The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 06-14

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Cecil Clarke

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

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

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 437, Michelin N.S. - Anniv. (35th), The Premier 744
Vote - Affirmative 744
Res. 438, Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership - Parks Can. Award,
Hon. L. Goucher 745
Vote - Affirmative 745
Res. 439, Educ.: Egyptian Delegation - Welcome, Hon. K. Casey 746
Vote - Affirmative 746
Res. 440, Clean N.S.: Waste Reduction Wk. Campaign - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Parent 747
Vote - Affirmative 747
Res.441, Com. Serv.: Adoption - Consider, Hon. J. Streatch 748
Vote - Affirmative 748
Res. 442, Delta Hotels - Tourism Award, Hon. L. Goucher 748
Vote - Affirmative 749
Res. 443, C.B.-Victoria Reg. Sch. Bd. - Fire Marshal's Award,
Hon. K. Casey 749
Vote - Affirmative 750
Res. 444, Health Prom. & Protection: Power Walls - Elimination,
Hon. B. Barnet 750
Vote - Affirmative 751
Res. 445, Lamont, Cpl. Jason: Medal of Military Valour - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 751
Vote - Affirmative 751
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 62, Tobacco Access Act, Hon. B. Barnet 752
No. 63, Sydney Casino Profits Distribution Act,
Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 752
No. 64, Defibrillators Act, Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 752
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 446, Col. John Stuart Elem. Sch: PTO - Command,
Mr. D. Dexter 752
Vote - Affirmative 753
Res. 447, TPW - Legislature Reconstruction, Mr. W. Gaudet 753
Vote - Affirmative 754
Res. 448, Barrington, Shauna - Mabou Hbr. Watershed Plan,
The Premier 754
Vote - Affirmative 755
Res. 449, Hfx. Airport Auth.: Pre-Clearance Facility - Congrats.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 755
Vote - Affirmative 755
Res. 450, Mi'kmaq Hist. Mo. (10/06) - Recognize, Mr. K. Colwell 756
Vote - Affirmative 756
Res. 451, Grosvenor, Mabel: Death of - Tribute, Mr. K. Bain 756
Vote - Affirmative 757
Res. 452, Eric Graves Jr. H.S.: Avon Breast Cancer Crusade - Congrats.,
Ms. J. Massey 757
Vote - Affirmative 758
Res. 453, Women's Hist. Mo. (10/06) - Recognize, Ms. D. Whalen 758
Vote - Affirmative 759
Res. 454, Ferguson, Ralph: Disabled Commun. - Work Applaud,
Mr. P. Dunn 759
Vote - Affirmative 760
Res. 455, RJ's Women's Group/Avon Can. - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Parker 760
Vote - Affirmative 760
Res. 456, Healthy Workplace Wk. (10/23 - 10/29/06) - Recognize,
Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 760
Vote - Affirmative 761
Res. 457, Shay, Brian, Rick & Bobby/Hazel, Tim: Vol. Fire Serv. -
Compliment, Mr. C. Porter 761
Vote - Affirmative 762
Res. 458, Whitney Pier Soc. of Arts: Pier Scape - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Gosse 762
Vote - Affirmative 763
Res. 459, Econ. Dev.: West. N.S. - Sustainable Plan,
Mr. H. Theriault 763
Vote - Affirmative 763
Res. 460, Bass River Senior Citizens Club: Victoria Hall - Survival,
Hon. K. Casey 764
Vote - Affirmative 764
Res. 461, Environ. & Lbr.: Pesticide Application - Legislate,
Ms. M. Raymond 764
Res. 462, Cain-Grant, Tiyaila: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Colwell 765
Vote - Affirmative 766
Res. 463, Trowsdale: Glidden Paints Employment - Anniv. (40th),
Hon. J. Muir 766
Vote - Affirmative 767
Res. 464, Journeay, Shane: Accomplishments - Recognize,
Ms. V. Conrad 767
Vote - Affirmative 767
Res. 465, Nat'l. Trucking Wk. (09/17 -09/23/06) - Recognize,
Mr. W. Gaudet 768
Vote - Affirmative 768
Res. 466, Bridgewater Elem. Sch. - Math Contest,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 768
Vote - Affirmative 769
Res. 467, Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Elem. Sch. -
Top Sch. Designation: Students/Staff/Parents - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 769
Vote - Affirmative 770
Res. 468, Blackwell, Riley: ATV Maritimer of the Wk.,
Hon. E. Fage 770
Vote - Affirmative 771
Res. 469, Tantallon Elem. Sch. - New Facility: Transition - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 771
Vote - Affirmative 771
Res. 470, Hfx. Tribe: Fastpitch Championship Team - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Chisholm 772
Vote - Affirmative 772
Res. 471, Steadman, Mervin/Centreville Commun. Assoc.:
Emergency Generator - Congrats., Hon. M. Parent 772
Vote - Affirmative 773
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 472, Schwartz, Harold: C.B. Bus. Hall of Fame -
Induction, Mr. G. Gosse 773
Vote - Affirmative 774
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 65, Joseph Howe Day Act, Ms. D. Whalen 774
No. 66, Right to Read Act, Ms. D. Whalen
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS: 774
No. 104, Health: Nursing Home Beds - Shortage Address,
Mr. D. Dexter 775
No. 105, Health: Care Workers - Strike Avert,
Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 776
No. 106, Health: Nursing Home Beds - Wait Times, Mr. D. Dexter 777
No. 107, Energy: Conserve N.S. - Consulting Contract, Mr. F. Corbett 779
No. 108, Energy: Conserve N.S. CEO - Eligibility, Mr. K. Colwell 780
No. 109, PC Party - Trade Centre Donation, Mr. K. Deveaux 782
No. 110, Health - Larkin Case - Details, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 783
No. 111, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Keep the Heat Program -
Retain, Ms. D. Whalen 785
No. 112, Justice: MADD Report - Followup, Mr. K. Deveaux 786
No. 113, Health Care: Privatization - Details,
Mr. D. Wilson (Glace Bay) 788
No. 114, Agric: Product Pricing - Plan, Mr. J. MacDonell 789
No. 115, Econ. Dev.: Cap Funding - Reversal, Mr. H. Epstein 791
No. 116, TCH: Industry Decrease - Action, Mr. S. McNeil ~ 792
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 21, Justice Administration Amendment (2006) Act 794
Mr. G. Steele 794
Hon. M. Scott 800
Vote - Affirmative 801
No. 23, Wills Act 801
Hon. M. Scott 801
Mr. K. Deveaux 802
Mr. M. Samson 804
Mr. J. MacDonell 806
Ms. D. Whalen 807
Mr. H. Epstein 808
Hon. M. Scott 812
Vote - Affirmative 812
Vote - Affirmative
No. 14, Public Service Act 812
Hon. J. Muir 812
Mr. J. MacDonell 813
Mr. H. Theriault 813
Mr. S. Belliveau 815
Mr. C. MacKinnon 817
Ms. D. Whalen 819
Ms. V. Conrad 822
Mr. S. McNeil 824
Hon. J. Muir 826
Vote - Affirmative 826
No. 22, Motor Vehicle Act 827
Hon. A. MacIsaac 827
Mr. J. MacDonell 828
Mr. S. McNeil 829
Mr. C. Parker 829
Adjourned debate 830
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Wed., Nov. 1st at 2:00 p.m. 831
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 473, Brandwin-Glait, Julia - World Handwriting Contest,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 832
Res. 474, Wicker, Don - Library Bd. Award, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 832
Res. 475, Forbes, Mae: Vol. Serv. - Recognize,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 833
Res. 476, Sarty, Annie - Birthday (103rd), Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 833
Res. 477, Health Prom. & Protection - Bridgewater Skateboard Park,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 833
Res. 478, Buck, Brian & Janice: Buck's Home Building Centre -
Grand Opening, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 834
Res. 479, Bridgewater Atlantics: Soccer Championship -
Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 834
Res. 480, Snyder, Andrew/Wamboldt, Graham/Adams, Olivia: Tennis
Titles - Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson ~ 835 ~
Res. 481, Lohnes, Gordon - S. Shore Ex.: Vol. Serv. - Recognize,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 835
Res. 482, Stockman, Krista - Special Olympics: Success - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 836
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson
Res. 483, Rofihe's Men's Wear - Rofihe Family: Success -
Recognize, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 836
Res. 484, Dunham, Frank/Kiwanis Club: Best Wishes - Extend,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 837
Res. 485, Crouse: Cdn. Strongman Championships - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 837
Res. 486, Mothers of Angels Soc.: Efforts - Commend,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 838
Res. 487, Whynot, Patrick: Student Exchange Prog. - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 838

[Page 743]

HALIFAX, TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2006

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

11:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

743

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

[Page 744]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 437

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 for three and a half decades Michelin has found a home in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas it began with operations in Granton and Bridgewater and added another facility in Waterville in 1982, investing over that time more than $1.3 billion in capital in our province and rolling out more than 200 million tires; and

Whereas George Sutherland of Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. recently said of the Bridgewater plant, "There is a strong spirit of participation in the plant which is complemented by the support and co-operation of the community" and noted that the employees were their most valuable asset, a sentiment I know applies to all three facilities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Michelin Nova Scotia and its employees on 35 years of producing a consistently quality produce and, while growing its operation and the accompanying employment opportunities, also enhancing the economy of 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 Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 438

[Page 745]

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's natural environment, including 7,600 kilometres of rugged coastline and sandy beaches, is one of our best assets for attracting visitors; and

Whereas Nova Scotia and New Brunswick work together through the Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership to draw visitors to experience the wonder of the world's highest tides, along with accommodations and attractions around the whole bay; and

Whereas the Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership was recognized by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada last week, winning the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the power of partnerships and congratulate the Bay of Fundy Tourism Partnership on winning this national award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I would like to make an introduction before reading the resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MS. CASEY: Thank you. I would like to draw the attention of the members of the House to the gallery behind, where there is a delegation from Egypt who are joining us today. They are spending time in Cape Breton looking at expanding university programs and offering Nova Scotia public school programs in their private schools in Egypt. I would also like to acknowledge that Dr. Magdy Elkady received an honorary degree from Cape Breton University just this week, so I'm pleased to introduce him as

[Page 746]

my guest and I would ask him to stand and receive a warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 439

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia Public School Program is being introduced in some schools in the country of Egypt; and

Whereas the delegation from Egypt is meeting with the Department of Education about Nova Scotia's curriculum for Primary to Grade 12; and

Whereas the delegation is visiting Nova Scotia from October 26th to November 1st;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House welcome the Egyptian delegation today and congratulate them on incorporating learning components developed in Nova Scotia into their schools.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to make an introduction before I read my resolution. In the gallery - I'm not sure whether they're in the east or west gallery - are Kari Riddell, Waste Reduction Week Co-ordinator and Judy McMullen, Executive Director. If I could ask them to stand where they are and receive the warm welcome of the House, and thank them for the bags, as well. (Applause)

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

[Page 747]

RESOLUTION NO. 440

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

Whereas since we launched our Solid Waste-Resource Management Strategy in 1995, Nova Scotia has earned an international reputation as a leader in reducing, reusing, recycling and composting; and

Whereas indicators of this success include more than 1.7 billion beverage containers, 6 million tires and 605,000 litres of paint recycled since this strategy began; and

Whereas this success was achieved through the partnership of government, industry, associations and individual Nova Scotians, who each have a role to play in a clean, green, healthy environment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the people of Nova Scotia in congratulating Clean Nova Scotia on another successful Waste Reduction Week campaign, held October 16th to 22nd, and commend them for their efforts to encourage Nova Scotians to look beyond reduce, reuse, recycle, to rethinking how we can reduce our consumption of all our valuable resources, including water and energy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[11:15 a.m.]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 441

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

[Page 748]

Whereas adoption can mean love, support and a permanent, nurturing home for many young people in permanent care and custody; and

Whereas in Nova Scotia, we have children and youth of all ages waiting to be adopted into a loving family; and

Whereas November is Adoption Month, and during this month all Nova Scotians, families and individuals, are encouraged to consider adopting one of Nova Scotia's waiting children;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House encourage Nova Scotians to consider adopting a young person in permanent care into their families and hearts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 442

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

Whereas on October 23rd, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada presented national awards for tourism excellence; and

Whereas the Delta Barrington and Delta Halifax Hotels received the Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council Award for excellence in human resources development; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is a leader in developing training opportunities for its tourism industry, with the highest number per capita of nationally certified tourism professionals in the country;

[Page 749]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud our Delta hotel staff, as well as tourism professionals across the province for their commitment to a strong, vibrant tourism industry 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 Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 443

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

Whereas Robert Cormier, Nova Scotia's fire marshal, recently presented the 2006 Fire Marshal's Partner Award to the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board at the annual school boards' safety conference in Truro on September 25th; and

Whereas deputy fire marshals and Department of Education staff reviewed fire safety plans and conducted a fire safety audit procedure in 10 schools in each school board in the province; and

Whereas the fire marshal found that all school boards had increased their fire safety awareness, and that the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board excelled in meeting its responsibility to ensure fire safety standards in its schools;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board for its endeavours to protect the health and safety of all its students and staff, as well as the schools within its boundaries.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 750]

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 Promotion and Protection.

RESOLUTION NO. 444

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

Whereas today, staff at the Department of Health Promotion and Protection and I announced that I will introduce legislation to eliminate the use of power walls in stores across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas effective March 2007, all cigarette companies will no longer be able to market to Nova Scotians in stores or display tobacco pricing; and

Whereas our goal as a government to make Nova Scotia the healthiest population in Canada is the next step to achieving that goal;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating community organizations across the Province of Nova Scotia on the good work they have done on reducing tobacco use and helping to unplug power walls.

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. 445

[Page 751]

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 heroic actions of one young Canadian Forces medic, who grew up in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, are being recognized with the Medal of Military Valour for his action in Afghanistan; and

Whereas 22-year-old Corporal Jason Lamont, who is now based in Edmonton, risked his own life when he ran through heavy gunfire to provide first-aid to fellow soldiers; and

Whereas living in such peaceful times in Canada we often forget just what harrowing conditions our soldiers endure and what incredible feats they perform under drastic conditions to protect the lives of others;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Corporal Jason Lamont, who is a shining example of the bravery exhibited by our Forces personnel, on the announcement of his upcoming receipt of this prestigious medal.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 62 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 14 of the Acts of 1993. The Tobacco Access Act. (Hon. Barry Barnet)

Bill No. 63 - Entitled an Act to Establish a Board to Distribute to Charities One Half of the Profits From the Sydney Casino. (Mr. David Wilson, Glace Bay)

Bill No. 64 - Entitled an Act to Provide Access to Defibrillators. (Mr. David Wilson, Glace Bay)

[Page 752]

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

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce a person who's here from my riding, Nicky Wells. She's here in her capacity as the chair of five community health boards and helping out with a no smoking campaign in that area, and she's here to support our minister in his wonderful announcements. So, Nicky, if you would rise and receive the welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 446

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

Whereas Colonel John Stuart Elementary School in Cole Harbour has an active parent-teacher organization which, each year, takes on big dreams for their school; and

Whereas for the 2006 school year, this parent-teacher organization has taken on the challenge of replacing the unsafe playground equipment at their elementary school; and

Whereas the present and past executive, parents, and other volunteers in the community, are busy fundraising to reach their goals and allow them to purchase a new playground for Primary to Grade 2 students;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize the efforts of the parent-teacher organization at the Colonel John Stuart Elementary School in Cole Harbour and commend the entire executive, parents and volunteers for their fundraising activities to raise money for the new playground equipment.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 753]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: You have a bill?

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. We're in the middle of Notices of Motion, I would suggest if a member wants to revert back, then we revert back after Notices of Motion. That's the normal procedure.

MR. SPEAKER: And that's what we shall do. We will continue.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 447

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

Whereas the Nova Scotia House of Assembly has recently undergone significant reconstruction; and

Whereas, as we all know, having to work under time constraints and pressure of the Government of Nova Scotia can frequently be frustrating; and

Whereas employees from the Department of Transportation and Public Works have been labouring diligently to ready the oldest Legislature in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the excellent work employees from the Department of Transportation and Public Works have done to prepare the Legislature for the 2006 Fall sitting, allowing us to perform the work Nova Scotians have elected us to do and take comfort in knowing that neither legislation nor members will fall through the cracks.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 754]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 448

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

Whereas a stewardship plan for the Mabou Harbour Watershed is now being developed; and

Whereas Shauna Barrington, who graduated with her master's degree in environmental studies from Dalhousie University and with a biology degree from St. F.X. University, has returned to Mabou after working away for years as a diagnostic cytologist in Switzerland; and

Whereas the stewardship plan is being developed through the Canada-Nova Scotia Water Supply Expansion Program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature applaud the work of Shauna Barrington as she strives to address community sustainability along with watershed and coastal resource issues for the Mabou Harbour Watershed.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 449

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

[Page 755]

Whereas safe and efficient air travel is not only convenient for the traveller, but also helps to expand trade and prosperity; and

Whereas pre-clearance of American Customs facilitates travel to that country in this time of security concerns; and

Whereas Halifax International Airport opened its new pre-clearance facility on October 4, 2006;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the staff of the Halifax Airport Authority for their initiative in smoothing the process of travel between Canada and the United States.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 450

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

Whereas the creation of Mi'kmaq History Month was established in 1993 to reassert the historical treaties of peace and friendship; and

Whereas the recognition and promotion of Mi'kmaq culture, language and traditions are essential to the continuing relationship between the Province of Nova Scotia and the Mi'kmaq people; and

Whereas the historical Treaties of Peace and Friendship were, and continue to be based on mutual recognition, respect and understanding;

[Page 756]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the month of October as Mi'kmaq History Month.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 451

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

Whereas the remarkable chapter of the history of Baddeck has ended with the death of Alexander Graham Bell's granddaughter, Mabel Grosvenor at the age of 101; and

Whereas until her death yesterday, Ms. Grosvenor served as honorary president of the Alexander Graham Bell Club and, besides being the granddaughter of the man who invented the telephone that left a rich and lasting legacy, Ms. Grosvenor was one of the five women to graduate from Johns Hopkins University with a medical degree in 1931; and

Whereas Ms. Grosvenor believed strongly in equal rights and made her opinion count, marching with her mother and grandmother in 1913 in Washington, D.C. on the issue of giving women the right to vote;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize today that not only Baddeck and Victoria County but Nova Scotians and all Canadians have lost a true matriarch in Canadian and world history.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 757]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[11:30 a.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 452

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

Whereas on Monday, October 16, 2006, I had the pleasure of attending an event at Eric Graves Memorial Junior High School, along with representatives from Avon, teachers, community members and the Grade 7 students; and

Whereas over 300 pink tulips were planted in the school's front yard as part of an initiative by Avon, which has planted over 80,000 tulip bulbs this Fall across Canada as part of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade; and

Whereas Eric Graves Junior High was the only school in the Halifax Regional School Board chosen to participate in the awareness campaign;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate all those involved in the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and hope for a Spring full of wonderful blooming colour.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 758]

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 453

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

Whereas the creation of Women's History Month in 1992 was to encourage greater awareness among Canadians of the historical contributions of women in society; and

Whereas acknowledging the achievements of women is a vital part of our Canadian heritage and history; and

Whereas the goal of Women's History Month is to actively promote the accomplishments of women and to develop a better understanding of the diverse roles women play in contemporary society;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the Month of October as Women's History Month.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 454

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

Whereas Pictou resident Ralph Ferguson has dedicated many years to the disabled community throughout Nova Scotia, most notably serving as Chairperson for the Disabled Persons Commission and Vice-Chair for the Nova Scotia League for Equal Opportunities; and

[Page 759]

Whereas recently, Mr. Ferguson's work enabled the disabled community to better communicate with each other through his computer blog that eventually became the monthly newsletter known as The Eastern Views, which now reaches over 1,000 readers each month; and

Whereas Mr. Ferguson concentrates on writing about the issues and concerns of those living within the disabled community and encourages readers to submit articles. A continuing success, Mr. Ferguson has recently e-mailed copies of The Eastern Views to readers as far away as New Zealand and California;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud Ralph Ferguson in his work in giving a disabled community in Nova Scotia and beyond a voice and an outlet. Mr. Ferguson's effort illustrates that through technology, Nova Scotians are now more than ever in a position to bring to the world our unique sense of community and belonging.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 455

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

Whereas October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with more than 140,000 pink tulip bulbs being planted in hundreds of communities across Canada in conjunction with Avon Canada; and

Whereas the RJ's Women's Group in River John, with volunteers Mildred Heighton, Joan Redmond and Marg Jones, along with Denise MacLeod, the District Sales Manager for Avon Canada, planted about 200 of these pink tulips in Bissell Park to raise awareness of breast cancer research; and

[Page 760]

Whereas we all know someone who has been touched by breast cancer, and next Spring these bright pink flowers will offer a feeling of hope;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the RJ's Women's Group, Avon Canada, and all who bring awareness to breast cancer research.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 456

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 Canada's Healthy Workplace Week is a yearly celebration of workplace health in Canadian organizations; and

Whereas a specific week is set aside each year to increase awareness about the importance of workplace health to personal and organizational performance; and

Whereas the theme for Canada's Healthy Workplace Week 2006 is, Make a Difference in Your Workplace, encouraging responsible workplace operations and healthy living;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize Healthy Workplace Week and recognize the Canadian Health Network Workplace Centre for its endeavours to improve workplace safety.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 761]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 457

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

Whereas when you think of firefighters in Hantsport, one family name is synonymous with the word dedication, Shay; and

Whereas brothers Brian, Rick and Bobby, and their only sister, Betty-Jo's husband Tim have a combined 91 total years of firefighting service with the Hantsport department, and have served diligently in a variety of roles; and

Whereas the number increases dramatically for the Shay family if you were to count the many years of service to the Hantsport department by their late father, "Chum", who also served as a volunteer firefighter, and the combined work of their late mother, Daryl and sister, Betty-Jo with the Hantsport Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature today compliment Brian, Rick and Bobby Shay, and their brother-in-law, Tim Hazel for their continued volunteer fire service to the residents of Hantsport and surrounding area, and wish them nothing but continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 762]

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 458

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

Whereas on Monday, September 25, 2006, the opening night of the 9th Annual Pier Scape was held; and

Whereas upwards of 200 people took in the proceedings, viewing the products of over 40 artists, including the folk art creations of featured artist, Joe (Josef) MacKinnon, a lifelong resident of Whitney Pier; and

Whereas the pride of Whitney Pier, the first African-Canadian Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, Mayann Francis presided over the first official event, one that had those in attendance in awe of her presence;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the Whitney Pier Society of the Arts on their 9th Annual Pier Scape, and for their contribution to the world of arts and culture.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 459

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

Whereas a delegation from the Digby Area Board of Trade has gone to Scotland to promote investment opportunities in the province, as well as studying methods used in rural Scotland to foster economic growth; and

[Page 763]

Whereas the delegation has received strong financial support from the Office of Economic Development and Nova Scotia Business Inc.; and

Whereas we want to thank the government for supporting such proactive initiatives, which include the trade liaison to Scotland;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the tremendous need to pursue and foster a long-term sustainable economic plan for western Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 460

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

Whereas in 1877, a community hall called Victoria Hall was built in Bass River by the Union Furniture and Merchandise Company; and

Whereas in 1976, the Senior Citizens Club took over the hall in an attempt to keep it from falling into disrepair and closing, and thus ensuring it remained available for community functions; and

Whereas in 2006, the eight surviving members of the Senior Citizens Club turned the hall over to the community;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate these eight surviving seniors who worked to ensure the survival of the hall for the use of community members and organizations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 764]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 461

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

Whereas there is growing evidence that pesticides are linked to a variety of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases in humans and can also cross the placenta to affect the developing fetus; and

Whereas Nova Scotia has no comprehensive provincial approach to signage warning when these dangerous toxins are applied so that many people in the province are regularly and inadvertently exposed to pesticides; and

Whereas other provinces have successfully legislated to require effective, visible and reliable public notice of pesticide applications in public places;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly move quickly to make laws allowing the citizens of the province to know about and, if desired, protect themselves from applications of pesticides planned for residential and commercial areas.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 765]

RESOLUTION NO. 462

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

Whereas Tiyaila Cain-Grant from North Preston, Nova Scotia, has been singing since the age of five and in April was chosen to sing at the Premier of Nova Scotia's leadership breakfast and also received the Lieutenant Governor's Award for outstanding recognition for singing last year, and has received the 2003 Best Up and Coming Singer last year's Best Gospel Artist of African Nova Scotia music awards; and

Whereas Tiyaila Cain-Grant nationally has performed for a CBC documentary at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and the Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto; and

Whereas Tiyaila Cain-Grant in 1999 sang at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem where famous singers such as Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson have sung and where she won the amateur singing contest and was the first Canadian ever to take home this prize;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating Tiyaila Cain-Grant for her outstanding singing voice and wish her all the best with her singing career.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 463

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

Whereas Ron Trowsdale of Truro, the local store manager, recently celebrated his 40th anniversary with Glidden Paints; and

[Page 766]

Whereas Ron Trowsdale has combined leadership in business with leadership in the community; and

Whereas Ron Trowsdale is Past President of Branch 26, Royal Canadian Legion, is currently Vice-Chairman of the Nova Scotia Nunavut Command, and he has been a member of the Truro Fire Brigade and Truro Fire Service for 25 years, including 20 years as its secretary;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ron Trowsdale on h is 40th anniversary with Glidden Paints and thank him for his outstanding commitment to his community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 464

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

Whereas the Canadian Foundation for the International Space University holds a summer session each year in Strasbourg, France; and

Whereas this session included seminars about space technology and policy and involved several research projects; and

Whereas nanotechnology has potential applications for animal and human health that include drug development for lung disease, cancer treatment and coatings for orthopaedic implants;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly recognize Shane Journeay, formerly of Queens County, for his accomplishments as a toxicology

[Page 767]

Ph.D. student in the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and a student at the University of Saskatchewan in the field of nanotechnology.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 465

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

Whereas heavy trucks accounted for over 20 billion vehicle kilometres in 2004, a number expected to have increased for 2005 and 2006; and

Whereas trucking in Atlantic Canada accounts for the majority of goods stocked on store shelves, leading to the industry catchphrase, "If you bought it, a truck brought it"; and

Whereas September 17th to 23rd is designated as National Trucking Week in Canada, a time to recognize that it takes drivers, technicians, managers and countless personnel to move all the items we use on a daily basis;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize National Trucking Week and thank the men and women of this industry for their hard work and dedication.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 768]

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 Immigration.

[11:45 a.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 466

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 a talented group of Bridgewater Elementary School Grade 6 students took first among all Nova Scotian schools in a highly regarded national math contest, a test written across Canada annually by more than 20,000 Grade 6 students at 956 schools across Canada; and

Whereas Bridgewater Elementary School Principal Mark MacLeod described the group's placing as an enrichment activity while also learning the essentials of how to analyze and solve advanced problems; and

Whereas the 17 students on average scored 32 out of 50, which was good enough to place them on average as the top performing students in Nova Scotia and more than five points above the national average;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Bridgewater Elementary School Principal Mark MacLeod and his dedicated team of 17 Grade 6 students in winning this highly coveted math contest.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 769]

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 467

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

Whereas Today's Parent magazine recently named Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Elementary School among the top schools in Canada; and

Whereas Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Elementary School is recognized for the school's impressive 25 member volunteer library program; and

Whereas this elementary school is an example of involvement and dedication by all involved;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate the students, staff and parents of Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Elementary School on the selection as one of the top schools in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 468

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

Whereas Riley Blackwell - at the tender age of five years - was honoured as ATV's Maritimer of the Week in September of this year; and

Whereas Riley volunteers for the Sunset Community, a residential home for people with intellectual and physical disabilities located in Pugwash; and

[Page 770]

Whereas Riley was chosen for this award for being true to September's theme of Above and Beyond: Because We Care - it doesn't stop here, as Riley and his brother, Drew, donate $30 a month earned from a paper route to the Foster Parents Plan, this is to care for Bertrand, an 8-year-old impoverished African boy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending congratulations to Riley and his brother for this prestigious award and thank them for setting an example worthy of all of us to follow.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 469

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

Whereas the students and staff of Tantallon Elementary School have moved into their expanded facility; and

Whereas Principal Connie Pottie and all involved have made this transition in a thoroughly professional manner; and

Whereas the parents of students enrolled much appreciate the efforts of the teachers through these changes;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate and thank Principal Connie Pottie, teachers, students and parents at Tantallon Elementary School with best wishes for a successful school year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 771]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 470

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

Whereas the Halifax Tribe men's fastpitch team participated in the 2006 Eastern Canadian Intermediate "A" Championships in September; and

Whereas the majority of the players on the Halifax Tribe fastpitch team are from Guysborough-Sheet Harbour; and

Whereas Guysborough has been known throughout the years for its award-winning softball teams;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate players Matthew Rodgers, Shawn Hanifen, Tyler MacKeen, Geoff Jamieson, Geoff Cook, James Connolly, Matt Boutlier and Adam Rodgers from the constituency of Guysborough-Sheet Harbour on their second-place finish at the Eastern Canadian Men's Intermediate "A" fast-pitch championships in 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.

[Page 772]

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 471

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

Whereas the Centreville Community Association consists of a number of community volunteers interested in helping out both family and individuals in the community in their time of need; and

Whereas Monday, October 23rd was the official start-up of the community centre's emergency generator which will be available to residents in the community during times of severe winter weather such as White Juan and other power outages; and

Whereas Nova Scotia's Emergency Management Office provided funding for a total of 101 generators and electrical hook-ups within the province sharing up to 50 per cent of the cost, to a maximum of $3,600;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature recognize the initiative shown by Mervin Steadman and volunteers with the Centreville Community Association in securing the necessary funding for an emergency generator which will, in turn, provide some needed relief during periods of difficult weather and power outages in Centreville, Kings County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 472

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

[Page 773]

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

Whereas Harold Schwartz studied business at Drexel University in Philadelphia; and

Whereas Harold Schwartz owned Jacobsons Women's Wear and also opened the Tweed and Hickory, working for 39 years before retiring in 1991;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia House of Assembly congratulate Harold Schwartz on being inducted into the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame, and for his dedication and commitment to the community of Cape Breton.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce a bill, if I could.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park with a request to revert to the order of business, Introduction of Bills.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 65 - Entitled an Act to Establish Joseph Howe Day. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

Bill No. 66 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Enhancement of School Libraries. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

[Page 774]

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

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 11:54 a.m. and end at 12:54 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH: NURSING HOME BEDS - SHORTAGE ADDRESS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Until recently, Elsie Maughan was a resident of Bridgewater. She has Alzheimer's and had to be placed in a nursing home. The nearest available bed, in a secure unit, was at Villa Acadienne in Meteghan. It's a nine-hour round trip to visit her and her 77-year-old husband, Walter, is too frail to make the trip. He has not seen his wife of 55 years since she entered the nursing home. My question for the Premier is, when is this government going to finally start addressing the critical shortage of nursing home beds in this province?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, thank you to the Leader of the Opposition for the question. Indeed, we all feel for the family, first of all, given the situation that they find themselves in. The issue of having a family member with Alzheimer's can be a very difficult one, and so we certainly feel for this particular situation. Although I won't be talking about the specific situation, what I will say is that the government has put forward a plan for continuing care, which includes many aspects. One of those aspects being long-term care beds, recognizing the fact that we do need more beds here in our province, so that situations we find ourselves in, such as this one, can be addressed in a more timely manner.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this problem has already existed for years. Not only is Elsie Maughan hundreds of kilometres from home, she is in a largely francophone nursing home and she doesn't speak French. The waiting list for the family's first choice, Harbour View Haven, is over a page long, and it could be months before she can move closer to home. We know of residents from Sydney going to Bridgetown and Neils Harbour, and seniors from Middleton going to Musquodoboit Harbour to find the nearest available secure bed. My question for the Premier is, his government has known about this for years. They have known that there is a critical shortage of secure-unit beds. Why has it gone so long, without being addressed?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, indeed we did make an announcement earlier this year with respect to continuing care. It not only deals with beds, it also deals with a number of other important issues. It deals with home care, home oxygen. It deals with

[Page 775]

a number of other important aspects. In fact, only in the last couple of months, I had the opportunity to be in Richmond County for the official opening of Richmond Villa, which was a clear sign of the government's commitment to more long-term care beds here in our province.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, in 2005 and 2006, there were 1,223 adult protection placements into nursing homes. Each of those placements must be made into a secure unit, in a system that is suffering from this government's cut in the number of nursing home beds. That's right, a cut in the number of nursing home beds. So my final question to the Premier is, how much longer will this government tear apart families like the Maughans, at the very time when family members most want to be near a beloved spouse, parent or grandparent?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, going back to the beginning of the member's question, in fact, I visited the very facility that the member spoke of, and I can speak to the quality of care that individual and many other individuals are receiving in our long-term care facilities, because those workers in those facilities provide that quality care day in and day out for the people of our province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH: CARE WORKERS - STRIKE AVERT

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. I want to first congratulate health care unions and the NSHAO on working together over the weekend to avert a strike, I'm sure much to the minister's relief. However, we're not out of the woods yet. The strike deadline is simply moved down the road by a few days. So now we're all holding our collective breath until next Monday to see what happens. My question for the minister is, what is the minister doing to settle this conflict for good and permanently avert a looming strike?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'm very glad the member opposite brought up this very important issue. I'm very happy that the unions and NSHAO and government officials were able to come to an agreement on the pension issue. We look forward to releasing the details of that agreement.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday and today negotiations are ongoing with CUPE; they will further on have negotiations with CAW. Ultimately this is a collective bargaining process and we all keep our fingers crossed, but we're providing them with as much information, as much help as we possibly can from the Department of Health.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the numbers have been tossed around on both sides - I'm sure the minister is aware - and at the bargaining table concerning how much it's going to cost to resolve the outstanding issues of the pension

[Page 776]

plan and wages. The minister has been using a round number of about $100 million and the unions have indicated that number is highly exaggerated.

The government has known for years that the pension plan contributions were going to be an issue when it came time to renegotiate collective agreements. My question to the minister, Mr. Speaker, is, what is the price tag so far on these negotiations, and why did the government wait so long to tackle the issue concerning the pension plan contributions?

[12:00 noon]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his question and for his concern for the negotiation process that is ongoing, of course, yesterday and today, and will continue to go on, I hope, to avert that strike on Monday.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to release that information, but of course there is an agreement with all parties to hold that information until a final agreement is found.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Well, Mr. Speaker, the minister had no problem releasing a $100 million figure, and the minister knows that these contract issues have been on the table for months; yet here we are just days before a possible strike, no written agreement in place. The district health authorities have now spent weeks putting contingency plans in place for their facilities, which will include the closure of most smaller hospitals in this province in each district and the moving of emergency services to regional hospitals.

So my final question for the minister is, why, Mr. Minister, are we this late in the game with no settlement on the issues? Why did the government wait until the eleventh hour to start talking about issues that they've known were going to be trouble for years?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. To the member opposite I can say that the information on pensions was one that came to me in this very House as the four union leaders came to visit me and brought the information forward. We subsequently tried to find a mechanism in which they could discuss their pension plans. At the last hour the information was brought forward to the bargaining table at the CUPE negotiations. So ultimately, through the regular bargaining process, we are where we are and we have to continue on with this bargaining process to its completion. I look forward to a positive resolution and being able to release that information for the protection, of course, of all citizens of Nova Scotia, making sure that they have the health care that they deserve, in the places that they deserve. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH: NURSING HOME BEDS - WAIT TIMES

[Page 777]

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question through you is to the Premier.

I will table a letter from Colleen Findley regarding her 95-year-old mother, Guida Tough. Mrs. Tough needs a nursing home bed, but she is waiting in a hospital bed - an acute care hospital bed - because even the transitional unit is full. She has been told that she will wait eight months for a bed within 100 kilometres, and up to 18 months within HRM. The QE II staff told Ms. Findley that 175 people are in the same situation - waiting in hospital beds, throughout Capital Health, for a nursing home bed.

I want to ask the Premier, through you, Mr. Speaker, why did his government allow this situation to deteriorate to this point?

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm very happy to speak to this very important issue, one that this government has taken to heart in making sure that we can make the corrections and to make a view to the future of what continuing care will look like in this province.

I can update the members of this House that planning work is still ongoing within the strategy in order to release the 826 beds within this province. Through a tender, an RFP, a tendering process, we are hoping in the next number of months that that information can come to fruition - as you can understand, Mr. Speaker, through the data exchange - making sure that we place the beds in the right places for the right reasons, that this is taking an amount of time that, of course, is probably a little longer than most of us would expect. Fortunately, they will be placed in the correct places that will have the services, going into the future.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I think everyone in this province is aware that studies and reports and consultations have gone on for years, and people are sick and tired of it. What they want is results. Here is, from Ms. Findley's letter, "Without family intervention, patients such as my Mother are left in their rooms 24 hours a day, with no mental stimulation of any kind and the means by which to leave, such as wheel chairs, are extremely hard to come by. Our family members are confined to a space not much bigger than my queen-sized bed."

My question, through you to the Premier, is one that Ms. Findley and hundreds of other families across this province want to hear him answer, how can he justify forcing our seniors to live in these conditions month after month after month?

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

[Page 778]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can talk quite personally on the visits that I have made to the transitional units and different homes across this province, and I can say that there are some phenomenal people working within those transitional units who care very deeply about the residents who are there, who take care of them, up and beyond, who provide them with the stimulation and the requirements that they do require. I can say comfortably that all of the seniors in this province are being taken care of as best as possible under the circumstances, and I look forward to opening those new homes in various areas across this province to make sure of the continuation of continuing care in this province.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I hear what the Minister of Health is saying, and it just does not jive with what the people who are actually experiencing this are saying. Here is what Ms. Findley says in her letter, again, "If we treated individuals in our prisons in this fashion there would be public outrage and demands for immediate change. Our seniors and other vulnerable members of our society are not so lucky: They seem to have few advocates and can quickly be forgotten, enabling politicians to write them out of the political agenda."

My final question, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier, is this, when is his government going to put the seniors back on the political agenda?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, not only are our seniors on our agenda, they're at the top of the list.

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

ENERGY: CONSULT N.S. - CONSULTING CONTRACT

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, through you, my question is for the Minister of Energy. The Department of Energy recently hired some consultants to develop a vision for Conserve Nova Scotia. PegMac Consulting was contracted to identify options for development of a mandate for Conserve Nova Scotia. The department is paying almost $25,000 for these services. I would have thought the mandate was quite simple, conserve energy for the Province of Nova Scotia. So, through you, I want to ask the minister, why did you feel this extra contract was necessary, considering the high salary you are paying the CEO of Conserve Nova Scotia?

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to share with the member that the government is focused on conserving energy. We didn't want to leave any stone unturned in regard to this. It's quite appropriate in the creation of any agency that they source out for information in regard to that agency.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, in additional to PegMac Consulting, another company was contracted to undertake a visioning workshop for Conserve Nova Scotia.

[Page 779]

The department paid over $4,000 for that one. So, two consultants have cost this province over $30,000. You can buy a lot of vision for that, Minister. So, I want to ask you, I'd like to know why you can justify paying consultants $35,000 to do the work this highly-paid, politically-motivated Conserve Nova Scotia's CEO is supposed to do?

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, once again to the member across the way, the government is focused. The government wants this plan to work, it's very important. I believe that most people in Nova Scotia would agree that the program that's necessary to create this agency, to produce the necessary steps that we want to achieve. It's necessary for us to receive information from all sources.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, this is a third one. A former Tory staffer was also contracted by Conserve Nova Scotia to help prepare a submission to Cabinet. The CEO of Conserve Nova Scotia was a former chief of staff of the now Premier, you think she would know how to deal with Cabinet. One of the prerequisites this Premier has said the reason for hiring her was her communications skills. I want to ask this minister again, why did you hire all of these contracts when you had a communications expert sitting at that table?

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, it's obvious the member is not listening to me today. This focus is very important to our government and it was necessary to have consultants to make sure we were moving in the right direction.

I also would like to say at this time, the consultants that have been involved in this study meets the procurement of the province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

ENERGY: CONSERVE NS - CEO ELIGIBILITY

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. This government has finally released the details and announced their heralded energy efficiency agency, Conserve Nova Scotia. Our Premier simply hand picked a friend, a former chief of staff from his office, as CAO of this agency for $131,000 a year. An agency this important, you would assume that the CAO would have a broad range of knowledge in this particular field.

But, as we all know, this is not the case, because she told us herself she didn't know anything about energy efficiency prior to being appointed. So, Mr. Premier, what energy efficiency experts told you she would be better suited for the position than they would be?

[Page 780]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I have great confidence in Ms. Foley Melvin's credentials for this position, and I am sure she will do an excellent job on behalf of the people of Nova Scotia.

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, Ms. Foley Melvin's lack of experience and expertise on energy efficiency has cost Nova Scotians tens of thousands of dollars already. Who knows how much more in the future by the way of consulting fees? She hired consultants to provide a vision for Conserve Nova Scotia, which she said she could not provide herself.

Well, Mr. Premier, if you didn't hire her for her expertise, you didn't hire her for her vision, then all that's left is a blatant political patronage appointment. How much more will Nova Scotians be forced to pay due to the lack of expertise of your political appointments?

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

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, as we go down this path of conservation, it's necessary for us to change the behavioural habits of Nova Scotians. The CAO of Conserve Nova Scotia has a background in promotion, in advertisement and in marketing. That's what we need to change the habits of Nova Scotians. Thank you.

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, the Premier - we all know why you appointed her. You appointed her, a friend, as a cosy job because she helped you get elected leader. This is the very worst kind of political patronage, which Nova Scotians are sick and tired of. Premier, the people of this province deserve a lot better. They deserve more value for their dollars than they are currently receiving from you. The question, Mr. Premier, will you commit today to send every bureaucratic position to our Public Service through a fair and competitive process? And I want a yes or no answer.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'll refer that to the Minister of Energy to highlight some of the good programming happening to Conserve Nova Scotia.

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, the programs that Conserve Nova Scotia has put in place and programs that Conserve Nova Scotia will put in place will be beneficial to the people of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I can stand here in my place today and name a number of programs that have already been beneficial to the people of Nova Scotia on the smart energy choices and under Conserve Nova Scotia. Just the other day, a program put in place that will allow Nova Scotians to receive up to $500. (Applause) That is what we're going to do for the people of Nova Scotia.

[12:15 p.m.]

[Page 781]

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

ECON. DEV.: TRADE CENTRE LTD. - DONATION

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week the 2005 political Party contributor's list was released and, as usual, there's a lot of interesting reading for those who are interested in that sort of thing. This time, in particular, of note was the fact that the Trade Centre Limited, which is a government agency under the Office of Economic Development, had donated upwards of $5,000 to the Progressive Conservative Party last year and $864, plus or minus a few cents, to the Liberal Party. So given the fact that it's a government agency, I want to ask the Premier, will he do the right thing and return the donation from the Progressive Conservative Party to Trade Centre Limited?

THE PREMIER: I will refer that to the Acting Minister of Economic Development.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite asks a very good question and I would certainly like to offer the proper explanation. What commonly happens at the Trade Centre is, they do host many charities and non-profit organizations. One of the practices of the Trade Centre is that they will buy a table at one of those events to help support the youth or the organization. In this case, that's what the Trade Centre has done.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, you know, I'm going to donate (Interruptions) I'll donate. I can do that because I'm an individual and I should be able to donate.

Mr. Speaker, I'm going to table the list of contributions for 2002, 2005 and 2004 because, over the last several years, over $14,000 has been donated to the Progressive Conservative Party from the Trade Centre Limited, and to the Liberals it's $2,000 over the same period. I understand what the Acting Minister of Economic Development is saying, but the fact is, a donation is a donation is a donation. When a donation comes from a government agency, we have a problem, and I think the people of Nova Scotia have a problem, with tax dollars being paid to donate to political Parties in this province. As a principle, I think it's fair to say that government agencies should not be donating to political Parties.

So I want to ask the Premier my second question, Mr. Speaker. Will he direct his Minister of Economic Development to direct the Trade Centre Limited to provide invoices to the Progressive Conservative Party and the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia to pay back those donations to Trade Centre Limited and pay the money back to the taxpayers of Nova Scotia?

[Page 782]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I refer that to the Acting Minister of Economic Development.

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as I explained earlier and the member opposite will obviously know, when you donate a table, it is not revenue that is forgone. The table would not be occupied and they do that to support many charities and many organizations, but what I will say to the member opposite in the House, I think it's appropriate that the Minister of Economic Development review that policy with the chair and the board of the Trade Centre, and that will be done.

MR. DEVEAUX: You know, Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to hear the Acting Minister of Economic Development say that the Minister of Economic Development needs to have a chat with the CEO of Trade Centre Limited. I would suggest to you that there is something wrong with this donation process and suggest that this is an issue that needs to be brought forward through legislation.

I'm going to ask the Premier, Mr. Speaker, will he commit in this House today to amend the Elections Act to ensure that government agencies of the Province of Nova Scotia do not have the right to donate to political parties?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if the review shows that something was done inappropriately, then appropriate action will be taken.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH: LARKIN CASE - DETAILS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question through you is for the Minister of Health. Irene Larkin is a 30-year-old woman who suffers from a variety of auto-immune disorders. When Irene got married last summer, she lost the ability to claim medical expenses through her mother's health plan. Her medication cost is approximately $20,000 per year and without these medications, she will be very, very sick.

Mr. Speaker, when Irene contacted the Minister of Health's office, she was told that there was nothing this government could do to help her. My question to the Minister of Health is, why does your government refuse to help Irene Larkin?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the member opposite for the question. We know of some of the inequities within the system that we have, that's why we are launching and working quite hard on the working families Pharmacare Program, to make sure that folks like Irene will not be missed.

[Page 783]

In the interim, I can say that there are a number of programs through the Department of Community Services that this government can help. But, Mr. Speaker, the issue of catastrophic drug coverage, which is one that the member opposite brings up, is one that we take to heart and that's why we're working with our federal colleagues, and within our department, to come up with a program that will help people just like her.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, Irene Larkin is unable to work because of her illness. Her husband is a contract worker, so the single income that they depend on is not permanent, it's not predictable, and it's inadequate to meet Irene's medical needs. Currently, there are 48 medications on Irene's patient medical expense report and the minister has had four letters written by specialists, explaining that she cannot be healthy without her medications. Warnings don't get much more stark than that.

My question to the Minister of Health is, in the face of this advice from Irene's medical specialists, why does your government simply choose to throw up its hands and do nothing?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I can say that we have a Seniors' Pharmacare Program, which the lady in question does not qualify for from the information that has been presented on the floor of this Legislature. I can say that the programs that we do have just don't fit. That is why we're working on a working families Pharmacare Program, that's why we continue to work with our federal partners right across this country, federal-provincial national colleagues, to come up with a catastrophic drug coverage program.

Mr. Speaker, I feel that all is not lost, that maybe through some work through the Department of Community Services, that a solution can be found and maybe if the subsequent question can be posed to that minister, maybe there can be an answer.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: If it were only that easy, Mr. Speaker. Irene Larkin cannot wait for the minister to get his act together and get a plan in place. Irene Larkin has been to the Department of Community Services, and she has been turned down by that department. So my last question will be back to the Minister of Health. Irene Larkin is here today with us in our gallery, and I want to know, does the Minister of Health care to meet with her and explain to her directly why his department is unable to offer her any assistance whatsoever with her catastrophic drug costs?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that there are no programs that fit this type of catastrophic coverage in this province. That's why we're working with our federal-provincial colleagues, in order to come up with a program that fits for folks just like this, but I can say that I can refer the question to the Minister of Community Services, for further advice.

[Page 784]

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member across the way, though she will respect the fact that I can't speak to the specifics of any case, I do want to offer certainly the Department of Community Services has a myriad of supports in place, for Pharmacare Programs in Nova Scotia. We offer Pharmacare for income-assisted clients. We offer Pharmacare for children. We offer extended Pharmacare that's available for certain low-income Nova Scotians as well, and certainly it would not be unheard of if a case was made to the Department of Community Services and the results were not satisfactory, I would encourage any individuals to appeal that process and come forward. There is always the opportunity to appeal.

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

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: KEEP THE HEAT PROGRAM - RENEW

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Yesterday the government finally announced the details of their program, for the removal of the provincial portion of HST from home-heating fuel. (Applause) While that's good news for many, there is a problem. There is a major problem with the announcement yesterday and that's what my question is about today for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. The problem is that at the same time as this program was unveiled yesterday, the government has cut the Keep the Heat program for needy Nova Scotians, and I don't think that's any reason to be applauding in the House today, because there is a downside to the announcement that was made yesterday, and it should be acknowledged today by the minister.

The Keep the Heat program gave $250 up front to low-income Nova Scotians and while the HST cut will help some, it is in bits and pieces and it will amount to $200, on average. My question for the minister is, why do you continually turn your back on the people who need help heating their homes the most?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, rather than turn our backs on people who need help, this program is giving help to more Nova Scotians who need it than any other program in the province's history.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, we've seen how much this government cares about low-income individuals and about poverty in this province. They did not send a single MLA to the Poverty Forum. Community Services continues to be in disarray and now they've removed the Keep the Heat program. The money that Ms. Foley Melvin wasted on consultants could have provided 100 households in this province with a home-heating rebate under Keep the Heat. My question for the minister is, when will you and this government stop worrying about taking care of your friends and start worrying about the people who need help the most?

[Page 785]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, that was a rather convoluted question, but I want to correct something that the member opposite said. The Minister of Environment and Labour was indeed at that Poverty Forum.

MS. WHALEN: Well, Mr. Minister, the removal of the HST will not provide low-income Nova Scotians with the relief they need. The Keep the Heat program wasn't perfect, but it did direct the money where it was needed most. There are people in Nova Scotia who simply can't afford to heat their homes in the winter and all of us have met them in our respective ridings. Political, short-sighted decisions like this make their situation even more desperate. My question to the minister is, when will you recognize that there are people in all of our ridings who need help keeping their homes warm this winter, and bring back the Keep the Heat program?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the government made the decision this year to extend tax relief to all forms of energy. I'm unable, really, to tell, from what the honourable member across has said, whether she supports removing the provincial portion of the HST, or I should say rebating the provincial portion of the HST, to Nova Scotians on energy sources. Either she supports that or she doesn't support it.

[12:30 p.m.]

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

JUSTICE: MADD REPORT - FOLLOW-UP

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Justice. I want to table a report from MADD Canada, which was released a couple of weeks ago, on the report card on provincial governments and how effectively they have been in enforcing and improving, and dealing with drunk drivers in their provinces. A few years ago, back in 2000, I think Nova Scotia was number two or number three in the country. We had a B rating on our report card and now we're a D+, and we're number 11 out of 13, which I think it's fair to say we're all very disappointed in.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, why has the government failed to ensure that Nova Scotians are safe on our streets and highways by ensuring we have tougher rules with regard to drunk driving offenders?

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, certainly I want to thank the member opposite for a very good question. The report that has been put out by MADD is something that causes all of us great concern. As the member would know, in my former career, the issues of impaired driving have caused devastation across this country, not only in this province. I want to assure the member that we will continue to work with the department, with the Road Safety Committee to deal with issues that have been brought forward by MADD and by the citizens of this province. In fact, as a result of that report,

[Page 786]

I've made contact with the national president, and we'll be meeting over the next couple of weeks to discuss those very issues.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, well, I want to talk about something that this minister is very well aware of. Back in 1998, when we both sat on this side of the House, he, as the Justice Critic for his Party, helped pass a bill that would ensure impounding of vehicles of those who were caught drinking and driving. That was passed in 1998. I believe the House unanimously passed it. Eight years later, that bill has still not been proclaimed, and for almost that entire time, that Party has been in government and they have failed to proclaim a law that MADD Canada said would help ensure the streets and highways of this province are safer for Nova Scotians. I want to ask the Minister of Justice, when is he going to proclaim the law from 1998 that his Party encouraged to be passed?

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again to the member opposite, as I said earlier, I'm prepared to review all those policies that have been talked about, not only in this House - all those issues that have been talked about in this House, as well as any possible legislative changes that may be required that will address the issue of impaired driving in this province as it should be. As I mentioned earlier, we want to work with MADD. We are working in the departments now to ensure that we make the streets and highways of Nova Scotia as safe as possible.

MR. DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, let's make this quite clear. The Minister of Justice just has to sign that law to make it work so Nova Scotians can be safer on their highways. Frankly, a D+ on a report card from MADD Canada is embarrassing to Nova Scotians. It's embarrassing to the people of Nova Scotia to know that their government is not only not doing everything it can do, it's not doing much to actually make sure that drunk drivers in this province understand that if they commit an offence, they're going to be punished with the most severe form of the law that they can. Indeed, what we have now are even lighter sentences being introduced. So my question to this government and to this Minister of Justice is, why does this government continue to ignore the safety of Nova Scotians on our streets and highways, and refuses to toughen the rules with regard to drinking and driving in this province?

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again to the member opposite, I don't think the member is giving enough credit to not only the government but, as well, the police agencies, provincial, federal and municipal, across this province. To suggest (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, this country has impaired driving charges, sections of the Criminal Code right across this country. There are laws very strict in this province, as well. There are programs such as the programs that take place in the upcoming month, where police officers institute road checks not only throughout the month of December but throughout other times of the year. There are many great programs, and I think that the police in this

[Page 787]

province deserve a lot of credit for the hard work they do and not being brought forward by the House like it is today. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH CARE : PRIVATIZATION - DETAILS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the honourable Minister of Health. Once again the government has made a promise but so far has yet to deliver, and despite the promises to bring forward legislation this session to protect public health care in this province the minister has managed to infuriate health care support workers on the eve of a strike that could cripple the health care system in this province. He told the media that he is not counting out the possibility of introducing legislation that would bring a private flair to health care in this province. So my question for the minister is, will the minister provide this House with the details of what he means when he says our health services may have a private flair?

HON. CHRISTPOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that this government has in mind the patients of this province, to make sure that they have the health care they require when and where they need it. I can say that we are there with the virtues of the Canada Health Act and what it stipulates that we must and must not do. I can also say to the member opposite that we will be introducing a piece of legislation during this sitting of the House.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the issue of private versus public health care has been on the table for years now, and the government has heard from members of the public and health care providers time and time again on this issue. As of last summer, the government was prepared to put forward legislation to protect public health care. Now the minister seems to be taking a couple of steps back and talking about doing more public consultation and drafting a white paper on his findings. Well, my question to the minister is, what is the purpose of this white paper? Is the minister trying to soften up the public before he introduces private health care legislation?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, to simply answer this question, we will be introducing a piece of legislation in this sitting of the House, and I look forward to presenting that to the member opposite and to all members in this House.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, we have huge shortages in all areas of health care services in this province, doctors, nurses, surgeons, technicians, are leaving this province in vast numbers, and on top of that and likely because of that mass exodus, the government has just received its annual slap on the wrist for being one of the worst provinces in the country with respect to wait times for health care services.

[Page 788]

Mr. Speaker, my final question for the minister is, what will this government do to ensure that all citizens have equal and affordable access to health care without having to worry about being bumped by someone with deeper pockets?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can assure all members of this House and all Nova Scotians that we'll have one system for all. It will be a public pay system. We will make sure that will be there for all Nova Scotians at all times.

Mr. Speaker, I can say to the member opposite that we will be introducing a bill in this sitting that will talk about those virtues and make sure of the continuation of this industry and this health care system.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

AGRIC: PRODUCT PRICING - PLAN

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Minister of Agriculture. Agriculture in Nova Scotia has been suffering blow after blow. In many cases low prices to farmers are not enough to meet the cost of production. Diseases like BSE and post-weaning multi-systemic wasting have hurt the cattle and hog industries. Important infrastructures like Avon Foods have left, and all signs point to Larsen Meat Packers leaving in 2009. One of the biggest problems facing agriculture in Nova Scotia has been a lack of leadership and vision from the minister's office. I say to the minister that if we can agree that inability to get the appropriate price for their product is at the core of farmers problems then what is your plan?

HON. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should know that Nova Scotia and this government has a strong record of supporting the agriculture community. In fact, almost $30 million in direct support has been provided to our primary producers over the last few short years. Since 2003, over $20 million to the beef sector and in the last four years over $10 million to the pork sector, two commodities that are struggling to make ends meet in this province.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister just enforced my point that producers are not getting enough money for what they produce. The industry looks to the minister to provide leadership and a vision. I'm sure the minister knows that Maple Leaf processes 85 per cent of Nova Scotia hogs and that the industry is worth $30 million at the farm gate and provides 1,500 jobs both directly and indirectly.

In an October 13th news report on Maple Leaf, this minister showed little leadership and admitted failure on his government's efforts to aid hog production in Nova Scotia. The minister said that the state of the province's hog industry has been bleak and that it's hard to be optimistic in the face of Maple Leaf's announcement. So

[Page 789]

my question to the minister is, after seven years of Conservative Government, why is it that the best you can offer is bleakness and a lack of optimism?

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite should know, coming from a rural riding, that the pork industry especially has been going through some challenging times. In fact, the cost of raising a pig is more than the sale of that product today. Is the government concerned? Yes. Maple Leaf Foods, out of the corporate Toronto office, made a decision - a corporate announcement. The member knows, and I believe all members should know, that Maple Leaf Foods has decided that they can't sustain the $1 million a year loss at the Larsen's plant in Berwick, in the Valley. Is the Government of Nova Scotia sitting down with the hog industry, are we at different stages in a process to assist the pork industry to get to a long-term strategy? Yes, we are. We're working with that very important vital sector to rural Nova Scotia.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, one of the key components of this long-term strategy is that he has a strategy in place before the industry is gone. This government had seven years to provide leadership and a vision. In these early days of the 21st Century, they continue to fail the agricultural community. So my question to the minister is, why not do something unConservative like and bring in a forward-thinking policy that actually positions the agricultural industry for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st Century?

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, the department provides funding assistance through the Farm Investment Fund, the New Entrants Program, the Farm Loan Board, the Agri-Food Industry Development Program. There are any number of programs that are provided to the farmers in the Province of Nova Scotia. Interestingly enough, back in 2003, when that caucus had an opportunity to support a Mad Cow Task Force, they chose to say, oh, it's not a big problem. They wouldn't even send their critic to go on that very important mission. They would not even send anybody. That member had the opportunity to help the farmers and he declined, whereas the Liberals helped us. Shame, shame on you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

ECON. DEV.: CAP FUNDING - REVERSAL

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: This will be addressed to the Minister of Economic Development. Mr. Speaker, the NDP has received many, many expressions of shock and outrage from organizations and individuals across Nova Scotia regarding the federal Tory Government's plan to end funding for CAP sites next year. CAP sites provide a vital service to our communities. On average in each of the 279 CAP sites in Nova Scotia, they are used about 20 times a day. First, I wonder if the minister can tell us

[Page 790]

whether he has been advised at all by his cousins, the Ottawa Tories, whether they have decided to reverse their announced cuts of funding for CAP sites?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite raises a very important point. CAP sites have been an important tool, not only for urban Nova Scotia but for rural Nova Scotia with information and knowledge, as well as the economic highway through the Internet. This province has always been strongly supportive.

As we all know, under the recent federal budget, there have been adjustments made to funding for CAP here in Nova Scotia. I'm informed the Minister of Economic Development will push his colleagues in the federal government to continue to find ways to find resources for that program in the future. We'll see what happens.

[12:45 p.m.]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, although in metro HRM there's a very high rate of Internet access, in rural Nova Scotia there is one of the lowest rates in Canada. Only 62 per cent of people outside HRM have access. If our CAP sites are closed, then this technological divide will widen further. The closure of Nova Scotia's CAP sites will reduce training resources for communities, it will cut direct summer jobs for young people and will also remove a valuable marketing tool used by our tourism sector. Can the minister tell us, apart from blandishments to the federal government, how he plans to ensure this essential service remains in our communities after the federal Tories have pulled the plug?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to see the member opposite and his Party have finally realized the importance of rural Nova Scotia to the fabric and economy of this province. We, as government for a number of years, have been working closely on economic development, CAP sites, and the infrastructure to provide those basic building tools for economies and to preserve communities in rural Nova Scotia. That's why we've made a commitment as a government to make sure, by 2010, we'll have high speed access across this entire province.

In the meantime, I want to assure the member opposite that the government will work with the federal government to preserve as best possible the CAP initiative and to that end, this government will be committing $100,000 this year to more supplies and support for the CAP sites here in Nova Scotia.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, with respect to that commitment, we know the minister's Party made an election commitment to ensure that every part of Nova Scotia would have broadband access by 2010. But, so far, the government has done nothing to fulfill that commitment. Time is running out. As one correspondent wrote to me recently, "To lose this program will be nothing short of a disaster." My final question to the

[Page 791]

minister is, when is he going to ensure that current levels of access to the Internet are maintained in Nova Scotia and expanded?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member has finally realized and caught up with the government's agenda ensuring that by 2010 they will have high speed Internet across this province, support of the CAP program and ensuring the service is in place and the growth continues is all important. That's why over the last several years, you've seen many strong pilot projects across this province that have allowed high speed Internet into different communities. You've seen two months ago, another project announced in northern Nova Scotia that supports high speed Internet into rural communities. This government will continue to honour its commitment to Nova Scotians. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

TCH: INDUSTRY DECREASE - ACTION

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. Nova Scotia's tourism industry has taken a substantial hit this year, particularly during the peak summer months. Tourism insights show Nova Scotia has had a 12 per cent decrease in tourism in July, 2006 compared with that of 2005. Yet, the department says everything is fine. They still believe they can double the tourism numbers by 2012. My question is, what is your department doing to provide hope to the tourism industry for the future?

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, thank you for the question. There's no way to sugar-coat this answer. The Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage has made no bones about the numbers this year. We've been very forthright and forthcoming with very accurate numbers that have been tabulated by the department.

Mr. Speaker, I have some good news, though. The September numbers have just been released, and the September numbers have risen over 2 per cent on the average. Accommodation rates are up about 8 per cent, visitation and travel are up and, as a matter of fact, visitation to the Annapolis area, where I believe the honourable member represents, is up 18 per cent. So we are, along with the industry partners, working diligently, along with the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, the Tourism Partnership Council, members from the industry, to develop a marketing program in the forthcoming season that will improve and increase visitation to the province.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr. Minister.

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, although the (Interruptions)

[Page 792]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order. Nice attempt.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, since I've been in this House, he is the third Tourism Minister to hold that portfolio, and perhaps he would be the first one to recognize that everything is done better in Annapolis. I listened to the minister speak about the co-operation he has with the tourism industry. I would like the minister to explain to this House, what co-operation? He's been dealing with TIANS. If the minister believes TIANS represents the tourism industry in this province, that tells you exactly what's wrong with that department. (Interruptions)

The minister needs to understand that tourism in this province is not just about convention centres. It's about getting out in rural Nova Scotia. I want to ask the minister, what is your long-term plan for the tourism industry in this province?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, as I reiterated, we are working closely with the Tourism Partnership Council, TIANS - all members of the industry, along with the Tourism staff, to develop a very comprehensive tourism marketing plan for 2007, which will look at the past season. Which will look, as I said, at the global implications with regard to the rising dollar, fuel prices, things that, really, this province and this country, as a matter of fact, have no control over. We are, as a department, looking at that very closely. We will work with industry. Tourism in Nova Scotia employs over 33,000 individuals in this province. It is a $1 billion-plus industry. We are very proud, and this is a very vibrant, very strong market.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, am I to understand that the minister is blaming all of this on the high Canadian dollar? Does he not believe that New Brunswick uses the same dollar as Nova Scotia? Does he not believe that Prince Edward Island uses our dollar? Does he not believe high gas prices are affecting New Brunswick? Oh, wait a minute, they have a new government that cut taxes on gas, don't they? This government's sole solution to this industry has been to invest $1.4 million into a marketing strategy with Bristol Group. However, when you look at the inside numbers, this department counts visitors, not tourists. My question to the minister is, how can the minister measure the success of a marketing plan if he doesn't know the true numbers of tourists coming into this province year after year?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, we are very proud, within the tourism sector here in Nova Scotia, to be blessed with probably one of the most accurate measures for calculating tourism in this province. We don't calculate and we don't count Nova Scotia licence plates, we don't count Nova Scotians themselves. We count people coming into this province.

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

[Page 793]

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Would you please call Bill No. 21.

Bill No. 21 - Justice Administration Amendment (2006) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to take a few minutes to address this Justice omnibus bill. My colleague, the member for Halifax Chebucto, made some very interesting and worthwhile points yesterday. I certainly hope the Minister of Justice was listening. First of all we have a bit of difficulty with this kind of bill where a bunch of different amendments are slammed together in a bill that has no thread, no theme, nothing in common. In fact, they don't even all fall under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Justice - it is this minister over here, that minister over there.

These omnibus bills really become an excuse for the government to try to hurry up the legislative process by putting a bunch of unrelated amendments together in one bill, so that it only has to go through once, there is only one round of public hearings. They do this also with the Financial Measures Act and we have been after them for years to restrict the Financial Measures Act only to measures having to do with the budget. Of course they don't do that and invariably there are measures in there that have no relation to the budget at all, but the government sees it as an opportunity to pass something quietly that would otherwise get more attention.

My colleague, the member for Halifax Chebucto, very ably pointed out yesterday that one of the problems with this particular bill, which has to do with the amendment to the Land Titles Clarification Act - now I just want to pick up on that and expand on it a little bit. What this bill does is institute or implement a major change in the regime governing all Crown land in Nova Scotia. Yet the minister, in his second reading speech, barely mentions it. Now this is another one of our quibbles, Mr. Speaker, with the way this government does business.

The minister's speech on second reading is supposed to be the government's opportunity to lay out in detail the philosophy behind the bill, the thinking behind it, why it's there, why we need it, why these particular provisions are in front of the House for consideration. Consistently over the past number of years the ministers of this government don't do that. They stand up, they speak for maybe 30 seconds and say how pleased they are to stand up to move second reading and then they sit down again, leaving the rest of us in the House to wonder why exactly we are dealing with this bill.

[Page 794]

We are none the wiser today about why it's necessary to change the legal regime covering Crown land in Nova Scotia. I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that we're just a little bit suspicious because of the way this government has dealt with some controversies over Crown land. The member for Halifax Clayton Park mentioned one yesterday in her own area which, of course, is of interest to all the members bordering that land and my own constituency which is not far away from the Blue Mountain Birch Cove area, where the government has, over the course of several years, been very mysterious about its intentions about what to do with this parcel of land. It seems clear that they intend at some point to push a highway through this natural area but we have been looking for any indication about what their plans are, when they are going to do it, why they want to do it and instead, the government has treated it as some kind of a mystery.

Those examples could be multiplied over and over again. Before us today we have this mysterious provision that changes the legal regime dealing with when the government can essentially give away Crown land in Nova Scotia. Considering the very high percentage of Nova Scotia that is Crown land, this is a significant bill. There wouldn't likely be a single member in rural Nova Scotia who doesn't have Crown land in their constituency. Even in my area, which is high density urban, there is actually Crown land in my area, so this affects everybody. It affects all of us and yet the government offers zero explanation about why this bill is before us.

What it does is amend the Land Titles Clarification Act but it does it in a pretty significant way. I guess the first clue that we have that there's something going on here is that the bill even changes the title of the Land Titles Clarification Act. It even amends the title, which gives you an indication that whatever the reason was for the original Land Titles Clarification Act, it's being changed. Indeed, when we look at this bill we see that's exactly what's going on. Now, the Land Titles Clarification Act deals with a procedure for clarifying land titles in certain very defined and narrow circumstances that are laid out in the Land Titles Clarification Act.

[1:00 p.m.]

What this bill does is it leaves that alone and it adds a whole new regime, a completely different purpose, a completely different method and procedure for releasing the Crown's interest in land. So they've taken a bill that had one very definite narrow purpose and they've essentially called that Part I, and then they've added a Part II which has no relation at all to Part I. So that's the second clue that something mysterious is going on here.

Our third clue is the fact that the amendment that's being made starts by saying "Notwithstanding Section 15 of the Crown Lands Act . . ." Now, I went and picked up the Crown Lands Act and looked to see what Section 15 said. What it says, in essence, is that the Minister of Natural Resources shall not give up the Crown's interest in land except in accordance with this Act. So suddenly, here in this bill, this so-called Justice

[Page 795]

Administration Amendment (2006) Bill, we have a new provision that applies notwithstanding Section 15, which means that it's creating a whole new method for alienating Crown land - a whole new method, one that's never existed before, a whole new procedure for the Crown to give up its claim in certain Crown land.

Now, Mr. Speaker, this may be a good thing and it may be a necessary thing, but I think the government owes it to the House to give us a great deal more explanation than it has already given, because we are suspicious. There are lots of other environmental groups that are also suspicious, because they've seen how the government deals, behind closed doors, with Crown land issues. So while I will say that it seems very likely that our caucus will support the bill in second reading, in principle, I don't want the government to get the message, at all, that this bill is going to receive clear sailing in future stages, because there are things here that need to be explained.

Now I suspect, as was pointed out last night in a very clear and thoughtful speech of my colleague, the member for Halifax Chebucto, this may just be part of the fallout from the change that we've had in the land title system in Nova Scotia. This may be just one of the things that has come up and needs to be clarified. But if it is, then this is a perfect example of the sledgehammer killing the fly. So we have a little bit of a problem where certain areas in the province need to have the Crown's interest in the land clarified. Well, that's fine, we could deal with that if the bill were tailored to achieve that purpose, but instead of that we have the government creating a big exception, a new procedure that will exist forever, for all Crown land anywhere in Nova Scotia.

So if the purpose of this bill is to deal with some of the small problems that have arisen because of the change in the land registration system, well let's deal with that. Let's tailor the bill to deal with that problem, instead of creating this big exception to the Crown Lands Act and the Land Titles Clarification Act.

Mr. Speaker, that's not the only problem with the bill that I want to highlight. As I said, I know that in principle, in second reading, we're not supposed to talk about specific sections of the bill. But this is a challenge we have on omnibus bills - there is no common thread, there is no common idea. This so-called Justice Administration Amendment (2006) bill ranges over the Public Archives Act, the Vital Statistics Act, the Land Titles Clarification Act, the Land Registration Act, the Assessment Act - there is no common thread. The only common thread is they're slammed together in one bill. The government shouldn't be doing this and the Minister of Justice shouldn't be doing this either - these bills deserve to be treated separately and to go through this legislative process separately.

The other one that I wanted to talk about has nothing to do with land titles clarification, nothing at all to do with land titles clarification of Crown lands, and that is the amendments to the Vital Statistics Act. What caught my eye here, again, is the government giving itself an enormous new power. It has to do with privacy and the

[Page 796]

rights of Nova Scotians to know what's being done with the information held in the Vital Statistics branch of the government, which holds a lot of important and very sensitive personal information about births, deaths, marriages and all the details that go along with those.

What is the government doing here? If we look at one of the amendments to the Vital Statistics Act, they're creating a huge exception to Nova Scotians' privacy rights. They are amending Section 35 of the Vital Statistics Act - I'm going to read it because it's only by reading it that I think I can underline what the problem is that I see with this.

It's going to add the following paragraph to the powers of the registrar. It says, the Registrar shall, "evaluate requests for access to information from the Office of the Registrar and, where the Registrar is satisfied that the request is not for an unlawful purpose, authorize the release in accordance with any conditions the Registrar may prescribe."

What that does, it says if the registrar gets a request for information, as long as the registrar is satisfied that it's not going to be used for an unlawful purpose, then the information can be released. Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the registrar is not going to approve the release of information for an unlawful purpose. None of us would approve that.

But, apparently, any other purpose is fair ball. It's just up to the judgment now of the registrar, in contrast to the regime we have today which is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act which governs in great detail when private information can be released. The Vital Statistics Act is given as one of the exceptions to that Act, in Section 45, but again, Section 45 of the Vital Statistics Act probably says exactly what it should say, which is to impose quite severe constraints on when information can be released.

So, instead of this legal regime which has existed for quite some time now in Nova Scotia, governing release of information from the Vital Statistics branch, protecting Nova Scotians' privacy, we have the government, in a so-called Justice Administration Act, blowing an enormous hole in this regime and saying, well, whenever the registrar wants to, the registrar can release the information.

What's wrong with the existing regime? What is the problem the government is trying to solve? Why is it necessary to replace the regime of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Section 45 of the Vital Statistics Act, with an overriding discretion of the registrar to do whatever the registrar pleases.

Again, we're suspicious. This government does not have a great track record on Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy. If I ever thought my concerns about the government stance would be allayed, all I have to do is pick up today's paper and I

[Page 797]

know we should be worried all over again. There's an article in today's ChronicleHerald on Page B5 of the Metro Edition where a well-known advocate of freedom of information is asking the government to reduce the fees for freedom of information.

The minister's answer to this - and I sincerely hope the minister was misquoted on this, I sincerely hope he was or that it was taken out of context or something. Here's what the minister says, "I would like to see us ensure that we have a fair process for people to get the information from government . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. If I remember correctly, it's against the rules to question whether something written in the local paper is correct or not. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: That's a matter of opinion. I will allow the member for Halifax Fairview to continue.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I'm just going to read what's printed in the paper. The minister can pass his own judgments about whether it was a correct quote or not. I guess my point is, I sincerely hope he was misquoted because of what he's saying.

The quote is this,"I would like to see us ensure we have a fair process for people to get the information from government that they think they should have . . ."

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: It's very inappropriate to allow a member to stand in this House and read the daily paper. We all subscribe to the daily paper. We can read it at our own leisure, but to allow him to stand here and read verbatim the whole article, when does it end, Mr. Speaker? Again, I question the Rules of this House for allowing the reading of a newspaper and to question whether an article in the newspaper is true or not.

MR. SPEAKER: I agree with the Minister of Justice. I will ask the honourable member for Halifax Fairview to continue his debate on the bill please and not make reference to his newspaper article.

MR. STEELE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So is it now the Rules of the House that one cannot quote from a newspaper, even a single sentence from the newspaper? It's now against the Rules of the House to quote a single sentence from a newspaper? Is that your ruling, Mr. Speaker?

[Page 798]

MR. SPEAKER: I would ask the honourable member to continue with his debate and if he wants to make reference to his newspaper, then I would ask the honourable member to table his newspaper. That has been a precedent of this House and I certainly see no problem with that to continue but, again, I think the honourable Minister of Justice makes a very good valid point that it's not in the interest of this House to read the paper for the record.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I do understand why the minister might be loath to have this sentence read in the House and for the third time I'm just going to try to relate a single sentence from the newspaper. It's a bit of a shock to me, the idea that it is now against the Rules of the House to quote a single sentence from a local Nova Scotian newspaper. That's fairly new. The gist of what the minister is trying to say is that he thinks we should have a system where the information that gets released is in accordance with what the government thinks should be released. That's what he said. That's what the minister says. That's what the minister actually says, is that it's okay to change the Freedom of Information rules as long as the information that is released is in accordance with what the government wants to be released.

Now, when we have the Minister of Justice who's in charge of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act saying that kind of thing in a local newspaper, Mr. Speaker, well, it's no wonder that we have cause to worry in this House about where the government is going with freedom of information and protection of privacy. So that brings me back, of course, to the bill that's before us where the government is blowing an enormous hole in the regime governing the privacy interests of Nova Scotians dealing with the Vital Statistics Branch. So, instead of following the regime in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, or even the more limited regime in Section 45 of the Vital Statistics Act, they're saying, well, let the registrar decide when the information is going to be released. It's up to the registrar. Well, why do we need this?

Maybe there's a legitimate reason. Maybe there's a particular case that has come to the attention of the government where they felt the existing regime was too restrictive, but let's deal with that. Let's hear what it is. Let's have the minister stand up and say here is what we were trying to address and then explain why, to deal with particular instances that may have come to the registrar's attention, we need this sledge hammer which says that always, for all time in every case, for every bit of information the Vital Statistics Branch holds, it's up to the discretion of the registrar.

Mr. Speaker, as I said, when this bill comes for a vote on second reading, it will pass second reading because it should, but I don't want the government to think that just because it passes second reading it's going to get smooth sailing. The government owes it to this House not to keep introducing these omnibus bills with provisions that have nothing to do with each other. If the government has things it wants to accomplish, let it introduce separate bills so that the principles of the bills can be debated in the way that the Rules of this House meant them to be debated. Not a bunch of unrelated provisions

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thrown together to be debated once as if they had anything to do with each other in one bill. For once let a Minister of the Crown stand up and give a proper second reading speech saying this is the philosophy of the bill, this is what we're trying to accomplish, this is why we chose this particular method of trying to accomplish it, so that there is a record for all time in the House about the government's thinking behind the bill. We lack those things on this bill, Mr. Speaker, and without those things it's simply not possible for this House or this caucus to say that we will support it through every stage of the House. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the honourable members opposite for their comments and, as well, the suggestions they made will be considered by the ministers responsible for those very sections.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that last night in this House the member opposite, the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage pointed out on at least a couple of occasions that this bill before the House was insignificant. You know I think that's totally wrong, I think it's very unfortunate to have comments like that made in the House.

[1:15 p.m.]

For example, part of this legislation before the House talks about the Public Archives Act. That's a piece of legislation that millions of pieces of information that Nova Scotians are waiting to access. I say that those who are involved in genealogy - and maybe the members opposite think that those types of things are insignificant and don't mean a lot and that the bill before the House is insignificant. (Interruptions) Well, that was the comment of the member opposite - read Hansard - said this was an insignificant bill. So that's not insignificant, Nova Scotians are waiting for this. Millions of pieces of information can be made available to Nova Scotians, those involved in genealogy, very important to them and that's a good indication how important this bill is before the House.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to this bill being passed to the Law Amendments Committee. With that, I move second reading of Bill No. 21, the Justice Administration Amendment (2006) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is for second reading of Bill No. 21. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 800]

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 23, the Wills Act, for second reading.

Bill No. 23 - Wills Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Again it's a privilege to rise and speak on Bill No. 23, the Wills Act. The Wills Act is being amended to update the Act and bring it more in line with other Canadian jurisdictions. These amendments clarify the effect that divorces have on wills. In fact, the amendments also clarify the distribution of property located in Nova Scotia under wills made outside of this province.

I'm pleased that the Act will also permit handwritten wills, Mr. Speaker, something that's probably long overdue and I think will be welcomed by many Nova Scotians. This will make preparing a will easier and less costly for Nova Scotians who face challenges in regard to funds.

Mr. Speaker, these amendments respond to recommendations of the Law Reform Commission. It will make it easier for people to ensure that their final wishes are fulfilled here in Nova Scotia. There was a significant amount of public consultation on these amendments and I'm very pleased to bring them forward at this time.

With those very few comments, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 23, the Wills Act.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad to have a few minutes to speak on the Wills Act. This is a bill that I think is one that I believe the Law Reform Commission had done a lot of work on with regard to this legislation, and I think some of this bill is reflected in the work that the Law Reform Commission has done. If then, then I would still like to applaud the Law Reform Commission for the work they do, and particularly in the area of estates and wills and probate. They have done a lot of good work in the last few years, I know, to try to enhance and modernize our system. I believe this bill does have some of the provisions they have recommended in it, and I applaud that as well. Obviously anything that makes the process of wills, and how we

[Page 801]

can make the writing of wills and the adoption of wills better, I think is good for Nova Scotians.

I guess I do want to take an opportunity to talk on the principle about a particular issue that I heard from people in my constituency, something called a Wills Registry. I sort of throw it out there; maybe some of the other members of the House have some thoughts on this. Like we have a land registry for deeds, where mortgages and deeds have to be filed with a registry, an individual has come to me and suggested that maybe we need the same things for wills, if not mandatory then at least voluntary.

One of the problems that can arise with a will is that if someone passes away and no one knows where the will is and no one can find the will and no one can prove that the will, sort of the consistency that this is the will that had been signed by the individual, then the person becomes intestate, meaning there is no will, which means you have to go to court, you have to go through a very long and protracted process with administrators.

Mr. Speaker, this person has suggested that at least on a voluntary basis we should look at a registry, if not the actual will itself, as a minimum at least the location of a will so people can, if someone passes away, go to a location, either government-run or government-sanctioned, that would then have identification of an individual - if they pass away, you can go, check date of birth, name, location of where they were and where the will is located. (Interruptions)That might be the case, it might be under the mattress, but at least then we know where it is.

So I actually think that's not a bad idea. I'm not one who, when I practised law, practised wills and estates, so it's not an area I have a lot of expertise in, but I would say that it is something that we should look at as a possibility. I know the Minister of Justice's staff has met with this individual, particularly on this issue, and I appreciate them doing that, but I do believe this is something worth considering. I think that it would go a long way to ensuring people who have written a will and for whatever reason, maybe the lawyer passed away, was a single, was the sole proprietor, maybe the firm broke up, maybe they were the holders of the will, maybe the individual held it somewhere, if we could identify a location where that will is located, or otherwise, alternatively, have the will stored in a specific depository, I think it would go a long way to ensuring that people would have a sense of security that when they write a will, that will is going to be located in a certain location.

Then, of course, the other issue of is it the most recent will and the other things would come into play, but my suggestion is, I think it's worth the government's study, I'd like to see this bill begin the process of at least looking at that as an option. I think it's a good idea. It's one that I think can ensure that many people in this province do not have to face Probate Court, don't have to face being intestate. They can actually see an opportunity for their will - what they intended is what will be in place, because they have

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a place either themselves, or their lawyer will be able to store the will, or at least have a depository that identifies the location of the will.

I think that's not a bad idea. I've been loath to find anyone so far who has thought it was a bad idea. I'm open to comments from others, both in this House and outside, who may be listening or who may read Hansard who may have comments on this. I'll be looking forward to the Law Amendments Committee to hear from people on this very issue. I think it's an interesting one, and I think it's worth considering, because I think people of Nova Scotia would then be better off. I do know they have similar legislation in British Columbia, as well. I believe there it is a depository for the location, or it's a voluntary depository of wills, but at least there is something in place that allows people, if they want to go that way, to have it.

I think it's a good idea. It's one that I would like to see developed, at least considered, at least studied. I'm prepared to accept that this may take time, but I would like to see it put in place so that the people of Nova Scotia do have that option. It's one that I don't think would cost the government money, necessarily. It could be done through licences and permits of individuals who are provided with that, especially if it's a voluntary one, but I would encourage the government to think about that. It's something I'm going to raise at the Law Amendments Committee, I'm going to raise with my caucus, and I would hope it's an opportunity to consider advancing this idea. I know it came up through the Law Reform Commission, and it was something they considered, as well.

So having said that, we will see this bill, we don't have a problem with this bill going forward. We'll listen to the Law Amendments Committee to see if there are comments. It's an area of the law that I think there are people who are experts, who specialize in this who may come forward with their comments. I'll be glad to hear from them. There are obviously stakeholders who may have their concerns, as well. In the long run, I think anything we can do to improve and enhance wills in this province is a good thing. It helps ensure that when people pass away that their intention of the division of their property is clear and protected. That is an area of the law that we've had for centuries, and it's one that we need to maintain in an era in which electronic media is becoming more common. I think it's one where I'm glad to see the changes we're making here today.

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

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, as Justice Critic for our caucus, it's a pleasure to rise and speak briefly on Bill No. 23, amendments to the Wills Act. Certainly allow me to take the opportunity to once again commend the Law Reform Commission for the excellent work they do. I would take this opportunity to remind the Minister of Justice that as the budgetary process will inevitably begin in the upcoming Spring that I would hope the Minister of Justice will be a strong advocate for the Law Reform

[Page 803]

Commission, to make sure they have the adequate financing and possibly new financing to help them in some of the work they do.

I'm certainly pleased to see that the minister, much like his predecessor, has been listening closely to the Law Reform Commission in adopting many of their changes. In updating legislation here in Nova Scotia, there's no doubt that the Wills Act was in need of some updating, and the proposals here I believe will make for stronger legislation and will make it easier for Nova Scotians to be able to make clear what their final wishes are.

Mr. Speaker, I also, much like the House Leader for the NDP, take this opportunity to encourage the Minister of Justice and the government. I know that the legal community has done a lot of work to try to educate Nova Scotians about the need for them to make their final wishes known and to have proper wills. It's a question of, is there something that we can do through the Department of Justice, or through the government's means of communicating with Nova Scotians, to encourage Nova Scotians to get wills. Not simply to help lawyers have more business, but to make sure that Nova Scotians fully understand what the consequences are when you die intestate.

If you have not made it clear what your final wishes are there are costs to your estate, the cost of going through probate, the taxes that are involved, and the overall grief that it causes to those left behind at such a difficult time. As I mentioned, I know in the Strait area a lot of lawyers will meet with seniors' groups, will meet with different groups, to try to educate them on the need to have wills and the importance of it. I would hope that the Department of Justice would look at that as well.

Mr. Speaker, one of the other issues that I would encourage the Minister of Justice through his department to look at as well is the explosion of these homemade will kits that have been provided in our province. Now, I've had the occasion in my legal capacity to see a number of clients who have come in and have shown me these homemade wills that they had from these kits. I can tell you that from the ones I've seen, I don't believe one of them would stand up in court.

It's unfortunate that Nova Scotians are being led to believe that by buying this book for a cheap price and avoiding going to get the expert opinion of a lawyer that they're writing these wills, somehow believing they've managed to save some dollars and made it clear what their wishes are, because you can drive a truck through these homemade wills. The fact is that your first year of law school, in learning about wills and estates, or your second year I guess is when they teach you wills and estates, is that all of the ABC rules of drafting and of executing a will are void in these homemade will kits that you're seeing and I find it very unfortunate.

In my case, fortunately, they did come to me and show me these wills and I was able to give them an opinion that I didn't believe it was worth very much as compared to what the end product they received after going and getting an actual lawyer to draft

[Page 804]

up their final wishes for them. So I think it's a question which I don't know if the Department of Justice has ever turned its mind to. Especially the fact that each jurisdiction in Nova Scotia has some different peculiar rules that they have for wills, I'm not sure if these homemade will kits are making it clear to individuals here in Nova Scotia about specific rules that may apply here and whether it's something the Department of Justice may want to look into.

At least get a sense as to whether Nova Scotians are receiving the proper instructions in these homemade will kits. It would be terribly unfortunate for any Nova Scotian getting their will done through these homemade will kits under the belief that their final wishes are clear, only to have the family left behind fighting in court because of the fact that the will was not clear, was not properly executed, and is not therefore valid in our province.

So those are some of the concerns that I raised with the minister. Again, one of the other suggestions I make to you, minister, and to your department, there are still a tremendous amount of families in Nova Scotia where the couples only have their deed and the car registration and any other lands they own in the husband's name. That was the old style. That's how it happened. We've seen a number of cases in our communities where when the husband passes away, everything was in his name and so even though there's a will, in most cases they're being forced to have to go through probate and facing the extra costs of going through probate because of the fact it wasn't joint tenancies on either the lands owned, the home, or even vehicles, for example.

So if there's even a way that the Department of Justice could have a public campaign because in most cases now, Mr. Speaker, this is more of a problem with older couples, because for the most part now any couple today purchasing a piece of land would automatically get joint tenancy, but I still see a number of seniors.

I had a couple come in just last week to my office, asking whether they should be concerned about the fact that everything was only in the husband's name, and I made it clear to them that, yes, it was a concern that would create headaches down the road if it wasn't addressed, and they're taking corrective action now. But there are still a tremendous amount of families who aren't familiar that this could create problems for them in the future and that it can easily be avoided by simply changing that to joint tenancies, rather than leaving it only in the name of one spouse. So I leave that with the minister.

I'm not sure if there's a practical way that the department can undertake this kind of information campaign, but I think it's something that we want to make sure that Nova Scotians are fully aware of how they can make sure that their final wishes are clear, that they're not going to have to face probate if it can be avoided, and more important to most Nova Scotians is that they're not going to have to pay the government any more taxes

[Page 805]

than necessary on their estates. Which I'm sure the Minister of Justice would be very concerned to protect Nova Scotians in that regard as well.

[1:30 p.m.]

With that, Mr. Speaker, we certainly look forward to this bill moving forward and I can say that despite some of the criticisms the minister may have faced last night about the value of some of the legislation, I do believe that these changes will certainly have a significant impact on our province, especially for those who have wills, and who will be the families who will be relying upon the proper interpretation of those wills in the future. So I commend the minister and look forward to second reading on Bill No. 23. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I'll be brief with my comments on this bill. I have to say that, unfortunately, even though I would be the equivalent of a clone, being an identical twin, my brother, who is a lawyer - there's no way to transfer your legal training to your twin brother (Interruption) Didn't keep the political smarts. (Laughter)

I want to say that when it comes to looking at this piece of legislation, I come at it from a layman's perspective. In reading sections of the Law Reform Commission Report - actually that was fairly enlightening and I'm glad to see that the government did look at that report when they drafted this legislation. I have to agree with the minister that I would certainly see it as an improvement in the accepting of a hand-written will. I think that for all Nova Scotians and certainly those who are not connected to a legal profession - or don't have a legal background - all they really want is the ability to convey their last wishes in regard to their property and how they want that disposed of at their death. To ensure that this is done is as nice a manner as possible, depending on the family or how large - if it's to one individual that's pretty simple, but if it's to more than one, they certainly want to make sure that their wishes are clear and can be carried out in a fairly forthright manner.

So I think for all of us that would be where we would want to go. I think the change that they made in terms of service people with the wording of changing actual military service to active service, is an appropriate one. As much as people plan, sometimes you do drop the ball and people can be in another country, for example, certainly service personnel and they would be on active service, even though they wouldn't be in actual military service, and so to allow some leeway in that regard.

So as I wind up my comments, Mr. Speaker, I do have to say that when the minister gets up to finish debate or any of the other members of the House - in looking at Clause 5 of the bill, regarding the manner or formalities of making a will, ". . . a will

[Page 806]

made either within or without the Province is valid and admissible to probate if it is made in accordance with the law in force at the time of its making in the place where (a) the law of Nova Scotia; (b) the will was made; (c) the testator was domiciled or had his or her habitual residence when the will was made . . .", I have to say, I don't understand that. I asked for some clarification on it, and didn't get it. I didn't get it from the minister, and I didn't ask the minister. Certainly, I did ask for a legal opinion, and that doesn't make sense to me. I don't know whether it's just in the wording, because the person I asked had difficulty, saying, that doesn't make sense to me.

Anyway, I see this as an improvement, and certainly look forward to seeing it move through the House. With that, Mr. Speaker, I'll let someone else have the floor.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to have a few comments on this bill, which is Bill No. 23, the Wills Act, amended. Again, we do think this is an area that needed attention, and we're glad to see that the government is turning its attention towards that and trying to clarify some of the issues around wills. One of the things that I wanted to ask about - there are a couple of things that I think may cause some confusion - is Section 15, which is referred to in the bill; Section 5 refers to Section 15. In that section it refers to a will being valid if it's made in accordance with the law enforced at the time of its making in the place, basically, where it's made. There are four points under that.

I'm just wondering if that won't be difficult for Nova Scotian courts to determine, if wills are made all over the world. It's going to create a little bit of difficulty, I think, in terms of interpreting the validity of those wills if they come from - I'm sure within Canada it won't be a problem, if it's other provinces, but I'm just thinking, if we're accepting them from all over. It does say, if that's the place where you've been living, if that's your habitual residence, so it could be anywhere. As we know, we live in a very mobile society. People are travelling, and Nova Scotians are travelling all over the world for work and for living. Therefore, I just suggest that there might be a little difficulty in that, requiring that the courts have extra knowledge to determine if it is a valid will in all countries. That's one small concern.

I'm also interested - the way I have read this is that, in effect, the will is considered valid if it's in a person's own handwriting and if it is signed by that person. It seems to indicate there's no requirement for witnesses in looking at a will, and I think that might be problematic if we're talking about the need to protect some people. I'm thinking there of people who might be elderly or infirm. If there has been any pressure on them in preparing a will, there's no need for an independent witness. So, you might find that somebody could be taken advantage of, for that reason. I hope that will be something that is being considered.

[Page 807]

I do understand that there's an interest in simplifying the process and acknowledging people's wishes, but I'm just looking at the need to protect those who might not be fully able to control what is being written, or they might be under some undue influence of someone else. That's very important, I believe.

I'm just looking - I think those are the main things we see. Oh, there's one point in here that also deals with divorce, which I wanted to touch on - divorce and separation. It says that divorce has the effect of revoking a bequest or an appointment under the will. I do think that that's a good thing to see in place, and I'm glad that that has been addressed, because it's quite possible that you might have a will in effect and not have that recognized, that your marital status has changed and that those wishes might not - I think it would be certain they should be reconsidered, again, after a divorce or separation. So I'm glad to see that in there, I think it protects all parties as well. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'll take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, we seem to have found ourselves engaged in a discussion of life's inevitables and unavoidables - both death and taxes. It's important that we maybe move to correct a small item that has found its way onto the record today. It had to do with the suggestion that the amounts charged for probate are taxes. I think, of course, since the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in re: Eurig Estate and the corrective measures this Legislature took afterwards. We're talking about fees, not taxes. In Canada we don't have any inheritance taxes or death duties. It's just fees for probate that we're talking about. One can argue about the extent of them, but they're not taxes. I think we've taken the corrective measures and appropriate measures earlier on to eliminate that challenge here.

That said, I have to say that it seems to me that when we engage in altering the law for a subject that is as old as the law surrounding testamentary devises, that we have to be very careful. I must say that I think the government has been careful here because they consulted with the Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia before they took steps to introduce Bill No. 23.

The bill that we have in front of us is the result of a study commissioned by the Law Reform Commission. It followed appropriate steps of putting out a draft paper for review by the interested community and then followed up with a final report from November, 2003. One could wonder why it has taken us three years to move on their recommendations, but I'm happy to put it down to caution on the part of the government. Caution and careful thought, let us hope.

That said, I think the government really has taken what were the core recommendations of the commission at the time and has put them into appropriate

[Page 808]

language before us now as a bill. The government did not attempt to implement any measures which the Law Reform Commission recommended against.

Understandably, there are a variety of suggestions that are made from time to time for changing the law in this area or that area. Some ideas had been put forward. For example, the possibility of an electronic form for the writing of wills. The Law Reform Commission suggested there was no particular reason to move on that and this bill doesn't attempt to do so.

I think what this bill does is it sensibly accepts the policy directions of the Law Reform Commission on what are known as holograph wills. That's simply a will that's in a person's handwriting. In doing so, we shouldn't assume that such wills would automatically be found to be valid by a review in court. Circumstances surrounding the writing of a will, whether holograph, under our new proposed bill, or not, are always up to be examined.

But, a subsequent court could always make a determination that a person didn't have the testamentary capacity - they did not have the correct and appropriate mental ability to execute a will. That is something a court could always find, and indeed, will still be able to find based on appropriate evidence, in the case of a holograph will.

A court can also set aside wills in circumstances of duress or undue influence, or if not the wills as a whole, certain bequests under them. I see no difference when it comes to a holograph will. Those remedies will still be available, all we've done here is we have offered the opportunity to people who are sometimes in circumstances where it makes sense for them to write out their will by themselves, in their own handwriting and sign it.

Indeed, as the member for Clayton Park pointed out, it doesn't call for witnesses. It's meant to deal, this amendment is meant to deal with circumstances where people find themselves alone where they might be ill, there might be an urgency, then sometimes they even apply to people who are in areas of particular danger for other reasons.

So, it's an appropriate kind of amendment to make. It has been a long time coming. I have no problem with this at all, but we should recognize that some of the traditional safeguards are still in place to deal with the kinds of circumstances that were identified by some of the previous speakers.

I think it's also appropriate that we change the language to refer to active service for people in the military, this was recommended by the Law Reform Commission and reflects language that is in federal legislation that has to do with the nature of military service. So there is nothing wrong with that.

[Page 809]

When it comes to the issue of recognizing testamentary devises executed elsewhere, again, this is an appropriate thing to do. We are, as has been observed, a very mobile society now, people do move around the world. I don't want to be misunderstood, it seems to me that it makes sense for people, if they move to Nova Scotia and have some attachment here, which usually means ownership of property, then they probably should have wills made here and consult professional advisors. That would be the best thing to do.

[1:45 p.m.]

I am certainly not recommending holograph wills that people simply make up on their own. I think that the thing to do, the better thing to do is to consult a professional advisor about the wording. It may be that a will in holograph form is going to be valid but it may be ambiguous, it may be hard to interpret. The whole point about a professional advisor is that they can try to minimize or avoid completely circumstances in which those left behind to put into effect the wishes of the testator are puzzled by what they ought to do.

So even though we are setting up the framework for recognition of foreign wills, and even though we are setting up the framework for recognition of the validity of holograph wills, it is certainly the case that people should consult those whose profession it is to draft testamentary devises, that certainly makes sense.

At the same time, I don't think we should be worried about the court's ability to interpret what the law might be in another jurisdiction. There is a whole area of law known as conflict of laws that deals with questions of how we interpret the laws of other jurisdictions. Just to reassure the member who brought this up, I should point out that it usually requires the expert evidence of someone who knows what the law was in that foreign jurisdiction. So I think we can expect courts to be careful about that.

That brings me now to the issue of the effect of divorce or a declaration of nullity on a will. It seems to me that the bill follows very closely what it is that the Law Reform Commission has suggested. We know that not only are we in a mobile society, we are in a society in which many marriages simply do not survive for a full lifetime. The hard reality of that is that this does bring a change to people's lives, it does bring a change to how it is that they carry on their financial affairs. If a person dies entirely without a will, then we have a framework in place under what is known as intestate succession laws in which public policy says how property should be divided among survivors.

Now what we have done is we have gone a little further and we have looked at the circumstances of divorce or a decree of nullity and suggesting that that should invalidate the provisions that refer to the former spouse. In the normal course of events, people who are getting divorced or seeking decrees of nullity will be represented by legal counsel. I don't doubt for a moment that those legal counsel will advise the parties

[Page 810]

that they should acquire new wills. I don't doubt that many people who are so advised will do that. On the other hand, some people will put it off, and there will often be a gap, sometimes a long gap between the time of the divorce and the time a person gets around to having a new will drawn. What this clause deals with is the circumstance in which someone either neglects to have a new will done at the very time of a divorce, or unfortunately dies before they get the chance to do it.

It's only right that we have such a provision. It's only right that this circumstance be addressed and the minister has chosen to follow the advice of the commission to essentially nullify the provisions that would benefit the former spouse. I think that's the right choice. I have no criticism to make of that. If a person decides that they wish to benefit a former spouse, they can put it in a new will if they wish. It seems to me that on all scores this bill engages entirely appropriately with a complicated area of the law. There's not much I can see when I look at what it is that the bill does that I can think of to criticize. I hope that there's further detailed advice from the concerned professional community, that we do hear of it before we move on to third reading, but at this stage at second reading, I have to say that I'm entirely happy to support this bill.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the members opposite for their comments and suggestions and I will commit to ensuring that the department and staff review those concerns brought forward by the members opposite. Obviously, while we want to ensure that Nova Scotians have an opportunity to be able to afford to prepare wills, their last wills in this life, we want to ensure as well that they will stand the test of time if it comes to that. So I think some comments that have been brought forward here today are very good suggestions and we'll certainly follow up on that.

Again to the Law Reform Commission, we certainly appreciate the hard work they've done not only on this bill but on many other pieces of legislation that come before this House. Thank you, members, for recognizing that as well.

So, Mr. Speaker, with that, it gives me great pleasure to move second reading of Bill No. 23, the Wills Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is for second reading on Bill No. 23. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

[Page 811]

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 14.

Bill No. 14 - Public Service Act.

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Finance, I'm pleased to move second reading of Bill No. 14, the Public Service Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I'll be brief. I'm not going to speak to all the parts on the bill. If my colleagues in their related critic areas wish to do that, that's fine. I want the government members to know I don't really have a problem with what I see here, I'm sure it would come under the housekeeping heading for the government. In terms of the Department of Agriculture and the impact of this, I should say Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, I don't have a problem with what appears to be, and the minister may want to stand and correct me, but there appears to be a separation of agriculture and fisheries. I know the agricultural sector certainly had been pushing for a stand-alone department and that's the way I read this and if I'm wrong, the minister can correct me.

I do have a concern around the Department of Fisheries which looks to me like it becomes the Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture. I want to mention to the Minister of Fisheries that this may be a tough sell. I think that the industry is big enough. Its contribution to the economy is plenty big, I think over $1 billion - and that's really in out-of-the-water sales, if I understand it. That's the value of fish, and I think that's without much value added - that's just the value of fish coming out of the water around Nova Scotia - and $1 billion is significant, very significant.

I think that industry should be saying they want a department, not just an Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture, but they would want a Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and although that office will be supervised and basically overseen by the minister, I think we would recognize the department as having more clout than the office. That would be my only regret in how I read this. If the minister wants to correct me and say I'm wrong in my interpretation, I'd be glad to hear him say that - as a matter of fact, I would welcome it.

[Page 812]

So I do have some reservations on what this means for Fisheries. As far as Agriculture, I don't see a problem with that. If the minister and if the industry feels that would help him do his job, then I applaud it. So with those comments, I look forward to this bill moving forward, and I'm eager to hear what other members have to say.

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

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to speak on Bill No. 14, an Act to Amend Chapter 376 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Public Service Act. I, too, will just speak on the Fisheries part of it, the Department of Fisheries of this province. This bill, what it does, I guess, is it amends the Public Service Act to divorce the Department of Fisheries from the Department of Agriculture and creates an Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture instead.

I would hope, Mr. Speaker, that this is not downgrading the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture for this province. This province has one of the best fisheries in this country, maybe more so a few years back the fishery was a little better than it is today, but dollar-wise it's still worth a lot of money for this province.

The fishing industry sector has roughly doubled its contribution to Nova Scotia's economy since 1996, and that's according to the new study from the provincial and federal governments of this country. The fishing industry in the ocean sector ranks second in the gross domestic product of impact for this province. The importance of this fishing industry to Nova Scotia is clear, and it leads all other ocean-related sectors in employment.

So we can certainly see that it's important for this province, and we can certainly see that it's going to stay important for this province. There's nothing wrong with our fishery, I believe. Probably the government gets a lot of hearsay - the fishery is no good now, let's downgrade it a little, let's look at downgrading. Well, I have people all around in the coastal communities of Nova Scotia saying to me, Mr. Theriault, we should have the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in this province, not sitting in Ottawa with thousands of people in a 15-storey tall, glass building, and we don't know what they do up there to this day. If it was in this province and one in British Columbia, I'm sure that things would work much better - and I hear that quite a lot.

So here we are talking about downgrading the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in this province, yet around the coastal communities you have people telling you to bring the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to this coast. So that kind of bothers me a lot, because I've always said that too. There's nothing wrong with our fishery. The only thing wrong with our fishery, when you depend on one species in the ocean, you do run into problems. The 50-some 100 boats around this coast that are diversified to catch many different species have no problem surviving at all. There are even more species coming on out there that we certainly have to work at. I won't use the

[Page 813]

"s" word today, I'll save that for another day, but that's coming on and, Mr. Minister, we have to look at that seriously - the "s" word, a four-letter "s" word.

Anyway, I won't go on too much. I just want to make sure that I get my word in here and say that this province's backbone, the major part of the backbone of this province is the fishery, was the fishery, and I believe always will be the fishery. Our shell fishery alone in this province is worth nearly $1 billion per year, just one species, the groundfish species which is down now, still counts for 11 per cent of that and we have another species out there that may count for another huge percentage here before long. So that needs to be promoted and worked at.

[2:00 p.m.]

In closing, I just want to say that the strength of our coastal communities is in our fishery. We cannot jeopardize that by downgrading this department. I hope this department is looking, when it downgrades, to an office that has a substantial and sufficient staff to do the work that needs to be done. I also hope that somewhere in the wording in this bill that there are openings there for additional ways to put more staff in, if needed, if the staff is downgraded from this office to be. So I would like to get that mentioned and also, when this goes to the Law Amendments Committee, I would certainly make sure that was worded that way.

We have to be very careful with this great industry of this province. It built this province and it will continue to keep this province going. It has its ups and downs and there is a lot of work to do there to fix the downs. The ups will take care of themselves but the downs need working on and that's what we need a strong office for, a department to be in office.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I just wanted to make sure that those words were heard, that we have to be very careful here to not do something in this department that will even downgrade our fishing industry any more than it is. I hope this bill passes through and I hope it does with the proper amendments to it. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is an honour to rise today and speak on this particular bill, the Public Service Act amendments and, like my colleague who spoke earlier, my focus was on one sentence, dealing with Section 25A and it particularly jumped out at me. I will just read that particular paragraph or the one sentence, "There shall be an Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture."

To me, the key word is "office" and the earlier speaker talks about downgrading. I want to bring to the member's attention that I hope the emphasis here of amendment is to make something stronger, to make something better. I believe - and I will not rush

[Page 814]

to judgment here, but I believe it's the intent to make this fisheries or this particular office or department better. I don't like the words "downgraded" or "diluting" anything, I think that we have to look at these fisheries and take this very seriously. I think the key word there that should be included is leadership - leadership in identifying an industry that has been the backbone of our economy and coastal communities for generations. Leadership will make this a higher priority.

Mr. Speaker, the importance of the fisheries - if I could just take you back seven years when the government of the opposite Party on the floor of this House took power, I clearly remember sitting in the municipal office and there was a motion tabled at that time and there were some concerns about the present government of the day having the Minister of Fisheries holding four portfolios. There was some concern coming from the Barrington municipality and they tabled a motion. They were concerned then about this particular industry having the minister, and having him burdened with three other portfolios.

One of the lines that I like to use in Shelburne County that I think captures the whole essence of our industry is that the fishery is the lifeline of our communities. That has been changed, in different terms, with different words used - some communities use the fisheries as the economic engine. Others describe it as the backbone of our economy. Regardless of how you say it, it is the major cog in our industry and coastal communities.

I had the privilege of travelling around our province in the last few weeks and I took particular notice, particularly in fishing communities, in recreational use of our water in our summers. We see our pleasure crafts being hauled ashore, being readied for winter. They're being winterized. A lot of our fisheries take place in the summer months. I've had the opportunity to travel from Cape Breton to Brier Island in the last few months and it struck me, representing Shelburne County, as all these particular fleets and recreational groups - the Northwest Arm and Chester Basin is literally full of pleasure craft. With the changing of the weather and you go there now, these vessels are being winterized.

But in Shelburne County, we are just preparing for the upcoming season, which is the economic engine of our community. It is vital and very important that the people of Nova Scotia, especially you people sitting in this House, understand the importance of the fisheries. I invite you all to come down the last Monday in November and see an industry that is taking place. The many suppliers, the trap builders, the boat shops all depend on this industry.

I'll just take you back to two minutes ago when most of the recreational use or the commercial fisheries in Nova Scotia are being prepared for winter, Shelburne County is just getting started and looking forward to those winter conditions.

[Page 815]

We also have a great number of high-tech fish buildings, or lobster holding facilities. These have made some economic investments over the last year. Again, the point I'm trying to make here is that regardless of the name, whether it's the department or an office -whatever you want to call it - if the minister is in charge and he's going to make these a priority, then I think everyone in the fishing industry, my colleagues, will endorse that. But if this is going to dilute what we already have, there's going to be a clear message from these coastal communities.

This particular office can also ensure they can be a stronger voice for some of the bills we have in front of us today. One of them is Bill No. 27, the Fisheries Loan Board. That can be sped up, that can go a long way in helping young individuals get into the fisheries. That's something this office can do. We have unemployed workers in Shelburne County who have been waiting for September 5th, for a meeting with the Minister of Human Resources or a minister dealing with employment insurance. They're still waiting. They're still waiting for the phone call to discuss the topic of why a fish-plant worker in Shelburne County needs 560 hours, and that same fish-plant worker on the other end of our province only needs 420 hours, using the same resources and the same identical fish plants and they're still waiting for the meeting or the phone call.

That's something that this office can do. We've talked about inter-generational transfers of licences. We've talked about helping establish a loan board bill so we can assist young fishermen to get in the fisheries. This has been discussed for decades; not months, not years, but decades. This is something that this office can improve.

I also want to make note, Mr. Speaker, that our provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture has held fisheries conferences in Nova Scotia for the last decade. This is something that can be strengthened through this particular office. Issues like soft-shell lobsters - we're just crossing our fingers, waiting, and the information is in that the surveys have been done and there's a good blood count, there's a good protein level in our lobsters this year, and we're hoping that we do not have that issue come to the surface this particular year. This is something that needs to be addressed, there has to be a more proactive approach in addressing these fisheries issues. I suggest this is something our office needs to do.

Mr. Speaker, I want to go on public record that the cod moratorium was established in 1992, and very little has been done, if any. I want to make it publicly clear that this Atlantic fisheries can be brought back. This Atlantic fisheries can be enhanced. This is something that the Nova Scotia Office of Fisheries should do, starting today. My colleague, the member for Pictou East, who has years of experience in the fishing industry will follow my comments.

There was a comment made by a general automotive dealer a number of years ago, and I think this particular saying fits very well in my closing remarks, when he's talking about the fishery, I think this government should lead, follow or just simply get

[Page 816]

out of the way, because our fishery is too important and we need some leadership on these major points.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, first, I want to begin on a very positive note. I know this is a housekeeping situation that we are looking at here, it's something that was announced quite a while ago, and I believe that the separation of Agriculture and Fisheries is a great move on the government's part. It was folly in the first place to put those two departments together. These are the departments that feed us as Nova Scotians. These are important departments.

Having said that, I still want to be positive. I want to say that I respect the two ministers involved with Agriculture and Fisheries. I think they're good people. I think they are capable. But I thought that the restoration of these departments as individual departments would in fact give them a rightful place in Nova Scotia. When I look at the legislation and see that there shall be an Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Governor-in-Council may appoint a person to be chief executive officer of the Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture - the Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture. These departments cannot be relegated to be junior portfolios. They cannot be relegated to be entry-level portfolios. We have to ensure that these departments do the job that they were designed to do.

I want to speak a little bit about some personal knowledge because after spending a number of years in the voice and print media, I went to work for resource departments as a public relations officer for Agriculture, for Fisheries, for the old Department of Lands and Forests, and then started to work with Fisheries as manager of field services, as Aquaculture administrator, as marine adviser. So I have a bit of knowledge about the history of these departments and I look back on the old Departments of Agriculture and Fisheries in the 1970s and 1980s as departments with guts, departments that stood on issues, departments that were in there with Ottawa all the time. We have had an erosion of that. It doesn't exist anymore.

[2:15 p.m.]

We can take a real lesson from our sisters and brothers in Newfoundland and Labrador. When they go to Ottawa, they go to Ottawa with a ker-thump. There is no whimpering. There is complete ker-thump with what they are doing and I think we have to get back to a very, very aggressive situation here. I mean we have a minority government with a majority Cabinet. I think almost everyone is in Cabinet. So if you take out, you know, the Deputy House Leader and so on, I think almost everybody is in Cabinet except two or three backbenchers. So there should be an opportunity when a person has a single portfolio to really do something for Nova Scotia, and that's what we expect to take place.

[Page 817]

I think we can also learn from Newfoundland and Labrador in the aggressiveness that is shown with Ottawa. I believe that every dollar in Ottawa should have at least some little percentage on it for Nova Scotia. I firmly believe that and I think it's up to these ministers to go after the CAIS program in agriculture and to go after fisheries to wrestle a little bit more power and have some more input in relationship to these departments.

On Sunday night last we had a forum in Pictou East. It was a forum that I organized and I had three critics besides myself. We had four critic areas represented in a forum and a director of the Cattle Producers of Pictou County attended the meeting and asked some real pointed questions, such as, where is agriculture on the political landscape in Nova Scotia? There was a feeling there demonstrated from that farming interest that since only 2 per cent of people in Nova Scotia - somewhere around 2 per cent - are involved in some form of agriculture, that there isn't the relevancy that there used to be and if we're going to keep our schools open in rural areas, if we're going to have vibrant rural communities, we need those farmers and we need to be fighting for them in Ottawa.

I think that some of the responses given in that forum were some of the most emotional responses that I have heard for a long time and the Agriculture Critic, the member for Hants East, was very compassionate and very passionate in his responses to the agriculture questions. So I believe that is what we fundamentally need, that kind of a passion. I would hope that the passion that is shown on so many issues on this side of the House would sort of seep over onto the government's side, at least until we get there.

Mr. Speaker, what I am asking is that the minister - now that this separation has taken place - that we take the most aggressive stance that we have taken on agriculture and fisheries for many years. I hope the transformation - I am not asking for a Road to Damascus experience or a road to Musquodoboit or a road to Canso experience, but I think there has to be that kind of a transformation that takes place in agriculture and fisheries. I strongly disagree with this business of office of Fisheries and Aquaculture. I can see our people involved in various forms saying, after Newfoundland representatives indicate that they are from the Department of Fisheries and our people saying, I'm from the Office of Fisheries and Aquaculture. An office to me seems to be a smaller scale of "the office of". Please, if there is any way of changing this to "department" and giving some real status to the division that is taking place, I hope that it does, in fact, come about.

So with those few remarks, I want to conclude, I guess, by saying that at one time these departments had salary levels down here and programs up here. I think over the years we have had a situation where we now have sort of salaries up here and programs down somewhere. I think we have to get back to the days of the 1970s and 1980s when there was a real emphasis in these two departments on various programs, from the

[Page 818]

School Milk Program through to a host of fishery programs. With that, I will conclude. Thank you.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I wanted to address just a couple of points around Bill No. 14, that haven't been talked about today as much. We have had a good discussion, I think a lot of thoughts on the fisheries and aquaculture, but I am looking specifically at the portion of this bill which will officially repeal the Petroleum Directorate and, instead, replace it with the Department of Energy, which again obviously is a bit of housekeeping because we have had a Department of Energy for quite some time, certainly as long as I have been elected here in the Legislature.

The Petroleum Directorate was originally founded, I think, under the Department of Economic Development and it had a very clear purpose. As I understand it, it was that we needed to get expertise in the offshore energy and get a core of people together who could do the negotiations and the work that the province needed to do in order to get our offshore energy moving better, and being able to negotiate with all the international firms and big companies that would be here. That folded in over time into a new Department of Energy. What I am finding as of today, and even looking at what this Department of Energy is going to be responsible for, I still find some - I would say that there has been some - blurring of what that department is all about and it is not my area that I am the critic for but I am very interested in Conserve Nova Scotia. I am very interested in environmental policies and plans and I am interested in how the Energy Department has played a role and perhaps continues to play a role in those programs.

I draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to Clause 4 of this bill which talks specifically about the Department of Energy and outlines what exactly they are supposed to do, and it has from (a) to (g) that they are looking at. Now the ones that I would say were more like the original Petroleum Directorate have to do with conducting research and analysis to effectively manage the offshore exploration, it says exploration and development of the province's energy resources and (d) which says "managing the Province's energy resources in order to achieve optimum economic, social and environmental value . . ." I think that would have been consistent with the original Petroleum Directorate.

The part that I think is a little unclear and I am surprised that it still appears in this bill today, when we have already announced a Conserve Nova Scotia and we already have a person appointed to be CEO - a very well paying position, I might add - to manage and direct that new Conserve Nova Scotia, but we will have the Energy Department in (e) under all of their activities, "promoting the efficient, effective and environmentally sound use of energy;" Surely that would come under - it is not under exploration, it is not under maximizing the resources or the revenue that we'll receive, the royalties and so on that we would receive from promoting all of the energy resources

[Page 819]

in Nova Scotia, so I wonder why that environmentally sound use of energy, the conservation side, is still nestled within the department's proposed - it is more than proposed, it is in the bill - in what will be seen as their mandate.

I think we have a real blurring and if Nova Scotians were to look at where would they find information on conservation - and remember, conservation goes a lot beyond energy - it would be a one-stop shop. A place that had all of the environmentally sound practices, whether it had to do with solid waste or with energy use or any number of other practices that Nova Scotians would want to know about in order to be more environmentally sustainable, I would think they might look to the Department of the Environment or they will now look to Conserve Nova Scotia. So I think it is a little bit inappropriate that they still maintain within the mandate of this newly defined, shall we say, Department of Energy, that it would be promoting the efficient, effective and environmentally sound use of energy.

I could see them promoting the environmentally sound development of energy or practices of the energy industry but I just question why we continue to have this blurring, I think, in the minds of Nova Scotians and rightly so, with the announcement of a brand new department or a brand new agency. We know as well that 10 of the employees- I believe it is 10 - from the Department of Energy have now been transferred, or are in the process of being transferred. to the new Conserve Nova Scotia. So they are going to form the core of the expertise that will run this new agency?

If they are leaving the Department of Energy, are we duplicating their services again? Are they going to continue to be replaced at the Department of Energy? Or has that core of expertise in the government moved now to Conserve Nova Scotia?

The reason I raise this is I think there is a question around having too many different agencies or departments with an overlapping mandate. I think we saw it last year, even when the Department of Energy was handing out, along with the Keep the Heat monies, they handed out little packages of things that you would use in your home to help conserve energy, everything from water reduction to weather stripping and energy efficient light bulbs, all of that coming from the Department of Energy. Well, surely in the future anything like that, any program like that would be directed from Conserve Nova Scotia. So I think it is really worthwhile for the department to perhaps re-evaluate that, perhaps for the government to re-evaluate that one activity and provide clarity for Nova Scotians about exactly where we want the expertise in our Civil Service to rest and where Nova Scotians can go to get answers in one place within the government on environment and the careful use of energy.

That is a point that I think should be raised and considered by all members of the House. Beyond that I think we have covered aquaculture and fisheries very well and I see that we have also included information on the Department of Health Promotion and Protection, which is the new name, and I would say a very clear mandate for what that

[Page 820]

department is now going to do. Again, certainly our caucus has applauded, first of all, the forming of an Office of Health Promotion and its increased strength as it has grown over the last few years to encompass quite a few areas. I think, in fact, it's quite all-inclusive around the area of health promotion, and now health protection. So we do applaud that, because we've always said that we needed to take a long- term view of population health.

With that, I thank you very much and I will take my seat.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Queens.

MS. VICKI CONRAD: Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to this bill to amend the Public Service Act. I want to give kudos to the government for recognizing some time ago to actually create the Department of Health Promotion and Protection. I think it was a very smart move and with the growing portfolio with the Department of Health, certainly Health Promotion and Protection needed to be in its own house.

[2:30 p.m.]

I want to speak specifically to the clause adding provisions respecting the Department of Health Promotion and Protection. While the mandate looks very clear and covers a lot of ground, I'm hopeful the department does not become a stand-alone department and looks at the need to really co-operate and to show leadership with other departments of government.

I just want to draw attention to why I am bringing up that important need to show leadership from this department. In Clause 5, Section 46C, the language says, "In addition to any powers given to the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection by an enactment or the Governor in Council, the Minister may" - the word may is not a very strong word. I would suggest that in order for the department to show true leadership in co-operating with other departments, that language should be stronger. Perhaps change it to, the minister will. Show that leadership.

I want to speak about the promotion of healthy eating and the promotion of healthy foods in our province. While the minister and his department have taken great strides in promoting healthy food initiatives in our schools across the province, I'm hoping the department and the minister also acknowledge and recognize that too many of our Nova Scotian families do not have the financial resources to eat healthy. Again, I'm going to take us back to the need to co-operate and show leadership with other departments. I think the department really needs to network and advocate with other departments, such as Community Services, in ensuring that families living in poverty actually are included when we are talking about healthy eating and healthy promotion.

[Page 821]

We need to really ensure these families have the financial resources to go out and buy healthy food products.

I would also like to say that the department needs to recognize and should be working with the Departments of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Agriculture when we're talking about healthy food products. We need to be promoting our natural food resources that come out of our agricultural and fishery industries. When we're talking about healthy food products and healthy food promotion, we need to be talking about healthy products grown in the Valley and fished off our coastal waters.

We need to protect those food resources. Of course, the Department of Health Promotion and Protection looks at the protection of all Nova Scotians so it's very important we have a lot of good protection policies around those natural food resources.

I'd like to talk a little bit about increasing the physical activity with Nova Scotian families. We have seen the department demonstrate a lot of good initiatives across the province - in particular, the walking initiatives. But, I think we need to go a few steps further and promote sports and recreation. More importantly, looking at those families and children who can't afford to participate in some of the sports around the province or don't have access to recreational facilities.

I'm hoping the department really shows true leadership and invests dollars in recreational facilities across the province, and also give incentives to low income families to allow their children to participate in sports and really promote the physical activities of Nova Scotians. We have an alarming rate of growing numbers of childhood obesity and children who are being diagnosed for Type 2 diabetes. So it's really important that we do not drop the ball on health promotion and physical activities within the province here and, again, co-operating with other departments to make sure that happens; working closely with the Department of Education is most important.

The Department of Health Promotion and Protection has a huge responsibility for the health protection of Nova Scotians, and we really need to be front and centre and show true leadership. I'm hoping that this department really recognizes the serious responsibility of the protection for Nova Scotians. We have a growing number of communicable disease concerns facing us in this province, and I want to just talk a little bit about those.

We are all aware that Lyme disease is a growing concern in our province, and certainly the deer tick population has been increasing for a number of years. That's a serious concern, and it is a big responsibility for this department to really make sure that they're watching the growth of this deer tick population very closely, that they have a good monitoring system in place, and that they're just not relying on people in communities to be bringing in ticks for examination, that they're also doing their own monitoring, that they're getting staff out there and they're recording numbers, looking

[Page 822]

at geographical patterns of where the deer tick is moving and also making sure that we do have accurate stats on that.

The deer tick population interestingly enough not only is it increasing, but our tick population is staying in great numbers in Nova Scotia. We no longer have the cold-freeze winters to stagnate the tick population, so we really need to recognize that climate change plays a big role in the movement of deer tick populations.

When we speak about climate change, too, I also want to bring to the attention of the Department of Health Promotion and Protection the increase of asthma across the province. We do have to really keep our eye on the growing numbers of children who are experiencing respiratory illnesses at younger ages. Many of our young children are walking around with one or two puffers in their backpacks. They're needing to rely on these puffers for daily breathing, and we really need to keep our eye on the growth in asthmatic and respiratory illnesses across the province.

Again, I'm going to go back to working closely with other departments. I think it's important for the Department of Health Promotion and Protection to work closely with the Department of Energy in terms of getting a handle on our reduction in our pollutants, which is a leading cause of asthmatic and other respiratory illnesses.

So it's important that while the Department of Health Promotion and Protection has this huge responsibility, I think they can share that responsibility by networking closely with other departments, really looking at other sources of clean renewable energies that could certainly play a big role in reducing some of our respiratory illnesses. We really need to take the issue of climate change very seriously, because that in itself is going to also lead to an increase in numbers in not only respiratory illnesses but other viruses that we're going to see coming our way. We need to be prepared for different types of viruses, whether we're talking about avian flues, other communicable diseases that we may not be aware of, and we do need to be prepared.

In conclusion, I do want to say that while I support this bill and I support the Department of Health Promotion and Protection, I would like to see the department really take its responsibility seriously, really network, and show leadership with other departments in government. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: I've been inspired by the member for Queens to stand and say a few words regarding health promotion (Interruptions) I'm always - that's right. The issue in my riding is around the issue of health promotion and providing it to our children. We've talked about a healthy foods policy in this House, Mr. Speaker, particularly with the Department of Education. I think it's interesting, we've developed a Department of Health Promotion and Protection and what role they played in that

[Page 823]

healthy foods policy that the Department of Education is now putting on to school boards across this province.

It's rather interesting, we've spent so much time talking about five meals out of a 21-meal cycle for our children, when if we're really talking about health and health promotion, the real challenge that the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection should be saying to the Minister of Education is that we should be instituting physical education on a daily basis in our schools, if that's what we're talking about, the health of our children. How can we improve the quality of life for our children and their health? It would be very simple, Mr. Speaker, and that would be to institute daily physical education, not for senior high school, but start at Primary and go right through to Grade 12.

Mr. Speaker, it has been interesting, as this food policy starts to develop and we see it coming across, we're focusing on that as a big initiative to improve the health of our children, we're also starting to find now that it has become a real challenge for organizations within our school system - band - which is providing an opportunity for the health, the social well-being of our children to continue to sustain themselves. The department, in its infinite wisdom, is suggesting that apple pie is no longer healthy, it's no longer something that we should be selling as a school to raise money to ensure that our children are exposed to this kind of quality education. Somewhere along the way someone said it's not healthy, why are we doing that? They've actually come out to schools in the Valley, of all places, the apple capital of Nova Scotia and Canada, of course, the world, and said unfortunately the apple pies that your grandmother made, the apple pies that you're making are not healthy, but we'll send you down some prefab pie and perhaps we can sell those.

Mr. Speaker, what's rather interesting about that is that is a $10,000 fundraiser for one school in my riding, that's for one. Nowhere have they said, how are we going to fund that program, where's the money coming from? We're talking about healthy food for our children. This policy has become so bizarre that the band program cannot sell it to the community, people who don't even have children in the school. The school cannot make that apple pie and sell it to the community because it doesn't fit within the parameters of this food policy.

As a parent with two children going to that school, we have looked at this healthy food policy and we've said to ourselves if the school is concerned, if the Department of Education is concerned about our children's health, why don't they say to us, we're prepared to institute physical education on a daily basis for those children and we'll let you worry about what they're going to eat. Instead, what does the department do, they focus on the thing that I think they have the least impact on. Most of those kids perhaps eat one or two meals a week at that school, the rest of them come from home that their parents have prepared for them to bring to the school. If it's about health, if it's promoting a healthy lifestyle then they should be instituting that physical education.

[Page 824]

I look forward to the minister standing in this House and saying to all of us, to the day that physical education will be mandatory from Grade Primary to Grade 12, and then I will stand up and say to him for the first time that they've moved forward in trying to protect the health of our children.

So, Mr. Speaker, I want to close on that, and I look forward, as this moves into the Law Amendments Committee and people come forward, to having a chance to speak on it.

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

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, just in closing debate on Bill No. 14, I want to acknowledge the supportive comments that came from both Parties on the other side of the House. I think everybody recognizes, particularly with the separation of fisheries, aquaculture, and agriculture, the commitment of this government to the resource-based industries in this province. I think, as well, the member who raised the issue of the Department of Health Promotion and Protection recognizes that changing that from an office to a department, we were the first government in Canada to have one of those at the provincial level and it is a very important part of the go-forward in terms of healthy Nova Scotia by this government. In response to the member for Annapolis who just spoke about physical education, I would remind you that in the platform there is a very specific statement about an increase in the time for physical education, and that will come too.

[2:45 p.m.]

I would also think that energy plays an important part in our province now in many ways, one economically in terms of the offshore, also in our effort to conserve energy and, of course, the issue of many things along with the Department of Environment and Labour. The issue of global warming is very much in the papers at this time and how we can conserve energy and do our part to be Canadian and world leaders in protecting the environment. Obviously, Conserve Nova Scotia, which is under the Department of Energy, is going to play a very, very important role in that and I look forward to the results of that first year in office.

Mr. Speaker, again I want to thank colleagues across the House for their helpful and supportive suggestions. Their comments indicate that the government clearly has gone in the right direction with this bill in separating Agriculture and Fisheries, and creating the Department of Health Promotion and Protection and the Department of Energy. I now close debate and move this bill on to the Law Amendments Committee.

[Page 825]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is for second reading of Bill No. 14. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 22.

Bill No. 22 - Motor Vehicle Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Public Works.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I move that this bill be now read a second time. The bill before us is one which reflects the changing nature of technology and methods of employing equipment in order to carry out the functions of agriculture and as a result of changed equipment, then it's appropriate that we need to have new definitions. We need to change items related to the use of cautionary signs and speed limits, the combination of vehicles that require brakes and do not require brakes in certain circumstances, and that's what the bill is intended to do. The department worked very closely with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture in developing this bill over the period of the past two years, and the changes that are proposed in the bill reflect thinking collectively of the Federation of Agriculture and the departmental officials charged with the responsibility of developing this legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I can say that some of the changes that we will be looking at are found in Section 2, Section 117 and Section 181 of Chapter 293 of the Motor Vehicle Act and, as I indicated, they include new definitions, speed limits, and new requirements for brakes. There is a change in definition of farm tractor. It is being changed to allow some loading but not to the extent that farm trucks would be classed as tractors or farm tractors. Modern farm tractors come equipped with attachments such as front-end loaders and small spreaders with limited carrying capacity to make the tractor more versatile and efficient. The proposed amendments allow such loading to occur.

An implement of husbandry is being expanded to vehicles, both self-propelled and towed, used in farm operations for which the new rules would apply. This housekeeping amendment would add clarity to the Motor Vehicle Act, and farm wagon is a new definition for a common farm vehicle.

With respect to the movement of vehicles, new restrictions concern the maximum speed for vehicles displaying a sign or a cautionary sign - currently there is no maximum speed limit for a vehicle displaying a "slow moving" sign. The new 40-kilometre-an-

[Page 826]

hour speed limit will also apply to operators of backhoes and loaders; this change is to ensure the safety of the farm community and the travelling public who expect vehicles displaying a "slow moving" sign to be moving slowly. The new legislation requires that no brakes are on towed farm vehicles provided a "slow moving" sign is displayed and the above rules are followed.

So, Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to present this bill to the House and will listen intently to comments from members with respect to the bill and look forward to its passage and moving on to the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the minister for his comments. I guess at first blush my thought is that there is nothing wrong with this at all; I mean, I'm thinking that it should make perfect sense. The fact that there have been no significant flags raised about this legislation, certainly coming from the federation in any discussion with them, and not that I raised this, but they never raised it if we were talking about other things, I want to tell the minister that although my gut and, maybe surprisingly to him, my head also tells me that this is probably fairly sensible (Interruption) I'm waiting for that to happen.

I want to say it's not entirely clear to me what the bill is saying in regard to tractors and implements of husbandry - and I'm thinking of implements of husbandry that have their own motor, like a combine for example - but I'm interpreting this bill to say that a tractor that has a "slow moving vehicle" sign or a "slow moving" warning sign can't exceed 40 kilometres an hour, but I'm not clear what that means if the same vehicle didn't have a "slow moving vehicle" sign on it. I'm assuming that it can exceed 40 kilometres an hour, but that's not clear to me in this bill.

I think, if I understand it correctly as well, if that tractor is hauling an implement that doesn't have brakes it can't exceed 40 kilometres an hour; but if it was a combine that was self-propelled or had its own motor, I'm not sure that's considered to be the same thing - my thought is that can't go above 20 kilometres an hour, and that's not entirely clear to me.

Anyway, I'm really looking for a clarification. I have to say to the minister that I'm not really opposing his legislation and I would say that his opening comments were probably appropriate in the sense that we are certainly in an era when we look at farm machinery in this day and age and try to make some distinctions between that machinery, the speed of that machinery, and the relationship of that machinery and how we relate that to farm trucks that are not tractors and so on. All of this is certainly appropriate, but maybe the minister might want to address my comments in his closing but, if not, I can talk to him on these issues.

[Page 827]

So with those few comments, I look forward to this bill moving forward. I expect it's timely. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and speak on Bill No. 22 just for a few minutes. I want to echo the comments of the member for Hants East saying it is time this legislation has come forward and we look at it, and I'm very pleased when the minister spoke of his involvement with the Federation of Agriculture. It's important we give industry input, give industry buy- in to these changes.

Really, though, when you look at it, it comes down to being just a common-sense bill, a common-sense approach to the industry. When you look in rural Nova Scotia, the movement of farm equipment from one area to another, especially during peak seasons, it's important that we have this cleared up on some of the issues around wagon brakes, all of those types of things.

Really, what this comes down to and says to me is this is about safety, this is about the safety of employees in the agricultural community, this is about the safety of farmers, and this is about putting in place a protocol that is easy to understand, easy to read for them to be able to move forward.

It's interesting, when you look at some of the new farm equipment that is out there. It's not only amazing what you can do, but it's amazing how quickly it can move. We're used to seeing a tractor that getting it to do 20 kilometres per hour would have been amazing 30 years ago, but today we have equipment that moves at an alarming rate when you think about it.

This puts in place a mechanism for the travelling public as well as safety for the agricultural community. When you see the slow moving vehicle sign, it gives us an indication that that vehicle should be moving slow - the fact that you've brought in a maximum speed is perfect to address that. In some cases, in some areas, that sign, what it said to us as the travelling public didn't always mean what the vehicle was actually doing.

So I want to congratulate the minister on bringing this forward and the fact of the co-operation with the federation and the buy- in from the industry. I look forward to the Law Amendments Committee as the people come forward to have their say on the bill and this comes back to the House for third reading. Once again, thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I'll be brief, I know our time is drawing down. I just want to stand and support this bill, Bill No. 22. I think it is a common-sense

[Page 828]

bill for public safety, for the safety of our farm community, and for the safety of our farm workers. It's simply all about the slow moving vehicle signs that are displayed on farm tractors and farm equipment. I think it will protect the travelling public and the farm community as well.

Where I come from, there are lots of farm vehicles on the roads all the time. There are a number of farm families and myself, growing up in a farm family, I'm quite used to driving a tractor on a public road. It's something like roll bars on tractors, it's another good sign - or even lights after dark - it makes sense.

I certainly support this legislation. It makes sense for the travelling public and the farming community. With those brief remarks, I look forward to seeing it go on to the Law Amendments Committee.

I move adjournment of the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for adjournment of debate on Bill No. 22.

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 Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. I call upon the Opposition House Leader for the agenda.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: The House will sit tomorrow from the hours of 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. After the daily routine, we will be calling Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading - Bill No. 26 and Bill No. 59. I move the House do adjourn, to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The motion before the House is for the House to rise and meet again tomorrow at the hour of 2:00 p.m. The House will sit tomorrow between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

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

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The motion is carried.

The House stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.

[The House rose at 2:59 p.m.]

[Page 830]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 473

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 artistic handwriting is a special art skill; and

Whereas the art form has been encouraged by the World Handwriting Contest; and

Whereas Bridgewater calligrapher, Julia Brandwin-Glait, placed second in the world competition;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Julia Brandwin-Glait on her artistic writing skills and her success in the World Handwriting Contest.

RESOLUTION NO. 474

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 volunteers are of a vital importance to all our communities; and

Whereas volunteers deserve recognition and acknowledgment of their efforts; and

Whereas Councillor Don Zwicker has received the Merit and Honorary Membership Award from the Library Boards Association of Nova Scotia in recognition of his outstanding leadership in the advancement of public library trusteeship and public service in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend congratulations to Mr. Don Zwicker for his many years of service to public libraries.

[Page 831]

RESOLUTION NO. 475

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 volunteers provide a limitless number of hours of service to their communities; and

Whereas Mae Forbes of Bridgewater is a dedicated community volunteer; and

Whereas Mae Forbes, who just turned 96 years old, has been part of the Ladies Auxiliary of the South Shore Regional Hospital for 67 years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Mae Forbes of Bridgewater for her many years of dedicated volunteer service.

RESOLUTION NO. 476

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 longevity is a goal which we all seek; and

Whereas celebrating a 103rd birthday is a very significant personal, family, and community event; and

Whereas Annie E. Sarty of Pleasantville, Lunenburg County, has reached that milestone;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend best wishes to Annie Sarty on her 103rd birthday.

RESOLUTION NO. 477

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

[Page 832]

Whereas staying physically active is a very important component of healthy living; and

Whereas participating in sports and recreational activities is encouraged for all age levels; and

Whereas Bridgewater's youth now have a permanent place to skateboard, thanks to the Office of Health Promotion and Protection;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend best wishes to all the youth of Lunenburg County as they can finally enjoy their own skate park.

RESOLUTION NO. 478

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 businesses of all sizes and types are crucial to a healthy economy; and

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

Whereas Buck's Home Building Centre in Bridgewater just celebrated the grand opening of their newly renovated 21,000 sq. feet of home building supplies;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brian and Janice Buck on the grand opening of the newly renovated Buck's Home Building Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 479

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 participation in sports on a regular basis is a healthy thing to do; and

Whereas participating in a team sport helps develop social, physical and leadership skills; and

Whereas the Bridgewater Atlantics under 14 soccer team captured the 2006 Tier 2 Provincial Championship;

[Page 833]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the coaches and players of the Bridgewater Atlantics: Kirk Herman, Matt Flinn, Dryden Tanner, Owen Cameron, James Mullen, Matt Taylor, Shawn MacIntosh, Josh Sabean, Isaac Hachey, Kyle Bolton, Ryan Sanford, Steve Rhodenizer, Cameron MacLennan , Josh Crouse, Justin Taylor, Patrick Veinot, Jacob Conrad, and coaches Charlotte Selig and Chris Herman.

RESOLUTION NO. 480

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 encouraging our youth to participate in team sports is crucial to having a healthy lifestyle; and

Whereas team sports help promote team spirit and friendly competition; and

Whereas these Bridgewater Tennis Club members won the title in their respective competitive categories: Andrew Synder (boys 12 and under), Graham Wamboldt (boys 15 and under) and Olivia Adams (girls 10 and under);

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Andrew Synder, Graham Wamboldt, and Olivia Adams on their excellent performances.

RESOLUTION NO. 481

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 volunteers contribute significantly to our communities; and

Whereas volunteers contribute in a variety of ways, most importantly their time; and

Whereas Gordon Lohnes was recently recognized by the South Shore Exhibition Commission for giving more than 30 years of service as a board member;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Mr. Gordon Lohnes on his many years of volunteer service to the South Shore Exhibition.

[Page 834]

RESOLUTION NO. 482

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 Special Olympics Games were held in Brandon, Manitoba; and

Whereas the experience lasts a lifetime for its participants; and

Whereas Bridgewater native Krista Stockman claimed five medals in the pools: gold in the backstroke, silver medals in the 50 metre freestyle and as a member of the 4x 100 metre freestyle relay team, and a pair of bronze medals in the 100 metre backstroke and the 100 metre freestyle;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Special Olympian Krista Stockman on her success at the 2006 Special Olympics Canada National Summer Games.

RESOLUTION NO. 483

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 business development is the backbone of our economy; and

Whereas it is essential that we celebrate the business success in our community; and

Whereas Barry Rofihe and his family have operated Rofihe's Men's Wear in Bridgewater for the last 80 years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Barry Rofihe, Jim Rofihe, and their family on the success of Rofihe's Mens Wear, and best wishes in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 484

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

[Page 835]

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

Whereas volunteerism is essential to having a healthy and vibrant community; and

Whereas it is important that the services provided by volunteers be recognized and acknowledged; and

Whereas Frank Dunham was installed as the President of the Kiwanis Club of Bluenose Golden K;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend best wishes to President Frank Dunham and all the members of the Kiwanis Club as they continue their hard work for a successful year in support of the youth and seniors.

RESOLUTION NO. 485

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 strongman competitions attract many competitive individuals across Canada; and

Whereas such competitions demand dedication, stamina, skill, physical and emotional strength, training, and long periods of exercise; and

Whereas Darrell Crouse of Bridgewater met the challenge and participated in the Canadian Strongman Championships in British Columbia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Darrell Crouse on being crowned Canadian Champion in the 105kg Division - Mr. Crouse has a goal of finishing in the top 109 in the World's Competition.

RESOLUTION NO. 486

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

[Page 836]

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

Whereas children are our most precious gift; and

Whereas some children are lost due to disease and accidents; and

Whereas the Mothers of Angels Society of Bridgewater and Area has dedicated a memorial garden in remembrance of those children;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend and thank the Mothers of Angels Society for their efforts to bring families together to celebrate the lives of their children and to support one another.

RESOLUTION NO. 487

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 learning and education take place in a variety of settings; and

Whereas student exchange programs afford young people the opportunity to experience life, living and learning in other parts of Canada and the world; and

Whereas Patrick Whynot of Bridgewater applied for and was chosen to participate in the American - Scandinavian Student Exchange Program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Patrick Whynot for being designated one of the best overall students chosen in Canada to participate in the program - Patrick will spend the next year living with a family in a village just outside of Deboutteville, France.