The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 06-9

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Cecil Clarke

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/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

TUESDAY, JULY 11, 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Lafarge Can. - Asphalt Plant (Goodwood): Application - Deny,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 402
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Judicature Act Amendments, Hon. M. Scott 402
Public Trustee Trust Funds Financial Statements, Hon. M. Scott 402
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 189, Atkinson, Marilyn: Death of - Tribute, The Premier 403
Vote - Affirmative 403
Res. 190, Marsman, Victoria/N.S. Assoc. of Soc. Workers Conf. -
Congrats., Hon. J. Streatch 403
Vote - Affirmative 404
Res. 191, Multicultural Fest.: Organizers/Vols./Supporters - Congrats.,
Hon. L. Goucher 404
Vote - Affirmative 405
Res. 192, Com. Serv.: OH&S Comm. - Security Manual, Hon. J. Streatch 405
Vote - Affirmative 406
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 49, Road Improvements Act, Mr. C. Parker 406
No. 50, Motor Vehicle Act, Mr. K. Colwell 406
No. 51, Workers' Compensation Act, Mr. L. Glavine 406
No. 52, Heritage Property Act, Mr. H. Theriault 406
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 193, Kelly Bldg.: Demolition - Halt, Mr. D. Dexter 406
Res. 194, Vaughne Assurance - Anniv. (40th), Mr. M. Samson 407
Vote - Affirmative 408
Res. 195, Pictou Lobster Carnival: Organizers - Recognize, Mr. P. Dunn 408
Vote - Affirmative 409
Res. 196, Haley, Dorothy: Astral Dr. Elem. Sch. - Serv. Recognize,
Mr. K. Deveaux 409
Vote - Affirmative 410
Res. 197, Minas Basin Pulp & Power: Energy Innovations - Commend,
Mr. C. Porter 410
Vote - Affirmative 410
Res. 198, Baffin, Blair - Sportsmanlike Trainer of Yr. Award,
Mr. J. MacDonell 411
Vote - Affirmative 411
Res. 199, McKay, Ami: Book Tour - Support, Hon. M. Parent 411
Vote - Affirmative 412
Res. 200, Multicultural Fest. (N.S.): Organizers/Participants - Congrats.,
Ms. J. Massey 412
Vote - Affirmative 413
Res. 201, Gov't. (N.S.) - Domestic Violence: Protection - Lack,
Ms. D. Whalen 413
Res. 202, Jost Vineyards: Cdn. Wine Championship - Awards,
Hon. E. Fage 414
Vote - Affirmative 415
Res. 203, Van den Eynden, Tiffany: Grad. Awards - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Parker 415
Vote - Affirmative 415
Res. 204, Boone, Chantel/Clements, Kelsey/McLean, Caitlind/McNeil, Rebecca -
Bowling Title, Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 416
Vote - Affirmative 416
Res. 205, Fitzgerald, Brian & John: Wolfville Bus. Commun. - Dedication,
Hon. D. Morse 416
Vote - Affirmative 417
Res. 206, Carey, Graham - Johnstone Scholarship, Mr. W. Estabrooks 417
Vote - Affirmative 418
Res. 207, CEC: Reach for Dalhousie Comp. - Participants Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 418
Vote - Affirmative 419
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 208, Jennex, Madisen: Int'l. Children's Games - Well Wishes,
Mr. T. Zinck 419
Vote - Affirmative 419
Res. 209, Dartmouth Lawn Bowls Club: Ladies' Fours Team - Championship,
Ms. M. More 419
Vote - Affirmative 420
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 54, Health: Privatization - Stance, Mr. D. Dexter 420
No. 55, Health - Canada Health Act: Statements - Clarification,
Mr. M. Samson 421
No. 56, Health - Canada Health Act: Privatization - Consultants,
Mr. D. Dexter 423
No. 57, Health: Corpus Sanchez - Contract, Mr. D. Dexter 424
No. 58, Health: Privatization - Funding, Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 426
No. 59, Health: Privatization - Details,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 427
No. 60, TPW - Crosswalks: Red Lights - Installation, Ms. J. Massey 428
No. 61, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Gas Regulation, Ms. D. Whalen 430
No. 62, Educ.: Bill No. 207: Support - Confirm, Mr. L. Preyra 432
No. 63, Com. Serv. - Asbestos Issues: Info - Delay Explain 433
No. 64, Gaming: Gambling Addictions - Victims, Mr. L. Glavine 434
No. 65, Environ. & Lbr.: Basalt Quarry - Digby Neck, Ms. M. Raymond 436
No. 66, Environ. & Lbr: Kyoto Accord - Targets, Mr. H. Epstein 437
No. 67, Health: Pharmacare Prog. - Co-Pay Changes, Mr. S. McNeil 438
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 12:32 P.M. 440
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 6:00 P.M. 440
ADJOURNMENT
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Sysco: Workforce - Treatment:
Mr. G. Gosse 440
Mr. Manning MacDonald 443
Mr. C. Porter 446
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 6:25 P. M. 448
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 8:07 P.M. 448
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Scott 449
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 45, Labour Standards Code 449
Hon. M. Parent 449
Mr. K. Deveaux 449
Mr. Manning MacDonald 451
Hon. M. Parent 451
Vote - Affirmed 451
No. 47, House of Assembly Act 452
Hon. M. Baker 452
Mr. K. Deveaux 452
Mr. Manning MacDonald 452
Hon. M. Baker 453
Vote - Affirmative 453
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wednesday, July 12 454
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 210, Marchand, Brad: NHL Draft - Congrats., Hon. B. Barnet 455
Res. 211, Sheppard, James: NHL Draft - Congrats., Hon. B. Barnet 455
Res. 212, Bodnarchuk, Andrew: NHL Draft - Congrats., Hon. B. Barnet 456
Res. 213, Hillier, Ryan: NHL Draft - Congrats., Hon. B. Barnet 456
Res. 214, Harris, Laura: Athletic Talent - Recognize, Hon. B. Barnet 457

[Page 401]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, JULY 11, 2006

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

11:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Before we begin the daily routine, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Dartmouth North:

Therefore be it resolved that this government give fair and equal treatment to the remaining Sysco workforce.

That will be debated at the moment of interruption. We'll now commence with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

401

[Page 402]

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition entitled the Prospect Road Community Petition of Heavy Industrial Development. The key phrases are:

"Please find attached a petition signed by residents of the Prospect Road Area opposed to development of a Heavy Industrial Asphalt Plant in the Goodwood area.

The undersigned residents are concerned with the lack of public process and are in opposition to the present zoning designation of these lands due to the potential for environmental and transportation issues."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Attorney General and pursuant to Section 51 of the Judicature Act, I hereby table amendments to the Civil Procedures Rules that were made pursuant to the Judicature Act by the Judges of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on May 26, 2006.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table the financial statements of Public Trust Funds, dated March 31, 2006.

MR. SPEAKER: The report is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

[Page 403]

RESOLUTION NO. 189

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

Whereas it was with great sadness we learned of the loss of Mrs. Marilyn Atkinson of Bedford, after a brave battle with cancer; and

Whereas Mrs. Atkinson, formerly Gillis, was a great friend to this House and this province, having served as the Chief of Protocol for the Province of Nova Scotia for 22 years - a position of leadership she undertook with incredible dignity and grace; and

Whereas her many professional accomplishments included being named national Honorary Member of the Institute of Public Administrators of Canada, she was made a Lieutenant in the Royal Victorian Order, was awarded the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal, as well as the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House salute the life of Mrs. Atkinson and her work on behalf of the people of this province and send our condolences to her beloved husband Norm Atkinson, her children and her entire family.

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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 190

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers hosted the national conference here in Halifax in June; and

[Page 404]

Whereas Veronica Marsman, a district manager and social worker with the Department of Community Services, held a dual role by chairing the conference committee and holding the position of National President of the Association of Social Workers; and

Whereas the conference hosted more than 500 social workers to discuss topics surrounding the vision for social work, social justice and ethics;

Therefore be it resolved that congratulations be extended to Ms. Veronica Marsman and the Nova Scotia Association of Social Workers by all members of the House of Assembly for organizing and hosting a successful conference.

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 Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 191

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

Whereas the 27th annual Multicultural Festival brought together more than 40 cultural groups across the province in Dartmouth, from June 16-18, 2006; and

Whereas the Multicultural Festival provides a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages to explore and learn more about other cultures during a weekend full of great entertainment, food, festivals, festivities and education; and

Whereas the Multicultural Festival is one of the highlight events of the summer in Nova Scotia and has become the largest multicultural event in Atlantic Canada, attracting tens of thousands of visitors every year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate the organizers, volunteers and supporters of yet another spectacular festival. I would also like to thank the

[Page 405]

Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia for its vision and ongoing work in creating a sense of belonging and respect, for all cultures in our province.

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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 192

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

Whereas the Department of Community Services was awarded the 2006 North American Occupational Safety and Health Award for Large Organizations; and

Whereas the departmental Occupational Health and Safety Coordinating Committee, in consultation with staff and management, developed an award-winning office security manual; and

Whereas the successful development and implementation of this office security manual positions the Department of Community Services as a leader in North America in workplace violence prevention and demonstrates our commitment to the health and well-being of employees;

Therefore be it resolved that congratulations be extended to the Occupational Health and Safety Committee by all members of the House of Assembly for the successful creation and introduction of this manual to Community Services employees.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 406]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources on an introduction.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw everyone's attention to your gallery. We have the pleasure and honour, we have the Honourable Wayne Steeves and his wife, graced with their presence today. Mr. Steeves is Minister of Public Safety for the Province of New Brunswick, and I would like them to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We, indeed, welcome all our guests to the Legislature today.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 49 - Entitled an Act to Set Criteria for Prioritizing Road Improvement Projects. (Mr. Charles Parker)

Bill No. 50 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Mr. Keith Colwell)

Bill No. 51 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 10 of the Acts of 1994-95. The Workers' Compensation Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

Bill No. 52 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 199 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Heritage Property Act. (Mr. Harold Theriault)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 193

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

Whereas the Kelly Building has stood on Granville Street, a short distance from Province House, for more than 110 years; and

[Page 407]

Whereas since a series of demolitions in the 1970s, the province has intervened to preserve much of the heritage architecture and streetscape surrounding Province House; and

Whereas demolition of the Kelly Building has resumed despite an offer from HRM and Heritage Trust to preserve the building's shell for future use that maintains this part of Nova Scotia's heritage;

Therefore be it resolved that this House urge the government, TDB Holdings and Compass Reality to halt the demolition of the Kelly Building so that it can be preserved for future generations, like many other buildings and building facades around Province House.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

[11:15 a.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 194

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Monsieur le Président, à une date ultérieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que Vaughne Assurance Ltée célèbre son 40e anniversaire de service à ses clients. L'entreprise acadienne a connu des débuts modestes dans une maison à Belleville, pour s'étendre aujourd'hui à quatre bureaux situés dans tout le sud-ouest de la Nouvelle-Écosse; et

Attendu que le Bureau d'éthique commerciale a décerné à Vaughne Assurance son prix d'excellence communautaire 2006, en reconnaissance des contributions de son personnel à leur communauté; et

Attendu que les employés de Vaughne Assurance Ltée sont un modéle à suivre pour les autres, et que la clé de leur succès consiste à s'assurer que les clients sont bien servis;

Par conséquent qu'il soit résolu que les membres de cette assemblée félicitent Vaughne Assurance et reconnaissent l'engagement dont elle a fair preuve envers la communauté.

[Page 408]

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

Whereas Vaughne Assurance is celebrating their 40th Anniversary of providing reliable service to their customers, growing from a small Acadian company based out of a home in Belleville which now requires four offices throughout southwestern Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Better Business Bureau has awarded Vaughne Assurance its Community Achievement Award for 2006, recognizing the contributions the staff have made to their community; and

Whereas the employees of Vaughne Assurance Limited have set an example to others, and ensuring the community and the customer is well served is the secret to their success;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Vaughne Assurance and recognize the commitment they have shown to the community.

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 Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 195

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

Whereas in July, 1934, at the end of the fishing season, a community celebration was held to pay tribute to the local fisherfolk who built the Pictou lobster industry; and

Whereas the celebration was originally billed as the "Festival of the Fisherfolks" and was a one-day event that featured lobster boat races, a tug-of-war, a doll carriage parade, band concerts, a Mardi Gras parade, and a street dance; and

[Page 409]

Whereas the Pictou Lobster Carnival has grown into a Nova Scotia signature event, attracting visitors from all over the world to experience authentic Maritime music and culture and featuring world-class entertainment, a waterfront beer garden, an antique car show, a midway, a road race and, of course, delicious lobster dinners;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the organizers of this year's Pictou Lobster Carnival for carrying on the great community tradition and congratulate them on this year's successful carnival.

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 Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 196

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

Whereas school administrators are crucial to the success of our schools and the education of our children; and

Whereas Astral Drive Elementary School is an excellent school in which the school principal has been vital to its success; and

Whereas Dorothy Haley is being transferred to a new school after five years as principal of Astral Drive Elementary School;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize Dorothy Haley for her years of service to Astral Drive Elementary School and the community of Cole Harbour.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 410]

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. 197

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

Whereas Minas Basin Pulp and Power Incorporated has undertaken a number of dynamic initiatives toward helping the company produce enough power to eventually become self-sufficient; and

Whereas CEO Scott Travers has been a driving force with company employees which has seen Minas Basin Pulp and Power using recycled waste over the past 15 years to produce their final product, while also increasing the energy conservation; and

Whereas Minas Basin Pulp and Power is scheduled to begin using their new multi-million dollar heat recovery system later this summer, while also installing a new, major wind power facility;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the innovation being shown by Minas Basin Pulp and Power toward energy conservation and applaud them with each and every new step being taken.

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 411]

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 198

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

Whereas sportsmanship is essential to all sports, to keep them fair and interesting; and

Whereas the harness racing industry recognizes the value of sportsmanlike examples by its participants; and

Whereas Mr. Blair Laffin of Shubenacadie was honoured by being presented with the Sportsmanlike Trainer of the Year Award at the recent Truro Harness Horse Owners Association banquet;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Blair Laffin on his exemplary fair play and for receiving the Sportsmanlike Trainer of the Year Award.

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 Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 199

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

Whereas Scott's Bay resident and new Canadian Ami McKay has made her mark in the world of Canadian literature after only obtaining citizenship for a few years now; and

[Page 412]

Whereas the former American who is now on tour with her first book published by Knopf Canada, The Birth House, based the novel around the history of her Scott's Bay home after she discovered that its former occupant was the town midwife; and

Whereas her first effort has already garnered her the number one spot on The Globe and Mail's Top Ten List of Fiction Titles;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support Ms. McKay as she tours her book across her new country and, through that, celebrates the rich history of Nova Scotia, and in supporting her, may members also welcome one of the province's new residents and recognize that newcomers only add to our already rich communal fabric.

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 Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, before I read my resolution I would ask if I could make an introduction.

In the west gallery is the mother of Mary-Beth Chaulk, Mrs. Tina Chaulk. She's here today to represent our community on the issue of crosswalk safety. She has been a great advocate in our community, along with a lot of other people. I hope people will welcome her here today. If she could stand, we can welcome her today. I hope she enjoys the proceedings. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 200

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

[Page 413]

Whereas on June 16, 2006, I had the privilege to attend the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival which was held at Alderney Landing on the beautiful Dartmouth Waterfront; and

Whereas the festival is the biggest multicultural event in the Atlantic Provinces and celebrates diversity through arts and culture; and

Whereas the festival has something for everyone, and featured over 700 performers from over 40 cultural groups;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislative Assembly congratulate the organizers, exhibitors, performers and volunteers of the Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival on a successful event, and thank them for sharing a wonderful showcase of music, food and dance.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 201

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

Whereas according to the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, 74 women, including two infants, have been murdered or died violently in Nova Scotia since 1989; and

Whereas the government has a role to play in the coordination of information and in raising awareness on women's issues, particularly violence against women; and

Whereas as long as women continue to be abused and murdered at the hands of their partners, the government has a responsibility to ensure the proper policies and supports are in place;

[Page 414]

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly acknowledge that this Progressive Conservative Government has not done enough to protect women from domestic violence and should act to introduce legislation and programs to eliminate domestic violence.

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 Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 202

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

Whereas Jost Vineyards of Malagash, Nova Scotia, walked away from the All-Canadian Wine Championships with three awards; and

Whereas they received a double gold medal for their 2004 L'Acadie Blanc, gold for their 2005 Cote St. George L'Acadie Blanc, and silver for their 2005 Cote de Bras d'Or Marechal Foch; and

Whereas it took 40 judges, tasting over 900 wines from 132 Canadian wineries, to show that Nova Scotia wines can compete with the best in the country;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to Jost Vineyards for their great showing at this event and putting Nova Scotia on the map of superior wines in North America.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 415]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 203

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

Whereas Tiffany Van den Eynden of Sunridge, Pictou County, was the major award winner at the recent Northumberland Regional High School graduation; and

Whereas Ms. Van den Eynden received the Governor General's Medal for the highest average in Grade 12 and also the Queen Elizabeth II Medal along with nine other awards and bursaries; and

Whereas Ms. Van den Eynden will be attending St. Francis Xavier University where she plans to pursue an education degree and hopes to return one day to teach at Northumberland Regional High School;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Tiffany Van den Eynden on her receipt of the Governor General's Medal for the highest average and the Queen Elizabeth II Medal at Northumberland Regional High School and wish her every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[Page 416]

RESOLUTION NO. 204

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 bowlers from the Heather Bowling Lanes in Glace Bay captured both the Bantam team and Single Atlantic Youth Bowling Council provincial title; and

Whereas Chantel Boone, Kelsey Clements, Caitlind McLean, were members of the Bantam team and Rebecca McNeil was the Bantam single champion as well as being a member of the Bantam team; and

Whereas these young women represented Nova Scotia at the Atlantic Youth Bowling Tournament which was held in Fredericton, New Brunswick and won the national title.

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Chandel Boone, Kelsey uClements, Caitlind McLean and Rebecca McNeil for their outstanding achievement and a job well done.

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 Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 205

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

Whereas Paddy's Brewpub and Rosie's Restaurant situated on Main Street in downtown Wolfville re-opened last Wednesday evening following a devastating fire last January; and

[Page 417]

Whereas the interior of the very popular Wolfville pub and eatery was gutted by fire but re-opened with improved air conditioning, additional heating for the winter months, cushioned benches and an expansion of their micro-brewery; and

Whereas the pub employs approximately 30 people;

Therefore be it resolved that owner Brian Fitzgerald, his son and pub manager, John Fitzgerald, be recognized in the House of Assembly today by all MLAs for their work ethic and dedication to their community and specifically the downtown Wolfville business community.

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 Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 206

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

Whereas Graham Carey is a senior high graduate of Sir John A Macdonald High School; and

Whereas Graham is an outstanding young person who maintained a grade point average of 97.8; and

Whereas Mr. Carey's English teacher, Edward "Ted" Wholey, stated that Graham is the most exceptional student he has ever taught;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Graham Carey on his receipt of this year's Dr. P. Anthony Johnstone Memorial Entrance Scholarship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 418]

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. 207

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

Whereas John MacCormick, Kelsey MacKenzie, Anna-Marie Manley, Ryan Andrews, Charles "Bobo" Eyrich and Dainis Nams, students at Cobequid Educational Centre, won the 2006 Reach for Dalhousie competition; and

Whereas by virtue of their win, the CEC team members earned tuition prizes toward future study at Dalhousie University; and

Whereas the CEC team won the provincial Reach for Dalhousie title three times, competed nationally in the Reach for the Top challenge this year and last, and won the national Reach for the Top title last year;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate CEC students John MacCormick, Kelsey MacKenzie, Anna-Marie Manley, Ryan Andrews, Charles "Bobo" Eyrich and Dainis Nams and CEC teacher and coach Nicole Hart on winning the Reach for Dalhousie competition and with them every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 419]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

[11:30 a.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 208

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

Whereas 23 young athletes ages 13 to 15 from across the regional municipality are preparing for the International Children's Games in Bangkok, Thailand; and

Whereas Madisen Jennex of Clearview Crescent in Dartmouth North will participate in the sport of basketball during these games; and

Whereas the International Children's Games were founded in 1968, and are a true global village where spiritual competition thrives while promoting peace, tolerance and integrity;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Madisen Jennex and wish her well at the International Children's Games in Bangkok, Thailand.

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 Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 209

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

[Page 420]

Whereas lawn bowling is a growing sport across Canada, involving 18,000 registered bowlers within 271 clubs, including five in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Ladies' Fours Team from the Dartmouth Lawn Bowls Club won the 2005 Nova Scotia title; and

Whereas this team will be representing our province at the Canadian Lawn Bowls Championship starting August 14th in Regina, Saskatchewan;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Vivian Condran, Maureen Boudreau, Mary Cooke and Bernadette Beaver for winning the 2005 Nova Scotia Ladies' Fours Lawn Bowls Championship and wish them well at the 2006 Canadian championships.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period shall begin at 11:32 a.m. and end at 12:32 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH: PRIVATIZATION - STANCE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. On Friday, the Minister of Health indicated he is considering offering health services through private-for-profit providers. He said he wasn't taking anything off the table in the process of determining what stays and what goes. If the minister wants to avoid increasing the cost of health care in this province he needs to protect the health care system from profit-driven private health care delivery. The Premier needs to assure Nova Scotians that health care is not for sale in Nova Scotia.

[Page 421]

Mr. Speaker, through you, my question to the Premier is, what is his stance on private-for-profit delivery of public health care in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Leader of the Opposition, the government has been very clear on its position, that we believe in the Canada Health Act, and we believe in a universally publicly funded system.

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, that is not what the Health Minister had to say on Friday. To refresh the memory of the Premier, I will table a copy of a transcript from the Progressive Conservative Leadership debate held in Halifax just four months ago. On the subject of private health care, the Premier had this to say, and I would ask him if he would reconfirm it today. "What I want to make sure, is that when someone goes to a hospital in Nova Scotia it's not based on the size of their wallet in regards [sic] to services . . . It's based on the size of the need." My question to the Premier is, has that changed since February?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, like the Leader of the Opposition, when it comes to an issue like Sunday shopping, I am willing to stand by what I believe in in our health care system.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, oddly enough, in the same debate the Premier said this, and again I'll quote from that which I have just tabled, "We have to live within the Canada Health Act but we have to be flexible within that act, as flexible as possible." My question to the Premier is, what is his definition of flexible, is it lining the pockets of private health providers?

THE PREMIER: I appreciate the question, through you, Mr. Speaker. The reality is that there are huge challenges being faced across the country and here in Nova Scotia when it comes to health care. We will work within the Canada Health Act. I have said very clearly it should not be based on the size of your wallet, and I think that all Nova Scotians agree with that fact. We don't want to see a two-tier system here in Nova Scotia. We don't want to see a two-tier system in the future in our province and we will make sure, as a government, we don't see such a system.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

HEALTH - CANADA HEALTH ACT: STATEMENTS - CLARIFICATION

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, last Friday the Minister of Health made comments about private health care that garnered media coverage, both locally and nationally. One of the reasons for considerable alarm is the fact that the minister neither attempted to correct his statements nor did he clarify exactly what he meant. Today the Premier has the opportunity to do one or the other. So my question to the Premier is, what exactly did your Minister of Health mean when he said everything is on the table here in Nova Scotia with respect to opening up the Canada Health Act?

[Page 422]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has been very clear. He believes, as our government believes, in a publicly funded system and a system which is based on the realities of the challenges that we face, not only on the financial side but on the health side as well. If we take a look at the system we have in Nova Scotia today, we do see a blended approach already in the system across the country. That is the reality, but the government has been very clear - we believe in a publicly funded system, we believe in staying within the Canada Health Act and, as a government, we will do so.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it is this Conservative Government that has allowed health care costs to rise 7 per cent to 8 per cent per year without actually any improvements in the system. It's this government's lack of focus, when it comes to managing the health care system, that led to the grand opening of private clinics last year, clinics where if you have money you access health care services faster. The Minister of Health's lack of specifics has left serious concerns in the minds of many Nova Scotians, as well as us here in the Liberal caucus. So my question to the Premier is, will the Premier please make a commitment to all Nova Scotians that they will be able to access a publicly funded, publicly administered health care system in a more timely manner than currently exists without having to pay more money to do so?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, when we came in in 1999, the health care system under the previous government was in absolute disarray and because of the steps this government has taken, and past governments, we have managed to work with the district health authorities, with our community health boards, and make significant progress when it comes to a number of issues, whether it's the nursing strategy, whether it's dealing with issues in cardiology, whether it's issues around MRIs, a number of key issues. We'll continue to work within the health care system, a publicly funded system, that makes sense for the people who matter most and that is Nova Scotians.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, in 1999 this government took over government saying that health care didn't need more money, it needed better management. They also said they could fix health care for $46 million. Today this government has now poured an extra $1 billion into health care and yet Nova Scotians are still waiting in long lineups to be able to access that system. That is the legacy that this Premier has left; that's the legacy that the former Premier has left - a health care system that Nova Scotians can no longer afford. Rather than looking at the system to see how we can do things differently, they instead take the easy route of trying to open up the door to private health care in this province.

So my final supplementary to the Premier is, will the Premier undertake a review of our health care system to try to identify better ways of being able to administer health to Nova Scotians, rather than copping out and trying to open up more private health clinics here in this province?

[Page 423]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the government has been doing that on a regular basis; that is not just a one-time event for government. We do that on a day-to-day basis. We want to make sure that we have an efficient system, one that we can afford, one that we cannot only afford today but into the future. Yes, we've made significant investments in the health care system in the last number of years. Much of that has gone into needed equipment and it has gone into front-line health care workers, be it nurses, or medical lab technologists, or others. Much of it has gone into needed drugs and the increase in costs there. This government will not back away from making sure the number one priority of Nova Scotians is dealt with and that's their health care.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - CANADA HEALTH ACT: PRIVATIZATION - CONSULTANTS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question again, is for the Premier. The government recently went to the people of Nova Scotia seeking a majority government, which we all know they did not get. That was the time they were supposed to present the public with the major initiatives and priorities they intended to pursue, as government. Sadly enough, the Premier didn't breathe one word about private health care during the election. So I want to ask the Premier, when exactly did this government embark on this process of asking consultants how to privatize the health care system?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to stand here today to bring something forward to the House. We need to look at health care, to continue to look at health care. We need to engage our front-line workers. We need to engage the unions to find out how to better deliver health care in Nova Scotia. I can say, until we have those discussions, we cannot take anything off the table.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, that did not answer the question I asked, but I'll tell you this, from what we've been able to piece together from the sparse information on the public record, the timeline looks something like this. The tender for the Corpus Sanchez Report was issued in January, the briefing session for potential bidders happened on January 18th, the tender closed on February 15th, and then there is a message to the staff from the CEO of the South Shore District Health Authority on April 20th. The news that Corpus Sanchez was chosen is announced and meetings are scheduled with district staff in May. My question to the Premier is, since it's clear your government knew of this major review since you were first sworn in as Premier, why have you failed for nearly five months to disclose it to the people of Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Health.

[Page 424]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, a review was asked of the department to look at the DHAs, to look at the efficiencies within the system, as I'm sure the members opposite would like to make sure that the funding that is provided (Interruptions) There was a regular process put forward. The request for proposals was put forward. It was public tender at that time. It is still public tender this time. We now have a consultant in on the DHAs asking questions, looking at a snapshot in time, and we'll continue to use information. The members opposite asked about funding formulas for DHAs and those types of things. That's the information we want to come forward.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I think everything that the Minister of Health just said can be summed up by the words "I forgot". I hope the Premier doesn't except that as an excuse. Maybe he'll remember the last minister who told him that he forget. I want to ask this question to the Premier, will the Premier finally be forthright with Nova Scotians about his government's attempt to hide this important new direction in health care from Nova Scotians?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition seems a bit agitated today, I'm not really sure why? The reality is that this government, and I've said it before, we believe in a publicly funded system. We will stay within the Canada Health Act as we should. That's our commitment to Nova Scotia. It hasn't changed since day one, since we came into government, and it won't change tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH: CORPUS SANCHEZ - CONTRACT

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. The love affair between this government and Corpus Sanchez, a health consultant group, continues. The B.C. firm has conducted two reviews at the IWK, another at Capital Health, since 2003, diverting almost $400,000 from patient care into the company's bottom line. Now it has been awarded a $1 million contract to review service delivery at the nine district health authorities and the IWK. So my question to the Premier is, why is this government spending over $1 million reviewing DHA operations, many of which that have already been reviewed ad nauseam?

[11:45 a.m.]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, quite honestly, it's about accountability, making sure that the system is working as best as it possibly can. We are there making sure that we have the best patient outcomes in the country, we are trying to bring down our wait times. In order to do that we have to make sure that we have the best management

[Page 425]

possible. To the issue of Corpus Sanchez, Corpus Sanchez applied to the tendering process and won the bid.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, what this contract is all about is actually contained within the tendered documents. Part of the mandate of Corpus Sanchez is to recommend alternate service delivery models, and alternate service delivery models is a euphemism for privatization. Given the tremendous expertise on for-profit health care models at Corpus Sanchez it gives one pause to wonder just what the outcome of this review will be. Now with the minister's comments on Friday, the commitment of this government to public health care is even murkier. My question to the Premier is why is his government hiring companies that are predisposed to private health care delivery to review Nova Scotia's public health care system?

THE PREMIER: I refer this to the Minister of Health.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, you know, the Premier has stood here saying exactly what this is about, I have stood here telling exactly what this is about. It is about a review in accountability to make sure there is over a billion dollars going to DHAs for services in acute care and other services that we provide. We want to make sure that we're spending those dollars correctly, we want to make sure that patients are going to have the best outcome possible and we're going to continue to monitor this. We're going to continue to engage our partners in health care to make sure that we listen and come up with solutions to make sure that we don't take the criticism from the Opposition because they look at it both ways here for some reason. We can't talk about anything yet they complain that our health budget is growing by too much. Which one do they want? Do they want to spend all our money on health care, which we can do, or do we make sure that we find solutions to make it the best health care system possible?

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the CEO of the IWK is quoted on the Corpus Sanchez Web site giving the company a glowing endorsement, yet the recommendations by that company of that facility would mean sweeping cuts to programs, services and staff and would be a disaster for the patients who rely on the IWK, the region's only children's hospital. My question for the Premier is this, he had a choice and he chose to spend $1.4 million on Corpus Sanchez reviews when he could have established a colon cancer screening program in Nova Scotia, why did he choose the consultants?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the fear mongering from the NDP continues, the fear mongering continues. The Leader talks about sweeping cuts, it's a review happening, a review on accountability, a review which the district health authorities are in favour of. The reality is that every other Nova Scotian can see that this is needed, the only ones that can't see it are the NDP.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

[Page 426]

HEALTH: PRIVATIZATION - FUNDING

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I'd like to continue questioning the Minister of Health in the hopes that we're going to be able to convince him to reconsider the position that he's taking on private health care. According to the minister, private health care options are on the table as a result of annual increases in health care costs. When you analyze the logic behind that comment one quickly notes that the reasoning provided by the minister exhibits very little logic at all. While the department may be able to reduce its direct costs by transferring this responsibility to Nova Scotians with the resources to pay, it's equally true that financial resources are going to be drained both from the public system to create private options and private infrastructure.

My question to the Minister of Health, does the minister agree that creating a private health care system will still require an infusion of financial resources at the expense of quality health care in the public system? Yes or no?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, a little bit of fear mongering going on on behalf of the Liberals as well here. I want to say as we take reality and look at the health care system as it stands today, and without a true discussion, without true study to make sure that we do the right thing, that we invest our monies in the right places to drop wait times, to make sure that we have better outcomes for our patients - this is what we want to do to make sure we have the best investments. What was their answer? Their answer was cut $70 million; their answer was cut nursing; their answer was cut this, cut that. I don't want to do that, because I feel the system deserves way more than that.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, even more alarming in this whole situation is the minister's complete disregard and complete disrespect for the health human resource situation in this province. It was our caucus that sounded the alarm bells last year when private health facilities started to spring up, and sure enough, nurses from Colchester Regional Hospital left that hospital to take up new positions in Halifax. Last time I checked, we did not have a surplus of nurses in this province. With the specialist vacancies being what they are now, I find it hard to believe (Interruptions) You've been in power for seven years. That government has been in power for seven years. Take some responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, the specialist vacancies being what they are now, it's hard to believe that we would be able to maintain parallel health care systems. My question to the minister is, does the minister believe that creating a private health system with health human resources that are stretched to the limit and unable to provide public health care in a publicly funded system is going to reduce wait times for everyone? Yes or no, Mr. Minister.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it amazes me that they feel that health care can be solved with a yes or no answer. I can't believe they would say that. There are so many things that we need to know. There are so many people we need to talk to. There are so many things

[Page 427]

that should be on the table or should not be on the table. What we're saying is that as we look at a publicly funded system, a publicly directed system, we want to make sure that we have best outcomes for patients. That is what we're looking at. That's why we want to have the data.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I can't believe that that minister, that government, three other Health Ministers and another Premier believe that you could solve health care for $46 million either, but it happened. That's what that government said. I questioned the minister yesterday on the wait times reduction fund. In the last couple of fiscal years, $36 million has come to this province with about $18 million being accounted for, and this fiscal year we're on target to get another $34 million, $70 million. My final question for the minister is, will the minister please commit to all Nova Scotians today that every cent of the wait times reduction received, now and in the future, is going to be spent strengthening the public health care system and not expanding a private option? Yes or no, Mr. Minister, yes or no.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as I explained to the member opposite, all the funding that came through that federal funding initiative went to try to bring down wait times. I'll commit that we'll continue to do so.

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

HEALTH: PRIVATIZATION - DETAILS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, there's a large number of American and international private health care delivery companies just waiting for provinces like Nova Scotia to open up health care to for-profit delivery. Of course they know - I'm not sure if this government knows - that once the gate is opened, there may be no more protection under the North American Free Trade Agreement and our health care system could be up for bids. I'll table a report by the Polaris Institute, titled Waiting in the Wings, that focuses on six of the corporations waiting to deliver health care in our province. So my question to the Minister of Health is, just what exactly is on the table for health care delivery in Nova Scotia?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question. As we look at health care in this province, as we look at a burgeoning budget of $2.6 billion, as we look at shortages in nursing, and the shortages in nursing - we could have a long talk about that one - as we look at the inability to get physicians into rural areas, as we look at the inability to get our family through orthopaedic surgery, we need to be trying to find issues and trying to find ways to solve this. I say that everything should be discussed, all partners in health care should be included in the discussion. I think that with a true discussion, not just a whole bunch of fear-mongering, we can solve this together.

[Page 428]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): After about 16 questions to the government on health care, I guess he answered that everything is on the table when it comes to health care in this province.

Mr. Speaker, the company MDS has extensive ties to U.S.-based firms and it already controls 55 per cent of the distribution of medical supplies in Canada plus one-third of the medical laboratory market. It specializes in P3 agreements for lab services. The problem is that MDS was at the heart of the drinking water scare in Ontario because the MDS-run labs didn't tell several communities that they found bad water quality in their tests. We know that at least two private lab service providers are on the Registry of Lobbyists. So I ask the Minister of Health, is this the kind of private service delivery he would like to see come to Nova Scotia?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as we have said, as the Premier has said, our first priority is to Nova Scotians, to make sure that they have the best health care possible. We are saying that we want a publicly directed system, a publicly funded system to make sure that Nova Scotians have the best health care possible.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, the list of companies just waiting to take our health care dollars away is extensive; companies like HCA, the largest private hospital chain in the world. This company was the subject of kickback and health fraud investigations in the U.S. and they had to pay out an $800 million settlement to the U.S. Government. So I ask the Minister of Health, who has already come knocking at his door with offers of providing health services in Nova Scotia?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, ultimately I am aware of only one proposal that has been across my desk and I had to read it in the paper, so apparently there is one.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

TPW - CROSSWALKS: RED LIGHTS - INSTALLATION

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. On March 11, 2006, the young life of 16-year-old Mary-Beth Chaulk was taken when she was hit by a motorist as she walked across a crosswalk on Portland Street in Dartmouth. While this crosswalk on a busy street in Dartmouth is marked with amber crossing lights, it is widely believed that red lights are needed to better alert drivers to the crosswalk. Amber lights are used on school buses to tell motorists to proceed with caution and red lights mean stop. When it comes to approaching these signalled crosswalks, government needs to make people stop and pay attention.

Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, I am looking for a definite timeline on this. When will the minister install red lights on Nova Scotia's signalled crosswalks?

[Page 429]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to express my appreciation to the honourable member for raising this very important subject. Every time there is a fatality of any kind on our highways or our crosswalks, it is a time when we need to reflect very carefully about safety. The issue with respect to the red lights as opposed to amber lights is something that is being examined and we would want to come to a conclusion on that very quickly.

It is also interesting to note that just this morning I read a piece of correspondence from somebody who is suggesting that what we need to do with crosswalk lights is to place them at eye level, approximately six feet, because the lights that are overhead are very difficult for people to see. So the answers are not all necessarily in the bag at this stage. I want to ensure that every possible avenue is explored but I do appreciate the fact that the honourable member is concerned, as are all Nova Scotians concerned.

[12:00 noon]

MS. MASSEY: Thank you to the minister for his reflection on that, but time for reflection is over and it is time for action. Mr. Speaker, since 1997 Nova Scotia has had a Road Safety Advisory Committee to assist in the development and implementation and evaluation of government safety strategies for roadways. I would think this committee's Web site would be a very valuable resource for research on public safety information, which was created by this committee since 1997. The problem is the government has no Web site publicizing the work of this committee and there is just one brochure on the entire government Web site promoting pedestrian safety. My question to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, when will your government get serious about pedestrian safety?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I believe that not only this government, but successive governments have in fact been very serious about pedestrian safety. We have to work in conjunction with the municipalities who have responsibility for crosswalk safety and we do that. I believe the honourable member, upon examination of the results, would know that real progress is being made. Until such time as we reach the stage where we have totally eliminated all pedestrian accidents, then we will not rest on anything and continue to work toward that objective.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, it's interesting because the students at PAHS are not resting on this issue either. In fact, in one day they collected a petition with over 500 signatures so they're doing a fair amount of work on this.

In 2004, Nova Scotia's Auditor General conducted an audit on road safety initiatives within the provincial government. Among the findings were, "Several road safety initiatives recommended by Transport Canada and implemented in other jurisdictions were approved by the Road Safety Advisory Committee and the Deputy Ministers to which it is accountable. However, required legislative changes have not yet been pursued and the status of the initiatives has not been reported to the Committee."

[Page 430]

My question for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, what is the status of the these recommendations and when will people like Tina Chaulk see the badly needed changes that she is looking for?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I would point out to the honourable member that, indeed, we have a figure of $2.5 million in this year's budget which is dedicated to road safety. That's a statement of our commitment with respect to that. That's incremental, increased spending with respect to that.

I also want to, for the sake of all members of the House, ensure that we appreciate some of the progress that has been made with respect to pedestrian safety. In the 1960s there were over 600 pedestrian fatalities in the Province of Nova Scotia. In the 1970s, the number was approximately 450; in the 1980s it was 218; and, since 2000, there have been seven fatalities at crosswalks in Nova Scotia. The numbers are decreasing, but as I said at the outset, until such time as the number is zero then we're not going to stop.

But we shouldn't suggest that progress has not been made. Real progress has, in fact, been made.

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

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.- GAS REGULATION

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. In bringing in gas price regulations a few months ago in their first discussions, the Premier mused that we should not be different from our other neighbouring provinces of P.E.I. and New Brunswick, that Nova Scotia might in some way be vulnerable if we were the only unregulated province.

Well, we've seen recently that gas regulation is simply not working in New Brunswick. Some independent gas retailers in New Brunswick have had their supply cut off and they may be forced to close indefinitely very soon. Unfortunately, we're hearing the same concerns here in Nova Scotia. Our caucus has heard of many rural independents, notably in Cape Breton, who will not be able to survive under this system because they're not making enough money and the profit margin is just too small. My question to the minister is, why are you forcing a system on Nova Scotia which will threaten Nova Scotian gas stations and ensure that Nova Scotian consumers pay more?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, if I heard correctly, I heard the honourable member say that in Cape Breton people weren't paying enough, but I don't think that's entirely what she meant.

[Page 431]

Mr. Speaker, people want consistency in gas prices and the prices have been consistent here in Nova Scotia for two weeks. The data that we are using in Nova Scotia includes the base price in New York. It has a retail margin and it has transportation built in. The formula seems to be working in the first run-through.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I disagree with the minister that it's working in the near term or that it will work at all. The rack price in New York is not the price that the wholesalers in Nova Scotia are using - they're using a Halifax rack price which has already cut into the margins that have been built into this system.

Regardless of the type of system that you're discussing, we've heard in Nova Scotia that many independent retailers are not happy and they do not have enough margin to last a lot longer. In New Brunswick today, as a comparison, over 120 retailers are closing down their pumps to protest the fact that they are losing money, and I don't want to see that happen here in Nova Scotia. Under the Conservative system either the consumer loses out or the retailers lose out, or both - and we're seeing both in this case. We should have learned the lesson back in 1991 when regulation was stopped, and yet we're now heading out and making the same mistake again.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, what is your plan now that gas regulation has given us higher prices, no stability, and threatens gas stations?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member is comparing Nova Scotia with New Brunswick, and the system of arriving at prices in New Brunswick was different than that of arriving at the prices in Nova Scotia.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, the government itself has compared us to New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in adopting this foolish system of gas regulations. Regardless of the system, it's a bad idea in Nova Scotia and it's also a bad idea in New Brunswick. Nova Scotia consumers agree, the independent gas retailers agree, and your own $170,000 consulting study agreed, this system is not good for Nova Scotia. It provides us with higher prices and no stability. Nova Scotia consumers aren't happy. The next move is obvious.

Mr. Speaker, my question through you for the minister is, will you swallow your pride and commit today to rescinding gas regulation in this province?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, this government committed to gas regulation because the great majority of Nova Scotians wanted it - indeed, about 72 per cent. They do know that it was not necessarily going to lead to lower prices, but it was going to lead to consistent pricing, and that's what they wanted. The process that is ongoing allows for a review of this initiative after one year, and I'm pretty confident that it will be continued.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

[Page 432]

EDUC.: BILL NO. 207: SUPPORT - CONFIRM

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The spiralling cost of post-secondary education in Nova Scotia is making it harder and harder for students and their families to make ends meet. A new study by the Canadian Association of University Teachers shows that the lowest income Nova Scotian would have to spend more than 67 per cent of their after- tax income just to pay for one year of university tuition fees - I will table that report.

Last year members of this House unanimously decided that new money targeted for post-secondary education by the federal government must be used to address this growing problem. I ask the minister, will her government keep its word and does the government still fully support Bill No. 207 passed unanimously by this House last Spring?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I would refer that question to the Minister of Finance.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, our government fully supports the provision earlier with respect to the use of those funds. As the honourable member would know, the Government of Canada has created, in the last fiscal year, trust funds and those trust funds were created without consultation with the provinces. The Government of Canada created those trust funds, and we are obliged to use the money according to those funds, or simply not spend them at all. Unfortunately, that is the situation we're left in.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. Actions speak louder than words. Yesterday she told us that this government has no intention of keeping its election promises to students on lowering tuition fees this year, and now this government tells us it has no intention of honouring the objectives of Bill No. 207. It's a further indication of this government's lack of commitment to lowering tuition. We know Stephen Harper doesn't care about the plight of students, but that doesn't give this government an excuse to follow suit. In the past, this government had no problem when it suited their purposes, making their own decisions about how to use federal funds. My question to the minister is, will she tell this House why, in this case, she prefers to listen to Stephen Harper instead of Nova Scotians and members of this House?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, another question for the Minister of Finance.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, again to the honourable member, I cannot be any clearer than this, the Government of Nova Scotia would be glad to spend the funds in accordance with the previous provisions that we had agreed to. Unfortunately, the funds come from the Government of Canada. It is the Government of Canada that sets the conditions on the funds, and we must expend those funds on those conditions or not expend them at all.

[Page 433]

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. It's pretty hard to win an argument when you signal defeat at the outset. Lying supine is hardly an ideal starting point for negotiations. The government will have many options to operate within the terms of Bill No. 207 and still adhere to the principals the federal government has outlined for this $29 million investment. Why won't this government abandon this wrongheaded course of action, stand up for Nova Scotian students and respect the will of this House as expressed in Bill No. 207?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is referring to the Financial Measures (2006) Bill, and I think our Minister of Finance has made it pretty clear what the position of this government is. There is no one who would be any happier than I to spend extra money on education and tuition, if that is the allocation.

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

COM. SERV. - ASBESTOS ISSUES: INFO - DELAY EXPLAIN

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, through you, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. On April 7th, it was revealed that asbestos was present in the Ashby and Pier Terraces, and had been known about since October 2005. Last week, residents of Joseph Howe Manor in Halifax were informed they, too, are living with asbestos. This issue was raised by my colleague, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, in May 2005, and he was assured by the minister at the time that while he knew little about it, he would look into it and pass the information on. Well, this information never came. My question is, why did the government fail to act on this issue in May 2005?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for the opportunity to rise this morning. My honourable colleague brings two issues to the table, one regarding the situation in our public housing in Cape Breton, and the second, of course, was referenced to the Joe Howe Manor. I'll speak to the situation in Cape Breton first. Of course, upon learning of the existence of the vermiculite in Cape Breton, the Department of Community Services immediately went into action, and we made sure that all possible steps were taken. We are currently awaiting an independent consultation report from Pinchin LeBlanc, an internationally acclaimed outfit, along with the testing results from our own department, our own consultation process, as well as the results awaiting from the Department of Environment and Labour. When those results are available, I'll be more than happy to speak to them in this House or elsewhere.

[12:15 p.m.]

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, in response to this issue, the former minister established an internal committee to investigate why residents had to wait until April 11th to be informed of the contaminants in their apartments, and why workers had to be informed of this potential

[Page 434]

exposure. Through my office, I have tried to obtain a copy of this report prepared by David Ryan and Cyril LeBlanc but the freedom of information request was denied.

My question through you, Mr. Speaker, is to the minister. When will this government do the right thing and make this report public?

MS. STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Again to my honourable colleague, thank you for the opportunity to rise on this and clear up all issues as they pertain to this.

Mr. Speaker, absolutely, as I referenced already, we are awaiting the results of Pinchin LeBlanc Environmental Ltd.'s results. We have conducted our own internal investigation and we have turned that information over to the Department of Environment and Labour and we will await the results from the Department of Environment and Labour and then we will move forward.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, the test results carried out by this department were adamantly done under ideal circumstances and had little resemblance to the actual conditions present when construction work was being carried out. In short, these tests are useless in determining exposure. Residents and workers believe they were exposed and they fear for their health over the long term.

Mr. Speaker, what contingency plans are in place for the testing of all residents and workers for the removal of asbestos from these units?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague across the way, I would never question the results of Pinchin LeBlanc Environmental Ltd., an internationally acclaimed company, the Atlantic Indoor Air Audit Company or Maritime Testing. We await the results from the Department of Environment and Labour to ensure that all of our residents, the workers, the contractors and indeed our staff, their health is the utmost importance and we await that report to move forward for the health and safety of all our residents.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

GAMING: GAMBLING ADDICTIONS - VICTIMS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister responsible for Part 1 of the Gaming Control Act. Recently we heard the story of a man, Ron Kehoe, who has gambled away his life on VLTs. He lost his job, his life possessions and completely removed himself away from his friends and his family. We have heard many stories like this across our province and yet this government continues to refuse to create an effective awareness campaign against the dangers of the addiction, like TV ads. Not only this, they actually make ads in favour of gaming instead.

[Page 435]

My question to the minister is, how will your lack of anti-gambling advertising, refusal to ban VLTs, help all those victims in our province like Ron Kehoe?

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, in case the honourable member has not heard, our gaming strategy is working in Nova Scotia. Our gaming revenues, our VLT revenues, are down as a result of that responsible gaming strategy. It is working, it is making a difference for Nova Scotians. The statistics are there to prove that. We are making a difference in Nova Scotia with responsible gaming and Nova Scotians know it.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, this government's plan won't help Nova Scotians understand the problems and risks associated with gambling and it certainly won't help them once they are addicted and caught in a downward spiral. Government is supposed to be about providing services which benefit its citizens the most, not programs which benefit from their hardships and addictions.

My question to the minister is, is the reason why you refuse to do anti-gambling TV advertisements because you want more money to pay for bad policies like gas regulation?

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, to assist the honourable member who doesn't seem to get it, I will refer the question to the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the member opposite, we are currently embarking in a campaign that began about two weeks ago. It includes advertisements on all radio stations and on televison. We believe that campaign will be effective to help us to continue with our strategy to reduce the rate of problem gambling in the Province of Nova Scotia. We are very proud as well of the fact that we are among the lowest rates of problem gambling in this country, and it is as a result of the hard work we have done through our social marketing program that we have in place and that is actively out there on the airwaves today.

MR. GLAVINE: Well, it is obvious that the government is addicted to their VLT revenue and gambling revenues, even if their windfall is at the expense of Nova Scotians' lives. Lives are being ruined and, regrettably, lives are being lost. Mr. Minister, you have an opportunity now to do the right thing. My final question is, will you commit today to reassessing your government's stance on VLTs and commit to starting an aggressive anti-gambling campaign that will include prime time ads, something which we do not see in the province.

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, his question is redundant. As I told the member opposite, we began a campaign a week and a half, two weeks ago. It's very aggressive, it hits every radio station in the Province of Nova Scotia, including television and cable. That campaign is part of our strategy to continue to reduce the prevalence of problem gambling in the Province of Nova Scotia. We're very proud of the hard work that our staff have done and the campaign is working.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: BASALT QUARRY - DIGBY NECK

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. As the minister knows, Digby Neck is a narrow and fragile piece of land and one of the earliest settled areas of this province. More recently, at least until the demise of the Digby-Saint John ferry, tourists were very eager to come and enjoy the beauty of the area. Now, though, Bilcon, an American company, plans to begin quarrying and exporting basalt from the Digby Neck area for road beds in the U.S.A. As we speak, concerned citizens are spending their summer reviewing a 3,000-page environmental impact statement, preparing for a panel review hearing. As everybody knows, it's not panel reviews that stop mega-quarries, it's Ministers of Environment who do.

What's the minister's position with regard to this proposal for a basalt mega-quarry and shipping terminal on Digby Neck?

HON. MARK PARENT: Thank you for a good question. The process that's being undertaken right now is that a joint panel has been established by the federal Minister of Environment and by myself. They're in the process of collecting information, then we'll be going for public consultation and reporting back to the two ministers with recommendations and action items.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, that's not terribly reassuring to the people who live on Digby Neck and Long Island and Brier Island making their living primarily from fishing and tourism. At this point, residents, tourists, fishermen, lobsters and whales all are shaken, not only by the panel review but fearing constant day-in, day-out shaking from the blasting and shipping if this project actually goes ahead. Can the minister tell us how he proposes to ensure protection of the environment of the area from this mine?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, as I said, there is a joint panel of both the federal and provincial governments at a very high level and I have been assured by former Ministers of Environment that this panel not only looks at environmental issues, but at socio-economic issues as well. It's at the very highest level that the government can ask for and I look forward very much to hearing from this panel.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister's efforts in ensuring that it's a very high level review, but I hope the socio-economic review takes account of the fact that it is not just Digby Neck which is in danger. If Bilcon gets the permission to build this terminal, basalt can be shipped from anywhere along the North Mountain to the United States with the greatest of ease. Quarry owners are looking at land on Brier Island, but community members are looking at those quarry owners all along the Annapolis Valley. As far up as Wolfville, people have told me they are very worried about the company's long-term plans for the full

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extent of the North Mountain. Can the minister please state his position on the possible long-term threat of quarrying to communities all along the North Mountain?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, through you I thank the member for the question. The problem I'm having with this question and with this line of questioning is we have set a process in place, the bar is the highest we can possibly set. I'm not sure if she wants me to disregard due process and disregard the panel that's set in place and pre-judge the recommendations that they bring to me or whether she wants me to follow the process that's set in place and in due course I will report what their recommendations are and what my response is and the response of the federal Minister of Environment.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: KYOTO ACCORD - TARGETS

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my question is also for the Minister of Environment and Labour. The minister's colleague, the Minister of Energy, said last week this government would wait and see how the federal Conservatives tackle the issue of greenhouse gases, but this House knows that Quebec and Manitoba have both announced, as a matter of policy and regardless of how much the Tory federal government is backing away from the Kyoto Accord, that they will implement Kyoto. Why will the minister not announce the same target for Nova Scotia?

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, thank you for that question and I'll refer that question to the Minister of Energy.

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, to the member across, indeed I did say that in the estimates the other day, and the government is very responsible here in Nova Scotia. We are making inroads as we speak, to address certain climate issues. I said clearly to the member that we were going to wait, not necessarily wait until the federal government brought down their green plan, that we're already putting things in place, a mechanism in place, to address climate control within our own province.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, still to the Minister of Environment and Labour. I would like to point out that under the Constitution Act, legal jurisdiction over the environment is split between the federal and provincial governments. There is nothing in law to prevent the Province of Nova Scotia from acting, and we have coal-fired power plants here. We have a cement plant, we have hundreds of thousands of cars and they all emit greenhouse gases. The main one is CO2, this problem is pressing, but Nova Scotia has no laws at all to control the emission of CO2. I'm asking the minister, what is he waiting for?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the member. The member is aware of the air quality regulations that were introduced March 1, 2005. That would see sulphur dioxide

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emissions reduced from a 2001 level by 50 per cent, by 2010. It would see nitrogen oxide emissions reduced by 20 per cent by the year 2009, and mercury emissions reduced by 30 per cent. Thank you very much.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, the question was about CO2. The minister's department needs to re-evaluate its priorities. For a decade, it has concentrated on minor environmental problems, paying little heed to the major issues. Air is a life-support system. Clean air is central to our survival and health. I'm asking if the minister thinks that greenhouse gas emissions are primarily a federal matter, will he stand here today and condemn the federal government for abandoning Kyoto?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, that's why I was so excited about Conserve Nova Scotia and the mandate that it has, and one of the very first things I did as a minister was sit down with the head of Conserve Nova Scotia and strategize on how we can work to improve air quality in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

HEALTH: PHARMACARE PROG. - CO- PAY CHANGES

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. On March 15, 2006, just 16 days before the deadline, the Minister of Health announced an increase to both the premium and the cap of the Seniors' Pharmacare Program. In the press release, the Group of Nine strongly encouraged the government to take a look at the recommendations they had made to the department. One of the recommendations made would benefit seniors who regularly reached the co-pay maximum early in the fiscal year. The Group of Nine would like to see a change made for those seniors, by allowing them to spread their $360 co-pay over the entire year. So my question to the minister is, will there be changes made to the program that will enable seniors who experience a heavy up-front cost burden, to spread out the co-pay over the entire program year?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, yes.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that seniors will be looking forward to the implementation of that program. The Group of Nine is also looking for improvements to the program's outdated computer system. Well, it makes absolute sense to do these changes, they come with a cost. So my question to the minister is, will that cost be borne by seniors or by your department?

[Page 439]

[12:30 p.m.]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, this program is administered by Medavie, I believe, and they're the ones that are making the upgrades to their computer systems, and that's included in the price of that contract.

MR. MCNEIL: I take that as a no. Mr. Speaker, it's obvious something needs to be done to ensure that seniors are receiving the best possible program and the best possible care. One such initiative that could help is a seniors' medication review program. It's entirely possible that seniors are paying for prescriptions that aren't even working properly. Medication-related problems are also causes for many unnecessary hospital admissions and can even contribute to death.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, is your department actively considering an annual seniors' medication review program?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member, we tend to review this on an annual basis as it is, we use a common drug review to make sure that we have the appropriate types of drugs on the formulary to ensure that there is the best list depending on the ailments of our seniors to make sure that they have the access to pharmaceuticals as they need it.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I want to stand and ask a question to the Minister of Natural Resources with regard to McNabs Island, which is a part of my constituency and a provincial park in a part of Eastern Passage. Specifically, traditional campsites used by the people of Eastern Passage have now been removed by the Department of Natural Resources.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 440]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply unto Her Majesty.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[12:32 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Chuck Porter in the Chair.]

[6:00 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Cecil Clarke, resumed the Chair.]

The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Dartmouth North:

"Therefore be it resolved that this government give fair and equal treatment to the remaining Sysco workforce."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

SYSCO: WORKFORCE - TREATMENT

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don't know how many times I have risen in this Legislature to speak about this very important issue to many of the people and to former steelworkers - and actually the steelworkers as I speak here today are working on the remediation and cleanup of the Sydney site, cutting up scrap and doing whatever else.

Mr. Speaker, this deal with Duferco many years ago, back in 1999 and 2000 when the province entered into this deal with Duferco, the terms of the agreement, the employment with Duferco never ever happened, as we all know what happened there with electricity rights - those are some of the things that are going on right now with Stora - and the government never had the fortitude to stay in there at that time and keep that mill open. Today we would probably be making money with that mill, but that is hindsight.

What I'm here to speak about this evening, Mr. Speaker, are the 135 men who are still left on that site. Each and every time that steel plant called, these men went back to work and worked in conditions with asbestos, hazardous material, whatever else they were called upon to do, in every dirty hole known to mankind, whether it was the bottom of the bloom mill in a slag pit or the coke ovens, or anywhere along those sites, these men went there to work.

[Page 441]

It is now 2006 and many of these men today are being told by the management of the plant and the site that this government plans to finish their work by October 31st, and some of the men will be laid off in August and some by October 31st and there would no longer be any work for any of these guys on that site.

Mr. Speaker, some of these men have actually spent 27, 29, close to 30 years on that site, whether it be the security guys, whether it be the carpenters, whether it be the guys cutting up scrap, and I remember that the former Premier in this Legislature had said that the steelworkers would be treated fairly.

Now some of these guys are actually looking for somewhat of a similar deal that the 74 and 75 men got with pension credits, along with the work that they did from 2000 to 2006, Mr. Speaker. I will tell you, some of these men are afraid, afraid for their families and children, they have mortgages, they have homes, and to be told that on October 31st they will no longer be there. What I don't understand is why, as the minister had said earlier in estimates here, about $400,000 by the feds in the province to clean up the Sydney tar ponds and the province put $120 million in. There are set-aside projects in there for Unamaki people in the community, yet we have no set-aside projects for these men who put their blood and sweat into that mill. These men went out there every day when they were called and worked in conditions that some of us in this Legislature would not be able to tolerate at any given time.

It has been said that government, the management at Sysco, know the numbers of what the cost would be to the province to either put some of these men on pension or further their work at the Sydney tar ponds site. Mr. Speaker, these men are getting frustrated. If something is not done shortly to meet with these men - if the Minister of Transportation and Public Works would like to meet with these men and speak to these men and speak to me, I would be glad to meet with him, and my colleagues, the member for Cape Breton South, the member for Cape Breton Centre, the member for Cape Breton West - and these guys, many of the men live in their ridings - and the member for Cape Breton North have had family members who worked there for years, along with myself being a third-generation steelworker and my colleague, the member for Cape Breton South, his father was a steelworker.

Understand what is going on with these men, Mr. Speaker. No pension, they have small severance packages that they were offered that they have deferred, and some have severance packages put away. What they are saying is that there has to be a way to treat these men fairly, to treat them with respect and dignity and see if we can find a way of getting - these men are all in their late 40s and 50s and possibly even 60 years of age, how are they going to be retrained for anything? What are they going to do?

Here we are in Cape Breton with an unemployment rate of over 14 per cent at this time and we are going to have more guys unemployed. These guys cannot be to go working at call centres or be trained to do other jobs. They've been in the steel industry their whole life, their whole adult life they've spent in that industry. Today, they're being told they have no future

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left in that industry. You can understand that they would be scared, scared for their wives, their children, their families and their mortgages. They're just like me or you or anybody else who have bills that have to be paid. Again, the threat lies over there.

I remember back in my father and grandfather's days telling me about a day called "Bloody Sunday" when the steelworkers were run down by the Armed Forces of this country over the labour movement in Cape Breton. I just hope that it doesn't escalate to that point where these men are going to have to tie up that job to get work on the Sydney tar ponds remediation. It has been said that Sydney Environmental Resources Ltd. is no longer going to exist after the date of October 31st. Where are these men to go? What are these men to do? Are they to just walk the streets? What are they to do? There has to be a contingency plan for these men to either get a pension or give them enough work on the Sydney tar ponds - the work is going to be there until 2014. These men have to be put into that so they can actually acquire some more pension credits to work until 2014 until they reach their 30th year to get their pension.

They have a committee there with Scott Black, Barry Young, Francis MacLean and Mike Buchanan, and those guys worked very hard for the men that are out there right now. They're trying to do the best they can for the guys that are out there on the job. The government will say, well you know, some of those guys only actually have eight or 10 years worked, but I mean with the work that they had from 2000 to 2006 and the credit that was given for the actual work that they did there, and the same pension credits that they got for the 1974 and 1975 guys that were earlier pensioned on Sysco, we wouldn't be in this situation today.

Let's try to do something here as a government, let's try to do something here as elected officials, to get these guys some kind of help, some kind of future for them and their families so they can go out there and be treated with dignity and respect. I keep referring to that because that's the former Premier's - I remember it myself, dignity and respect. There's no dignity and respect standing at Gate 3 down there stopping people from going to work on the tar ponds. That's what's going to happen, Mr. Speaker, these guys are going to tie up that site and they're going to tie up that new harbourside development. It's going to happen because it has to happen because they're going to have no income, they're going to have no food to put on the table, they're going to have no money for their family and for their children and their grandchildren, they're going to have to tie that site up. There's no choice in that matter but to do that.

It's a shame that in society today, that we can't treat these men with dignity and respect. The Duferco deal went down six years ago, but yet we still have the legacy of 135 men. What I'm asking for the government is to sit down, crunch the numbers, see what the cost - Mr. Speaker, they're going to sell $7 million worth of scrap forecasted in this budget for 2006-07 and they're going to receive rent of $635,000 from businesses renting on this site. What we're saying is, treat these men with dignity and respect, give them work on the upcoming tar pond site, give them pensions - the ones who are eligible for pensions, the ones who deserve a

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pension, and open the site up to do whatever the government wants to do with that site. They'll have no labour unrest, they'll be able to develop that site whatever they want to do with it.

I know I only have a very short period of time left, but what I'm saying is the urgency for the minister to meet with myself and the other MLAs from Cape Breton to discuss some kind of solution, because it's getting very close. I don't want to see any labour unrest and I don't want to see anybody hurt in that situation but that's what's going to happen because these men are desperate, and desperate men - it's an old saying back there, when your stomach is full, your brain is not working too well, but when your stomach is empty your brain is working top notch - and that's what's going to happen to a lot of people here. They deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and come up with some kind of solution for either future work or for pensions for these men to get on with dignity and open up that site so government can do whatever they want to do with that site. Mr. Speaker, I think that we have to sit down at the table and work out a solution for these men. Thank you.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, once again I find myself rising on this particular subject and I want to thank my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Nova for raising the issue this evening. I feel as he does regarding the plight of the Sydney steelworkers and perhaps my history goes back to the days - not as far back as some of my colleagues' relatives maybe, but my own father was a steelworker for many, many years. I'm talking about more recently, in my days, my connection with Sydney Steel, when I was the minister responsible for Sydney Steel. I can remember during the late 1990s, when I first became the minister responsible, I made three promises to the steelworkers: first, I would have a new contract negotiated, the first one in I think nine years; second, that I would increase their pension benefits, at the time, through a series of moves that the government did at the time; third, I would not close the steel plant.

Well, guess what, Mr. Speaker? The incoming government, the Hamm Government took care of the third promise. They closed the steel plant as an election promise, at that time. I can tell you the infamous postcard that the Minister of Health sent out at the time, Jane Purves, said close Sydney Steel, open hospital beds. Well, only half of that equation took place - the steel plant closed, but there were no new hospital beds. As a matter of fact, there were fewer hospital beds.

Then, if you fast-forward a little bit, the minister responsible for Sydney Steel after the election, which elected the Tory Government, was none other than Gordon Balser. He was down there with the Premier negotiating the terms of settlement, and he said to the steelworkers, we'll look after you. He said that on the steps of the steelworkers hall. That was the statement to get him out of Dodge, under his own steam, before he was railroaded out there. He made that statement, he took off, and he has never been down there since. If there's any

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justice in this province, both of those people were defeated in the next election. So at least the steelworkers got that bit of justice, of the actions of those two ministers of the day.

Now, Mr. Speaker, we had a plan to keep going with Sydney Steel with a workforce of some 400 making head-hardened rails. I suppose if there was ever an indictment against Sydney steelworkers that was false it was that they couldn't make rails, because they made the best rails in the world. Everybody who had an axe to grind against Sydney Steel used that as a reason to close the plant.

We wanted to keep the steel plant open and we wanted to put it in private hands because we knew there was no political climate anymore for the government to own the steel plant, but another event happened, Mr. Speaker. Guess what happened there? The current government "fire-saled" the equipment down there. So we couldn't take a look at a future rail operation in Sydney. The government not only closed the plant, but the government made sure there would never be another plant opened there because they got rid of the equipment, dismantled it, and it's still sitting on the dock down there waiting to be shipped, and that's a whole other story. To say that the steelworkers have suffered a number of false promises would be an understatement.

I have a document here that will show - and I'll table this document - that there has been over $200 million spent since the plant closed, and nobody working there except contractors. Mr. Speaker, you'll recall the firm, Ernst & Young. I'm sure you know that name. They were sent in there as liquidators and ended up running the place, making all kinds of money down there. The only people who aren't making any money off Sydney Steel today are steelworkers. Everybody else is making money down there, and this document will show that.

In addition to that, Mr. Speaker, the steelworkers who my colleague, the member for Cape Breton Nova, was talking about, are extremely concerned about where they're going in the future, what the future holds for them, because all of these false promises, they're the odd people out looking in on everybody else making money down there except these people. Their future is certainly anything but assured. It's no wonder that this uneasiness is allowed to come to the fore now, because they don't know what's going on after next Fall.

The contractors will come and go, they can leave, they can go on to another job. John Traves will always have a job. He's the guru down there the government calls the president of Sydney Steel. I don't know how they can call somebody a president of Sydney Steel when there's no steel plant there. Nevertheless, that's what's happening. He's doing very well, thank you very much. There are other people down there. There will probably be some more political appointments. Stay tuned on that one, because that seems to be a holding bin down there for people getting ready to run for the Tory Party - either the steel plant or the Cabinet Office or somewhere else, they put these people in there to keep them in the mix until they get ready to run and then they have to run to pay the debt, I guess.

[Page 445]

[6:15 p.m.]

In the last election, a couple were fortunate enough, and I congratulate them on getting elected to this Legislature, but make no mistake about it, certainly the people who were put in these political jobs, or the ones who will go in there, are not going to be in there because of any master's degree they have in electronic engineering, or in running steel plants, or Cabinet Offices, it's because they'll be Tory appointments. We know that. The only people who aren't getting any appointments are the steelworkers. No hope for them, you know, and they're down there wondering why they can't get a meeting with the minister, why the minister won't settle this issue of 135 people who are desperate, desperate to have something done so they can at least look forward to some kind of a future.

I'm only saying that, Mr. Speaker, because they were promised that. They were promised that by the Premier. They were promised that by the minister responsible for Sydney Steel, the honourable Gordon Balser. What happened was they were double-crossed. Once the election came, the plant was closed. There's no other way to put it. They were double-crossed and now they're sitting down there wondering why they can't get anybody in government to listen. They're after the member for Cape Breton Nova and I'm sure they're after the member for Cape Breton North. They're after the member for Cape Breton South and the other members in Cape Breton asking, why can't you people get a meeting with the minister and settle this issue?

Well, the problem is that the government doesn't have the political will to settle this issue. This issue could be settled very easily, as my colleague knows, if the political will was there to do it. All I'm saying to you, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister, is that the time has come to set this issue behind us in Nova Scotia, to put the issue to bed by looking after these steelworkers. There's not going to be much more work down there in the future and these guys, as my colleague states, the member for Cape Breton Nova, are in their late 40s, early 50s, mid-50s, with no other training other than steelwork training and they, like my colleague said, can't go to work in call centres because they're not trained for that and, who knows, there's another problem.

You talk about the unemployment rate of 14 per cent. How long do you think that those call centres are going to be down in Cape Breton? How long do you think that that's going to continue to be a buffer in the future? What we're saying is that government should be taking a serious look at perhaps encouraging the private sector to maybe look at some more heavy industry in Cape Breton. The way the world steel market is going today, you know, making rails in Cape Breton again might not be too far-fetched an idea if it was in private hands employing some steelworkers who would love to work in the regenerated private sector steel plant because you know and I know, Mr. Speaker, that the government is not going to be involved in industrial business anymore in this province.

[Page 446]

So that's probably a good thing because government doesn't run business very well, never did. I think if you could put the incentive there to have a rail mill, my heavens, you know, the rail company, the CN Rail and CP Rail are now buying rails offshore, you know, when they used to get them in Canada at one time. That's kind of a tragedy because Sydney steelworkers did make good rails. Interestingly enough, the government in maybe 2002-03, something around there, mused a little bit about the fact that they may take a second look at keeping that equipment on the site, but that quickly disappeared and now they're intent on doing something else with the site.

Do you know what, Mr. Speaker? If they're going to do something else with the site, then please look after the steelworkers who are there now, or guarantee them some kind of work in that transition period that's going to take place over the next few years down there. Those guys can do the work and if they're making partnerships, as my colleague says, with other groups, they can certainly make a partnership with the 135 steelworkers who have been left out in the cold.

I'll leave you with this statement, Mr. Speaker, that those politicians who said back in 1999-2000 that those steelworkers should be looked after, the current government has a responsibility to make that happen.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to talk a little bit about fairness and respect. Treating steelworkers with fairness and respect has been a priority for this government. When we were forced to abandon our best efforts to find a buyer for the steel plant and get Nova Scotia out of the steel business, fairness for workers was our guiding principal. Back in 2001, the steelworkers union agreed to a pension and severance package for its members.

Mr. Speaker, this was an enhancement of the agreement that they signed in 1992. Within six months announcing the closure of the plant, all workers received either a pension or a severance. Sysco has provided funding for the steelworkers transition centre, matching funds from Human Resource Development Canada, counselling and outplacement services were offered to all former employees through Thompson Associates. All of this support was provided through an investment of $250,000.

Sysco has been successful in meeting its commitment to hire former steelworkers wherever possible. In fact, approximately 565,000 hours of work have been completed by severed steelworkers. This translates to 271 person years. When you look at these numbers, Sysco has maintained, on average, 70 people working steadily for five years. In many cases this is longer than many severed steelworkers actually worked when the plant was in operation. Many workers on the list of severed workers had less than two years of work at the plant, with the average years worked being close to 5.5 years.

[Page 447]

Mr. Speaker, wherever and whenever possible, Sysco has made a concerted effort to employ former steelworkers for jobs on-site. This is true for the work Sysco controls directly and it is also true for the work done by any private contractors on-site. Sysco encourages all private companies it works with to hire steelworkers, sometimes even through contractual arrangements.

Sysco has also worked closely with the union to arrive at a remediation work list that ensures that all workers have a fair turn at work on-site. Over the past five years, 150 of the 222 people on the remediation list have worked on the remediation at one time or another. Whenever possible, Sysco has tried to place workers in their field of training, whether it's carpentry, electrical or another area.

The reality is that work on the Sysco cleanup is finite and is rapidly diminishing. Work on cleanup is coming to an end. Steelworkers have played an important role in shaping the future of the site. I would like to thank steelworkers for the contribution they have made to the province and I look forward to new opportunities for that workforce, the site and the community well into the future.

One of these opportunities in the near term is the tar ponds cleanup. While government is not in a position to guarantee that former steelworkers will obtain employment on the tar ponds cleanup, it has taken steps to ensure that as much of the work on this project as possible is done by Cape Bretoners.

Mr. Speaker, some of the measures being taken by the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency to maximize spinoffs for Nova Scotia in general and Cape Breton in particular include:

(a) identify and effectively communicate project resource requirements and opportunities to all stakeholders;

(b) assess the community's ability to supply the necessary skills, services, materials and equipment required in carrying out the project; and

(c) identify gaps between resources required to implement the cleanup and resources presently available in the local area and to develop a strategy for bridging such gaps, which could include training for persons wishing to obtain employment on the project.

I'm pleased to report that the efforts to maximize local economic benefits are already bearing significant fruit. A very large portion of the engineering and construction work tendered on the project to date is being done by Cape Bretoners. I'm confident this trend will continue into the future and as construction proceeds to the cleanup, former steelworkers will be able to obtain significant employment on the project. I'm also confident that experience gained on this project will position former steelworkers to compete more effectively for work on other remediation projects in the area.

In summary, the government has provided former steelworkers with fair and equitable pension and severance packages. It has provided a salary to workers on the Sysco cleanup for the past five years. It has provided transition and training for those who have chosen to move on to other opportunities and it has helped to create an environment whereby former steelworkers can compete effectively for employment on the Sydney tar ponds cleanup and other remediation projects in the area. Thank you.

[6:25 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. Chuck Porter in the Chair.]

[8:07 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Cecil Clarke, resumed the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Supply reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met, made progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would ask for the unanimous consent of the House to revert to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

[Page 449]

MR. SPEAKER: There is a request to revert to the order of the business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Law Amendments, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bill:

Bill No. 19 - Personal Information International Disclosure Protection Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, without amendment.

MR. SPEAKER: Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

The honourable Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 45.

Bill No. 45 - Labour Standards Code.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 45.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have a couple of minutes to speak on this bill. This is a piece of legislation that my Party and my caucus have been very interested in seeing passed. It is an area that I think it's fair to say is in flux right now with regard to

[Page 450]

which workers need protection and which workers do not need protection. I think, as our Party has said all along, it is inevitable that this province is, in the short term, not in the long term, going to face open Sunday shopping, whether it's regulated in a different form or unregulated will be for whoever the government of the day will be when that happens.

What we have said all along is that the workers should have a choice as to whether they should work on Sundays. We're not the only province that has done this. I know it has been done in Ontario to some extent, and maybe in a few other provinces. The fact remains that as a Legislature, our job is an imperfect job. We can't fine-tune legislation. By the way it's drafted, Mr. Speaker, we can draft legislation that provides for certain rights for workers, that's what this bill does.

This bill will ensure that workers who are asked to work in a retail industry on a Sunday have the right to choose not to work. That right in connection with the amendments to the Labour Standards Code in 2003 are very powerful rights: the right to reinstatement from the Labour Standards Division and the right to penalties for those who violate the rights of those individuals. Mr. Speaker, these are key rights, and these are rights that we think are very strong and important, and the workers who choose not to work on Sundays should have these rights.

But there are two other components to this, as well, and I think it needs to be put on the record. One is enforcement. We can talk all we want about what this Legislature passes as legislation, but in the end it's a government and it's a Minister of Environment and Labour and his division who have to enforce this legislation. Much like people compared to a Russian Constitution, you can put anything on paper, but the fact is words on paper mean nothing unless they're ready to be enforced.

I would hope that this government is not passing legislation that it does not intend to enforce. There is the ability with the Labour Standards inspectors and officers, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that there is a timely right to reinstatement and right to pecuniary interest being addressed for those who choose not to work on Sundays. I would hope that this government not only passes a piece of legislation and amendment to the Labour Standards Code, but is prepared to put the resources behind it to ensure that it is enforced.

The second component of this is, and it is fair to put on the record, what is in the regulations. Every Act has regulations, which are the subsidiary legislation passed by Cabinet that is giving them more flexibility because they need flexibility that can't be passed when the legislation is in here. Well, it's in those details that this government has the power to exempt not only a few but a lot of businesses, and retail businesses. It is my hope that the intent of this Legislature which is written in this bill, which is to pass legislation to provide retail workers with the protection and the choice to choose to work on Sundays, is not somehow eroded, for a great number of our retail workers. That is for this government to decide, when they sit in Cabinet each Thursday.

[Page 451]

One of those Thursdays, there are going to be regulations coming forward and those regulations are going to tell them exactly which retail workers are going to have the right to refuse to work on Sundays and which won't. We can only, as I said, in an imperfect world, this Legislature can only pass legislation ensuring that those workers have that right. It's up to this government through enforcement and through its regulatory-making powers, to ensure that that right is as broadly and as strongly enforced as possible.

This caucus believes that this is good legislation. We believe that it should be there for all retail workers and we're glad to support legislation that says that, but we'll be keeping an eye on this government, if this bill makes it through third reading, to ensure that they do their job to enforce and to ensure the regulatory-making power does not whittle away the rights of a lot of workers, who don't want to work on Sundays. Thank you.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill that's before us tonight, Bill No. 45, the Labour Standards Code, and say that any bill that will give protection to workers on the Sunday shopping issue, is a bill that our Party can support. Of course, like every other bill we're going to have to see what spins out once this bill moves its way through the Law Amendments Committee process, but suffice it to say, we support sending the bill on to the Committee on Law Amendments and then we'll see what kind of interest is really in this bill, when we get to debate the bill at the Law Amendments Committee and back in the House in the Committee of the Whole House on Bills. So, for now, we support the bill going through to the Law Amendments Committee and look forward to the debate. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the minister it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members for their comments and assure them that I've listened carefully to them and I move second reading of Bill No. 45.

[8:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 45. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 452]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, would please call Bill No. 47.

Bill No. 47 - House of Assembly Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 47.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, this is a piece of legislation that I think in the long term people will look back and say that it is an important piece of legislation for Nova Scotians and for this House of Assembly. This is a piece of legislation that will ensure that we have an independent review process with regard to the salaries of MLAs.

In the last year or two or three, there have been debates about the system and how it should work. What I can say, Mr. Speaker, for the record, is that our caucus supports this legislation because it takes out of the hands, hopefully - I really hope - once and for all, the ability of MLAs to have influence over their salary. I think as MLAs, and as the people of Nova Scotia, we do not need to have any influence over what our salary is. It should be independent. This process will ensure that there is a review done once after every election, subsequent to every election, within 90 days, to ensure that there is going to be a review in between those reviews that will be tied to the cost of living.

We think that's reasonable. We think that's a good approach. We're glad to support it, and on top of other things that have happened within this House, with other committees, in the past year, we think that this House has come a long way in the last year in ensuring that Nova Scotians have a much more accountable approach as to what MLAs are paid and the money that they earn and we're glad to support this legislation.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we in the Liberal Party also support this legislation, and we'll say that the people of Nova Scotia can now be assured that members will not be setting their own salaries and indeed, the MacDougall Commission of Inquiry is starting hearings this evening and Nova Scotians will have an opportunity over the next month or six weeks to tell the committee what they think that members should be paid and I believe that in doing so, we're adding more transparency to the way members in this province are being paid, and indeed in future years it will be enshrined in legislation that members will have no part in deciding what their remuneration is going to be in the future. So for Nova Scotians, immediately, who have some interest in this bill, they can go before the commission and give their views. So I certainly support this bill and our Party supports it. Thank you.

[Page 453]

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the Government House Leader it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to associate myself with the comments of the House Leaders of the other two Parties. I believe this is good legislation that will benefit Nova Scotians in the long run by creating an independent and transparent process for review of MLAs' salaries and will ultimately be a saving of taxpayers' money, in the sense that they won't have to have annual reviews, which have been a source of some unnecessary expenditure from time to time.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to close debate and move second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 47. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

Ordered that this bill be referred to the Committee on Law Amendments.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I believe that under the rules it is a two-part motion; the honourable member for Cape Breton South will be moving the hours for the Opposition time tomorrow and then subsequent to that, I will also be moving House hours, post the Liberal Opposition time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The House will meet tomorrow from the hours of 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and Oral Question Period, we will be calling Resolution No. 71, the gas regulation consideration, and also Bill No. 36, the prescription drug issue. So, having said that, I will turn it back to the Government House Leader.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House sit tomorrow from the hours of 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Interruptions) Yes, I believe he has moved the hours of 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., which are provided for in the rules. Subsequent to that, Mr. Speaker, tomorrow I would move that the House sit from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The order of business will be Supply and the Subcommittee on Supply.

[Page 454]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn to sit tomorrow from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for Opposition Business and from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. for government business.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned.

[The House rose at 8:20 p.m.]

[Page 455]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 210

By: Hon. Barry Barnet (Health Promotion and Protection)

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

Whereas Brad Marchand, of Hammonds Plains, was drafted in the NHL entry draft, third round, to the Boston Bruins; and

Whereas Brad played most recently for the Moncton Wildcats, runners up for the Memorial Cup this past year, due in part to the efforts by players such as Brad; and

Whereas I know Brad's family and the entire community of Hammonds Plains are proud and supportive of his accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending along our congratulations to Brad Marchand and his entire family, and wish him the best of luck during this next step in what is already a great hockey career.

RESOLUTION NO. 211

By: Hon. Barry Barnet (Health Promotion and Protection)

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

Whereas James Sheppard, a native of Lower Sackville, was drafted by the Minnesota Wild as ninth pick overall in the NHL entry draft on June 24, 2006; and

Whereas James played for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles this past year, where he piled up 30 goals and 54 assists for 84 points in 66 games last season; and

Whereas I know James' family and the entire community are proud and supportive of his accomplishments throughout his hockey career;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending along our congratulations to James Sheppard and his entire family, and wish him the best of luck during this next step in what is already a great hockey career.

[Page 456]

RESOLUTION NO. 212

By: Hon. Barry Barnet (Health Promotion and Protection)

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

Whereas Andrew Bodnarchuk, of Hammonds Plains, was drafted in the NHL entry draft, fifth round, to the Boston Bruins; and

Whereas Andrew played most recently for the Halifax Mooseheads, having a great season, allowing the fans to cheer for a homegrown talent; and

Whereas I know Andrew's family and the entire community of Hammonds Plains are proud and supportive of his accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending along our congratulations to Andrew Bodnarchuk and his entire family, and wish him the best of luck during this next step in what is already a great hockey career.

RESOLUTION NO. 213

By: Hon. Barry Barnet (Health Promotion and Protection)

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

Whereas Ryan Hillier, of Hammonds Plains, was drafted in the NHL third round to the New York Rangers; and

Whereas Ryan played most recently for the Halifax Mooseheads, a hometown team with a great native son and a favourite of many Halifax fans; and

Whereas I know Ryan's family and the entire community of Hammonds Plains is proud and supportive of his accomplishments;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending along our congratulations to Ryan Hillier and his entire family, and wish him the best of luck during this next step in what is already a great hockey career.

[Page 457]

RESOLUTION NO. 214

By: Hon. David Morse (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas Laura Harris of New Minas will be leaving on August 1st for Illinois State University where she was recently awarded a full golf scholarship; and

Whereas, before going, Laura will play in the Nova Scotia Junior Women's Golf Championship at Avon Valley in Windsor, beginning Monday, July 10th; and

Whereas 17-year-old Laura will be attempting to win her fourth consecutive Nova Scotia Junior Women's Golf Championship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the superb athletic talent of 17-year-old Laura Harris of New Minas, while wishing her the utmost success with her academic pursuits and golf scholarship this Fall at the University of Illinois.