The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 06-16

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

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
SPEAKER'S RULING: Unparliamentary language.
(Pt. of priv. by Hon. J. Streatch. [Hansard p. 896, 11/01/06]) 941
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
TPW - 549 Eustache Comeau Rd./569 Maza Rd.: Repair - Prioritize,
Mr. W. Gaudet 942
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Private and Local Bills Committee, Mr. C. Parker 942
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 533, Come to Life Charter: Members - Welcome, The Premier 943
Vote - Affirmative 944
Res. 534, NSAC Awards Prog.: Supporters - Acknowledge,
Hon. B. Taylor 944
Vote - Affirmative 945
Res. 535, Fraser, Col. David Allison - Military Award,
Hon. M. Scott 945
Vote - Affirmative 946
Res. 536, Ripley, Fire Chief Shawn / Kentville Vol. FD:
Ice/Cold Water Rescue Team - Establishment, Hon. M. Parent 946
Vote - Affirmative 946
Res. 537, Medeiros, Paul: Musical Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 947
Vote - Affirmative 947
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 538, A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd./U.J. Robichaud TIM-BR Mart -
CDENS Award, Hon. C. d'Entremont 947
Vote - Affirmative 948
Res. 539, NSAC-Women's Soccer Championship, Hon. B. Taylor 949
Vote - Affirmative 949
Res. 540, Penney, PO 2nd Class Carla - Military Award,
Hon. M. Scott 949
Vote - Affirmative 950
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 72, Halifax Regional Water Commission Act, Hon. B. Barnet 950
No. 73, Health Insurance Protection Act, Ms. M. Raymond 950
No. 74, Poverty Reduction Strategy Act, Mr. S. McNeil 951
No. 75, Securities Act, Hon. Michael Baker 951
No. 76, Digby Mining Moratorium Act, Mr. H. Theriault 951
No. 77, Atlantic Baptist Churches Convention Act,
Hon. M. Parent 951
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 541, Saint John Natural Gas Pipeline: Gov't (N.S.) - Position,
Mr. D. Dexter 951
Vote - Affirmative 952
Res. 542, Howard, Russ/Organizers: Acadian Curling Summerspiel -
Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 952
Vote - Affirmative 953
Res. 543, Shaw, Thelma: Musical Talent - Applaud, Mr. C. Porter 953
Vote - Affirmative 953
Res. 544, Michael, Lorraine - NL NDP Leader: Election - Congrats.,
Mr. F. Corbett 953
Vote - Affirmative 954
Res. 545, Gray, Rev. Glenn/New Beginnings Ministries: Founding -
Congrats., Mr. K. Colwell 954
Vote - Affirmative 955
Res. 546, - Busch, Earlene/Chanterelle Inn - Environmental Award,
Mr. K. Bain 955
Vote - Affirmative 956
Res. 547, RCL Br. 166: Hants North Veterans Memorial - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 956
Vote - Affirmative 957
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 548, Stewart, Sammy: Heroics - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 957
Vote - Affirmative 957
Res. 549, Cole Hbr. Rural Heritage Soc.: Dinner & Auction - Congrats.,
Ms. J. Massey 958
Vote - Affirmative 958
Res. 550, Beatles for Books - Parents/Sponsors: Efforts - Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 958
Vote - Affirmative 959
Res. 551, Tracadie United Baptist Church - Anniv. (184th),
Hon. R. Chisholm 959
Vote - Affirmative 960
Res. 552, Earth ARC - Horse Rehabilitations: Vols. - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Parker 960
Vote - Affirmative 960
Res. 553, Ross, Lisa - Cdn. Female Sailor of Yr., Hon. M. Baker 961
Vote - Affirmative 961
Res. 554, Foulds, Joella: C.B. Bus. Hall of Fame - Induction,
Mr. G. Gosse 961
Vote - Affirmative 962
Res. 555, CPR Awareness Mo. (11/06) - Recognize,
Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 962
Vote - Affirmative 963
Res. 556, Bedford Bears Soccer Team - Girls Soccer Championship,
Hon. L. Goucher 963
Vote - Affirmative 963
Res. 557, Dance N.S./Dance'06: Commitment - Applaud, Mr. L. Preyra 964
Vote - Affirmative 964
Res. 558, Cdn. Mental Health Assoc. (Hfx. - Dart Br.): Art Exhibit &
Sale - Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine 965
Vote - Affirmative 965
Res. 559, Annapolis Royal - Prince of Wales Prize, Hon. D. Morse 965
Vote - Affirmative 966
Res. 560, HRM: Animal Shelters - Locations, Ms. M. Raymond 966
Vote - Affirmative 967
Res. 561, Wharf Rat Rally: Organizers - Recognize/Congrats.,
Mr. H. Theriault 967
Vote - Affirmative 968
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 562, World Curling Tour - Return: Organizers - Congrats.,
The Premier 968
Vote - Affirmative 968
Res. 563, Georges P. Vanier Jr. Girls Cross Country Team:
Championships - Congrats., Mr. P. Paris 969
Vote - Affirmative 969
Res. 564, Robinson, Dr. Viola: Achievements - Congrats.,
Mr. M. Samson 969
Vote - Affirmative 970
Res. 565, Queens Gen. Hosp. Aux: Fundraising Efforts - Recognize,
Ms. V. Conrad 970
Vote - Affirmative 971
Res. 566, Security for Seniors of Clare/Helen Comeau:
Commun. Efforts - Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 971
Vote - Affirmative 972
Res. 567, Watson, Lynn: Horticultural Soc. Flower Show -
Accomplishments, Mr. W. Estabrooks 972
Vote - Affirmative 972
Res. 568, Reserve Mines/Glace Bay Central Credit Unions: Serv. -
Congrats., Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 972
Vote - Affirmative 973
Res. 569, Lamont, Cpl. Jason: Medal of Military Valour - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 973
Vote - Affirmative 974
Res. 570, Colby Village Preschool: Serv. - Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 974
Vote - Affirmative 975
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 138, Health: Drug Coverage - Lack Explain, Mr. D. Dexter 975
No. 139, Prem. - Patronage Appts., Mr. M. Samson 977
No. 140, Health - Chronic Pain: Treatment - Additional,
Mr. D. Dexter 978
No. 141, Health: Breast Screening - Wait Times, Ms. J. Massey 980
No. 142, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Gas Regulation - Retailers Protect,
Mr. M. Samson 981
No. 143, Justice: Public Prosecution/Justice - Communication,
Mr. K. Deveaux 983
No. 144, Health: VGH - Water Treatment, Mr. D. Wilson (Sackville-
Cobequid) 985
Cobequid)
No. 145, Educ.: Post - Secondary Students - Debt, Mr. L. Glavine 986
No. 146, Health: Flu Shots - High Risk Patients, Ms. V. Conrad 987
No. 147, Com. Serv. - Career Seek Program 988
No. 148, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Energy Rebate Prog. - Eligibility,
Mr. P. Paris 989
No. 149, Educ.: School Closures - Consultation Process,
Mr. L. Preyra 991
No. 150, Econ. Dev.: Cap Program - Preservation,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 992
No. 151, Health Prom. & Protection: Sir John A. MacDonald -
Sidewalks, Mr. W. Estabrooks 993
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 22, Motor Vehicle Act 996
Mr. C. Parker 996
Hon. A. MacIsaac 998
Vote - Affirmative 998
No. 12, Education Act 999
Hon. K. Casey 999
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1000
Mr. L. Glavine 1004
Hon. J. Muir 1007
Hon. K. Casey 1008
Vote - Affirmative 1009
No. 5, Degree Granting Act 1009
Hon. K. Casey 1009
Mr. L. Preyra 1011
Mr. S. McNeil 1014
No. 62, Tobacco Access Act 1017
Hon. B. Barnet 1018
Ms. V. Conrad 1021
Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 1023
Mr. C. Porter 1025
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1027
Hon. B. Barnet 1029
Vote - Affirmative 1029
ADJOURNMENT, the House rose to meet again on Fri., Nov. 3rd at 9:00 a.m. 1029
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Econ. Dev. - Rural Dev.: Communities - Consult
Ms. V. Conrad 1030
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)
Res. 571, NSAC: Women's Soccer Championship - Congrats.,
Hon. B. Taylor 1031
Res. 572, Hfx. Skating Club: Contributions - Recognize,
Ms. D. Whalen 1031
Res. 573, Henderson, Mike: Col. Co. Sports Hall of fame - Induction,
Hon. B. Taylor 1032
Res. 574, Cochrane, Heater Ann: PSC - Anniv. (25th),
Mr. C. Porter 1032
Res. 575, Ferguson, William Norman: PSC - Anniv. (25th),
Mr. C. Porter 1033
Res. 576, Milligan, Edward: PSC - Anniv. (25th), Mr. C. Porter 1033
Res. 577, Kenley, Cynthia: PSC - Anniv. (25th), Mr. C. Porter 1034
Res. 578, Wolfe, Dr. Jainin: Dental Practice - Anniv. (10th),
Hon. M. Scott 1034
Res. 579, Parrsboro Reg. Elem. Sch. - Staff/Students: Fundraising -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1035
Res. 580, Mellanson, Jim - Minor Baseball: Efforts - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1035
Res. 581, Daborn, Reg.: Physical Fitness Example - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1036
Res. 582, Siddall, Crystal: 4-H Award - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1037
Res. 583, McMaster, Greg & Diane/Vintage Stove -
Amherst Bus. of Yr., Hon. M. Scott 1037
Res. 584, Woods, Scott: Fundraising - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1038
Res. 585, Alderson, Elizabeth - Annual Thanksgiving Dinner: Serv. -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1038
Res. 586, Alderson, Junior Annual Thanksgiving Dinner: Serv. -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1039
Res. 587, All Saints Anglican Church - Annual Thanksgiving Dinner:
Service - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1039
Res. 588, Bowden, Maxine - Can. Post: Serv. (30yrs.) - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1040
Res. 589, Brown, Jarred: Achievements - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1040
Res. 590, Brown, Joan - Annual Thanksgiving Dinner: Serv. - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1041
Res. 591, Canning, Clare - Annual Thanksgiving Dinner: Serv -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1041
Res. 592, Creamer, Heather: 4-H Princess (Cumb. Co. Ex.) -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1042
Res. 593, Darragh, Joanna: 2nd Lady-in-Waiting (Cumb. Co. Ex.) -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1042
Res. 594, Demmings, Carl: Rotary Club Award - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 1043
Res. 595, Deveaux, Danika: Miss Cumberland 2006 (Cumb. Co. Ex.) -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1043

[Page 941]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2006

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. Before we begin with 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 consult with communities about their own rural economic development.

That debate will occur at the conclusion of business.

SPEAKER'S RULING: Unparliamentary language. (Pt. of privilege by Hon. J. Streatch. [Hansard p.896, 11/01/06])

Before we move on to the daily routine, there was a matter yesterday of privilege brought before the House, and with that matter, as Speaker, I will rule that it is not a matter of privilege, as the specifics that were brought forward were indeed discussed among members. But I would note, in the question of privilege or points of order before this Chamber, all things are taken seriously by this Chair and by the members of this House, I know.

941

[Page 942]

The case in point yesterday, while not a point a privilege in the official sense, had its own roots that came down to Parliamentary practice and indeed, as I mentioned yesterday, in the decorum of the House, and during the proceedings of that interchange yesterday, there was unparliamentary language extended in this Chamber and clearly heard by the Chair. So what I would do is remind all members of this House that Nova Scotians expect the decorum of this House to be at a certain level, whether you're standing in your place speaking in this House, or sitting in your seat. I would just note that and indicate that all members be cognizant of that in the future.

Now I will commence with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition signed by over 80 residents who lived on or near the Eustache Comeau Road in Clare. The operative clause says:

"We the people that live and commute daily along the 549 Eustache Comeau Road and the connecting 569 Maza Road, would like it to be known that these sections of highway are in great need of repair."

Mr. Speaker, I have affixed my name to this petition.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, as Chairman of the Committee on Private and Local Bills, I am directed to report that the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 28 - New Minas Water Commission Act.

Bill No. 29 - An Act to Incorporate the Temple Sons of Israel, Sydney.

Bill No. 41 - Kingston Food Bank Act.

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

[Page 943]

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD (The Premier): Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and if I might do some introductions before I do my resolutions. Just before I read my resolution, in the east gallery today, as per my resolution going forward, we have some of these latest signatories to the Come to Life Charter, assisting us to promote our province where we're doing business, and I would ask them to rise for those who are with us here today.

Michael Smith, Director of EastLink Television; Chuck Bridges, VP of External Affairs, Saint Mary's University; Louis Deveau, Chair and Founder of Acadian Seaplants; and Leanne Bartlett, Project Officer with the Canadian Manufacturers and Export, Nova Scotia division. Welcome to the House of Assembly. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 533

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

Whereas in October, 12 additional private sector organizations joined the province to promote Nova Scotia and its attributes wherever they do business by signing our Come to Life Charter; and

Whereas those organization include the Brain Repair Centre, Credit Union Atlantic, Acadian Seaplants, Saint Mary's University, Eassons Transport Ltd., Michelin, Oxford Frozen Foods, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters - Nova Scotia division, Glenora Inn and Distillery, the Cape Breton Partnership, C-Vision, and EastLink Television; and

Whereas these newest charter members are well connected to the rest of the world and can help us expand our message to a much broader audience;

[Page 944]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House welcome and thank our newest charter members, who as Jean-Paul Deveau, President of Acadia Seaplants Limited said, see the promotion of our Nova Scotia roots "as an opportunity to reinforce the quality of our products, the creativity of our people and the innovation of our approach."

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 534

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural College recently honoured outstanding academic performance during its 2006 Autumn Assembly program with the presentation of scholarships and bursaries to 184 deserving students; and

Whereas the Autumn Assembly provides an occasion to recognize scholarship students and acknowledge contributions to the university's awards program, where more than $1 million in awards will be presented throughout the evening; and

Whereas the NSAC boasts the best scholarship-to-student ratios of any university in the region, with one in three students receiving a scholarship, bursary or academic award, including 190 Nova Scotian students;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House acknowledge the university's important contribution to applied-science education, and the generous support of the agriculture industry and Nova Scotia's business community individuals to the NSAC's awards program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 945]

[2:15 p.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister responsible for Military Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 535

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

Whereas Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, announced on October 27, 2006, the awarding of 24 Mentions in Dispatches and 27 Meritorious Service Decorations in the military division; and

Whereas Colonel David Allison Fraser of Halifax will be awarded for a second time in his military career with a Meritorious Service Decoration in the military division; and

Whereas Colonel David Allison Fraser will be invited to receive his decoration or insignia from the Governor General at a later date; and

Whereas this Nova Scotian whose specific achievements have brought honour to the Canadian Forces and to all Canadians;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support our Canadian Forces personnel in all of their endeavours, and congratulate Colonel David Allison Fraser on his well-deserved honours as a shining example of hard work and fortitude exemplified by the Canadian Forces and the Nova Scotians who proudly serve our nation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 946]

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. 536

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

Whereas winter creates special challenges for search and rescue teams in Canada; and

Whereas the Kentville Volunteer Fire Department has established a search and rescue team specializing in ice and cold-water rescues in co-operation with volunteer crews in Canning, New Minas and Wolfville; and

Whereas the Emergency Management Office continues to work closely with our municipal first responders;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Fire Chief Shawn Ripley and his department in Kentville for setting up the ice and cold-water rescue team, and for their dedication to public safety.

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 Education.

[Page 947]

RESOLUTION NO. 537

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

Whereas Paul Medeiros, a first-year violin student at Dalhousie University, has been awarded the Hnatyshyn Foundation scholarship in Classical Music category; and

Whereas Mr. Medeiros is a graduate of Charles P. Allen High School in Bedford who began his violin studies at the age of seven, has performed with the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra since he was 15, and was admitted as a scholarship student to the 2006 Summer String Session in Quebec; and

Whereas Mr. Medeiros hopes his time at Dalhousie University will help him achieve his goal of one day becoming a professional soloist;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Paul Medeiros on his musical accomplishments to date, convey our deepest wishes for continued success, and our hopes that we shall one day see him fronting Symphony Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Acadian Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 538

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

Attendu que deux entreprises acadiennes de la Municipalité de Clare ont récemment été honorées pour leur excellence en matière d'entrepreneuriat par le Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse; et

[Page 948]

Attendu que A.F. Theriault et fils Ltée a reçu le premier prix dans la catégorie Transformation, tandis que U.J. Robichaud TIM-BR Mart a reçu le premier prix dans la catégorie Services; et

Attendu que ces entreprises ont été des pillers dans la communauté acadienne pendant de nombreuses années et ont toujours fait preuve de versatilité, de compétitivité et de capacité à relever les défis dans un climat d'affaires qui est en constante évolution;

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette Assemblée reconnaissent la contribution de ces excellents entrepreneurs ainsi que l'incidence positive qu'ils exercent sur leur communauté et l'économie de la Nouvelle-Écosse.

If I can translate it for you:

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

Whereas two Acadian businesses from the Municipality of Clare were recently recognized for their entrepreneurial excellence by le Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse; and

Whereas A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. was awarded top prize in the processing category while U.J. Robichaud TIM-BR Mart won the services category; and

Whereas these companies have been pillars in the Acadian community for many years and have shown constant versatility, competitiveness, and ability to meet the challenges of an ever-changing business climate;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the contribution of these fine entrepreneurs and the positive impact that they have had both in their communities and in the economy of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 949]

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 539

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural College Varsity Rams women's soccer team travelled to Saint John, New Brunswick, to participate in the ACAA Championships from October 28th to October 29th; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural College Varsity Rams defeated the University of Kings College and Mount Saint Vincent University in the overtime final, winning its first ACAA title since 1997; and

Whereas four Varsity Rams players - Trina Bennett, Megan MacLellan, Nikia Stewart and Kaili Van Vulpen - were recognized as all-conference selections;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House acknowledge and congratulate the NSAC on this significant win and extend best wishes to the team as they travel to Burnaby, British Columbia, for the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association National Championships from November 8th to November 11th.

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 responsible for Military Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 540

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

[Page 950]

Whereas Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, announced on October 27, 2006, the awarding of 24 Mentions in Dispatches and 27 Meritorious Service Decorations in the military division; and

Whereas Petty Officer 2nd Class Carla Penney, formerly of Springhill, will be awarded with a Meritorious Service Decoration in the military division; and

Whereas Petty Officer 2nd Class Carla Penney will be invited to receive her decoration or insignia from the Governor General at a later date;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support our Canadian Forces personnel in all of their endeavours, and congratulate Petty Officer 2nd Class Carla Penney on her well-deserved honours as a shining example of hard work and fortitude exemplified by the Canadian Forces and the Nova Scotians who proudly serve our nation.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 72 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 55 of the Acts of 1963. The Halifax Regional Water Commission Act. (Hon. Barry Barnet)

Bill No. 73 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Protection and Portability of Health Insurance. (Ms. Michele Raymond)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: May I do an introduction, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

[Page 951]

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to draw the attention of the House to the Speaker's Gallery where we have with us today Rene Ross, who is the project coordinator with the Moving Forward initiative with the women's centres in Antigonish, Pictou and Sydney. I would ask the House to give her a warm welcome here today. (Applause)

Bill No. 74 - Entitled an Act to Establish a Committee to Develop a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Nova Scotia. (Mr. Stephen McNeil)

Bill No. 75 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 418 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Securities Act. (Hon. Michael Baker)

Bill No. 76 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Digby Rock Quarry in North Mountain Mining. (Mr. Harold Theriault)

Bill No. 77 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches. (Hon. Mark Parent as a private member.)

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. 541

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 Mayor of Port Hawkesbury and other leaders in the Strait area have viewed natural gas terminals and related petrochemical industries as a key part of the region's future; and

Whereas the Premier and the provincial government have encouraged such developments and expressed great optimism in the future of the planned liquified natural gas terminal at Bear Head; and

Whereas Mayor MacLean and others now feel the Strait area plans are put at risk by the application for approval of a natural gas pipeline from Saint John to the U.S., bypassing the tolls that Nova Scotia-landed natural gas must pay;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly urge the government to respond to the Mayor of Port Hawkesbury's call for the government to take a clear

[Page 952]

position on the plan for Saint John's natural gas terminal to bypass the pipeline tolls that would be levied on the gas landed at a new Nova Scotia terminal.

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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 542

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

Whereas the Acadian Curling Summerspiel 2006 attracted 64 teams in this year's successful tournament that was held in Meteghan from July 27th to 30th; and

Whereas Muscular Dystrophy Canada's ambassador and curling gold medalist Russ Howard participated in this year's curling tournament; and

Whereas the event served to raise money and awareness of the approximately 900 Nova Scotians who are living with neurological muscular disorders;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate the tournament organizers and gold medalist Russ Howard for raising awareness for muscular dystrophy in our province.

[2:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 953]

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. 543

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

Whereas Thelma Shaw has been playing the organ at the Windsor United Baptist Church for more than half a century, a total of 60 years; and

Whereas Mrs. Shaw is 88 years old, but has no plans for an early retirement; and

Whereas Mrs. Shaw is an avid collector of music and can play any hymn one could ever possibly imagine;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the dynamic talent of Mrs. Thelma Shaw for bringing 60 years of treasured memories to the congregation of the Windsor United Baptist Church.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 544

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

[Page 954]

Whereas Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams and his Progressive Conservative Government have enjoyed high levels of public support; and

Whereas Premier Williams and his Cabinet Ministers campaigned vigorously against the newly chosen Leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador NDP, Lorraine Michael, in the recent Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi by-election; and

Whereas yesterday, Lorraine Michael won the by-election with more than 55 per cent of the vote, becoming one of the few women Party Leaders elected to a provincial Legislature;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate NDP Leader Lorraine Michael on her election to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 545

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

Whereas under the spiritual leadership of Reverend Glenn Gray, New Beginnings Ministries was officially founded on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1998, with 40 members; and

Whereas since November 2003, over 200 members of the New Beginnings Ministries have rented the facilities of Ross Road School and, under the direction of Reverend Glenn Gray and the spiritual leadership team, the church has been able to purchase land to construct a new facility at 26 Cherry Brook Road in Westphal; and

[Page 955]

Whereas the New Beginnings Ministries is holding the opening ceremonies of their new church this Sunday, November 5, 2006, at 3:00 p.m.;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Reverend Glenn Gray and the members of the New Beginnings Ministries on the construction and opening of their new place of worship.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 546

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

Whereas Victoria County business Chanterelle Country Inn and Cottages Ltd. recently received an award at the 2006 Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Pollution Prevention Awards; and

Whereas the North River establishment picked up a micro-business award for its commitment to preventing pollution from the source, part of the CCME mandate to encourage sound environmental practices within the business community to prevent cleanup and treatment after the fact; and

Whereas inn owner and operator Earlene Busch was present to accept the award when they were presented at the 10th Canadian National Pollution Prevention Roundtable in Halifax earlier this year, thus adding Chanterelle Inn to the list of more than 60 companies that have been rewarded over the past 10 years for environmentally-sound business practices;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their congratulations to Earlene Busch and her staff at Chanterelle Inn for their hard, responsible work; not

[Page 956]

only should we acknowledge large businesses for working towards protecting our environment, but small businesses as well for taking on big initiatives.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 547

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

Whereas memorial structures serve to remind us that all members of the Armed Forces deserve to be honoured whether they fought in war or not; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion plays an active role in educating the public to veterans' and service personnel's role in protecting the nation; and

Whereas on October 15, 2006, the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 166, in Noel unveiled the Hants North Veterans Memorial;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the members of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 166, for their part in preserving the memory of those who served for their country.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 957]

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. 548

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

Whereas popular New Glasgow resident and street musician Sammy Stewart was credited for stopping a potentially fatal accident in July of this year; and

Whereas Mr. Stewart ran ahead of an out-of-control crane that was attempting to move a house in the town; he ran into the streets and intersections that were in the path of the tumbling crane and warned drivers and pedestrians to stop; and

Whereas New Glasgow Police Chief Lorne Smith credited Mr. Stewart's quick action as the reason why the incident did not result in any fatalities, insisting that Mr. Stewart likely saved lives;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Sammy Stewart for his heroics and demonstrating his dedication to his community and fellow citizens, and may we use this opportunity, too, as it has been used in the past, to award the more colourful members of our greater provincial community for their unique contributions to Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 958]

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 549

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

Whereas on May 12, 2006, I had the pleasure to attend the dinner and auction fundraiser for the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum at the Brightwood Golf and Country Club; and

Whereas approximately $8,000 was raised in support of the museum; and

Whereas these funds will help enable the Farm Museum to continue to provide important services to the Cole Harbour and Dartmouth communities;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Cole Harbour Rural Heritage Society on a successful dinner and auction and thank them for all their efforts on behalf of our communities.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 550

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

Whereas while volunteering at Fairview Heights Elementary School, parent Faye LeBlanc realized something had to be done to improve the old, outdated books available at the school library; and

Whereas in response to the poor library collection, sponsor and volunteers, including Steele Auto Group, Scotiabank, Wellington West, Speedy Print, Unique

[Page 959]

Delivery, CompuCollege, Tour Tech East, as well as Fairview Esso, have planned an event called Beatles for Books; and

Whereas the organizers are hoping to raise $10,000 through the silent auction and dance which is taking place on November 3rd at Pier 21;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate the dedicated parents and sponsors of Beatles for Books for their efforts to update and improve the school library.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 551

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

Whereas the Tracadie United Baptist Church was organized in 1822; and

Whereas the Tracadie United Baptist Church is an integral part of worship services in the communities of Upper Big Tracadie, Lincolnville, Monastery and Rear Monastery; and

Whereas the Tracadie United Baptist Church is celebrating its 184th Anniversary in 2006;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the congregation of Tracadie United Baptist Church on their 184th Anniversary, while wishing them many more years of spiritual guidance.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 960]

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 552

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

Whereas Betty Schneider of Four Mile Brook, Pictou County, has owned and operated a horse rescue farm for many years; and

Whereas now, with the help of numerous volunteers, this facility is known as Earth ARC - an animal respite centre; and

Whereas 38 horses are now being cared for at the respite centre, and through the continued efforts of the volunteers to raise funds to provide the necessary feed, horse tack and supplies, building needs and veterinary services;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the volunteers at Earth ARC for their efforts in rehabilitating horses, and wish them continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 961]

The honourable Minister of Finance.

RESOLUTION NO. 553

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

Whereas Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is well renowned for its sailing heritage and has produced many seasoned sailors; and

Whereas Lunenburg's Lisa Ross is upholding this tradition, having been named Canadian Female Sailor of the Year by the Canadian Yachting Association; and

Whereas Lisa is ranked eighth in the world in the Laser Radial class, and is focusing on competing in the 2008 Olympics to be held in Beijing;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Lunenburg's Lisa Ross on being named the Canadian Female Sailor of the Year, and wish her continued success as she trains to compete in the 2008 Olympics.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 554

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

Whereas on Thursday, September 21, 2006, the newest inductees to the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame were held; and

[Page 962]

Whereas in 1995, Joella Foulds and co-worker Max MacDonald formed Rave Entertainment; and

Whereas this company founded and now manages the Celtic Colours International Festival;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Joella Foulds on being inducted into the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame, and for her dedication and commitment to the community of Cape Breton.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 555

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 more than 50,000 strokes and 75,000 heart attacks occur every year, and one in three deaths in Canada are due to heart disease and stroke; and

Whereas last year, the Heart and Stroke Foundation spent more than $53 million on research, funding more than 900 researchers and research teams across the country; and

Whereas the Heart and Stroke Foundation's tradition of funding world-class science means today's research climate is producing medical advances at a rate never imagined 50 years ago;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize November as CPR Awareness Month, and encourage the people of Nova Scotia to educate themselves on this vital procedure in saving lives.

[Page 963]

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. 556

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 Bedford Junior High School girls soccer team, the Bedford Bears won gold at the inaugural Octoberfest Invitational Girls Soccer Tournament at the Hebbville Academy in October 2006; and

Whereas this team of accomplished soccer players finished with an outstanding record of four wins and no losses for the tournament; and

Whereas these young ladies have demonstrated excellence in their chosen sport and represented their school and community in the best of sportsmanship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to the Bedford Bears soccer team and our best wishes for continued success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 964]

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

[2:45 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 557

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

Whereas Sunday, November 5, 2006, Dance Nova Scotia will celebrate contemporary dance in Nova Scotia with a gala performance called Dance '06 at the Rebecca Cohn auditorium; and

Whereas the performance will feature six different Nova Scotian contemporary dance companies and well over a dozen individual performers, a testament to the strength and diversity of the contemporary dance community in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas one participating dance company, Kinetic Studio, recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary, marking a quarter century of the company's role in presenting contemporary dance and supporting the professional development of contemporary dancers and choreographers in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly applaud Dance Nova Scotia and the featured companies and dancers in Dance '06 for their commitment to bringing high calibre and creative contemporary dance to audiences in this 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 member for Kings West.

[Page 965]

RESOLUTION NO. 558

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

Whereas the Canadian Mental Health Association, Halifax-Dartmouth Branch held its 8th annual Mosaic for Mental Health Art Exhibit and Sale from October 18th to October 29th at the Craig Gallery in Dartmouth; and

Whereas the event was the most successful in the history of the fundraiser and was organized by the small but dedicated staff and volunteers of the organization; and

Whereas the event raises money for the more than 400 individuals experiencing mental health problems who rely on the programs and services of CMHA Halifax-Dartmouth;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Canadian Mental Health Association, Halifax-Dartmouth Branch, on its most successful Mosaic for Mental Health Art Exhibit and Sale in support of the hundreds of individuals who rely on the invaluable programs and services provided by the dedicated staff of CMHA.

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. 559

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

Whereas the Town of Annapolis Royal was selected as the 2006 winner of the Prince of Wales Prize for heritage conservation; and

[Page 966]

Whereas the Canadian Heritage Foundation said the four-century old town, with the largest concentration of heritage properties anywhere in Nova Scotia, demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preserving historic sites and properties while developing top-notch education programs, bylaws and incentives to protect and enhance heritage properties; and

Whereas the Prince of Wales Prize was first established in 1999 under Prince Charles;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature applaud the Town of Annapolis Royal for their historic vision in capturing the 2006 Prince of Wales Prize as awarded by the Heritage Canada Foundation.

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 Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 560

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

Whereas the population of Halifax Regional Municipality is growing and mobile with many people living in rented accommodations, some with cats or dogs for company; and

Whereas many apartments do not accept pets so that tenants moving must often find new homes for their animals and frequently cannot; and

Whereas the veterinarians take on as many homeless animals as possible, but the only large-scale animal shelters are on the Dartmouth side of the harbour;

[Page 967]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly encourage and support animal welfare organizations in locating their shelters within reasonable distance of large-scale population areas for the health of people and animals alike.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 561

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

Whereas the Wharf Rat Rally is being called Atlantic Canada's fastest growing motorcycle rally; and

Whereas approximately 3,500 motorcycles participated in this rally and around 10,000 visitors flocked to see the show; and

Whereas this annual rally is generating economic development for western Nova Scotia and all parts of the province;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize and congratulate the organizers of this event and offer our continued support to ensure that the Wharf Rat Rally will become a staple of Nova Scotian tourism.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 968]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 562

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

Whereas the 2006-2007 World Curling Tour is returning to the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, March 22-25, 2007; and

Whereas the National Grand Slam event will follow a stop in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and one week prior to a tour event in Victoria, British Columbia; and

Whereas last winter's event in Port Hawkesbury showcased the best curlers in the world;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly applaud the dynamic initiatives of both local and provincial curling organizers in bringing this prestigious event back to Port Hawkesbury.

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 Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

[Page 969]

RESOLUTION NO. 563

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

Whereas 20 schools participated in the Junior Girls race at the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Provincial Cross Country Championships on October 30, 2006, in Dayspring, running a three-kilometre race; and

Whereas the Georges P. Vanier Junior High School Girls Cross Country Team trains three times a week in the autumn, to be in top athletic form for the race; and

Whereas Georges P. Vanier's Junior Girls won the Provincial Cross Country Championships, Regional Championships and Mariner Zone Championships;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Nicole Deveau, Keira Wadden, Nicole Wadden, Emily Grose, Kristen Gibson, Anna Wall and Kaitlin MacLeod, along with their coach, Norris Boudreau, for a stellar athletic performance.

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 Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 564

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

Whereas Dr. Viola Robinson has dedicated her life to protecting and reaffirming the rights of Mi'kmaq Nova Scotians; and

[Page 970]

Whereas Dr. Robinson's involvement in Aboriginal politics has brought forth many significant changes to the lives of Aboriginal Nova Scotians, including an amendment to the Indian Act with Bill C-31; and

Whereas Dr. Robinson's appointment to serve as a commissioner on the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples, exemplifies the historic importance, strength and leadership of Aboriginal women;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the accomplishments and achievements of Dr. Viola Robinson and wish her well 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 Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 565

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

Whereas a mini-Hospital Hustle was held at the Liverpool Fire Hall on September 17, 2006; and

Whereas this event is such an important fundraiser for the Queens General Hospital and this year raised more than $11,000; and

Whereas the mini-Hospital Hustle is organized by the hospital auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the Queens General Hospital Auxiliary for their fundraising efforts that have raised more than half a million dollars over the past 25 years, to be used to purchase hospital items.

[Page 971]

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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 566

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

Whereas since October 2005, the Security for Seniors Association of Clare has presented an education campaign for seniors throughout our municipality in an effort to protect them from criminal acts; and

Whereas Helene Comeau has assisted seniors with crime prevention, teaching them in ways to protect themselves from telemarketing scams, the prevention of elder abuse, as well as various ways they can stay safe in their own homes; and

Whereas Ms. Comeau travels the municipality assisting seniors with their Vial of Life, which holds all their medical information in the event of an emergency, allowing the paramedics easy access to the information they need;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the contribution the Security for Seniors Association of Clare has made in putting seniors at ease, and congratulate Helene Comeau for the improvements she has made in our community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 972]

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. 567

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

Whereas Lynn Watson of Shad Bay captured first place in the novice bouquet design category at the Halifax-Westmoor Horticultural Society's Flower Show on August 18th and 19th at the Halifax Shopping Centre; and

Whereas Lynn also won second place in the Country Garden Bouquet category and third place for her mixed perennial arrangement; and

Whereas Lynn is the owner of the Shad Bay Garden Maintenance;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Lynn Watson on her accomplishments at the 2006 Horticultural Society Flower Show.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 568

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:

[Page 973]

Whereas the Glace Bay Central Credit Union main branch and Reserve Mines Credit Union staff and credit union members celebrate International Credit Union Day; and

Whereas this year's theme is, Credit Unions Making a World of Difference. The Reserve Mines Credit Union has been in operation since 1933, and the Glace Bay Central Credit Union main branch has been operating since 1934; and

Whereas staff and members of the Glace Bay Credit Union decided to celebrate by collecting donations of food for local charities in Glace Bay and surrounding areas;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly congratulate both Reserve Mines and Glace Bay Central Credit Unions, Manager Patricia Morrison, staff and members for their many years of dedicated service as well as their generosity to the people of the area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 569

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

Whereas Canadian Forces have been engaged in fighting in Afghanistan since 2002, risking life and limb on a daily basis; and

Whereas Corporal Jason Lamont of Greenwood, Nova Scotia risked his own life on July 13, 2006 by sprinting through open terrain to administer first-aid to a wounded soldier; and

[Page 974]

Whereas Corporal Jason Lamont will be presented with one of the first Medals of Military Valour ever awarded since its creation in 1993. The Medal of Military Valour is meant to recognize acts of valour, self-sacrifice or devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the heroic actions of Corporal Jason Lamont and congratulate him on being awarded the Medal of Military Valour.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for 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 Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 570

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

Whereas a stimulating, positive preschool environment is essential to the learning and development skills of many children; and

Whereas Colby Village Preschool in Cole Harbour is a non-profit, community-based centre that has helped prepare thousands of children to enter the public school system; and

Whereas Colby Village Preschool is celebrating its 35th year of providing a most valuable service to young children and their families;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Colby Village Preschool for its many years of service and commend the director, Christine MacKenzie, for her commitment and dedication to preschool children, parents and community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 975]

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 start at 2:59 p.m. and finish at 3:59 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH: DRUG COVERAGE - LACK EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Health. In today's paper, you state that there are 160,000 Nova Scotians without drug coverage. I was astonished to see that you are there quoted as saying that there are cancer patients who sometimes have to make the decision of whether they can get cancer treatment or whether they eat. The fact that this problem is so extensive is not an excuse for the minister not to act; rather, it's more of a reason to act quickly.

[3:00 p.m.]

My question, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister is, how do you explain to the 160,000 Nova Scotians without drug coverage that you expect them to choose between eating and treating their illness?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. We need to put everything into context. There are 160,000 people in this province who are not available to Pharmacare coverage. Those are the folks who are either not eligible to the programs through Community Services or are not old enough to be eligible for the Pharmacare Program which, of course, are those above 65 years of age. So we have a gap of folks who are unable to get it, either through their employer or by other methods.

That's why we've been working very hard and we continue to make sure that we have a working families Pharmacare Program in place by 2008. There's lots of work

[Page 976]

going on, it's something that's going to take time to make sure that we do it right and make it correct for Nova Scotians.

MR. DEXTER: The minister has just told people that they're going to have to continue to wait.

I guess my next question will be for the Minister of Community Services. You spoke with Irene Larkin on Tuesday about reviewing her case. Following a meeting with your department this morning, she was told that she has to apply for social assistance in order to access extended Pharmacare. Mr. Speaker, she is now back to square one, so my question through you to the minister is, why are Nova Scotians being barred from Pharmacare because they have jobs?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. To the honourable member across the way, the Department of Community Services is extremely pleased to be able to work with Nova Scotians who need our assistance. We provide approximately 50,000 Nova Scotian families with Pharmacare who are on income assistance. We provide approximately 35,000 Nova Scotian children of low-income families for the new Pharmacare for children. We also provide approximately 700 Nova Scotians with transitional Pharmacare, to ensure that those individuals who are going from the system back into the workforce are still able to access that Pharmacare. Finally, we have a fourth program of extended Pharmacare where we do help individuals with low income who have high drug costs. We will continue to serve the needs of Nova Scotians through the Department of Community Services.

MR. DEXTER: Perhaps she didn't understand the question, this is about the example that she was given very clearly that is not being addressed by this government, so, Mr. Speaker, my last question will go to the Premier. In order for Irene Larkin to qualify for social assistance, her husband Jason Hickman will have to quit his job. The Premier's government pays lip service to advancing the careers of youth who want to stay in Nova Scotia. Jason Hickman has a career here that he will now have to quit so that his wife can get the life-sustaining drugs she needs.

My question, through you to the Premier is this, why does Jason Hickman have to choose between his wife and having a job?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'll refer that to the Minister of Community Services.

MS. STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. To my honourable colleague across the way, while I could never speak to the specifics of any case, I certainly would like to inform the House, and indeed all Nova Scotians, that we will do

[Page 977]

everything we can within the Department of Community Services to respond to the needs of all Nova Scotians in need of our assistance.

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

PREM. - PATRONAGE APPTS.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, we heard yesterday from Heather Foley Melvin of the importance of the circle of friends in the Progressive Conservative Party. Ms. Foley Melvin helps the Premier win the leadership, the Premier gives her a job, she gives Rob Batherson a contract, a truly vicious cycle within the Tory ranks. However, the people of this province are sick of this old-style politics, and they are sick of this culture of patronage that this government has brought back in this province for the last seven years. My question to the Premier is, how many more government jobs do you plan on giving to Tory friends?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, I'm quite confident in the new CEO's abilities to fulfill the position at Conserve Nova Scotia. I have every confidence in her ability to lead that organization and to make a positive cultural change on the environment front and on the conservation front for our province. Our government has put it forward as one of our pillars, to concentrate on the environment, on a sustainable economy, on conservation, and we will do so. As I said yesterday, the member for Preston said, and I quote, "I believe you will do an excellent job at Conserve Nova Scotia." to Ms. Heather Foley Melvin, and I agree with him.

MR. SAMSON: Yes, Mr. Premier, you're big on quotes. Maybe you want to remind Nova Scotians of the quote by your Minister of Energy, who feared that the wind was going to stop blowing. Maybe you would want to give that quote back as well. Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, Ms. Foley Melvin isn't the first, and I'm sure, given their track record, she won't be the last patronage appointment for this government. In fact, the head of the Cape Breton Cabinet Office in Sydney has been used to house unsuccessful candidates from Cape Breton for some time now. First, it was failed Tory candidate from Cape Breton West, then it was failed Tory candidate from Victoria-The Lakes, and now we have Scott Boyd in the office, ironically, the failed Tory candidate from Cape Breton South. (Interruptions) Well, Scott Boyd was the failed candidate on the election day, and guess what, today, he's still the failed candidate for Cape Breton South. That's where he's at.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the taxpayers of Cape Breton do not expect the prerequisite for that job to be an actual former Tory candidate, but apparently this

[Page 978]

government does. My question, Mr. Premier, is, why do you keep putting the needs of your circle of friends higher than the needs of Nova Scotia taxpayers?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that member may not think that Cape Bretoners deserve to have a representative voice down there in that office, but I can tell you, on this side of the House, we do.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, if that's the best the Premier has to come back with to that kind of a question, that kind of a statement, how sad it is, to say the least. Watching the Premier giving out government jobs without competition to Tory friends, but it doesn't end there, it gets even better. Not only the head of Conserve Nova Scotia, not only the head of the Cape Breton Cabinet Office, we also see failed Tory candidates in our Department of Education, where we see Andrew Black getting a job, where we see Dwayne Provo getting a job. How many more? I would say the list probably continues.

Mr. Speaker it is because of decisions like this that the public is growing increasingly weary and losing trust in their elected officials. My question is, what message is the Premier sending to Nova Scotians when he continues to reward Tory friends with government jobs?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Liberal Party is sending a terrible message to those within the Civil Service, in our Public Service. Indeed, Mr. Provo is a great example of someone who is very committed to the education system in this province, and took a leave to run in the provincial election. I see nothing wrong with that. The gentleman in question in the Sydney office went through a hiring competition. The lead person in Conserve Nova Scotia went through the fair hiring policy - I will table a copy of that policy - Heather Foley Melvin. Indeed, what we see is the Liberal Party playing politics with his issue, the Liberal Party against the Province of Nova Scotia - having a voice in an office in Cape Breton. Shame on that Party over there.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - CHRONIC PAIN: TREATMENT - ADDITIONAL

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I think there is enough shame to go around for both of them. My question is for the Minister of Health. Nova Scotians are waiting as long as five years for chronic pain treatment. The director of the province's only pain treatment unit says that people get worse while they are waiting for treatment for pain. She says that it is really unacceptable for people to wait certainly beyond six months.

[Page 979]

In August the minister announced his acceptance of a recommended two-year pilot project with a budget of $2 million. My question to the Minister of Health is this, when will patients with chronic pain find out where and when the additional pain treatment is going to be available?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am very happy to stand and speak on a very important issue, one that is unacceptable the way it stands today, why we had to expand it, accept the 17 recommendations as they were put forward in August to make sure that we had the investment of $2 million over two years.

At this point I can inform the member opposite that the committee is sitting down today, looking at the proposals for the district health authorities to make sure that we have those establishments in place around the province, so Nova Scotians can get the health care that they require closer to home.

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, any announcement was a welcome change but action will, in fact, be more welcome than just the announcement. Living with chronic pain makes a person vulnerable to other illnesses and Nova Scotians are told that if you can get to certain types of pain early enough, you can prevent them from becoming a chronic condition. The real test of the minister's August announcement will be the change in wait times for needed treatment and prevention.

My question, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister is this, how long will patients have to wait for chronic pain treatment with the two year plan that you have announced?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and again thank you to the member opposite for the question. Chronic pain is an issue in this province, one that is prevalent and we need to try to get the aid to the folks who require it. There is truth in the fact that the sooner we can get it and treat it, the better the outcome for that patient.

Mr. Speaker, I can say that in the next few weeks we'll be working on those recommendations and, of course, those proposals coming forth from the district health authorities, to make sure that those services will be available closer to home. Also within that plan and those recommendations, we talk about self-management, we talk about primary education and better services in about seven community or regional sites, so we want to make sure that we can act on those as quickly as possible and we are hopeful for the new year. (Applause)

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, people should not have to wait more than six months for treatment, yet the irony is that the minister is asking for people to wait for

[Page 980]

more than six months before they even find out about the pilot project. Many on the waiting list have deteriorating health because they cannot get chronic pain treatment.

My question is this through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister, what do you have to say to Nova Scotians who you are forcing to wait for the details of the new services you promised them?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Again I can reiterate that we are working quickly on this plan and making sure that I am watching it as closely as possible to make sure that we have those services closer to where Nova Scotians need them.

Mr. Speaker, I can also assure the member opposite that the wait, compared to others, is actually quite long and we want to make sure that we address those issues. Wait times in this province is one issue that this government takes seriously. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

HEALTH: BREAST SCREENING - WAIT TIMES

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, my first question is for the Minister of Health. Recently my doctor reminded me that it was time to get a mammogram. I was shocked to find the earliest appointment I could get would be for May, 2007. According to recent Capital Health figures, women in Dartmouth wait 140 days for screening and women in Halifax wait 147 days. Women in Colchester-East Hants and on the South Shore wait over 100 days for appointments. I ask the Minister of Health, why are breast screening wait times in these areas so long?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, I am very happy that the member opposite brought this issue forward. As we talk about our wait times monitoring project and making sure that people don't wait longer than have to, they can go on the Web site to see where in the province they might be able to get one of these services. I can tell the member opposite that if she would have her physician maybe look at another district - whether it be in Truro, Kentville - those wait times are a bit smaller than that. She should be able to get that service.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I'll direct my next two questions to the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. Wait times in other parts of the province are lower because there are mobile screening programs available. However, the province offers little funding for communities to buy these expensive units and operational funding must come from existing resources. My question for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection is, why won't the government invest in mobile screening units across the province?

[Page 981]

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should direct the question to the Minister of Health. The delivery of health services is the Minister of Health's responsibility.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, also I would like to tell the member opposite that within our wait time monitoring project, again, you can look for other items and surgery wait times, diagnostic imaging wait times. Also, we're working to increase the access for Nova Scotians to the screening program. Our province has a higher participation rate than the Canadian average, and I think that is the good work of our physicians in making sure they inform and educate individuals of this test. We know it's important for women to be screened. Our goal in the province is to integrate the fixed sites in New Glasgow and Antigonish later this year, to make sure we have the mobile screening program as it exists today and expand on that, making sure we have the newest and updated equipment that we possibly can.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, the whole thing about screening is preventative medicine which is health promotion, so I'm sorry if I've gotten the departments mixed up. I'll table a press release from the Canadian Cancer Society which states, breast cancer deaths could be reduced by as much as one-quarter if 70 percent of women aged 50 - 69 years participated in screening programs. My question to the Minister of Health - if that's who wants to answer the question - is, how does he intend to improve wait times and reach this important 70 percent target?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: I can tell the member opposite that we're doing our very best to make sure that mammography is available across this province. We can talk about bringing more permanent screening sites across communities. Screening services are now available through mobile clinics at the sites in Yarmouth, Truro, Sydney, Dartmouth, Halifax, Amherst, Bridgewater and Kentville. Mr. Speaker, as a family member, my mom is a survivor of breast cancer and one that I can urge all Nova Scotians and all female Nova Scotians to go out and make sure they seek that service. Screening is the best way to prevent this horrible, horrible disease.

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

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: GAS REGULATION - RETAILERS PROTECT

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, today in the lovely town of Canso, we are seeing the results of the Premier's gas regulation system. This system has caused turmoil in the industry and now we hear from areas of the province where gas will not be supplied because of the structure of the current gas regulation system.

[Page 982]

Bernard Kavanagh in the Canso region has recently been told by his supplier that the company can no longer supply gas to the region under this current system because it just does not make economic sense for anyone. Bernard and his supplier had no problem supplying gas to the region under a competitive market, but is now faced with a dire situation. My question, Premier, you said you put this system in place to protect retailers. What protection does this system provide Bernard Kavanagh who won't be supplied any more gas?

THE PREMIER: Back to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member will note that gas went down on the average of two and one-half cents yesterday, as did diesel. (Applause) What I can tell the honourable member in relation to this is, quite frankly, I was a little shocked to hear that story about the supplier. They have not approached our office, there has been no supplier that has approached the office of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations to talk about a differential transportation fee. That's why I was shocked. If they had come to our office and said, let's sit down and talk about this, we would have listened. I really don't think that was an appropriate thing for that company to do.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the minister, there's no surprise that he's not aware of what's going on, it's not the first time. He's telling us some numbers. Let me share a few numbers with him. We've heard, from within your government, that most - if not all - corporate stores will be opting out of gas regulation. On top of that, 50 per cent of independent retailers are opting out as well. What does that mean for the confusion of the Minister of Finance and the Leader of the NDP? That means that retailers, the small retailers, are keeping the contracts they had with their wholesalers rather than going under the regulated system, meaning they had a better deal before this government brought in regulation. How much more do they need before they see that this has been a complete failure?

Mr. Speaker, this is a clear sign from the industry that the Premier was wrong on regulation, the very people that the government and the NDP claim to be protecting under regulation are opting out and rejecting it. For Bernard Cavanaugh, it means no more gas to his station in Canso.

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. SAMSON: So my question is, Mr. Premier, if retailers don't want this system, we all know over 70 per cent of consumers don't want this system, why will you not immediately put an end to gas regulation in our province?

[Page 983]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the minister responsible for lowering gas prices today.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I just want to draw the honourable member's attention to a little survey that was done on petroleum products pricing regulation retailer survey results, done this year by an independent agency - 209 responses from all 18 counties, responses from 323 outlets. Do your customers seem to be happy with pricing regulations? Yes, 179 per cent. Are pricing zones affecting your business? No, 80 per cent. Regulation is working for the consumer.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, 179 per cent and 80 per cent, and this was the former Minister of Education in our province. Regulation is clearly not providing stability, and it's not protecting retailers. Consumers have spoken clearly - over 70 per cent have said that they don't want regulation. Neither, now, do the majority of the retailers, whom we were told by the government and by the NDP that this was going to protect them. At the same time, as I mentioned yesterday, regulation is also keeping Nova Scotia gas prices 4 to 6 cents higher than prices in New Brunswick, placing us at an uncompetitive advantage with, whom I would say, is one of our biggest competitors for business.

Mr. Speaker, the message being sent to the government could not be clearer. Therefore my question is, does the Premier still feel a review is required to prove to him that gas regulation has been a failure in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I just want to remind - in the previous question, the honourable member talked about the company-owned stores. If he thinks that companies which didn't really want regulation in the first place are going to have the company stores say that they want regulation, then he shouldn't be asking questions. He should also know that the independent retailers are very satisfied with regulation. There are some who have opted not to go under the regulated scheme with a guaranteed margin, because their supplier is giving them a better deal without it.

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

JUSTICE: PUBLIC PROSECUTION/JUSTICE - COMMUNICATION

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. We're all aware of the case involving the young 16-year-old woman who is before the courts right now, and for which the Minister of Community Services was ordered to attend court. Now I'm not going to be asking questions about that court case, but I do

[Page 984]

have some questions about a conversation between the Minister of Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Public Prosecution Act was set up after the Marshall Inquiry because this province needed to do something with its system to ensure there was no political influence over the justice system. So I want to table an article from the October 21st Daily News, in which it is noted by the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions that the Minister of Justice had a telephone conversation with the Director of Public Prosecutions with regard to this case.

So my question to the Minister of Justice is, what did the Minister of Justice say to the Director of Public Prosecutions with regard to this particular case?

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the member opposite for the question. Absolutely, as the Attorney General, I'm entitled to know all the information about all cases that come before the courts in this province and I deal directly, when I have questions with regard to the Public Prosecution Service, I do not call anyone but the director himself.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, so before the Minister of Justice speaks to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Crown Attorney in this matter said he agreed with the court order being issued. We have the telephone conversation and then within a day we have the same Crown Attorney returning to court saying that they oppose the court order. So my question quite simply to the Minister of Justice is, can he guarantee to this House today, the House of Assembly, that he did not make a direction to the Director of Public Prosecutions with regard to this particular case?

MR. SCOTT: Yes.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, the Public Prosecution Act was set up after the Marshall Inquiry. It's a cornerstone of our justice system and one of the key components of that Act also is that the Minister of Justice is not allowed to talk to his Cabinet colleagues about a particular case. So my final question to the Minister of Justice is, given the discussion the Minister of Justice had with the Director of Public Prosecutions, why should Nova Scotians have any confidence that this minister has not discussed this particular case with any of his Cabinet colleagues?

MR. SCOTT: Because I swore to an oath not to do that and I did not. (Applause)

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

[Page 985]

HEALTH: VGH - WATER TREATMENT

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon is for the Minister of Health. The Capital District Health Authority hired a water consultant to analyze and suggest a resolution to the Legionella problem at the Victoria General Hospital. The recommendation was that the water be treated with chlorine. We have since learned that in 1989 a water main containing chlorine-treated drinking water burst and spilled into the Fergus Creek in British Columbia. This spill resulted in the death of over 2,000 salmon and trout. Another water main burst, again in Fergus Creek, in 1990, killing over 3,000 fish. Both these incidences resulted in Fishery Act convictions. Because of the risk, municipalities treating their water with chlorine advised that residents do not use drinking water in fish tanks.

So I ask the Minister of Health, has your government satisfied itself that there is no possible human or environmental risk from the use of chlorine at the VG site?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for bringing this forward. As you know, from the information that we got over the summer, we were making sure that we come up with a treatment plan so folks in the VG can be confident that the water source that they are coming into contact with is as safe as possible. Capital Health will be instituting that review, or the recommendations in that review. They will be treating the water with chloramine. They will then be monitoring the project to see its effectiveness. In the meantime, the bottled water policy will remain in place for the protection of the patients in that centre.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, Legionella bacteria was first discovered at the VG in the 1970s. In 1997 a policy was put in place for the use of bottled water by the 25 per cent of patients who suffer from immune suppressant conditions. For whatever reason, the government has chosen to endorse a solution that will reduce the risk, but not fully eliminate it. The Department of Health should be eliminating risks to hospital patients, not simply mitigating them. So I would like to ask the Minister of Health this afternoon, why is your government piloting a program that will not eliminate the Legionella problem at the VG Hospital, instead of eliminating it and find a permanent solution to this problem we see with the water at the VG Hospital?

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, quite honestly, no system has proven to be 100 per cent effective against Legionella. Legionella is, unfortunately, present in many water systems across Canada. It is one that can be mitigated to a point. There is no system that is 100 per cent effective on it. We think this process of investigating, through a scientific study on the usage of chloramines, will be one that will prove quite effective, but the data needs to be collected in the meantime.

[Page 986]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): This situation at the VG is long standing. As I said before, the hospital has been using bottled water for cancer, transplant and other immune-suppressant patients, since 1997. This means that these very sick people have not been able to have a regular bath, shower, wash their hands, or even have a glass of tap water, in that hospital, for nearly 10 years. So I'd like to ask the Minister of Health, if you refuse to pursue a permanent solution to this problem, will you work with Capital District Health Authority to move these patients to a more suitable location?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the member opposite, as well as all Nova Scotians, that the patients in that facility are receiving top notch care. As a matter of fact, probably the best care in Canada, and I want to thank all the members of that staff who take care of those patients on a day-to-day basis.

Mr. Speaker, as I relayed in my previous supplementary, there is no system that is 100 per cent effect against Legionella. We believe that we might have a winner here. So we'll continue to do the work, at the VG site, to make sure that all patients are protected in that facility.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

EDUC.: POST-SECONDARY STUDENTS - DEBT

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. Nova Scotia has among the finest post-secondary institutions in the country, yet some of the best and brightest young minds in our province are unable to experience them. A recent report from the Millennium Scholarship Foundation states that graduates from Atlantic Canada Universities have almost $5,000 more in student debt by the time they graduate. We all know Nova Scotia leads the pack in Atlantic Canada. This government's announcement today, to address access and debt, is a day late and a dollar short. My question to the minister is, what does the minister say to Nova Scotia university graduates who are saddled with the highest student debts in the country?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite. I'm glad that you did raise that question. It's one that's very important to our department. It's one that's very important to this government, and I think the most recent announcement as to the infrastructure money and our efforts with that money to reduce the student tuition costs and to provide need-based grants for students in need are directly reacting to your concern.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question again is to the Minister of Education. The recent $440 tuition reduction is a drop in the bucket. I think it's important to remind the minister that the reduction is a result of federal funding that will dry up in 2008. We all know this money won't be available again from the feds. So my question is, how is

[Page 987]

the minister ever going to increase access to university for Nova Scotia students, when tuition is only reduced when Ottawa gives this government money?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite. If you will recall during the election campaign, our government made a commitment to bring tuition toward the national average over a four to five-year period. That announcement was made prior to any federal dollars being available and the two combined will help us achieve that.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, well I'll cut right to the question, Mr. Minister, because, again, we don't have any outline of plans yet. So my question is, how will this government keep its election promise when they already rely on federal transfers that won't be available in the future?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, in the announcement with respect to infrastructure money, you will recall that $6 million of that was put into a trust fund to be invested and to be used towards tuition reduction over the next five to seven years. That's in addition to the $440 beginning in January. I believe we will achieve our goal by 2010.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

HEALTH: FLU SHOTS - HIGH RISK PATIENTS

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. Yesterday you were asked about flu shots for high-risk Nova Scotians. You stated, in fact we did source a supply for high-risk Nova Scotians. We distributed it to those Nova Scotians. It appears that the minister has been misinformed. In fact, not all high-risk Nova Scotians were given flu vaccines this year. Vaccines were given to those living in long-term care facilities, but were not available at doctors' offices for other high-risk Nova Scotians. My question is, why did your government not provide vaccinations for all high-risk Nova Scotians?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite will know, and all Canadians know, there was an issue nationwide around the supply of flu vaccines at this point in time. As I indicated in Question Period yesterday, we did provide for high-risk patients and high-risk persons in the Province of Nova Scotia, but we didn't have enough to supply it for everybody. I'm very pleased that we've been able to secure our supply even earlier than we anticipated, and we will be distributing that, and have begun distributing that, as early as yesterday.

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, the minister alluded to the shortage of flu vaccines as being a Canadian problem. Ontario, however, had enough of the flu vaccine to immunize all of their high-risk residents, not simply residents living in long-term care

[Page 988]

facilities. My question is this, how is it that the Province of Ontario can obtain enough of the vaccine for their entire high-risk population, but our government cannot?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, the distribution of the vaccines to provinces was the same in Ontario as it was in Nova Scotia. We provided vaccines to those high-risk patients, the same as Ontario did. The important point is that the flu season in Nova Scotia doesn't usually start until mid-December. We're able to provide the flu vaccine in advance of that so that Nova Scotians, all Nova Scotians, will have access to that vaccine.

MS. CONRAD: I can tell you we have a difference of opinion on when the flu season actually does start in Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, recently I was contacted by an individual who suffers from chronic lung disease and requires oxygen 24 hours a day. This woman is only 50 years old, yet she's restricted in her daily living activities because she has not been vaccinated against a flu that could cause her serious harm because of her lung condition. My question to the minister is, why is your government unwilling to ensure that all high-risk Nova Scotians have access to timely flu vaccines?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, the answer is simple, high-risk Nova Scotians have had access to flu vaccines. The important thing is that all Nova Scotians will have access to the flu vaccine before the flu season starts. That's something we're very proud of, the fact that we've been able to secure those vaccines earlier than we anticipated.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

COM. SERV. - CAREER SEEK PROGRAM

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The government's recent announcement about the Career Seek program has left many Nova Scotians with more questions than answers. Of the 1,500 low-income recipients who will attend post-secondary institutions, a mere 50 will qualify for this program. These 50 people will be able to apply for a student loan, but their income assistance will be affected. My question to the minister is, how many of these 50 individuals will end up with lower benefits from your department?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to rise today and address the program of Career Seek that was launched last week, through the Department of Community Services, in an attempt to be able to empower individuals who qualify to go on to post-secondary education of more than two years. As was discussed numerous times in this House, the intention is to allow individuals who are qualified, and who have the education levels to receive acceptance at a post-secondary institution, to do so. I am proud to be able to provide that opportunity for 50 Nova Scotians for the next four years, for a total of 200 all together.

[Page 989]

MR. MCNEIL: The program is not only limited to 50 people, but their career choices will also be limited. Not all university programs will be available to these individuals. The department will decide what is a marketable skill. Mr. Speaker, the department is saying that they know best. My question is, why is your department discriminating against low- income Nova Scotians by taking away their freedom of choice?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, Career Seek will enable 50 for four years - 200 Nova Scotians to join the workforce, to be able to work with employment support workers, to work with specialized individuals who will enable those individuals to go back into the workforce. That is where those individuals want to be, working, healthy, happy in Nova Scotia, and I am pleased to be able to provide that opportunity.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, Career Seek allows the Department of Community Services to save money on the backs of low-income Nova Scotians - that is as simple as it gets.

Mr. Speaker, tuition rates in this province are the highest in the country. This program is not enough to encourage low-income recipients to attend post-secondary institutions because it doesn't guarantee their income assistance while enrolled at university.

Our Party introduced an Employment Support and Income Assistance bill which would allow all applicants to continue to receive assistance during their post-secondary institution years. So my question is, will the minister do the right thing and allow all Employment Support and Income Assistance applicants who qualified for post-secondary education into this program?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, Career Seek is an approximate $3 million commitment by this government, today, to ensure that 200 Nova Scotians will go back into the workforce to be healthy and happy in this province. I am very proud of that, I look forward to those 200 individuals being back in the workforce.

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

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: ENERGY REBATE PROG. - ELIGIBILITY

MR. PERCY PARIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. On Monday this government announced the Energy Rebate Program. It states that as of December 1st Nova Scotians who heat their homes with oil, wood, wood pellets, propane, kerosene or coal will be eligible for a rebate; however, there is a slight problem - many people who heat with

[Page 990]

wood have already purchased their supply for this heating season and will not benefit from the rebate.

M y question is a simple one, Mr. Speaker. How do you explain leaving these people out of this year's rebate?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the honourable member supports the government's rebate program for these fuels. Indeed, it was a good thing for a good many Nova Scotians. However, the way the program was implemented, we had to pick a date, and we picked the date of December 1st, which was in advance of the initial date, and it is for product that was purchased on or after December 1st to which the rebate applies.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, as I have said, most people who use wood to heat their homes have already purchased their wood, many in the Spring and summer to allow it to season properly. The Government of Nova Scotia's Web site states, and I quote: "Dry your wood for at least 6 months . . . Wood should be properly dried before burning, to reduce creosote buildup, excessive smoke and heating costs." Mr. Speaker, why didn't this government look at their own advice and bring in a program that would work for families that use wood?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, again, we had to pick a date to start the rebate program. We picked December 1st, but I would remind the honourable member, as he well knows, that it is possible to buy dry wood, although I recognize most people don't do it.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I just have to say that the Web site sort of contradicts that sort of response. It's not too late, and programs that can be changed should be changed. The program should be tweaked to include those who listen to the government in the first place. The government made recommendations, and people purchased wood based on those recommendations brought forth by the government - they purchased their wood in the Spring and in the summer. When will the minister bring forward changes to the program, your energy rebate, that will provide equal access for those who burn wood?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the rebate program was announced back in the budget in the Spring. We had to work out the details on this, we worked with the industry to try and come up with a mechanism to make it work for the benefit not only of the consumers, that actually suppliers could work within it. It was originally scheduled for January 1st, we're able to move it to December 1st, and that has been roundly endorsed by most people.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

[Page 991]

EDUC.: SCHOOL CLOSURES - CONSULTATION PROCESS

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. This week marks the end of the department's brief and largely-ignored consultation regarding the school closures policy. Ironically, the consultation process raised the same problems as the school closure process itself; a process it was designed to improve. A letter I received from the deputy minister informed me that the public consultation meetings was scheduled at school board offices, and at times that suited school boards, not parents. There was no meeting held in Halifax because there was no need, apparently. However, over 100 concerned parents attended a meeting I held in Halifax on the issue, and numerous others contacted me. I'd like to ask the minister, why was the so-called public consultation process on school closures not designed with the needs of the public in mind?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite. When the decision was made to hold the public meetings, those meetings were well advertised in advance, both of the location and of the date. The opportunity for submissions was made available, and many people in the public did take advantage of both of those opportunities.

MR. PREYRA: Well, I don't know what the minister would consider meaningful consultation. Three people attended in Bedford and in the two meetings in Dartmouth, for a total of six, I believe, and over 100 attended mine. Mr. Speaker, we are all concerned about projected declines in school-age populations across Nova Scotia. I am particularly concerned that proposed school closures in rural Nova Scotia and in Halifax will accelerate these declines further, and will result in the death of many of our communities in the long run. Does the minister agree that the school closures policy should be based on the needs of children and their communities, and not on unreliable demographic projections?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I believe the member opposite would be well aware of the procedure for school closures, and it does come as a recommendation from the school board to the department. We respect those, and that is the process followed.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, among those 100 people, there were many people who said they had never heard of the consultation process and I'm wondering when consultation occurs, if no one knows that consultation has occurred or that they were consulted. The future sustainability of our communities is too important to leave in the hands of a department that organizes meetings to suit school board members rather than parents. The NDP has previously called for an inter-departmental response to the impact of population decline in our schools. When is the minister going to ensure her new policy

[Page 992]

on school closures will consider a wider range of socio-economic indicators and community needs?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, the process that is followed, as everybody in the House knows, is that there will be a report and a set of recommendations. Based on what those recommendations are, we will determine whether there will be changes to the Act with respect to that policy.

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

ECON. DEV.: CAP PROGRAM - PRESERVATION

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of the Office of Economic Development. In September of this year, the federal Conservatives cut nearly $18 million in adult learning and essential skills programs across the country. Now, here in Nova Scotia, that means big losses to our literacy programs. The Community Access Program is an integral part of small and large communities in our province and while the CAP sites will remain open until March 2007, thank to a public outcry, the program is not slated to remain past this date. My question to the minister is, what is your government doing, Mr. Minister, or prepared to do, in order to save this important economic development tool in Nova Scotia?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member, I can tell him that every member on this side of the House is very aware of the CAP site program and how important it is to all of Nova Scotia, but I would like to go back a bit in time. The first cut was two years ago and I think that was by the previous federal government. Our government anted up to make sure that the CAP sites stayed valid all across this province. This year, we went back to the federal government, we did lobby the federal government, and they did ante up a little more for us, but this government saw the importance of the CAP sites and it has put the additional $100,000 to make sure that these stay in sight for the remainder of this year.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I remind the minister and the government opposite that this is only good until March 2007. It's past March 2007 that I would like to know what the government's intentions are. After talking to Literacy Nova Scotia, I've learned that, in essence, about $700,000 a year is now gone for such programs due to these cuts, and the future for literacy in Nova Scotia looks bleak at best.

Mr. Speaker, 50 per cent of Atlantic Canadians face challenges with reading and writing and with the loss of the CAP sites, this could increase substantially. People of all ages use these sites to enhance their proficiency in computer programs and other valuable assets to finding jobs. As 38 per cent of Nova Scotians do not have the skills needed to

[Page 993]

fully participate in the workplace due to illiteracy, these CAP sites are important in helping people find employment and improve their reading and writing skills.

My first supplementary to the minister is, Mr. Minister, how are you planning to lobby your federal cousins if the CAP sites are lost after March 31, 2007?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member, I can tell the honourable member our Premier, the Premier of the Province of Nova Scotia, our Minister of Education, every minister in this Cabinet, is lobbying our federal government to tell them how important this program is to this province and to Nova Scotians. I can assure that member, and all members of the House, that this member does not sit back and wait until March 31st. I am lobbying my federal counterpart right now to make sure that we have a program for 2007-08, and years out.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: . . . the Premier in his trips to see Mr. Harper because the last time he went there he came home empty-handed. (Interruption) Each time he went, but particularly the last time.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot stress how vital this program is to the economic development of Nova Scotia. This program has been in effect for over 10 years, and if our citizens completely lose their access to these sites, their ability to land decent paying jobs in our province will drop considerably. The fact is, we're losing our people to other provinces. My final supplementary to the minister is, with the mass exodus of Nova Scotians to other Canadian provinces looking for work, will you please tell this House of Assembly what exactly your government is doing to increase economic development in this province?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I only have a few moments and I could spend an hour on this subject. I can tell you in the next five years, there are approximately 3,500 new jobs going to be introduced to this province in the IT sector. In the aerospace industry in this province over the next 15 years, each year there will be approximately 600 new jobs in this province. That's what this government's doing for Nova Scotians and we are letting people know there are opportunities in Nova Scotia, for Nova Scotians.

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

HEALTH PROM. & PROTECTION: SIR JOHN A. MACDONALD HS - SIDEWALKS

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. During October, the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection encouraged students to participate in an international walk to

[Page 994]

school week, a program designed to encourage healthy living for students. The problem is, there are many schools throughout our province that are not providing a safe way to walk to school, because there are no sidewalks.

A young woman in my community, Heidi Shea-McGowan, recently expressed her concerns in writing to me about the sidewalk that doesn't exist going in the right direction to the new Sir John A. Macdonald High School. I would like to table that letter. The area in question has sidewalks connecting the new high school to the local McDonald's, to the local mall and to the local take-outs, but it does not have sidewalks going in the direction of the subdivisions nearby. These students have to walk along the dangerous Hammonds Plains Road.

Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain why there are no sidewalks from these subdivisions, but there are sidewalks to the local fast food joints?

HON. BARRY BARNET: The honourable member opposite would know that sidewalks are the responsibility of the municipalities in the Province of Nova Scotia, not the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speakers, he can issue press releases, he can host photo ops promoting a healthy lifestyle for our children - now he uses the excuse that his buddies up the street are responsible for the HRM.

But, I want to tell you there are other examples around this province. There's John C. Wickwire, that school is in need of sidewalks. There is Coronation Drive in Fairview Heights. There are no sidewalks on the way to Harold T. Barrett. There are no sidewalks on the way to Harriettesfield - in fact, there are sidewalks going in the wrong direction to Sir John A. Mcdonald High School. But, they go to your fast food joints in a rush.

I would like to ask the minister, when is he going to use his influence with whatever level of government to make sure that we have sidewalks so kids can walk safely to school around this province?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I hate to correct the member opposite, but some of the examples that he used were incorrect. In fact, Harold T. Barrett does have sidewalks that go right up to the school and cover most of the community. I would say to the member opposite it is the municipality's responsibility and as a member of the Legislative Assembly, we all have a duty to our constituencies and our constituents to lobby the municipality to get sidewalks where they are necessary. I do that in my constituency, and I would expect the honourable member opposite to do that in his.

[Page 995]

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I'll remember the next time I see a photo op when we are promoting kids walking safely to school, particularly in certain areas like Kingswood.

However, I would like to turn to the Minister of Education on this topic. It's an important topic, a topic of serious concern. I would like the Minister of Education to undertake a review of dangerous situations where kids have to walk to school around this province. I think it would be a logical move to be able to go ahead and contact school boards and say, what areas are you responsible for where children walk along busy roads and there are no sidewalks. I would like to ask the minister if she would consider undertaking that particular review because, obviously, the Minister of Health Promotion doesn't consider it a top priority.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I would be most anxious to discuss anything that would be a guarantee of safety for our students, regardless.

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

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect on an introduction.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to draw the attention of the House to a young man who is job shadowing me today. I know that my friend from Glace Bay is proud of the behaviour of the House today, so I would like to introduce, from Ridgecliffe Middle School, Grade 9 student Katlin Blackburn. Katlin, could you stand, please. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed, welcome to our guests and all visitors in the gallery today.

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to do an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

THE PREMIER: In the east gallery we have a couple of special guests from Inverness County, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Ed MacDonald, Councillor in the Municipality of Inverness, as well as Mary Jessie, a member of the school board, his wife. Welcome to the House of Assembly. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed, welcome to the House today.

[Page 996]

[4:00 p.m.]

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: 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: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 22, the Motor Vehicle Act. The adjourned debate, I believe, was the honourable member for Pictou West.

Bill No. 22 - Motor Vehicle Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to have a few moments again to speak about Bill No. 22. It is an Act involving slow-moving vehicles and farm equipment and farm tractors and the importance of that orange triangular sign that's on the back of the farm equipment.

It's really in many ways, Mr. Speaker, as I said the other day, a common-sense bill. It deals with the importance of having the "slow moving vehicle" sign on the back of farm equipment and farm tractors. I suppose you can relate to an analogy that it's just as important as having roll bars on tractors, or having headlights on farm tractors after dark; it's really a common-sense measure. It's really an issue about public safety, about the importance of farm tractors obeying the speed limit and for the public to realize that there is a slow-moving vehicle moving down the highway. It's also a way to protect our farm families and the employees who work on our farms, especially young people. Perhaps they are on the road for the first time and perhaps they aren't quite as experienced as other farm workers and for the public to realize that there is a slow-moving vehicle on the highway ahead of them.

I come from Pictou County and, certainly, I know the importance of our farming community and the importance of having safe vehicles on our roads. The farming community is really the backbone or the core or the base of our rural economy, and as goes the farming community so goes the community store, the hardware store, the restaurant, the feed mill - other small businesses in the community. As my colleague just

[Page 997]

mentioned, the community school - if you have a good, strong farming community, you're going to have strong schools and even our churches depend upon having a good, strong farming community vital to a rural economy.

This bill is important to our farming community. Certainly in the counties where I come from I see a number of farm vehicles on the highway all the time and, Mr. Speaker, it's certainly important that we have some rules and regulations for our farming community so that people will respect the vehicles when they see them moving ahead of them.

I know my own home community where I live, in Loch Broom, I see a number of farm vehicles on the highway from time to time, as farmers are cutting their hay crop or their silage, getting ready to do Fall plowing or harrowing, seeding the grain out and so on. In fact, I grew up on a family farm and certainly had the experience of driving a farm tractor on our public highways at a young age and back in those days there was not a triangular sign on the tractor. Certainly, today, it's good to know they're there for the safety of our farming family and for the motoring public in general.

Today I see farm tractors driving up and down the road in Durham and Scotsburn and Plainfield and River John and various communities in our farming communities. I think of the MacLean Family in Durham, who have a number of farm fields and cattle on both sides of the river and they're constantly going back and forth between one side of Durham to the other. Unfortunately, right at this time, the bridge is out and it means a much longer trip for them to go up to Central West River or down Loch Broom in order to get around to move their farm equipment safely.

I see the Gunn Family in Scotsburn, that some of you may not who also operate the Stonehame Challets. They're often on the roads with farm equipment. Floyd and Sherry Cock and their family run the Cinnabar Farms in Plainfield, again travelling back and forth in that community on our public highways.

I'll mention just a couple other farm families in the area. The MacDonald family in Greenhill, who run Century Mac Farm. The Anderson family in that same community, and we even have an alpaca farm near the Scotsburn area, approximately 140 head of alpaca on their farm in that community. As I said, Mr. Speaker, there are lots of farm tractors and farm equipment moving up and down our highways.

This bill really is about displaying that farm equipment on the back of their tractors or their farm equipment, and it states that the motorized vehicles will display a sign or an emblem or device, warning motorists of the slow movement of a vehicle and it mentions that for farm tractors it would be 40 kilometres an hour. That's without any attached equipment. The maximum they could travel would be 40 kilometres. That doesn't apply to a truck or otherwise motorized vehicle that's hauling a piece of farm

[Page 998]

equipment. They're not restricted to that 40 kilometres an hour. However, if they are hauling a plow or farm wagon or another piece of farm equipment, then they must be able to stop within 10 metres, at any time, and the maximum speed they can go is 20 kilometres an hour.

So those are common-sense things that will protect the public when travelling down the highway, will protect the farm community, and will protect farm employees who are just perhaps driving for the first time. The only question I have, Mr. Speaker, I don't see it mentioned in the bill around penalties for those who perhaps don't obey the law. I'm supposing that those may be contained within the regulations that are established to go along with the bill. Overall, I think it's a good bill. It will protect the public. It will protect our farming communities. It will protect the farm employees who are on our public highways.

With those few words, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to hearing what other members might have to say on the bill, and I certainly look forward to seeing it going forward to the Committee on Law Amendments. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank honourable members for their contribution to this debate. The member for Hants East, a member of the NDP caucus, had raised an issue which he asked if I would address and I would be quite happy to if the House Leader of the NDP would be a bit patient. But I do want to point out that the use of the triangular signs, and the bill references the fact that if you display that sign, then you must be going below a certain speed, because that's what people's expectation is, and that's the reason for that inclusion in the legislation.

So I thank honourable members for their contribution and I look forward to the bill proceeding through its legislative course. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 22. 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 999]

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 12.

Bill No. 12 - Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of Bill No. 12, an Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Education Act. As a former educator I can tell you that you cannot have quality education without good teachers. Teachers are one of, if not the most important person in the academic life of a student.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has many fine and dedicated teachers, they are among the best in the country, they are well trained, highly educated and amply qualified to teach our young people - they do us proud. To help us maintain those high standards my department has a responsibility of licensing the profession through our certification regime and we make every effort to ensure that our teachers are well qualified. However, as in any profession, a teacher can slip up, the transgression can be severe or it can be relatively minor. As Minister of Education my powers to take corrective action against a teacher are limited. Once the department's registrar teacher certification has investigated a complaint against a teacher and filed a report with me, there are three options: temporarily suspend the teacher's certificate, cancel the teacher's certificate, or take no action.

The amendments we are proposing today talk to a situation where a teacher exercises bad judgment and where corrective actions are commensurate with the severity and the impact of the teacher's behaviour - current legislation allows for a limited corrective action. Under the proposed amendments and the resulting regulations the Minister of Education would gain the authority to issue a warning, to issue a letter of reprimand or to issue a suspension with conditions which could include counselling, retraining, mentoring or some other remedial action. Mr. Speaker, these measures would be used in those situations that warrant corrective action but do not warrant the severe cancelling of a teacher's certificate which would indeed remove the holder from his or her profession.

School boards will continue their employer-employee relationship with their teachers and staff, they will continue to discipline teachers and staff for contravening board policies. The Department of Education will come into the picture when a person's suitability to hold a teaching certificate comes into question. Our role is to ensure students in Nova Scotia receive the education they need to succeed and that they get this education in a safe, healthy learning environment. We take that role very seriously and the teacher certificate is one of the instruments we use to ensure talented, qualified professionals are entrusted with caring and educating our children from day to day.

[Page 1000]

In the average year the Department of Education receives about 15 complaints regarding inappropriate behaviour. These complaints can run the gamut from a teacher who takes a school trip without board permission or to a teacher who uses physical force on a student. The department cancels or suspends the teacher's certificates of approximately five individuals on the average per year - very few when you consider that there are 10,000 public school teachers in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, our amendments will also allow a teacher who is facing an investigation the opportunity to voluntarily surrender their certificate or permit. In some cases teachers under investigation have indicated a desire to surrender their certificate rather than submit themselves to the embarrassment of an investigation or to cause other affected persons to be approached.

Finally, the proposed amendments would expand the Education Minister's reporting authority. My department is concerned that there is no expressed authority to report or advise Nova Scotia school boards or the teacher certification boards of non-Canadian jurisdictions of any information relating to suspension or cancellation except on an annual basis. This type of reporting is neither timely nor broad enough to be completely effective. School boards as well as certification authorities across Canada should be informed immediately about any corrective measures taken against a teacher who may be applying for a teaching position inside and or outside Nova Scotia.

In closing, let me say that these amendments will bring our legislation in line with practices in other jurisdictions. I present the bill for second reading.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I look forward to making some comments on this important piece of legislation. I certainly agree with the minister, when we look at the high quality of the people who are charged with the huge responsibility of educating the children in the public schools of this province. Having had the privilege of working with many of these people for some great years that went by far too quickly, let me tell you, I have huge confidence in the majority, the huge majority of teachers in what they do each day in their classrooms around this province.

I know that this will be an interesting bill as it proceeds through the House and goes next door to the Law Amendments Committee, a committee, of course, that is unique to the process in this province, in this country, where people have the opportunity to appear in front of us, as legislators. I am privileged to serve on that committee, as you know, Mr. Speaker. At that time, I'm sure we will hear from school boards and we'll hear from the NSTU because, let me tell you, there's a number that's ingrained in your mind from the moment you get that teacher's certificate, and that's your professional number.

[Page 1001]

[4:15 p.m.]

People always ask, what's your SIN? I have my SIN there somewhere, my social insurance number as perhaps I should aptly describe it. Thank you to the member for Pictou for correcting my slippage there. I want you to know the number that meant the most to me was my professional number, 263814 is my professional number, was my professional number. Let me tell you, that number is a number of real consequence when you get it, whether you're getting it from whatever department in whatever province across this country. That number, of course, is your ticket to begin, whether it's substituting, as many people do today, or whether you have the opportunity, as I did, leaving the New Brunswick situation where I was teaching full-time at Dorchester Penitentiary, and fortunate enough to get a job at Sir John A. Macdonald High School.

I listened carefully to what the minister was saying about teacher training, and I have the opportunity before I get into teacher training and I want to put a few comments on the record about teacher training. I know the scope of the bill, of course, because many of the young men and women who I've heard from recently are hugely frustrated with the teacher training possibilities in this province. Before I turn to that, however, the most glaring example, of course, of the problem that we have with this particular incident, I think we could quite aptly call Bill No. 12 the Jack Sullivan reciprocal Act.

I don't want to get back into the history of this particular gentleman and what stain he left on the Strait Regional School Board, but it was miraculous that Mr. Sullivan, after what he put the Strait board through, after what he put the Department of Education through, after what he put the teaching profession in this province through, Mr. Sullivan lands on his feet with a job in Manitoba; Manitoba, a particular school board, hires Jack Sullivan to be involved in the administration of their school board.

I'm sure that if we look carefully at this piece of legislation, that name alone is a reason to support certain portions of this bill. There are people across this province, teachers in particular, who will not soon forget the name Jack Sullivan and what he put this province through, and what he put us through as a profession, and the stain - and I know that's strong language - the stain that he put upon the profession when it came to some of the things that he was justifiably accused of.

However, recently I've been made aware of the fact that if we look carefully at the past, if we look back as far as February 1994 when the Shapiro Report issued their study entitled Teacher Education in Nova Scotia: An Honourable Past, An Alternative Future, 1994 - Mr. Shapiro was from the University of Toronto, and he chaired the Nova Scotia Council on Higher Education, this six-member panel. He came up with a number of recommendations. Most of these recommendations are of real consequence, and over the years the department has approached these issues and taken care of them one by one.

[Page 1002]

The Department of Education should offer funding to ensure more African-Nova Scotians, more Mi'kmaq teachers are in teacher training. The Department of Education should start offering positions to education students in March in order to avoid losing them to other provinces. Also, that the education program be made a two-year program, that the overall enrolment for teacher training in 1994 be cut in half. Unfortunately, we now have a situation in this province where we are going to be facing a teacher shortage. The teacher shortage is an issue that I want to put on the record at this time when I look at this particular piece of legislation. No doubt it is an important piece of legislation. No doubt the Minister of Education has brought it forward, but there are many other issues that should also be included when it comes to this particular issue.

If we look at Acadia University in 2006-07, they received approximately 500 applications for teacher training - 500 applications. There are 130 seats at that particular university when it comes to teacher training. Mount Saint Vincent University had 420 applications, and there are 138 or so spaces at that particular university.

To get those numbers correct again, 420 young men and women from throughout this region and this province applied to get into the teacher training program at Mount Saint Vincent University and there are only 138 spaces available. St. Francis Xavier, ranked the number one undergraduate university in this province - until the rankings came out by Maclean's and they were replaced by Mount Allison again but I'll come to that at another time - 419 young men and women applied to get into the teacher training program at St. F.X. There are only 95 spaces available.

Now those are some of the statistics that I have when it comes to the English language university. Of course, Université Sainte-Anne plays an important role in training teachers, particularly when it comes to the francophones and, of course, it comes to making sure that bilingual teachers are teaching these children properly in bilingual classrooms.

In the English language university training programs there were, in total, 1,340 applications, according to the numbers that I received, and there is room for only approximately 360 students. That is one in four. If we look at the Shapiro report, it has recommended that the minister establish a committee to deal with policy changes for teacher training programs to include Cape Breton University. I want this clearly put in the record because it is an issue of huge consequence for myself, for some of the young men and women that I am fortunate to have in my community: why are young men and women from Nova Scotia studying to be teachers, having to go to the University of Maine at Fort Kent, or Presque Isle? When we look at the fact that we have young men and women who are leaving our province, leaving our country, and they are contributing to the economy of Fort Kent, they are contributing to the State of Maine, or their parents are contributing to the economy of that particular region in northern Maine, where is the leadership when it comes to teacher training in this province?

[Page 1003]

This is an important piece of legislation. It includes some factors which will be interesting to debate in the Law Amendments Committee. When it comes to teacher certification, there is a much more and hugely important issue and that, of course, is teacher training, teacher training to make sure that our teachers have the opportunity not just to attend university in this province to become a teacher, but universities in this country. It seems to me that this is a fact that is constantly lost on this government, or it certainly was lost on the previous Minister of Education.

I know the minister is paying attention to these comments, I know she is certainly doing a good job as she begins to continue to get her feet wet, if that is an appropriate expression. I compliment her on this piece of legislation but I challenge the department to take up the task. I would suggest that Cape Breton University would be an ideal place to put teacher training. I know there are current teachers in this province who would say that the best place to get teacher training in this province was the Nova Scotia Teachers College in Truro - the best, bar none.

So where is it now? Instead, we have only one-quarter of the young people who want to become teachers being accepted - at least to the English language programs. I am sure that the Université Sainte-Anne has a waiting list that probably rivals that when it comes to the importance of having bilingual teachers in immersion programs. Of course, when we look at the francophone schools across our province but, where is the leadership on that important issue? When I heard the fact that we were going to be getting Bill No. 12 my first reaction was we were going to get something about teacher training in this province, we were going to go back, based upon the Shapiro Report of 1994, to the possibility of having another university offer a top-flight Education program.

I can tell you my good friend, the member for Cape Breton Centre, makes the point very clear time after time, his daughter wants to be a teacher, his daughter wants to be a teacher so badly that because she was not accepted - I believe she applied to the Mount Saint Vincent University program - the member for Cape Breton Centre's daughter is attending the degree granting program at the University of Maine in Fort Kent. An example from right in this House.

I want you to know that I heard from a recent school principal from the Sackville community, Dale Clattenburg. Dale Clattenburg, a well-known school teacher, his daughter wants to be a school teacher but Mr. Clattenburg's daughter did not get accepted to Mount Saint Vincent. Instead, Mr. Clattenburg's daughter, a well-known local athlete in the Sackville community, a leader in that community, a proud graduate of Sackville High School, where is this young Clattenburg lady going to school? She's going to school at the University of Maine in Fort Kent.

The example I want to bring to your attention however is the example of a student who I've known for many years - she has always wanted to be a teacher - I could say that

[Page 1004]

it was my influence but unfortunately all I can say is that I taught her mother and father. She wants to be a teacher so when I said to her - her name is Laura Boutilier, she is from Hatchett Lake, I said Laura, if you want to be a teacher you have the option to get a job right away by going out and becoming a French teacher because we're always in need of French teachers or become what we really need in the school system around this province, in school boards across this province, a math teacher.

Laura Boutilier has a math major, she's an honours student who has done exceptionally well, she's well-grounded, she's an outstanding athlete, she has qualities that would make her an excellent teacher when the time comes. But where is Mike and Julia Boutilier's daughter going to university? She's going to the University of Maine at Fort Kent and here we have it again, three quick examples, three examples from my friend from Sackville High School days that was brought to my attention by the MLA for Sackville-Cobequid, brought to my attention by the good member for Cape Breton Centre - thank God that his daughter has the brains and good looks of her mother, thank God she wants to be a teacher because I want you to know when I have the opportunity to talk to that young lady again my first question will be how is everything at the University of Fort Kent but, more importantly who's paying the bills? Who's paying the bills as we contribute to the University of Maine and we contribute to the State of Maine as they continue to train our teachers - that sticks deep in my craw.

I know that Bill No. 12 deals with other issues that are important to deal with whether it's the Jack Sullivan example or whether it is other things but I can tell you I encourage the Department of Education to pick up the ball on this and run with it, to pick up the ball and to go to the Cape Breton University campus and look very carefully at the fact that there should be an extended Education program at that university so that our children, our students will be going to university in this province. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, Certainly I feel privileged today to rise and speak on this bill and of course it's one that obviously, as a teacher, is easy to digress to probably a few other areas that would be involved in education. First of all, I think we all recognize in this House and in this province the impact that teachers have on the lives of young people and all of us here of course have teachers that we know influenced our lives in many, many positive ways. Many teacher coaches, who were our mentors, and who took a special interest in how our education was unfolding. So we are fortunate in this province to have a very strong teaching force, a teaching complement, and that, of course, has really come about by, I think, a sense of vocation that many teachers have towards the profession and also to be fortunate to have the schools of Education and the former Teachers College which helped produce the kind of teachers

[Page 1005]

that we all know and recognize in this province. So I wanted to make that statement first of all - the high regard that I certainly have for teachers and for colleagues over the years.

[4:30 p.m.]

There's no question, however, that in a group of teachers, no matter how good screening may be done in terms of selecting teachers and also developments throughout a career- every now and then there will be a teacher who, in fact, does have to go through some type of disciplinary action from a board, possibly being removed. I think that is what this piece of legislation is all about, but I think the spirit of the legislation here - I certainly do like where it allows for the formal warning, a letter to the teacher outlining actions to be taken, to suspension, I think all the way through. So I think there's a process here that, in fact, will address different levels of perhaps inappropriate conduct but also allows for that rehabilitation, counseling , support that may be needed.

I was certainly pleased to hear the minister say that here in Nova Scotia, with a teaching force of about 10,000, there are only about 15 complaints a year. That certainly is another measure of the quality of the teaching force that we do have, with only about five certificates, teacher's licences, that actually get cancelled on an annual basis. I think, however, bringing legislation to the process in which teachers are regulated, when there is some type of misdeed in the classroom or on a school trip, that in fact needs to be corrected and needs to be challenged to the full extent that the minister has the power to do so through Bill No. 12. I also know that there are in fact extreme times when we have teachers who will voluntarily relinquish their licence and, fortunately, there are only a few occasions when that does happen.

The other aspect of the bill here that certainly I'm very, very strong on is seeing a reporting system that will be Canada-wide. One of the things that we often talk about, going back a number of years in education, was the portability that teachers could enjoy in terms of their licences, teacher certification in other provinces, years of experience and so on, but I'm also pleased to see that if a teacher is not suited to be in front of a classroom, to be in guidance, to be in administration, whatever the case is, in this province, that certainly there is a record of what is taking place and that should be made available to other parts of the country so that there isn't a repeat. There are only perhaps a few professions that carry the degree of trust that an educator has. When parents drop their child off at school, we know that the trust of a parent is placed on that teacher. I think that the code of conduct, it's one of those things that I know as a young teacher, I remember having a mentor teacher who actually took out the code of conduct for me to read. It was one of the little practices that as a mentor teacher, that as a student teacher, I had to check off on my list that he required of those who came into his classroom. It was a wonderful example to me and just that moment in time where I realized the great responsibilities that I was carrying as a teacher.

[Page 1006]

I think Bill No. 12 is dealing with a very, very small population of professionals, but I think it deals with it in a more assertive and a much clearer way and so I do support the legislation. Our caucus discussed the legislation and certainly are all in agreement with this bill.

The other opportunity this bill affords me, of course, is to speak to the issue of teacher training in the province, because certainly strong teacher training is reflected in the people who eventually go into the classrooms of our province.

However, I think now we are at a point in time in this province where I would certainly be pleased to not just suggest to the minister, but perhaps ask and challenge the minister to do a review of teacher education for a number of reasons. The major glut of teachers that we have had, with teachers getting educated in our programs at St. F.X. and at Mount Saint Vincent and Acadia, as well as Sainte-Anne's and the number that leave the province, we're starting to see a shift here, very dramatically in fact, when we have 700 or 800 teachers retiring in a given year.

I think now we may even find this year there may not be enough substitutes come the months of January, February, flu season. I think it's time to take a look at how we deliver the program and the numbers we need in this province. I think, as my colleague had pointed out, the Shapiro Report of 1994 talked about an additional institution. I'm certainly in favour of promoting that concept.

When we have somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1,300 applications, but only about 360 that can be taken in each year, I think the time has come for us to look at expanding the education programs. I think it falls nicely in line with the fact that we have a number of institutions whose enrolment has gone down. This is still a very, very high demand program so I'd like to see some of those numbers addressed and greater opportunity.

The reality is right now that amongst UNB, St. Thomas, Memorial, University of Maine at Presque Isle and Kent, there is somewhere in the neighbourhood of over 200 Nova Scotians who are receiving their Education degrees. I think it speaks to the fact that we are not able to look after young Nova Scotians.

In fact, I think one of the ministers in this House has a daughter at one of those institutions and perhaps she would have liked to stay here in the province and it certainly is no reflection again on the quality of the candidate who applies for education, but it's simply a reality. We have too few places. I believe the time is coming to take a look. Perhaps geography could influence, we could have another area of the province served by an Education program.

[Page 1007]

Also, I'm not a real strong proponent of a two-year program. I've discussed this with a number of the university presidents and I don't get a full take on this particular aspect, but certainly there are very fine teachers who are produced in programs that are of a year or a 16-month duration. I, personally, like the concept of one year of theory in our schools of education with a second year under the tutelage or the mentoring of a master teacher, where you have on-the-job training for a full year. We have some outstanding educators who have between 25 and 35 years' service, who are going to be leaving the profession, who have so much to offer a young teacher.

I would like to see that opportunity again for our students, to engage in a full year, the cycle of the school year. One of the things that this actually does is help a young student teacher walk through the process from September to June, what's involved in a school year and the kind of engagement with young people and all that may go on in a classroom from September to June. I think it would give them a greater sense of is this the profession they really do want to be in.

The other last point that I guess I would like to make in terms of the need to increase the numbers in our schools of education, is the fact that there are a number of people who get an education degree and are able to use it very well and very fully, outside of teaching. There are companies now that hire people who have teacher training, because there are big companies that do year-round training of people and the strategies that a teacher can gain are great, of course, in the workplace. I think adult education - there are a whole number of areas where, in fact, teacher training can benefit the workplace beyond the school, although that is the primary objective of these programs.

So I certainly look forward to seeing this bill moved on. I certainly will be eager to hear the comments from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union and institutions of training that may be affected or feel in some way related to this piece of legislation. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I will close debate on Bill No. 12.

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to congratulate the minister for bringing this bill in. It's a good bill and it's a needed bill. I, as some people know, occupied the office of Minister of Education for a few years and some of the difficulties that we encountered with disciplinary measures or with teachers who had gone astray, those will be remedied. It will give the minister more authority and, indeed, perhaps more reasonable courses of action than are available under the current legislation.

I remember frustration on a couple of occasions when teachers had justifiably been chastised and you really had the choice of removing them totally or leaving them,

[Page 1008]

there was no in-between. You either took the licence or you left it. So the ability of what one might call an appropriate measure of discipline to be handed out was very, very disciplined and this new piece of legislation will take care of that.

The other thing which the minister mentioned in her opening comments, and was commended by the other side of the House, was the issue of reporting suspensions or cancellations of a certificate. Not only did I work in the office of Minister of Education, I had been in the Department of Education, as a bureaucrat, dealing with teachers and teacher certificates and I can tell you that the issue of reporting suspensions is a very important thing and it should be done as soon as practically possible. The annual reporting is just not sufficient. I can remember cases of getting calls from people and saying, well, such and such was suspended in this jurisdiction and they're now teaching in Nova Scotia or applied to teach in Nova Scotia and if you didn't get that word because somebody knew you or knew somebody in the Department of Education, there was no formal mechanism to get it.

I think what this bill does and why it's good is that it protects the interests of Nova Scotian students and it will give better protection to Nova Scotian students than under the existing current legislation.

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

The honourable Minister of Education.

[4:45 p.m.]

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I would first like to acknowledge and thank the speakers both from the opposite side and from our government for their comments and for acknowledging the benefits of this bill and how it will in the long run make things better for students in our schools and that's what motivates all of us. So I appreciate your comments.

Before I move on with the second reading I would like to add that it was music to my ears to hear the comments with respect to teacher training opportunities. I have been visiting all of the boards across the province and I have met with the presidents of the Nova Scotia locals of the Teachers Union, and in all of those meetings one of the priorities that they've asked me about was that of teacher certification and teacher training. That's something that we want to move forward on and I appreciate the comments and obviously the support that will be there for that initiative. I would like to move Bill No. 12 for second reading and on to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 12. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

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The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 5.

Bill No. 5 - Degree Granting Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in favour of Bill No. 5, an Act to Amend Chapter 123 of the Revised Statutes, the Degree Granting Act. The world of higher education has changed significantly over the last two decades. Our universities and community colleges provide Nova Scotians, as well as students from across Canada and around the world, with a high-quality post-secondary education. But they are not the only choices open to students.

Private universities and career colleges are a growing presence on Canada's post-secondary landscape. Career colleges have been a fixture in this province for many years and add a valuable option for many students. To date there are no private universities in Nova Scotia; however, over the last few years and within the last few months our department has received a number of inquiries from Canadian, American and international organizations interested in establishing degree granting schools in Nova Scotia. Presently, we have no ability within our existing legislation to ensure the educational programs provided by a private degree granting institution will be of suitable high quality.

The proposed amendments to the Degree Granting Act will give the province regulatory authority over new private institutions that want to issue degrees in Nova Scotia. Our proposed amendments are necessary to protect Nova Scotia's enviable place with its 11 public universities and the 13 campuses of the Nova Scotia Community College as Canada's education province.

The Degree Granting Act has not been revised since its inception in 1989 and many changes have occurred in post-secondary education since then including the introduction of private universities in other provinces. Quite frankly the Act is out of date. As it currently stands the legislation could be interpreted to mean that private post-secondary education institutions could offer degrees in the Province of Nova Scotia simply by having that authority granted by the Act of another provincial Legislature, or by being a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

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There is no provision for regulation, financial audit or quality assurance by the Province of Nova Scotia. Everyone in this House would agree that we want to make sure all of our educational institutions, whether they be public universities, community colleges, career colleges, or private universities are of the highest quality, and that we have the legislative mechanism to demand quality performance.

Mr. Speaker, the proposed amendments will give the government authority to establish a process to review applications from organizations that request authorization from the government to grant degrees in Nova Scotia. Regulations developed pursuant to this Act will ensure that any institution that wishes to grant degrees in Nova Scotia would need to prove it has sufficient financial security and faculty with the appropriate credentials. Without these amendments, we would continue to lack the authority to evaluate organizations wanting to establish a private university. This could put students at risk, both financially and academically. It could also jeopardize how our universities are perceived. We want the courses of study offered and their credentials granted within Nova Scotia to continue to be of consistently high quality, as students from across Canada have come to expect.

Mr. Speaker, these amendments will require a prospective private university to apply to the Department of Education for authorization to grant degrees. They will have to prove that they are financially secure. They will have to assure Nova Scotians that they will educate students to an appropriate academic standard and that their programs do not duplicate existing programs in a public institution.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, a modernized degree granting Act will allow the Department of Education to have the authority to review a private university's financial and administrative records on an ongoing basis. This would give us the confidence that it was operating within the Act and, most importantly, the province would also be empowered to set reasonable conditions on the university's authority to grant degrees. We are, of course, not alone in this. Other provinces have addressed regulations of private degree granting institutions over the past several years. Our proposed amendments to the Act and creation of regulations will accomplish the task in the most straightforward manner available.

Given that the status quo could result in an influx of institutions from outside the province offering redundant or questionable programs, amendment of the Act is, in our view, a very important issue. As I already said, no private universities exist in this province, but we anticipate applications will be made. It is essential that we have criteria in place before an official request comes forward. In closing, Mr. Speaker, I encourage the members of this House to support this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

[Page 1011]

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I commend the minister for bringing this bill forward and for bringing it to this place for discussion, because it is a very important measure and it does require a full and public airing. It has much to commend it. It adds a definition of public institutions that I think we need to discuss, not just in education but in other areas as well - health care, for example- as to what exactly is a public institution, and when does a public institution become public and when is it effectively privatized. It seeks to ensure that only public institutions authorized by an Act of the Legislature may be allowed to grant degrees, at least, certainly, that's what the explanatory notes say.

Certainly the minister's remarks suggest that it has other objectives, and I'm going to speak to those objectives in a few minutes. It seeks to establish processes and set standards for institutions applying for degree granting status, and it allows for the delegation of duties in the regulation to third parties. In all of these things, I agree with the minister. The Act does need updating, and it is time for a full and frank discussion about post-secondary education, and the status of post-secondary education institutions, and the funding and the regulation of these institutions.

So, for all of these things, I commend the minister for bringing this bill forward and for bringing it to this place for discussion because it is a very important measure, and it does require a full and public airing. It has much to commend it. It adds a definition of public institutions that I think we need to discuss. It's not just in education but in other areas as well - health care, for example - as to what exactly is a public institution and when does a public institution become public and when is it, in fact, effectively privatized?

It seeks to ensure that only public institutions authorized by an Act of the Legislature may be allowed to grant degrees, at least certainly that's what the Explanatory Notes say. Certainly the minister's remarks suggest that it has other objectives and I'm going to speak to those objectives in a few minutes. It seeks to establish processes and set standards for institutions applying for degree granting status and it allows for the delegation of duties in the regulation to third parties. On all of these things, I agree with the minister. The Act does need updating and it is time for a full and frank discussion about post-secondary education and the status of post-secondary education institutions, the funding and the regulation of these institutions. So for all of these things, I commend the minister for bringing this forward. While this bill has its strengths, and on the surface has noble objectives, it also has some flaws. In our opinion, these flaws in this present state are fatal.

It allows for the recognition of private non-profit universities and we need to have a debate about that in and of itself. Whether or not this very important public function should be privatized, that access to these institutions should be made available to those based on how much they have in their bank accounts and less of what they have in their

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heads, and the extent to which public funds and public regulations will support those institutions. Again, I commend the minister for bringing this forward because she does provide a basis for discussion of this in a straightforward manner, but it does create for private degree granting institutions here in Nova Scotia and we should make it clear that is the most important part of this legislation.

I should say that her comments on career colleges are interesting too, because that too is an area that needs regulation and we need to have a discussion of that because students are exploited there; no standards are set. We've had numerous complaints on this side of the House from people who've been registered in these career colleges and, essentially, they're exploited by these fly-by-night operations. While the stated objectives of this bill are reasonably noble and seek to ensure that institutions which directly or indirectly grant degrees will be recognized, the bill also allows for recognition of degree granting universities from other jurisdictions, from other provinces. In other words, it gives this recognition almost automatically to other provinces.

For example, the Government of Alberta recently recognized the Devry Institute of Technology as a degree granting institution. Incidentally, while the building is called the Devry Institute of Technology, on the website they're Devry University. Essentially what this legislation says is that if this college is recognized by another provincial government, by another provincial Legislature, then they have the right to apply for degree granting status here. I have a problem with that, not just because these are private universities, but because I believe the right to recognize degree granting institutions should reside exclusively with the Province of Nova Scotia and this Legislature.

BC, Alberta and Ontario allow a number of private institutions and career colleges to grant degrees. In fact, there's a lot of discussion there about mirroring and paralleling degrees, diplomas and certificates. Essentially, this legislation allows that to happen. We know from the debate that preceded this bill that we have a difficult time recognizing credentials from teachers. Cape Breton students who study at Memorial University, for example, don't have the credentials recognized. Teachers with years of experience in Ontario who move here don't get their credentials recognized, and here we seem to be granting almost omnibus type of authorization to other provinces and other universities to grant degrees here. I think if it applies at the local level, at the individual level, it should also apply at the institutional level, that we should establish these standards in Nova Scotia and in this Legislature.

The bill also says that no institution shall directly or indirectly grant degrees, unless that institution is authorized by the governor in council. Mr. Speaker, this is a tremendous departure from previous practice. Degree granting status has always been established and authorized by an act of the Legislature. To give the governor in council the authority to establish degree granting status is dangerous because it allows the minister, however well-meaning she or he may be, to set the standard and for rules - I'm

[Page 1013]

going to say a little bit more about that later. This is a significant departure. There's a long tradition, a long history of universities being given degree granting status which has rested with the Legislature in part; to remove it from what may be a discretionary and arbitrary authority exercised by the Minister of Education.

[5:00 p.m.]

The bill also permits the minister to make regulations regarding a whole range of things - the application process, the authorization of a particular body or a particular process, the renewal and relocation process. We agree that the universities need these clear processes, that we need an application process that's transparent. We need an application process that is clear. We need an application process with standards. We have to review them. We need to have this process for revocation, but it's not clear why this authority should be given to the minister where these things are dealt with by regulation when they're so important, including financial standards. In fact, the minister put more of a premium on financial standards than economic standards that will have to be met by these institutions.

The minister proposes to set standards for programs as well, for instructors, for facilities, for academic standards. That's unprecedented. We have never had ministers who have gone to that stage, to micro-manage the internal affairs of universities or the university system itself. So apart from the question of whether this is going to be done by regulation or not, the setting of that standard by the minister is unprecedented. Whether the institutions are private or public is really irrelevant. Essentially what this government proposes to do is allow a great deal of discretionary authority in the hands of the minister and probably bureaucrats down the road.

Mr. Speaker, this bill crosses the line in terms of academic freedom as well, apart from the regulatory problem. The principle of academic freedom that allows academics and universities to speak, you know, without fear or favour or affection for the government of the day was established precisely to avoid this kind of situation, where the minister can go back to a university and say, we don't recognize your standards, we don't recognize the calibre of your instructors, we believe you're financially unstable, and use that to prevent a university or a faculty member from criticizing the government itself. We know that it has happened in British Columbia recently.

So for that reason we believe that the principle of academic freedom is important enough that the establishment of these standards should be done elsewhere. It's not the business of government to micro-manage universities. It does not help the university system. It does not help society. It does not help anyone other than it gives the minister the discretionary authority that we think is harmful in the long run. We've seen from what happens with this government in other areas, that it has the capacity to infuse that agency that will probably be created with partisanship and patronage.

[Page 1014]

The legislation says that the minister has the discretion to establish an arm's-length agency to which can be delegated these authorities. We don't see any of that here. The regulation itself, as it's worded, allows the Department of Education to exercise those functions. We know that every other province that has established a body and a process like this, has created an arm's-length agency. British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta - even though we're not particularly impressed with the terms of reference or the standards, or the way in which those members are pointed - have taken it on themselves, have chosen to establish a relatively arm's-length process and we believe that we need to see that body before we give authorization to the minister to establish these private for-profit universities in Nova Scotia.

The process also doesn't allow for an appeals process, at least the only appeals process outlined here is the discretion of the minister. We don't believe that the minister should play this role, where the minister essentially sets the standards, reviews the standards, judges whether the standards have been met, and then acts as the appeal board. To determine that, there has to be an appeal process that is fair and open.

In summary, while this bill has apparently noble objectives to establish a regulatory process for degree granting institutions - it's fatally flawed.

It's fatally flawed because it establishes the grounds for private for-profit universities here in Nova Scotia; it's fatally flawed because it permits other provinces to determine whether or not we recognize the degree granting status of post-secondary educational institutions; we believe it's fatally flawed because it authorizes the minister to grant degree granting status, a power historically exercised by the Legislature; and we believe it's fatally flawed because it permits the minister to micro-manage the internal affairs of universities and violates the principle of academic freedom. It does not establish an arm's-length body to set and review and enforce standards, and the absence of an appeal process allows the minister to serve as lawmaker, judge, jury, and appeals body - for these reasons we object to this bill in its present form.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak for a few minutes on Bill No. 5, the Degree Granting Act. I spoke to the minister, prior to coming into the House, around some issues I had with the bill. I first want to agree with her on the quality of education that is offered to Nova Scotia students here at our 11 institutions, and I don't think anyone in the House would want to put in jeopardy the quality of education that students are receiving at the post-secondary institutions here in our province.

This issue has been brought to my attention because of Goddard College in Vermont, which is looking at coming to Annapolis Royal, in my constituency. The

[Page 1015]

community of Annapolis Royal has spoken to the department prior to getting into a conversation and an agreement with Goddard and asked if there are any issues around this private college starting up in Annapolis Royal. At that point there weren't any issues. The deliberations have gone on for some time and they are coming to the point where those deliberations will be final, but all of a sudden this bill has comes forward which, I believe and they believe, will put a stop to that.

Mr. Speaker, I really don't understand the importance of this bill or the significance of this bill and what we're attempting to do. The minister had spoken about trying to protect the public institutions in Nova Scotia - I think the public institutions will be protected in Nova Scotia because of the quality of education they offer. My concern about the institutions in Nova Scotia is the cost of attending them - I think that will put them in jeopardy more than anything else, and not private colleges coming into this province. It's not like we're going to have a mass entrance of private colleges wanting to come in and open up in our province. I do believe that if we continue to have the escalating rise in tuition and the cost of post-secondary education for our students, that will put those 11 institutions in trouble, not the private schools that are coming here.

One of the issues that the minister had spoken about was the issue of trying to protect the investment of those students, the investment of that family in their education. Mr. Speaker, I believe that can be done without the changes in this bill. I believe that could be done by requiring, in regulation, that there be a bond posted by that college or by any private school that wants to operate in the Province of Nova Scotia to protect that investment of our families and of our students. The other issue is around the level and quality of that education, and they also can be done in regulations.

I believe it is incumbent on the department to set guidelines for the level of that education, but I don't know if that needs to be exclusive to public institutions. I think that can be provided in private institutions. We have seen, in this province, the out-migration of youth, the out-migration of our children, not only from rural Nova Scotia into Halifax but right out of this province, to attend post-secondary education.

Mr. Speaker, this is an opportunity for the students, by and large, I would dare say, in western Nova Scotia to have an opportunity to attend, if they choose to, a college in their community. There is a relationship that has been developed between a town, quite frankly, that's been hit hard by the tourism decline and by a number of other issues. The economic result in that area has been hard on the Town of Annapolis Royal and this is an opportunity for them to diversity their economy, to reach out to try to provide another economic spinoff.

This university or this college would provide, in an economic spinoff, in the vicinity of $400,000 to the local area. Mr. Speaker, that may not sound like a lot of

[Page 1016]

money to some members who represent larger constituencies than mine. That is a huge investment for the people of my area as we move forward.

I think it is important that we protect the quality of that education but again, Mr. Speaker, I don't see that this has to change in this way. I believe the minister can bring regulations forward that all universities could meet, and particularly the private schools coming in could meet as we move forward.

What has been interesting is that Goddard University has been receiving 20 per cent of their students from Canada, and because of visa issues, that 20 per cent dropped to 1 per cent. What they are trying to do, as a private school, is to come to us, come to our students and allow us an opportunity to be educated at home, in the local community. What they would do is run during a semester program, eight on-site campus days of intensive studying and the rest of it would be done online, Mr. Speaker.

It is interesting, whether that student is receiving that education from Goddard in Annapolis Royal or going to Goddard, are we questioning the quality of that education? I am assuming that degree would be accepted here in Nova Scotia by many of the employers here. So I would ask the minister to be engaged with the town; I would ask the minister to look at the work that has already been done prior to this Act being changed. Quite frankly, the town did due diligence. The town went and spoke to the Department of Education which, at that time, saw no problem with this arrangement, saw no problem with the town investing their time, their energy, in trying to diversity their economy. All of a sudden, at the eleventh hour, Mr. Speaker, this bill change now will put all of that work into jeopardy.

I would ask the minister, as we move forward, to engage the mayor, engage the CAO of the Town of Annapolis Royal, to find a way to look at how we can come to a reasonable solution to this problem.

Again, I will go back and I hope the minister will respond to this at some later date, around the issue of quality of education and how preventing private colleges entry into the Province of Nova Scotia will protect the quality of education. It is non-sensical, quite frankly, Mr. Speaker; I don't see a way that it makes sense. What will affect the quality, what will affect the universities in this province, is the continual rise in tuition. It is why our students are leaving here.

It was spoken earlier on Bill No. 12 around the students in Fort Kent, in Newfoundland, all over. Those students are leaving here not just because of access, quite frankly, Mr. Speaker. A lot of those students in Newfoundland are leaving because of the high cost of tuition. Allowing a private college into the Town of Annapolis Royal will provide many Nova Scotians with the opportunity, if they so choose, to be educated here

[Page 1017]

in the Province of Nova Scotia, to be able to move forward at a reasonable cost, Mr. Speaker, and it is one that I think we need to take a serious look at as we move forward.

Again I will say in my closing that I want to say I think it is incumbent on the minister to have a standard of quality that all private institutions should adhere to when they come in, but I want her to understand that this is about no public money. This is about an opportunity for the town and a private college to co-operate, to provide an option, quite frankly, for parents and students of Nova Scotia and of Atlantic Canada, if so be, but there is no public money. I want her to be very cautious as she moves forward. Not only do you have the responsibility to protect the quality of education, but you should not do it at the detriment of access for Nova Scotia students. This is what I believe this is more than anything. If my children choose to attend this school, that would be up to them and up to us, as a family. If my children choose to attend St. Mary's or wherever, that would be up to them and us, as a family. If my children choose to go to Alberta, that would be up to them and myself.

Your role and the role of the department is to provide and ensure that any institution in this province is providing a quality education- that's it. If there's no public money involved, that's where it stops. I should have the right, as my children should have the right, to attend that university or college if they so choose. I want you to be very cautious about this. I think it will have a huge impact on the economy of our small community as we move forward.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would like to adjourn debate on Bill No. 5.

[5:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is for adjourning debate on Bill No. 5. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: I would like to call Bill No. 62.

Bill No. 62 - Tobacco Access Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

[Page 1018]

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to move Bill No. 62, an Act to Amend Chapter 14 of the Acts of 1993, the Tobacco Access Act and speak for a few moments to the bill.

Today's a special day to be the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection, and to discuss Bill No. 62. This bill will fulfill another blue book commitment we made to the people of Nova Scotia. It is my goal to make Nova Scotia the healthiest province in this country. Through this bill, we will be moving one step closer to that goal.

Since the implementation of the Tobacco Control Strategy, our overall smoking rates have fallen from 30 percent to 21 percent of Nova Scotians smoking. Our smoking rates among young Nova Scotians have fallen even more impressively from 27 percent to 13 percent (Applause).

In terms of sales to minors and compliance checks, we have conducted an astonishing 1,133 checks between June and September of this year. Our compliance rates, as a result of these visits, were almost 80 percent. This is tremendous progress, and it is a result of our passionate and dedicated partners and our staff across the province.

We also know that our work is far from finished. With every step forward we take, the tobacco industry spends more money to find new ways to target and market tobacco products. Our youth are being targeted in new and subtle ways by aggressive marketers who have deep pockets. Large, visual, appealing cigarette and tobacco product displays are located in most gas stations and local stores. These power walls - as they are called - place the health and safety of Nova Scotians, as well as our children, at risk.

I cannot, in good conscience, allow cigarette prices to be marketed alongside the price of milk. As an elected official in this province, and as the minister responsible for promoting and protecting the health of our collective constituents, I believe it is my responsibility to act as a catalyst for shaping and creating a healthy and productive future. Reducing tobacco use is a key piece of that healthier future.

A true tobacco free culture is more than just a reduction of use, it's an absence of enticement to start. Bill No. 62 will literally pull the plug on power walls and is another step towards protecting the health and safety of Nova Scotians from the dangerous use of tobacco products.

This bill requires that, as of March 31, 2007, tobacco companies will no longer be permitted to promote tobacco prices or to display tobacco products in Nova Scotia's stores. Tobacco products will have to be completely concealed from public view. Only the vendor will be able to see the products. A curtain simply covering the display will not be permitted, as this still provides visual access to tobacco products.

[Page 1019]

Research shows us that the "out of sight, out of mind" strategy will produce positive results on overall consumption rates. Along with our comprehensive tobacco control strategy, the evidence shows that over time, one step at a time, it will have a positive impact on reducing tobacco use. We know that tobacco advertising at point of sale influences the chances that our youth will experiment with tobacco and initiate established patterns of continued tobacco use. We also know that youth will over-estimate the prevalence of smoking in society with the presence of tobacco promotion and advertising, they will tend to believe that everyone smokes.

Advertising at point of sale plays a role in making tobacco seem normal, safe, and undermines health information. We also need to remember that the tobacco industry is doing this to attract new customers. According to the federal government through required document disclosures by the tobacco industry, payments to tobacco retailers have been growing steadily over the last several years from $74 million in the year 2001 to over $100 million in 2005. We know that tobacco promotion and advertising serve as cues for current smokers to continue and create an opportunity to increase impulse buying by daily smokers and occasional smokers.

The tobacco industry spends an estimated $100 million annually on these power walls; they would only make such an investment if it was working. By allowing tobacco products to be in plain sight we have normalized the use and acceptance of tobacco use. Effective March 2007 this will no longer be the case. Mr. Speaker, the mandate of my department is to improve the health and safety of all Nova Scotians. In striving to reach that goal we must support an overall shift in culture, we must provide the support necessary to move Nova Scotians away from unhealthy habits and towards healthy choices. Without our encouragement, our dedication and legislation, that shift would not occur.

Mr. Speaker, it is a contradiction in our mandate to support physical activity and encourage Nova Scotians to participate in healthy living while at the same time allowing tobacco products to be available at those same facilities. With Bill No. 62 we will expand the list of establishments that are prohibited from tobacco; recreation facilities such as gymnasiums, pools, and rinks, community colleges and universities to name but a few, will no longer be permitted to market or sell tobacco products. I know this is an aggressive decision with aggressive time lines but, there is no reasonable way to avoid the simple plain facts - tobacco use kills over 1,600 Nova Scotians a year, another 200 die from exposure to second-hand smoke. The loss is preventable. We also know that we need to be flexible if necessary to address any new marketing schemes regarding where tobacco is to be stored. This is why our government reserves the authority in this bill to regulate specifically where tobacco products are to be placed.

The development of this legislation was carefully considered based on the facts and the mandate of my department. At the end of the day it was clear to me that this was

[Page 1020]

a responsible and an appropriate next step in the promotion and the protection of our health and safety. Mr. Speaker, by removing power walls from our culture we are aggressively sending a message to the tobacco industry that our children are off-limits. As Minister of Health Promotion and Protection I am committed to meet every new challenge the tobacco industry puts in front of us. Some may say that Bill No. 62 targets small business owners in this province, let me be clear, small business owners have supported our legislation and do so day in and day out and for that we thank them. The bill is targeted toward tobacco companies in a very simple and direct unequivocal fashion. Mr. Speaker, that's exactly who we're after.

Tobacco use costs the Province of Nova Scotia $168 million in direct health care costs and $300 million in indirect costs such as loss in productivity. Our province cannot afford to foot this exorbitant bill; Nova Scotians deserve better. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank both Parties across the floor for their support of this bill. Support has been overwhelming and we are proud to continue to be viewed as leading the way in protecting the health and safety of Nova Scotians.

One of the early concerns we have heard so far is about the security of those who work in the convenience stores. Clerks have indicated their concerns about having to bend down to open drawers containing tobacco products. They say that in doing so they lose sight of their customers and could potentially put their safety at risk.

Mr. Speaker, we have taken their concerns seriously and we have taken action to research their claims. In discussion with other jurisdictions that have similar legislation, they have had no reported increase in violent crimes toward convenience store clerks.

Mr. Speaker, we in no way wish to put hard-working Nova Scotians in harm's way. The reality is that even today's clerks must turn their backs on customers to remove tobacco products from their shelves where tobacco products are currently displayed. Some products are located on the bottom shelf and some on walls that even span the entire back wall of the store.

Most of these concerns could possibly be dealt with through the use of mirrors or in-store video surveillance with the monitor in a position that the clerk can see at all times. I encourage all store owners and managers to properly train their employees on how to do their job in a safe manner.

Mr. Speaker, we will continue to be available for discussion with those directly affected by these changes and we will collaborate with them to attain compliance with the law. However, let me be clear, we are committed to this bill and in reducing overall tobacco consumption in Nova Scotia.

[Page 1021]

To demonstrate our commitment to this bill, we have deployed penalties that will be enforced if vendors are found to be in violation. We are hopeful, however, that we will not have to issue any fines and we are confident that all vendors are interested in protecting the health and safety of their customers and all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, this bill, like all of our work at the Department of Health Promotion and Protection, has been developed to protect the health and safety of all Nova Scotians. That certainly includes those citizens who reside in First Nations. We are equally committed to working with our First Nations partners to see that they are protected from the deadly use of tobacco products. We have every confidence that First Nations leaders share our vision for a healthy, productive and safe population and we are ready and eager to work together to accomplish this goal.

Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity and, in closing, I want to make clear my commitment to make Nova Scotia the healthiest province in our country. With the passage of this Bill No. 62, I am confident that we will move one step closer to making this goal a reality. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to stand here and appreciate the opportunity to speak to this most important bill, to amend the Tobacco Access Act, which defines the legislation for point of sales, and in particular the removal of power walls. Here we are in 2006 and probably 40 or 50 years ago it was a very in thing to be a smoker. Today we have seen this government take a very important step in making that not a very attractive thing indeed, and especially for our youth.

As an ex-smoker and an ex-smoker who has, from time to time fallen from grace, nothing disturbs me more than walking through my communities and seeing young people lighting up a cigarette, whether it be outside of the schools, off the playgrounds or in their backyards, it is clearly disturbing to see a young person pick up a cigarette today. This move to amend this Act is such an important message that we are sending to the tobacco companies that for years have been preying on consumers, encouraging them to pick up cigarettes, which is a deadly addiction. I can't speak more passionately about the fact that this makes me very pleased indeed to see that the minister has brought this forward.

Youth have been telling me in my own community how difficult it is for them to give up smoking. I know doctors in my community who have been handing out the patch to youths as young as 14 and 15 years old, to encourage them to quit smoking. That is a crime. That is a crime that the tobacco companies have placed in our laps in this day and again and again, kudos for the minister for bringing this forward.

[Page 1022]

I look forward to working with our community health boards and our community health professionals to continue to work hard to encourage young people to give up the addiction of smoking. It is these community members and these health members in our communities that are working with our youth and adults who are falling ill to cancer and other tobacco-related illnesses. These health care professionals are the ones who have to talk with loved ones when a terminal diagnosis has been made.

Youth have been telling me that they can walk into a store and they are very attracted to those powerful displays and all of the other paraphernalia and signage the tobacco companies put out there to encourage young people to smoke. They also informed me that it's easy for a young person to buy cigarettes in a corner store. Some youth are putting their licences out as a form of identification and some of these youth are 16 years of age or 17 years of age and they're telling me how easy it is to hand over a licence as that picture ID, and unfortunately the clerk behind the counter is not recognizing that information on that piece of ID.

[5:30 p.m.]

Even though this is one very important step to strip the advertising and the promotional materials that are used by tobacco companies, we also have to look at other problems with youth having cigarettes made available to them. Of course, we all know that there are some adults who supply cigarettes to our youth and that's a very serious concern.

For years we have been taken in by the tobacco companies, they spend as the minister indicated, well over $100 million a year in advertising dollars to encourage young people to smoke, to encourage ex-smokers to perhaps pick up the addiction again. They have been paying well in excess of $100 million to retailers to put up those promotional power walls, to carry the signage that they use on their counters in the form of wall clocks, in the form of lighters, in the form of matches, and that's a real serious concern when tobacco companies are constantly giving incentives to our retailers. Our retailers, even though they are very supportive of this amendment - I think there are a lot of retailers out there who are concerned as to what that looks like for them at the end of the day without those incentives coming into their retail outlets.

I think it's important for the government to really help retailers as they move through this transition, as they move towards taking those power walls down and setting up their cupboards underneath their counters to store tobacco products. The government needs to be there to answer their questions, their concerns, to help them through this very huge transition for them. Our retailers too need to be very clear on what the enforcement regulations look like, they need to be clear on what the penalties look like, and they need to know from this minister and from this government what they can expect within those regulations. I truly believe that all of our retailers across this province will be very co-

[Page 1023]

operative as they go through this process, and I am hopeful that the minister will give them the guidance that they do need outside of this amendment.

I'm pleased that the minister has indicated that he has been speaking with First Nations leaders and consulting with them and how important it is to help First Nations people and members of the aboriginal communities to also deal with the dark side of smoking and help them go through these transitions as well.

I was a little bit disappointed when I did hear that that consultation process didn't happen prior to the amendment coming forward. Perhaps I may have had some misinformation and I'm hoping that's not the case, that consultation with our First Nations leaders actually took place before this amendment was made. I have no doubt in my mind that members of the First Nations communities are very interested in working together with the minister in helping them look at ways that they can also deal with the removal of power walls and advertisements for the tobacco companies.

Another point I want to bring up is the fact that so many people have worked hard at seeing this legislation move forward. The folks from Smoke-Free Nova Scotia have been working diligently over the last year or so to ensure that we do have all of the correct information, and I know that they have provided much in the way of presentations over the past year to the minister and to his department in making sure that he fully understood the necessity of putting this legislation in place. So to the people at Smoke-Free Nova Scotia and the Canadian Cancer Society, we owe much gratitude for their work, their dedication, and their commitment to their cause. This has certainly helped all of us here in Nova Scotia and certainly our young people who are so susceptible.

I also want to say, as well, that given this opportunity to speak to this issue is something that I'm pleased to be here on and, as I said, as an ex-smoker, it's something that I am very passionate about in ensuring that young people are not picking up this habit. I want to turn the floor over to my colleague and I again thank you, I look forward to seeing this bill move forward to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I just want to for a few minutes go over a few points on this bill, Bill No. 62, the Tobacco Access Act. I don't think probably - I don't know, maybe there will be by the time this session comes to an end - a more important piece of legislation that we could possibly be dealing with in this Legislature than we are right now. I want to congratulate the minister on taking this step but I want to add - and the minister knows, because I think Nova Scotians recognize the minister's prowess as a hockey player, okay, it's certainly well-known in this province, but he would also know that as a hockey player, when you score the go ahead goal, you

[Page 1024]

don't sit back. You don't wait for the other team to catch up, and I think that's a fairly good analogy to make here now.

We've gone ahead but it's not the time now to sit back and wait for that other team to catch up. Now is the time to score a couple more goals, Mr. Minister, and make sure that we've got this one in the bag and that we take home the win. I think this gives us the opportunity to do exactly that, you know, to take away those power walls had to be done. It certainly had to be done because we know what those power walls did and we know who they did it to. We know that they attracted and were most effective with the youth of our community and we know that. So we've put in these restrictions now. It's the most important message that we could give to the youth of our community, that we don't like them taking up the deadly act of smoking, and we're recognizing that.

We also have to recognize that - and I'm talking about the extra goals here, Mr. Minister - the extra goals are prevention and education. We know we can't let down our guard right now and that we have to increase in those areas. I know the minister is fully aware of that and I know that he understands that those are areas that we have to keep our guard up in. I know that, as he has and as the previous speaker has, we have to thank people like our community health boards. The member for Queens said Smoke-Free Nova Scotia, the Canadian Cancer Society, and the volunteers who have worked hard to make us aware of how important this was and to move forward with this legislation.

Again, we have to remember, don't forget, the power walls are gone, but it's not the cigarettes that are gone. The cigarettes are still being sold in corner stores, cigarettes are still being sold in this province. Under-aged youth are still buying cigarettes in this province. We still have a little bit of a problem on our hands.

The enforcement- I know the minister mentioned the number of compliance acts, I'm sorry, I forget the exact phrase that he used (Interruptions) the appliance officers (Interruptions) Compliance officers, not appliance - the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations gave me the wrong information there. They're compliance officers, but the numbers that are there perhaps could be increased, as a suggestion to the minister. If we're getting serious about this, and again, if we're not taking this for granted, if we're not sitting back on that lead and sitting on that lead, then we have to become even more vigilant, we have to become better at what we're doing. In this case, that means let's take a look at the next step and what's out there.

Again, Mr. Speaker, to further limit the access to tobacco for young people, to eliminate the temptation of those smoking ads that were there whenever they walked in, it makes sense, it's the right thing to do. It certainly has our support. Again, on behalf of our caucus, congratulations to the minister and his government for taking this very worthwhile step forward in this battle.

[Page 1025]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, for someone with a lifelong dedication to the health profession, I really appreciate the opportunity to speak about this bill today. I want to thank Smoke-Free Nova Scotia for their advocacy in helping our Minister of Health Promotion and Protection and our government lead the way in this very important component, the tobacco strategy. I want to thank the honourable minister for bringing this bill forward.

Many countries around the world, including Canada, have restricted or banned traditional forms of tobacco advertising. So, in response to this, tobacco manufacturers made point-of-sale advertising one of their main marketing tools. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Ontario and P.E.I. all have legislation that bans or will ban point-of-sale tobacco advertising, and I'm very pleased to add Nova Scotia to that list. We all know point-of-sale advertising increases the amount of tobacco sold and the number of people who smoke. Sure, it's known to increase impulse buys by smokers who feel the need to have a package of cigarettes on them at all times, but they will buy them whether they see them or not. It won't be difficult.

It's the thought of not having them on them that creates that panic, I better get some before I run out. There are lots of reasons why smokers buy cigarettes. I think point-of-sale advertising is more of a significant trigger for ex-smokers or those who have just quit to restart or those even thinking about taking it up. I was very fortunate in that I have never smoked in my life, but I know many who have smoked for years, started when they were young because they thought it was a cool thing to do.

I remember one friend telling me a story about when she quit and how she did it, and I distinctly remember her saying that the hardest part of going into any corner store was looking at all the packages behind the counter as she paid for her purchases. Funny, she says, she never noticed them when she smoked except to tell the cashier or point out her brand as she was buying them. After she stopped smoking, though, she made the point of telling me that she noticed how colourful and bright the cigarette packages were. Before that the packages almost looked like candy, and she was very surprised at just how many packages stores stocked behind the counter and made visible. Now she admits that as a smoker she never thought it was a big deal, and when she thought about it, she thought smoking must have dulled her senses, her taste, her smell and sight because the packages were simply colourless at the time.

The other thing that was going on was that she didn't realize at the time just how much tobacco companies were stepping up their efforts with regards to building these power walls. By 2005, Canadian tobacco companies, as the minister spoke about, and others, over $100 million was being spent on the right to advertise cigarettes in retail stores. In 2001, as mentioned earlier, $74 million - over 25 per cent increase.

[Page 1026]

Needless to say, my friend did come to her senses, as she tells me, and today she credits our government and its anti-tobacco legislation, time and time again, because she says she was one of the ones who needed the barriers. The more barriers the better, and since she quit, she's never felt better for doing it. She's one of the many thousands of people who quit smoking since the government unveiled their first piece of tobacco strategy in 2001, aimed at getting Nova Scotians to stop smoking or refusing to start. She did so using several of these supports that our government set up in combination with her own will to do that.

Out of sight, out of mind will certainly help other smokers who are doing everything they can to stop this life-draining habit. Because she's only one person, an adult who knew better, who knew the disgusting aspects of smoking, who knew what it was like to wake up with a cough in the morning, who smelled smoke on her own clothes, who saw the nicotine on her teeth and who was out of breath doing almost nothing. She hated that and she still had a hard time quitting.

[5:45 p.m.]

These huge tobacco displays in virtually every convenience store, supermarket, gas station encourage youth, who don't know better, that everyone smokes. It's promoted. They make the use of tobacco products appear normal and they also make tobacco products appear safe. As a result, another big impact of point-of-sale tobacco advertising is encouraging youth to start smoking and this is just wrong. Our children should simply not be exposed to tobacco advertising.

Since Smoke-Free Nova Scotia lost its advocacy campaign on point-of-sale legislation in May, I have received many calls, letters and e-mails from constituents - even from people who do not live in Hants West - asking to support this legislation. I will do just that.

My constituency office has also been getting updates from Smoke-Free Nova Scotia regularly with the names of individuals from Hants West who have signed and supported the online petition. There are many, many names, including my own and my wife's name. I won't take the time today to read them, but I have them here and there are many of them, as I said.

I have a friend, Donna Haverstock, from Sackville, a former colleague. I know Donna from days working as a paramedic for Emergency Health Services. She now works as the asthma COPD educator at Cobequid Health Centre and she travels to the Health and Wellness Centre in North Preston and Duffus Health Centre. She writes, "As a mother of two sons, I don't want them exposed to easy access tobacco products. Out of sight, out of mind or whatever it takes to make the purchase of tobacco products difficult."

[Page 1027]

She's not saying that you can't smoke, but if you do, price and availability should be a deterrent. I don't live in your area, she states, Chuck, but please vote yes for point-of-sale legislation. She also went on to say, the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid - we used to work together a number of years ago and if we ever ran together in the same neighbourhood, I would still be the MLA today. Donna's a great person.

On a serious note, her letter reminded me that I'm very pleased our government has all-Party support of this legislation. I thank the other members for supporting it positively, including the honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid. He and I both know how smoking affects families, not necessarily just those who are smoking in the family, but the result of second-hand smoke and the sicknesses like asthma and other respiratory problems that it creates.

Health care workers deal with smoke-related emergencies every day in this province. We go on at length in this House about the rising cost of health care. We are being asked every day, what are we going to do about it?

This piece of legislation is a step in the right direction and will certainly have an impact on reducing the number of visits to emergency rooms, reducing the need for long stays and surgeries. It's clearly marked right on the package, cigarette smoke is harmful to your health. It's time to stop marketing such a product, one that kills. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I want to start, as well, by congratulating the minister and his department staff, Smoke-Free Nova Scotia and all those who have worked so hard to get this legislation onto the floor of this Legislature and this session.

I was thinking, as the last speaker was on his feet, of all the changes that we have seen in this Legislature over the time that I've been here. In eight and one-half years, I've seen some positive and some negative things. Certainly, if I were to think about the positive things, the progress that has been made with respect to reducing the harm that's associated with tobacco use is probably one of the most significant changes that we've made in this legislature and I am very pleased to have been here for that and to have been able to participate in those debates.

Not to take everybody down memory lane, but remember how hard the pharmacies fought, not so long ago, to have tobacco removed from pharmacies. That was, I think, one of the first things that happened in terms of this movement toward implementing a tobacco strategy. I don't think any of us here will forget the long days and evenings that we spent in the Law Amendments Committee when the Smoke-free Public Places Act was first introduced, an Act that has subsequently been toughened up

[Page 1028]

and amended, removing smoking in those areas that had been exempted under the first piece of legislation. So I think this is very significant in terms of the progress we have made.

I think it is not so long ago that I had an opportunity one day during Question Period to stand in my place and provide some pictures of children's videos being sold right alongside those huge tobacco walls in some of the large grocery stores. So, Mr. Speaker, I think that anything we can do to de-normalize and take tobacco out of the reach, out of the consciousness of people - as my colleague, the member for Hants West, was saying, people who are trying to quit smoking find it very difficult when they go into a shop and they are confronted by those huge walls of tobacco products. Young people tend to see the advertising, which is why the tobacco industry has devoted so many millions of dollars as a product that is attractive, it reflects maturity to be able to have access to tobacco. So this is significant.

I want to reflect on one of the sadder things, I think, in the process of working on legislative change. Heather Crowe, the activist, the woman who was a waitress who was exposed to second-hand smoke for many years, never smoked herself, never was a smoker, who developed lung disease, was a litigant, I think made some significant differences in workers' compensation legislation in the Province of Ontario. She died recently. I think about legislation like this and the role that a person like Heather, who really took her situation and laid it out there to have the public identify with the fundamental unfairness, I guess, of having these huge corporations be able to use the profits they make at the expense of the ordinary person and turn it back and really generate an ongoing supply of human carnage for their insatiable appetites to reap profits for their shareholders.

So, Mr. Speaker, this is a very good piece of legislation. If it will prevent that next generation of smokers from coming forward, then I think we will have done a great service to our health care system, our children, their families, our communities and to our province in the long run. So again, the minister, his staff, Smoke-Free Nova Scotia and others who have worked so hard should be commended.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know if you would like adjournment of this debate or it goes back, but I will take my place at this point.

MR. SPEAKER: Are there any further speakers?

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

The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

[Page 1029]

HON. BARRY BARNET: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to close debate. I want to thank those who have spoken during the last few minutes with respect to Bill No. 62. I said to some people one time when speaking, imagine 1800 people dying on the roads of Nova Scotia and how the public would be outraged, and they would be demanding that we immediately do something to improve the health and safety of our roads and, as legislators, we would do that. We would take our place and we would do what we have to do to improve the road safety - this is what we're doing now.

Mr. Speaker, one more quick thing before I close debate. If we can't pass this piece of legislation for our family and friends who have passed away as a result of smoking or second -hand smoking, we have to do it for our children and our family and friends who are here with us today, and the people we love. That's why we need to pass this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 62. 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 would move that the House now adjourn until the morrow, to meet at 9:00 a.m. and to conduct business until 12:00 noon. The order of business will be Public Bills for Second Reading. We'll be calling the amendments to the Securities Act for government business tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is for the House to rise and meet again tomorrow at the hour of 9:00 a.m. The House will sit tomorrow between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

Order, please.

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We have arrived at the moment of interruption. Tonight's late debate has been submitted by the honourable member for Dartmouth North:

"Therefore be it resolved that this government consult with communities about their own rural economic development."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

ECON. DEV. - RURAL DEV.: COMMUNITIES - CONSULT

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, it's very important that I rise here tonight and discuss a very important issue, that being that communities need to be consulted on their own rural economic development. I bring this to the floor this evening because of developments that are happening in my own community. Yesterday I had asked questions of the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture in regard to a fish farm development happening in Port Mouton Bay. I also tabled a petition with well over 1,800 signatures of members of my communities who are very concerned about this particular development happening.

This simply isn't a case of not-in-my-backyard syndrome, this is clearly a case for residents in my communities who feel they have been slighted, who feel that they have not been consulted in their own initiatives around rural economic development. Public consultation has really not happened with this community in regard to what they see is important rural economic development.

[5:57 p.m. Power Outage]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 571

By: Hon. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Agricultural College Varsity Rams women's soccer team travelled to Saint John, New Brunswick, to participate in the Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association (ACAA) Championships from October 28th to 29th; and

Whereas the NSAC Varsity Rams defeated the University of Kings College 3 to 1 in the semi-final and Mount Saint Vincent University 2 to 1 in the overtime final, winning its first ACAA title since 1997; and

Whereas four Varsity Rams players - Trina Bennett, Megan MacLellan, Nikia Stewart and Kaili Van Vulpen - were recognized as All-Conference selections; Trina Bennett received the Rookie of the Year award and Mandy Vanderburg received the Jerry LeBlanc Award for sportsmanship, leadership and skill;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge and congratulate the NSAC on this significant win and extend best wishes to the team as they travel to Langara College in Burnaby, British Columbia, for the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association National Championships from November 8th to 11th.

RESOLUTION NO. 572

By: Ms. Diana Whalen (Halifax Clayton Park)

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

Whereas the Halifax Skating Club was established in 1862, making it the oldest continuous running skating club in Canada; and

Whereas the club began with Victorian Skaters accompanied by live military bands and has grown to the CanSkate program which provides a solid skills foundation for figure skaters, hockey players, as well as ringette players; and

[Page 1032]

Whereas the Halifax Skating Club has prepared many generations of skaters, in a fun filled environment, which allows for skaters to compete provincially, nationally, as well as the Olympics;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the contributions the Halifax Skating Club has made to the development of skating in Halifax.

RESOLUTION NO. 573

By: Hon. Brooke Taylor (Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley)

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

Whereas Brookfield's Mike Henderson, already a member of Nova Scotia's Sports Hall of Fame after playing 17 years of fastball with the Brookfield Elks, where he was part of an Elks team that won six Nova Scotia titles, a Canadian championship, a Pan-American Games title, while capturing a Bronze Medal at the World Men's Fast Pitch Championship in 1981, while leaving many outstanding memories; and

Whereas Mike started as shortstop with the Sr. Elks and played that position for three years, before finding a more comfortable home at second base for the next 14 years; and

Whereas Mike is an outstanding sports enthusiast as besides fastball he has also played hockey, golf, volleyball, tennis and badminton;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the pure athletic talents of one Mike Henderson of Brookfield as he is inducted into the Colchester County Sports Hall of Fame Friday evening.

RESOLUTION NO. 574

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission is dedicated to building a service that strives for excellence while recruiting Nova Scotians to meet the needs of a modern and innovative public service; and

[Page 1033]

Whereas Ms. Heather Ann Cochrane has served the Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations for a quarter of a century, doing an outstanding job in her administrative role; and

Whereas Ms. Cochrane, a resident of Windsor, was recently recognized by the Province of Nova Scotia for her 25 years of service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the dynamic work ethic and commitment of Ms. Heather Ann Cochrane to Nova Scotia's Public Service and for a job well done.

RESOLUTION NO. 575

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission is dedicated to building a service that strives for excellence while recruiting Nova Scotians to meet the needs of a modern and innovative public service; and

Whereas Mr. William Norman Fergusson, better known as Bill, has served the Department of Justice's Public Prosecution Service for a quarter of a century, handling numerous challenging cases; and

Whereas Mr. Fergusson, a resident of College Road in Windsor, was recently recognized by the Province of Nova Scotia for his longtime service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Mr. William Norman Fergusson on his 25 years of faithful and dedicated service to the people of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 576

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission is dedicated to building a service that strives for excellence while recruiting Nova Scotians to meet the needs of a modern and innovative public service; and

[Page 1034]

Whereas Mr. Edward John Milligan, better known as Ed, has served the Department of Transportation and Public Works for a quarter of a century, doing an outstanding job, where he is a CSO in the Network Operations Division; and

Whereas Mr. Milligan, a resident of Newport, was recently recognized by the Province of Nova Scotia for his long-term service;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the tremendous work ethic and commitment of Mr. Edward Milligan to Nova Scotia's Public Service for a job well done.

RESOLUTION NO. 577

By: Mr. Chuck Porter (Hants West)

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission is dedicated to building a service that strives for excellence while recruiting Nova Scotians to meet the needs of a modern and innovative public service; and

Whereas Mr. Cynthia Kenley has served the Government of Nova Scotia faithfully for the past 25 years, doing an outstanding job; and

Whereas Ms. Kenley was recently recognized by the Province of Nova Scotia for her 25 years of service and her job at Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations as a Programmer Analyst;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend the dynamic work ethic and commitment of Ms. Cynthia Kenley to Nova Scotia's Public Service and for a job well done.

RESOLUTION NO. 578

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Dr. Jainin Wolfe celebrated her 10th Anniversary as a dentist practicing at the Oxford Medical Clinic; and

[Page 1035]

Whereas Dr. Wolfe graduated from the University of Manitoba and then practised in Newfoundland for two years where she met Dr. Roger Daya, now her spouse with whom she moved to the Oxford area, and took the opportunity to start her own practice; and

Whereas Dr. Wolfe and her staff are well respected and admired by the residents of Oxford and surrounding areas and are surely appreciated and respected.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dr. Wolfe on her 10th Anniversary in practice and we wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 579

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas staff at the Parrsboro Regional Elementary School has donated monies from casual day every Friday at the school, along with staff and students collecting pennies, and have collected enough monies to build a new playground; and

Whereas raising over $890 one penny at a time, the children are very excited about their accomplishments; and

Whereas 13 new pieces of equipment were added to the playground with three more to be installed and in the Spring they are hoping to add some greenery around the playground;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the staff and students of the Parrsboro Regional elementary School on this accomplishment and we wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 580

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Jim Melanson of Springhill is the man behind Springhill minor baseball and he has embarked on a fundraising endeavour that would link the current minor

[Page 1036]

players with members of the Springhill Fencebusters, one of the most feared teams in the Maritimes from 1920 to 1951; and

Whereas Jim is trying to keep alive the memory of the approximately 100 players that donned the famous uniform of the Fencebusters by having the name of a former player on the new minor baseball uniforms; and

Whereas the player who wears the name of a fencebuster would need to know the history of that player which Jim hopes will raise present awareness of baseball in Springhill, the rich history of baseball in Springholl over the past century, and potentially attract more children into the game the town is known for;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jum Melanson on his tireless efforts to preserve the history of baseball by combining it together with the present minor baseball and we wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 581

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Reg Daborn of River Hebert sets a great example for senior citizens of clean living, exercise and zest for life; and

Whereas Reg, a youthful 76-year-old grandfather, bikes four to five times a week and just recently completed his annual 22 kilometre trek from his home in River Hebert to his camp in Shulie; and

Whereas Reg and his wife, Marion, have been making their own tomato juice for nearly 20 years and credit that as one of the keys to their health along with exercise and 50 years of being happily married;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Reg Daborn on setting such a fine example to keep healthy to those in his community and we wish him many more happy and healthy years.

[Page 1037]

RESOLUTION NO. 582

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Crystal Siddall of Southampton 3 Way 4-H Club was honoured as she received the Outstanding 4-H Member of Cumberland County Award sponsored by the Royal Bank; and

Whereas Crystal received the award at a celebration as the seven Cumberland County 4-H Clubs gathered together at their annual banquet; and

Whereas many members, leaders and clubs were recognized for their outstanding work with the 4-H Club;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Crystal in receiving this award and wish her many years of success.

RESOLUTION NO. 583

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Diane and Greg McMasters of Vintage Stove and Fireplace were named Business of the Year by the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce during its monthly meeting in October, 2006; and

Whereas customers will tell you that Diane and Greg are the type of small business people they like to see, who know their business, know their product, and provide excellent service; and

Whereas Diane and Greg have been taking care of their business which Diane's father started in 1999, striving for quality and service you can trust.

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Diane and Greg McMasters of Vintage Stove on receiving this prestigious award and we wish them continued success in the future.

[Page 1038]

RESOLUTION NO. 584

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Scott Woods displayed his talents in Port Greville on July 26, 2006, at the Grace United Church in Port Greville for a good cause; and

Whereas Scott is the Canadian Open Fiddle Champion, Grand Master Fiddle Champion, Fiddle Entertainer of the Year, duet Fiddle Champion and the Novelty Fiddle Champion; and

Whereas Woods and his group of musicians travel with Airstream trailers and bring grassroots music to people of rural Canada and raising thousands of dollars for charity along the way as this concert's proceeds went to churches in the Port Greville area;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Scott Woods on his outstanding talents and for the incredible amount of monies that go to worthy charities from his work.

RESOLUTION NO. 585

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Elizabeth Alderson was presented a certificate of appreciation for volunteering and helping to make the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the elementary students of Springhill a success for 15 years; and

Whereas this dinner means a lot to the students of Junction Road and West End Elementary Schools, where they are served a sit down turkey dinner; and

Whereas Elizabeth Alderson, along with all the other volunteers, help make this day a very special day for the children, who will always remember the experience of sitting down with their fellow classmates to enjoy such a special meal;

[Page 1039]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Elizabeth Alderson on her dedicated service to the annual Thanksgiving dinner for these elementary students and wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 586

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Junior Alderson was presented a certificate of appreciation for volunteering and helping to make the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the elementary students of Springhill a success for 15 years; and

Whereas this dinner means a lot to the students of Junction Road and West End Elementary Schools, where they are served a sit down turkey dinner; and

Whereas Junior Alderson, along with all the other volunteers, help make this day a very special day for the children, who will always remember the experience of sitting down with their fellow classmates to enjoy such a special meal;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Junior Alderson on his dedicated service to the annual Thanksgiving dinner for these elementary students and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 587

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas All Saints Anglican Church was presented a certificate of appreciation for volunteering and helping to make the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the elementary students of Springhill a success for 15 years; and

Whereas this dinner means a lot to the students of Junction Road and West End Elementary Schools, where they are served a sit down turkey dinner; and

Whereas All Saints Anglican Church, along with all the other volunteers, help make this day a very special day for the children, who will always remember the experience of sitting down with their fellow classmates to enjoy such a special meal;

[Page 1040]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate All Saints Anglican Church on their dedicated service to the annual Thanksgiving dinner for these elementary students and wish them the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 588

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Maxine Bowden from Diligent River was honoured by Canada Post and the residents of Diligent River after her retirement from Canada Post; and

Whereas after 30 years of handling the mail for the Diligent River residents as Post Master for the small outlet, Maxine has decided to retire; and

Whereas residents of the neighbourhood thought so much of Maxine that they got together and came up with a fitting tribute by canvassing the neighbourhood and got all the residents to sign a huge card which they then framed and presented to Maxine along with a painting from local artist, Arlene Collins;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Maxine Bowden on her retirement after 30 years of service to Canada Post and wish her all the best in her retirement.

RESOLUTION NO. 589

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Jarred Brown of Springhill showed amazing initiative as a young entrepreneur as he set out to make life for the youth of his area a little more entertaining; and

Whereas Jarred has given many volunteer hours for his community, and learned a lot of skills that have helped him start up the business of promoting a number of rock concerts throughout Cumberland County for the youth of his area; and

Whereas Jarred has shown remarkable maturity and dedication in his request to promote these concerts;

[Page 1041]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jarred Brown on his outstanding achievements and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 590

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Joan Brown was presented a certificate of appreciation for volunteering and helping to make the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the elementary students of Springhill a success for 15 years; and

Whereas this dinner means a lot to the students of Junction Road and West End Elementary Schools, where they are served a sit down turkey dinner; and

Whereas Joan Brown, along with all the other volunteers, help make this day a very special day for the children, who will always remember the experience of sitting down with their fellow classmates to enjoy such a special meal;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Joan Brown on her dedicated service to the annual Thanksgiving dinner for these elementary students and wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 591

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Clare Canning was presented a certificate of appreciation for volunteering and helping to make the annual Thanksgiving dinner for the elementary students of Springhill a success for 15 years; and

Whereas this dinner means a lot to the students of Junction Road and West End Elementary Schools, where they are served a sit down turkey dinner; and

Whereas Clare Canning, along with all the other volunteers, help make this day a very special day for the children, who will always remember the experience of sitting down with their fellow classmates to enjoy such a special meal;

[Page 1042]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Clare Canning on her dedicated service to the annual Thanksgiving dinner for these elementary students and wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 592

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Heather Creamer of Oxford was crowned Cumberland County's 4-H princess at this year's Cumberland County Exhibition in September; and

Whereas Heather was chosen by her club and went through the process of being interviewed at the Experimental Farm in Nappan by judges Ralph and Lynn Welton; and

Whereas Heather is excited at being crowned princess and is looking forward to what's ahead for her in the coming year, hoping that she will learn more leadership skills;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Heather Creamer on being crowned princess at the Cumberland County 4-H Exhibition, and we wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 593

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Joanna Darragh of Collingwood was crowned 2nd Lady in Waiting 2006 at the Cumberland County Exhibition in September; and

Whereas Joanna is also a member of the 272 Amherst Army Cadets where she is a Cadet Warrant Officer; and

Whereas Joanna was one of thirteen contestants participating in the 2005 Miss Cumberland Pageant at the Cumberland County Exhibition;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Joanna Darragh on being crowned 2nd Lady in Waiting at the 2006 Cumberland County Exhibition and we wish her continued success in the future.

[Page 1043]

RESOLUTION NO. 594

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Carl Demmings of Springhill was honoured by the Rotary Club by being awarded the True Rotarian Award during the District President Dennis Knight's visit in September; and

Whereas Carl Demmings was recognized with this prestigious award for his years of service and exemplifying Rotary as a way of life; and

Whereas Carl has been a member of the Rotary Club for many years and is appreciated by all of the members of his own Club and the residents of Springhill and area;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Carl Demmings on receiving this well deserved award and we wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION 595

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Danika Deveaux of Oxford was crowned Miss Cumberland 2006 at the Cumberland County Exhibition in September; and

Whereas Danika is an honour student at Oxford Regional High School and also a very talented singer and piano player along with many other talents; and

Whereas Danika was chosen from 13 contestants that were vying for the title of Miss Cumberland 2006;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Danika Deveaux on being crowned Miss Cumberland at the 2006 Cumberland County Exhibition and wish her continued success in the future.