The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 06-20

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

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Acadian Affs.: Francophone Advancement - Policy,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1329
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Scott 1332
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Scott 1333
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 733, Afghanistan: Cdn. Mission - Support, The Premier 1333
Vote - Affirmative 1334
Res. 734, Nat'l. Pain Awareness Wk. (11/05-11/11/06) - Recognize,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 1334
Vote - Affirmative 1335
Res. 735, MADD Canada - Red Ribbon Campaign,
Hon. M. Scott 1335
Vote - Affirmative 1335
Res. 736, Johnson, Duncan & Laurie: Woodlot Owner of Yr. -
Congrats., Hon. D. Morse 1336
Vote - Affirmative 1336
Res. 737, N.S. Arts & Culture Partnership Coun. - Awareness
Efforts, Hon. L. Goucher 1337
Vote - Affirmative 1338
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 738, Communications N.S.: Staff - Awards, Hon. B. Barnet 1338
Vote - Affirmative 1338
Res. 739, Seniors' Safety Wk. (11/06 - 11/12/06): Importance -
Recognize, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1338
Vote - Affirmative 1339
Res. 740, Int'l. Assoc. of Security & Investigative Regulators:
Members - Welcome, Hon. M. Scott 1339
Vote - Affirmative 1340
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 89, Provincial Court Act, Hon. M. Scott 1340
No. 90, Public Highways Act, Mr. C. Parker 1340
No. 91, Trade Union Act, Mr. Manning MacDonald 1340
No. 92, Assessment Act, Hon. J. Muir 1341
No. 93, Student Aid Act, Mr. L. Glavine 1341
NOTICES OF MOTIONS:
Res. 741, Clare Acadian Fest. (51st): Organizers/Participants -
Congrats., Mr. W. Gaudet 1341
Vote - Affirmative 1342
Res. 742, Glace Bay School Band/Stetter, Barbara: Dedication -
Congrats., Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1342
Vote - Affirmative 1343
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 167, Com. Serv.: Supportive Living - Wait Times,
Mr. D. Dexter 1343
No. 168, Educ.: Class Sizes - Address, Mr. L. Glavine 1344
No. 169, Educ.: Learning Difficulties - Census, Mr. D. Dexter 1346
No. 170, Educ.: Diabetes Care - Sch. Officials, Mr. W. Estabrooks 1347
No. 171, Educ.: Tuition Support Prog. - IPP Funding,
Mr. L. Glavine 1348
No. 172, Educ.: SEIRC Recommendations - Implement,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1349
No. 173, Health Prom. & Protection: Walk to School Prog. (Pictou) -
Cancellation, Mr. C. Parker 1351
No. 174, Econ. Dev.: Digby Wharf - Concerns, Mr. H. Theriault 1352
No. 175, NSLC: Product Sales - Marketing, Mr. C. MacKinnon 1353
No. 176, Health: Richmond Villa - Placements, Mr. M. Samson 1354
No. 177, Health: Mental Health Care - Wait Lists, Ms. V. Conrad 1356
No. 177, Health: Mental Health Care - Wait Lists, Ms. V. Conrad
No. 178, Health: Youth - Secure Care Facility, Ms. V. Conrad 1357
No. 179, Health: Nursing Home Beds (Middleton) - Commitment,
Mr. S. McNeil 1359
No. 180, Com. Serv.: Mental Health Consumers - Housing Lack,
Ms. V. Conrad 1360
No. 181, TCH: Fossil Museum (Sydney Mines) - Funding,
Ms. J. Massey 1361
No. 182, Com. Serv.: Housing Repair Prog. - Wait List,
Ms. D. Whalen 1362
No. 183, Environ. & Labour - Recycling Prog. - Tires,
Ms. M. Raymond 1364
No. 184, Health: Med. Students - Rural Placements,
Mr. S. Belliveau 1365
No. 185, Educ.: Glace Bay JHS - Construction Announce.
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1366
No. 186, Fish. & Aquaculture: Fishery Collapse - Avert,
Mr. S. Belliveau 1368
No. 187, Health - DHA Business Plans: Approval - Time Frame,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1369
No. 188, Justice - FOI Review Officer - Appoint, Mr. K. Deveaux 1370
No. 189, TPW - HWY No. 103: Completion Date - Penalty,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1372
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 656, - Gov't. (N.S.) - Rural N.S./C.B.: Sustainable Dev. Plan -
Implement - notice given No. 6, 2006 1373
Mr. C. MacKinnon 1373
Mr. R. Hurlburt 1375
Mr. H. Theriault 1379
Mr. J. MacDonell 1382
Res. 658, Childcare/Childhood Educ. - Access - notice given
Nov. 6, 2006 1385
Mr. T. Zinck 1385
Hon. J. Streatch 1388
Mr. S. McNeil 1390
Ms. M. More 1393
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thurs. Nov. 8th, at 12:00 noon 1397
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 743, O'Regans S. Shore Toyota - Lun. Commun. Recycling
Centre Bus. of Mo., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1398
Res. 744, Carver, Katelynn: Cross Country Meet. - Performance,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1398
Res. 745, Taylor, Justin: Cross Country Meet - Performance,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1399
Res. 746, Martell Family/Inside-Out Cleaning - Sm. Bus. Award,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1399
Res. 747, Wentzell, Arol & Marilyn: Wentzell's Bottle Recycling -
Entrepreneurial Award, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1400
Res. 748, Baker, Ed/Rafuse, Carla: Vale Packaging - Export
Achievement Award, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1400
Res. 749, Guitton, Pres. Maurice/Composites Atl. - Innovation
Award, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1401
Res. 750, Carver, Katelynn/Taylor, Justin/Mattias Wolter: Cross Country
Championships - Performance, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1401
Res. 751, Naugler, David - Bodybuilding Championships,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1402
Res. 752, Atkinson, Tim/Ducks Unlimited - Wetland Establishment,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1402
Res. 753, Wheaton, Bill & Irene - Parrsboro Citizen of Yr.,
Hon. M. Scott 1402
Res. 754, RCL: Joggins Branch 4 - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1403
Res. 755, RCL: River Hebert Branch 14 - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1404
Res. 756, RCL: Springhill Branch 17 - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1404
Res. 757, RCL: Maccan Branch 134 - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1405
Res. 758, RCL: Oxford Branch 36 - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1405
Res. 759, RCL: Parrsboro Branch 45 - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 1406
Res. 760, RCMP: Chester Detachment - Grand Opening,
Hon. J. Streatch 1406
Res. 761, Ashern, Pat: Talents - Recognize, Hon. J. Streatch 1407
Res. 762, Sullivan, Margaret: Talents - Recognize,
Hon. J. Streatch 1407
Res. 763, MacIntosh, Judy: Talents - Recognize, Hon. J. Streatch 1407
Res. 764, McSween, Sebastien: Talents - Recognize,
Hon. J. Streatch 1408
Hon. J. Streatch
Res. 765, Murdock, Wayne: Talents - Recognize, Hon. J. Streatch 1408
Res. 766, Cleveland, Jimmy & Jackie: Talents - Recognize,
Hon. J. Streatch 1409
Res. 767, Jones, Gert: Talents - Recognize,
Hon. J. Streatch 1409
Res. 768, Bos, John: Talents - Recognize, Hon. J. Streatch 1409
Res. 769, Lewis, Sheila: Talents - Recognize, Hon. J. Streatch 1410
Res. 770, White, Cora-Lynn, Tilia & Tyler: Bravery - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 1410
Res. 771, Fredericks, Tammie/Freddie's Fish & Chips - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 1411
Res. 772, Swim, Roland & Amanda: Half Marathon - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 1411
Res. 773, McNamara, Sharon/Palango, Paul: Kiln Art -
Entrepreneurial Achievement Award, Hon. J. Streatch 1412
Res. 774, Chester Yacht Club: Expansions/Renovations - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Streatch 1412
Res. 775, Bathurst, Susan: Spa Bus. - Success Wish,
Hon. J. Streatch 1413
Res. 776, Delamere, Derek/Tough, Elaine: Rope Loft Res. -
Entrepreneurial Achievement Award, Hon. J. Streatch 1413

[Page 1329]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2006

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

11:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Acadian Affairs.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, before I go into the statement, I want to thank the members for allowing us to travel to Quebec City yesterday for an announcement by the Government of Quebec in regard to the francophonie canadienne. I do want to thank the member opposite, the MLA for Clare, for accompanying me. I do want to apologize to the Speaker for taking the Deputy Speaker away from him during yesterday's session. I hear that the Speaker did do yeoman service sitting in the Chair.

1329

[Page 1330]

With that, also, Mr. Speaker. I will be doing my statement in French, providing English translation to the members so they can follow along.

Merci beaucoup, M. le Président.

Hier j'ai participé à une cérémonie organisée par le gouvernement du Québec dans la ville de Québec. C'est avec grand intérêt que j'ai pris connaissance de la nouvelle politique du Québec en matière de la francophonie canadienne.

Cette nouvelle politique présente dix actions que le gouvernement du Québec prendra afin de contribuer à l'avancement de la francophonie canadienne. Selon le Premier ministre du Québec, Jean Charest, et le ministre responsable des Affaires intergouvernementales et de la francophonie canadienne, Benoît Pelletier, ces mesures répondront à certains des besoins identifiés par les francophones et les Acadiens du Canada.

Je rappelle à tous les members de l'Assemblée que l'Office des affairs acadiennes gère l'entente interprovincial de coopération et d'échange entre le Québec et la Nouvelle-Écosse. Nous sommes donc heureux de cette nouvelle politique et nous prévoyons poursuivre et améllorer nos partenariats.

Le Québec est dans une position idéale pour aider les francophones à l'extérieur de leur province. Les représentants ont une certaine expertise dans des domaines où il est plutôt difficile pour les communautés acadiennes et francophones d'obtenir une telle expertise en raison de leur situation minoritaire . . .

La nouvelle politique encourage le dialogue au sein de la francophonie canadienne, l'établissement de réseaux avec le Québec afin de contribuer à l'augmentation des resources dans nos bibliothèques francophones, par exemple, et d'autres initiatives qui appuieront certains projets dans le domaine des arts et de la culture en français.

Je suis fier de voir que le Québec va au-delà de ses propres frontières et collabore avec TOUTES les communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada. Nos acadiennes sont a peine 40,000 personnes mais ensemble avec le francophonie canadien nous sommes de 9 millions francophones. Donc avec ça M. le Président je vous remercie et remercie le temps de l'assemblée.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to have a chance to respond en anglais with regard to this particular announcement. I know the minister had an opportunity yesterday to hear first-hand what the Quebec government is doing.

[Page 1331]

I guess I would make this comment - I welcome the fact that the Quebec Government recognizes the need to not only talk about francophones within Quebec, le Québécois, but also to focus, to provide support for francophones outside of Quebec. I would suggest that, given the state of some of the services that are being provided to francophones in this province, by this government, that maybe it is necessary for us to access some of that help.

I'll give a good example. My caucus and I met with la Fédération Acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse in the summer and they raised a particular issue of how the first language francophone students in this province are being deprived of certain programs with regard to their education - whether it's materials that are provided in English for our anglophone students that aren't being provided for francophone students, or whether it is services that have been downloaded to the CSAP - these are issues that maybe, if this government is not prepared to provide the resources necessary, maybe the Quebec Government can. Maybe it's not even a matter of funding, maybe it's a matter of textbooks, maybe it's a matter of curriculum, maybe these are things that we can access through the Quebec Government and I would recommend that.

As a parent of children who are in French immersion, I do know the challenge we have with the ability to purchase books in French, en française, for our students who have French as a second language. I would also say maybe there's an opportunity with the Quebec Government to partner in a way it would ensure, again, textbooks and reading materials en française are things that maybe they could also provide, given the fact they are purchasing them on a much bigger scale, much bigger volume, and I would encourage both him and the Minister of Education to consider these things and look at this program seriously as a means of being able to find those programs and the funding. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. M. le Président premièrement je suis content de dire quelques mots et j'aimerais de remercié le ministre pour son invitation a participé à cette ceremonie à Quebec yier et aussi remercier le ministre pour m'avoir faire parvenir une copie de ses remarques de l'avance.

M. le Président yier le gouvernement de Québec a annoncé ça politique à matière de francophonie canadienne à Québec. Le Québec a joué un rôle de premier plan dans notre pays à promouvoir le français au Canada et continue de la faire. Avec cet nouvelle politique le Québec veut ce rapprocher parmi nos communautés francophones et acadiennes à travers le Canada. Le Québec est dans un position idéal, comme le ministre a indiqué, pour aider les francophones à l'extérieure de leur province. Le Québec vive a renforcer les liens qui existent toujours entre nos communautés francophones et acadiennes du pays.

[Page 1332]

Le Québec veut encouragé et faciliter le partage d'idées et d'expertise avec la francophonie canadienne. M. le Président, ce partage d'idées et d'expertise toucheront plusieurs facteurs, examples; la culture, la communication, l'éducation, le développement économique, la santé, la petite enfance, la jeunesse, l'immigration, la justice, le développement durable et les technologies de l'information. Pour nous les acadiens francophones dans la Nouvelle-Écosse - une population d'à peu près 40,000 lorsqu'on voit à peu près 9 millions francophones qui existent à travers notre pays - c'est réassurant et c'est encourageant a pensé qu'on n'est pas seule dans la Nouvelle-Écosse à vivre en français au Canada. Avec cette invitation aux communautés francophones et acadiennes à travers le Canada, le Québec veut aidé à soutenir et a faire avancer la francophonie au Canada et je les félicite. On peut s'aidé, on peut travaillé ensemble et on peut faire avancer la francophonie dans notre province et dans notre pays.

[11:15 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Government of Quebec announced its new policy to support Canada's francophone. There are approximately 40,000 francophones in Nova Scotia and we've very pleased to learn of this new policy. Quebec, as we know, has and continues to play a major role in promoting our French language and culture in Canada. So in closing, the Government of Quebec should be congratulated for reaching out to francophones and Acadian communities outside of Quebec.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I request that the House revert back to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 12 - Education Act.

Bill No. 14 - Public Service Act.

Bill No. 22 - Motor Vehicle Act.

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

[Page 1333]

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 23 - Wills Act.

Bill No. 75 - Securities Act.

and the committee recommends these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 733

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

Whereas we Nova Scotians owe our cherished freedoms to the brave Canadians in our history who were prepared to lay down their lives in defence of those freedoms we take for granted today; and

Whereas many courageous Nova Scotians are currently serving in Afghanistan, under the mandate of the United Nations, taking part in the fight for freedom and global security; and

Whereas as Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor said of our Forces personnel: "They understand that their presence in Afghanistan is necessary to help the Afghan people have a better future. And most of all, they understand that it is necessary to protect Canada from the scourge of terrorism.";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support the ongoing Canadian mission to bring security and renewal to Afghanistan, and salute the brave

[Page 1334]

members of the Canadian Forces wherever they serve by sending our prayers for their safe return to our shores and to their families and loved ones.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 734

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

Whereas this week, November 5 to November 11, 2006, is National Pain Awareness Week in Canada - a week for us to recognize many people across the province who suffer from chronic pain; and

Whereas this government has made a commitment to address the need for increased services in Nova Scotia and is the first province to move forward with a province-wide working plan based on suggestions from other health providers, including pain specialists, clinicians and representatives from all nine district health authorities and the IWK Health Centre; and

Whereas over the next two years we will invest $2 million in that plan so that Nova Scotians suffering from chronic pain receive equal access to quality care across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize November 5th to November 11th as National Pain Awareness Week and acknowledge our clinicians for the critical role that they play in providing high quality patient care to Nova Scotians in pain.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1335]

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 Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 735

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

Whereas MADD Canada and its local organizations do an excellent job of keeping the issue of impaired driving at the forefront of public opinion through activities like the Red Ribbon Campaign; and

Whereas together with partners like MADD, we are working to address impaired driving through education and awareness, and enforcement; and

Whereas the red ribbon is an effective way of reminding Nova Scotians of the life and death importance of driving sober;

Therefore be it resolved that all Nova Scotians congratulate MADD on its hard work and effort and be encouraged to tie on a red ribbon and commit to driving sober during the holiday season and all year long.

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. 736

[Page 1336]

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

Whereas each year, the province recognizes outstanding woodlot owners for their contribution to sustainable development; and

Whereas this year, Duncan and Laurie Johnson of South Maitland in Hants County were chosen as provincial winners from among three regional finalists; and

Whereas the entire Johnson family have worked tirelessly to promote the benefit of successful woodlot management and have contributed to public awareness of the value of a healthy woodlot;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the outstanding achievement of Duncan and Laurie Johnson and their two sons, and thank them for their enthusiastic and innovative approaches to woodlot management in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition on an introduction.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: In the west gallery I'd like to have the opportunity to introduce to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the House, Kathryn Laurin, President and Vice-Chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University. I believe it's her first time in the House. I would ask the House to give her a welcome to the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West on an introduction.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery, where my wife, Doris, is visiting for the first time, and family relative Joan Churchill and family friend Rose Fitzgerald. So if they could stand and get a warm welcome. (Applause)

[Page 1337]

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed, we welcome all our guests to the gallery here at the Legislature today.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 737

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

Whereas arts and culture play an important role in our lives and bring significant social and economic benefits to our communities; and

Whereas the first annual Creative Nova Scotia Conference illustrated the ties between arts and culture and other sectors, including health, education, justice and economic development, and encouraged delegates to further strengthen their communities through arts and culture development; and

Whereas the Awards Gala celebrated excellence, innovation and artistic expression by Nova Scotian artists with the presentation of the new Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia's Masterwork Award, the Portia White Prize, the Aliant New Media Prize and the Prix Grand-Pre Prize;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize and congratulate the Nova Scotia Arts and Culture Partnership Council for its efforts to raise awareness of the importance of arts and culture in our province by hosting this inaugural event in Pictou on October 19, 2006.

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 Communications Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 738

[Page 1338]

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

Whereas Communications Nova Scotia has been instrumental in sharing information with Nova Scotians about what their government is doing and why; and

Whereas several Communications Nova Scotia staff members received Gemstone Awards for excellence in communications for their work from the Canadian Public Relations Society; and

Whereas these communications initiatives are informing Nova Scotians about the topics that affect them, including Mi'kmaq history and culture, and health and wellness of teens;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to the Communications Nova Scotia award winners on their achievements.

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 Seniors.

RESOLUTION NO. 739

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has the highest percentage of seniors in Atlantic Canada and the second highest in Canada; and

Whereas November 6 to 12, 2006, is National Seniors' Safety Week in Canada; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia Senior Citizens' Secretariat works hard year-round to promote the safety of seniors, in collaboration with other departments and community

[Page 1339]

groups, through programs such as home and community safety, falls prevention, improved accessibility, safe medication use, and safe driving;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the importance of Seniors' Safety Week in Nova Scotia for the safety and benefit of all seniors in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 740

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

Whereas the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators has the goal of enhancing public safety by promoting professionalism in the private security industry through effective regulation; and

Whereas this is a North America-wide organization whose membership is comprised of state and provincial government regulators, private industry, law enforcement, and other interested individuals; and

Whereas this association meets regularly to discuss issues such as regulatory reform, licensing, reciprocity, training and education, and the Department of Justice is holding its first meeting of the association here in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that we welcome all the members of the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators to our beautiful province, and wish them a most successful conference.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1340]

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 on an introduction.

HON. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased and proud to rise this afternoon to make an introduction. In the east gallery, I would like to introduce a gentleman who is in town today to attend the military ceremony that is taking place this afternoon. He's an immigrant from Holland and he's very proud of our Canadian Forces and the Canadian troops. He is also the Past Chairman of Pork Nova Scotia, and he is known to many members in the Legislature. He's certainly a friend of the Premiers of this province. I would ask the constituent from the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley to rise and please receive a round of applause from the House, and that gentleman's name is Mr. Herman Berfelo. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 89 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 238 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Provincial Court Act. (Hon. Murray Scott)

Bill No. 90 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 371 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Public Highways Act. (Mr. Charles Parker)

Bill No. 91 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 475 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Trade Union Act. (Mr. Manning MacDonald)

Bill No. 92 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Assessment Act. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 93 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 449 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Student Aid Act. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

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

[11:30 a.m.]

The honourable member for Dartmouth North on an introduction.

[Page 1341]

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, today I'd like to welcome to the House Mrs. Wendy Bird, in the west gallery - if she could stand. Ms. Bird has a daughter, Taran Ritcey, who is intellectually challenged and has been fighting for small options homes over the years. I would have the House welcome her today. (Applause)

NOTICES OF MOTION

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 741

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: M. le Président, par la présente, j'avise que je proposerai à une date ultérieure, l'adoption de la résolution, suivante:

Attendu que le Festival acadien de Clare est une célébration annuelle d'une partie intégrante du patrimoine historique et culturel de notre province; et

Attendu que nous célébrons le 51 ième anniversaire du Festival acadien; et

Attendu que nombreux bénévoles s'engagent à chaque année pour assurer l'organisation et le bon déroulement du festival;

Qu'il soit résolu que cette assemblée se joignent à moi pour féliciter et remercier les organisateurs et les participants du 51 ième Festival acadien de Clare.

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

Whereas the Clare Acadian Festival is an annual celebration of an important social fabric of our cultural heritage in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this year is the 51st Anniversary of the Clare Acadian Festival; and

Whereas dedicated volunteers are engaged in the organization of the festival every summer;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating the organizers and participants of this year's Clare 51st Acadian Festival.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1342]

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. 742

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

Whereas the Glace Bay School Band was started from very humble beginnings in 1973 and today is extremely proud to be performing at the Military Appreciation Day Rally; and

Whereas the Glace Bay School Band, under the direction of Barbara Stetter, has among their many appearances performed for the Queen, the Prime Minister and six times at Disney World; and

Whereas the Glace Bay School Band was the first Canadian band to successfully audition for a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The band is recognized internationally for their outstanding level of musicianship and performance;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Glace Bay School Band and director Barbara Stetter for their dedication and excellence in representing their school and community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

[Page 1343]

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 11:35 a.m. and conclude at 1:05 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

COM. SERV.: SUPPORTIVE LIVING - WAIT TIMES

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question this morning will be for the Minister of Community Services. Taran Ritcey is a 23-year-old woman with an intellectual disability. She has been on the waiting list for supportive living since 2003. Her family has been told that the system is a one-in, one-out system, and there will not be a placement for a long time. My question, through you, to the Minister of Community Services is, why are supportive housing options for adults with disabilities so poorly funded and kept in such short supply?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for the opportunity to rise today to discuss something that is of the utmost importance to all Nova Scotians. Certainly, while I would never comment on the specifics of any case, I know that there are families in Nova Scotia who come to us looking for assistance, they come to us looking to provide the best possible care that we can for their families, and that is absolutely what we do at the Department of Community Services, and we will continue to do that through a variety and a myriad of supports, and supports in the community, and through our programs and facilities.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the minister says, this is exactly what the department does not do. Taran's family and three others bought a house to provide supported living for four young adults. Community Services refuses to fund this home, although it would give these young people the supportive housing that is their best choice. This government places adults with disabilities in long-term care facilities, in adult foster care, or alternative family adoptions. Yet, those options limit the independence, and many consider them demeaning to grown adults. I would ask the minister, through you, why is her department so determined to enforce a moratorium on community-based housing that it turned down these families?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, at the Department of Community Services we take very seriously the entire issue of programs and supports. We have a very dedicated, competent staff who work diligently, work extremely hard to ensure that the needs are being met. I'm very pleased that this government brought in the direct family support, the alternate family support, and the independent living support programs to provide the up-front preventative proactive assistance to those families in order for the family members to be kept in the community. Now, currently underway we have a review of all of our programming and facilities in the province, and we look forward to receiving all interested applicants and all interested programs, and we will consider them all and move forward in the best interests of all Nova Scotians.

[Page 1344]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it seems that every day that we come to this House we have to point out to the Minister of Community Services the failures in her department. This is another one. The minister might think that it is okay for adults to live in foster care, but most adults with disabilities disagree. Wendy Bird and other parents want their adult children to live independently, with dignity and with respect. (Applause)

I ask the Minister of Community Services, when will her department finally listen to the Kendrick report, families and adults with disabilities themselves, and start offering more supportive housing?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, this government, indeed, the Department of Community Services takes very seriously the lives of all Nova Scotians who we deal with daily, and we have a very dedicated, competent staff who work extremely hard to meet their needs. Forty-seven hundred Nova Scotians' needs are being met through the Services for Persons with Disabilities to the tune of $183 million. That's the commitment of this government.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

EDUC.: CLASS SIZES - ADDRESS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. An adequate and stable learning environment is essential for the overall development of Nova Scotia youth in the province. However, Nova Scotia educators continue to feel the strain of large class sizes that make it difficult for students to receive the one-on-one attention they deserve. While the government's Learning for Life initiative has helped reduce class sizes for Grades Primary to 3, the minister has yet to address the extreme class sizes that continue to burden educators, particular at junior and senior high levels. My question to the minister is, does this government have a long-term commitment to address class sizes in Nova Scotia so that our youth receive the quality education they deserve?

HON. KAREN CASEY: To the member opposite and to all members of the House, class size is certainly a factor to be considered. Boards have the responsibility to look at class sizes and to make the decisions as to how those students will be divided up amongst the teachers that they have.

I am certainly aware of some concerns, as is the minister opposite. We have discussed this prior to, but I would like to share with the House the average class sizes in our schools at this point in time: elementary is 23 to 1; junior, 25 to 1 and senior, 23 to 1. It is a concern; if we have anomalies in that, we will address them. Thank you.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, it is clear that this government and this minister, do not have a long-term vision to address the needs of secondary students in this

[Page 1345]

province. In a 2005 document from the Department of Education, class sizes in the HRM alone were substantially high. The number of classes, at the junior high level ranging from 26 to 30, were 262 classes; classes sized 31 to 35 were 67, with four above 35; and a preliminary look this year sees it at much the same.

Mr. Speaker, these numbers are applicable to regions of the province, clearly unacceptable to both students and teachers who put in countless hours to educate our youth.

My question to the minister, will you make class size reduction a clear mandate for all students in this province?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, again to the member opposite, you will recall that in our budget for this year we had looked at cap sizing. We began a cap size of one to 25 and we have extended that, a long-term plan, to the end of elementary. That is just a beginning, Mr. Speaker.

MR. GLAVINE: Well, Mr. Speaker, large class sizes are detrimental to any student's learning environment. If the minister is wondering why Nova Scotia continues to score among the lowest in provincial assessment scores, large class sizes would be a good place to start.

In the AVRSB system this school year, there are 42 classes, Grade 4 to Grade 8, of concern and there are 48 classes, Grade 9 to Grade 12, with 35 students or more in those classes. My question to the minister is, will this government make class size reduction a priority for both junior and senior high students, so they can reach their maximum potential?

MS. CASEY: I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I would repeat that we began the process of looking at capping class sizes. We have extended that to the end of elementary; we will continue to study and work with boards.

I would remind the member opposite that the particular issue of which he speaks is one that he and I have discussed prior to and we have been in consultation with the board in question and have asked them to review that in their staffing for next year. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

EDUC.: LEARNING DIFFICULTIES - CENSUS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you will be to the Minister of Education. Currently the Department of Education is engaged in a review of the tuition support program that funds specialized education services for children with

[Page 1346]

learning difficulties, who need them. The review is long overdue. However, it is my understanding that the department still does not know how many children in Nova Scotia have learning difficulties, the definition of which includes children with autism, ADD, and ADHD.

My question through you to the minister, Mr. Speaker, is when is the government going to conduct a census of children with learning difficulties so that they know how many children your new policy will need to support?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the tuition support program, again I would refer back to our budget of 2006-07, where we extended the tuition support beyond the second year to include a third year for those students who have special needs that cannot be met in the school. Along with that new policy and that new initiative, there is a consultation which will help to identify all of the students in our province who have special needs.

[11:45 a.m.]

MR. DEXTER: Well perhaps the minister misunderstood my question, Mr. Speaker, because my question was around the very central question of actually how many students are in the system who need the support. It doesn't matter what the budget is if you don't know who it is that you need to provide the services to.

Mr. Speaker, the criteria for tuition support for a child with learning difficulty insists on an IPP, or an individual program plan, but not all children with learning difficulties have an IPP. Parents of children with learning difficulties often spend hundreds of dollars on psychologists who diagnose their children and recommend tuition support. So my question for the minister is, when is the minister going to broaden the criteria for tuition support to include the opinions of professional psychologists?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite and to the House, the developing of an IPP is a team effort that includes recommendations and advice - whether it's psychologists, doctors or whoever that may be in the community, and their input is considered when that IPP is developed and it certainly is respected.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, last May there were 86 children who were receiving tuition support in Nova Scotia. The Premier extended the program for an additional year, as part of an election commitment. Those children will have another year schooling in the environment that is developed to meet their needs. The parents of these children are already concerned about what will happen at the end of this school year. They are wondering if they are going to have to lobby and to plead and to protest, once more, to get the services that their children need. My question to the Minister of Education is, when are you going to assure parents that the services that these people have battled for, won't be taken away from their children next May?

[Page 1347]

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, the tuition support initiative is one that has a component of assessment and that ongoing assessment will continue, but I would remind the House that the intent of the tuition support program is not for a long-term solution because integration back into the public school system is the goal of that. Some students may not be able to do that successfully, some may, but that is the intent and that would be our goal.

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

EDUC.: DIABETES CARE - SCH. OFFICIALS

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you, is to the Minister of Education. Recently we received correspondence from a mother of a young Halifax girl with Type I Diabetes, who has just started school. Her family has worked for months with the school to find an agreed way to manage their daughter's diabetes. In this case, the family is happy with their child's care. However, other families that I know of have had a less positive experience, due to a lack of guidance from the top, on how to deal with this condition of diabetes, with students in our school. So my first question to the minister is, why do children with diabetes often have to have to depend on extensive family intervention to ensure that they get proper care from our school officials?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, through you to the members opposite, all of the unique needs of students are assessed and are dealt with at the school level and if there's further direction or policy that's needed in order for our staff to deal with specifics such as diabetes, we would be glad to address that.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, diabetes is a difficult condition to manage. Principals and teachers need assistance and guidance in order to ensure that the children in their care can check insulin levels, receive glucose if necessary and eat regularly to maintain the proper insulin levels. However, the diabetes advocacy group states that there is no consistency regarding the care of children with diabetes in our schools. Very few school boards have policies in place that truly outline the responsibilities, the needs and the roles of the parent, the principal, the student. So my second question to the minister is, when are you going to recognize that the Department of Education has a responsibility to take a leadership role on this issue?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, school boards, the Department of Education and in this case, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, are very important partners in determining what the role of teachers actually is, with respect to medications in schools, and we will continue to work with them and respect that.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct the minister's attention and her staff's attention to the home province where I grew up, New Brunswick. New

[Page 1348]

Brunswick has recently implemented a diabetes policy that provides guidelines for all school boards, all schools and principals, in the treatment of students with diabetes. So my question finally to the minister is, when are you going to follow New Brunswick's example and implement a similar diabetes policy for school officials in Nova Scotia?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, whenever there's an issue that affects the safety and the health of any of our students, it becomes a priority and if we can learn from a policy in another province, we will certainly do that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

EDUC.: TUITION SUPPORT PROG. - IPP FUNDING

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. In the Blueprint for a Better Nova Scotia, this government outlined the development of a new tuition support program for special needs students with individualized program plans. The intention of this program was to provide learning environment options for those requiring an education outside the public school system.

Mr. Speaker, the program is currently in its third year of funding with no signs of an extension. This is stressful for many parents because if the program is not extended, then parents will have no other choice but to remove their children from these beneficial programs. My question to the minister is, does the minister have a long-term plan to fund specialized programs such as this one?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, I will repeat my comments from earlier in that the program was extended from a second to a third year. If the need is there, we will continue to review that and include it in our budget.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, the program is extremely important to parents and children. Children exhibiting learning disabilities require programs such as this one to ensure they get proper education they would not receive in the public school system. Children with disabilities need time and require patience to ensure they make the necessary improvements so when they go back into the public school system, they have the skills to continue. My question to the minister is, will the minister and this government guarantee that this program will be renewed beyond this year and further extended for years to come?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, the guarantee that I can give is that we will review it and consider it in a budget deliberation.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, the government made a commitment during its election campaign to begin a consultation process that is open and involves all interested stakeholders. To date, the government has yet to hold these consultations and to allow

[Page 1349]

all interested stakeholders to give their input on the future of the program. These consultations are required in order to evaluate the future of the program. The lives of many families have been patiently waiting for this process. The Allen family in my riding may very well have to sell their home to continue to keep their child at Landmark. So my question to the minister is, will this government keep its election promise and begin an open and transparent consultation process so that all those in need of this program will benefit from it?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, we will certainly involve all of the stakeholders in any consultation and, regardless of that process, we always welcome and are ready to listen to anyone who comes forward.

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

EDUC.: SEIRC RECOMMENDATIONS - IMPLEMENT

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question again is to the Minister of Education. This government has, for years, paid lip service to the ongoing issue of children with special needs. Parents are constantly telling me about how frustrated they get with the lack of consistency in special education services, a lack of consistency between school boards, and between schools in some cases. This inconsistency is due primarily to a lack of leadership and little or no guidance. So my question to the Minister of Education is, when is the department going to implement the spirit, the letter and all of the recommendations - and I repeat, all of the recommendations - of the Special Education Implementation Review Committee?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, we have spoken many times about special needs and the supports that are required for special needs. Additional supports have been in the schools, put into the classrooms in the form of program assistants, and those supports will continue as the need grows and, in fact, the need is growing.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, it's a well-known fact that the Department of Education doesn't know how many children in our schools actually have special needs problems. It's obvious to me that because of that, funding for children with special needs cannot be targeting the children it's supposed to be able to help. In addition to that, or maybe because of this ridiculous Catch-22 situation, children are not being identified for assistance early enough. Children with reading difficulties are generally diagnosed at, or after, the Grade 4 level. That's far too late. I want to ask the minister, when is she going to ensure that all children who have special needs are identified and supported before they reach Grade 4?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to go to the first part of the question, with respect to the numbers, we have approximately 20 per cent of our student population that requires

[Page 1350]

some form of assistance; 4 per cent of that would be special individualized programs. To the second part of the question, there is an Early Intervention Program. It has been in place in our schools. It's called Reading Recovery. It begins at Grade 1, and it is a beginning. (Applause)

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, if the members opposite only know for what they applauded, they would be embarrassed, let me tell you. I can tell you in certain school situations, when that Grade 4 level hits, you suddenly begin to see those assessments begin to happen. Parents tell us they are worn out trying to get their children services. Some parents tell us they're spending part of every day dealing with this issue. Parents need consistency from school boards, but mostly they need leadership from the Department of Education. My final question to the minister is, when is the department going to streamline special needs policy and make them child-centred and results-focused?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, if I could address another program that we have in place, we now have in most of our schools, perhaps all of our schools, program planning teams. Those program planning teams are designed to look at the individual needs of the students, and parents do sit on those planning teams and have direct input.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

HEALTH PROM. & PROTECTION: WALK TO SCHOOL PROG. (PICTOU)

- CANCELLATION

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. I want to table a letter sent by the minister recently to Nova Scotia schools. It states, "I look forward to seeing your students and staff walking or cycling to school during the International Walk to School Week and throughout the year." I know that the minister and several of us walk to schools in our ridings during that important week. The Town of Pictou has a very popular walk to school program, it's called the Walking School Bus Program, and we recently learned that it's being cancelled. Why? Because of insurance concerns. So my question to the minister is, how does the cancellation of this Walk to School project help promote healthy lifestyles for our children?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I don't think it does help the healthy lifestyles of our children. We encourage schools and municipalities to find ways to have our children more active. It's disappointing that that particular program has been cancelled, but I can tell you that if it were brought to our attention and there was a way that we could help to assist that program be reinstated, we would do that.

MR. PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Minister, I'm glad to hear that from the minister. This time, I want to ask a supplementary question to the Minister of Education. I

[Page 1351]

understand that she, too, took the opportunity to walk to school this year, about a month ago, during the Walk to School Week. In Pictou, as I mentioned, school buses drop children off at a designated site and they walk from there to school with parental and teacher supervision. Now the Nova Scotia School Boards Association is determined that this basic activity falls outside the scope of their insurance coverage, and they've stopped it. Minister, will you work with the Nova Scotia School Boards Association to ensure that this Walk to School program is included in their school insurance program?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, we continually work with school boards. In fact, I'll be meeting with the NSSBA this evening and tomorrow, and certainly will raise this with them. Thank you.

[12:00 noon]

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear that. Overall, there is something wrong with this picture. On one hand we have a government department warning about childhood obesity epidemics, and on the other we have another government department allowing school boards to remove a healthy lifestyle choice for the children in the Town of Pictou. So, Mr. Minister, why is your government promoting fitness on one hand and shutting it down on the other?

MR. BARNET: Well, Mr. Speaker, the member opposite didn't convey the truth. The fact is we are promoting healthy on both hands. In fact, it is not a government decision to cut that program, in fact, what we continue to do is give Nova Scotians the option to be the healthiest province in this country.

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

ECON. DEV.: DIGBY WHARF - CONCERNS

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic Development. In 1999, the federal government came to Nova Scotia and asked local coastal communities to take charge of their local wharves. All went well around the province except in Digby. This wharf ended up in the hands of a non-community group, and ever since then, the wharf has been left to decay and become a danger to those who use it. If something isn't done soon, this wharf could literally fall into the harbour, leaving 100 fishing boats with no harbour and major destruction could happen to the Town of Digby. My question to the minister is, does this government have any concern about this controversial wharf in Digby?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member, absolutely yes, this government is concerned about all of our coastal communities and all of our fishing communities. Maybe I can just reflect back a bit in time, I think it was the Liberal Government in Ottawa that transferred that wharf over

[Page 1352]

to a private company. We are having dialogue with the federal government now to see what we can do to upgrade that wharf and get it back in the hands of the community, where it should be.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, this wharf is the home of the famous Digby scallop fleet. It benefits over 100 fishing vessels, more than 50 recreational boats, and supplies protection from storms to the entire Town of Digby. It helps to contribute more than $50 million annually to the economy of Nova Scotia. If it is not looked after very, very soon, many predict that it will fall to pieces when the next major hurricane hits. It will hit, Mr. Speaker, it is just a matter of time. My question to the minister is, will the government take the Digby wharf matter seriously and help the Digby Harbour Authority to stop this from happening?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I am pretty sure the member is well aware who the Minister of Fisheries was at the time of the transfer. I think that member is from the Clare area, now I am not sure. I can assure that member and all members that this government wants to make sure that we secure the fishing communities, and all the assets in those fishing communities. That is why we are working with the new minister of ACOA, who has an open ear and is listening to the needs of Nova Scotians.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, we don't care about the past, we just want to make sure we don't repeat the mistakes of the past. The federal government says they will do nothing until the wharf is back in the hands of the Digby Harbour Authority. Fifteen months after negotiations began, an agreement was met on the purchase, but in order to make this happen, funding is needed from the provincial government.

The Digby Harbour Authority has approached the Office of Economic Development but has heard nothing back. They are not asking for a handout but a simple loan, which will be paid back in full. The present problem, if not looked after immediately, could mean unimaginable destruction to the town and the famous Digby scallop fleet. What is your government prepared to do in order to save the Digby wharf from becoming another casualty in rural Nova Scotia?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member and all members, I will tell that member what this government will do. It will do the same thing as it did with Bay Ferries from Digby to Saint John. We did leadership. We've proven, we have fixed a solution for the Bay Ferries. We are working with our colleagues in Ottawa and we will work to find a solution for the problem of the Digby wharf.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

NSLC: PRODUCT SALES - MARKETING

[Page 1353]

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Liquor Corporation. The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation employs over 1,400 people in Nova Scotia, it has over 100 retail outlets, and it contributes over $170 million to the provincial Treasury each year. It is also a monopoly operation; it is virtually without competition for liquor sales. Yet again it's most recent quarterly results exceeded expectations. Given this, I'd like to ask the minister, does the NSLC, in your view, have any trouble selling its products to Nova Scotians?

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, the NSLC operates a business in a business environment. No, we do not have competition, but we have to be socially responsible for the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, with quarterly results up again, I don't think the corporation is experiencing sales problems. It's curious, then, that a recent job posting by the NSLC is seeking a marketing expert to manage the development and execution of the NSLC loyalty and/or preferred customer program - I'll table the job description - can the minister explain to this House why a monopoly requires a customer loyalty program?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, the NSLC is a Crown Corporation. It operates in a business environment. A business environment requires them to have marketing people to make sure they are meeting the needs. I will say that the profits shown at NSLC mean more money for health care, more money for education, more money for the services that members opposite want to see in this House too.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, everyone appreciates that the NSLC contributes a lot to this province financially, but that's all the more reason for us to be diligent in monitoring the expenses it incurs and the choices it makes.

When will this minister table the cost- benefit analysis for this proposed initiative by the NSLC?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, again, the NSLC is a Crown Corporation. They have a board of directors. They have a business plan. We support the NSLC and their mission here to move forward in marketing.

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

HEALTH: RICHMOND VILLA - PLACEMENTS

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, Richmond Villa finally opened its doors in September after a long, five-year wait and quickly filled to capacity. (Applause)

[Page 1354]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party has the floor.

MR. SAMSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I'm pleased the government recognizes my efforts and the efforts on behalf of the people of Richmond County to fight for that new facility.

Mr. Speaker, as per this government's policy, anyone within a 100 kilometre radius from the Richmond Villa are eligible to apply for residence at the Villa and are being accepted, while there are many residents of Richmond County who are in need of placement. This means that residents from as far away as Antigonish and Sydney are being placed at the Richmond Villa. It's the people of Richmond County who pushed and pushed this government to build this facility. It's also the people of Richmond County who support the Villa bingos, fundraisers and volunteer their time at this facility. So my question to the Minister of Health is, why do residents of Richmond County have to wait for placement at the Richmond Villa, while people from other communities are accepted in priority?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. As we all know, we do have a bed shortage in this province, which is why we're working so hard on that continuing-care strategy. I want to congratulate the member opposite and of course thank the Premier for being at the opening of the Richmond Villa, for a phenomenal facility and one that all Nova Scotians should be proud of. The issue today though is that people with need deserve to be in a facility that can take care of them. We're hoping that over the next number of months, with the 275 beds in Cape Breton, that issue will be alleviated.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, the people of Richmond County supported this long battle to bring the new Villa to our community with their time and with their money. The people of Richmond County deserve to have priority when it comes to placement at the Richmond Villa. There is one case where an elderly lady from Richmond has spent the last three months at the Strait Richmond Hospital waiting for a place at the Richmond Villa while others from communities all over Cape Breton and Antigonish are being placed ahead. This government should realize the importance of keeping loved ones in their communities when they are placed in long-term care. So my question today to the minister is, will he instruct his staff immediately to give priority to the residents of Richmond County for placement at the Richmond Villa?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can commit to the member opposite that we will continue to prioritize the wait list, making sure that people who need long-term care will receive the long-term care that they require. I can also talk about the extra 275 beds that will be constructed, or new beds in Cape Breton, which is about 125 still to come. The Capital Health District is going to be adding another 150 to the area. So we

[Page 1355]

continue making strides in bed additions in this province and once that is done, I know that people in Richmond will have the opportunity to be in their home in St. Peters.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, that's cold comfort for the family of the lady who has been in the Strait Richmond Hospital for three months and they're now wondering if their mum will ever make it to the Richmond Villa, the way this government is going. This is not a new issue and this government has failed to act. During the opening of the Villa in September, I called upon both the Premier and the Minister of Health to give priority to the residents of Richmond County, and it's clear that plea, on behalf of the people of Richmond, has fallen on deaf ears. The Minister of Health himself would also know that Richmond County has very specific linguistic and cultural needs as an Acadian community, therefore my final supplementary to the minister is, based on the linguistic and cultural needs of the residents of Richmond, will you now instruct your staff to give priority to the residents of Richmond County for placement at either the Richmond Villa, or St. Anne's Community Care and Nursing Centre in Arichat?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well that we did change the placement policy so that Acadians and/or people who are able to distinguish that they have a special need, meaning language and being able to receive services in their language, that they can circumvent a little bit of that process, that they can say no to the first placement if it's not in the area that they want. I can, again, assure the member opposite that through the next number of months, as the construction of new beds in Cape Breton happens, that people in Richmond and people in Arichat and all those surrounding areas, will have the opportunity to have service in their own area.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

HEALTH: MENTAL HEALTH CARE - WAIT LISTS

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Mental health consumers in Nova Scotia have an increasingly difficult time accessing the services they require. We know that one recent report, which I will table, featured a mental health consumer who had to threaten to commit suicide in order to get the help he needed. This situation is unacceptable but not unique. In September 2006, there were 640 people waiting to be seen by community teams in the province's mental health outpatient services. There were 395 new referrals and only 242 people had a first visit with the team. My question to the Minister of Health is, when is your government going to do something about these unacceptably long wait-lists?

[12:15 p.m.]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for her question and, of course, we all understand the challenges when it comes

[Page 1356]

to mental health and providing the services that they require, not only in a facility but also in community-type base programs.

Mr. Speaker, I can say that new dollars this year - there's over $1 million- went into the program this year to try to alleviate wait times there. We continually spend in this province on mental health, over $100 million. So I can say that this government is trying to address all those issues, as she has brought up, and the member opposite should know fully well that there are other facilities, not just in the Capital Health District, that have mental health services and we're trying to work together with all those people to make sure that services are available to those patients.

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, the Nova Scotia Department of Health's standards for mental health services state that urgent clients should be seen for a follow-up appointment within seven days but that regular clients do not need to be seen for 90 days. Last month the Dartmouth City team averaged 108 days between an initial visit and follow-up visit for regular clients. This is too long. My question, if early intervention is a key to treating mental illness, then why does your department deem 90 days between visits acceptable and allow this to stretch for as long as 108 days?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, again thank you to the member opposite for bringing this very important issue to the floor of the House. I can say to the member that, as she alluded to, all urgent cases are triaged and are seen immediately as an urgent case. The non-urgent cases are put into the queue for services at the different mental health facilities that we do have, on an in-patient basis. I can say that through Dartmouth - we have shorter waiting times in Cole Harbour, shorter waiting times in Bedford-Sackville, shorter wait times in Hants, and I ask the member opposite and all patients in mental health to talk to their family physicians if their cases change. Ultimately, when you're on a waiting list, if issues have changed, we want them to come forward to their physicians for triage.

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, this government has clearly sent the message to mental health consumers that they do not matter. Community-based treatment programs are under-resourced and underfunded. Some clients have to be kept in hospital beds for up to one year after they are discharged to get housing. My question is, when is your government going to provide the funding necessary to provide adequate mental health services to Nova Scotians?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as I alluded to in the first answer to the question, we continue to increase the budget in mental health. We continue to find programs. We continue to work with the Canadian Mental Health Association and I do want to congratulate the Canadian Mental Health Association for setting up a new chapter in the tri-county area, in Yarmouth County, Shelburne County and Digby County. We continue to work with those folks to ensure that services are available in the community as well as housing options that we're very excited to talk about as well. So

[Page 1357]

I want to congratulate all folks who are involved in Canadian Mental Health and we continue to make strides to help those patients that dearly need our help.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

HEALTH: YOUTH - SECURE CARE FACILITY

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, my question again is for the Minister of Health. The only secure care facility in Nova Scotia for youth with mental health issues is in Truro. This facility acts as a 30-day assessment and timeout program rather than the long-term secure treatment facility it was originally intended to be. The province has moved away from institutional care but has not provided adequate staffing or funding for residential treatment, leaving youth without the level of care that they require. All too often we are made painfully and publicly aware of the system's failures to support youth with mental health issues.

My question for the minister is, why is your government not making mental health services accessible to youth?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. We continue to work with our colleagues around the table, of course through Community Services, because the facility that is alluded to in her question of course falls under the purview of Community Services.

MS. CONRAD: It is not unusual for youth to have a high level of need, whether behavioural or mental health related, and residential treatment cannot handle this because of a combination of a lack of funding and low staffing levels. Despite the fact that early intervention is the key to treating mental illness, the wait lists for both in-patient care and day programming for youth are very long. Last year the length of wait for admittance to the Children's Response Program averaged 42 weeks and to the Adolescent Centre for Treatment was one year.

My question to the minister is, why is your department not funding the programs necessary to treat youth mental illness?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I can assure all members of this House that we are working on positive steps for youth at risk, people requiring mental health help. We are working, of course, with Community Services, the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, on a project to improve services for youth at risk from those ages of 16 to 18. I continue to support that project and I know we are working hard on those solutions.

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, the case of a 16-year-old girl who suffers from mental illness has been prevalent in the news this month and to date I suspect that she

[Page 1358]

is still in crisis. She, along with others in her position, has ended up in the justice system because she was not receiving the treatment she required to stay safe and healthy.

My question to the minister is, when will your government provide the treatment necessary to help people before they end up in the court system, instead of getting the support services they so badly require?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much. I refer that question the Minister of Community Services.

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It gives me great pleasure to rise on this issue which is extremely important to all Nova Scotians. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, we have over 1,000 dedicated, capable, competent staff at the Department of Community Services who work diligently to ensure that the utmost respect and confidence in their abilities are demonstrated.

Mr. Speaker, we have a myriad of support programs and facilities in place. We have a continuum of support that is in place right now. I have been working closely with the Minister of Justice, with the Minister of Health, with the Minister of Education, to move forward with some very innovative, energetic initiatives that will ensure that the needs of all Nova Scotians, the youth and the families in Nova Scotia, are met.

We take this very seriously, Mr. Speaker, and I look forward to bringing innovative, new ideas to this House very soon.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

HEALTH: NURSING HOME BEDS (MIDDLETON) - COMMITMENT

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Health. For the past six years the Middleton and Area Nursing Home Society has been waiting patiently for this government to give them an answer. In 2004 the government told the residents that the department was assessing the needs of the community. During the last election campaign this government committed to 40 nursing home beds in Middleton.

My question to the minister is, how much longer does the community have to wait to hear a formal announcement?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I can also say that probably Middleton has been waiting far beyond our mandate, into a mandate of a previous government. I can say that through our work and through our continuing care strategy, through the process that we have with the district health authorities, that we'll have the placement of beds for areas in a short period of time and

[Page 1359]

moving on to the RFP process so I can commit to the member opposite that we will have an answer for him in the very near future.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the answer that I'm looking for, that government already committed to the people of Annapolis. The question is, we already know that the 40 beds are coming, we want to know when, if you're going to live up to your campaign promise. I want to table in the House a piece of the campaign brochure that commits the government to 40 nursing home beds. My supplementary question goes to the Premier. The Premier came into my riding during a campaign, and he committed 40 nursing home beds. I want to ask the Premier today, when can the people of Annapolis expect you to live up to your commitment to them?

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

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Premier for referring that to me. During an election campaign it would be my guess that election propaganda would be that if you did elect a certain member, that would come up on that. Ultimately, I know that Middleton is an area that is under-serviced in this area, and we want to work with the area to find those beds.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, election propaganda - well, I can tell you when the people of Annapolis heard from this member, they knew they could count on what he said. They believed they could count on the Premier when he showed up and said he would commit to 40 beds, and they believed they could count on the Minister of Health when he said he could commit to 40 beds. The question now is, are you going to go to the people of Annapolis and say it was election propaganda, or are you going to tell them when they can expect their 40 beds?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can commit to the member opposite that I'll be more than happy to go to Middleton and accompany him to the meeting to meet with the folks there to talk about what they require in that area. In a very short period of time, all Nova Scotians will find out about the 826 beds that this government is very happy to provide for our seniors.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

COM. SERV.: MENTAL HEALTH CONSUMERS - HOUSING LACK

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. The South Shore Supportive Housing and Development Partnership proposed a 25-unit apartment complex in Bridgewater, which I will table. This is an area of the province that has no dedicated, supportive housing programs available to mental health consumers. A purchase agreement has been reached with Nauss Brothers Incorporated, and much preparatory work has been done with the local

[Page 1360]

town council. Your department has stated that increasing the supply of quality, affordable, permanent housing dedicated to mental health services consumers is a priority. I ask the Minister of Community Services, when can this group expect your department to follow through with this priority and provide some forward motion on their proposal?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for the opportunity to rise and speak to the issue of housing for all of Nova Scotia. Phase I saw a $37.3 million commitment, 928 units have been committed, and are in the process of being rolled out. We look forward to the RFPs for Phase II, which will amount to an $18.9 million commitment for the Province of Nova Scotia. On top of that, I look forward to bringing to my Cabinet colleagues very soon the federal housing trust for $23 million to ensure that housing concerns for all Nova Scotians are met.

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, I truly hope to see some of those housing units on the South Shore. The Canadian Mental Health Association has spearheaded a similar proposal to build 25 to 30 units in Dartmouth. They met with the previous Minister of Community Services and put together a committee to move the project forward. Now, the Department of Community Services is not returning their calls, and the CMHA is very worried that this project is going to be lost entirely. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, when will projects like this start moving forward so that mental health patients can leave much-needed hospital beds and live in more appropriate facilities?

[12:30 p.m.]

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to be able to rise and inform all members of the House that indeed under Phase I there were 16 beds committed to the community of the Chester Municipality, which is on the South Shore. There were four to the community of Liverpool, which is on the South Shore. There were 24 committed to the community of Liverpool, and there were 25 in the community of Bridgewater. They're all on the South Shore.

MS. CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, I want to be clear on what type of housing we're looking for. We're looking for apartment facilities that mental health consumers can live somewhat independently in their communities. The lack of supportive housing - and we're talking about supportive housing for mental health consumers - is a major contributor to symptom relapse. It leads directly to the preventable use of in-patient psychiatric beds, emergency medical response services and temporary housing facilities among other resources. My question to the minister is, when are you going to realize the gravity of the situation and provide the resources necessary to create the needed, accessible housing.

[Page 1361]

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to inform all members of the House that the five-bed facility that we brought in in July will open on December 4th and that will provide a transitional opportunity for the needs of Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

TCH: FOSSIL MUSEUM (SYDNEY MINES) - FUNDING

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. The Sydney Mines Fossil Museum is a unique attraction in a community that has seen very difficult economic times in recent years. The museum was promised operational funding, but has had to fight since 2002, without success, to get the government to live up to its promises. My question to the minister is, why has his department failed to come through with the full amount of the promised funding to this community museum?

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, through the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage we are working very closely with the people of Sydney Mines on that particular issue and we will continue to do so. We'll continue to work very closely with the people of Sydney Mines on that particular process.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, as late as the 2006 election, the MLA for the area promised the museum that it would get over $140,000 in operational funding over the next two years. The election is over and the budget has been passed for this year and the museum still hasn't received the $140,000. Other museums in the area have received similar amounts of funding. My question to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage is, why isn't the Sydney Mines Fossil Museum being given the same opportunities as its counterparts?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, from the standpoint of our Tourism budget, we put over $12 million into the system in Nova Scotia and we are working very closely with these communities to ensure the viability and sustainability of all the museums, both publicly owned and operated by communities in this province.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, the museum isn't making this figure up. I'll table an e-mail obtained under freedom of information from the Office of Economic Development to the Community Museum Assistance Program dated November 30, 2005 that references the promised funding. I ask the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, will the Sydney Mines Fossil Museum get the full amount that was promised? Yes or no.

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, as I stated previously, we take very seriously the issue of our museums, both publicly owned - 27 publicly owned museums - and the many, many others in the province. I will commit to working with the honourable

[Page 1362]

member and the MLA of the area to ensure the sustainability of all museums in this province. We will continue as a government to take that position in the future.

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

COM. SERV.: HOUSING REPAIR PROG. - WAIT LIST

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Thousands of low-income Nova Scotians have difficulty paying for emergency home repairs. Currently on the Nova Scotia Government Web site, under Community Services, this government talks about a provincial housing emergency repair program that is supposed to provide assistance to low-income households that cannot afford to carry out emergency home repairs. The Web site gives false expectations that the program will allocate up to $5,000 to cover the cost of labour, materials and taxes for emergencies.

Mr. Speaker, several of my constituents have applied for this program recently and although they met the requirements that are shown on the Web site and I'd be happy to table this very flimsy bit of Web site, the page that explains it. While they had their high expectations, they will get no help this winter. We found that the budget is entirely exhausted for that program, and this is only halfway through the budget year. When families need help the most, we find that the budget is gone and the waiting lists are extremely long; in fact, we were unable to find out just how long. They were unwilling to tell us. My question to the minister is, can you tell the House, please, what you plan to do in order to alleviate the huge waiting list for people requiring emergency home repairs?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for the question. We have a series of programs available in Nova Scotia, to assist families and seniors with home repairs, to ensure that people can stay longer in their homes if they so choose, if they are able to. I'm pleased to partner with the Department of Health and it was released in this House during estimates, a $3.5 million commitment on the part of the Department of Community Services with an additional $1.1 million commitment from the Department of Health. We'll continue to move forward with the dollars that are available to us, to assist all Nova Scotians.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, that doesn't give me much confidence at all, that there are multiple programs, perhaps all of them overspent at this time in the year and with huge waiting lists, people aren't getting the help they need, when they need it. The program says that you can get up to $5,000, but in reality it will not fund repairs under $1,000, and I found that an extreme shortcoming of this program because in my world, repairs to your furnace that happen to cost under $1,000, are an emergency. People need heat and they need to be kept warm. I have no idea why this program would not say so,

[Page 1363]

upfront that in fact that less than $1,000 is not considered an emergency. For low-income Nova Scotians it is. If the furnace isn't working, we've got a problem.

My question for the minister is, we've heard that you've under-budgeted the need for this program, and now we also hear that it doesn't cover emergency maintenance. Will your government address the issue of emergency situations that occur for low-income earners, when the cost is under $1,000?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, of course we will continue to work with our federal partners to ensure financing is secured and of course we review all programs on a regular basis and would take into consideration any advice or information that our stakeholders may have.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I would like the minister to note that this is advice coming then, for your review of those departments that you review immediately, that repairing a furnace makes a whole lot more sense than having to buy a new one and getting that assistance. If you can fix it for less, you should do so. If the funds are exhausted already for that program, I believe the minister should table here in the House, exactly where the funds have been spent. My question for the minister is, if you are unable to help those people in need, will you commit to updating your Web site to let people know all of the fine print and details around these programs, so they're not left with the impression that they can get help up to $5,000 if they're low income? Instead of giving them false hope you should give them proper information.

MS. STRETCH: Mr. Speaker, we will continue to assist all Nova Scotians in need, and we will continue to provide the funds that we have available to us. Pleased to look and review the qualifications of any programs that are underway and we will commit to all Nova Scotians to continue to do the best we can, to ensure that seniors and families can stay in their homes, as long as they care to.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

ENVIRON. & LBR.- RECYCLING PROG. - TIRES

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. As all of us know here, winter is coming and many people are beginning to change their tires for snow tires. The Resource Recovery Fund Board is in the business of collecting old tires and it levies a $3 fee on all the new ones that are sold in this province. That money is supposed to fund recycling of tires and advances in the technology of recycling tires. The trouble is that everyone who sells tires is also obligated to receive them and what happens is that gas stations and small dealers are left literally piles of tires above their heads that they cannot get sent to the recyclers. What happens when a gas station owner offers to load up their own truck and take it to the recyclers? They're told to keep them.

[Page 1364]

So my question to the minister is, what's the problem with the collection of tires for the recycling program?

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the question, I appreciate it. The Resource Recovery Fund Board has put out a request for tenders for recycling of tires because the present company is not re-offering, and we have had some problems in the collection of tires. So there is a request for tender going out right now, and I understand there have been some people who have tendered on it. It should be closing very soon and I will have more information for the honourable member soon.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I know there have, in fact, been difficulties with that tender which was let earlier this summer and closed August 17th. There have been three bidders, but at the moment the tires are continuing to pile up and this is a time of year when people are changing tires, they aren't always putting the old ones back on and these represent fire hazards all over the place. Who is currently collecting these tires and where are they going?

MR. PARENT: The present company we have contracted with, ARR, is collecting the tires. As I said, we have a request for proposals out. We have three tenders. It hasn't been awarded yet for a new company to collect those tires.

MS. RAYMOND: I know that the bidder is waiting for a response. One of them is apparently interested in using these as fuel for a concrete plant. This is a very controversial proposal and, in fact, elsewhere in the country it is the subject of lawsuits. Mr. Speaker, does this minister intend that these tires may, in fact, go to the burning of fuel for a cement plant in this province?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I have been crystal clear that there is a request for tenders out and it has not yet been awarded and, until it's awarded, this minister will not speak to that issue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

HEALTH: MED. STUDENTS - RURAL PLACEMENTS

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Health. Memorial University of Newfoundland has a strategy for recruiting doctors to rural areas in Newfoundland and Labrador. Not only does the School of Medicine at Memorial University provide a Rural Visit Program to their first-year students, but 40 per cent of the population of students enrolled in the School of Medicine are from rural areas, compared with Canada's average of 11 per cent.

[Page 1365]

My question to the minister is, what is your government going to do to ensure that there are increased levels of rural students in student placements in our universities?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Of course this is a combined responsibility between the Department of Health and the Department of Education. Through the Dalhousie medical program, which is a phenomenal program in Canada, I can say that out of those students probably 60 to 70 per cent of those students do come, at this point, from rural Nova Scotia.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, in 1999 your government promised to provide bursaries covering 50 per cent of the cost of tuition for medical students who agree to practise in under serviced areas. In 2003 your government stated that they were in discussions with Dalhousie Medical School to defer tuition agreements for doctors who agree to work in communities where they are needed most.

[12:45 p.m.]

Dalhousie University is not aware of any bursaries or tuition deferrals for rural doctors. Again my question to the minister is, when is your government going to come through with your promise of bringing more doctors to rural Nova Scotia?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that I am not aware of that promise in 1999, and I apologize, being in this ministry for about six months and being elected in 2003. Ultimately I can say that in the past 18 months alone, we have recruited about 188 new doctors to practise here in Nova Scotia.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, there are currently almost 3,000 people in Shelburne County - I repeat, 3,000 people in Shelburne County - who are without a family doctor because one recently left the area. The problem is not unique to Shelburne County but is prevalent across rural parts of our beautiful province. Again, my question to the minister is, what is your government's strategy to recruit more doctors to rural areas?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to thank the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia for partnering with the Department of Health on CAPP, the Clinical Assessment for Practice Program, which is taking in international medical grads. I want to thank the facility in Yarmouth for all their work for the IMG clinic that is happening there, that will be rolling physicians out of that program into rural areas. So I can say to the member opposite that the future is bright in that respect, to have more physicians in our rural areas.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

EDUC.: GLACE BAY JHS - CONSTRUCTION ANNOUNCE

[Page 1366]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The government announced the construction of a new junior high school in Glace Bay way back in 2003. The opening of this school was scheduled for 2007 - one of the ministers may have jumped the gun there - 2007, first. The government assured the people of Glace Bay this project would be started immediately, yet the opening of this school has been delayed for yet another two years and will not open until 2009. My question for the minister is, why has your government broken a promise to the people of Glace Bay, and will your government announce an immediate start of construction of the new junior high school in Glace Bay?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite with respect to the Glace Bay junior high school, we had some discussion, he and I, yesterday, about site selection for that particular building. During the construction process there is a site selection committee that determines where that building will be built. We also talked about the difficulties in finding a site that would be suitable, but three sites have come forward and the process will begin.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I know we did have a discussion yesterday, Madam Minister. That's when I informed you that three sites had been chosen. The construction and location of the junior high school is extremely important to that area. The government broke its promise, first, about the opening date, and now the government may give further insult to injury by building that school outside of Glace Bay. One of the three possible sites for the new school is located outside of Glace Bay. There are about 750 students who will attend the school, and every one of them will have to be bused. It's unacceptable. My question to the minister is, will the minister clearly guarantee now that the new junior high school will be built in Glace Bay?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, if I could respond to the member opposite, I did reference the site selection committee. The process that is followed is that a committee, which does include community members, sits around a table and determines what possible sites could be recommended. So community input is certainly at the table with that selection.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, what other promises is this government going to break to the people of Glace Bay? First they delay the construction of that school, then the opening of the school, and now they won't even guarantee that the school itself is going to be built in Glace Bay. The new junior high school has been a priority of the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board since 2003, and now students are going to school in deteriorating classrooms and decaying infrastructure. This government is treating the citizens and students of Glace Bay like second-class citizens. So my question to the minister is, will this government stop dragging its feet, stop treating the people of Glace Bay like second-class citizens, make the construction and

[Page 1367]

opening of the Glace Bay junior high school a priority, and announce the immediate construction date for that school?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I will conclude by saying that until we have a suitable site, we cannot begin construction.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

FISH. & AQUACULTURE: FISHERY COLLAPSE - AVERT

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. A study published in this November 3rd issue of the journal Science shows that the loss of the biosphere has profoundly reduced the ocean's ability to produce seafood. The ultimate theory coming out of this study is that if we as legislators don't act, and act soon, there will be a full-scale collapse of the fishery by the year 2050. To quote the report, "Unless we fundamentally change the way we manage all our ocean species together . . . then this century is the last century of wild seafood."

My question to the minister is, what is his government doing to deal with the potential disaster in our ocean?

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for that question. Indeed, it's one that we've been dealing with, with our federal counterparts, in discussions all the time about that very issue. There's a whole host of things that have affected the fishery and will affect the fishery in the future. The discussion that we had this morning with the critic from the Liberal Party, as well as the critic for the NDP, on the seal issue is an issue that we have to address. So there is a whole host of issues that we have to deal with in the fishery and we will.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, while this report paints a gloomy picture, it does offer hope that it's not too late. We can change things for this to be better if we act now. One idea I've heard many times from the old-timers down at the wharf is the need to create marine reserves where populations can rebound - we need areas like game sanctuaries in our oceans. The report is full of great ideas, but it requires action on our part.

My question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the minister is, do you have plans on raising this report with your federal counterpart?

MR. CHISHOLM: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we have discussed that very issue with the federal minister already. We will continue to discuss that issue with the federal ministry

[Page 1368]

to resolve the issue and we will discuss that with the critics for each of the Parties we have in the Legislature.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, another area of concern is the destruction of habitat coming from draggers in international waters. Currently the federal minister refuses to sign the international agreement to ban dragging in international waters. My question to the minister is, what steps have you taken to convince Minister Hearn to consider Canada's policy on international dragging?

MR. CHISHOLM: Mr. Speaker, that very issue is being discussed on a regular basis with the federal minister by the ministers from all of the Atlantic Provinces. We will continue to discuss those issues to get a resolve to the problem.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH - DHA BUSINESS PLANS: APPROVAL - TIMEFRAME

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Last year the government waited six months before they finally approved the business plans for district health authorities in this province - business plan approvals are essential for DHAs to be able to move forward with a strategic plan and programs and initiatives to help with the delivery of health care. Well, this year the government has done itself one better. We're now into the eighth month past the fiscal year without any approvals of the business plans. For all the problems that exist in our health care system, you would think this government would take this issue seriously and get those business plans approved on time.

My question for the minister is, Mr. Minister, unless they were approved this morning at Cabinet, exactly when do you plan on approving the DHA business plans?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can remind the member opposite that this year has been an interesting one, one of budgetary process, of course a budget, an election, a new budget, and there have been some numbers that have changed over the last number of months. So we make sure that we have the correct information at the DHAs, making sure we have the correct information at the Department of Health. I can commit to the member opposite that we will be talking about the budgets of those DHAs in the very near future.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, excuses, excuses. The only excuse the minister didn't use was there was a new moon last week. We're now approaching the beginning of next year's fiscal year, and we still don't have any business plans approved for DHAs. In a time when we need to take a hard look at health care delivery in this province, what could be more important than DHA business plans? The Attorney General recommended several times that the business plans should be approved

[Page 1369]

- the Auditor General, I'm sorry, thank you to my colleagues to the right or left - should be approved by March 31st. Your department recommended the business plans should be approved by March 31st. The DHAs need to know that their vision for next year is in line with the department. So my question to the minister is, Mr. Minister, why are you holding up the approval of those business plans?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, again, this has been an extraordinary year, making sure that we have the information, the correct information with the DHAs, making sure that we are making the right decisions for the health care of Nova Scotians, making sure that the services and the programs are in place, making sure that the DHAs have the operational funds in order to continue. I can commit to the member opposite that this has been a different year when it comes to DHA planning, and I can commit to him that we'll continue to do our best to make sure that they have the funds available.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the minister knows that the law states that if DHAs don't have a business plan approved by March 31st, the end of the fiscal year, then without a business plan they can only spend up to six months of the previous year's budget. We're now into month eight. The minister and Cabinet are forcing the DHAs to break a law of this province. It's one thing to be a day or two or maybe a week or even a month overdue, but to be more than half a year overdue is unacceptable. My final question for the minister is, I want to know if the minister will commit to us here today that the minister will approve the business plans as soon as possible, and that the minister will approve next year's business plans by March 31, 2007?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. With that, in terms of forcing the government to break the law, I would remind the member to be mindful of parliamentary language. I would just note that for the record.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can commit to the member opposite that we will continue to work very closely with our district health authorities, as we continually do. We will continue to make sure that the funding is available through those business plans. I will be very happy the day that we can come to this House and say that they have been completely approved and available to all Nova Scotians.

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

JUSTICE - FOI REVIEW OFFICER - APPOINT

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. In January of this year, Darce Fardy, who had spent 10 years as the review officer with regard to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, had retired. He has now started a new group called the Right to Know Coalition. It has been over 10 months since his departure, and we still do not have a replacement for the

[Page 1370]

position of review officer with regard to that Act. I know the position was posted in the newspaper in July. So my question to the Minister of Justice is, when are we going to see an appointment of a new review officer for such an important position?

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question, and I can tell you that it will be very soon.

MR. DEVEAUX: I suppose I was hoping for a little more detail, but I'll take very soon. Mr. Speaker, the Right to Know Coalition recently came out talking about the need to cut the fees with regard to Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy applications, something this government increased the fees on back in the early part of this decade. We've seen a dramatic decrease in the number of applications because of that, and I am sure that might be something the government was hoping to see as a result of the fee increase. Of course we all know that in 2003, as a result of those fee increases, the Association of Journalists in Canada recognized this government with its code of silence as being one of the least open governments in Canada, if not the least open. So my second question to the minister is, when is this government going to cut the FOI fees back to where they were before they increased them?

[1:00 p.m.]

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I would like to say that Mr. Bishop is presently acting in that position that the member asked about. I think he is a very professional man who is doing an excellent job. I would like to publicly thank him and congratulate him for the great work he is doing. Also, the issue around fees is something I am very mindful of, in fact, at this time, myself and my staff have those fees under review.

MR. DEVEAUX: You know, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Bishop is also the Ombudsman for this province. I think it is fair to say that most Nova Scotians, as part of a democratic society, would expect that we would have a full-time review officer, not a person who has the job of Ombudsman and Review Officer under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. I would think that as a minimum standard for a free and democratic society we can ensure that we have two separate positions, not one person having to wear both hats. That is why we need to ensure that this position is filled as soon as possible. My question is, why does your government refuse to be open and accountable with regard to the Freedom of Information Review Office, as you promised in 1999?

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I disagree. This government is open and accountable. We encourage citizens, if they want information, a lot of information being requested through FOIPOP is not required.

[Page 1371]

Mr. Speaker, I met with Mr. Bishop, and I can tell you that I have the utmost respect for Mr. Bishop, and I can tell you that he is fulfilling both duties 100 per cent at this time and has the full confidence of myself and this government.

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

TPW - HWY NO. 103: COMPLETION DATE - PENALTY

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Each day, I want you to know, as we make our way in to work, we go through the obstacle course called Highway No. 103. It is dangerous. The completion date has been missed. Dexter Construction does not have the job done, as was promised when the contract was let, by the completion date. I would like to ask the minister what will be the penalty for Dexter's for missing this completion date?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Indeed, that completion date has gone beyond that which was anticipated. I would have to consult the contract to know the specific amount of the penalty, and that is spelled out in contracts as to the amount they are charged on a daily basis when they go over the date. I would have to consult the contract to give him the answer to that.

MR. ESTABROOKS: I have received numerous e-mails and phone calls from people throughout the constituency and from the riding of Chester-St. Margaret's who regularly travel that dangerous road. It has become an obstacle course for orange pylons. I would like to table one of those e-mails now from Mrs. West. She wants to know very clearly what is the role of the Minister of Transportation and Public Works to be responsible if there are accidents along that road due to the delayed construction zone which is currently existing? She is concerned, she wants an answer, because each and every day as she travels to and from work she faces the difficulty of confronting this Dexter Construction that has not met the deadline. When those dollars are available, we'd like to know.

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

I would call to the attention of the House that it is becoming far too frequent that electronic devices are ringing in this Chamber, both on the floor and in the gallery. Unless people want them banned from this Assembly, people will start adhering to a new protocol.

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Page 1372]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Motions Other Than Government Motions.

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 656.

Res. No. 656 - Gov't. (N.S.) - Rural N.S./C.B.: Sustainable Dev. Plan - Implement - notice given Nov. 6, 2006 - (Mr. C. MacKinnon)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to be the first to rise in relation to the issue of out-migration. This is an area that is very close to my heart and I want to speak from my heart on this issue today.

Mr. Speaker, 17 of the 18 counties in Nova Scotia are experiencing high degrees of out-migration - 17 out of 18. Only Halifax County is having an influx of people at this time. In the area of 18 to 24 year olds, a recent study showed that Pictou County, my area, is in fact number two, second only to Cape Breton County, over 600 18 to 24 year olds leaving and not returning, other than for vacations.

There are over 2,000 who are leaving Cape Breton County, many of them going to Alberta, many coming to Halifax for their education and never going back to use that education in Cape Breton.

I want to talk about the professionals who are leaving. I want to talk about the tradespeople who are leaving. Trenton Works is very, very important to Pictou County. One year ago, Trenton Works had 1,000 employees. Just before Christmas last year, over 400 were laid off. Another massive lay-off has taken place and there are now 28 employees left at Trenton Works.

Six times I have gone to Trenton Works in the last year, and the member for Pictou West and I went through that plant when 600 people were working and 333 of them were welders. Welders are in great demand in Alberta. We are losing a lot of our people at Trenton Works to Alberta. We're not just losing the 18 to 24 year olds, we are losing people in their 30s, 40s and 50s. On the step of the post office in my hometown of Westville, just a week ago, I talked to a 62 year old who had worked at Trenton

[Page 1373]

Works for 42 years and is on the verge of leaving to go to Alberta to work for three years.

These are desperate situations. Fire departments in rural areas are losing their young members. Just recently, I was in the East River Valley at the fire department talking to fire department people and they trained three new firefighters. Those three new firefighters - a lot of training, sending them to Waverley to the school there, all kinds of courses, getting them upgraded and we have a situation where two of them went out to Alberta. The third one, at that time, was considering going. I talked to his father just a week or so ago and he was leaving the next day for Alberta as well. Those are the kinds of situations that we are facing with out-migration.

We have a situation where grandparents are not seeing their grandchildren grow up. I had a person say to me the other day, three out of three of my children are out West, I'm not going to have the pleasure of seeing my grandchildren grow up.

I have knocked on doors and actually, when I was campaigning, I had one retired couple - I had to get them out to vote early because they were going to be gone before June 13th as they were going to Alberta, not to work, they were going because their children were out there and they wanted to experience their grandchildren's growing up years.

So we're not just losing one segment, we're losing people from all age groups. This affects our schools, our rural schools, all of our schools except perhaps in the metro area. The population is declining so rapidly. Ways have to be found to stop this out-migration. We have to have all the departments involved coming together to form some kind of an out-migration committee with senior bureaucrats to try to find solutions, ways of keeping young people in our province, ways of coming up with a real coordinated effort and to do something in the area of economic development, particularly rural economic development. Maybe we have to come up with a system of helping out with tax incentives for our young people to keep them here. We have to look at reducing tuition. We have over 400 Nova Scotia students who are currently at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, our farms - we're losing our sons and daughters to Alberta and elsewhere from farming communities and we're not just giving away our children to Alberta. We're actually, in the area of farming, we're helping the coffers of Alberta in relationship to all the beef we buy instead of supporting our own farming community. We have one of the best grass-growing areas in the world. We have to support our farmers. We have to look at our fishery in relationship to intergenerational transfers to make it easier for licences to be passed on from fathers or mothers to sons and daughters. We have to look at forestry and all the clear-cutting that has taken place and the machinery that has displaced so many of our forestry people. There are so many areas.

[Page 1374]

My wife and I operated a bed and breakfast in Cape Breton and when we would go grocery shopping for that bed and breakfast, I would say to my wife, look at the people in Sobey's or Superstore, the chain stores, look at the ages, look at the average age of these people. Then I would say, contrast it to the next time we are visiting our children who have gone to metro, our three children who have gone to the general metro area here to find employment. You know, we would go and have a look at that age dynamic there and we would contrast it the next time that we would be in Halifax and the ages were just totally, totally different, the average age.

We have baby-boomers who are coming onstream into old age. Where are we going to be in 2016 and 2026? As the member for Shelburne was saying, we cannot get doctors in our rural areas. I say to you, try to find a carpenter, or a plumber, or an electrician, in rural Nova Scotia today and it's hard to find them. Mr. Minister of Economic Development, you say that you are in the job creation business. Please, please, bring people together. You can't talk job creation to the displaced plant workers in Lismore. You can't talk job creation to the 1,000 workers at Trenton Works who are gone. I know my time is just about out, but I want to close by saying, these departments have to come together on out-migration issues before all our volunteer fire departments are run by people in their 50s, 60s and 70s, before more farmland grows up in alders, before our schools close in greater numbers and before the average age in this House of Assembly is greater than my current age. Thank you.

[1:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to stand today and debate Resolution No. 656, a long-term plan to ensure sustainable economic development in rural Nova Scotia and Cape Breton.

I thank the member for bringing this to the floor of the House today because this government is already doing this. I'll give you some reasons why the member - maybe he should sit back and read some of the literature and speak to some of the local communities as this minister has done since I became Minister of Economic Development.

We have been working with local communities. We have been tackling the issue of rural economic development at the local level. We have been dealing with the RDAs, with the councils, with the Chambers of Commerce, with the Boards of Trade. I think that's the proper approach, for government to work with the communities. I do not believe government should go in and dictate to communities, I think government should go in and listen to communities' needs and help them put the infrastructure in place that is needed to secure jobs, enhance jobs and create new jobs within communities.

[Page 1375]

The new Business Retention and Expansion program, or BRE, is based on an international approach to economic development that encourages stability and growth of local companies. Here in Nova Scotia, this approach has been successfully underway in the HRM for some time now. This year, the approach is being undertaken by eight more counties, as an 18-month pilot program.

I would like to also speak on how highly I support the RDA system that we have in this province. The RDAs are a voice for all the communities that they represent. You can go to the Western Valley and ask the Western Valley, Mr. Speaker - and I know you drive that area a lot on your way to and from Halifax- there is a void in that community. Mr. Speaker, I believe it was your community that was involved in the Western Valley RDA and they dissolved and there's a big void in that community. I know you understand that and your community chose to go to the South West Nova RDA.

But now the people are on side in the communities and they know how important it is to have that RDA in their community. I look forward to making the announcement with the communities, with the municipalities, the Chambers of Commerce to announce a new RDA in that community, which they know, now, is important to communities.

Last evening I had the great opportunity to speak to the RDA in the Cape Breton region. They were telling me their focus, where they intend to go with the out-migration of the youth in their communities, how they intend to work. They intend to work with the Department of Education through the Minister of Education. They intend to work with their college and their university in Cape Breton to let the youth know of the jobs that are available here in this great province of ours.

I must say, I'll reiterate an answer to a question I answered the other day, in the next five years there will be approximately 3,500 new jobs in the IT sector here in this province. The aerospace industry in this province is growing in leaps and bounds. We are the envy of many other provinces in this great country of ours just because of the trained and skilled workforce we have who are turning out the products that they're turning out in the aerospace industry.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister would allow an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable minister allow an introduction?

MR. HURLBURT: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

[Page 1376]

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to your attention and the attention of all members in the House, in the Speaker's Gallery, several very distinguished visitors here to Nova Scotia. You will recall earlier this afternoon that I introduced a resolution welcoming the members of the International Association of Security and Investigative Regulators.

Mr. Speaker, today in the gallery we have several of these members. This, again, is being hosted by the Department of Justice. This association has the goal of enhancing public safety by promoting professionalism in the private security industry through effective regulation. We're very proud of the Department of Justice in honouring such a distinguished and prestigious conference. There are delegates from Manitoba, New Brunswick, Virginia, Minnesota, Louisiana, Florida, Arizona, from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. They're here in the House, and I would ask that all members give them a very warm, Nova Scotia welcome. We wish them well in their deliberations over the next day or so. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I also want to welcome the members to our Chamber here today. Going back to my remarks on the aerospace industry, we're very fortunate to have the highly-skilled workforce that we have in our province, but that relates back to a corporation that I believe we all have to work with and enhance even more and promote it more, and that is our universities and our community college system that we have in this province. We're very fortunate to have the system that we have in this province to educate our youth.

I believe it's the job of all members of this House and all communities to let the youth know about the opportunities there are for them within all of our communities. I believe it's up to each and every member of this House, also, to work with your communities to see how we can enhance the economic growth in your community; if it's mining, if it's forestry, if it's IT sector, aerospace, what have you. This government is committed to making sure that we work with our RDAs and with our communities to enhance economic growth in every part of this great province of ours. That's why we have contributed, along with the Government of Canada, over $1 million to support the BRE Project. We will be contributing more as we move ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I heard the member from the NDP speak about Trenton Works. I have had the opportunity to meet with the executive of Trenton Works. Yes, they have some issues there right now, but I have personally invited the members of Trenton Works to go on a trade mission with us to the Alberta area - to Calgary and Edmonton - in the very near future. I think that's what we have to do; we have to get out and promote what we have in this province. Trenton Works has a very skilled workforce, and I believe it's up to all of us to work with them, to help them, and look at new opportunities

[Page 1377]

that are there. I believe that we can build components for the oil fields here in Nova Scotia and have them shipped out there, I'm firm believer in that.

I believe that, according to the KPMG, competitive alternative study, that Truro, Pictou, Sydney and Halifax are ranked among the top 10 Canadian centres to do business in this great province of ours. Again, Halifax was ranked among the top five in comparison to the large international centres in North America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.

Mr. Speaker, we recognized our strengths, and some people in this Chamber want to paint doom and gloom, and it is not doom and gloom. All is not lost. We are working with our communities, and this government is determined to enhance every opportunity we have into the business sector. That goes across - it's a wide sector. We have to work with all components that we have, and all agencies that we have, to enhance what we have here in this province.

I can tell you, I can speak very forcefully on the issue of mining in this province. I come from a mining community. When we lost our mine in Southwest Nova, the void that was left in that community was very hard to replace, and we have not replaced it yet. That was 400 immediate jobs and approximately 400 spinoff jobs. What that did for our communities was unbelievable.

So I believe that we have the mechanisms at our disposal. We have to work with all of our communities. I really believe that mining is one issue - you know, I'll go back to that - or forestry. I believe that we have to look at value-added and every avenue that we can do.

We must work with all communities to make sure that we get the most we possibly can from every opportunity that is there. I know that working with my colleague from Natural Resources, working with my colleague from Environment and Labour, that we can do that, working with the Department of Education to make sure that our youth, not when they get into colleges and universities, when they are in the high schools, to let them know about the opportunities that are here at home. I think that is all of our jobs to do.

We have to enhance the infrastructure in our great province. That is why the infrastructure program, and I can go back to my days as a Warden for our community, how important that program is, Mr. Speaker, and that has touched each and every community in this province. That is why we have encouraged the federal government to extend that program and to enhance it in any way possible.

You need the infrastructure to attract new businesses to your community. I can tell you - and I know, Mr. Speaker, you can relate to this - our transportation links in South West Nova, we have to do everything that we can to enhance the transportation

[Page 1378]

links in South West Nova, especially our air links, our sea links and our ground transportation. I believe that working together, Mr. Speaker, we can all do that.

So with those few words, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members for bringing this to the floor today. I think it is a good topic, but not all is lost. We are on the right track and we are creating jobs for Nova Scotians.

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

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I, too, am pleased to stand today in my place and speak on rural economic development. Parts of Nova Scotia have been experiencing a serious workers loss to the western provinces of this country. Where other provinces have been experiencing a huge growth in the employment sector, Nova Scotia seems to be falling behind, both in number of jobs available to the skilled workers and in pay that they receive for their labours.

Alberta currently has a record low of a 3.9 per cent unemployment rate, well below the national average of 6.7 per cent and well below Nova Scotia's rate of 8.7 per cent. Looking at South West Nova in particular, with an unemployment rate of 11.1 per cent, we can see how badly the loss of industry has hurt this province. Not just losing jobs in the industries themselves, but also in the jobs lost when certain services are no longer required to sustain them. It is no small wonder that youth and young families in Nova Scotia are leaving for better employment opportunities in Alberta. There is no way to keep Nova Scotians in Nova Scotia if we do not present them with ample employment opportunities, at a competitive salary.

What is being done to create more opportunities for Nova Scotian workers? Is it true that our industry isn't as strong as the industry in Alberta? The expanding of oil fields will lead to the creation of 400,000 new jobs. With a labour force of only 300,000, Albertans are looking to the unemployed, underpaid Nova Scotians to fill these spots.

Mr. Speaker, between 1991 and 2005, Nova Scotia lost 38,737 people to Alberta; 3,391 of these were from Digby County alone; 213 of these were youth between the ages of 15 and 25. This is a heavy blow to a region with a population of roughly 18,000 people.

[1:30 p.m.]

When examining the out-migration of youth, it is important to remember that youth under the age of 24 account for almost two-thirds of the minimum wage workers in the province, but only 17 per cent of all employees. It would make sense for youth to go to a place where, at the very worst, minimum wage is higher than it is here and at best, they have the option of securing a job that pays above minimum wage.

[Page 1379]

In Nova Scotia, we boast an excellent post-secondary education system and yet graduates are tossed casually into a labour market that will not recognize their skills.

Mr. Speaker, southern and western Nova Scotia has one of the greatest declines in jobs in this province, whereas full-time employees declined by approximately 3,000 positions, now 3,000 fewer individuals are participating in the labour force. Historically, employment booms in the other provinces carried Nova Scotia's labour force out of the province in huge numbers. A labour boom in Ontario in the late 1950s and 1960s saw over 60,000 workers leave this province.

Though these numbers vastly exceed the number of people who have left Nova Scotia in the past 10 years, it is important to remember that the labour boom in Alberta is still in its infancy; 60,000 young baby boomers in the 1960s was not a big percentage of young people compared to the amount of young people in Nova Scotia today. Nova Scotia can, therefore, expect to lose many more workers in the next five to 10 years, in numbers that exceed those from five decades ago. Indeed, if the prediction of 400,000 new jobs, with too few Albertans to fill them is realized, Nova Scotia could potentially lose nearly 100,000 workers - a staggering ninth of our population. This could end up being nearly all of our young people of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the trend for Nova Scotia out-migration is youth and young families, which is evident in the fact that last year employment for older workers or those over 45 years of age had increased, while employment of younger workers had decreased. In the absence of younger workers, the older are stepping up to fill their places. Nova Scotia has too few people from outside migrating into the province to balance out the huge number of people leaving. This trend causes the population to shrink, age, and return seasonally to small cottages in communities that will soon have no one to maintain them, if the current trend continues. The question we must ask ourselves is, will this province be able to sustain itself as a retirement province?

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is not an appealing province to work in. Even the jobs that exist do not pay competitive salaries with other provinces. The median income for out-migrants is at its highest at $22,000 per year. In comparison with the income of even unskilled workers in other provinces, this is a negligible amount, especially for a Nova Scotia student looking to pay off massive amounts of debt for acquiring an education meant to get them ahead. It cannot be expected that a student who has spent so much on education would stay in a province that will offer them the lowest salary in their field, especially when they must consider enormous debt payments. The median income in Alberta is now surpassing $60,000 per year.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps the cost of living is greater in the western parts of the country but so too is the opportunity for advancement and recognition. The government is doing little to create initiatives for students and labourers to remain in this province. It is impossible for labourers with no job opportunity to stay when there is somewhere

[Page 1380]

else to go and ridiculous to expect a worker to stay with an income at one-third of what they could be earning elsewhere.

Mr. Speaker, this trend is not irreversible. Nova Scotia is rich with natural sustainable resources that can be developed, creating jobs within these industries and creating jobs in other sectors that are required to support them. I believe it's high time this Government of Nova Scotia start looking for natural resources and looking at ways they can create employment in order to make this province prosper.

Mr. Speaker, first of all, we must rebuild the industry that not only created this province but also this country. That industry is our fishery. We only have to look at other countries that have already done this and now is the time, not next year and not tomorrow, today. Secondly, we have the greatest tidal energy resource than any other part of the world. This energy resource when properly harnessed, could supply the whole country of Canada with hydroelectricity and have lots left over. That source of energy is right here in our very own Bay of Fundy. Unlike the tar sands and coal mines, it will never run out unless the moon falls out of the sky. In turn for this hydroelectric power, Nova Scotia could give high energy manufacturing and production industries the cheapest power rates in the world, attracting businesses from all over North America and Europe.

Rural Nova Scotia accounts for over 50 per cent of our population. Without it you may find its cities hard-pressed to survive. Rural areas of Nova Scotia are a food source, from agriculture and the fishery. How could cities survive without these necessities of life? To live and prosper in rural areas people must learn many trades and skills. Our grandfathers before us did this; they raised farm animals, they grew gardens, fished for several different species of fish at different times of the year, they worked in the forests. They depended on many different trades and skills, it was a matter of survival for their families and their communities. That was all year round, Mr. Speaker, because there was no such thing back then as employment insurance.

Mr. Speaker, today we must do the same but a little differently. Today we work with tourism and we are expanding into different species of fish than those our grandfathers caught. We must go from one trade or skill to the other. We must diversify the same way they did, to survive. Today if you depend on just one trade or one skill in rural Nova Scotia, you will not survive and this past generation has proven that. Some people, with only one fishing licence, didn't survive. Some people with only a forestry job have not survived. Some people with dependence on just tourism have not survived. Even huge companies, with one contract, have not survived. In rural Nova Scotia you need diversity for prosperity and that is the way it always was and always will be.

Mr. Speaker, today with many of our fish species becoming scarce, we must grow fish to feed our population. At the turn of the 20th Century farmers turned to raising cattle as buffalo got scarce. Can you imagine today if we still depended on wild buffalo

[Page 1381]

to feed our people? We must evolve with the times. The coastal communities are evolving more into tourism to fill with its fishery but more must be done. Our rural areas must evolve into generating sustainable electricity from its greatest resource of wind and tide, just as we evolved from coal to oil many years ago. We must renew its forestry and fishery management practices to be sustainable, so that there is no boom and bust like is still happening from its present management system. With poor vision and the right attitude . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please, the member's time has expired. Thank you - on a future day, honourable member.

The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am not sure that I am glad to rise and speak on this issue. It would be much nicer to speak on a more positive topic. I'll be willing to give the honourable member who just finished a minute in the lounge, if he wants to finish the rest of that there.

I want to say that I don't know if this applies to all the ministers opposite but certainly the Minister of Economic Development, when he spoke. I don't know if members opposite are aware of the song, and I don't know if this is the title but anyway, it goes something to the effect of - hard work never hurt nobody but I'd rather be lucky. I think that's what I take from the minister's few minutes, that the province is going to run or this administration is going to run on being lucky when it comes to generating jobs or generating wealth in this province, rather than getting down to work to do something.

One thing the minister did say, actually a couple of things the minister did say that I have to agree with him. One was the Western Valley RDA, I thought they were doing some very good things down there. When the minister talked about the closing of a mine, I think he kind of got to the crux of the problem, in terms of our mentality around economic development. In this province, I think we still have a colonial mentality, I think we tend to give away our resources with not much benefit to the people. When we talk about a mine, any of those things we mine, whether its an aggregate, whether it's a mineral, whether it's oil, we know that the amounts of those substances are finite, in other words they're going to run out. This should give the minister opposite some thought as to what exactly the core in economic development is.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Thank you to the member for giving up a moment. I'd like to direct members' attention to the east gallery. Mr. Speaker, we have a guest with us from

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the Richmond County area, a gentleman who spent many years in the community college system as a teacher there, and certainly is a friend to all members of the House of Assembly. I would like to welcome Doug Landry to the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to welcome the guests in the gallery as well. When the minister talked about a mine, what he's saying is here's a resource that we can extract, that we can either sell as a raw material or we can value-add to it, create more jobs and sell that material. But what the minister doesn't indicate, and actually what happens in this case is if you can generate enough wealth from a mine, you create the jobs for the miners themselves, number one. Then you need support structures around them. You're going to need housing, you're going to need a school for their kids, you're going to need teachers and teachers' salaries. Then all these support services, a medical clinic, then you have nurse and doctor salaries, and all of this generates what we refer to as the economy.

The problem with a mine is it's not sustainable. Our other resources we have, agriculture, forestry and the fishery, these are sustainable, renewable resources that we can develop until the end of time if we do it properly, and we're not doing it properly, Mr. Speaker. Now, with the collapse of the Atlantic groundfish stocks, and this all wouldn't apply to Nova Scotia but certainly some of it would, there was a loss of 40,000 jobs. If we think about forestry, in relation to the volume of timber harvested, the forest industry employment has declined sharply. Since the 1980s the per thousand cubic metres of timber harvested has declined by 23.5 per cent from 1.8 jobs per thousand cubic metres, which was the average from 1984 to 1989, to 1.44 jobs per thousand cubic metre in 1999. In other words, the volume of timber cut per employee has increased substantially in the short term of time, and now takes 25 per cent more wood to maintain one forest industry job than it did a decade ago. I'll table this for the House. This is from a GPI Atlantic Report, I believe it was 2004, I may be wrong on that date.

Employment per unit of biomass harvested may also be related to the proportion of value-added manufacturing in the forest industry, since value-add production yields a high ratio of jobs per unit of wood harvested. Volume two of these accounts notes that Nova Scotia has one of the lowest rates of value-added manufacturing in wood products in the country, and it explores, in some detail, a case study that would provide a model for further development of this sector. Nova Scotia's rate of value-added is $82 per cubic metre compared to $273 per cubic metre in Ontario, $204 in Quebec, $187 in Manitoba and $123 in New Brunswick.

[1:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the rate of value added, we are one of the poorest provinces that value adds to our wood products and this is particularly serious in a

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province- we have about six million acres of what we refer to as operable forests, that's the forest that we can harvest. If we were to land in Nova Scotia today with an uncut forest, we could harvest that in 60 years. We harvest 100,000 acres a year, practically all of it clear-cut. So in 60 years, we could take that six million acres and harvest it.

The only problem, Mr. Speaker, is we've been harvesting it. We don't have 60 years. As a matter of fact, I think we've got about 19 years. Even the government, even the Department of Natural Resources, talks about a 45-year cycle in the harvest of our forests. We used to talk about 100 years to grow a tree. Now we're talking 45 years to grow it and cut it. As a matter of fact, in this province a 45-year-old tree is just starting to grow. I mean it's just taking off and that's when we're going to plan to harvest it. (Interruptions) Well, the biggest species that meets our market demand, the ones that this industry rides on that supplies well, is red spruce. Poplar and fir die at about 45 years of age, but these other species are just getting going and the most lucrative species in this province, our provincial tree, is the red spruce.

Now, CBRM is losing about 10 per cent of its population per year. That's number one. My colleague, the member for Pictou East, mentioned Pictou County as being second and they're right. Our thoughts on out-migration are pretty much about the youth, but that's no longer the case, actually, it's people who are 50, 55 and 60. They're leaving for Alberta - only for the short term, I think, for most of them - but still they're going there for work. Someone in my area, two years older than me, left in July. He came back in October, using a dozer, and this was on account of the closing down of Stora. He's a woods contractor so this was a way to help him.

My colleague, the member for Digby-Annapolis, mentioned the issue of the tides. This province has done nothing to encourage alternative energy or anybody who's interested in creating jobs doing that. So, you know, when the minister talks about what the province is doing, he mentioned the other ministers and different departments - well, you know, start to draw some legislation that would affect NSPI and the way it purchases alternative energy so that actually some of these companies could make some money. That would be an incentive for more to get at it.

I think if you want to attack the issue you have put in place around school closure moratoriums, then you've got to do something to keep youth here and you're going to have to change your policy. We import $240 million worth of beef that could be grown here, that could be processed here, and we don't do that. That would maintain a rural economy, keep young people here, keep our schools open and the infrastructure that goes with it. Pork producers are another group that are in trouble. We don't make use of our sustainable, renewable resources like agriculture, forestry and the fishery and until we do that and maximize what they can do for this province, young people will continue to leave. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The time has expired for debate on Resolution No. 656.

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The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 658.

Res. No. 658 - Childcare/Childhood Educ. - Access - notice given Nov. 6, 2006 - (Mr. T. Zinck)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise on this occasion to discuss the resolution I put forth yesterday, Resolution No. 658. I must say that I wasn't surprised but I was a little disappointed that this resolution got nayed yesterday. The premise of this resolution was in hopes that all members of this House of Assembly see fit to support and encourage early childhood development. I, personally, didn't find anything, along with my colleagues, offensive about that.

When we talk about early childhood development, I go back to the campaign and think about parts of my community and people I have talked to, individuals, mothers who are now stay-at-home mothers, but not by choice, Mr. Speaker. These young people have been forced to stay home and look after their children, give up careers that they have paid tuitions to get their education for high-paying jobs, because of the unavailability of daycare spaces and funding. This is of great importance in the sense that this province now has a population that is outgrowing the portion of the province that is currently on the social services system. We now have a new class of people in Nova Scotia called the working poor. These are the people who have invested in their futures and are unable to obtain any goals or incomes from them because they have seen fit to bring forth and raise families, but aren't able to seek employment because of the lack of funding for this category.

I think I would like to draw the attention of the House to some of the recent events we have been dealing with in the province when we've looked at our justice system and the battles that we are having with our young people today. In bringing forth a resolution like this, I would ask this House and the government to seriously think about investigating and investing in the importance of bringing up children. We have always said that children have been the foundation of our future. In other parts of the world children are usually the ones who end up raising their parents. So an early emphasis on human development at the stages of early childhood is essential.

Some of the issues that we are currently dealing with, how our youth make choices or how they don't make good choices, Mr. Speaker, I think could be remedied if some of these youth had been given the chance or the opportunity to have that foundation, to have that proper stage of human development in place. Unfortunately, governments in the past have seen fit not to give proper attention to this crucial part of human development.

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I'll go back to my youth and when I grew up. Much of my care, as a young person, was from our communities, from my neighbours. My mom happened to be a stay-at-home mom but if she wasn't available, I became an extension of my community and my community gave me that care. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, with society today, we are unable to do that. With the way planning and development is taking part in our communities, the increase in crime, we don't have that trusting nature anymore with people.

So in speaking here today, part of the resolution was in hopes that the governments would adopt some of the recommendation by Fraser Mustard. I want to raise one interesting quotation from that report. There was a recommendation to establish a legislative and funding framework, to support building of ECD and parenting centres as part of a broader human development initiative. Do not place ECD a component of human development, in ministries or municipal service programs concerned with health care and welfare.

That is a great, great point, Mr. Speaker, to bring forth in hopes that people might pay attention to it. I can tell you now that when I walk through my community, and I struggle constantly, how can I eliminate some of the issues of poverty, some of the issues of youth crime? I can only go back to say that those people who reside in my constituency, and in some of the other constituencies across this province, Mr. Speaker, haven't had that opportunity to grow up in a loving, caring atmosphere such as I had.

So I believe it's necessary, and if the government really looks at the programs that they are bringing forth, investigates how legislation and those programs are actually working, whose lives these programs affect. We can talk about 450 daycare spaces over 10 years and that bold initiative to try to remedy the situation. I honestly believe that early on, a lot of the people I talked to in and around early childhood development, they would like to see, as would I, a consistent effort, much more funding and not just over a 10-year basis. We would like to see - a lot of the people I've talked to - a policy, a commitment on behalf of not just the government of the day but future governments to really encompass what the early childhood development programs are all about and how important they are to forming society, how important they are to enabling a young person to come through with the best possible foundation.

Mr. Speaker, we have situations like this, we've had successes in our country. Quebec has affordable licensed child daycare, and figures have shown that with this, parental behaviours have changed. They have that ability to go on and have a career, they know their children are being taken care of, they have that peace of mind. What has happened in Quebec is there has been a decline in welfare rates among single parents and there has been a greater enrolment in post-secondary education by women.

If we go into our communities and we really see the way, today, that our communities across this province are deteriorating, the root of poverty is that lack of

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foundation that we have, that lack of support that a young person might get in bringing up their child. Mr. Clinton, many years ago said that it takes a village to raise a child. I think that was a wonderful, wonderful phrase and framework for any society across the world to adopt. I would hope that along with a lot of the issues that we are talking about, consistently today, tomorrow, in the past, that the minister would champion it. I know the minister has been in the education system, she has seen children come through the school system with some having the benefits of having surroundings of good families, strong support systems. I'm sure the minister would also state that she has seen children who haven't had that same benefit of that proper early human development.

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to say that I'll continue my support, and continue to be a voice for not only the childhood advocates but the families, the families not only in my constituency but the families who are struggling across this province to get over that stumbling block.

We say that Nova Scotia is a great place to live, but unfortunately there are those people out there, those families out there who are struggling day to day because they haven't been able to source out those child care spaces, that necessary foundation that would allow them to have more opportunities to offer more to their families. Today we live in a society where chances are, with the cost of living, both parents have to work. When parents are forced to put their children in the care of their parents or their grandparents, that's a struggle that they have. That's a burden on grandparents that they really shouldn't have to take on. That's their time, their golden years to live. Mind you, most grandparents don't mind taking care of their children, but it's a burden that shouldn't be necessary if funding was made available for this part, and necessary part of our society, Mr. Speaker.

[2:00 p.m.]

I want to finish up by saying that when we look - and we will continue to look and raise questions in this House and in the media in and around our justice system and youth crime today - I can only tell you that it's my belief that if all children across this province, many of them living in poverty, were able to have that solid foundation that will enable them to be surrounded by the necessary supports that will bring them to a level where they can make those proper decisions, I honestly believe that if programs like this were in place and funding was made available for programs in early childhood development, that the justice system wouldn't be burdened. Those youth making mistakes today are making mistakes because they haven't been given that opportunity.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, to all honourable members here in the House today, thank you for the opportunity to rise and speak on Resolution No. 658. Children are our most precious resource. They are indeed the future. I've spoken in this

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House before about my own experiences, and I want to reference those experiences again, because, quite frankly, this resolution deals with my two favourite topics - children and education. Now as the honourable member who made this resolution may know, I am the proud mother of four children. I am an educator, having spent 15 years in the public education system here in Nova Scotia. I will always be both, and am extremely proud of being both. So thank you to the member for Dartmouth North for this debate.

Mr. Speaker, the end of Resolution No. 658 states, "Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize the need for a system of early learning and care in Nova Scotia, which gives all families access to quality, affordable and appropriate child care and early childhood education." Well, quite simply, we could end the debate right here, right now, because there is no debate. We already agree.

Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has a system of early learning and care, giving all families access to quality, affordable, appropriate child care and early childhood education. That is our own made-in-Nova Scotia, made-for-Nova Scotians 10-year child care plan that this government announced in the Spring. Before becoming Minister of Community Services, I had the opportunity to be included in the child care announcement up at the Halifax Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College. I was with the member for Kings South, then-Minister of Community Services, at the Leeds Street Daycare with stakeholders from the early learning child care sector when he unveiled this new program. The variety of stakeholders who were present that day were eager and encouraged by the department's announcement. We've been running with this program ever since.

We all know, Mr. Speaker, that the first five years of a child's life are extremely important in shaping their future. Child care providers and parents work together playing an important role in helping children develop the tools they need to become healthy adults. This summer I had a wonderful time with the children and staff of the Town Daycare Centre in Glace Bay. I had the pleasure of delivering a cheque for $700,000 to help them build and expand their facility. This was an opportunity for me to see the good work going on there. I interacted with the children, the board members and the staff. It was indeed a delightful day.

In September, Mr. Speaker, I joined the team at the Alexandra Children Centre in North End Halifax for a sod-turning for their new and expanded centre. That cheque was worth close to $800,000. They're adding an infant daycare program to care for 10 children between the ages of 12 to 18 months. In late September, I was at the Through the Years Community Daycare in Hubbards to announce 150 subsidized portable child care spaces for all Nova Scotians, and there are more to come. As I said before, today's children are the future. Giving all children a good start in life is a wise investment for families and to their communities. This government is making huge strides in ensuring that today's children get the good start they deserve.

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From the wonderful work done through my Department of Community Services and with other departments, like Education, Health, Health Promotion and Protection, we are working hard each and every day, Mr. Speaker, on behalf of Nova Scotian children and families. Education has a preschool pilot project for children aged four to six that is looking like a real success story. The early childhood educators at both our departments are working together to ensure we provide a consistent and sustainable approach to preschool care in Nova Scotia. Promoting and providing good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is just one part of this government's program to give our kids a head start in life.

We're partnering, Mr. Speaker, with the Department of Energy to offer repair and renovation loans to daycare centres to create energy efficiencies and to address our government's goal of becoming more energy efficient. Through energy savings, child care centres will be able to reinvest that money into programming for kids. The Nova Scotia Government is committed to improving child care and helping parents and the people who provide quality care for our children.

Mr. Speaker, let me tell you how. This government is investing more than $130 million in our 10-year early leaning and child care plan. We are working to strengthen the quality and accessibility of child care in Nova Scotia and to improve supports for low-income families who need child care to go to work or school. What works for a family in rural Nova Scotia may not work for a family living in urban Halifax. That's why staff of our early learning and child care group regularly work with stakeholders and is why they consulted with Nova Scotians around the province to hear directly from the parents and families.

Mr. Speaker, we're doing this the right way. We're involving stakeholders to ensure that our long-term plan will be appropriate, to ensure that we are investing taxpayers' money in the best manner possible. It's a long-term investment that deserves careful consideration and good planning. This government is listening. We are listening to those who truly want the best for their children. We're listening to single parents. We're listening to families who may have to pick up and move with their children to another community in pursuit of employment. We're listening to mothers who don't have other support systems and want more family daycare centres in which to place their babies. We're listening to child care workers who want and deserve more support for their profession. We know that listening and investing in our children and families today will make Nova Scotia's future brighter.

Mr. Speaker, here's what our 10-year sustainable child care plan is all about - $80 million to licensed child care facilities to help create approximately 1,000 additional full-day child care spaces. Increase infant care spaces for approximately 200 infants, streamline funding for repair and renovation, energy, accessability upgrades and enable centres to promote sustainable business practices; $20 million, Mr. Speaker, to help

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establish family home daycare across Nova Scotia which will increase the availability of child care, particularly in rural areas where regulated child care may be limited.

We recently consulted Nova Scotians on this initiative, Mr. Speaker, and we will be demonstrating more progress soon. This plan, this made in Nova Scotia, for Nova Scotians plan has as an objective, developing this plan was to build on an existing foundation for licensed child care in Nova Scotia that will allow a flexible, equitable system.

Mr. Speaker, I will continue to work with my federal counterparts whom I have meet with and I will speak of, on another day, with a much stronger voice, to ensure that the needs of Nova Scotians in the early learning and child care programs are being met. We are on the right path and we will continue down that path. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, it is good to have support. I also want to acknowledge the minister and give her credit for the tremendous effort over the last 10 minutes. I also want to recognize the member for Dartmouth North who brought this resolution forward. I want to read it:

"Therefore be it resolved that the House recognize the need for a system of early learning and care in Nova Scotia which gives all families access to quality, affordable, appropriate child care in early child care education."

It was interesting to listen to the minister speak, that she agreed with that and the debate could stop, because I believe this side of the House supported that resolution. So we are debating this, because that side of the House chose not to. That is why this debate is on the floor today, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

I want to agree with the minister when she spoke about the complexity of child care and how the system needs to be flexible. She is very right, the issues are different for every family, the dynamics of every family are different. So child care should be flexible to enable it to work with the different working hours, the different dynamics of individual families.

One of the things that was interesting last week, when I introduced a bill around a committee to deal with the poverty issue, was 11,400 children in Nova Scotia are living below the poverty line. Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the child care issue is one of those stresses that are just adding to an already multiple number of stresses that these families have to deal with and this is one thing that we, as legislators, could deal with immediately. There is money on the table, as the minister has spoken about. She made

[Page 1390]

an announcement of 150 spaces. Mr. Speaker, she knows, and all of us in this House know, that is a far cry from what is required to deal with the issue across Nova Scotia.

Part of this resolution talked about quality. We, as a caucus, have no issue with the quality of daycare being provided to Nova Scotians today. We do have an issue, though, quite frankly - and I think this is where we need to go and I think in the long run will affect the quality - the fact that we are not putting the proper amount of resources in to pay for the people who work in daycare facilities. It is an issue that will come back to haunt us, Mr. Speaker, if we continue to put the workers in this industry under a tremendous financial burden, because they have no choice but to try to support their own families and find other ways to do that. So I think that is one of the things that the minister should be dealing with immediately, as we begin to go forward.

[2:15 p.m.]

She also talked about, and we've talked about, affordability as part of what this resolution speaks to and that is fundamental. This is really what this whole debate is about, whether or not families can afford child care. That is what brought it here, I think it is probably the single biggest issue that families are faced with.

When you consider 11,400 children in working families are living below the poverty line, that doesn't deal with children whose parents are unable to find a job and who are being supported by the government, by Community Services. That's 11,400 children, and if we don't find a way to provide those children with a quality of early learning, early childhood, the ramifications from that will be felt for decades.

We've talked about other situations in this House where children have been unfortunately - I think the system has failed them and their families. It's the issue of poverty, it keeps coming up. I know for the chair of the Community Services committee, it is an issue dear to her heart and we talk about the issue of poverty, but this comes back fundamentally to that and it ties into the issue of affordable childcare.

In this House, there are issues brought forward constantly around justice issues. Those issues are linked back to this. The minister spoke about the early learning years, 2 - 5 years in a child's development; I couldn't agree with her more. The opportunity that we have to reach out and correct some of the issues, quite frankly, that we have failed with a generation of people who are now in the system.

If we do this right, we have an opportunity to put a system in place that won't leave children behind who weren't born into a family that could afford to provide them with everything. Families and parents who, through no fault of their own- some difficulties arise in all of our lives. We, in this House, have been blessed and very fortunate that we've not had the kinds of difficulties that have forced our families to go into poverty and have us lose out. But we also have a collective responsibility as a

[Page 1391]

society to ensure that we give every child an equal opportunity to move forward and fulfill their potential.

The minister spoke about the issue of pre-primary. I think there are 20 sites of pre-Primary, with 18 kids in them. It's interesting, the size of the classes in them. I think that's a goal we should be working towards perhaps in the entire education system. The results and the feedback we've been getting and as the minister acknowledged today, she's been getting, on the importance of that program and how it's been able to impact on the lives of the children who are fortunate enough to be in it.

While I couldn't agree with her more, we need to look at expanding that program. In rural Nova Scotia, we have schools that are closing because of declining enrollments. We have schools that are being put under tremendous pressure. There's no reason that program could not be developed and run in the education systems around Nova Scotia.

In Metro, we're unable, because of the size of the student population, to provide it at a school, then there are appropriate facilities in Metro that we could be providing that same service to the children of Halifax and HRM.

The answer, I think, lies before us. It's just a question of whether or not we're willing to reach out and grab it and run with it. The money's on the table. There was money on the table from the federal government. There was $39 million left, it's there. It's a question of priorities, a question of where we want to invest. I want to encourage the minister, it's fundamental, I think, to the growth of this province that we invest in our children.

I don't like the term of using them as our most precious resource. We have other resources that are important. It's fundamental to our province. I don't know the appropriate word, quite frankly, to describe them. I'm fortunate to have two healthy children, sometimes growing beyond my ability to keep up to them, but I am fortunate. But, there are no words to describe how valuable they are, not only to us as individuals, but to the success of our province and to the success of our country.

I think we really need to take a serious look at this issue and this program and expand it to a level so that every Nova Scotian child between 2 and 5 years old has access to a quality childcare, but also in the early pre-Primary, the 4 to 6 year olds - that we're giving every child the opportunity to be exposed . It's not our job, quite frankly, to be picking winners and losers. It's not our job to make sure there are 20 programs or 18 children are being availed to this. It is our job to provide a quality system across the board, Mr. Speaker, and I think that is where we need to continue to go.

We talked earlier about the $130 million 10-year plan. No one seems to be able to follow that plan, and that's one of the challenges that is before us. I think we need to really take a hard look at where we're going and what our intent is with that. I think one

[Page 1392]

of the things that we've talked about is portability, and we fundamentally believe that is the way that child care spaces should be - they should be portable. We need to provide that flexibility for the families to have an opportunity to basically have that space be committed to them, and also be able to be flexible enough to deal with the needs and the distinct criteria that that family wants. I think portability will allow that. There may be some issues with portability, some issues that we need to look at seriously and how we correct, perhaps, whether that portable space is tied to a region; perhaps that may be the way to go. I don't think we should throw it away and take away that flexibility that families so desperately need today.

When you have the opportunity in my riding of Annapolis, you could be living in one end and working in another, and you, as a family, need that flexibility of a portable daycare space to be able to go, so you can, quite frankly, be at work on time and allow that family the opportunity to continue.

Mr. Speaker, I want to end and close by congratulating the member for Dartmouth North for bringing this forward, offering to him my support and the support of our group and a willingness to work with the government to make this happen. This is a fundamental issue for us as a province if we really believe in the things we're saying. With that, I'll take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, this resolution focuses on a situation that is appalling. We have a crisis in this province that is undermining the economic policies of Nova Scotia, and it's going to impact on the standard of living for all Nova Scotians, and that's our child care crisis. I was interested to hear reference to the government's plan on early learning and child care. Well, that's a one-page document with very few details and no direction or vision. It's interesting to note that the vision statement that this province presented to the federal government in order to get some of the federal funding several years ago, that vision statement has been removed from the government Web site. So, I have to wonder, has the commitment to early learning and child care in this province been lessened, as well? I would suggest we're going back to the days of patching a leaking ship with no destination in mind.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Would the honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley allow for an introduction?

MS. MORE: A quick one.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, very quickly, I'll thank the member for allowing me the introduction. I wanted to take the opportunity, because they

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don't get here very often, to introduce the members of the House to the Glace Bay High School Band, who are here today to play at the Military Appreciation Day. I would like to thank the Premier and the Speaker for inviting them here today. They're honoured to be here. They're a very prestigious band that has played internationally, and a lot of the students have been in this band since they were in Grade 4. So if they'd all rise up, please, and say, hi, and the members of this House could give them a great big warm welcome. They are under the direction of Barb Stetter. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, indeed, I want to welcome (Applause) And on that note, I want to welcome all our special guests in the gallery today.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say a word of welcome to those young people. I was wondering if it would be entirely out of order if they played a little something for us. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: They will. Honourable minister, I think you will be able to enjoy that, and all Nova Scotians will hear them at Military Appreciation Day. However, I do want to thank the honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley for her indulgence, and we'll extend her time, the additional two minutes, to 2:36 p.m.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate that. I've stood in this House many times over the last four years and talked about the best interests of children in this province, and have been accused of, that's a soft message, that's not why we're here. So, today I'm going to talk in economic terms to my colleagues on the opposite side. I'm going to talk about the future prosperity of this province. It may be costly to develop an early learning and child care system in Nova Scotia, but it's going to be even more costly to look at the results of not doing so, when you look at the increased costs as they impact, and we're seeing that now on our health care system, on our judicial system, on our economy and in our education and social programs.

If we use an economic lens, the lack of an early learning and child care strategy and plan has serious implications for Nova Scotia, and many of these are evident today. It's affecting our work and our productivity, now and in the future in a number of ways. In Nova Scotia, we have one of the highest proportions of parents with young children in the workforce across Canada, yet, we only have regulated licensed spaces for 12 per cent to 15 per cent of the children who need child care in Nova Scotia. That's the third-lowest regulated care in Canada.

Currently, 77 per cent of women with children under the age of five years are in the labour force in Nova Scotia, and that number is rising every year. Most of these

[Page 1394]

families do not have the child care options they need to ensure safe, affordable and quality learning and care. In 14 years, we've only added 2,000 regulated spaces in Nova Scotia - in 14 years. In 1992, we had approximately 11,000 regulated child care spaces in this province; 14 years later, we have about 13,000. We are not making much progress. When we talk about the value or lack of in regard to portable subsidies, those portable subsidies cannot be used if there's not a child care space available for that family. I think we have to go back to the root causes of some of these issues.

Some people will suggest that parents should just stay home. You had your children, you should stay home and look after them. Well, to be more accurate, they're not saying the parents should stay home, they're saying the mothers should stay home. But where would we be in this province if all the women who are our doctors, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, business people, politicians and military personnel who have children under 12, where would we be if they were required to withdraw their services from the labour force?

[2:30 p.m.]

We talk about a skills deficit in this province, that would be a huge economic crisis. Frankly, to be entirely selfish about this issue, our current and future workforce would be jeopardized, our standard and quality of living would go down, our productivity would be in an absolute tailspin, and many more families would be living in poverty. Our pension plans would be in chaos, and we would not be able to compete in the global economy.

In addition, parents require child care for other reasons besides work. There is often catastrophic illness and injury in a family, and children need to be cared for under those circumstances. A lot of people are caring for older family members, they have to go back for retraining or upgrading, they want to get more education or they want to do volunteer work. We are actually seeing a decrease in the number of older women volunteers in this province because many of them are required to stay home now and look after their grandchildren. So the impact down the road is something that's going to grow.

I also want to bring to mind the fact that, in Nova Scotia, we have a declining birth rate. Is it any wonder that Nova Scotians of childbearing age are choosing in larger numbers not to have children or to have fewer children? We aren't even replacing ourselves. More Nova Scotians are dying than are born each year.

There are many factors affecting this, but I would suggest that the lack of our family-friendly policies and programs in this province have to be included as a major factor. We hear the government talk a lot about immigration policy, and yet we hear stories of young parents not able to take advantage of English as a Second Language

[Page 1395]

programs because they can't find child care spaces to put their children in while they're learning English.

A number of studies have been done internationally, nationally and in this province looking at the social and economic benefits of a comprehensive early learning and child care system. Without question, the financial benefits to children and parents are twice what the program costs. These benefits include higher academic performance and training, higher lifetime earnings of both the parents and the children. Now these calculated benefits didn't even include the additional child care jobs that might be added, nor moving many of the child care payments out of the underground economy into a position to where they can be tax revenue for the province.

Just last fall, there was a new research report called Public Policy and Participation of Rural Nova Scotia Women in the New Economy. It concluded after a thorough review and documentary and statistical analysis that women are invisible in economic policies in Nova Scotia and across Canada. A lack of child care options is specifically mentioned as a factor in women's participation in our workforce here in the province.

I challenge the minister on the rosy picture that she provided of the early learning and child care system - so-called - which is just a patchwork arrangement in Nova Scotia. The problems here are endless. We have no system nor sustainability. We have a lack of regulated spaces. Even with Quebec as a positive example of what can be done by a progressive, forward-looking and wise - if I may suggest - provincial government, the Canadian average is only 15 per cent, compared to 60 per cent regulated care in the United Kingdom and 69 per cent in France. In Nova Scotia, we have a very low percentage of children under five in monitored care and I think this should raise alarm bells to anyone who is concerned about safety and quality. The cost is unreasonable. In Quebec parents pay $7 a day; in Nova Scotia they pay between $20 and $40 a day.

We have already talked about low wages and poor working conditions, and this does affect the quality of care and learning opportunities. There is a lack of incentives for the staff that we have to get higher qualifications. An equivalency clause was grandparented in by the government without any end point. In fact, 200 new workers have been added since January 2005, with minimal qualifications. So that is again diluting the expertise and training within the sector.

There's a lack of common voice in the sector and I would suggest that the department sometimes aids the fragmentation by pitting the for-profits against the commercial - sorry, the for-profits against the non-profits. But the most important thing is the lack of political will and vision in this province. Child care is viewed as part of the welfare system, not a progressive universal program that will be a stepping stone to prosperity.

[Page 1396]

It's a myth that Nova Scotia has a child care plan. It has a one-page excuse but continues a piece-meal approach with little vision and little accountability. I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that our children and our economy deserve better.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House adjourn. I believe that's in order. I would like to mention for the benefit of members, the order of business for tomorrow. The order of business for tomorrow is Private and Local Bills for Second Reading, Private and Local Bills in Committee of the Whole House on Bills, and Public Bills for Second Reading.

Mr. Speaker, the House will sit for six hours commencing at the hour of 12:00 noon and sitting to the hour of 6:00 p.m. Of course, the moment of interruption, at that point.

MR. SPEAKER: We stand adjourned. I would just note to members before we conclude the session that the CPA annual meeting will immediately proceed at the conclusion of business here today. I would ask all those available to stay for that.

[The House rose at 2:37 p.m.]

[Page 1397]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 743

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas education and action are essential to promoting an awareness of our environment; and

Whereas recycling is a major component in our efforts to create and maintain a clean environment; and

Whereas Bridgewater's O'Regans South Shore Toyota is Lunenburg Regional Community Recycling Centre's Business of the Month;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate O'Regans South Shore Toyota for their hard work and dedication in waste management.

RESOLUTION NO. 744

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas participating in sport and recreational activities are encouraged for all levels; and

Whereas sport and recreation activities contribute to a healthy active lifestyle; and

Whereas Hebbville Academy student Katelynn Carver took third place in the provincial cross-country meet in the junior girls category;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Katelynn Carver on her excellent performance in the provincial cross-country meet.

[Page 1398]

RESOLUTION NO. 745

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas participating in sport and recreational activities are encouraged for all levels; and

Whereas sport and recreation activities contribute to a healthy active lifestyle; and

Whereas Hebbville Academy student Justin Taylor, took second place in the provincial cross-country meet in the junior boys category;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Justin Taylor on his excellent performance in the provincial cross-country meet.

RESOLUTION NO. 746

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas small businesses contribute to a healthy economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business successes in our communities; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 3rd Annual Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Martell family of Inside-Out Cleaning Service for being the recipients of the Small Business Award.

[Page 1399]

RESOLUTION NO. 747

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas small businesses contribute to a healthy economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business successes in our communities; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 3rd Annual Lunenburg Country Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Arol and Marilyn Wentzell of Wentzell's Bottle Recycling for being recipients of the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 748

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas small businesses contribute to a healthy economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business successes in our communities; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 3rd Annual Lunenburg Country Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ed Baker and Carla Rafuse of Vale Packaging Ltd. for being the recipients of the Export Achievement Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 749

[Page 1400]

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas small businesses contribute to a healthy economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business successes in our communities; and

Whereas the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 3rd Annual Lunenburg Country Business Excellence Awards;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate President Maurice Guitton and staff of Composites Atlantic for being the recipient of the Innovation Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 750

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas participating in sport and recreational activities are encouraged for all levels; and

Whereas sport and recreation activities contribute to healthy active lifestyles; and

Whereas Hebbville Academy students, Katelynn Carver and Justin Taylor, took first in the Junior Regional Cross Country Championships, and Mattias Wolter took first place in the Intermediate Boys Championships;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Hebbville Academy students Katelynn Carver, Justin Taylor and Mattias Wolter on their exceptional performances at the Regional Cross Country Championships.

RESOLUTION NO. 751

[Page 1401]

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas dedication and commitment to a sport can be a lifelong journey; and

Whereas proper training requires hard work, sacrifice and discipline; and

Whereas Hebbville native David Naugler claimed the middleweight title at the 2006 National Body Building Championships in Saskatoon;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. David Naugler as being the first Nova Scotian to win a middleweight title at the national level.

RESOLUTION NO. 752

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas wetland conservation is necessary to enhance areas for the use of migratory birds and native species; and

Whereas the establishment of those wetlands depends on co-operation with interested volunteers and landowners; and

Whereas a new wetland was recently established in Hebbville, Lunenburg County;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and thank Mr. Tim Atkinson and Ducks Unlimited for taking the initiative to create a one and a half acre wetland area consisting of a pond complete with four small islands.

RESOLUTION NO. 753

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Bill and Irene Wheaton were honoured by being named Citizens of the Year by the Parrsboro and District Board of Trade; and

[Page 1402]

Whereas Bill and Irene were recognized for their dedication to Parrsboro during the past six decades, including operating the popular Wheaton's Restaurant for nearly 20 years - employing over 160 local people over the years - until the restaurant burned in 1962, when Bill Wheaton began looking for a new career at the age of 43; and

Whereas in 1964 they found themselves in Florida, then to Connecticut, but they felt the pull to come back to Parrsboro where they embarked upon several business ventures as well as Bill going on the town council, the Parrsboro Golf Club, the hospital board, and the Board of Trade, and he was a founding member of the Parrsboro Art Guild;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Bill and Irene Wheaton on being chosen Parrsboro's Citizens of the Year, and wish them all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 754

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legions across Nova Scotia are recognized for their involvement and dedication, not only to veterans and Legion members but also to our youth and communities; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 4 in Joggins continues to provide a very valuable service in our community; and

Whereas veterans, Legion members and citizens will hold Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11th to remember those who gave so much for our country;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 4 for their commitment to our province, our country and our history.

RESOLUTION NO. 755

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

[Page 1403]

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legions across Nova Scotia are recognized for their involvement and dedication, not only to veterans and Legion members but also to our youth and communities; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14 in River Hebert continues to provide a very valuable service in our community; and

Whereas veterans, Legion members and citizens will hold Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11th to remember those who gave so much for our country;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 14 for their commitment to our province, our country and our history.

RESOLUTION NO. 756

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legions across Nova Scotia are recognized for their involvement and dedication, not only to veterans and Legion members but also to our youth and communities; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 17 in Springhill continues to provide a very valuable service in our community; and

Whereas veterans, Legion members and citizens will hold Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11th to remember those who gave so much for our country;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 17 for their commitment to our province, our country and our history.

RESOLUTION NO. 757

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

[Page 1404]

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legions across Nova Scotia are recognized for their involvement and dedication, not only to veterans and Legion members but also to our youth and communities; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 134 in Maccan continues to provide a very valuable service in our community; and

Whereas veterans, Legion members and citizens will hold Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11th to remember those who gave so much for our country;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 134 for their commitment to our province, our country and our history.

RESOLUTION NO. 758

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legions across Nova Scotia are recognized for their involvement and dedication, not only to veterans and Legion members but also to our youth and communities; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36 in Oxford continues to provide a very valuable service in our community; and

Whereas veterans, Legion members and citizens will hold Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11th to remember those who gave so much for our country;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36 for their commitment to our province, our country and our history.

RESOLUTION NO. 759

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

[Page 1405]

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

Whereas Royal Canadian Legions across Nova Scotia are recognized for their involvement and dedication, not only to veterans and Legion members but also to our youth and communities; and

Whereas the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 45 in Parrsboro continues to provide a very valuable service in our community; and

Whereas veterans, Legion members and citizens will hold Remembrance Day ceremonies on November 11th to remember those who gave so much for our country;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank the members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 45 for their commitment to our province, our country and our history.

RESOLUTION NO. 760

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Chester RCMP has been keeping the Chester Municipality safe for many years; and

Whereas under the leadership of Corporal Gary White, the Chester RCMP celebrated the grand opening of their new, modern, state-of-the-art office on May 17, 2006; and

Whereas the new office will continue to allow officers to help keep our streets safe;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House congratulate the Chester RCMP detachment on their grand opening of their new office, and wish them much health and safety in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 761

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

[Page 1406]

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has many talented artists; and

Whereas each month my constituency office features a different artist from the local area; and

Whereas Pat Ahern is a fine example of one such artist;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional talents of Pat Ahern and wish her all the best in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 762

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has many talented artists; and

Whereas each month my constituency office features a different artist from the local area; and

Whereas Margaret Sullivan is a fine example of one such artist;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional talents of Margaret Sullivan and wish her all the best in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 763

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has many talented artists; and

Whereas each month my constituency office features a different artist from the local area; and

Whereas Judy MacIntosh is a fine example of one such artist;

[Page 1407]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional talents of Judy MacIntosh and wish her all the best in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 764

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has many talented artists; and

Whereas each month my constituency office features a different artist from the local area; and

Whereas Sebastien McSween is a fine example of one such artist;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional talents of Sebastien McSween and wish him all the best in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 765

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has many talented artists; and

Whereas each month my constituency office features a different artist from the local area; and

Whereas Wayne Murdock is a fine example of one such artist;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional talents of Wayne Murdock and wish him all the best in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 766

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

[Page 1408]

Whereas Nova Scotia has many talented artists; and

Whereas each month my constituency office features a different artist from the local area; and

Whereas Jimmy and Jackie Cleveland are fine examples of such artists;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional talents of Jimmy and Jackie Cleveland and encourage them to continue to add to the cultural beauty of Nova Scotia with their art.

RESOLUTION NO. 767

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has many talented artists; and

Whereas each month my constituency office features a different artist from the local area; and

Whereas Gert Jones is a fine example of one such artist;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional talents of Gert Jones and encourage her to continue to add to the cultural beauty of Nova Scotia with her art.

RESOLUTION NO. 768

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has many talented artists; and

Whereas each month my constituency office features a different artist from the local area; and

Whereas John Bos is a fine example of one such artist;

[Page 1409]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional talents of John Bos and encourage him to continue to add to the cultural beauty of Nova Scotia with his art.

RESOLUTION NO. 769

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia has many talented artists; and

Whereas each month my constituency office features a different artist from the local area; and

Whereas Sheila Lewis is a fine example of one such artist;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the exceptional talents of Sheila Lewis and encourage her to continue to add to the cultural beauty of Nova Scotia with her art.

RESOLUTION NO. 770

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas while swimming, Darrin White, an asthmatic, got into trouble more than 100 feet from the shore of Fox Point Lake; and

Whereas Cora-Lynn White, age 11, of Chester, and her cousins, Tillia and Tyler White, age 11 and 10 respectively, from Kamloops, British Columbia, found themselves in a position where they had to act quickly; and

Whereas alerted by Mr. White's cries for help, the kids, one of whom could barely swim, managed to get flotation devices to the man, who eventually made his way back to shore;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the heroic actions of these three fine Canadians and congratulate them for their bravery.

RESOLUTION NO. 771

[Page 1410]

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas small businesses are the heart of our communities here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Freddie's Fish and Chips is one such small business that has proven to be a success; and

Whereas Freddie's Fish and Chips is located on the Peggy's Cove Road in Tantallon, and I would encourage all members of this House to pull off Highway No. 103 for a great meal of fish and chips and a picturesque drive of Chester-St. Margaret's;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of House congratulate Tammie Fredericks of Freddie's Fish and Chips for offering such delicious meals and wish her good health and success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 772

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas Amanda and Roland Swim, a daughter and father duo from Tantallon, had a dream to participate in a half-marathon in Reykjavik, Iceland; and

Whereas over the last several months, they raised $13,500 to participate on the Canadian Diabetes Associations Team; and

Whereas with temperatures ranging between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius, Roland and Amanda quickly realized that their dreams were coming true as they completed the course;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Roland and Amanda Swim on completing the half-marathon and wish them good health and success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 773

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

[Page 1411]

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

Whereas the third Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards were held on October 30th at Oak Island Resort and Spa; and

Whereas the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award recognizes the accomplishments of a business owner who has succeeded through risk taking and innovation and has achieved success in introducing new products or services or growing an existing product line through a unique approach; and

Whereas Sharon McNamara and Paul Palango, owners of Kiln Art, earned the nomination for the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Sharon and Paul on their well-deserved nomination and wish them continued success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 774

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the Chester Yacht Club has been rededicated, refitted and re-rigged in every way; and

Whereas the building looks nearly the same on the outside, but is fully 20 per cent larger, and inside the club's comforts for sailors have been improved and expanded; and

Whereas Commodore Thane MacDonald is proud to say that thanks to the proceeds from the race week fundraisers and individual donations, the five-year, $600,000 project is debt free;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Chester Yacht Club on their expansion and renovations and wish them much success in the years to come.

RESOLUTION NO. 775

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

[Page 1412]

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

Whereas Susan Bathurst packed her business up and moved it down the road to Hubbards; and

Whereas focusing on a spa-like atmosphere, she can accommodate between four and six people at a time at the facial bar, as well as two private offices for personal aesthetic services; and

Whereas this decision was obviously a wise one, since her phone has not stopped ringing off the wall;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish Susan and her dedicated staff much success in her new location.

RESOLUTION NO. 776

By: Hon. Judy Streatch (Community Services)

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

Whereas the third Lunenburg County Business Excellence Awards were held on October 30th at Oak Island Resort and Spa; and

Whereas the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award recognizes the accomplishments of a business owner who has succeeded through risk taking and innovation and has achieved success in introducing new products or services or growing an existing product line through a unique approach; and

Whereas Derek Delamere and Elaine Tough, owners of the Rope Loft Restaurant, earned the nomination for the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Derek and Elaine on their well-deserved nomination and wish them continued success in the years to come.