through in this session of the House. There is, obviously, a very short time left in that. I know that the mayor has made representations on that, both to the previous government and the current government, and as I say, the solicitor was here yesterday speaking the same. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, welcome to the Chair and congratulations on your new status as a grandfather, I'm sure that young man will, of course, come to you for some great advice in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to say a few words about the proposed amendment to the Public Utilities Act. To the new member opposite, Opposition Day always brings us some challenges for sure. I've been listening to the comments of the member for Dartmouth East and there are some concerns that I have as a minister, at this stage, and how it is being done. I want to be very clearly on the record on this issue. I have heard from no

[Page 2314]

one from the UNSM on this issue, no one. Okay. I have not heard from the Mayor of the HRM, I have not heard from Mr. Kelly on this issue, but more importantly, I have not heard from the member opposite.

The member opposite has not taken the initiative to come to either of my offices and say, this is a piece of legislation which I would like to have your support on because I plan to call it on Opposition Day business. Yesterday when this was brought forward by the Liberal House Leader, that was the first opportunity I was made aware of it, and the people of my department were made aware of it, that Bill No. 56 was going to be called for Opposition Day business.

[5:30 p.m.]

I agree it's time-sensitive, it's crucial, it has to be done now. Well, you know, the way we do business in this House is there's a sense of co-operation and collegiality. I've been in the situation in the past where I sat on that side of the House and when I wanted a piece of legislation brought forward - I was very fortunate when the members of the Progressive Conservative Party at that time were the government - where I introduced a Private Member's Bill, I took the opportunity to meet with the minister involved and asked for his support and asked for his endorsement of this particular issue, and that issue received the support of the Cabinet. It received the support of the government and when we called it on Opposition Day business, Mr. Speaker, it was allowed to proceed and then to go over to the historic process that we have at the Law Amendments Committee.

That is not the situation in this case. The amendment seeks an exemption from regulatory oversight by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for small thermal or geo-thermal energy producers. It is sensitive and it's time-sensitive. This exemption, for members on all sides of the House, would apply to only producers who serve 10 or fewer customers. Historically, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has not regulated these kinds of projects.

On the surface of it, Mr. Speaker, and I say to the member opposite, the principle of the amendment is fine. I applaud the member for Dartmouth East for bringing it forward, but in the manner that it has been done, that is not in the tradition of this House how we do business.

Now, as the new Minister of Energy, I want you to know I was looking forward to the opportunity when this bill was first introduced in the House, of looking at it and discussing it with my staff and saying, is this not - and I should also point out to the member for Dartmouth East, I've had the opportunity to talk to the member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley who has brought forward the fact this could be a piece of legislation that as a government perhaps we should look into some form of support - but at no time did we have the opportunity to hear from UNSM, at no time did we hear from the mayor of the

[Page 2315]

municipality and at no time, as the Energy Minister, did I hear from the member for Dartmouth East.

However, we have to be very careful not to create a legislative solution that applies at this moment only to the Halifax Regional Municipality. I mean how many municipalities do we have and, you know, I want you to know, and I'm going to clarify this because I had the opportunity, Mr. Speaker, and you should be aware, of course, this great gentleman of the past, I know at the time perhaps he and I, and if you served in the House with him, perhaps you had some differences with him, but this week I had the opportunity to meet with the mayor of the Lunenburg Municipality - the Honourable Don Downe.

When Mr. Downe showed up, he brought Frank Fawson, one of his councillors with him. He came to my office, scheduled an appointment. It was an appointment that we wanted to make sure that he had the opportunity because Mr. Downe was here for the UNSM. I had the opportunity this week to sit down with Mr. Downe and listen to him and his councillor on the issues that he wanted to bring forward.

One of the things that he was interested in was, of course, some of the issues the member opposite is talking about, you know, the situation where Mr. Downe brought to my attention some plans that he has for his municipality. He has some plans for Bridgewater. That's how, as the Energy Minister, you like to hear about information. You want to know that information in advance.

Let me be very clear about a few things with respect to this particular proposal, if I may, Mr. Speaker. First, our government supports and encourages alternative energy sources such as geothermal. That's very important, we support geothermal. Second, we are supportive of any small-scale alternative energy projects whether they're in Bridgewater, whether they are in Springhill.

Surely members of this House know, when it comes to issues that are brought forward, the member for Cumberland South is probably the most legendary member in this House when he's advocating on behalf of Springhill. I have heard nothing from the people of Springhill through their MLA on this particular initiative and I'm sure that the member for Cumberland South will take the opportunity when he sees these comments and perhaps participate in these debates to, look, this is an issue that perhaps would help him out in his municipality, but at this stage I have not heard from the MLA for Cumberland South on this topic at all.

Finally, we encourage small-scale integrated community energy systems that utilize renewable energy and waste heat recovery technology. This particular development at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth is a good example of this type of technology and this type of project. It certainly supports this government's goals of developing more renewable energy

[Page 2316]

and more renewable energy sources. In turn, our government's role is to support and, of course, not discourage projects like this.

We are aware that small projects like this can bring them into a unique set of circumstances, so we need, as a government, to ensure that any amendment to the Act would apply fairly to other similar projects that may be developed in the future across the province, in other locations in other municipalities.

I know that this particular project at Alderney Landing is time-sensitive. Because this project has such great merit, the Department of Energy wants to co-operate with the HRM, but where is that level of co-operation? Where is that level of co-operation in this House? Opposition Business - yesterday, as the Energy Minister, I was made aware of this particular piece of legislation going to be Opposition Business by my House Leader at the end of the day - that's no way to do business when you look at this particular legislation. If we wanted to have that piece of legislation, and that member opposite wanted this piece of legislation to have the support of this House, then his House Leader should have talked to my House Leader, and as the Energy Minister I would have made him time to discuss and look that this was happening.

Accordingly, we'll do as much as possible to assist HRM in moving forward this project. In other small-skills projects like this, if they're going to survive in the future there should be a uniform approach that protects the broad public interest. At the same time any approach should encourage development of alternative energy sources. Thermal and geothermal heating and cooling projects definitely have a role to play in helping to achieve our objectives in greenhouse gas reduction - they can make a small, but important contribution to our overall energy strategy, so we should take a closer look at what really needs to be done here.

When I look and I see particular pieces of legislation and I say that is something that has some consequence, that's something this government should be looking at, when the opportunity comes you expect this - particularly an Opposition member is going to give us the courtesy, give me the courtesy as the Energy Minister, give me the courtesy through my House Leader to bring forward this issue.

Now you know there are other members, of course, who are going to participate in this debate and I look forward to their comments. But let's not amend the legislation in haste

or without due consideration for other similar small-scale projects that may come in in the years ahead. Ms. Donovan in particular has been absolutely heroic in pursuing this issue. Considering how this has been done today, Mr. Speaker, this is not a particular piece of legislation that at this time I, as the Energy Minister, and we, as the government, are willing to support. Instead, we want to take a broader view of things and look somewhat into the future. That way what we develop will be right for the Alderney project, as well as for similar projects in other locations in the future across the province.

[Page 2317]

So let's review this very carefully. Mr. Don Downe, the Minister of Finance who in his day, of course, stood in this House - he is now a municipal leader in this province - Mr. Downe took the opportunity this week, along with officials from his municipality, and Councillor Frank Fawson, to come to my office and bring forward some concerns that he had and some potential legislation that he is looking for support from this new Energy Minister on. I want you to know that's how we do business, that's how we work to make sure that if the member opposite is going to know that in Opposition Business he wants the support of the government in future, he should very clearly make sure that it is not done in this manner. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just couldn't resist the invitation of the Minister of Energy to share a few of my thoughts. I didn't want to disappoint the minister that I would be here to talk about a very important issue to me and to my community, and that is the community of Springhill.

I want to begin by saying I listened to the minister's comments very closely. I want the minister to know that he talked about how the normal process of getting legislation to the House and how it works through, particularly when it is Opposition, and I heard that. I do want the minister to know that when it comes to geothermal, I have a plan - I was really glad to hear the minister say what he said because I have a plan for the minister that I will be bringing to him on behalf of my community.

Mr. Speaker, as all members here would realize, Springhill is known for many, many things - well-known for Anne Murray, well-known for Billie O'Donnell, one of the best harness race drivers ever, well-known for Johnny Mooring, who was a great fiddler out of Springhill, fiddling champion several times in Atlantic Canada. Bill Davis (Interruptions) I'm getting lots of help, Mr. Speaker, from across the way there. Bill Davis, absolutely, someone who is well-known. Springhillers and Cape Bretoners certainly would agree to that.

In regard to geothermal, Springhill has been well-known and has a great history around mining, like many communities in Nova Scotia. A lot of the stories from Springhill are tragic and, over the years, Springhill has lost many lives in regard to coal mining in our community.

Springhill is honeycombed with mines that are full of water. A number of years ago, a gentleman named Ralph Ross, who today has his own refrigeration business and travels the province - probably one of the most well-versed Nova Scotians, I believe, in regard to geothermal. He and his dad, Kent Ross, came up with the idea of using this mine water, which by the way is about 15 degrees warmer than ground water. His and his dad's idea was, could we use this water from the mines that's so much warmer, and take the energy from that to heat business throughout the year, and as well, of course, use a reverse process to cool

[Page 2318]

buildings in the summer time? That was the beginning of geothermal as it's known today for Springhill as a result of Ralph Ross and his dad Kent, and I want to pay great respect to those two gentlemen.

Then along came a gentleman named Jack MacDonald, who took on the geothermal issue himself and attempted to promote that both within the province and outside the province to other companies and later, a gentleman named Ron Jefferson. They worked very hard in regard to developing geothermal for the Town of Springhill.

Realizing the potential of this great energy is one thing, but putting it into play so it's attracting business to come to this province, and to the community, takes a lot of work and effort. I heard the Minister of Energy say earlier that he looks forward to people coming to him. I'm going to be requesting, later on, that the minister meet with me and officials from the Town of Springhill, because we do have some thoughts about some opportunities for a town that's had hard luck over the years, but we see real opportunity for geothermal.

If you watch over the last number of years, and one thing that's in place now and the Minister of Agriculture would be aware of this, one thing I've asked for - greenhouse regulations in Nova Scotia have hampered the opportunity for extensive, large-sized greenhouses in Nova Scotia. Greenhouse operations in this province are very regulated and there's a maximum size based on these regulations. Through the Department of Agriculture, I have asked that these regulations be reviewed, in fact, they're redundant and I've asked that they be done away with. My understanding is that it's working through the process now and I look forward to that happening very soon, because when that does happen there is a tremendous opportunity.

There was a German company, for example, that wanted to put up several acres of greenhouses in Springhill using geothermal energy, but because of these regulations with the greenhouses, they were not able to. That was a lost opportunity for the community and it really truly would have been a great opportunity for the Town of Springhill.

I've had a discussion not too long ago with a gentleman from California who has resources in place, has been to Springhill, has looked at the industrial park and has looked at the area where the mines were in Springhill. He has some great ideas, as well, that he would like to put in place with the Agricultural College in Nova Scotia and again, it would be around greenhouses and opportunities. But until these regulations are dealt with, again, lost opportunities that I would like to see happen in Springhill.

To the minister's comments, we will be coming to the minister with some ideas of ours, looking for support. Ideas are great and we're not always looking for support just in regard to money. I know that on the government's side it's very difficult a lot of times to find money to do projects you want to do, but there are opportunities here, I believe, that the government can support for the Town of Springhill in regard to geothermal, without a price

[Page 2319]

tag attached to it for the government. It will require some changes in regulation, it may require some department support, but I'm hoping that the Minister of Energy will see fit in that regard.

In Springhill today, for example, a business such as Ropak, it's a large plastics plant, I think around 80,000 square feet or more of space they have, and they've changed their heating system and cooling system over to geothermal and they have seen tremendous, tremendous savings. There are other businesses in the community as well - Surrette Battery, the fire hall, the GOVRC Workshop, and the community centre I'm going to talk about, that's quite a thing for Springhill as well. There are other businesses in Springhill that are taking advantage of geothermal and seeing tremendous, positive results.

[5:45 p.m.]

While I'm the MLA for the area I would like to see - it's been slow going, but I'd like to see some of these opportunities not only explored but come to reality so that I can go on my way. The Government House Leader would probably like to see that happen, so maybe if he can help me with my community, make some of those things happen, maybe you could help me in that regard as well.

The Government House Leader mentioned about the community centre in Springhill. I want to tell you, not too many weeks ago I mentioned about a community with hard luck with mining and that. The rink in that community, with about 100 young children in it, actually collapsed. We were very, very fortunate and blessed that none of those children, none of the adults that were with them that day were injured. I've always said in Springhill, whether it's a fire on Main Street - we've had several of those - whether it's mining disasters or whether it's been the community centre rink, I've always said a tragedy in that community created an opportunity. Out of that arena collapse, we built a $6 million community centre that we're very proud of.

I believe that it's the only community centre that I know of in North America that's heated and cooled with geothermal energy. We should have a large sign on that by the Province of Nova Scotia saying just that. I would ask the Minister of Energy to think about that now as he does his upcoming budget.

In closing, before I take my place - I see I have two minutes - there's one thing I want to talk about that might not get such an agreeable reaction from the opposite side. One of the very important pieces of our selling of a correctional centre for Cumberland County, for Springhill being the location, was the result of geothermal energy. Tremendous, tremendous opportunity with regard to savings of energy costs. Tremendous opportunity with regard to the environment. I'm hoping the government will consider that when they make their decision about correctional facilities in Nova Scotia. Again, Mayor Allen Dill, a new mayor in the Town of Springhill with his councillors, looks forward to meeting with the Premier,

[Page 2320]

looks forward to meeting with the Minister of Energy about geothermal - oh, we always look forward to meeting with the Deputy Premier, because we know he's so open to ideas.

I'm really looking forward to sharing some of our ideas with the ministers opposite, and on behalf of the people of Springhill, I hope that you will give the community an opportunity it so rightly deserves with regard to geothermal. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise and speak on Bill No. 56. It's a very important bill to all areas of the province and I think the minister, when he spoke on this, he spoke very well and I know he expresses a great deal of interest in passing this type of bill, but he was remiss and probably didn't have a chance to go through the bill in detail. This bill does indeed cover the whole province. It's not just for HRM. This is for the whole province.

As we move to a greener and cleaner province, when we have operations like the Nova Scotia Power Corporation that must clean up their act in a very short time with very serious problems from the coal they're burning, we need to move forward with this. To make it simple for people that may be watching this debate, this is really the use of heat pumps and that type of technology to heat buildings that - instead of one building, which is no problem, you can buy a heat pump and install it to your property, but if you're going to heat four or five buildings, or anything 10 or less, this bill would cover.

It would mean that you don't have to go to the Public Utilities Board and go through all kinds of red tape to try and get it approved. This is only for heating. It's totally clean energy, and it's energy that will have a very positive impact on our environment. It's cost-driven so in other words, if it's cheaper than other sources of energy, people will use it; otherwise they won't. It's a win-win-win situation, something we seldom see when we're going through different things as we discuss many things here. It's no cost to the Province of Nova Scotia, absolutely no cost at all. Indeed, it may save them a lot of aggravation down the road as they try to improve the environment here in the province and that's going to be a long, difficult process. Unfortunately, the problem we have with pollution here in the province is getting worse. I've talked about this before and I just want to mention it briefly. As you drive into the city in the morning, especially on a summer morning when it's nice and calm, or even in the wintertime now when it's nice and calm and no wind, there's this orange coloured cloud that hangs over the city, and that's smog. When you live in a city, you don't see this, but it's there.

We have to take steps to eliminate this. It causes all kinds of problems for health and the problems that people see with their health and their families. When the minister was speaking, he also said that there has been nothing put forward on this and, indeed, the solicitor for HRM was in here, actually yesterday, to talk about this. When HRM comes to

[Page 2321]

all three caucuses, they present a little book of things that they want to move forward - I'm just using HRM as an example here - to all three caucuses of things that they want done and detail the request of legislation they need changed to improve things, and indeed this particular request is in that book.

I know I took the time to sit down and listen to the municipality on the request because I think it's very important as we would with any municipality that comes into our caucus, and I think it's important that we work with them as much as we can. They feel it's very important to them and also, not only that, but the UNSM passed a resolution in support of this bill as well - UNSM. That was presented in this House. So the minister should be aware of these things and evidently, for some reason, he may not be aware of that. So I just want to make the minister aware of those few things that indeed, hopefully, will change his mind on this bill so we can move this bill forward.

One particular project that has some urgency to it is indeed in the Minister of Education's riding, who sits right next to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal and the Minister of Energy. It's an important topic for all of us, and as we move forward we see the things that our communities are struggling with, and you see the red tape you have to go through even to get a building permit today, it's a long, slow process. If you look at this with the possibility of eliminating a requirement for projects for 10 or less people, it's very, very positive. It's something I feel that we, as legislators - never mind the politics of all the things that go on in this House - should support.

Any time we can support renewable energy, make our province more competitive - it's becoming less and less competitive every day in this province, and I can go into that another day and I won't bring that today. Any time we can get a renewable source of energy that doesn't cost us a fortune, it's continuously important to move forward with these type of projects. This is a non-polluting, non-negative impact thing. Indeed, my honourable colleague, the member for Dartmouth East sent a letter indicating this to the Cabinet through the Deputy Premier and that was moved forward.

So, unfortunately, maybe the minister responsible for this bill, maybe he didn't get a chance to see this letter yet, but indeed that did transpire. If the minister didn't have a chance to read it, I can understand that but, again, this shouldn't be a political issue. This should be an issue that we do the best thing for Nova Scotians. Very seldom do we get a chance to do that. Often times we talk here about making new regulations that will change this or new laws that will do that, and often times, in these cases, you don't have a situation where everybody wins. There's usually somebody upset with what you've done and no matter how good the intentions, how good the idea is, it is a real serious problem.

Even if this partially heats some of the businesses we have in the community, for example, and cuts our heating costs down and gives them a long-term, stable energy cost, it will make us a little bit more competitive. If we get a little bit more competitive, then we can go and our businesses will become more prosperous. If businesses are more prosperous, more

[Page 2322]

people get employed. We're facing a serious challenge right now from New Brunswick and it's going to be a very challenge as we move forward. If, indeed, they succeed with selling their power facilities in New Brunswick and reduce power rates in New Brunswick, it's going to make us even less competitive here in Nova Scotia. So small projects like this, that are funded either by municipalities or independently by business or whatever the case may be - or individuals - will help slow the gap that we're getting competitively in the province, and that is so, so, important.

Most people don't realize that. People go to work and there are family struggles and everything that goes on with the families, but at the end of the day, if that breadwinner who comes home, whether it's the husband or wife or both in most cases today, one of them loses their job or both of them lose their jobs, all of a sudden we have a serious problem in the province. It's through simple things like this that may preserve a few jobs in the province. It may help to ensure that people have a cleaner place to live.

We're talking now about a pandemic here in the province. Now, this would not affect a pandemic, but it could affect the cancer rates because of the products that are being burned, crude oils and coal. I know the Speaker doesn't agree with me on the coal, and I can understand why, but over time, as we have to shift away from those types of energy or get cleaner ways of burning those, we need to move to this type of energy along with many other things.

This really takes the burden away from an individual or organization that would allow them to put these things in place, not have to go through the Public Utilities Board, which would really be a bonus, and indeed make them affordable to do - and make it possible for them to go forward.

So I really would like to encourage the government, the minister in particular, to review this as soon as he possibly can, because there is a real jeopardy that some of these projects may not go ahead if it is not supported by the minister. We appreciate the minister's concerns on this and, of course, it is up to the government to decide whether they will move this forward or not, and if they don't, then there will be other issues that go with that, but I have heard in the past the government, when they were in Opposition, were very encouraged about green energy, and I'm hoping that they will live by that and move forward and, indeed, help create some green energy in the province.

We have a lot of other things that we're looking at, and a lot of issues around things like windmills, which I think are a fantastic idea for green energy, and solar panels, and a lot of other things. But this is probably the least intrusive of all things that we possibly could do.

So I strongly encourage the Minister of Education to lobby her own ministers to see if she can get this bill put forward. If indeed they don't want the bill to come from our side of the Legislature, we would gladly support one that would come from the government side

[Page 2323]

of the House, as long as we achieve this goal. The goal has to be achieved very quickly. I think this is a goal that we all win from, all Nova Scotians win from, and all members of this Legislature will win from. If we don't move forward with this, then the consequences over a long period of time are not going to be positive. So, again, I would encourage the government to move forward with this, and hopefully they see the possibility of a very positive legislation here and, indeed, can move forward with the approval of this and a recommendation. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for debate has expired.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, I assume that finishes the Opposition's business for today. The hours for tomorrow will be from 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., and what business we have in Committee of the Whole House we will deal with and the readings on any public and private bills and anything else to deal with after Private and Local Bills, hopefully, we will get the concurrence of the House to do that.

Now I ask that we rise to meet at the hours of 1:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[6:00 p.m.]

We have now reached the moment of interruption. The winner of the late debate tonight was:

"Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate the many organizations, individuals and government departments and agencies who have committed their support to the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax and ask all members to consider what they will bring to these games."

It was submitted by the honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

ADJOURNMENT

[Page 2324]

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville.

CAN. WINTER GAMES (2011): SUPPORTERS - CONGRATS.

MR. MAT WHYNOTT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It gives me pleasure to rise this evening, at the moment of interruption, to talk a little bit about the Canada Winter Games that are coming to Halifax in 2011. I will reread the resolution here:

"Therefore be it resolved that the House congratulate the many organizations, individuals and government departments and agencies who have committed their support to the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax and ask all members to consider what they will bring to these games."

Mr. Speaker, I just want to go back to what that quote is all about - what will you bring, Mr. Speaker, to the Games. What happened last evening was there was a reception that was held by an organization, a business within Nova Scotia, and I'm sure we've heard of this business a few times in the House here in the last number of weeks. Deloitte & Touche are major sponsors for the upcoming Winter Games in 2011. They held a reception for VIP sponsors, for government agencies to attend. They launched this promotional video, essentially based on talking about the major sponsors who are backing the games, government agencies who are backing the Games and ordinary Nova Scotians, on what they will bring to the games.

Mr. Speaker, we talk a lot about - and that video talked a lot about - what the Games will bring to Nova Scotia and into the future, as we get ready to host this important event. Before we go on to what I will bring to the Games and what possibly you, Mr. Speaker, will bring, I just want to go back into a little bit of history as far as how important these Games are, albeit the Summer Canada Games or the Winter Games, here in Canada.

The Canada Games, for the first time in Canada's history, in February 1967, Quebec City, 1,800 athletes from 10 provinces and two territories gathered to compete in 15 sports. These first Canada Winter Games paved the way for professional athletes here in Canada and now the Canada Games are known as the largest multi-sport competition for young athletes here in Canada, which I think is a wonderful thing.

Mr. Speaker, as I know, working with young people in my community and some of the surrounding communities in Nova Scotia, I understand the importance of sports to young people here in this province. As members of the Legislature, as leaders in our own

[Page 2325]

community, we, too, must do anything we can to support our young athletes to go to competitions in other provinces, to do competitions here in this province, and even international competitions. We must do as much as we can to help them out.

So the Canada Games are held every two years, alternating between the Summer and the Winter Games. The Games are a key event to develop Canada's young athletes. Canada Games athletes are Canada's next generation of national, international and possibly, as we've seen for a number of these athletes, to become Olympic champions - paddlers especially and that is talking about the recent events over in Dartmouth in the summer and certainly doing their bit there.

The Canada Games and their lasting legacies continue to be a catalyst for the growth of sport and recreation right across this country. The Games are the product of ongoing collaborations between the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, host municipalities, the private sector and, of course, the people known as the Canada Games Council.

Since the beginning of the Games, believe this or not, there have been nearly 100,000 athletes who have participated in these Games and with hundreds of thousands going through tryouts and qualifying events, over 90,000 coaches, officials and volunteers have been directly involved in these games. I wouldn't want to forget those volunteers, because volunteers in any organization, it doesn't matter who you belong to or what your passion is in life, volunteers play a key role in every single community in this province, and in every province and country in the world.

Going back to what we, myself as a politician or as an MLA, here in this Chamber can do, what I will do and what I will bring to the Games. Let's talk a little bit about what the Games will bring to Nova Scotia. I see that the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park is here tonight and I know that she will have a beautiful new facility in her constituency once the Games take place. Right there, that's a legacy, that is going to - just like we saw with the first Summer Games, which were held in Halifax a long time ago, way before I was born, and you know, those Games left a legacy, because we still see the building standing today. They play a key role in a lot of our health promotion events that take place here in this province.

That's exactly what it's going to do, it's going to bring a brand new $40 million Canada Games Centre right here in this province. Also what's happening is we're bringing $15 million in capital upgrades to the various regions of the province. It's not only happening here in Halifax, it's a Nova Scotia event that will see economic spinoffs here in this province, it will bring tourists to Nova Scotia. It will not only bring athletes to Nova Scotia, but it will bring artists to Nova Scotia because art and sports share, I think, a very important partnership in all of the things that we do, no matter what event we talk about.

[Page 2326]

We're engaging and we're giving support to Ski Wentworth, to the Halifax Forum, to St. Margarets Centre - just down the road from my constituency - Halifax Metro Centre, Ski Martock, Saint Mary's University, Mayflower Curling Club, Cole Harbour Place and of course the Canada Games Centre. I already spoke a little bit about what the National Artist Program is all about. These are the sorts of things that will bring an economic benefit to the people of this province no matter where you live, because when we build things in the province, it's good for the people of the province.

The other thing that will happen, what we as Nova Scotians will bring to these Games is our hospitality that we are known for right across the world, our hospitality that is far above a lot of the other provinces. Nova Scotians are proud to live where they are. Nova Scotians are proud to be able to host the 2011 Canada Winter Games, and I look forward to possibly being a volunteer there. I hope that all members in this House are given the opportunity to volunteer, to support their athletes in their community, because they play a key role in every single one of the constituencies here in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I wish all the athletes well in everything that they do in all of their future endeavours. Thank you very much, it's given me great pleasure to talk tonight. Thank you.

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

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to commend the honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville for bringing forward this resolution. As much as it is called debate, it's really an endorsement and support of a great item here, and what has really been an icon for youth and sport and to celebrate those that choose to take up the call to focus on a sport, to put their all into it, to drive themselves individually and as part of a team, to achieve the best that they can, and do it in fair competition and do it in a way that builds character and not just the strength of the body but, indeed, of the individual. That is something that we've been very proud of, and those who have served and have participated - I say "served" because there are individuals who have served the Canada Games movement from one end of this country to the other. There are Nova Scotians that have been part of the Canada Games that have been hosted here in Nova Scotia.

I know that the honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville, as a younger member of the House, will probably wish to choose to be part of that, and I have every anticipation, because of his youthfulness, he will also be making sure that when volunteers are called upon to help out in those Games, that we can see the honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville and also to help empower and encourage other people, because aside from the participants themselves and the organizers that are engaged on a full-time basis, there's also the basis of the volunteers and the volunteer effort that is needed to make this a success.

[Page 2327]

The one thing that we know of the last time that the Canada Games - I know in Sydney and Cape Breton with great fanfare, I remember on national TV the opening ceremony, the Prime Minister of the country, the who's who and the what's what there, to celebrate our young champions. Anyone who participated, whether they won a medal or not, was successful, and they learned and they gained from that experience.

I also think of the community leaders, and I know in Cape Breton with the Canada Games I think of Carl "Bucky" Buchanan. I think of some of the vice-chairs, like Joyce MacDougall and Mike Ferguson. I also believe a former member of the House who served for Cape Breton Centre, I think it is Russell MacNeil, would have served on that committee as well. So we had many people from the area who also left a lasting legacy, because the other thing, as the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville talked about, was not just the investment in individuals but the investment in the infrastructure that supports the activity that the individuals participate in. The wider community gets to benefit from the legacy of those infrastructure investments, and that's what we're going to see here.

I know there's going to be some infrastructure renewal here in the HRM, which is long overdue and recognized and very important. So I do want to commend all of those that actually will - aside from the participants, the athletes, and the Games - the wider community will get to benefit.

I think of the Centennial Pool, I think of areas where, just for health and wellness - I think of the seniors who will benefit from the investments that will go in, helping young athletes to compete. All those are, indeed, very good. So it's really not just what the athletes will bring, but it's what do we bring to those Games and what we, as Nova Scotians, can bring is our enthusiasm and support and encouragement, not only of the young Nova Scotians who will be part of the Canada Games, but also to welcome young Canadians from the provinces and territories here, to give them an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lifetimes, and also will become champions of the Canada Games movement - either the Summer or Winter Games - as they go through life, helping to be corporate citizens, to be part of the volunteer movement that makes this type of great Canadian moment possible and to be shared throughout the generations. That is something, Mr. Speaker, that we, as all members of this House, can be very proud of. We can think back - as I said in referencing Carl "Bucky" Buchanan, who the people of Cape Breton to this day know and recognize - to the individuals who participated, as leaving that moment in time when Cape Breton got to shine in an area that once was thought impossible to do.

I do remember at the time, people said how in the heck are you going to do a Canada Games in Cape Breton and do everything from the skiing activities to all the events? I can remember my own alma mater, my high school, Memorial High School, when the school was built, and in the era, as a result of those Games we went from just having the tile cement floors to a full hardwood floor base and now, even to this day, the people in that double

[Page 2328]

gymnasium at Memorial High School, the young athletes and the students, have been able to benefit from having a full, proper hardwood-floor surface put in rather than just a tiled-over cement environment.

So that has continued for 20-plus years, in that community, and that is part of the legacy that is left behind from those Canada Games. So I can only imagine when the Canada Games come again, how we will be able to, in 2011, know that in 2031 the infrastructure investments and revitalization will carry forward for those future generations and will all be part of ensuring that not only was that moment great for the individuals who participated in that point in time, but indeed for all the citizens to enjoy.

[6:15 p.m.]

With that, I'll close my remarks, but I do want to commend the honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville, there is no debate on this. I think there's unanimous consent and support for us as Nova Scotians to make sure our welcome mat is out, and indeed it will be a better and brighter one because of the $15-plus million that will be invested. I can't help but note, Mr. Speaker, that we as Nova Scotians, and people in our communities, will benefit from the hotel rooms, from the people who come from outside to support the young athletes, that will help our economy and make sure that Nova Scotia benefits not just in the short or near term, but in the long term, and a legacy we can all be proud of.

I know that the honourable member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville will indeed take up the call to stay involved. I look forward to joining the Progressive Conservative caucus in supporting this effort because it goes beyond politics, it's about people, and the goodwill of what the sport brings. With that, I want to thank the honourable member for bringing this topic forward and commend him for bringing it to the floor of the Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I too want to congratulate the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville for bringing this forward. I have the great privilege of knowing J-P Deveau quite well, who is chair of these Games, and I see the tireless efforts that he and all the volunteers are putting into these Games to make them a reality.

This is really important, you know, and one of the things that shows you how important this is, is the fact that there have been some big events that have been planned for places in Nova Scotia, including HRM, where you've seen the letters to the editor from the public who are angry about it, but you haven't seen that with these Games. The public is widely supportive of these Games, and that I think is a testament to the hard work and the strength of these young athletes.

[Page 2329]

This is a very exciting opportunity, and in the 2011 Games they did something very exciting which was in addition to the normal process in that the athletes village will be the hotels in downtown Halifax. I think that will be very unique in the history of these Games and will make it very interesting because it will bring the youth together in a sense of camaraderie, working together, and just really trying to promote youth activity, youth sport and amateur sport. Many of these students are our future Olympians and I think we should remember that.

I would be remiss if I didn't point out a few things: one, the fact that this goes beyond HRM. HRM sort of gets credit for the Games being here, but the fact is the skiing will be done at Wentworth. There are other venues around Nova Scotia which will benefit from this, so this will truly be a Nova Scotia Games. It won't just be an HRM Games. I honestly and truly hope that we'll see that come across Nova Scotia, that people will get behind this.

I know the Minister of Education has talked about the idea of extending the March break and I think that we would all support that so that people can get involved and the youth can be involved. With 3,600 athletes, coaches and managers from across Canada, 400 media, 700 VIPs, 500 officials, and thousands of visitors, it's going to be an amazing event and the member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville asked us to consider the question: what will we bring to these Games?

I think the most important thing we can bring is a sense of non-partisan support where we can all get behind this and encourage people to get involved and encourage people to volunteer and be supportive of the Games. I've been to some places around the world and I've seen events where the whole state or the whole province or the whole city gets behind it with flags and signs, and I would love to see that happen here in Nova Scotia for the Games. This government will, of course, still be the government of the day at that time and I hope that they will - and I'm sure they will - put programs in place to help us all work to support those and get people involved.

There are other elements to it, such as a national artist program, which goes beyond sports. It's funny, the things that people don't realize come with the Games - you know, the artist program, you say well I'm not into sport but this promotes art; just go to Ski Wentworth and you see the upgrades that they're getting there, which will benefit the economic viability of that. I know the Premier and Mayor Kelly - I think it was either last night or today - were announcing the new sponsor, Deloitte, which I think is great. We're seeing local companies and corporations come on board with these Games and supporting them in a big way.

I think people are excited about this, and I'll be honest, I was on HRM Council when the bidding went forward and I kind of laughed, Winter Games in Nova Scotia - and I think that's going to be one of the great things about this, people will realize that we have and will

[Page 2330]

have infrastructure to host sports at a time of year that many people probably didn't even realize we had the ability to do.

The member for Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville mentioned the Summer Games in 1967, which was also before I was born, but my own constituency actually sees the benefit of that because Beazley Field, which is just down the road from my house, was one of the venues for that, and that is still used and it is used in a big way and it has become a focal point for youth. When we did the community centre there last year, we put it there because it's become such a focal centre - and the same thing is going to happen with the upgrades at Centennial Pool, or the work being done in Clayton Park on the centre. If you get a chance to drive by that - that will benefit so many people, not only in HRM but across the province, I'm quite convinced.

I'm very pleased to stand on behalf of the other members in my caucus and support this. Again, I do commend the member from Hammonds Plains-Upper Sackville for bringing this forward, because I think it's important that we all show our support and get behind this and show that this is something that we all see as important, and important for a variety of reasons. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, and thank you to all members tonight. That ends the debate.

The House stands adjourned until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:23 p.m.]

[Page 2331]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1085

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas the Rockingham Heritage Society was founded 20 years ago to research and preserve the history of Rockingham; and

Whereas the founders set out to create a group that would record and document the historic sites and homes in and around Rockingham and introduce others to the historic significance of the area; and

Whereas the society marked their 20th Anniversary at their annual dinner in February 2009 with a talk by folklorist Clary Croft and displays of historic photographs;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Rockingham Heritage Society and their current president, Glenn Taylor, on their 20th Anniversary and wish them continued success in documenting and recounting the rich history of Rockingham.

RESOLUTION NO. 1086

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas organizations and companies which achieve workplace excellence enjoy loyal and healthy workforces and valuable community relationships; and

Whereas the Capital District Health Authority was recently named by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of Nova Scotia's top 15 employers for 2010; and

Whereas healthy cafeteria options, parental leave top-up benefits, and flexible work options are just a few of the benefits offered to employees of the Capital District Health Authority;

[Page 2332]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate Chris Power, CEO, and her senior management team for recognizing the value of healthy, well-balanced workplaces and wish all employees every success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1087

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas organizations and companies which achieve workplace excellence enjoy loyal and healthy workforces and valuable community relationships; and

Whereas the Colchester East Hants Health Authority was recently named by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of Nova Scotia's top 15 employers for 2010; and

Whereas maternity leave top-up payments, an onsite daycare facility, and phased-in retirement work options are just a few of the benefits offered to employees of the Colchester East Hants District Health Authority;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Peter MacKinnon, CEO, and his senior management team for recognizing the value of healthy, well-balanced workplaces and wish all employees every success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1088

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas organizations and companies which achieve workplace excellence enjoy loyal and healthy workforces and valuable community relationships; and

Whereas the Guysborough Antigonish Strait District Health Authority was recently named by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of Nova Scotia's top 15 employers for 2010; and

Whereas maternity leave top-ups, enhanced vacation leave, and retirement planning are just a few of the benefits offered to employees who work for the Guysborough Antigonish Strait District Health Authority;

[Page 2333]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate CEO Kevin MacDonald and his senior management team for recognizing the value of healthy, well-balanced workplaces and wish all employees every success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1089

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas organizations and companies which achieve workplace excellence enjoy loyal and healthy workforces and valuable community relationships; and

Whereas the College of Physicians and Surgeons was recently named by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of Nova Scotia's top 15 employers for 2010; and

Whereas enhanced vacation benefits, an earned days-off program, and ongoing training and educational opportunities are just a few of the benefits offered to employees of the College of Physicians and Surgeons;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dr. Cameron Little, Registrar and CEO, and his management team for recognizing the value of healthy, well-balanced workplaces and wish all employees every success in their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1090

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Cumberland South)

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

Whereas dinosaurs take a back seat to nobody, except for maybe Don Brown of Oxford, who carries them around in the trunk of his car; and

Whereas dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago and Brown has been bringing them back to life through his carvings for the last 22 years, some of them taking up to 140 hours to create; and

[Page 2334]

Whereas Don Brown, who has had one of his dinosaurs on display at the Fundy Geological Museum and has sold some of his dinosaur carvings to other museums because of their realistic and natural-looking nature;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Don Brown on his outstanding talent and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1091

By: Mr. Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas the Kentville Volunteer Fire Department has a proud history of providing fire protection and emergency response to the communities it serves; and

Whereas the members of the volunteer department commit to undergo extensive training, accept numerous departmental responsibilities, are regularly on call, and respond to emergencies that expose them to situations that are physically and emotionally challenging; and

Whereas the work of the department is made possible by volunteers and family members who raise funds, organize events, and adjust their own lives to support the demanding schedules of firefighters;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the central role that the Kentville Volunteer Fire Department plays in the communities it serves and extend deep appreciation to the firefighters, auxiliary volunteers, and family members who invest countless hours in a cause that protects the safety of Nova Scotians.

RESOLUTION NO. 1092

By: Mr. Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas the Waterville and District Fire Department has a proud history of providing fire protection and emergency response to the communities it serves; and

[Page 2335]

Whereas the members of the volunteer department commit to undergo extensive training, accept numerous departmental responsibilities, are regularly on call, and respond to emergencies that expose them to situations that are physically and emotionally challenging; and

Whereas the work of the department is made possible by volunteers and family members who raise funds, organize events, and adjust their own lives to support the demanding schedules of firefighters;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the central role that the Waterville and District Fire Department plays in the communities it serves and extend deep appreciation to the firefighters, auxiliary volunteers, and family members who invest countless hours in a cause that protects the safety of Nova Scotians.

RESOLUTION NO. 1093

By: Mr. Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas the Canning Volunteer Fire Department has a proud history of providing fire protection and emergency response to the communities it serves; and

Whereas the members of the volunteer department commit to undergo extensive training, accept numerous departmental responsibilities, are regularly on call, and respond to emergencies that expose them to situations that are physically and emotionally challenging; and

Whereas the work of the department is made possible by volunteers and family members who raise funds, organize events, and adjust their own lives to support the demanding schedules of firefighters;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the central role that the Canning Volunteer Fire Department plays in the communities it serves and extend deep appreciation to the firefighters, auxiliary volunteers, and family members who invest countless hours in a cause that protects the safety of Nova Scotians.

RESOLUTION NO. 1094

[Page 2336]

By: Mr. Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas the Port Williams Volunteer Fire Department has a proud history of providing fire protection and emergency response to the communities it serves; and

Whereas the members of the volunteer department commit to undergo extensive training, accept numerous departmental responsibilities, are regularly on call, and respond to emergencies that expose them to situations that are physically and emotionally challenging; and

Whereas the work of the department is made possible by volunteers and family members who raise funds, organize events, and adjust their own lives to support the demanding schedules of firefighters;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the central role that the Port Williams Volunteer Fire Department plays in the communities it serves and extend deep appreciation to the firefighters, auxiliary volunteers, and family members who invest countless hours in a cause that protects the safety of Nova Scotians.

RESOLUTION NO. 1095

By: Mr. Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas the Halls Harbour Fire Department has a proud history of providing fire protection and emergency response to the communities it serves; and

Whereas the members of the volunteer department commit to undergo extensive training, accept numerous departmental responsibilities, are regularly on call, and respond to emergencies that expose them to situations that are physically and emotionally challenging; and

Whereas the work of the department is made possible by volunteers and family members who raise funds, organize events, and adjust their own lives to support the demanding schedules of firefighters;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the central role that the Halls Harbour Fire Department plays in the communities it serves and extend deep appreciation to the firefighters, auxiliary volunteers, and family members who invest countless hours in a cause that protects the safety of Nova Scotians.

RESOLUTION NO. 1096

By: Hon. Darrell Dexter (The Premier)

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

Whereas Bruce Grandy, from Dartmouth, is a talented musician who plays the bagpipes all over the world; and

Whereas Bruce traveled to Scotland to participate in the Glenfiddich Piping Championships for the seventh time at Blair Castle; and

Whereas in order to compete in the Glenfiddich Piping Championships, a piper must have won one of 10 events held around the world;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Bruce Grandy on winning the United States Piping Foundation in June, that allowed him to compete in the 2009 Glenfiddich Piping Championships in Scotland.

RESOLUTION NO. 1097

By: Hon. Darrell Dexter (The Premier)

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

Whereas 18-year-old Devin Mitchell, of Cole Harbour, won a gold medal on the parallel bars at the National Gymnastics Competition in Hamilton, Ontario, on June 5, 2009; and

Whereas Devin also placed fifth in the high bars event at the same competition; and

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Whereas for the first time ever, the team from Nova Scotia took home a medal in the open team division, in this case, silver;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognizes the talent and achievements of both Devin Mitchell and the entire team of Nova Scotia gymnasts, and congratulates them on their success at the National Gymnastics Competition.

RESOLUTION NO. 1098

By: Mr. Jim Morton (Kings North)

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

Whereas Red Castle Publishing co-founder Donna Rhodenizer is an accomplished songwriter, composer and music specialist whose song lyrics sparkle with imagination and humour and reflect a writer who has the ability to reach into the imaginations and hearts of children and their parents; and

Whereas Red Castle Publishing co-owner Andy Duinker is a multi-faceted performer who is equally comfortable performing for adult, family and children's audiences, and who adds his vocal expertise to the duo Donna & Andy, which has performed for children in schools, festivals and concert venues across the country; and

Whereas the quality of Red Castle Publishing's work has been recognized by the Nova Scotia Department of Education, which purchased two of the firm's publications for use in every elementary school in the province, and by the Nova Scotia Music Educators Association, which recently presented Red Castle Publishing with its annual Musica Viva Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulates Donna Rhodenizer, Andy Duinker and Red Castle Publishing on its publishing and performance successes, and on being the 2009 recipient of the Nova Scotia Music Educators Association's Musica Viva Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 1099

By: Hon. Maureen MacDonald (Health)

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

Whereas this week is Medical Radiation Technologists' Week in Canada, coinciding with the anniversary of the discovery of x-rays on November 8, 1895; and

Whereas medical radiation technologists are highly-trained health care professionals who provide a vital link between technology and patient care; and

Whereas MRTs are celebrating the week by talking about the power of technology with a human touch;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly join me in recognizing the important work of Medical Radiation Technologists in Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1100

By: Ms. Pam Birdsall (Lunenburg)

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

Whereas the first Lunenburg Community Christmas was held in 2008 as an event for those who may be alone during the Christmas season; and

Whereas the Lunenburg Community Christmas was developed by Lunenburg Town Counselors John McGee and Peter Zwicker to put the spirit of community and compassion back into the Christmas season with a full-course holiday meal served at the Lunenburg Fire Hall; and

Whereas the first event was so successful, with over 150 people in attendance, a second Lunenburg Community Christmas is being organized for this year with the help of volunteers.

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulates Lunenburg Town Counselors John McGee and Peter Zwicker for their work on the Lunenburg Community Christmas and wishes them success for their second annual event.

RESOLUTION NO. 1101

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas on Sunday, November 1, 2009, Geline Fahie of East Ship Harbour, in the constituency of Guysborough-Sheet Harbour, celebrated her 75th birthday; and

Whereas Geline was raised along the picturesque Eastern Shore where she inherited her strong values of family, friends and community; and

Whereas Geline is a well-respected member of the many communities she serves and she will celebrate her special milestone with family and friends;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Geline Fahie on the celebration of her 75th birthday and extend its very best wishes for many more such celebrations in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1102

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas in 2009 the Town of Guysborough raised $3,466 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Big Bike fundraiser, which was powered by staff and friends of the Milford Haven Nursing Home; and

Whereas over the past five years, Captains Lynda Gillie and Jean Avery have led the team to raise $16,711.25 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation; and

Whereas the team's fundraising efforts, community involvement and great attitude earned this dynamic team the Big Bike Spirit Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Guysborough team on their continued fundraising efforts and their receipt of the Big Bike Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 1103

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

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Whereas the Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers who make it possible for the society to raise money for cancer; and

Whereas Guysborough volunteers were recognized by the Canadian Cancer Society at a reception on October 28th for their years of service; and

Whereas volunteering is a powerful tool for fighting back against cancer;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the dedication of the volunteers of the Guysborough area to the Canadian Cancer Society and congratulate them on their efforts.

RESOLUTION NO. 1104

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas an average of four Canadians are killed and 207 injured by drunk driving every day, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a free service that offers support to victims; and

Whereas the Guysborough County Chapter of MADD began in February 2007 and was started by Raymond Morris of Mulgrave; and

Whereas on November 12th the Guysborough County Chapter will launch Project Red Ribbon at the Chedabucto Home Hardware in Guysborough, to have members of the public commit to safe driving over the holidays;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of the various chapters of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and support Guysborough County Chapter's launch of Project Red Ribbon.

RESOLUTION NO. 1105

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

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Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion mandate is "to serve veterans and their dependents, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities"; and

Whereas the Legion maintains a leading role in the creation and care of memorials to the contributions and valour of our veterans and ex-service members; and

Whereas the Four Harbours Branch, Tangier, of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command will host a service to remember the deeds of the fallen on Remembrance Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of each Legion branch in Nova Scotia, especially Four Harbours Branch of Tangier for all that they do to ensure those who have fallen are remembered.

RESOLUTION NO. 1106

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion mandate is "to serve veterans and their dependents, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities"; and

Whereas the Legion maintains a leading role in the creation and care of memorials to the contributions and valour of our veterans and ex-service members; and

Whereas the Sherbrooke Branch of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command will host a service to remember the deeds of the fallen on Remembrance Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of each Legion branch in Nova Scotia, especially Sherbrooke Branch for all that they do to ensure those who have fallen are remembered.

RESOLUTION NO. 1107

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

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Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion mandate is "to serve veterans and their dependents, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities"; and

Whereas the Legion maintains a leading role in the creation and care of memorials to the contributions and valour of our veterans and ex-service members; and

Whereas the Courcelette Branch, Sheet Harbour, of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command will host a service to remember the deeds of the fallen on Remembrance Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of each Legion branch in Nova Scotia, especially Courcelette Branch of Sheet Harbour for all that they do to ensure those who have fallen are remembered.

RESOLUTION NO. 1108

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion mandate is "to serve veterans and their dependents, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities"; and

Whereas the Legion maintains a leading role in the creation and care of memorials to the contributions and valour of our veterans and ex-service members; and

Whereas the Cambrai Branch, Mulgrave, of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command will host a service to remember the deeds of the fallen on Remembrance Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of each Legion branch in Nova Scotia, especially Cambrai Branch of Mulgrave for all that they do to ensure those who have fallen are remembered.

RESOLUTION NO. 1109

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

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Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion mandate is "to serve veterans and their dependents, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities"; and

Whereas the Legion maintains a leading role in the creation and care of memorials to the contributions and valour of our veterans and ex-service members; and

Whereas the Liscombe Branch of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command will host a service to remember the deeds of the fallen on Remembrance Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of each Legion branch in Nova Scotia, especially Liscombe Branch for all that they do to ensure those who have fallen are remembered.

RESOLUTION NO. 1110

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion mandate is "to serve veterans and their dependents, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities"; and

Whereas the Legion maintains a leading role in the creation and care of memorials to the contributions and valour of our veterans and ex-service members; and

Whereas the Torbay Branch, Larrys River, of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command will host a service to remember the deeds of the fallen on Remembrance Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of each Legion branch in Nova Scotia, especially Torbay Branch of Larrys River for all that they do to ensure those who have fallen are remembered.

RESOLUTION NO. 1111

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

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Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion mandate is "to serve veterans and their dependents, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities"; and

Whereas the Legion maintains a leading role in the creation and care of memorials to the contributions and valour of our veterans and ex-service members; and

Whereas the Chedabucto Branch, Canso, of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command will host a service to remember the deeds of the fallen on Remembrance Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of each Legion branch in Nova Scotia, especially Chedabucto Branch of Canso for all that they do to ensure those who have fallen are remembered.

RESOLUTION NO. 1112

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion mandate is "to serve veterans and their dependents, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities"; and

Whereas the Legion maintains a leading role in the creation and care of memorials to the contributions and valour of our veterans and ex-service members; and

Whereas the Al Patterson Branch, Caledonia, of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command will host a service to remember the deeds of the fallen on Remembrance Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of each Legion branch in Nova Scotia, especially Al Patterson Branch of Caledonia for all that they do to ensure those who have fallen are remembered.

RESOLUTION NO. 1113

By: Mr. Jim Boudreau (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

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Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion mandate is "to serve veterans and their dependents, to promote Remembrance, and to act in the service of Canada and its communities"; and

Whereas the Legion maintains a leading role in the creation and care of memorials to the contributions and valour of our veterans and ex-service members; and

Whereas the Guysborough Branch of the Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command will host a service to remember the deeds of the fallen on Remembrance Day;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature recognize the importance of each Legion branch in Nova Scotia, especially Guysborough Branch for all that they do to ensure those who have fallen are remembered.

RESOLUTION NO. 1114

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

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

Whereas Anna Parks, Director of Community Economic Development, has been an employee of the Colchester Regional Development Authority for 12 years; and

Whereas as well as being a County Councilor for Colchester, a member of CoRDA's board and a librarian for 20 years at the vocational school, Anna has also been involved with the Creamery Square Project in Tatamagouche, Colchester Adult Learning Association, Elizabeth Bishop House in Great Village, Bass River Museum, Debert Military Museum, the Community Access Program, the Dutch Mason Blues Festival, and many more; and

Whereas in 2004 Anna received an honorary diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College for her leadership as a lively and results-focused advocate for literacy, volunteerism, social justice, and community learning in Colchester County;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Anna Parks for her many contributions to the Colchester region and offer congratulations and best wishes upon her retirement from the Colchester Regional Development Authority.

RESOLUTION NO. 1115

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

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

Whereas earlier this year the staff at the Willow Lodge Home for Special Care in Colchester North wanted to feel like a part of the community, so they entered the Kraft Hockeyville Contest by decorating the home's dining room with a Kraft Dinner and hockey-inspired theme; and

Whereas along with a meal served to the residents of the lodge by the Titans Minor Hockey players, tables were topped with hockey skates, boxes of Kraft Dinner, Tatamagouche Titans jerseys, and other hockey paraphernalia; and

Whereas for their creative efforts, community spirit, and passion for hockey, the lodge was awarded a top prize of $1,000 which was donated to the Tatamagouche and Area Minor Hockey Association;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Willow Lodge Home for Special Care for being selected the only contest winner in the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 1116

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

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

Whereas Onslow resident Andrea Manthorne was named the 2009 recipient of the Patricia Helliwell Volunteer Tutor Award for her work within the community-based Nova Scotia Adult Literacy Program for 14 years; and

Whereas Andrea received her reward September 8 during an awards ceremony in Dartmouth as part of festivities commemorating Nova Scotia's 19th Annual International Literacy Day celebrations; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's Adult Education Program offers significant assistance for those individuals attempting to move ahead in today's ever-changing working environment;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House of Assembly applaud the tremendous work ethic of Onslow's Andrea Manthorne, while commending her for devotion to Nova Scotia's community-based adult literacy program and her work with the Colchester Adult Learning Association.

RESOLUTION NO. 1117

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By: Hon. Karen Casey (Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

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

Whereas Dana Pettipas of Linwood, Antigonish County, has been named a recipient of the W. Garfield Weston Foundation award for 2009, and is one of only 50 people from across Canada to receive such an honour; and

Whereas the W. Garfield Weston Foundation awards individuals for academic performance, as well as values such as character, entrepreneurial energy, and service to the community, Dana has proven herself a deserving recipient of this award and an invaluable member of her community; and

Whereas Dana's commitment to lifelong learning is an admirable trait and truly sets a positive example for all Nova Scotians to follow;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly applaud Dana Pettipas on this impressive accomplishment and pay tribute to her community spirit.

RESOLUTION NO. 1118

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

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

Whereas healthy and prosperous communities are made up of unsung heroes, quietly giving of themselves for the betterment of others; and

Whereas Howard Wilson of Hillside, Pictou County, serves as a true example of the power of the human spirit; his daily acts of kindness bring pleasure to friends, neighbours and individuals in need he has never met personally; and

Whereas Howard Wilson demonstrates random acts of kindness, increases the quality of life for numerous individuals and instills pride in those around him while never asking for anything in return;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend their appreciation to Howard Wilson for his tremendous efforts to bring happiness and pleasure to many, Howard exemplifies true Nova Scotia character.

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RESOLUTION NO. 1119

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

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

Whereas on August 9, 2009 the revitalized and rejuvenated Allan Park was celebrated in Stellarton, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Communities in Bloom members Denise Taylor, Joan Hudry, Judy Stancombe, Kathryn Saunders, Carmen Mercer, Carol Francis, Jane Taylor, Debbie Sobey and Anne Jenkins worked tirelessly for three years to help instill pride and increase quality of life for their neighbours; and

Whereas his volunteer organization exemplifies excellence in community development and successfully raised the importance of environmental responsibility, community involvement, healthy lifestyles and teamwork;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend appreciation and congratulations to Stellarton Communities in Bloom for their dedication and commitment to their hometown as these individuals have proven Stellarton, Nova Scotia a wonderful place to live, work and visit.

RESOLUTION NO. 1120

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

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

Whereas Abdul Rafih was recognized for his community contributions at the 2007 African Heritage Month banquet hosted by the African Nova Scotian community of Truro; and

Whereas Abdul Rafih founded the Chook Maxwell Golf Tournament, which is an annual event that raises money for the Stan Maxwell Memorial Playground; and

Whereas Abdul Rafih has provided leadership in various community organizations including the Truro Tourism Committee, the Truro Police Commission, the Truro Golf Club, the Downtown Development Corporation and the Affirmative Action Committee;

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Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Abdul Rafih for being recognized by the African Nova Scotia community of Truro, thank him for his continuing community service and leadership and extend to him, his wife Donna and sons Jody and Zack, best wishes for the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1121

By: Hon. Karen Casey (Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party)

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

Whereas Kathy Harpell's Salmon River home was declared unsafe after flood water washed away the ground beneath her garage; and

Whereas a volunteer group of her Salmon River neighbours, both business and individual, led by former Commonwealth Games weightlifting silver medalist, Wayne Smith of Wayne Smith Welding Co. Ltd., tore down the garage and did needed landscaping thus making the Harpell home safe again; and

Whereas Armtec, Cook's Lawn Maintenance, Crowe's Trucking and Milton Hoyt Trucking and Excavating Ltd. all donated time, talent, labour and materials to the project;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly thank Wayne Smith and his group of exceptional volunteers who made Kathy Harpell's home liveable again because it's the right thing to do, and for showing, once again, that helping a neighbour is part of the fabric of Salmon River.