The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 09-6

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, SEPTEMBER 23, 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Energy - Tidal Energy Proj., Hon. W. Estabrooks 244
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 136, Nat. Res. - Staff/Firefighters: Quebec/Ont. Forest Fires -
Assistance, Hon. J. MacDonell 247
Vote - Affirmative 248
Res. 137, Procurement Services - Sustainable Procurement Policy,
Hon. P. Paris 249
Vote - Affirmative 249
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
Bill No. 16, Motor Vehicle Act, Hon. R. Jennex 249
Bill No. 17, Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act,
Hon. J. MacDonell 249
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 138, Michelin (N.S. - Anniv. (40th),
Hon. S. McNeil 250
Vote - Affirmative 250
Res. 139, Brown, Meghan: Can. Summer Games (2009) - Flag-bearer,
Hon. K. Casey 250
Vote - Affirmative 251
Res. 140, St. Marks Anglican Church (Porters Lake) - Anniv. (100th),
Hon. K. Colwell 251
Vote - Affirmative 252
Res. 141, Robinson, Doug: Best Wishes - Send,
Hon. M. Scott 252
Vote - Affirmative 252
Res. 142, Coldbrook Commun. Assoc. - Contributions,
Hon. R. Jennex 253
Vote - Affirmative 253
Res. 143, Boots on the Street Prog.: C.B. Reg. Police - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 253
Vote - Affirmative 254
Res. 144, Muise, Pierre: Fam./Prov. Courts Judge - Appt.,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 254
Vote - Affirmative 255
Res. 145, Fiske, Brett - Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 255
Vote - Affirmative 256
Res. 146, ChronicleHerald/Global Maritimes -
Raise-a-Reader Campaign, Ms. K. Regan 256
Vote - Affirmative 257
Res. 147, Hantsport Under 12 Girls Soccer Team - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Porter 257
Vote - Affirmative 258
Res. 148, Sullivan, David - Truro & Dist. Lions Award,
Ms. L. Zann 258
Vote - Affirmative 258
Res. 149, Vautour, Marie - Veterans Affs. Min. Commendation,
Mr. L. Glavine 259
Vote - Affirmative 259
Res. 150, Raise-a-Reader Prog.: Participants - Congrats.,
Mr. A. MacLeod 259
Vote - Affirmative 260
Res. 151, Co-op Atl.: Local Foods - Awareness,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 260
Vote - Affirmative 261
Res. 152, Sponagle, Barry - Recognition, Hon. C. Clarke 261
Vote - Affirmative 261
Res. 153, St. Michael's Polish Benefit Soc. - Anniv. (100th),
Mr. G. Gosse 262
Vote - Affirmative 262
Res. 154, Fraser, David - Baddeck Acad. Contributions (35 yrs.),
Mr. K. Bain 262
Vote - Affirmative 263
Res. 155, Cole Hbr. Hot Shots Ringette Team - IKON Award,
The Premier 263
Vote - Affirmative 264
Res. 156, EduNova - Support Continue, Mr. A. MacLeod 264
Vote - Affirmative 265
Res. 157, ChronicleHerald/Global mar./Vols. - Raise-a-Reader Prog.,
Mr. L. Preyra 265
Vote - Affirmative 266
Res. 158, Maple Grove Educ. Ctr./Yarmouth Mem. HS -
Soldiers Memorial, Hon. R. Hurlburt 266
Vote - Affirmative 267
Res. 159, Barkhouse, Joyce - Order of Canada,
Mr. G. Ramey 267
Vote - Affirmative 268
Res. 160, Justice: Illegal Drug Battle - Law Enforcement Officers Support,
Hon. M. Scott 268
Vote - Affirmative 268
Res. 161, Gaudet, Laura - World Transplant Games,
Mr. B. Skabar 268
Vote - Affirmative 269
Res. 162, Can. Summer Games (2009) - Col. North Athletes,
Hon. K. Casey 269
Vote - Affirmative 270
Res. 163, Addison, Brent - Can. Games (2009),
Mr. M. Whynott 270
Vote - Affirmative 271
Res. 164, Crown Jewel Resort Ranch - Nat'l. Geographic Recognition,
Mr. K. Bain 271
Vote - Affirmative 271
Res. 165, Blenkhorn, Ruth - Federated Women's Institutes (Can.):
President - Election, Mr. J. Morton 272
Vote - Affirmative 272
Res. 166, W. Hants Thunder Bantam Softball Team - Championships,
Mr. C. Porter 273
Vote - Affirmative 273
Res. 167, Oakhill & Dist. FD - Anniv. (35th),
Ms. P. Birdsall 273
Vote - Affirmative 274
Res. 168, ER Closures - End, Hon. C. d'Entremont 274
Res. 169, Coady Int'l. Instit. - Anniv. (50th),
Mr. J. Boudreau 275
Vote - Affirmative 275
Res. 170, TIR Min.: Marine Atl. - Traffic Configuration,
Hon. C. Clarke 276
Vote - Affirmative 276
Res. 171, Hupman, Brianna - Science Olympics,
Hon. S. Belliveau 276
Vote - Affirmative 277
Res. 172, Fahey, Gus: N.S. Sport Hall of Fame - Induction,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 277
Vote - Affirmative 278
Res. 173, Word on the Street Fest. - Commun. Contribution,
Mr. L. Preyra 278
Vote - Affirmative 278
Res. 174, McNeil, Carl - Birthday (90th), Mr. M. Whynott 279
Vote - Affirmative 279
Res. 175, Cent. Kings Rural HS - Beyond Borders Prog.,
Mr. J. Morton 279
Vote - Affirmative 280
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 14, Gov't.(N.S.): Interest Payments - Cost, Hon. S. McNeil 280
No. 15, Educ.: Commun. College Teachers/Pub. Sch. Teachers -
Equality, Hon. K. Casey 281
No. 16, SNSMR: Gas Reg. - Taxation Border, Hon. S. McNeil 282
No. 17, ERD: New WTCC - Gov't. Support, Hon. K. Colwell 284
No. 18, Health: Med. Equipment - Reprocessing, Hon. K. Casey 285
No. 19, Health - Caregiver Allowance Prog., Ms. D. Whalen 286
No. 20, Health - Caregiver Allowance Prog., Hon. C. d'Entremont 288
No. 21, TIR: Crosswalk Flags - Authorization, Mr. A. Younger 289
No. 22, Health: ERs - Protection, Hon. C. Clarke 291
No. 23, Health - Caregiver Allowance Prog., Hon. W. Gaudet 292
No. 24, Health - Caregiver Allowance Prog., Mr. K. Bain 294
No. 25, Health - Caregiver Allowance Prog., Ms. D. Whalen 295
No. 26, Agric.: Cattle Producers - Funding, Mr. C. Porter 296
No. 27, Energy - Keep the Heat Prog., Mr. A. Younger 298
No. 28, Environ. - Mink Farm (Yar. Co.) - Moratorium,
Hon. R. Hurlburt 299
No. 29, SNSMR: CBRM - Equalization Payments,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 301
No. 30, Justice - Boots on the Street Prog., Hon. C. Clarke 302
No. 31, Energy: Eastrock Resources - Exploration Licence,
Mr. L. Glavine 304
No. 32, Fish.: Fishermen - Commitments Fulfill, Mr. A. MacLeod 305
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 36, Amherst: Gas Tax - Reduction,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 305
Hon. S. McNeil 306
Hon. R. Jennex 308
Hon. M. Scott 310
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 314
Res. 65, Gov't. (N.S.) - Infrastructure Plans, Hon. W. Gaudet 317
Hon. W. Gaudet 317
Hon. W. Estabrooks 319
Hon. R. Hurlburt 322
Hon. Manning MacDonald 324
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Whitney Pier Youth Club: Staff - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Gosse 327
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 330
Hon. C. Clarke 332
ADJOURNMENT, The House rose to meet again on Thur., Sept. 24th at 2 p.m. 335
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 176, Boutilier, Jonathan: N.S. Canada Games Men's Baseball Team
- Selection, Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 336
Res. 177, Yarmouth YMCA - Dog Jog (16th), Hon. R. Hurlburt 336

[Page 243]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 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. Before we start the daily routine, I just want to announce the late debate under Rule 5(5), submitted by the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the staff of the Whitney Pier Youth Club who provide exceptional programming for youth in the Whitney Pier area for over 15 years.

That will be at the moment of interruption. (Applause)

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

[Page 244]

243

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

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

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments of the House's time this afternoon to make a ministerial statement on tidal energy. I'll be handing you a copy in a few moments.

It gives me great pleasure to rise today to make a few comments on the in-stream tidal energy project which our province is becoming involved with. As my colleagues in the House are aware, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy - with the acronym FORCE - has received environmental approval to test a small number of devices in our ocean environment. This is great news welcomed by many Nova Scotians, welcomed by MLAs on both sides of the House. People understand in this province the need for more green energy and they understand the potential in the Fundy tides, the world's highest tides.

Nova Scotians want us to explore this new technology and determine if we can harness tidal energy in a sustainable manner. The terms of the environmental approval are strict but I want to ensure the House, they are practical. They're closely aligned with what we heard from the people around the Bay - that is the Bay of Fundy - last year during the tidal consultation. People said, let's do this and let's do it carefully. That will be our following for sure.

Mr. Speaker, we are listening on this issue. We want to see how a few devices work in a small project before we think about doing this on a bigger scale. We're going to learn a lot about these devices, what affect they have on our environment and what affect the environment, especially those harsh winter tides may have on these particular devices. The Bay of Fundy is too important for all of us to not proceed with caution.

I also want to mention the $7 million of ecoNova Scotia funding that the province is making available for FORCE and the development of tidal energy in Nova Scotia. Above the $7 million, the province has directed another $2 million for independent tidal energy research. Some of those research awards will be granted very shortly.

Many people will be watching this project very carefully- many people from around the world. The Deputy Premier and I had the opportunity to recently meet the Ambassador from Chile when he visited us in our offices. What he was most interested in - aside from the game of hockey - of course, what we were doing with tidal power. That's in Chile and Nova Scotians are just as interested.

[Page 245]

On that note, we welcome news that FORCE has also begun to appoint its first board of directors. The board will oversee FORCE operations, including device installation and removal, environmental monitoring, ongoing maintenance and future direction. Together the partners of FORCE will create a centre of excellence for research, for technology and for expertise and, Mr. Speaker, some of that expertise is already here in our province.

We have one of three tidal power plants in the world at Annapolis Royal. We have some of the world best researchers in marine academics. We are also known for our skills in the offshore oil and gas sector, now we're using those same skills in the tidal energy industry.

Cherubini Metal Works in Dartmouth has built a sub-sea base for the first in-stream tidal device on our ocean floor. OpenHydro, in partnership with Nova Scotia Power, intends to join this sub-sea base and turbine and then put it into the water very soon. Cherubini is leading the way for many Nova Scotian companies to participate in the future, providing new jobs and a greener economy right here in Nova Scotia. When fully operational, FORCE expects to produce enough power for about 1,200 homes.

[2:15 p.m.]

More importantly, Mr. Speaker, the potential for tidal energy is huge. The Bay of Fundy may provide enough power for 100,000 homes and possibly many more. This tidal demonstration project will help us determine what is practical and what is safe.

The province will also look at how we move forward in the future, how we structure potential benefits and potentially allow for the demonstration of smaller community energy devices. If tidal energy is going to be a reality, it can be done safely. We need to provide clarity to fishermen, developers and all Nova Scotians around the future direction of tidal power. That policy work is now underway. This is an important direction, and I again emphasize it will be done safely.

Mr. Speaker, the Bay of Fundy is recognized around the world, known for its powerful tides, rich resources and tremendous beauty. Now we're going to see if we can add in-stream tidal energy to its many attributes. I am proud to say that we are on our way to finding that out. Thank you for your time. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to rise today and respond on behalf of the Liberal caucus and I thank the minister for the advance copy of his remarks today, it is very much appreciated.

[Page 246]

Mr. Speaker, the announcement today is clearly very important for Nova Scotia and I am happy that the government is finally moving forward with this trial project. Nova Scotia has moved far too slowly on renewable energy implementation thus far and we must move towards renewable energy investments if we are to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and cease our dependence on fossil fuels.

As I stated in my response to the Speech from the Throne earlier this week, we must stem the tide of exporting our energy dollars and even with today's announcement, turning off the tap that sends those energy dollars elsewhere is still a long way off. Generating our own renewable energy alleviates the pressure we're putting on the environment and our dependence on foreign oil and foreign fossil fuels.

Now, the Liberal Party has been telling government for years that we must work together and move our province forward when it comes to renewable energy. This is a small stepping stone and the ability to harness power in the Bay of Fundy is unquestionably tremendous and it's a tremendous accomplishment to get this far and we applaud the proponents who have taken us this far in the plan.

However, we must have a very careful and watchful eye on this project. We must be vigilant that this mission does not impact our environment or our very important fisheries industry while we continue to use the Bay of Fundy as a tidal power source. Installing devices as these large devices could have an adverse effect on the ecosystems in the Bay of Fundy and we want to make sure that this is properly managed. We will be calling on the government and watching the government very closely to ensure that is monitored.

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of interests at stake here between fisheries, tourism, environment and, of course, the energy industry. We'll be looking to the government to make sure that all of those needs and desires are balanced. Thank you very much.

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

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to rise in my capacity as Energy Critic to respond to this ministerial statement and I will acknowledge and thank the minister for providing an advance copy of the ministerial statement.

I would have to note as well, Mr. Speaker, it is the only dialogue that has happened between that minister and the critics and, in fact, would note further that there has been no dialogue from ministries with the critics about proposed legislation and other items that are key to this House for the long-standing tradition that would have been in place.

Then again, Mr. Speaker, I am back to the topic and I just note for the House that I am pleased to echo the minister's excitement about the Fundy Tidal Energy Demonstration Project, the in-stream tidal energy initiative. I was pleased to hear that project was granted environmental approval to proceed since, indeed, this was a project that the Progressive

[Page 247]

Conservative Government was interested in seeing moving forward and, indeed, was on our desks.

The approvals are, of course, subject to the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy, or FORCE, adhering to strict environmental guidelines. As was indicated by my colleague in the Liberal caucus, the Progressive Conservative caucus will certainly hold the government accountable to this promise during the demonstration phases. I am confident, though, that the Parties involved will ensure it does become a true success and further built on. The economic spinoffs that could result from this project would be great for the region and for Nova Scotia. One such benefit is going to be the centre of excellence for research and technology.

Mr. Speaker, I was reminded by my honourable colleague, the member for Cumberland South, that Parrsboro Mayor Doug Robinson, who has been a driving force behind the tidal power project has worked tirelessly to ensure the centre of excellence is in his community. Indeed we want to recognize with regret that, due to health problems the Mayor was facing, he had to resign last night, but it must be comforting to him to know that this project that he worked so hard on is moving forward. We do pass him our best wishes in dealing with his personal health concerns. Not only a base for monitoring the results of the FORCE projects, the centre would attract researchers and academics from around the world to study and to learn.

I'd also like to congratulate Dartmouth's Cherubini Metal Works as was indicated by the Minister who built the turbines' seabed base. It's great to see a Nova Scotian company succeeding, especially in the up and coming sector of green energy. With that, Mr. Speaker, I thank the members for their attention.

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 136

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

Whereas this past summer the Department of Natural Resources sent 34 staff, including 30 firefighters, to battle forest fires in Quebec and British Columbia; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia contingent spent approximately three weeks cumulatively working alongside firefighters from across Canada and other parts of the world; and

[Page 248]

Whereas these Nova Scotians have gained invaluable experience they can now apply to fighting fires here at home;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the efforts of the 34 Department of Natural Resources staff, and in particular 30 firefighters, for their contribution to help fight forest fires in Quebec and British Columbia.

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 Economic and Rural Development.

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, before I read my notice of motion, I'd like to make a brief introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. PARIS: Thank you. Mr. Speaker and honourable members of the House, I will bring your attention to the Speaker's Gallery. I would like to introduce a very special and distinguished guest who is seated in the gallery today.

It is my honour to welcome Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III, ruling prince of the African country of Cameroon, to the Nova Scotia House of Assembly. An international scholar and professor, the prince is committed to the recovery, rehabilitation and recreation of the African civilization both within and outside of Africa. He is a political and cultural activist and the founder of AfricAvenar, a non-governmental, non-profit organization whose aims are awareness and education. The prince is visiting Nova Scotia this week to meet with economic development, education and cultural organizations to build awareness of his mission and explore possible linkages related to the cultural heritage, tourism and business.

Before I ask the prince to rise, I would like to acknowledge those attending with him, Martine Jacquot and Michael Wyse, my executive assistants. I would now like to ask the

[Page 249]

prince to rise and ask the honourable members to welcome him to the House. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome our special guest as we welcome all our guests here in the gallery today. Minister, you have a notice of motion as well.

The honourable Minister of Economic and Rural Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 137

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

Whereas Nova Scotia is the first province in Canada to adopt a sustainable procurement policy; and

Whereas the social, economic, and environmental health of Nova Scotians will be considered in procurement decisions; and

Whereas this policy will help support Nova Scotia businesses in a shift toward sustainability;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the staff at Procurement Services for their effort in the research and development of the Sustainable Procurement Policy, which will continue to make Nova Scotia a great place to have secure jobs, raise their families, and build a life.

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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 250]

Bill No. 16 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Hon. Ramona Jennex)

Bill No. 17 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 22 of the Acts of 2000. The Agricultural Marshland Conservation Act. (Hon. John MacDonell)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 138

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

Whereas in July 1969 Michelin announced it was coming to North America and it would build two plants in Nova Scotia, one in Granton and one in Bridgewater; and

Whereas this year Michelin is celebrating 40 years of operations in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas during the last four decades Michelin has produced millions of tires, created thousands of jobs, invested billions of dollars, and announced a number of expansions, including the addition of a third facility in Waterville in 1982;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Michelin on their achievements and wishing them success for 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 Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

[Page 251]

RESOLUTION NO. 139

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

Whereas a Colchester North female athlete, Meghan Brown, was chosen for the distinguished honour of leading her Team Nova Scotia teammates into the opening ceremony as flag-bearer for the recent 2009 Canada Summer Games; and

Whereas Meghan was chosen for her academic accomplishments, community work by coaching and organizing fundraisers and tournaments, as well as a strong leader and team player; and

Whereas Meghan's passion is softball, accomplishing rookie of the year on her high school fastball team, shared most valuable player in 2007 and was named most valuable player in 2008, as well as top pitcher and all-star pitcher at the 2006 and 2007 Midget Eastern Canadians;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Meghan Brown for this overwhelming experience she will never forget.

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 Preston.

[2:30 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 140

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

Whereas St. Mark's Anglican Church was established in 1825 in Porters Lake; and

[Page 252]

Whereas the original church building was torn down in 1909 and rebuilt in the same year, using most of the original wood in the construction of the new church building, which is in almost-new condition even today; and

Whereas St. Mark's Anglican Church will be celebrating their 100th Anniversary of the opening of the new building on September 27, 2009;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate St. Mark's Anglican Church on their 100th Anniversary of the opening of the new church building and wish them many more years of worship there.

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. 141

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

Whereas Doug Robinson has been a long-serving mayor for the Town of Parrsboro and, as well, a true personal friend of mine; and

Whereas Mayor Robinson has been a driving force behind harnessing tidal energy from the Minas Basin by travelling to Scotland, learning about technology, and attending many meetings; and

Whereas unfortunately Doug is personally battling leukemia and last night tendered his resignation as mayor of Parrsboro to focus on his health and his family;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send best wishes to Doug Robinson and his family in his battle against leukemia, and recognize his efforts in

[Page 253]

harnessing tidal energy in the Minas Basin and all the good work he has pursued on behalf of the residents of Parrsboro and Nova Scotia, of which I am so proud.

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 Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 142

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

Whereas the Coldbrook Community Association acts as a voice with various levels of government on issues affecting the community of Coldbrook and its residents; and

Whereas the Coldbrook Community Association contributes to many local community charities and causes; and

Whereas the Coldbrook Community Association organizes community events such as the Family Fun Day, which occurred on September 12, 2009, at the Coldbrook and District School;

Therefore be it resolved that the House recognize the continuing contributions of the Coldbrook Community Association in fostering community spirit and good citizenship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 254]

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. 143

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 the Cape Breton Regional Police Service program Boots on the Street has had a positive impact on the streets of Glace Bay; and

Whereas with these extra resources the Cape Breton Regional Police Service Drug Unit has been able to have a major impact on street crime and the drug trade within CBRM; and

Whereas the program has been responsible for the seizure of drugs and tobacco with a street value of $5.7 million and the seizure of large amounts of cash and 217 individuals being charged;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the success of the Boots on the Street program and congratulate the Cape Breton Regional Police Service on its efforts.

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. 144

[Page 255]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: M. le Président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que le vendredi 5 juin, Pierre Muise de Quinan, du comté de Yarmouth, a été nommé juge au tribunal de la famille et juge à la cour provinciale; et

Attendu que Pierre Muise a été admis au Barreau en 1996 et a depuis assumé les fonctions de substitut senior au Procueur général, avec le Public Prosecution Service de la Nouvelle- Écosse à Yarmouth, et du fait qu'il est bilingue pourra assurer la continuation des services en français dans les tribunaux de la province lorsque le juge Jean-Louis Batiot prendra sa retraite; et

Attendu que Pierre Muise a été président et administrateur de l'Association des avocats du comté de Yarmouth, et aussi membre de l'exécutif et représentant de la Confederacy of Nova Scotia Metis, ainsi que membre du Yarmouth and district Métis Council;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette Chambre se joignent à moi pour féliciter Pierre Muise pour sa nomination comme juge à la cour provinciale et lui souhaitent beaucoup de succès dans sa carrière.

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

Whereas on Friday, June 5th, Pierre Muise from Quinan, Yarmouth County was appointed as the newest judge of the Family and Provincial Courts; and

Whereas Pierre Muise was admitted to the Bar in 1996 and has since been a senior Crown Attorney with the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service in Yarmouth and being bilingual will conduct trials in French, thus ensuring that French language services are maintained when Judge Jean-Louis Batiot will retire; and

Whereas Pierre Muise has served as president and director of the Yarmouth County Barristers' Society and as executive member and recognized agent of the Confederacy of Nova Scotia Métis, as well as the Yarmouth and District Métis Council;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Pierre Muise on his appointment as judge of the Family and Provincial Courts of Nova Scotia and wish him continued success in his career.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 256]

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. 145

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future

day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas Lockeport Elementary School's, Brett Fiske, was a member of the winning team, Goo Crew, at the Tri-County Regional School Board's regional science olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Brett Fiske held his team to a third-place finish in Grade 6 competition; and

Whereas the Goo Crew were among 27 teams of Grade 4 through Grade 6 students who advanced to the regional science olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Lockeport Elementary School's Brett Fiske, who was a member of the winning team, Goo Crew, at the Tri-County Regional School Board's regional science olympics on June 4, 2009.

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 Bedford-Birch Cove.

RESOLUTION NO. 146

[Page 257]

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

Whereas The ChronicleHerald and Global Maritimes are local sponsors of the national Raise-a-Reader campaign for local literacy programs; and

Whereas over three million Canadians have difficulty reading information like directions, prescription medications, their children's report cards, or a set of instructions; and

Whereas throughout metro, volunteers gathered this morning to sell a special edition of The ChronicleHerald for a donation in an effort to raising much-needed funds for local literacy programs;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate everyone who was involved with the 2009 Raise-a-Reader campaign 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.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 147

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

Whereas the Hantsport Under 12 Tier 2B girls' soccer team took home provincial championship honours for the 2009 soccer season in Sydney River on September 12th and 13th; and

Whereas Hantsport dominated throughout the championship tournament as they won all four of their games, while not allowing a single goal to be scored upon them; and

[Page 258]

Whereas Kyleigh Ford and Kristen Jodrey played key roles in the championship tournament with Ford scoring five goals, including three winners, while Jodrey earned three shutouts and played outstanding in nets;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly extend our sincere congratulations to the Hantsport Under 12 Tier 2B girls' soccer team on their 2009 Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship season.

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 Truro-Bible Hill.

RESOLUTION NO. 148

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

Whereas David Sullivan of Truro, Nova Scotia, was recently recognized by Lions International - Truro and District by means of the 2009 President's Appreciation Award; and

Whereas David Sullivan spends at least 26 hours a week working for volunteer groups such as the Lions Club, Relay for Life, Red Cross, Canadian Blood Services, Truro Welcome Centre, John Howard Restorative Justice and Immanuel Baptist Church; and

Whereas David Sullivan began volunteering in high school when he offered hours at the Oromocto Hospital in New Brunswick as a nurse's aide, bathing, feeding and transporting patients within the hospital;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate David Sullivan on being recognized with the 2009 Lions International - Truro and District President's Appreciation Award and thank him for his hours of community volunteering.

[Page 259]

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 Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 149

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

Whereas the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation was presented on May 18, 2009, recognizing veterans from across Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas the commendation formerly recognizes the contribution of veterans throughout the veteran community and for those who have represented and been commendable role models to their fellow veterans; and

Whereas Marie Vautour of Kingston received the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation in honour of contributions to the Canadian Association of Veterans, the United Nations Peacekeeping, the Royal Canadian Legion, her contributions to various veteran-related activities and her fundraising activities to aid veterans;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Marie Vautour for this distinguished honour and wish her continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 260]

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. 150

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

Whereas Wednesday, September 23rd is Raise-A-Reader Day; and

Whereas Tim Hortons locations across Cape Breton raised money for children's and family literacy programs; and

Whereas literacy is a vital skill in today's society, yet many still struggle with the basic functional skills required to function;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate those involved with the Raise-A-Reader program and pledge to do their part to assist in the fight against illiteracy.

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 151

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

[Page 261]

Whereas the chain of Co-op Atlantic stores held an Eat Atlantic Challenge on September 4th to promote food producers and invite residents to eat local foods; and

Whereas the prime motivation of eating local foods is good for the economy, the environment and our future; and

Whereas thousands of people, including food producers, craft artisans and members of the general public turned out to participate throughout Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate Co-op Atlantic for providing awareness of the wide array of locally produced foods that come from our own neighbourhoods and a commitment to identify and promote these products throughout the year.

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.

[2:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 152

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

Whereas New Glasgow native Barry Sponagle continues to inspire young boxers of Pictou County as a trainer with the Albion Amateur Boxing Club and Westville Boxing Club and this legend teaches skills, sportsmanship, respect and love of the sport; and

Whereas Barry Sponagle simultaneously held Canadian lightweight and Canadian junior lightweight titles he was sought world over by fans for his quality and respected sparring abilities; and

[Page 262]

Whereas Barry Sponagle's record earned him induction into the Pictou County Sport Heritage Hall of Fame, the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend recognition to Canadian boxing legend Barry Sponagle - his ability to inspire youth to chase their dreams and believe in themselves will help ensure a vibrant and prosperous future in Nova Scotia.

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 Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 153

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

Whereas on Saturday, September 26, 2009, the St. Michael's Polish Benefit Society will celebrate their 100th Anniversary; and

Whereas for the past century, the St. Michael's Polish Benefit Society has supported local families through difficult times, thrived, to see cultural traditions flourish, and strived for a better life for its ancestors; and

Whereas to commemorate this momentous occasion, the church will celebrate with a mass at St. Mary's Polish Parish followed by a banquet of the finest Polish music and cuisine;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the St. Michael's Polish Benefit Society on a century of dedication and commitment to their members and neighbours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 263]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 154

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

Whereas the 2nd Annual Baddeck Academy Awards night was held earlier this summer; and

Whereas the ceremony saw teacher, sports enthusiast, and all- round great guy, David Fraser, announce his retirement after 35 years of being involved in athletics at Baddeck Academy; and

Whereas David's devotion to the children and their athletic pursuits at Baddeck Academy is an encouraging story that a majority of teachers in Nova Scotia are not likely to match;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud David Fraser for his 35 years of exceptional athletic and teaching contributions at Baddeck Academy, and wish him nothing but good fortune and 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.

[Page 264]

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 155

HON. DARRELL DEXTER (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Cole Harbour Hot Shots Ringette team was awarded the 2009 Team of the Year in the IKON Sport Awards; and

Whereas the members of the team have worked hard and dedicated their time and commitment to be the best in their sport; and

Whereas the Cole Harbour Hot Shots are role models for Nova Scotians interested in competitive sport;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House congratulate the members of the Cole Harbour Hot Shots Ringette Team on winning the 2009 IKON Sport Team of the Year Award, and thank them for their commitment to sport and dedication to active living.

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.

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wonder, could I do an introduction before I do my resolution?

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. MACLEOD: Thank you. I would ask the members of the House to pay attention to the west gallery where we have Brian Lahey who is the councillor for District 1 in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. He is up here for meetings for the CBRM. (Applause)

[Page 265]

AN HON. MEMBER: Acting mayor.

MR. MACLEOD: No, he is not the acting mayor, Mr. Speaker.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 156

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

Whereas this week the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre hosted an Export Rally put on by EduNova; and

Whereas trade is becoming increasingly global, and for business to succeed here in Nova Scotia many need to look beyond their own borders; and

Whereas EduNova is playing a vital role in training business people in both the public and private sector, which has the ultimate result of an increasingly competitive Nova Scotia economy;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly will continue to support EduNova and all organizations encouraging economic development and increasing global competitiveness in Nova Scotia.

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 Citadel-Sable Island.

RESOLUTION NO. 157

[Page 266]

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

Whereas Raise-a-Reader is a national campaign to generate funds for local literacy programs and to increase awareness about the importance of encouraging family literacy; and

Whereas today The ChronicleHerald and Global Maritimes and dozens of volunteers from the community - including the Premier, I might add, and the member for Kings West - will hit the streets of Halifax to raise funds to support the Raise-a-Reader program and local literacy programs; and

Whereas last year more than $15,000 was raised in the greater Halifax area by volunteers who exchanged a special Raise-a-Reader edition of The ChronicleHerald for cash donations;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate The ChronicleHerald, Global Maritimes, the Premier, and all the volunteers and community members who are giving so generously to increase awareness about the importance of encouraging family literacy.

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 Economic and Rural Development on an introduction.

HON. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring the attention of the House to the east gallery. In the east gallery today there is somebody who I grew up with from Windsor, Nova Scotia. If I may, I just want to bring to your attention that he played hockey at Acadia University and I think there are some hockey records at Acadia University that still stand to this very day. Besides his talents on the ice, he has been a very loyal and close friend for all my life, he also ran in the last provincial election for the NDP. I would like for him to stand and receive a warm welcome from the House, Brian Mosher. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We welcome all our guests here today.

[Page 267]

The honourable member for Yarmouth.

RESOLUTION NO. 158

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

Whereas Brigadier General David Neasmith visited Maple Grove Education Centre early in September to speak with the Maple Grove and Yarmouth High Memorial Club and while the club was impressed to have a significant speaker, it was General Neasmith who left 100 per cent impressed following his visit; and

Whereas while visiting, Brigadier General and Regimental Sergeant Mike Hornbrook were practically moved to tears when they saw the memorial erected on the grounds of the Maple Grove Education Centre bearing the names of the Canadian soldiers who have died while serving their country in Afghanistan; and

Whereas as part of the visit the Brigadier General presented Maple Grove Principal Svein Ravlo, Yarmouth High Principal Brent Jamieson, and Memorial Club Leader Joe Bishara with a commander commendation which the Brigadier said are not handed out lightly;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly applaud the genuine heartfelt memorial put together by the Maple Grove Education Centre and the Yarmouth High School Memorial Club.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 159

[Page 268]

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

Whereas Ms. Joyce Barkhouse is a Nova Scotia born writer of considerable merit; and

Whereas Ms. Barkhouse has created, through her writing of works like Pit Pony, a snapshot of maritime life and history; and

Whereas Ms. Barkhouse was recently presented with the Order of Canada by Her Honour, Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis at a private ceremony in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, on August 24th;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the prolific work of Nova Scotia author Ms. Joyce Barkhouse and offer her congratulations and best wishes on receiving the Order of Canada.

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. 160

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

Whereas September is the start of harvest time in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas unfortunately all the crops that are harvested are not of the legal variety; and

Whereas the RCMP and municipal forces, along with support from the Department of National Defence, work very hard year-round to eradicate marijuana-growing operations that feed every community in Nova Scotia with illegal drugs;

[Page 269]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support the efforts of all law enforcement officials by congratulating them on their hard work and determination in this ongoing battle against illegal drugs that feed criminal behaviour.

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 North.

RESOLUTION NO. 161

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

Whereas eight-year-old Laura Gaudet, recipient of a heart transplant at just three and a half months old, is now a world medallist upon returning from the 2009 World Transplant Games in Australia; and

Whereas residents of Cumberland County, through their generous donations, allowed Laura's whole family to travel to be with her during her competitions; and

Whereas Laura proudly represented not only the Town of Amherst and Cumberland County, but also the Province of Nova Scotia in her excellent performance at the games;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly extend our congratulations to Laura Gaudet for winning a bronze medal in the ball throw competition at the 2009 World Transplant Games in Australia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 270]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 162

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

Whereas five local Colchester North athletes were chosen to participate in the 2009 Canada Summer Games in Prince Edward Island; and

Whereas these athletes include softball team - Meghan Brown of Lower Onslow, Alicia MacKinnon of Upper Onslow and Katelyn Munro of North River; tennis team - Stephanie Bagnell of Brookside, and volleyball team - Dale Worsley of Lower Onslow; and

Whereas we wished all players the best of luck in Canada's largest amateur multi-sport event;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Meghan, Alicia, Katelyn, Stephanie and Dale for representing the Province of Nova Scotia at the 2009 Canada Summer Games.

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. 163

[Page 271]

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

Whereas from August 15 to 29, 2009, Brent Addison participated in the 2009 Canada Games on Prince Edward Island; and

Whereas Brent Addison participated as an important member of the Nova Scotia Canada Games Team, as a member of the Athletics Team; and

Whereas Brent Addison participated in this once-in-a-lifetime sports and culture event which was attended by more than 20,000 people;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Brent Addison on his participation in Canada Games 2009 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 Victoria-The Lakes.

[3:00 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 164

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

Whereas the Crown Jewel Resort Ranch in the Baddeck Valley is one of two Cape Breton resorts featured among the eco-friendly places to stay anywhere in Canada this year by the National Geographic Traveler Magazine; and

Whereas the Crown Jewel Resort Ranch is described by people as having stayed at the ranch as a "heavenly visit" as it offers everything from horseback riding to dog sledding to mountain biking and bird watching; and

[Page 272]

Whereas Crown Jewel Resort owner Nahman Korem is delighted with the national recognition received by his ranch, saying, "It validates the business direction we took when we opened the resort seven years ago";

Therefore be it resolved that all members in this House of Assembly congratulate Nahman Korem, proud owner of the Crown Jewel Resort Ranch, for his national recognition by National Geographic Traveler Magazine in 2009 and wish him 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.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings North.

MR. JIM MORTON: Mr. Speaker, I'd first like to ask permission to introduce a guest in the gallery.

MR. SPEAKER: Certainly.

MR. MORTON: We have a special guest in the gallery this afternoon. Mr. Ed Twohig is in the east gallery. Mr. Twohig represented Kings North in this House from 1978 to 1984, so I wonder if the House would welcome him.

MR. SPEAKER: It's always great to see former members come back to our Legislature.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 165

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

Whereas Ruth Blenkhorn of Port Williams has been elected president of the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada for a three-year term; and

[Page 273]

Whereas the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada is celebrating its 90th Anniversary in 2009; and

Whereas the Women's Institutes represent thousands of women who provide leadership to rural communities across Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Ruth Blenkhorn on her election as president of the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada and extend best wishes for success during her term of leadership.

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.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 166

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

Whereas the West Hants Thunder Softball team captured the 2009 Nova Scotia Bantam Championship with a convincing 8-3 win over the Brookfield Elks; and

Whereas the Thunder were led by pitcher Matt Lyttle of Ellershouse in the championship victory as he faced 24 batters, three above the minimum level, striking out eight along the way while Mark Swain of Brooklyn was named tournament MVP displaying an awesome offensive performance batting .600 for the tournament; and

Whereas the Thunder then advanced to the Eastern Canadian Bantam Softball Championships in Miramichi, New Brunswick finishing first in their division in round-robin play before eventually settling for the bronze medal after losing to Stratford, Ontario;

[Page 274]

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly applaud the sportsmanship and athletic ability of the West Hants Thunder Bantam Softball Team, Head Coach Jeff Burbridge, Coach/Manager Darrell Lyttle, coaches Stephen Nelson and Kelvin Wallace for an outstanding 2009 softball season while wishing them many years of future 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.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Lunenburg.

RESOLUTION NO. 167

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 Oakhill and District Fire Department has been operating for 35 years and is celebrating its 35th Anniversary; and

Whereas the Oakhill and District Fire Department has just completed major renovations to their hall including spacious truck bays, an upgraded kitchen and a breathing apparatus room thanks to $100,000 in provincial funding; and

Whereas the Oakhill and District Fire Department will be memorializing former member Greg Naugler, as well as handing out provincial long-service medals and federal exemplary service medals during their September 29th Open House;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly extend our congratulations to the Oakhill and District Fire Department on their 35th Anniversary and commend all recipients of long-standing and exemplary service medals during their Open House celebration on September 29, 2009.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 275]

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. 168

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 the Premier made the bold campaign promise of keeping all emergency rooms open, knowing the challenge that we face in finding doctors and nurses to fill all emergency room shifts; and

Whereas while the government has hired an emergency room adviser, there are still many emergency room closures happening across all parts of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the NDP Government has been governing for 96 days;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier act and put an immediate end to all emergency closures as per the Premier's campaign promise.

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 Guysborough-Sheet Harbour.

RESOLUTION NO. 169

[Page 276]

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

Whereas the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University is celebrating 50 years of igniting leadership around the globe; and

Whereas the Coady International Institute provides professional education to over 5,000 leaders, from over 130 countries, who are committed to improving the well-being of their communities, societies, and countries; and

Whereas the Coady International Institute is also celebrating the grand opening of the institute's new home;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Coady International Institute on the grand opening of their new home and their 50 years of igniting leadership, with best wishes for future 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.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

RESOLUTION NO. 170

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

Whereas Marine Atlantic is an integral part of the socio-economic fabric and well-being of the Northside region of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality; and

Whereas Marine Atlantic is a vital link for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for the movement of people and goods; and

Whereas increased traffic volumes have caused ongoing traffic backups on the Trans-Canada Highway, causing a threat to public safety and transportation delays;

[Page 277]

Therefore be it resolved that the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal work with his officials and Marine Atlantic to realize a new traffic configuration for the benefit of travellers, residents, and commercial traffic.

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 Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 171

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

Whereas Lockeport Elementary student Brianna Hupman was a member of the winning team, Goo Crew, at the Tri-County Regional School Board's Regional Science Olympics on June 4, 2009; and

Whereas Brianna Hupman helped her team achieve a third-place finish in the Grade 6 competition; and

Whereas the Goo Crew was among 27 teams of Grades 4 to 6 students who advanced to the Regional Science Olympics by topping district competition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Lockeport Elementary School student Brianna Hupman, a member of the winning team, Goo Crew, at the Tri-County Regional School Board's Regional Science Olympics on June 4, 2009.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 278]

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 Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 172

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

Whereas Gus Fahey began a 41-year career in 1968 as an assistant hockey coach at St. Francis Xavier University; and

Whereas Gus Fahey has been instrumental in building up minor sports in the Town of Westville, and throughout Pictou County, while teaching at the high school level; and

Whereas Gus Fahey has guided nearly 100 teams in various sports and now joins his father, Leo, as an inductee in the builder category in the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate Gus Fahey for his commitment to sport and recreation in Nova Scotia, and recognize the legacy of healthy sport he has imparted to thousands of young people.

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 Citadel-Sable Island.

RESOLUTION NO. 173

[Page 279]

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

Whereas the 13th annual Word on the Street Festival will be taking place on Sunday, September 27th ; and

Whereas the Word on the Street Festival is a celebration of reading and writing and promotes Atlantic and Canadian writers, books, magazines and plays; and

Whereas the Word on the Street Festival brings the writing, publishing, literacy and education communities together to heighten awareness of, and encourage and foster a positive attitude towards literacy;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the significant cultural and educational contribution to our community provided by the Word on the Street Festival.

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. 174

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, September 10, 2009, Mr. Carl H. McNeil of Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia, celebrated his 90th birthday; and

Whereas he celebrated this special milestone with his family and friends; and

Whereas Carl McNeil has been a reputable person of his community for many years;

[Page 280]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Mr. Carl McNeil on his 90th birthday and that the House extend very best wishes for many more happy years to come.

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 Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 175

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

Whereas students and staff at Central Kings Rural High School have established a Beyond Borders program in support of the work of World Vision; and

Whereas since 2008, the CKRH Beyond Borders program has raised close to $6,000 for use around the world; and

Whereas World Vision has recognized the students and staff for their success with the presentation of a plaque;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature commend the Central Kings Rural High School Beyond Borders program for its leadership, its recognition of human needs around the world, and for its significant and successful fundraising results.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 281]

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 is now 3:14 p.m. and we will go until 4:44 p.m. Again, I will remind members that no electronic devices are to be turned on during Question Period.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

GOV'T (N.S.): INTEREST PAYMENTS - COST

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Yesterday we got an idea of how this government calculates interest. When asked how much Nova Scotians will pay for borrowing $278 million, the government insisted it was free. We all know this is not true, but in the interest of informing all Nova Scotians how much this latest shell game will cost, my question to the Premier is, how much of the $278 million will end up on the debt of the province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, all of the deficit of the province in each year, of course, becomes the debt in the following year. I'm sure the Leader of the Official Opposition understands that.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the government is well aware Nova Scotians are paying a price for borrowing money it doesn't have, in fact, this decision by government to pre-pay a bill that isn't due until next year will cost Nova Scotians millions and millions more in debt servicing charges into the future. So my question to the minister is what is the true cost of interest payments for the $278 million and the true cost of servicing the debt?

[3:15 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: I want to thank the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition for his question. As he knows, the budget will be delivered on Thursday and all the information with respect to debt servicing costs and borrowing will all be contained in the budget and on Thursday he'll have an opportunity to get an answer to his question.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the Premier may not want to tell Nova Scotians the full cost of this bad decision. They don't want to tell Nova Scotians that they are increasing the

[Page 282]

deficit and the debt, but we don't have any problem telling Nova Scotians what this government is up to.

This government decided to borrow more than $200 for every man, woman and child in Nova Scotia for political gain. The cost of borrowing that money is millions of dollars, money that could have gone to early learning, daycare spaces or dealing with children living in poverty. So my question to the Premier is, why did you choose your own political well- being over the well-being of our children?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity yesterday to explain to the Leader of the Official Opposition why he was wrong in his calculation but suppose for a second that he believes it, I can only ask him why he voted for a budget that pre-paid MOUs year after year.

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

EDUC.: COMMUN. COLLEGE TEACHERS/PUB. SCH. TEACHERS

- EQUALITY

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. On September 4th, Nova Scotia Community College faculty voted unanimously to conduct an electronic province-wide vote in favour of strike action. Yesterday, they voted over 90 per cent in favour of a strike. Community college teachers are only looking for the same salary increases and improvements to medical benefits that public school teachers, members of the same union, have already received. My question to the Premier is, why would you treat Nova Scotia Community College teachers any different than public school teachers?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party for her question. As you know, there are labour negotiations that are ongoing at this point in time. Part of the commitment that we have as a government is the commitment to a collective bargaining process. These things are going to be discussed at the table and that's where they should be discussed.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Premier, your Minister of Education, when questioned as recently as 1:50 p.m. today, was unable to provide any answers regarding a contingency plan to deal with this potential strike. As required, the workers will give the minister 48 hours notice of their intention but they could walk within days. My question to the Premier is, are you prepared to guarantee the thousands of community college students across Nova Scotia today that they won't have to worry about classes being shut down, their education being interrupted in the coming weeks due to a teachers' strike?

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THE PREMIER: What I am prepared to guarantee to the people of the province, the students and the members opposite is that we are going to respect the collective bargaining process. There is one underway, the parties have advanced the positions at the table, those negotiations will continue to go on and I have faith that reasonable people will come to a reasonable conclusion.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, NSGEU President Joan Jessome has already served notice to this government that in spite of the union's support for their Party, she has no plans to negotiate backwards. If negotiations break down and if community college classes close and if students' studies are interrupted, how long is this government prepared to let those classrooms be closed, to let those those students' studies be interrupted before considering back-to-work legislation.

THE PREMIER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to reiterate for the Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party that we have every faith in a collective bargaining process, which has stood this province in good faith for many, many years. The reality is that by far the vast majority of collective agreements in this province are negotiated and are concluded based on the goodwill of the parties who are involved.

I have all the respect that I can have for the community college teachers. They provide a very valuable service in our province. They acquit themselves with great alacrity. (Interruption) They don't want to hear me, Mr. Speaker. What I'm trying to say is that we appreciate the work that's done by the members of that union and we're going to let the process go on through to its conclusion.

MR. SPEAKER: The Leader of the Official Opposition.

SNSMR: GAS REG. - TAXATION BORDER

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Gas regulation costs Nova Scotians millions of dollars a year. This hurts everyone. It also hurts gas dealers on the border with New Brunswick. Gas regulation is a bad idea and this government is proposing to make it worse by artificially moving a taxation border. So my question to the minister is, how is this fair for all Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: I know the Leader of the Official Opposition directed this to the minister, but I wanted to (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. Order, please. (Interruptions) Order, please. The Premier has the right to answer questions on behalf of his minister. I'll allow the Premier. (Interruptions)

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THE PREMIER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Interruptions) I want to assure the Leader of the Official Opposition that this is an endeavour, this is an initiative for the government to put forward to the Utility and Review Board - this plan for the recognition of the competitive disadvantages for business people who are on the border. Furthermore, I want to assure the Leader of the Official Opposition (Interruptions) that there are already many zones in this province that show differences in price across the province. (Interruption) There are many already - the member asked, and I'm just trying to answer the question. Now, if they don't want to hear me (Interruptions)

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary is to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Plain and simple, this is a bad idea and it is unfair. So why do this minister and this government want to continue to pit one community against another in our own province?

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the question. I am very strongly in favour of gas regulation for Nova Scotians and I personally feel it is very good for Nova Scotia. The Utility and Review Board will be taking over the mandate for gas pricing as of October 1, 2009 and as part of that mandate, they will be looking at the border tax issue, the border tax at that time.

There will be public hearings starting in the new year. (Applause) At the time the Utility and Review Board will be an open and transparent process and with the Utility and Review Board having these hearings, starting in the new year, there will be a consumer advocate on that committee at the same time. So we will be looking at the recommendations by the Utility and Review Board. (Applause)

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, we believe in tax fairness for all Nova Scotians. Creating an artificial border (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, order. Members, I would ask you to please be respectful of other members when they're up speaking.

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We believe in tax fairness for all Nova Scotians. Creating an artificial border inside the province does exactly the opposite. Why do the people of Inverness deserve to pay more tax on their gas than those who live in Springhill? My question for the minister is, why do the people of Kings South deserve to pay more tax on their gas than the people of Kings North?

MS. JENNEX: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I welcome that question so that I can clarify that already in the Province of Nova Scotia we have six zones. That is based on transportation. The people of Kings North and Kings South are already in a zone together.

I just want to repeat that as of October 1st the Utility and Review Board have the mandate to move forward on having the public hearings about the Amherst tax, the border

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tax, so as of October 1st it will be in the hands of the Utility and Review Board and all Nova Scotians have great faith in the work that they do. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

ERD: NEW WTCC - GOV'T. SUPPORT

HON. KEITH COLWELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is to the Minister of Economic and Rural Development. Visitors to the World Trade and Convention Centre have injected an average of $100 million into the provincial economy every year for the past 10 years. However, groups are starting to look elsewhere because the present facility cannot service their needs.

Work has already begun on the development of a new World Trade and Convention Centre and we are still waiting for the NDP Government to commit to this project. Every day we wait is another opportunity lost. In this challenging economic climate we cannot afford to wait for the type of strategic stimulus this project will provide to Nova Scotia. My question is, on what date will the minister announce the government's support of this new development?

HON. PERCY PARIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. With respect to the question I thank the member opposite for the question. It is unfortunate that he didn't come and speak with me personally, but as far as the (Interruptions) As far as the World Trade and Convention Centre is concerned, due process will be followed, we will be doing due diligence and we will announce things when the time is appropriate. (Applause)

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, the NDP have been very firm on their opposition of private-public partnerships in the past. In fact, the Premier said that you have to tread very, very lightly on getting into these kinds of messes again.

Mr. Speaker, development of a new World Trade and Convention Centre is a P3 project, all bidding was based on it being a P3 project, and tenders went out as a P3 project. My question is, is the NDP Government intentionally holding up this project because it is a P3 initiative?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question is no.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, the president of CUPE Nova Scotia has called for the Premier to abandon P3 projects. The Premier has said bluntly that P3s are not a model for Nova Scotia. Either the minister is telling us the truth or the Premier is telling us the truth.

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My final question to the minister is, is the new World Trade and Convention Centre in danger because this government is under the influence of unions?

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I will compose myself here. I'm not sure if I understood the question. The question seems like if we're under the influence of unions and the obvious answer to the question is no.

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

HEALTH: MED. EQUIPMENT - REPROCESSING

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Capital District Health Authority will be hiring a company to reprocess medical equipment previously designed for one-use only. Will the Premier explain the rationale behind this decision?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I certainly would like to thank the Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party for the question. The district health authorities, of course, have control over their own budgets. They make these decisions based on what they think is both in the best interest of their patients and in the best interest of the district health authority as a whole. So they're making that decision understanding all of the ramifications and quite frankly, I have faith in their judgment in that regard.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, one Halifax cardiologist has said an ultrasound catheter is an example of equipment that could be used more than once because "it has least chance of reinfection." The words "least chance of reinfection" are disconcerting. Is the Premier prepared to accept full liability should anything happen to any patient at Capital Health as a result of this practice?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure the Interim Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party understands that these matters are reviewed by the medical staff, they are reviewed with the district health authorities. They rely on medical expertise when they make their decisions and as I said, I'm certainly not a physician, I rely on their advice as I'm sure the Leader did when she was responsible for the ministry.

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm very well aware of the role and responsibility of the government. The risk of this practice is too great. A savings of $150,000 pales in comparison to the life of a Nova Scotian. Any comments regarding liability insurance, if anything should happen to a patient, do not instill much confidence in patients at Capital Health. To the Premier, will the Premier stand in his place today and agree to put a stop to this practice before it begins and thus ensure that the health of hundreds, indeed thousands of Nova Scotians, will not be put in jeopardy? Mr. Premier, you know and Nova Scotians know, the buck stops with you.

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THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that's an example of a question that was written before the answer was heard. I didn't mention liability insurance, what I mentioned was the medical expertise of the district health authority. It's their responsibility; they, of course, make these judgments based on the sound expertise of their staff and, of course, we rely on them.

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

HEALTH - CAREGIVER ALLOWANCE PROG.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. One of the first programs that disappeared from the Department of Health Web site when this government was elected was the caregiver allowance program. For two months people across the province waited to find out what the government's plans were for that program, when they could apply or what the eligibility might be necessary to qualify. Two months of waiting were, I guess, rewarded in August when there was a press release that really purported to be a good-news story that the program was in place and people could apply for it. It encouraged people who are caregivers, who are spending a lot of time keeping their loved ones in their own home, to apply for some financial assistance.

My question to the minister is, can she inform the House now how many people have applied and, more importantly, how many have qualified for the caregiver allowance program to date? If she doesn't have the answer right now, could she provide it by the end of today at the House?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable member for her question. As people in this House know, this government is very committed to keeping seniors in their homes and in their communities for as long as they want and can be there. We value the work of caregivers. The caregiver program that the member refers to is a program of the former government, designed by the former government with the encouragement, I would say the enthusiasm, of the Liberal Party which spoke many times in this House about the importance of having that program. We were very pleased to be able to fulfill the commitment of the former government by implementing that program.

However, this Party, in the election campaign, had campaigned on a caregiver program of our own and we're looking forward to learn some lessons from the current program as we design and go forward to fulfill our election promise, expected next year.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, the minister says they've gone ahead with this program even though it's not their own. It was entirely within her hands to change that program now. In her own press release that came out August 11th, the minister herself says that caregivers need support themselves so they can continue to provide care for their family and friends. I think that's pretty clear that there's support from the government to have gone forward with this. But it has not gone forward well and what appears to be a good-news story is, in fact,

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not a good-news story. Many caregivers are contacting their MLAs and telling us they do not score a 5 out of 5 on the MAPLE scale - the Method of Assigning Priority Levels. It's not enough to qualify if you are a 3 and there are many people in dire straits that are not coming near the 5.

Every day, with every assessment, there are a growing number of disappointed and frustrated caregivers whose expectations and whose hopes were dashed by this very program. They've seen the emptiness of what's being available to them.

MR. SPEAKER: Do you have a question, member?

MS. WHALEN: My question to the minister is - thank you, Mr. Speaker - my question to the minister again is, during the two months that you were reviewing the caregiver allowance program, what adjustments did you make to create this situation where virtually every applicant is being denied assistance?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, surely the honourable member isn't suggesting that this government shouldn't have implemented the caregiver program that we announced in August. I think the people who have applied and who have qualified would find that a very tough pill to swallow - particularly since members of her own caucus were calling my department every day, asking when that program was coming. (Applause)

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, without a doubt there's a demand for a program like this that helps keep people out of institutions. I make no apology for asking that that be in place. But what is the point of announcing programs where there are expectations, where it sounds great, where television programs or news programs touted how wonderful it would be, and then deny so many people who have tremendous needs? You have to be accountable for the program that you've brought in in this 100 days of your government and take responsibility. I hear a lot of talk about accountability and that's what it is. Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister would be, has the minister put a restriction on the number of approved applicants? Is that to cut costs or are you simply trying to make the program more of a failure so that you can bring your own one in later?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the program announced by the former government was a program that was designed to help over 700 people who needed care. We have not changed one iota in that program in terms of who will receive the care. We still have the same target, we still have the same amount of money budgeted.

Now, with respect to any difficulties that people may have with respect to qualifying, we are currently reviewing the criteria for that program and we are doing that with a view to designing a program that will be more effective, which was a commitment of this government in the election campaign in June, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. (Applause)

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Argyle.

HEALTH - CAREGIVER ALLOWANCE PROG.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much. My question, Mr. Speaker, through you is to the Minister of Health. The caregiver allowance was a program designed to help seniors stay in their homes longer, providing their caregivers with $400. And, by the way, the NDP proposed $500, so there is not a lot of difference between what the government brought forward when we were there or what they proposed when they were running for office.

As you know, many people give up their lives or jobs to take care of friends or loved ones and by doing so, they save the province money by keeping these family members out of hospital or long-term care facilities. It was our intention when we were government to award caregivers with these dollars as acknowledgment for their selflessness in keeping their loved ones at home. Can you, minister, update the House on the criteria of the uptake of the now NDP-adjusted program?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much and I want to thank the honourable member for the question. The criteria for this program remain the same criteria that the former government had in place when they had a pilot project in two parts of the province, with one small difference, Mr. Speaker. The pilot project required that the person receiving the care had to already be on a wait list for long-term care.

This program that was announced in August removed that particular criterion and, in fact, Mr. Speaker, would make it easier for people to qualify for the caregivers program. So that was the one adjustment that we were able to make. (Applause)

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, our program was province-wide, it wasn't a pilot and it was going to help as many people as we possibly could. Eighty-seven-year-old Jean Cottreau and her son and caregiver, Peter, applied for the program some weeks ago. Jean suffered a stroke three years ago, has limited use of her left side, has trouble standing any length of time, and uses a wheelchair when attending doctor appointments. Peter must help her up and down, does a wonderful job of keeping her diabetes in check by regular blood checks and, of course, by adjusting her food intake, accordingly, to keep her well. Mr. Speaker, does the Minister of Health think that Jean should be qualifying for the caregiver allowance?

[3:45 p.m.]

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I won't speak to any specific case here in the Legislature, however, what I will say (Interruption) Mr. Speaker, there are five

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criteria essential to qualify for the caregiver's allowance. The person receiving care and the person giving care must be 19 years of age or over; there is an income test for the care receiver as this is a targeted program at very low income people; and the person receiving the care has to get 20 hours of care a week from the person who is providing care; and the last item is that there is a continuing care assessment. It is the same assessment that is used for home care, for long-term care and the person has to be what is called a MAPLE 5 on the assessment tool, which is the highest level of care that is required.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, of course they don't qualify and they want answers. I'll table the letter that I received from Peter for the minister to look into this file, but I'll read a sentence or two out of it: I applied for the caregiver program and they sent someone over and asked a few questions and got turned down. I thought they would send someone who would see how little my mother could do.

It is a 24-hour job that Peter has to take care of his mother because of her infirmity. So I want to table that. Will the minister commit today in helping the Cottreaus qualify for this program for change in the criteria in order for her to quality this program, where we're finding out from the questions we already had today that that there are a lot of people that are not qualifying for this program that is so needed by Nova Scotians?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would like to say to the honourable members that we certainly are willing to look at any of concerns that members of the Opposition bring forward when they feel that someone has been wrongly assessed. We will review the situation.

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to say though that the employees of the department, and now of the DHAs, who do these home care assessments are very compassionate and very skilled in the process of doing the assessments. I think we need to acknowledge that they have a difficult job at times to do but they do it very well. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East

TIR: CROSSWALK FLAGS - AUTHORIZATION

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. As the House is aware, the minister tabled a petition yesterday by a few residents from Dartmouth East asking for changes to crosswalk legislation. He is also aware that the Waverley Road crosswalk trial program was discontinued on July 31st, at the request of the Halifax Regional Municipality. One of the reasons given by the Transportation Association of Canada was that no Canadian province had yet adopted crosswalk flags as a traffic control device. So my question for the minister is, is he prepared to authorize municipalities in Nova Scotia to use crosswalk flags as a traffic

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control device and what specific actions is his government taking to improve visibility at crosswalks?

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. I am aware of the fact, of course, that a constituent of the new member has been in touch with me a number of times. I have spoken to Norm Collins about his wonderful initiative. I've made it very clear an HRM issue should be settled within the HRM. That was the initial response that I had as the minister at the time. I'm also aware of the fact that I did say and I did encourage people in my community. The Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Department is responsible for provincial highways, but there are number of crosswalks where people show the initiative as Mr. Collins has done. It is willing to look at crosswalk flags for streets and roads that are responsible of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal and as the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect, that would be something that I would support.

I encourage the member for Dartmouth East, if he wishes at his convenience, to bring Mr. Collins to my office and we can talk further about it. But I'm always firmly of the belief and this member - in his past life as a councillor - would be aware of the fact that I've heard that council in HRM say many times, we are a child of the province. My response would be, it's time to grow up and handle your own problems.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, my goodness, the minister must certainly be aware of the letter then which was copied to his office by Mayor Peter Kelly, asking the minister to make changes to the legislation because current legislation does not allow the municipality or any municipality for that matter in Nova Scotia, to consider traffic control devices and I'll table that letter.

As well, the minister himself wrote a letter that I have here - and I'll table it - commending the crosswalk flags, as he just did now. So, Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister, why is he telling the residents that he supports the program, yet is refusing to take the action that's necessary to improve visibility of crosswalks in Nova Scotia?

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for bringing this matter to my attention and, of course, tabling the letter, which I'm looking forward to reading again, from the good mayor of the Halifax Regional Municipality. I've heard before that the false sense of security that these flags provide seems to me something that I find contradictory. I want to make it very clear to Mr. Collins and I want to make it clear to the people who represent the HRM the advice that I've received is that as the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, I have certain responsibilities when it comes to overviewing the traffic authority with the HRM, that is a given. If the particular gentleman who now currently is the - and I know his independent stance and I know how important he is, the arm's-length position that he has - I have been advised and I take that advice from the people in my department that I, as the minister responsible for provincial responsibilities on

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provincial roads should not become involved in the quagmire of the bureaucracy involving the HRM and the traffic authority.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure whether the minister just misunderstands the advice he's receiving from the department or is getting bad advice, but at the end of the day the minister is aware that the Transportation Association of Canada has said that they cannot adopt these as a traffic control device for the very reason that the province has not yet endorsed them as a traffic control device, and the municipality has indicated quite openly that they don't have the authority until the province takes action. So my question for the minister is, will he support legislation that amends the Motor Vehicle Act, making crosswalk flags a traffic control device?

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I want to bring to the attention of the member for Dartmouth East the fact that within the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, they're extremely professional people and I know there are members sitting on that side of the House who recently were in the government and I've spoken to them on a number of occasions about the reception that I've received from the people who work in the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. At no time are you going to hear the proverbial thing that happens at HRM council - well, we have a difficulty with staff; we have difficulty with staff, they're not listening to us. I want that member to know that the staff at the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has my complete and full confidence. On this particular matter, I accept their advice. This is an issue that should be handled by the HRM. The Waverley Road is a road that is the responsibility of the HRM and I encourage them to endorse this proposal.

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

HEALTH: ERs - PROTECTION

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question through you is to the Minister of Health. The NDP have failed Nova Scotians yet again on their election promise that they had a plan to stop ER closures. The truth is now out and they don't have a plan, but they do have a consultant. It turns out that their plan is not to solve ER closures, but to eliminate ERs in this province. Will the minister unequivocally commit that all, not "almost" all, ERs in Nova Scotia will be protected rather than attacked by her or her so-called adviser?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that I'd be very surprised if the ER adviser, Dr. Ross, would attack emergency rooms in this province.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, that's not what he alluded to in the media today and that is not the fact that the minister is trying to present to this House. The government has hired yet another $100,000 consultant to work two days a week - a high-cost, part-time contract for a full-time, real-time problem. While the minister is wallpapering over the

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problem that's troubling to Nova Scotians, worse still is the hidden agenda of a minister and a government looking to have someone else do their dirty work for them. Will the minister finally come clean on her backroom strategy to close ERs?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we hardly have a backroom strategy. We ran an election campaign on keeping ERs open and shortening wait times. That was a conversation with the people of this province for more than 30 days - hardly in the back rooms. On the fourth day of this session, we came here and we fulfilled a campaign promise to appoint an ER adviser, and we did that in the public of this Chamber - hardly a secret strategy. As we go forward to solve the mess that those guys left us, it will be very much an open process. (Applause)

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, an Orange Party with yet another orange alert to Nova Scotians, because it's alarming what they're doing - the disgrace that this minister is talking about and the severity of the issue facing Nova Scotians - they made a promise, they now aren't delivering on it. I can tell you, the minister's words ring hollow with Nova Scotians who once thought sincerely the NDP would honour their promise. It now appears the minister has even Cape Breton hospitals in her sight. My question is, will she commit to protecting the Northside General, the New Waterford Consolidated, and the Glace Bay General Hospital from her and apparently her orange code and orange warning consultant's acts?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, emergency room coverage in this province, from one end of this province to another, is a priority for this government. In the coming (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health has the floor.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: In the coming (Interruptions).

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

HEALTH - CAREGIVER ALLOWANCE PROG.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health. Marcelle Comeau from Meteghan recently contacted my office with regard to the caregiver allowance program. Her husband, Calixte Thibodeau, has been providing care for Marcelle, who has advanced muscular dystrophy, for the last 12 years. Both Marcelle and Calixte were excited about the program. However, they received their rejection letter yesterday. My first question to the minister is, can the minister please explain why an individual with advanced muscular dystrophy and their caregiver would not qualify for the caregiver allowance?

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HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question; I would be pleased to answer it. Of course, I don't know the specifics of the case you refer to, but a person may, in fact, not qualify for this program if their income is higher than the income cutoffs or if they're not getting 20 hours of care per week, and when they're assessed on a very standardized assessment tool that is used as we assess for homecare, as we assess for long-term care. We are using the same tool with respect to the caregiver's allowance if they don't meet a Level 5, in terms of what their care requirements are.

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what she was told. She was told that because her cognitive behaviour is still functioning, she doesn't qualify. Marcelle can't bathe herself, she can't drink from a glass on her own, she can't get out of the house, she can't open a door. In essence, she has a high level of disability, one of the key requirements in the news release this government sent out on August 11, 2009. On the MAPLE scale, she scored 3 out of 5. My question to the Minister of Health is, what does an individual need to do in order to score a 5 and qualify for the caregiver allowance program?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, again, I welcome the question because it gives me an opportunity to provide information to the members. The MAPLE assessment is a standardized assessment tool that is used the world over to assess for long-term care, for home care and for other services for people with disabilities or for seniors. It is a five-stage assessment in terms of the level of care one might require. To qualify for the caregiver program, one has to have the highest level of care needs, which is a level 5 on the assessment tool.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, you either provide support and recognize the efforts of caregivers for keeping individuals in their community for as long as possible, which is the very foundation of this program, or you put them in a costly facility. Worse yet, what options would the province have if something happened to Marcelle's caregiver? My final question to the minister is, why have you raised the expectations of individuals with a high level of disability only to disappoint them with a rejection letter?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I really don't believe this government raised anybody's expectations by fulfilling the commitment of the former government which was advocated for strongly by the Opposition.

We went forward with a program that people were expecting, which had been announced and which was in the former government's budget. We recognize this program has its limitations in terms of who it was designed to assist and we are evaluating that as we go forward to fulfill our own campaign promise which is to introduce a caregiver program

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next year. If the honourable member would like to provide me with the details of the case that he referred to, I would be happy to have our department review it. Thank you.

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

HEALTH - CAREGIVER ALLOWANCE PROG.

MR. KEITH BAIN: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health and it deals, again, with continuing care allowance. A constituent of mine in Victoria County, Joey Fraser, has heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, glaucoma, has had open heart surgery, his leg amputated below the knee, angina and cataracts and is in need of care in his home. However, applicants must be assessed to score a MAPLE 5 and they must have some combination of very poor memory, behavioural problems, risk of falls or many challenges with managing their personal needs. Without a doubt, Mr. Fraser, as I previously mentioned, has trouble with managing his personal needs as he can't do his laundry, clean, or prepare any of his meals. My question to the minister is, why would he be refused assistance under the caregiver allowance?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Again, I don't know the specifics of the case that the honourable member refers to. It's important for people to understand that before this program was introduced, the former government had a pilot project in the Department of Community Services that piloted this program. It was called in-home support and it operated in two areas of the province. It had the same criteria for the province-wide program that that government announced, with one difference, and that difference was that people didn't have to be on a list awaiting homes for special care, meaning that they had the highest level of care requirements.

There have been no changes in this program with respect to the criteria except we have taken that one small barrier away and, Mr. Speaker, if people are feeling that they are improperly assessed, we will certainly have a look at that in the department.

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Fraser's daughter is distraught to know her father can't access this allowance. She even told me the other day, can't the government understand that caregivers are saving the health care system money? The Premier talked between May 5th and June 9th, throughout the election campaign, about the importance of seniors being able to stay in their homes. My question is, will Mr. Fraser be able to get this caregiver's allowance and stay in his own home where he is the most comfortable?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, that's precisely why this government had, as part of its platform, a caregiver allowance program which we intend to bring forward next year, and I assure you it will not be the flawed program that was designed by the former government with the assistance of the Opposition Party.

[Page 296]

MR. BAIN: Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, next year may be too late for Mr. Fraser. My question is, am I to take from everything you said in your answers, both now and to other members, that if I have Mr. Fraser's daughter call your office, you will immediately look into this troubling situation?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: What I have said, and I will say clearly to the member through you, Mr. Speaker, is that if he has a constituent who feels they were improperly assessed, and he wants to bring that to my attention, we will have it reviewed in the department.

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

HEALTH - CAREGIVER ALLOWANCE PROG.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question again is for the Minister of Health. Clearly there are many people who have problems and see the limitations in this caregiver program which has been announced. The minister herself has said today that she recognizes there were limitations. She has used the word 'flawed' program and yet she herself rolled it out and allowed it to be introduced.

In my constituency I have a constituent whose name is Thelma Purcell and she was very excited when she watched Live at 5 and saw the government's program discussed and introduced. She thought finally somebody recognized her commitment to looking after her husband which she has been doing for nine years on a 24-hour-a-day basis. She was excited and she gave accolades to the government for doing just that. Now we hear it's not really their program, it's something else that they're not willing to take responsibility for.

Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to my first question to the minister and that was when I asked her if she would table for us today the exact number of applicants that there have been to this program and, more importantly, how many have qualified to date?

HON. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. The honourable member will know that continuing care has been devolved into the DHAs and so the applications are coming through the DHAs and the assessments are being done in the DHAs. To provide the honourable member with the information that she requested would mean that we would have to talk to the DHAs to get the up-to-date information for today. So I can't make that commitment at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker.

What I can say is that I do know that we had a tremendous number of applications for this program. In fact, the people in the department were very interested in seeing and understanding the need that's out there in the community, Mr. Speaker. It gives us a way to quantify just how many people are caring for people who we didn't know about before.

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MS. WHALEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In the case of my constituent, Thelma is looking after her husband who has been insulin-dependent for many years. He is wheelchair-bound, he suffers from coronary artery disease, he has no use of his right side, including his arm and hand. This is an individual who, without 24-hour care, would be in an institution without a doubt. He would be costing far more for our system than the $400 a month that was offered or is supposed to be offered through this program.

On August 12th the minister again, in a press release, said that people in the province are looking for help now. She took that dramatic step of announcing the program, putting it back on the Web site, bringing it to the attention of the public, particularly with a lot of PR. There was a PR overdrive to bring people to the awareness of this.

I would like to ask the minister if she did not consider in her rollout of this program, just how severely disabled people are who are at level 3 and that obviously there would be a large number of people who would be left off and disappointed.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Surely the honourable member isn't suggesting that when this program was put in place that we provide no announcements about it? How in the world would anybody know that there was a program if we didn't issue a press release, which is what we did. We didn't hold any big, dramatic rollout. We issued a press release, we said this program is now here. The information was on the Web site and I think I did an interview with the Halifax ChronicleHerald and perhaps with Information Morning in Cape Breton.

MS. WHALEN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think it's important today in the House, after the number of questions we've had to the minister about this program, that we ask again that she undertake to provide to the House, as soon as possible, the answer on the number of people who have applied to this program and the number that she can verify who have been qualified to accept this program. I think that's very important that that question be asked one more time. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to tell the honourable member and all members who are concerned about their constituents and their constituents getting the services that they need, that we will look very closely at this program. We will learn from this program, in terms of what its limitations are as we design the program for next year. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

AGRIC.: CATTLE PRODUCERS - FUNDING

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Agriculture. To put it bluntly, the cattle producers are faced with a crisis, with a faltering economy, heavy competition from producers, other provinces and states, high fuel costs and

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overall low profit ratios. Many cattle farmers are faced with the real threat of shutting down their operations. Yet, in the face of all this uncertainty, the Agriculture Minister has chosen not to live up to his word for the previous government's commitment of $2 million in short- term sustainable funding. My question is, why has this government and this minister turned its back on the cattle producers of Nova Scotia?

HON. JOHN MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased to be able to answer this question for the member opposite. The reaction I've received from the cattle producers certainly isn't that I've turned my back on them. They seem to be quite positive and quite positive with the government and quite positive with this minister and actually I met with him several times, and the president of the cattle producers - he and I have agreed to dialogue once a month to just stay updated on issues.

[4:15 p.m.]

As far as the previous government's commitment, there was none. As a matter of fact, if the member opposite can identify where this letter, signed by the former minister, was typed and sent out from - because it didn't come from this Department of Agriculture when he was the minister. Nobody in the department knows where it was generated. (Interruptions) So I guess when almost every member who was in the government's side of the previous government was a Cabinet Minister, they can run around the province during a campaign, make outlandish statements and then that meant they were all promises by the previous government.

MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, in the aftermath of this careless about-face by this government, why should the men and women of the Nova Scotia cattle producers in this province, and their association, believe what the government says and trust anything while they're not sharpening their pencils and writing the support that these people need to keep going and keep their operations alive?

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, it may take some time for cattle producers, the agricultural industry, and Nova Scotians in general, to feel that they can endorse and support any comments by this government, and when we deliver on our promises they'll see that. I want to tell the member opposite that I have made a commitment to cattle producers to see what is possible to do for them. My staff have been working on a plan for them for short-term funding and I'm hopeful, actually in the next few days, to be able to make some statement in that regard.

MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, it's clear that without action and leadership from this government, which we're not seeing to date, that time may soon run out for the farmers in this province, the men and women who are working hard to support us all. What is the government's plan to help support the cattle producers of this province? It's time to tell us the story, Mr. Minister.

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MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, yes we think we do have the parts of the plan just about finalized. I've had some initial discussion with the cattle producers. It will not be a cockamamie plan like the previous government had shown to cattle producers. It will be something that will actually have some impact for them, and I'm looking forward in the next short term to be able to announce something for cattle producers.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

ENERGY - KEEP THE HEAT PROG.

MR. ANDREW YOUNGER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Energy. The Keep the Heat program has helped many low-income families struggling to pay their heating bills over the years. As the cold weather approaches - and I think all members must know by now that although it's warm outside during the day, it's already cold at night - Nova Scotians are asking whether this program will be available. My question for the minister is, what are his plans for the Keep the Heat program?

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. I have the pleasure of working closely with the people in Conserve Nova Scotia and in the Department of Energy, of course, when it comes to various programs. Some of those programs have had a wonderful response from Nova Scotians - we monitor the response that we get, the interest that's there. Of course, these are budgetary type decisions, some of the very things that the member opposite should pay attention to tomorrow when he will be made more fully aware of decisions that are based upon the fact there is a need - but there's also a need to make sure that we live within our means. Some of these programs are under review at this time and I encourage the member opposite tomorrow, during the budget, to pay particular attention to some of these issues.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, the minister can rest assured that I'll be paying attention to that part of the budget tomorrow. His remarks sounded a bit like code, that they'll be cutting that program. Is the minister suggesting that they are going to cut or reduce support for low-income families in Nova Scotia who need to fill their oil tanks this winter?

MR. ESTABROOKS: I'd like to point out to the member opposite that this particular member has never spoken in code. We spoke clearly in response to the issues and the questions. The question was asked whether these programs are under review and, Mr. Speaker, I want you to know, and you know from your constituency, members opposite know, members of my caucus are aware of the fact that there are many programs which I have the responsibility for that have a huge response from Nova Scotians. I want the member opposite to know that when it comes to the reviewing of programs, those programs will be based upon need, but they'll also be based upon the fact that they are programs that this

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government will continue to support, continue to fit within our budget, and I'm looking forward to those comments and that discussion tomorrow after budget.

MR. YOUNGER: Mr. Speaker, prior to the election the previous government had announced that individuals with an income level of $27,000 or below, and families with an income level below $42,000, would qualify for a rebate for oil of up to $200. Low-income families are depending on this and they're looking to fill their oil tanks very quickly. To the minister, will these same individuals and families qualify under the program which will be in the budget tomorrow and does the government plan to expand it so that low-income families don't have to struggle quite as much to fill their oil tanks this winter?

MR. ESTABROOKS: I want the member for Dartmouth East to be reassured of the fact that I hear from numerous members of my caucus constantly on taking care of low-income Nova Scotians. This Party and this government have always been there in terms of advocating on behalf of them, and this Party and this government will not forget those folks when it comes to making these tough decisions.

I think it's important, if I may continue, Mr. Speaker, I think also during the estimates debate when we have the time to review each of these programs and look at the ones that have had the most success, it will be an interesting time for the member opposite to basically get his facts straight. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

ENVIRON. - MINK FARM (YAR. CO.) - MORATORIUM

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment. In early September the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Agriculture met with concerned citizens from the Yarmouth area about a potential new mink ranch near Sloans Lake. If I may, I invited both ministers to a public meeting earlier in August and they both declined to come. I have repeatedly asked for a moratorium on any future fur farming licences in the Yarmouth area, until at least an environmental review is completed. Will this be done? The residents of the local area, like myself, are on the record - and I will table this newspaper clipping asking for a moratorium until the review is completed.

If I may, both ministers, through the local media, characterized the meeting as positive and they believed that they are on the path to resolving the residents' concerns. Some residents later on in the article . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Do you have a question, honourable member?

[Page 301]

MR. HURLBURT: Some residents didn't feel as positive about the meeting, about the ultimate goal for a moratorium in the Yarmouth area.

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. HURLBURT: My question is, will this be done and if not, why?

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, first of all the member opposite needs to get his facts straight. The member opposite asked for a meeting and we proceeded and met with the residents of Meteghan, the Yarmouth area and also the Clyde River area. I also met with the member opposite and I want to tell you a little background. I spent 38 years on the water, I know the importance of water quality, and the first thing I did as a minister was to ensure that we have a stronger monitoring program on the Carleton watershed. I also spent nine years in municipal government and I understand that the authority lies with municipal government. I spent nine years on the Opposition benches and I've served with the member opposite who spent 11 years at the municipal level and spent 10 years in the government. I can assure you, Mr. Minister, that we have spent more on this particular topic in the 100 days that we have addressed this issue than the member opposite has done in the last . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, thank you, thank you minister. (Applause)

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you and I can tell all members of this House that if there's a public meeting in my community I will be there. I have the backbone to stand up and support the people in my community, not like the two ministers who did not come to a public meeting, who were personally requested by me to come to that meeting.

If they want to have backroom meetings, they can go ahead and have them, Mr. Speaker. The citizens of my community are very concerned about the environment. Now I'm going to ask the minister, you told the Yarmouth Vanguard that legislation and regulations concerning fur-bearing animals will not be enacted until at least next Spring. If so, the new mink ranch, if it is constructed at Sloans Lake - can you guarantee the residents of the area today that they will not have to be concerned about the blue-green algae entering the spring-fed Sloans Lake?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I just want to point out that the blue-green algae, we have a number of them across the province as we speak; it's a natural occurrence. I also want to point out that the member opposite had 21 years - 11 years at the municipal level, he had 10 years in the government to deal with this issue. I can tell you that we have been in government for less than 100 days and we have addressed this issue and we met with the people. Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I guess lip service is what this government will be giving. The people have asked for a short-term moratorium until this environmental study

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has been completed. That minister, a former warden for the Barrington area - the people of the Barrington area still have concerns about the mink ranch in his home riding that he will not address the concerns of the people. Well I will stand up and I will talk to the people of Barrington and I will let them know. I'm going to ask the member one more time, will he stand in his place and tell the people of Yarmouth and the Barrington area that he will put a moratorium on until the environmental study has been completed? Yes or no, Mr. Speaker?

MR. BELLIVEAU: Again, Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity and I assure the members, the member opposite has spent 21 years, had an opportunity to deal with this issue, has never. We have dealt with this issue and I ask you to defer this question to the Minister of Agriculture.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

HON. JOHN MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Quickly.

AN HON. MEMBER: He's already answered it. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: No, you may sit down. I'll recognize the honourable member for Glace Bay.

SNSMR: CBRM - EQUALIZATION PAYMENTS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If this keeps up there'll be no time for me.

My question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. These days the people of Cape Breton are angry; in particular, the people of Cape Breton Regional Municipality. They face many challenges - declining population, higher taxes, fewer services. Mr. Speaker, they are facing them alone. They've had no help from this government to date. According to CBRM, they have been underfunded by the province to the tune of $20 million a year in equalization payments. My question to the minister is, is that true? Is it true that the province is giving a better deal to some municipalities but not even a fair deal to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality?

[4:30 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order. The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

[Page 303]

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that question. There has been a commitment made by our government that we will be reviewing equalization with the municipalities and keeping in mind the context of being fiscally responsible. So we are going to be reviewing that.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure if that minister even knows where Cape Breton is right now. So what I'm going to do is, ask my next question of the Premier. The Premier has expressed some sympathy toward the people of CBRM on this matter, but the words are a little empty. CBRM has tried to appeal this inequality but the NDP Government - this government that ran a campaign on fairness - asked the Supreme Court to reject that very appeal. The government owes it to the people of CBRM to stop talking and start doing something. So my question for the Premier is, when is he or his minister going to sit down with CBRM and discuss a fair distribution of equalization payments?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm happy to reply to the member for Glace Bay. I look forward to the opportunity to meet with the mayor and council of the CBRM. I, of course, know that the proposal that they put forward was through the UNSM. I think it's important that we respect the UNSM as the voice for municipalities and we certainly intend to pursue this matter along with the study that UNSM did with them.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I think it's at the stage where hollow words don't cut it anymore, because the people of Cape Breton deserve a fair deal and they certainly aren't getting one right now. The Premier has, sitting on his left right there, the self-appointed political minister of Cape Breton. That very minister last night on CTV said that he knows, as a former negotiator, that at the end of the trail in negotiations there's always a "yes." So I'm asking the Premier, why don't you put your political minister on the next bus to Cape Breton and deliver that "yes" to the CBRM and the mayor and councillors?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member for Glace Bay should know that we intend to treat the municipalities in this province with respect. We intend to negotiate with them on the basis of the fact that they deliver many services that are important to the people of the province. We certainly understand that. We also understand that there are concerns around the question of equalization that were set out in the report that came forward through the UNSM. We think it's appropriate to deal with them in that fashion, and that's what we're going to do.

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

JUSTICE - BOOTS ON THE STREET PROG.

[Page 304]

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Justice. The minister knows that the province's Boots on the Street program has produced great outcomes at community and provincial levels, with 150 officers in place and 35 more committed for this year. Communities are concerned about the current status of this government's commitment, especially the 10 positions in Cape Breton and two positions in New Glasgow. My question to the minister is simple, does he intend to keep the commitment to these communities and provide the 12 committed positions?

HON. ROSS LANDRY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for that question. It's a long afternoon sitting here and I'm glad to have at least one question. So I look forward (Interruptions) Thank you. The issue of police officers' Boots on the Street has been a successful program and, as a former police officer, I enjoyed the pleasure of having those extra positions. The budget is coming out tomorrow; we'll wait to see what's read in there. As for the police officers in Cape Breton, we're presently at 197 per 100,000, which is above the national average. So there are plenty of boots in the street but we will see what the future holds.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, that was very much a "no" from the minister and is of great concern to the people of Cape Breton when 10 positions were committed for the communities - seven to the Cape Breton Regional Police and three for a safer streets and community's investigation unit, for which furniture was bought and the RCMP selected the location. If this minister is waffling on that and the two for his own community of New Glasgow which included both Aboriginal liaison and youth policing, then these communities would be very concerned.

I would like to point out to the minister, as he would know, of the acute problems that have been in our area and the need for additional investigative policing, drug policing, ports policing, mental health policing. Mr. Speaker, if he walks away from that, there will be a lot of discourse in the community and he will be walking away from his own peers he used to work with. Will that minister stand on his commitment to honour the commitment to the policing of the 12 positions for Cape Breton as well as for New Glasgow?

MR. LANDRY: Mr. Speaker, I'm committed to policing. It's been my life-long commitment and my professional career. I will continue to look at the needs of Nova Scotians, the need of police officers in the communities as a whole and this government will commit to putting resources that are strategically focused to meet the needs of all Nova Scotians.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows, when we're faced with the fiscal realities there were 50 for this current year, we had to reduce that to 35, of that, 10 were for Cape Breton, an investigative office. What he also knows is that the Cape Breton Regional Municipality hired those police officers and New Glasgow hired those police officers on that commitment. Mr. Speaker, yes, the question is being called. The Deputy Premier knows in

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the community the concerns that are there. The real question is, will the Minister of Justice honour the commitment to these communities and give them the police they not only deserve but need?

MR. LANDRY: While having the pleasure of being the Minister of Justice for the last 95 days (Interruption), 96 , the nice thing is that I had the pleasure and the opportunity to meet with all the chiefs of Nova Scotia and the RCMP and get a clear picture of what the needs and priorities for this province are. They are looking forward to the budget being settled tomorrow so that we can put the needs of Nova Scotia first and ensure the benefits to all taxpayers and the benefits of all people in the Cape Breton regions that they get the best quality care.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

ENERGY: EASTROCK RESOURCES - EXPLORATION LICENCE

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. In early September, the Minister of Energy granted an exploration licence to Eastrock Resources Limited for an area that included the Chignecto Game Sanctuary. This is invasive activity into a region that is currently being evaluated as a possible protected area. My question to the minister is, why did your government agree to this exploration licence?

HON. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I have to say that the Department of Energy gave the exploration licence, not the Department of Natural Resources. We expect to get an application around seismic testing; that hasn't come yet. But it's our hope that in order to make informed decisions that we actually know what our resources are.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, a public review of the province's game sanctuaries, released in 2005, found most respondents wanted more protection for game sanctuaries. I would like to read a quote from the good member for Pictou West when he was in Opposition in the Fall of 2008: Why won't the minister listen to the results of his own department's consultation? My question to the minister is, will you listen to the results of your department's consultation and offer protection for the Chignecto Game Sanctuary?

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I have to try to reassure the member opposite, I think. The ecological possibilities of the Chignecto Game Sanctuary are important to the government. The Colin Stewart Forest Forum has identified part of this area as possible wilderness area. I want the member to know that if it's possible that it can go through that process to become designated as a wilderness area, or some parts of it, we'd be very, very interested in that. We're committed to meeting our 12 per cent protected areas. We'll follow this process along and we'll monitor and put our regulations or desires in place on any licence request that comes to us in order to ensure that the areas we deemed to be the most sensitive area not impacted by anything that might happen at this point.

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MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I do find some degree of comfort in that response from the minister, however, I will proceed from this line. Last year the previous government allowed Eastrock to perform seismic testing in Chignecto, which was opposed by the NDP. Now the same company has been given permission to explore for oil and gas. This is another example of the NDP saying one thing, clearly doing another. They are neglecting their responsibilities as government, moving painfully slowly towards the province's goal of meeting 12 per cent protected area by 2015. My question to the minister is, will your government offer full protection for Chignecto immediately?

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure what the member means by full protection, but if he's thinking about protection of a wilderness area, he would know that couldn't happen immediately. There is a process to do that, but we're interested in that property and what it can offer Nova Scotians. We'll certainly be monitoring what happens there. We don't want to see anything that negatively impacts the significant features in that area.

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

FISH.: FISHERMEN - COMMITMENTS FULFILL

MR. ALFIE MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. The past season saw lobster prices at a near record low level and at every step along the way the NDP were there to criticize the previous government. They were there to promise the fishermen the moon, yet since the government took power, all they have done is remove the $40 fee for the permit. The permit's still in place and that minister said it should be removed. The fee is there, roadside vendors still have to pay to get a permit, hardly a game-changer if you ask me. My question to the minister is, when will this government finally put his words into action and come through with the promises you have made to the fishermen of this province? It's time for that minister to fish or cut bait.

HON. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, I can make one promise as I stand in this historical House. I'm here to represent fishermen in the coastal communities of Nova Scotia. We have addressed the issue of a vendor's permit, something that the members opposite introduced and we removed that fee. I look forward to dealing with all the fisheries issues and (Interruptions)

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

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

[Page 307]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 36 for debate.

Res. No. 36, re Amherst: Gas Tax - Reduction - notice given Sept. 18/09 - [Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay)]

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

[4:45 p.m.]

HON. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and say a few words about Resolution No. 36. The operative clause reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that the Premier recognizes that reducing gas tax in Amherst represents a better deal for some families and not all families."

Mr. Speaker, as you're well aware, our caucus was opposed to gas regulation from the very beginning. We believed that we would end up with this kind of a scenario, where you would end up treating some Nova Scotians differently than others, which has taken place. But what is being proposed in this resolution is creating a further problem. Now not only are we having a Nova Scotian paying higher prices than someone in New Brunswick, but the suggestion coming from this government and from the member for Cumberland North is that one Nova Scotian should be paying less tax on gasoline than another Nova Scotian.

Under the present regulation, as was mentioned by the minister, there are six zones in this province, but the tax charged on every litre of gas in the Province of Nova Scotia is equal. We all pay the same regardless of where we are, percentage wise, Mr. Speaker - close enough, right?

Mr. Speaker, I want to remind the minister when she stood up and spoke, what the things are that determine the price of gas. These are regulations which are in their department: the distance from the refinery gate to the proposed boundary of a zone, the volume of petroleum products sold to retailers during that period, and innovations within the industry. Nowhere does it say taxation. Nowhere does it say that the government should have the right to reduce the tax on a litre of gasoline in one area as opposed to another.

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The simplest way to solve the issue that is created on the border between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is to scrap gas regulation as it exists today and allow the free market to set the price. Our caucus has always believed in the entrepreneurial spirit of Nova Scotians and the creativity of business people from one end of this province to the other, to be able to generate revenue to keep their businesses open.

Under this present system what we are creating, and what this new system will be creating, is pitting one community against another. Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, moving the border; telling the people of Amherst that really, for this specific situation, you're not really a Nova Scotian; or telling the people in Truro you're different, we're going to charge you more for a litre of gas even though you are closer to the refinery than the people in Yarmouth or, quite frankly, closer than the people of Bridgetown where I live. Does that make sense? It doesn't. What you do is you allow the competitive market to set the price.

This Premier and this minister know that this system has been flawed. Your department has in front of it two independent reports that clearly state gas regulation is taking millions of dollars out of the pockets of Nova Scotians on a regular basis. The only reason for it was to create price stability, which you know hasn't happened, and to prevent rural gas stations from closing. Madam Minister, I would say to you that that hasn't happened either.

What will determine whether or not a gas station stays open, regardless of what community they live in, will be whether that business creates a business model which will allow the consumers in this province to want to go in and purchase that product whatever it is. Creating regulations which artificially create a price isn't what this province was built on. This province was built on allowing the entrepreneurial spirit of entrepreneurs to be able to generate traffic into their business, to be able to say, we are offering you a better service, we are offering you additional services, not just by saying if you are selling this product we will guarantee you a profit margin. When you guarantee someone a profit margin, that means the people of that community are paying more than they would be under a free market. It has been the history of our province, and the history of our country, that a competitive market always has and always will give Nova Scotians and Canadians the most competitive price, the cheapest price, to allow our businesses to thrive and move forward.

Whether you agree - and I know my colleagues next door here who have defended gas regulation believe they were doing the right thing and stood up and told Nova Scotians that we are going to create a system across our province that we can at least defend, that treats all of us equally, whichever zone you're living in.

All of a sudden we get into the election campaign and then this idea that says we're going to cut the motive fuel tax only on the border, only to a select few Nova Scotians. How is that fair? How is that fair to Nova Scotians? I'm waiting for the response of this government to stand up in their place and tell us how cutting the taxes on gasoline in Amherst is fair to the people of Halifax. How is it fair to the people of Yarmouth? How is

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it fair to the people of Digby, who, I might add, prior to gas regulation had some of the cheapest gas in Nova Scotia because they had an entrepreneurial spirit in that community? They created competition. They made their businesses beyond just serving gas. They created traffic. They created a volume that would allow them to sustain their businesses. I would suggest to you that it is the wrong direction of this government to now pit one Nova Scotia community against another, to treat one Nova Scotian differently than another. It is unfair, it is unjust, and this government knows it.

I would suggest, before we go down the road of creating one Nova Scotia for those that live in Amherst and one for the rest of us, that you step back from this proposal and understand the damage you are doing to our province. Let's begin by the basic principle that each of us are created equal and should be treated equally inside our own province. This idea that cutting the tax on the border will somehow stop Nova Scotians from going into New Brunswick may have some merit, but why will it stop the people who live on one side of that artificial border from leaving their community to go into the next community? It won't, Mr. Speaker. What it does is move the problem from the border to an artificial border inside of our province, one that instead of eliminating the problem actually makes it more difficult to deal with because you are creating one Nova Scotia citizen who then is being treated differently than another one.

I want to end with my few minutes that I have left to appeal to this government and to remind them, as I'm sure they're all well aware, that they have a majority government. So we can move away a little bit from the quick public policy pieces that may get you quick votes, may be good political moves, but are poor pieces of public policy. I would suggest to you that gas regulation, while it may have benefitted you politically, is poor public policy. You have an opportunity to scrap gas regulation in its entirety. That's how you will deal with the issue on the border; that's how you will treat the people of Amherst the same as you will treat the people of Halifax, the people of Yarmouth, and the people of Bridgetown. I would encourage that member for Cumberland North to speak to his minister and speak to his Premier to move away from the lunacy of this idea and move toward the idea of scrapping gas regulation, because he knows that the business owners in his community can compete. He knows that the men and women of Cumberland North are looking for a competitive environment because they always have and they always will. They will find a solution to this problem, not the government benches.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. RAMONA JENNEX: Mr. Speaker, it's an honour for me to participate in this debate because it is a topic that I care deeply about. I also thank the honourable member opposite for his passion around his commitment. I have passion around mine, too. I appreciate this time because for me it is an opportunity to talk about some of the people who make our province a tremendous place to live. It's a chance for me to talk about people who

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want to contribute to the success and well-being of their communities. It is a chance for me to talk about small businesses who want to provide a service for their neighbours. It's a chance for me to talk about people who work hard in the hope that they can raise their families to contribute to society.

Mr. Speaker, I ran for election because the people in my community needed a voice to speak on their behalf, a person to listen to them and to understand the small daily challenges of caring for their loved ones. As a minister in this government, I am now privileged to be able to listen to and understand the challenges of people across this province and to help implement appropriate measures for the benefit of all Nova Scotians.

Today my colleagues in Opposition want to highlight a perceived bias on behalf of the province regarding the struggles that people in Amherst are facing due to the difference in the price of gas in New Brunswick. Mr. Speaker, I want to assure all members of this House that border gas pricing will be investigated as part of a public consultation process which is to be conducted by the Utility and Review Board in the coming months.

However, my colleagues in the Opposition have chosen to focus on what they perceive as a negative outcome for Nova Scotians. I prefer to focus on the benefits of gas regulation and, in particular, on the impact it has on individual Nova Scotians and rural communities. We have 420 gas stations in this province. Less than half that number existed when regulation ended in 1991. We've all driven by the boarded up gas stations that litter our province - the vast majority of them in rural or semi-remote areas. I wonder how many people see more than just abandoned pumps? Do they see a small business that no longer exists? Do they see a place where students had a summer job pumping gas or working behind the counter? Do they see the loss of municipal and provincial taxes paid to help fund the many services in the community?

Mr. Speaker, when people criticize gas regulation, do they consider such people as Lisa and Brian Boudreau who founded Caper Gas? Lisa and Brian represent a success story for all Nova Scotians and one that we should all take pride in. The Boudreaus have taken the time to share their story with my staff as well as my colleagues in the Opposition caucuses. Caper Gas is a small family business. It has opened stations that are operated by other small independent business people. While the larger wholesalers are pulling out of smaller communities, Lisa and Brian Boudreau are investing in those communities. They are hiring people, creating jobs in rural Nova Scotia, and injecting capital into the economy, which translates into work for other companies.

Most importantly, Mr. Speaker, they are doing all this while making a living in their local community, and all of this is possible because of the stability that gas regulation provides them as they operate their business. It is also important to note that while the Boudreau business is growing in part due to gas regulation, they are also a fine example of

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business people who are giving back to their community, a community that has supported them and helped them to succeed.

[5:00 p.m.]

My job, government's job and the job of all members of this House, is to help them to succeed because they are contributing to Nova Scotia's economy and to their community. That is why maintenance of rural infrastructure, giving those small businesses a fair opportunity to succeed, it is one of the primary objectives of gas regulation. That goal is being achieved as evidenced by the findings of not one, but two, independent reports by Michael Gardner.

Mr. Speaker, there is no doubt that from time to time a gas station closes, just as they open in another area, but the fact remains the rate of closures prior to regulation was about two and a half every month. Since regulation that has fallen to less than one a month. Again, the Gardner Pinfold report makes it clear the policy of helping maintain rural infrastructure has been met.

I note with interest that in the summer of 2004 there were meetings conducted by an all-Party Select Committee on Petroleum Products Pricing. This was in response to public concern over gasoline prices that seemed to rise and fall every second day, even during the day, often without clear reason and rarely with an explanation. After a serious of five regional meetings the committee returned a report, which had as one of the recommendations that gas regulation should be based in general on the P.E.I. model and that is what we have today. Again Mr. Speaker, the Gardner Pinfold report indicated gasoline regulation has addressed price stability by providing motorists with prices that are generally consistent for a week at a time.

While I was not privileged to be a member of the House in 2004, I take pride in the fact that the members of this government who served on that select committee have been consistent in supporting the policy. As we move forward, this government intends to remain consistent in its position and keep the commitment we made to Nova Scotians.

Effective October 1, 2009, the responsibility for gasoline pricing will be transferred to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. Our position has always been that the board, an arm's-length, non-political organization is the proper body to perform this regulatory function. This is in keeping with gasoline regulation in other provinces. While the Gardner Pinfold report indicates there is no evidence of political influence in the setting of gas prices, this step will remove any doubt surrounding the integrity of this process. This is one of the primary reasons why the Utility and Review Board is best suited to consult with Nova Scotians on the issue of gas prices at our border.

[Page 312]

I would also like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of the good member for Cumberland North and the strong representation he brings for that riding on behalf of his constituents.

The final point I would like to address today is around the cost of regulation. I'm finished? Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland South.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I want to say that first of all I'm very pleased to rise today regarding Resolution No. 36 and to - during a recent election campaign the Premier and the member for Cumberland North, who sits here tonight, committed to lowering the gas tax in Amherst. I have to say, in almost 12 years, this is the first time I've seen a government come to this House and bring an issue forward that will divide our province. This is going to put neighbours against neighbours, communities against communities, make no mistake about it.

I want to quote something that the Premier said in the Amherst Daily News this past summer, these are his words. "It's a common sense adjustment that can be made in a way that benefits Amherst and border communities." I will bet - and I heard the honourable minister mention, just a minute ago, issues around fairness and about taxes in communities and taxes on people, what it means to families. Well, I could bring some retailers in here who will strongly disagree with the Premier, strongly disagree with the minister. In fact, I will invite the minister to accompany me to Cumberland County, and I'll let her talk to some retailers. (Interruption) No, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has already agreed to come, and he's coming first. I'll invite the honourable minister to come to Cumberland County with me, and I'll introduce her to some retailers who will tell her that this is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

Mr. Speaker, first of all, where's the line going to be? Has anybody told us that? Is it between Amherst and Pugwash? You can bet if it is, the retailers in Amherst are going to be some upset with their member. If it's between Pugwash and Wallace, look out because the people of Wallace are coming after you.

There's only one way to do this. If this government is considering reducing any taxes, make it province-wide for every Nova Scotian, as it should be.

Mr. Speaker, I fail - and I think a lot of other members in this House failed - to realize, and I'll bet there are members on that side of the House who are being muzzled by their own Premier, ministers, but I'll bet you there are backbenchers sitting here tonight saying, if this goes through it's going to hurt my community, my retailers, the people I represent. I know there are.

[Page 313]

Mr. Speaker, passing this off on to the Utility and Review Board this government has passed off its responsibility in the last four to five weeks on many, many issues. This government was elected to make decisions on behalf of all Nova Scotia. The Premier is not a Premier for Amherst, he's not a Premier for Cumberland North, he's a Premier for Nova Scotia. Nova Scotians are expecting him to make those tough decisions that affect every retailer, every Nova Scotian across this province, not to satisfy - something that was mentioned during the campaign, which I will use; I will be very cautious, because I do appreciate your position and I won't say anything that's unparliamentary, but I will say at the very least, a very silly notion to suggest something like this during a campaign that will benefit one community - a very few retailers in a community that is suffering, and I appreciate that very much, Mr. Speaker - but at the expense of the rest of the province.

Mr. Speaker, people are travelling from Cumberland County - where are they going for a lot of their groceries? They're going to Moncton. Do you know what this is going to do? This is going to give them cheaper gas in Amherst to continue on their travels to Moncton.

What about cigarette prices? What about milk prices? What about bread prices? Are you going to put that all to the URB and ask them to look at that as well? People are making choices, Mr. Speaker. The honourable member for Cumberland North himself stated in the Amherst Daily News last week when he was asked, what can you do about cross-border shopping? Do you know what his answer was? Pretty well nothing, very little they can do. That was his answer and I don't disagree with that, because the honourable member is right. If people make choices to go to Moncton, for example, for groceries and to do their clothing shopping, there's not a lot we can do other than be competitive in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I, and I know a lot of other people, are very, very disappointed in this government, to suggest you would pit a community against another one, even within our own county.

Now, Mr. Speaker, the honourable minister spoke tonight. I thought she was going to tell us where that line that she was considering was going to be. I will take my place if the honourable minister will stand up in her spot and tell this House, where's the line you're talking about? I will take my place and let the Premier get up and say what he wants. The Premier can stand up right now and tell Nova Scotians where the line is that he's going to draw for different gas prices in Nova Scotia, and I will take my place and let him answer if he wishes. I will let the minister do it. I will take my place. The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations can get up right here and say, if you live in Amherst you're getting cheaper gas. If you live in Springhill, tough luck.

Does the honourable minister want to get up and answer that? Or Oxford, or Pugwash, or Wallace. These are Nova Scotians who have very difficult times surviving. These are people who are related to one another. These are businesses who have been in their

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businesses for generations and they want to be able to compete, they want to be able to survive. What they're hearing now - if you've seen some of the interviews, I know in Springhill a couple of retailers were interviewed. Mr. Speaker, they're going out of business. If this government brings in a different tax rate for Amherst businesses only, and if Springhill businesses will pay the price for it if they're not included, they're closing.

Do you know whose fault that is going to be? The Premier's, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, and the member who brought up the silly idea during the campaign.

Mr. Speaker, I'm not a lawyer, but I'm not so sure this is even legal. How can the government tell its residents who are paying taxes, well, guess what, you're going to pay X number of dollars in taxes on a commodity that's being provided, but another jurisdiction is going to pay a lot lower price and you're going to have to suck it up basically. I'm not so sure it's legal and do you know what I can tell you? Yes, there are transportation costs. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. SCOTT: There are transportation costs that affect different areas of this province and I agree with that, Mr. Speaker, I do. It's a little cheaper to take gas down on Gottingen Street than it is to take it to Advocate, Nova Scotia. I'll tell you the trucking costs to run, the taxes are something else, and I would like for the minister to tell this House, while she's saying that she's going to send it to the URB, tell this House where the line is, where do you expect the line to be? Because I'll tell you this, it affects the community that I represent in a negative way. Like the commitment that was made by the Premier to honour commitments the previous government made, that is obviously - on seeing now, there's a little bit shaky ground there when he says, "almost". I will spend the next, whatever amount of time I have in this House, the weeks, the months, the years, reminding this government that they treated Nova Scotians unfairly, that they pitted one community against another.

We have municipal politicians right today in Cumberland County, and the honourable member for Cumberland North knows this, who are working very hard to bring our communities together, to work together as Cumberland County. Because what's good in Amherst should be good for Parrsboro and what's good for what happens in River Hebert is good for the people of Oxford. But bringing this kind of foolishness before this House - you're putting one community against another, you're going to divide the communities. The government that would bring this forward and suggest this should be ashamed of themselves. You should be ashamed of yourselves. (Applause)

I would ask the honourable minister to come to Cumberland County with me and I will introduce you to some retailers who have had these businesses for a number of years. They are terrified. If they are going to have to pay 6 cents, or 4 cents, or 8 cents more tax than a neighbouring community and retailer will, then they're going to be out of business. Now,

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you tell their children who are trying to go to university, going to school, who are being fed by these people - you come and tell them why they're going to be put out of business, why their tax dollars in this province...

AN HON. MEMBER: That's reality. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please. The honourable member for Cumberland South has the floor.

MR. SCOTT: You know, Mr. Speaker, the honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations a moment ago used the words, the word she used was perceived negative. Well, it may be a perceived negative to a minister who's in Halifax but a business that's facing closure, who have children and family to feed and clothe, with the possibility of losing their income - it's not a perceived negative. It's a real negative. It's a real opportunity for this government to right a wrong. A silly notion was made during the campaign - the Premier should be standing here making a leadership decision and say that he will not put a Nova Scotian against another Nova Scotian because of some foolish notion that was suggested during the campaign to benefit very few people to get elected at the price of other people.

You better hope that the people in that constituency, that none of them are disadvantaged by this, because I'll tell you, Mr. Speaker, (Interruption) and I'm closing, yes. The people in my constituency aren't disadvantaged but if they are, every chance I can I will be raising, in this House, about the unfairness of this government and don't kid yourselves, people in Cumberland County are aware right now what's going on.

Mr. Speaker, I think that the honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations has an opportunity to stand up here to right a wrong . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member's time has elapsed.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to take part in this debate, firstly because this is my first time at being a Critic for Municipal Relations and Service Nova Scotia, having spent many times on the Opposition benches criticizing governments on health matters. This is the first time and I'm pleased because it brings, to me anyway, to light something that's a very serious situation in this province. There is no winner. There is never a winner when you pit one area of our province against another area of our province. There are only losers in all cases.

[5:15 p.m.]

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Mr. Speaker, let me clarify a couple of things. First of all, let me clarify what some on the government benches have been saying, is that the differential that we're talking about is a matter of taxes. It is not. Provincial taxes on gas are constant; they stay the same. The differential is there because of a transport allowance. Everybody should know that starting from the very beginning. It helps you to deal with it just a little bit better, Mr. Speaker.

Let me tell you what - and I think she's a very well-known person in this province in terms of speaking out on business issues - her name is Leanne Hachey, and she was a guest columnist in the Chronicle Herald not too long ago. Here is the first of her column. I think it sums up our whole debate here tonight. "In its first real tax test, our new NDP Government is illustrating it's not yet seeing the forest for the trees." I think that pretty well says it all. What you have here is the case - you have a political matter, you have a case of playing politics with the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: Honourable member, will you table that document that you read from?

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Absolutely, Mr. Speaker, as I usually do in all cases, as the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal should know from the amount of time he has spent in this House. (Laughter)

Mr. Speaker, this is a case of simply playing politics with the people of Nova Scotia. The NDP and their candidate in Cumberland North promised that they would lower gas prices in that region in order to get a member elected to this House. It's clear-cut, and now that they did that - congratulations to the member, you're here but now what your government is saying to you is, we're not going to honour the promise that you made to your people. What we're going to do now is outsource our responsibility, which is to make a decision. As an elected representative, as a member of government, as a member of the Executive Council in this government, you're elected to make decisions. But you have decided to outsource that responsibility to the URB. The URB is not, to the best of my knowledge, full of any elected officials. It's going to be a different decision that's going to be made.

Mr. Speaker, we've said very clearly as the Liberal Party that we're not in favour of regulation and you cannot fix regulation by regulating something else. That is never the solution, and that is exactly what's happening here.

This is a better deal for some families, but the NDP promised they would have a better deal for all families. This is not a better deal for the people of Glace Bay. It's not a better deal for the people of Springhill right now, it's not a better deal for the people of Dartmouth, it's not a better deal for the people of Bible Hill, it's not a better deal for the people of Truro. So far the only place, supposedly, that this will be a better deal for is the people of Amherst. You create an artificial border, you split the province, no matter how far

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you cast the net or you draw the line, you're going to leave communities out in the cold. No matter what you do, you're going to have some people who are angry at the government. Now, I would question the wisdom of a government that would start off under new footing by making some people angry at them, but I also know at the same time that that's inevitably going to happen.

The minister made reference to the fact that there are 420 gas stations in Nova Scotia. If this plan were to go ahead as we're talking about, and Amherst was excluded, it would directly benefit only four gas stations. If they extended it to Oxford and Springhill, that would total 10 stations out of 420. I ask you, as this government and as that Party has said many, many times in this House - let's be fair, let's be equitable. Would you call that fair? If you're treating four or 10 companies differently than 420, would you describe that as a fair and equitable policy? In anything else that the government does - pick a subject - if you only had that many out of that number, would you consider that to be fair? Any reasonable thinking person would say that the answer is absolutely not. That is not fair.

Mr. Speaker, the Premier said that his government is going to work on a plan to reduce the provincial gas tax at stations near the New Brunswick border, and we heard the minister say today that they're going to shift that responsibility off to the URB because they don't want to make that decision. They don't want to make that decision because of the politics involved. The minister actually said that there is a perceived bias out there regarding this situation. Well, there are perceptions out there. You're correct, Madam Minister, the perception right now with most other people who live in this province and who wouldn't live in Amherst is that you're treating one part of this province differently than the other. I'd say that's a real perception that's out there.

There are points of entry from other provinces and from the United States and other parts of this province. They may not be by road, but they are points of entry. What do we do there? Do we create an artificial border in North Sydney? Do we create an artificial border in Digby? Do we create artificial borders there? No. Why Amherst? Review your file, Madam Minister. Review the whole thing. Ask your government colleagues, ask the member for Cumberland North the real reason why this is taking place. Politics. Politics, politics, politics, is the only reason this is taking place.

The easiest thing to do is if you want to put it all in the hands of the URB, then fine, put it in the hands of the URB. But I can guarantee you if you hold public hearings, which you said the URB is going to do, that when you go to other areas of this province and you talk to people, they're going to tell you they want to be treated the same as the people of Amherst. If I get lower gas prices in Amherst, I want lower gas prices in Digby; I want them in North Sydney; and I want them in Glace Bay. Of course they would tell you that.

Are our provincial rates for community services any different in Amherst than they are in Glace Bay? Absolutely not. People are treated the same across this province, from one

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end to the other. Are our taxes any different in one area than in the other? Are they? (Interruption) Well, tell me where they are, tell me where they are.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not provincial taxes.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Not provincial taxes - everyone is treated the same in this province. Again, the NDP got what they wanted, you got a member for Cumberland North, you got them there on a false promise, apparently, because you promised the people that you would lower the tax there, but now you're saying you're not going to lower the tax any more because you're not willing to make a decision - because you don't have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and say this is why we did it. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, (Interruption) well you didn't get what you wanted. You got me back and I'm glad to be here because certainly I can point out that this government is headed in the wrong direction, at least in this instance. It's unfair. It's not equitable; it's unfair. It is not fair; it is not right - indeed, it is as wrong as you an get to treat one Nova Scotian any differently than another Nova Scotian. Thank you very much for your time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Cumberland North.

MR. BRIAN SKABAR: Mr. Speaker, it's an honour to take my place here today to speak to this resolution, introduced by the Liberal member . . .

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. You said the member's time was up, so the debate . . .

MR. SPEAKER: No, I said two minutes. (Interruption) Oh, I'm sorry. If I misled the member, I apologize. The member has until 5:24 p.m.

The honourable member for Glace Bay has the floor.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and my apologies for the mix-up. I thought that I had used up all my time and I had not. Certainly, even with 30 seconds remaining, or 10 or 15, regardless of how many seconds are remaining, it's still wrong. Mr. Speaker, it's still wrong.

MR. SPEAKER: The time has elapsed for debate on this resolution.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 65.

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Res. No. 65, re Gov't. (N.S.) - Infrastructure Plans - notice given Sept. 21/09 - (Hon. W. Gaudet)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

HON. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and say a few words on Resolution No. 65. The operative clause reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly urge government to inform this Chamber of its infrastructure plans and priorities immediately and table this plan in this House."

Well, allow me to take us back a couple of years. Back in 2007, the federal government announced the Building Canada Fund. In this Building Canada Fund the federal government had announced this new infrastructure program. The priorities for funding would include our national highway system, drinking water, waste water, public transit, green energy and recreation. Again, it's also necessary to point out that these projects that were going to be recognized - and I'll table this after I'm done - were going to be looked at by a joint panel from the federal and provincial governments, to look at the applications that were submitted.

Something that's also important to recognize, under the Canada Building Fund there are two components. The first one is called the Major Infrastructure Component, the MIC, which basically targets large strategic projects of national and regional significance. The other component would focus on projects and communities with populations of less than 100,000, helping these smaller communities face their unique challenges.

Mr. Speaker, looking at the fund that was announced, Nova Scotia was going to receive $235.68 million of federal funding. Naturally those dollars would have to be matched by either the province, municipal units, universities or the different communities. So looking again at that $235 million coming from the federal government, that money was basically divided into those two components. Under the communities component, to help communities with a population of less than 100,000 people, $37 million federal dollars were set aside. Under the major infrastructure component, $198.68 million, and this is federal dollars that were set aside under this program.

Now, naturally when this program was rolled out in November 2007, this infrastructure money announced by the federal government was to help our struggling economy across our country and especially here at home in Nova Scotia. It was supposed to help stimulate our economy by creating much-needed jobs here at home. We've heard time and time again that this infrastructure funding was going to create a lot of short-term jobs that were desperately needed, and still are. It was also going to create long-term care jobs.

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We can all recall hearing our former Premier talking about this funding. It was the largest infrastructure program in the history of our province. We heard politicians talking about ready-to-go projects. We heard the famous quote, the shovel-ready projects. The excitement that was created was overwhelming. Nova Scotians were excited. The list of projects that was being proposed or talked about was extensive. We've heard of possible new schools being built, renovated, hospitals, jails, rinks, libraries, sewer and water projects and, of course, roads and bridges, to name some.

Mind you, Mr. Speaker, everybody had their lists ready, our provincial government had theirs, our municipal units, our school boards, our universities and others. Well, of course, from all the discussions, our Party tried to get a list from the province back in 2008, what the priority list was for our province. Again, the premier at the time told us that this priority list would be made available in March 2009. The program was announced in November 2007, and the former Premier told us that this list would be made available in March 2009, because everybody wanted to know what projects were submitted and what projects were going to be approved. Lo and behold we're still waiting for that list. Maybe this Premier will undertake to make the Nova Scotia priority list available. So, again, everybody in Nova Scotia is still waiting to see the infrastructure priority list.

Now again many questions were raised along the way, how is the province going to distribute the funding across our province? Should all regions be treated equally? So the question still remains, how is this money going to be distributed across our province?

[5:30 p.m.]

Now normally the cost of infrastructure projects is a three-way split, with each partner putting up 33 per cent of the cost. However, the funding agreement for projects may vary, it can be split two ways - 50/50, 60/40. Again, the arrangement is basically left to be negotiated.

I understand my time is fast approaching to a close. Again, looking back, November 2007, the Canada Building Fund was announced. It was on May 1, 2009, that the first announcement was made. So again, when I look back at this first announcement on May 1, 2009, $210 million in federal funding was announced, matched by the province, so we were looking at a total of $422 million. Yes, there have been some more announcements since. I understand there was another one made today.

So again, in closing, I would encourage the minister to table that list of infrastructure priorities for our province, whenever it is convenient for him. So again, Mr. Speaker, I will certainly have a chance to continue my discussion at a later time. Thank you again.

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

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the member opposite for bringing forth this important topic so that we can discuss it on the floor of this historic Legislature, Resolution No. 65.

Since coming to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Mr. Speaker, I want you to know I've had the opportunity to learn a great deal about infrastructure challenges and the future ahead for opportunities which we have in Nova Scotia. As many members of this House would know, Nova Scotia unfortunately has some of the oldest infrastructure in the country which, of course, results in challenges and some tough decisions that are going to be made.

There are 23,000 kilometres of roads in this beautiful province and, as you can appreciate, keeping those roads in good condition takes a great deal of time, money and planning. We can't understate the importance of making sure that we have a solid network of infrastructure in our province. I take the member for Glace Bay at his word, when we look at infrastructure in our province from Cape Breton to Yarmouth, from the border across the Tantramar Marsh to, of course, the HRM, we know how important these roads and buildings are to communities and to our economy.

Good infrastructure connects our communities, whether it is a strong highway system, in today's world, more importantly another system, the information highway system, the Internet. Mr. Speaker, we've spoken to communities, to citizens and their elected leaders and we have listened to them. We know there are needs right across the province. Our goal is to work with communities, work with people and make decisions that benefit them and support their goals for the places they live and work.

At this time I want to thank the members of my caucus, the members opposite who have taken the time over the short time that we have been in government, and I say short time because time is flying by here. I want you to know that members opposite have come and visited with me in my office, as the Energy Minister and as the Transportation and Infrastructure Minister and brought their concerns forward. Members of my caucus continue to do that. That's going to make sure that we'll continue to make the correct decisions.

We made a decision earlier this year that reflects our commitment to the people of this province and I'd like to have the opportunity to talk about it at this time. We decided to embark on the largest highway construction program in this province's history. Let's be clear on that. I know that in the last number of months there were commitments that crossed my desk and I know the deputy minister on many occasions said to me, it's amazing, you never asked what constituency they're in.

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I look at where the jobs are, I look at the need for these roads, I look at the staff and I realize that they are making important decisions. This season - millions are being - in this construction season I should point out - millions are being invested to build and improve roads right across the province. These projects may be a few kilometres of paving or the construction of new highways. But regardless of the size, each project is vital to the people who use these roads and to the people who are working hard to attract new businesses to these areas or to bring visitors to their areas, to expose them to the impressive sights that we find all about this wonderful province of ours. These projects are bringing a lasting benefit to Nova Scotians.

The members opposite should very clearly know - and I've had them say to me privately, I don't expect them necessarily to say to me publicly - but I do know that the previous member for Inverness - and I wish him all the best with the decision he has made - he committed and wrote a very complimentary letter on a rather personal issue that I was involved with a number of weeks ago. He took the time to put in writing that he appreciated all of the good work I had continued to proceed with in Inverness and that's after making sure that an important part of this province that was currently served by the previous Premier does not get forgotten. This was determined as a priority, it was determined as something that should be done, and those projects went ahead. They help traffic congestion. They make the roads safer. They support our economy. We're making decisions to make sure that across this province people feel that they are being listened to.

The work undertaken in this construction season has been made possible because of some good tough decisions, tough decisions that have to be made based upon budgetary priorities. Of course, there are projects going on outside of my department. This includes vital water and waste water projects, construction of a new community college campus, affordable housing, new construction of schools. One in particular - it was with great delight, I want you to know, that when it finally crossed my desk and I looked at the plans for Glace Bay school, I very clearly looked at it and I thought for one reason or another that school was to be named after somebody else, but I want the member to know that it was a good moment for him, a good moment for his community, and a good moment for me as the new minister to make sure that was something I could sign off on.

Of course, Mr. Speaker, we can't forget the new home construction rebate introduced by this government, the new construction rebate which has proved to be very popular. As members of this House would know, this is a program that kick-started the new home construction business, benefiting both homebuilders and new homeowners.

I'm also pleased to report that we are taking a green approach to new infrastructure in the province. In August my colleague, the Minister of Environment, announced a $1.4 million project for the construction of a new green building. This building will meet stringent standards for energy efficiency and I did have the privilege of touring one of the great new facilities at the NSCC across the harbour. I encourage members opposite and members of my

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caucus to attend. Call the principal, she'll have you in there in a moment - or the president, she'll have you in there in a moment to see that new building. This is an approach that we're committed to bringing to provincial construction projects. We're building to a high standard to make sure that infrastructure we build today is not a burden for our children tomorrow.

Now, there is another legacy we want to leave for the future and that is an economy that's not burdened by excessive debt. This has been a busy summer for builders of all kinds in this province, from one end to the other, and we want to keep them busy for years to come. However, we need to do this responsibly. We need to live within our means. We know in the future we will face some significant challenges in reaching those goals.

Mr. Speaker, we recognized a long time ago that careful planning would be key to good decision making. Regardless of the issue, you've got to make sure you have the facts before you can make the good decision. That's why we made a commitment to develop a five-year road improvement plan. This is the plan that will give careful consideration to the needs and priorities across the province, from one end of the province to the other. We're developing this plan and we will share it with all Nova Scotians when it is ready. We are also working to develop a broader plan for the province's infrastructure needs. I've had the opportunity to share with Minister MacKay the announcements. I've been in contact with Minister Baird by phone at this time, and I look forward to meeting him in the future on the plans of the federal government.

So in closing, there is no doubt the needs are great. They must be balanced with the fiscal results of the realities of the province, but we're committing to work with Nova Scotians to make the best decisions possible. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Yarmouth.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to rise in my place to speak on Resolution No. 65. It must be made abundantly clear for all Nova Scotians the importance of seeing the new government's infrastructure plan, because to date, with the exception of a federal announcement with the Honourable Peter MacKay, and a series of announcements between mid-July and mid-August by the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, this government has been exceptionally quiet on their infrastructure plans.

Our government announced a $1.9 billion infrastructure fund. Our government was getting down to business. This year alone the economy and recovery-style mode of $334 million was to go into Nova Scotia communities. Yes, we were working with the federal government and I will point out a few of the projects we announced. Phase 2, the twinning of Highway 104, the upgrade of Lower South River Bridge, Heatherton Bridge, Little Bras d'Or Bridge, Milford overpass and the Fairview overpass. Infrastructure is a vital part of Nova Scotia's economy and is critical to sustaining and developing our communities. But

[Page 324]

the NDP Government remains coy despite the fact that upgrading and twinning more sections of our provincial highway system should be priorities for the Government of Nova Scotia.

Today we are simply asking for the plan since they came to government and a copy of their upcoming plans.

Our caucus was very pleased with the announcement we heard last week of the $100 million and partnership with the federal government and the Honourable Peter MacKay but I would like to mention - and there are members on that side of the House, and I have not heard one word from any of them - in southwest Nova Scotia and the South Shore there was no announcement of any sort and from the Digby to Weymouth area, that seriously needs an upgrade, Highway No. 103, there was no announcement on any of those.

Mr. Speaker, transportation is the backbone of growing the economy of Nova Scotia and southwest Nova Scotia deserves to have the same treatment as any other part of Nova Scotia. Maybe the members on the government benches are quiet and they'll just follow suit with whatever the government says but I will stand up for the people of the South Shore and of southwest Nova Scotia.

We have Bay ferries in serious trouble, the Digby ferry that is on life support today. We have Bay ferries in Yarmouth that is on life support. They need some answers and they need some help and they need it from this government today.

We have a new air service at our airport in Yarmouth. We need some more support from this government and this government is sitting on their hands and doing absolutely nothing. To grow our economy in southwest Nova Scotia we all must step up to the plate and work together. I believe that if we all want to do that it can be done but the government has to show the leadership and do that.

We need more new schools, we need to keep building more health care centres, new facilities for water and sewer, sidewalks for our seniors, community centres, our fire halls in Nova Scotia. I forget the number of volunteer fire departments. Our government was committed to those volunteer firemen, as you're well aware of that and members of the House are well aware of that, but there has been no announcement to the volunteer fire sector. What are they doing with them? They are a critical part of our economy and they're volunteers. They risk their lives every day to save their neighbour and what are we doing? We are doing absolutely nothing. We're not making any announcements of any sort to help any of these volunteer groups.

Our community centres are the backbone of rural communities. What are we doing for them? Absolutely nothing. Where is the plan so Nova Scotians will know exactly where this government is, or is it going to be more backroom deals? Mr. Speaker, that's a very clear question. Would somebody maybe like for me to take my seat and answer that? Members on

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this side of the House have not seen any plan and I think that all Nova Scotians deserve to have that plan.

The Premier made it very clear when he was running his election that he would live up to the commitments that were made by the previous government and now he's back-pedalling on those, almost all. We would like to know what almost all means and when will we know that? We heard statements today by ministers here in the House that meant nothing. We heard the Minister of Environment stand in his place today and say, the issue is resolved in southwest Nova Scotia. Well I tell you, I will take that message home when I go back home on Friday. I will let the people know that that minister has it resolved because nobody in southwest Nova Scotia knows it's resolved yet.

So what is the resolve of it? An infrastructure throughout other parts of this province, Mr. Speaker. We need better highway systems. We need better infrastructure throughout the province. When I was the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, we had a list that long of infrastructure that was needed and shovel-ready projects by municipalities across the province. If we have this abundance of money that we want to get rid of and start growing the economy, there's a good place to do it and partner with the municipalities. It's free money, you can go borrow free money, so we should keep doing that. It's free, and the taxpayers will not have this burden for our children and for our grandchildren. According to the Premier, it's free.

Well, I think that someday reality will set in and they'll know that it's not free, Mr. Speaker. I can tell you that I'm not going to go - well, I don't have a mortgage, but if I did have a mortgage on my home, I would not be paying next year's payments on it. Yes, I would go to the Premier and get that mortgage because it's interest-free.

Anyhow, Mr. Speaker, there are numerous projects I could talk about that need the attention of this government. There are members on that bench who are muzzled and will not stand up and say anything, in their own ridings, of issues that they - I have not heard one member from the South Shore, and I see the Minister of Community Services laughing over there. I have not seen her stand in this place and say one thing about Highway No.103. I have not heard the member for Shelburne, I have not heard the member for Queens, stand in their place and say one thing about the Highway No. 103. When they sat over here, Mr. Speaker, that was their priority. Highway No. 103 was a priority. Where is it today? Why will they not have the backbone to stand in their place and support the people of their community who are asking for it? Every council along that South Shore has made that a number one priority. What are they doing? Now that they're on that side of the House, there are muzzles on. They're not allowed to speak.

We heard it today from the Premier, he didn't want his minister to speak. Well, I'm sure the backbenchers will never get a chance to speak. Maybe they're just sitting there thinking, if I'm quiet enough, and I prove to the Premier that I can't speak at all, he'll move

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me to the front bench. Well, that's how it is. Anyhow, the people of Nova Scotia need a plan and we are determined that we'll keep ragging on the government until they have the plan for Nova Scotians.

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

HON. MANNING MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Following those remarks I welcome the opportunity to join in the debate on Resolution No. 65.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South has the floor.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: You might say in listening to the debate going here today, and particularly on this resolution and others, I go back to the time in this House when I was first elected as a member back in 1993. Before that, I had a quite lengthy career as Mayor of Sydney - over 15 years. My point, I guess, in starting off, is that I've been around politics going on 32 years now, and I've had 11 elections, including one acclamation.

The scene changes over the years. When I was Mayor in Sydney, these problems that come up with infrastructure and that are totally the responsibility of the City of Sydney, in most cases with some funding arrangements with the province or with the federal government.

When I first got elected as the representative for Cape Breton South, I only had the old City of Sydney. Now my constituency encompasses a rural/suburban/urban mix. My constituency has shifted to areas like Westmount, Coxheath, Sydney River, Point Edward, Balls Creek - all areas that are serviced by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. So it's a lot different than when you're dealing with the municipal government and the City of Sydney, in terms of municipal infrastructure. A lot of these are J-class roads.

I just want to say that in the past number of years I've looked at my constituency and I said that something has to be done with the condition of the roads in my constituency (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: . . . that are not bounded by the old City of Sydney, rather that are in the rural area and suburban area of my riding. In particular, in the past couple of years, I worked with the municipal councillor there to...

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton South has the floor.

[Page 327]

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: . . . to get these roads fixed. I had great co-operation from the previous government with respect to applications I had made to have some roads in my riding fixed. Some of those roads were gravel, some of them had open ditches, some had sewer problems, all of the above. The old County of Cape Breton was looking after themself and for one reason or another, over the years, these roads didn't get brought up to standard. The only thing that got up to standard was the increase in taxes in those areas and the services didn't increase.

Anyway, in the last couple of years I had the opportunity to discuss many projects with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. I was successful in negotiating a number of things. One in particular was a combination of effort between the member for Cape Breton North and myself regarding the need to renew Keltic Drive, which was probably about $5 million between the two sections and it's all done now with the co-operation of the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, the member for Cape Breton North and the councillors involved in his area and my area.

Those are the kinds of things we got done and I'm leading up to something here. There were other streets that were done with co-operation, something that the rural part of my riding didn't feel were ever going to get done. Some gravel roads were paved. I look at places like Wendy Street, Martell Street and Westmount. I look at streets that hadn't been looked at in 50 years: Waterview Drive and other streets in Coxheath; Sydney River Bridge; and the need to do something with the twinning of Highway No. 125, the bypass, was addressed. All of those things were successfully completed with the co-operation across Party lines between the member for Cape Breton North, his Party, our Party and in this instance realizing that our constituencies bordered one another in a lot of cases. My constituency comes close to bordering yours, Mr.[Deputy]Speaker, in some of the areas.

Anyway, to the minister, I issued a request this year for some infrastructure renewal projects to cover off some of these streets that are in bad repair in our area, streets like Weidner Drive, Lynch Drive, Duncan Drive, Hillview Drive, the need to do something more in the Point Edward area. Those are all documented in the minister's department now and I would hope the same co-operation will come from this minister that came from the last Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal in addressing my concerns in Cape Breton South.

I might add that having been around this House a long time, some would think too long, but I guess I'm just getting energized again because I've been on all sides of this House. I've been in government, I've been a backbencher in government, I've been a minister in government, I've been in Official Opposition, I've been in the Third Party. But there's one thing I haven't lost sight of, the need to do something in my riding all the time. I'm here to represent the people of Cape Breton South. (Applause)

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When I get exercised enough during the debate on estimates, I will do what I have so often done in the past - do an analysis of the members opposite and give my opinion of who's going to be here after the next election and who isn't. (Applause) I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that I'll be here after the next election and I'll give a seat-by-seat projection over there before this House rises sometime in December or January. Even though this crew has a majority government, they're not getting out of here easily this Fall because we're here to debate the business of Nova Scotia for Nova Scotians and we intend to do that. (Applause)

In our caucus, and I'm sure the caucus to my left here - that's a strange thing to say about this caucus to my left - we'll be holding this government to account and I'm going to tell you, there are going to be some very interesting weeks in the near future.

I'll close by saying this to the minister, I would hope that he would take my concerns back to his department. There is a list of streets sitting on your desk, Mr. Minister, somewhere, please just call me up and tell me that they're going to be done. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: I will now call on the honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for the hours for tomorrow.

HON. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government House Leader, I wish to announce tomorrow's hours are from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Budget Speech will be the highlight of the day, if I can put it that way, and after Question Period we will go back to Address in Reply to the Speech from the Throne. [I move the House do now rise.]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House shall now rise and meet again tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

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 hour of adjournment is upon us. The motion for tonight is:

"Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate the staff of Whitney Pier Youth Club who provide exceptional programming for youth in the Whitney Pier area for over 15 years."

[Page 329]

ADJOURNMENT MOTION

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

WHITNEY PIER YOUTH CLUB: STAFF - CONGRATS.

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in my place tonight and talk about something that has a great place in my heart, the young people of Whitney Pier and the Whitney Pier Youth Club. The Whitney Pier Youth Club, Mr. Speaker, is a youth-oriented society. It's been a non-profit, registered charity since 1994 when I had the privilege of being the executive director and opened the doors. I think about the time from 1994 to the present and all the valuable services and the hard times that we went through, but today I rise in my place to speak about the new Executive Director, Chester Borden, and the wonderful job that's he doing with the youth in the community.

For years, the Whitney Pier Youth Club provided Breakfast for Learning. It was a Breakfast for Learning Program that was not offered in the schools in the area, so at that time the board of directors and myself decided that we would offer the Breakfast for Learning Program. We also had a lunch program. We probably served over 100,000 lunches in the time that I was there, and they've probably served well over 100,000 since I've left since becoming the member for Cape Breton Nova.

Mr. Speaker, it was an ordinary building. At one time it was a Presbyterian Church hall, way back in the day, and what happened was that it became a very, I guess, well-oriented machine from the former board of directors with Diane Lewis at the helm - Diane Lewis was on the board, and I think about the early board with Darlene MacPhee Jennings. I think of Constable Graham Smith. I think of Mike Morrison, I think all of those, Lem Skeete, Lorne Green. All those people who got together and realized that we have to do something about the youth in our community. So what better way than to take this hall that nobody was using - it was abandoned, it was rat-infested, it was full of oil - and take this old building and turn it into what I say today is the most successful youth centre in this province.

We provide over 100 different themes and different items to that club through the year, Mr. Speaker. Chester Borden, the new executive director, is a youth worker like myself. He went to Holland College to become a youth worker and is providing great services to his community. His staff are Mark Gardiner - Mark is the recreation coordinator, and Janie Webber is another coordinator for health. They have hip hop, dance, tae kwan do, weight lifting, computers - I can go on and on about all the different programs. (Interruption) No, my hip hop days are long gone. (Laughter)

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But the whole thing is, it is always brimming with youth. There are always youth there every day. The whole thing is where it was located at that time between an elementary school, a junior high school, and a new elementary school. So right now the Whitney Pier Youth Club sends a van down to pick the young people up at the schools and take them to the youth centre.

[6:00 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, police officers in the Cape Breton Regional Police Force drop in there on a daily basis. Constable Burke and Constable Adam Campbell and these guys in the police service drop in and interact with the youth on a daily basis. If you walked in there and saw a police officer dressed in his uniform playing ping pong, in a ball of sweat playing ping pong with his flak jacket on - it is just amazing to see the kids interact. You understand that these are kids - that this officer and this police force are not going to have to deal with. They are not going to have to deal because Chester Borden, Mark Gardiner, Janie Webber, and those people, are providing role models and leadership to these young people. They are providing what these young people need.

Statistics, it slips me at this time, but it's about the most single mothers in an area, in a small concentrated area, live in that community. So this service is so valuable to the community, to everybody in the community. The police will tell you that they've actually cut the crime rate in half in that community. Now, you can imagine by spending money and investing money in young people what we're doing here to our society and our future. The young people are our leaders, and what great leaders we're going to have under the leadership of these people at the Whitney Pier Youth Club. We can look forward to a great future with the participation of these young people in the club. They're there every day on a daily basis for lunch, dinner, you know, the community gets involved. They have pub crawls, they have all kinds of different things to raise money.

The community supports this youth centre. It's youth-driven. It's by a non-profit board. Karen Green MacIver is now the new president of the board of directors. They have a new vision. They have a mission statement that I devised many years ago, Mr. Speaker, to give the club that persona of a good place to be - a safe, supervised environment that these young people can come into and as a parent to know that your child is in a safe, supervised environment after school.

Mr. Speaker, the mandate of that Whitney Pier Youth Club is to provide youth and their families to further their self-worth. I think that they've been accomplishing this for the last 15 years from the former board to the present board, you know, it's to assist the youth to make good decisions. All the programs in there are not programs of athletic ability. They're constructive and non-constructive. So you may have young people who are not sports inclined, they're not athletically inclined. You have other people who are good on the Internet.

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We have a beautiful computer lab in there. The computer lab was called the Bairncroft. When the Bairncroft Orphanage closed, the people donated the money from the orphanage to the youth centre to open this computer room. That's where I learned my computer skills to this day - from the young kids in there showing me how to work a computer. I would not have the knowledge today to operate by BlackBerry or my computer if it wasn't for those young people and I'll admit that. Mr. Speaker, they showed me every trick in the book, and do you know what? They were very good.

We've always encouraged community involvement. We have representatives on that board from all avenues whether it's from police, whether it's from community members, whether it's from parents, you know, it's a community of anywhere of 7,000 people and they participate in this youth centre. Even the local Legion sends up ice cream - imagine, the local Legion sends up ice cream for the kids to have a treat - they send up pizzas. The have penny drives at the local Legion that provide meals and provide pizzas on party nights. They have teen night where they watch movies. I mean they're not down the road doing vandalism, they're not down the road, they're at the youth centre and they're watching movies, they're participating.

But the main thing is that these people - Chester Borden, Mark Gardiner, Janie Webber - they always have students. They're showing these young people that there's another way in life, by spending and helping these young people that there's a good way in life that you can proceed in life and become a good person.

It's a non-profit registered charity but it's youth-oriented. When I was there, the same as the executive director who's there now, the youth were the ones, we had a youth junior leadership program. They were the ones who came and said this is what we want. We listened to the youth and they still use the same that I said in all their letterhead that they pass out and I'll say it, and I've said this many times, on every piece of literature that I've sent out: Youth don't care what you know until they know that you care. They know that these people working at this centre care. They care about where they're going. They care about their future and they care about their home life.

This example alone, 10 of them went to Toronto this summer; 10 young people went from Whitney Pier to Toronto and they stayed at Humber College. They learned from the youth in Toronto, from that area. They visited Canada's Wonderland. They went to a Blue Jays game. These kids also took part in the Dreams Take Flight program where they went to Florida through the Dreams Take Flight program. They go to Camp Aite Breagh in Orangedale.

Now how many of these children would have this opportunity to do this if it wasn't for this youth centre? Mr. Speaker, the people in this youth centre and the people in the community pride themselves on what they do. It has a long history of promoting health,

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physical activity, and sportsmanship. This is what we do, we try to meet the needs of the young people in our community, and the Whitney Pier Youth Club, under Chester Borden's leadership and the staff that they have there, will continue to do this for many years - and that's why we have one of the most successful youth centres in the Province of Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. I thank you for your time this evening. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's a pleasure to stand in my place and address this - well, I wouldn't call it an issue, I guess it's more of a statement of fact because I'm going to agree with the member for Cape Breton Nova. Having actually known the work of the member for some time now, I would be remiss and unfair not to congratulate him on the work that he personally has done with the Whitney Pier community youth centres. (Applause)

As a matter of fact, Mr. Speaker, you know the member for Cape Breton Nova is well-known in the area for the work that he has done with youth. That centre in particular stands out among many, many youth activities and centres in Cape Breton. There are many fine examples such as the Police Boys and Girls Clubs, which are in existence across Cape Breton, in some areas in Glace Bay, in Passchendaele, in Bridgeport, and Caledonia -interestingly enough, it may have been the start of things for the member to form that particular centre, because now there's a police cadet group that has become quite active in Cape Breton as well. One member of the police service in particular, Constable Gary Fraser, who is a good friend of mine, is running that organization and getting youth involved in activities at a very early age, with the main goal of keeping them out of trouble.

What the member may not remember - because the member is a little younger than I am - that I was once involved with a youth group in Whitney Pier as well. One time I used to live in Sydney - it was back in the good old days when I used to live there, before I moved back home. But, anyway, I recall very fondly having worked with the youth in that area, but I also know that it's a challenge. It takes someone with patience and with trust and with a great deal of commitment in order to work with youth in the first place, and I would probably put that member forward as a perfect example of exactly that.

Mr. Speaker, I should also point out that at one time, as the member for Cape Breton Nova will recall, all of these centres require funding, that goes without saying. They are all non-profit organizations that are there for the good of the youth, but they require funding as well. Keep that in mind, as a government member, that you're in a position right now to go to your government colleagues and say we need sustainable funding for these centres in order to keep the good work going year after year after year.

Now the good member will recall as well that at one time, and I think it was then- Premier Russell MacLellan, if you recall, and I'm sure the member does recall the Liberal

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Premier Russell MacLellan who made a fine example of what good you can do as a politician and there was quite a controversy - perhaps some of the older members in government will remember, such as the member for Timberlea-Prospect, he'll remember that at that time there was a controversy over the then-Premier's pension funds and what he was doing with them, whether he could collect his federal pension funds while he was Premier of Nova Scotia. The then-Premier took a portion of the pension funds and donated it towards the Whitney Pier community group, and I believe that the member was the executive director at the time. It's a good example.

Congratulations to Chester Borden and the rest of the people down there who are going to - and in all fairness and some may say some people on the government side may not think I am sincere when I say this but anybody who would step in to run that centre has some really big shoes to fill, let me tell you. (Applause)

I know (Interruption) This is somewhat unbelievable for me too, Mr. Speaker. (Laughter) I'm having a difficult but not an entirely tough time getting through it, but I do, in all seriousness, want to congratulate the people who are working at the centre now and I want to congratulate the member for Cape Breton Nova. There's nothing more important that any of us will do than to work with youth in our own communities. I guess some will use it for purposes other than what it should be used but if you're dedicated, if you're sincere, if you're committed to turning around what's happening, what's wrong that's happening within your community then you need to go to the roots of what's happening with youth in our community and you know that there's nothing more important than that.

Most of this time - and I'm not sure, but I would suggest that most of the time, if not all - the member for Cape Breton Nova probably wasn't exactly what you would call paid a good salary in order to do anything at that club, if he was paid a salary at all, I'm not sure, but I can guarantee you that it wasn't that much. That's great as an example of an individual but it also points out a problem in our province.

Our food banks, for instance, in this province exist on funding of $20,000 a year. The Glace Bay Food Bank serves 350 families, on a weekly basis, on a budget of $22,000 a year. We know that there are families in trouble in our communities. We know there will always be youth that are in trouble and we know that it requires a certain amount of money, not only the commitment from individuals such as the member for Cape Breton Nova but a certain amount of funding in order to do something about that.

So again, I know, I don't have to urge the member anymore, but I know that the member will take those issues to his caucus and bring them up from time to time to make sure that people are aware that we can make a difference out there as politicians because most of us have come here from other careers and from other things that we do. Unfortunately, I'm sure the member is the same, we'd love to have more time but we don't now because we've committed ourselves to this career. Unfortunately we don't have the time

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to work with youth like we used to like to do. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing some youths, potentially headed down the wrong path, turned around because somebody cared. That's basically all it takes sometimes.

Again, I take this opportunity to stand to congratulate the people in that program. I hope it continues for many more years and I congratulate the member on having started the ball rolling and I'm sure he still ducks in there from time to time, certainly if they're having free pizza and donuts. I know that he has probably dropped by from (Interruptions) No, he's probably helping serve, I didn't mean anything else. I'm sure that the member is still actively participating in that. Again, on behalf of our caucus, congratulations to the centre and to the member in particular. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I too want to echo the comments that have been presented here this evening. Even building on the comments from the previous debate from the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, and that is about when there is a need and there's a call for service, trying to meet that regardless of where someone is from geographically. Regardless of how partisan our lives can be at times, whether that's provincial, federal, municipal, we have to deal with that dynamic.

I know that in my history with the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova, it goes back to us having a common understanding because he and I served on the Cape Breton Family YMCA board together. We did work, we worked on reopening Camp Barrachois for youth because we recognized a need was missing and we were declining in providing effective programming. As a result of continuing to work in programs and the like with federal and provincial, that camp was reopened, a new infrastructure. We worked as well, and the honourable member knows, within (Interruption) Yes, I used to pick the member up to go to meetings and get him back home because that's what it's all about, teamwork, because it was all about the interests of the community. As a matter of fact, the Cape Breton Family YMCA, as the member knows, I'm from the Northside and not a lot of people go there, but the YMCA did great things for all of Cape Breton including the children's camp and we participated in that.

Interestingly enough, as we served and moved on, I know that right now the Chief of Police for the Cape Breton Regional Police Service, Myles Burke, also served with us on the board, became a co-chair of the board and still stays involved. That has spun out to, as the honourable member for Glace Bay has said, investments in other youth programs - it's a phenomenal program the member referenced with regard to the young troop. It has been a phenomenal program with regard to community policing offices that have started, inviting young people in, to be part of a pro-active environment. A lot of that basically emulates from the work that the member for Cape Breton Nova did as the executive director, providing a

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model that truly worked and has been built upon. That shows that value of non-partisan co-operation and I know whether that was when I was in a Justice portfolio when we had Community Services and a need for some extra dollars - the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal will know, and the Economic Development Minister will know - it's a combination of small programs and grants that can add up to a big contribution in the community.

[6:15 p.m.]

I know the Minister of Community Services will want to make sure that the annual funding issues that have to be addressed - these are all very important. I know in my own community, as the honourable member knows, Community Cares Youth Outreach has done a phenomenal job in helping people and bringing people together. Dorothy Halliday is the director there and, just like the honourable member and now Chester Borden, we have a great team of people in Cape Breton and they help each other and they contribute equally to each other. They all have different programs, but the outcome and the intent is no different.

I can think of Clifford Street, the public housing - 20 units. On Clifford Street, I know the police are now in there and those youth can go into one of those public housing units. I know it well, Mr. Speaker, because we've been part of some of the training, because I used to live in No. 9 on 50 Clifford Street in that area and understand the dynamic and the challenges we faced. That's why, as well, I know during Question Period I am rather impassioned about the policing commitments for the area, because one of the things which was referenced is the Safer Streets and Communities Initiative and the investigative units. It's not about economics, because we have people that want safe streets wherever they are.

The ICE unit - the Internet Child Exploitation - there are a lot of things that have happened that we have been able to invest in, and why we're so impassioned about seeing those commitments honoured. I truly do hope - the question was asked today, but I truly do hope that the Minister of Justice, as Attorney General and the Cabinet, see fit to continue down that road of those commitments. As they did indicate, there was office equipment done, but the most important thing is that the investigative unit right now is in Halifax. We recognize the need to support those that are intervening. Believe it or not, the very people that are involved with going to these youth centres have parents that want safer streets, that have illegal activity operating around them, and they want to have that protection and that intervention just as much as seniors do, or anyone else in the community.

It all comes back to when you look at everything. We've been very much an advocate - I know the member for Glace Bay has a phenomenal boxing program, the boxing program at Membertou, the Tommy Gordon, the Ring 73, correct? Phenomenal activities for youth, and those have all been things we've all advocated for and we've all invested in. That is something I have never seen any partisan interest in - there never were political boundaries,

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there never were community boundaries - it was all about what was good for the Cape Breton community. In fact, we see that elsewhere in the province.

I do know, and like my honourable colleague, the member for Glace Bay, the person that blazed the trail was Gordie Gosse. I know I'm not supposed to reference names, but the former executive director Gordie Gosse - the honourable member now for Cape Breton Nova has led the way before others that have come to follow that. That is a testament to him, as he knows the history that my family has and my former uncle who was the fire chief in the community of Jamison and recognizing the community.

We often talk about immigration in this province, but the community, Whitney Pier, has been the cultural mosaic of Nova Scotia since long before other cultural communities have emerged in metropolitan Halifax. It was where there was more cultural diversity than any other urban centre in Canada, and that community, regardless of culture, race, or colour, was more united than any other community and still shares a rich history, and still did and does for each other. The boundaries for Whitney Pier go beyond that community and go into the wider realms of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

There is a lesson to be learned and I think the topic is very good to recognize. I think Chester Borden, you're right, is doing a phenomenal job and he works with people like Dorothy Halliday, works with the community policing - all the partners within government. I know the local councillors in the area are very committed to these programs, as are the Members of Parliament in the area to provide those supports. As we go forward I think there is a model that, when it works and something's good, you build on it, you invest in it, and the results will be tangible. We have had more than our fair share of challenges.

Mr. Speaker, you know - and the rest of us in this House know, this is where the honourable member was very keen on - we still have an unemployment rate that is practically three times higher than that of the Halifax Regional Municipality, and we even know the problems with youth here. We also know socio-economic challenges also go to challenges for youth and crime rates and that's why we're so committed. That's why I am so impassioned about the policing efforts and the investments, the community efforts. That's why we want to build on those things, because we recognize - I believe it's fair to say we've turned a corner because there are more and more good things happening. There are more and more strategic investments being made in our communities. We're getting through a tough economic time, we will build for a better future.

I know we're going to do it because these types of youth programs indeed will help our youth and our Island to rise again because the story of Cape Breton is one of perseverance and resilience and the type of character that we bring to this Legislature.

Again, I respect everybody and as members of the House will find out, they will bring their views, it is important that we do bring our views . It's okay to disagree, it's okay to have

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differences of political philosophy. The one thing that I've never seen a bias over and that is supporting communities and supporting our youth. We have a benchmark that others are following.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I want to commend and congratulate the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova because when good things are happening, great things come out of it and we have a new generation of leaders growing up, thanks to the programs that are there. Again, that is in no small measure to the member for Cape Breton Nova and we look forward to building on that.

I would close by saying just another thing about the culture - we've been so impressed as well about our community working with our First Nations community, our Mi'kmaq community all working together on infrastructure programs, joint programs. Sergeant Barry Gordon, I know Paul Ratchford with the Cape Breton Regional Police on the Northside, the honourable member for Glace Bay referenced it. Everyone is on the same page and this is something to herald and to champion throughout this province. I thank the honourable member for bringing the topic forward this evening and again to one and all, we have lots to learn and there's more to do and it can be done. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: That ends the debate on tonight's resolution and I would congratulate all members on their participation in it.

The House now stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. Thank you very much.

[The House rose at 6:22 p.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 176

By: Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay)

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

Whereas 19-year-old Jonathan Boutilier of Glace Bay has been playing ball for 14 years including a trip to the Little League World Series in 2003; and

Whereas Jonathan was selected to represent Nova Scotia on the Nova Scotia 2009 Canada Games Men's Baseball Team; and

Whereas Jonathan participated in the 2009 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize Jonathan Boutilier for his dedication and hard work in the sport of baseball and for his selection to the 2009 Nova Scotia Canada Games Men's Baseball Team.

RESOLUTION NO. 177

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Yarmouth)

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

Whereas the Yarmouth SPCA was the first branch to be established in Nova Scotia 109 years ago in 1900 after a bill was passed in 1877 in this Legislature to incorporate the Nova Scotia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to animals; and

Whereas the Yarmouth SPCA is presently one of only 30 shelters across Canada identified as a Pedigree Adoption Drive Campaign Partner Shelter; and

Whereas the Yarmouth SPCA recently staged their 16th Annual Dog Jog fundraiser on September 19th at Beacon Park;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly commend the volunteers of the Yarmouth SPCA for their active involvement in caring for animals and wish them every future success.