The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 07-39

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/

First Session

THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Committee on Private and Local Bills, Mr. C. Parker 3498
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Response to Question - Re: Maple Leaf Workers
(Hansard, p. 3357, 03/20/07), Hon. K. Casey 3498
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2009, TCH - N.S. Archives: Web Site - Launch - Congrats.,
Hon. L. Goucher 3498
Vote - Affirmative 3499
Res. 2010, Justice - Youth Criminal Justice Act: Manitoba Efforts -
Support, Hon. M. Scott 3499
Vote - Affirmative 3500
Res. 2011, Franz-Odendaal, Dr. Tamara - NSAERC Award,
Hon. K. Casey 3500
Vote - Affirmative 3501
Res. 2012, Thomson, Dave: Black Cultural Ctr. - Artifact Purchase,
Hon. B. Barnet 3501
Vote - Affirmative 3501
Res. 2013, EMO - 911 Upgrade: Participation - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3501
Vote - Affirmative 3502
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2014, Nat. Res. - Cape Split Landowners: Conservation -
Thank, Hon. D. Morse 3502
Vote - Affirmative 3503
Res. 2015, Bailey, Julie - Environmental Award, Hon. K. Casey 3503
Vote - Affirmative 3504
Res. 2016, EMO - Training: Acadia Univ. - Participation -
Thank, Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3504
Vote - Affirmative 3504
Res. 2017, Wedderburn, Gus: Death of - Tribute, Hon. B. Barnet 3504
Vote - Affirmative 3505
Res. 2018, Nat. Res. - George Eddy Co.: Land Conservation -
Thank, Hon. D. Morse 3505
Vote - Affirmative 3506
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 146, Environmental Goals and Sustainable
Prosperity Act, Hon. M. Parent 3506
No. 147, Electricity Act, Mr. M. Samson 3506
No. 148, Employment Support and Income Assistance Act,
Mr. T. Zinck 3506
No. 149, Electricity Act, Mr. M. Samson 3506
No. 150, Provincial Horse Act, Mr. L. Preyra 3507
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2019, Pictou Co. Curl for Cancer: Participation - Thank,
Mr. C. Parker 3507
Vote - Affirmative 3508
Res. 2020, Annapolis Royal: Heritage Conservation - Congrats.,
Mr. S. McNeil 3508
Vote - Affirmative 3508
Res. 2021, Falmouth Dist. Sch./Staff/Students - Go for Green
Promotion, Mr. C. Porter 3509
Vote - Affirmative 3509
Res. 2022, E. Hants Midget AAA Penguins: Hockey Championships -
Congrats., Mr. J. MacDonell 3509
Vote - Affirmative 3510
Res. 2023, The Women Are Angry Campaign: Creators - Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 3510
Res. 2024, Aberdeen Hosp. Fdn.: Achievement - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 3511
Vote - Affirmative 3511
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2025, Prime Minister - Equalization Formula Atl. Can.:
Reneging - Repercussions, Mr. D. Dexter 3512
Res. 2026, Crawley, Avery: Artisanal Talent - Recognize,
Mr. K. Colwell 3513
Vote - Affirmative 3513
Res. 2027, Gordon, Warren & Kathryn - Professional Photographers
of Can.-Atl. Award, Mr. A. MacLeod 3514
Vote - Affirmative 3514
Res. 2028, Fortress Louisbourg: Pub. Serv. Job Reduction -
Reconsider, Mr. D. Dexter 3515
Vote - Affirmative 3515
Res. 2029, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Mo. (03/07) - Recognize,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3515
Vote - Affirmative 3516
Res. 2030, Topley, Mike - Truro Rotary Club Award,
Hon. J. Muir 3516
Vote - Affirmative 3517
Res. 2031, Khyber Arts Soc.: Benefits - Recognize,
Mr. L. Preyra 3517
Vote - Affirmative 3531
Res. 2032, LaRocque, Penny: Curling Career - Recognize,
Mr. W. Gaudet 3518
Vote - Affirmative 3518
Res. 2033, Hetherington, Carolyn - Merritt Award, Hon. M. Scott 3519
Vote - Affirmative 3519
Res. 2034, E. Dartmouth Commun. Ctr.: Fundraising Comm. -
Congrats., Ms. J. Massey 3519
Vote Affirmative 3520
Res. 2035, Nat. Res. - Digby Neck & Island: Portions - Purchase,
Mr. H. Theriault 3520
Res. 2036, Forbes, Mae - Maritimer of the Wk.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3521
Vote - Affirmative 3521
Res. 2037, Int'l. Water Day (03/22/07) - Recognize,
Ms. M. Raymond 3522
Vote - Affirmative 3522
Res. 2038, Transport Canada - Auto. Power Windows: Injuries/
Deaths - Investigation, Mr. L. Glavine 3522
Vote - Affirmative 3523
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2039, Piers Landing Fire - HRM Fire & Emergency Serv./
HRM Police/Vols.: Appreciation - Extend, Hon. L. Goucher 3523
Vote - Affirmative 3524
Res. 2040, Leclair, Patrick: Spelling Prowess - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Paris 3524
Vote - Affirmative 3525
Res. 2041, Int'l. Women's Day - Recognize, Ms. D. Whalen 3525
Vote - Affirmative 3525
Res. 2042, Duckworth, Alex: Can. Games Medal - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Baker (by Hon. J. Muir) 3525
Vote - Affirmative 3526
Res. 2043, Sackville Flyers PeeWee AAA Hockey Team
Championship - Congrats., Mr. David Wilson
(Sackville-Cobequid) 3526
Vote - Affirmative 3527
Res. 2044, North Preston Day Care Soc.: Dedication - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Colwell 3527
Vote - Affirmative 3528
Res. 2045, Murphy, Erin Oliver: Retirement - Congrats.,
Hon. W. Dooks 3528
Vote - Affirmative 3528
Res. 2046, Campbell, Carl: Cadet Boxing Medal - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Gosse 3528
Vote - Affirmative 3529
Res. 2047, Harvey, Nicholas: Skiing Bronze Medal - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Gaudet 3529
Vote - Affirmative 3530
Res. 2048, Rafuse, Autumn - Waste Reduction/Recycling: Interest -
Recognize, Hon. M. Parent 3530
Vote - Affirmative 3530
Res. 2049, Garden of Eden Commun. Hall: Vols. - Congrats.,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 3531
Vote - Affirmative 3532
Res. 2050, Digby Gen. Hosp. ER: Nurse Practitioners - Hire,
Mr. H. Theriault 3532
Res. 2051, IWK Social Workers: Contributions - Applaud,
Mr. C. Porter 3533
Vote - Affirmative 3533
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2052, Greenwood, Stanley: Boat Building - Congrats.,
Mr. S. Belliveau 3534
Vote - Affirmative 3534
Res. 2053, Best Readers in the World Comp.: Pictou Co. &
Cumb. Co. Readers - Support, Mr. P. Dunn 3534
Vote - Affirmative 3535
Res. 2054, Atl. Mem. Sch. DARE Class: Students - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3535
Vote - Affirmative 3536
Res. 2055, McLellan, Amy - Heart & Stroke Fdn. Award,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3536
Vote - Affirmative 3536
Res. 2056, Eric Graves Jr. HS: Food Drive - Congrats.,
Ms. J. Massey 3537
Vote - Affirmative 3537
Res. 2057, Davis, Dukas: Boxing Achievements - Congrats.,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 3537
Vote - Affirmative 3538
Res. 2058, Sir John A. Macdonald HS Students - Lewis HIV/AIDS
Fdn.: Efforts - Congrats., Mr. W. Estabrooks 3538
Vote - Affirmative 3539
Res. 2059, Duggan, Melissa/Wentzell, Jake: Outdoor Educ.
Enterprise - Congrats., Ms. M. Raymond 3539
Vote - Affirmative 3539
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 387, Com. Serv. - Programs: Univ. Students - Exclusion
Explain, Mr. D. Dexter 3540
No. 388, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Keep the Heat Prog. -
Alternatives, Ms. D. Whalen 3541
No. 389, Health - Long-term Care: 100 Km Rule - Appeals
Process, Mr. D. Dexter 3543
No. 390, Energy - Business: Conservation - Plans,
Mr. F. Corbett 3544
No. 391, C. B. Fossil Centre: Funding Delay - Explain,
Mr. S. McNeil 3545
No. 392, Health - Aberdeen Hosp.: Crisis - Update,
Mr. C. Parker 3547
Mr. C. Parker
No. 393, Health - Ambulance Fee Policy: Announcement -
Time Frame, Mr. G. Steele 3548
No. 394, Com. Serv.: Poverty Reduction Strategy - Create,
Mr. S. McNeil 3550
No. 395, Environ. & Lbr.: Violence in Workplace Policy - Time Frame,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3551
No. 396, Health - Cancer Rates (N.S.): Reduction - Plans,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3553
No. 397, Health & Promotion: Fall River Rec. Ctr. Project -
Funding, Mr. P. Paris 3554
No. 398, Environ. & Lbr. - Cape Sable Causeway: Environmental
Study - Ensure, Mr. S. Belliveau 3556
No. 399, Environ. & Lbr. Mandatory Retirement - Reconsider,
Mr. L. Glavine 3557
No. 400, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Access N.S. Office
(Sackville Area) - Announce, Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-
Cobequid) 3558
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:^
Bill. No. 144 - Municipal Grants Act 3560
Hon. J. Muir 3560
Mr. P. Paris 3561
Ms. D. Whalen 3561
Hon. D. Morse 3562
Hon. J. Muir 3562
Vote - Affirmative 3562
Bill No. 138 - Medal of Bravery Act 3562
The Premier 3562
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3563
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3567
The Premier 3568
Vote - Affirmative 3568
Bill No. 145 - Education Act 3568
Hon. K. Casey 3568
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3569
Mr. L. Glavine 3575
Mr. A. MacLeod 3579
Mr. L. Preyra 3580
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3585
Adjourned debate 3587
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
C.B. Fossil Museum: Potential Closure - Address 3588
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3588
Hon. C. Clarke 3591
Ms. J. Massey 3595
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Mar. 23rd, 1:00 p.m. 3596
MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2060, Annapolis Co. Spectator - Newspaper Award,
Hon. B. Barnet 3597
Res. 2061, Hometown Metro Bees Pee Wee Hockey Team/
Coaches - Congrats., Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3597
Res. 2062, Doherty, Michael - Merritt Award, Hon. M. Scott 3598
Res. 2063, Braden, Alex - Cdn. Armed Forces: Efforts - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 3598
Res. 2064, Mitchell, John: Lifesaving Efforts - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3599
Res. 2065, Oxford Area Skating Club's Star Skaters: Achievement -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3599
Res. 2066, Hickman, Kathryn - Oxford Vol. FD Winter Carnival:
Miss Congeniality - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3600
Res. 2067, Scallion, Kate - Can. Winter Games: Participation -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3600
Res. 2068, Adshade, Bill - El Salvador: Home Construction -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3601
Res. 2069, Meldrum, Murray - Southhampton Vol. FD -
Serv. (26 yrs.) - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3601
Res. 2070, River Hebert Vol. FD - Anniv. (60th), Hon. M. Scott 3602
Res. 2071, Steeves, Hinson: Russian Medal - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3602
Res. 2072, Moore, Katelyn - NS Recycles: Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3603
Hon. M. Scott
Res. 2073, Springhill HS Golden Eagles: Championship -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3603
Res. 2074, Springhill HS Golden Eagles: Tournament of Hearts -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3604
Res. 2075, McKinnon, Tamara: River Hebert Elem. Sch. Spelling
Bee - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3604
Res. 2076, Beaton, Avery: River Hebert Elem. Sch. Spelling
Bee - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3605
Res. 2077, Beardsley, Sarah: River Hebert Elem. Sch. Spelling
Bee - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3605
Res. 2078, O'Brien, Kaley: River Hebert Elem. Sch. Spelling
Bee - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3606
Res. 2079, Quinn, David: River Hebert Elem. Sch. Spelling
Bee - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3606
Res. 2080, Creese, Zack: River Hebert Elem. Sch. Spelling
Bee - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 3607
Res. 2081, Rushton, Tony - Oxford Vol. FD: Chief - Appt.,
Hon. M. Scott 3607
Res. 2082, Davis, Tia: Spelling Achievement - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3608
Res. 2083, Bjarnason, Eric: Spelling Achievement - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Scott 3608

[Page 3497]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, MARCH 22, 2007

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Cecil Clarke

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

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

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government immediately address the potential closure of the Cape Breton Fossil Museum and, with consultation, implement a long-term strategy to ensure its continued success.

I look forward to this debate at the closure of regular business, today. We will now commence with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

3497

[Page 3498]

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

Bill No. 102 - Pugwash Village Grants Act.

Bill No. 105 - Pugwash Village Capital Grants Act.

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

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a paper which is a response to a question which was asked two days ago, regarding Maple Leaf employees.

MR. SPEAKER: The response is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2009

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 March 19, 2007, Nova Scotia Archives launched a new Web site - novascotiagenealogy.com - that contains a database of one million historical, birth, married and death registrations in Nova Scotia, dating back to 1864; and

Whereas this new resource makes it possible for anyone interested in researching family history in Nova Scotia to instantly access high-quality digitized images of these original records from anywhere in the world, using the Internet; and

[Page 3499]

Whereas the popularity of this new resource has exceeded all expectations, with more than 16,000 site visits, almost three-quarters of a million page views and an average of 300 to 700 people on the site at any time, and all within the first two days;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the staff at Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management and its many partners on the launch of this wonderful new resource. This is another example of the province's commitment to providing accessible services to Nova Scotians.

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. 2010

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

Whereas Manitoba Justice Minister Dave Chomiak met yesterday with federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, to discuss changes to the Youth Criminal Justice Act; and

Whereas the report of the Nunn Commission of Inquiry made several recommendations to strengthen the Youth Criminal Justice Act to better protect the public and support young people; and

Whereas the Government of Nova Scotia has approached the federal government several times on this issue and Manitoba is echoing Nova Scotia's call for strengthening the Youth Criminal Justice Act;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House support Manitoba in their efforts to raise these important issues at the national level.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3500]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[2:15 p.m.]

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2011

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

Whereas Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal of Mount Saint Vincent University was named one of only 25 winners of the prestigious University Faculty Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; and

Whereas the Government of Canada created this national award to increase the representation of women and Aboriginal people in science faculty appointments; and

Whereas the University Faculty Award will provide salary support for up to five years as she teaches developmental biology and devotes time to research and training both undergraduate and graduate students;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Dr. Franz-Odendaal on winning this award and for being a great role model for any student interested in pursuing an academic career in the sciences.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 3501]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of African Nova Scotia Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 2012

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

Whereas the No. 2 Construction Battalion, based in Pictou, Nova Scotia, was Canada's only Black battalion during the First World War; and

Whereas Percy Fenton, a 17-year-old African Nova Scotian resident of Arcadia, Yarmouth County, was a member of that battalion; and

Whereas the 1914-19 Victory Medal was awarded to Mr. Percy Fenton of the No. 2 Construction Battalion;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Dave Thomson of St. George, Ontario who has agreed to allow the Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia to purchase this important African Nova Scotian artifact for its collection.

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 Emergency Management.

RESOLUTION NO. 2013

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

Whereas Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to implement a province-wide, fully integrated 911 emergency phone system; and

[Page 3502]

Whereas the Emergency Management Office led by Mr. Mike Myette, the Director of Emergency Services and 911, recently completed a seamless technology transfer to upgrade our 911 system; and

Whereas the Premier and I were very pleased to thank the team members at a reception at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate the project leader, John MacManus, Aliant Communications and KML Technologies who worked together to complete this important public safety initiative.

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 notice please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

I will just note before we proceed, in reading any resolutions, we're not supposed to use the actual names of a member in a statement.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2014

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

Whereas the province is committed to increasing the Crown land base by acquiring more coastal lands and wilderness areas and to conserve and protect them from development; and

Whereas Cape Split is a well-known and well-used area of Nova Scotia and is one that offers unique access to the natural phenomena of the Bay of Fundy; and

Whereas several landowners at Cape Split have agreed to sell their land to the Crown;

[Page 3503]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Vera Steele, Blaine and Irene Huntley, Candace Stevenson, Kathy Moggridge, Gemmy and Edgar Thorpe, and Howard MacDonald for helping to conserve and protect these lands for future generations of Nova Scotians.

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. 2015

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

Whereas Earltown native, Julie Bailey, is one of 15 recipients of the Environmental Careers Organization Canada student awards; and

Whereas Julie Bailey is a graduate student at Nova Scotia Agricultural College and her research utilizes a survey to identify the interest in, and potential for energy efficiency upgrades and renewable energy alternatives through energy audits for Nova Scotia farmers; and

Whereas Julie Bailey received $1,000 and will have the opportunity to showcase her work at Americana 2007, an environmental technology trade show and conference being held in Montreal in March;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly extend congratulations to Julie Bailey upon being named a winner of the Environmental Career Organization Canada student award and wish her the best with her studies and future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3504]

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 Emergency Management.

RESOLUTION NO. 2016

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 the Emergency Management Office conducts valuable training sessions across Nova Scotia for municipal, provincial, federal and private sector employees; and

Whereas Acadia University partnered with EMO recently to host a three-day course in basic emergency management; and

Whereas by all accounts from Acadia staff, students and EMO trainers, this was a very successful training program in an outstanding facility;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House acknowledge the participation of Acadia University and continue to support the expansion of emergency management training to communities across 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 African Nova Scotian Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 2017

[Page 3505]

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

Whereas African Nova Scotian teacher, lawyer, and activist, Hobartson Augustus James Wedderburn passed away on February 25, 2007, at the age of 77; and

Whereas Gus Wedderburn was widely admired for his charismatic leadership and desire to create an equal and just society, which led him to be involved in a variety of key organizations and initiatives during his lifetime; and

Whereas a few of those included being the founding member of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia and the former Black United Front, and he also provided leadership in the Black Educators Association and the Africville Relocation Committee;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in a moment of silence honouring the accomplishments and the passing of Mr. Gus Wedderburn.

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.

All rise for a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2018

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

Whereas the province is committed to increasing its Crown land base by acquiring more coastal lands and wilderness areas, and to conserve and protect it from development; and

[Page 3506]

Whereas the George Eddy Company has agreed to sell to the Crown its land along the St. Mary's River in Guysborough County; and

Whereas the land will help ensure the protection of habitat for wood turtles and salmon along the St. Mary's River and will preserve and enhance wildlife, recreational uses and the ecological well-being of the area, as well as add to the Crown land base and consolidate adjoining Crown lands;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the George Eddy Company for helping to conserve and protect these lands for future generations of Nova Scotians.

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. 146 - Entitled an Act Respecting Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity. (Hon. Mark Parent)

Bill No. 147 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 25 of the Acts of 2004. The Electricity Act, Respecting Renewable Energy Standards. (Mr. Michel Samson)

Bill No. 148 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 27 of the Acts of 2000. The Employment Support and Income Assistance Act. (Mr. Trevor Zinck)

Bill No. 149 - Entitled An Act to Amend Chapter 25 of the Acts of 2004.The Electricity Act, Respecting Renewable Energy Providers. (Mr. Michel Samson)

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

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce this bill, I beg leave to introduce someone in the gallery.

[Page 3507]

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. PREYRA: Brendan Haley and Jennifer Graham from the Ecology Action Centre are here in the Speaker's Gallery, and Raymond Plourde. I would like to thank them on behalf of the Legislature for the tremendous amount of work they've done for the environment, especially on coasts and energy issues. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Welcome to the House.

Bill No. 150 - Entitled an Act to Declare the Sable Island Horse to be the Provincial Horse of Nova Scotia. (Mr. Leonard Preyra) (Applause)

MR. PREYRA: It's nice to see it's going to have support on the other side.

MR. SPEAKER: I'm hearing, neigh, neigh; neigh, neigh, my friend.

Ordered that this bill be read a second time on a future day.

NOTICES OF MOTION

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2019

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

Whereas the annual Curl for Cancer event was held on February 23, 2007, in both Pictou and Westville, raising well over $30,000 for cancer research; and

Whereas the top fundraising team at the New Caledonian Curling Club in Pictou was the Scotiabank team consisting of George Cameron, Dave Saunders, Craig MacDonald and Carolyn Pearson, who won the Advocate Trophy for raising the most money; and

Whereas the Curl for Cancer event is a fun night consisting of entertainment, colourful costumes and, of course, curling for a good cause;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate all the organizers, the volunteers, participants and sponsors who once again made Pictou County's Curl for Cancer a successful event.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3508]

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 Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2020

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

Whereas the Town of Annapolis Royal is one of the smallest incorporated towns in North America and is committed to promoting and preserving the largest concentration of heritage properties in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the town was awarded the prestigious Heritage Canada Prince of Wales Prize for its exemplary commitment to heritage preservation within its jurisdiction; and

Whereas this award, consisting of a metal plaque, a scroll and a pennant was created with the support of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to encourage and reward sound conservation policies and practices at the municipal level;

Therefore be it resolved that all Members of the Legislative Assembly join me in extending my congratulations to the Town of Annapolis Royal in recognizing heritage conservation as a significant endeavour.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

[Page 3509]

RESOLUTION NO. 2021

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

Whereas the Falmouth District Elementary School, in the midst of frigid temperatures, celebrated their school's outdoor ice rink earlier in February; and

Whereas school principal Fred MacLean, along with the Director of Recreation for the Municipality of West Hants Kathy Kehoe, and active students in the school were all for showcasing the rink as a wonderful place to stay active and enjoy outdoor winter fun; and

Whereas the showcase promotion was all part of "Go for Green", a national initiative designed to Take the Roof Off Winter while encouraging the development and use of new and existing outdoor rinks in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the creative spirit of Falmouth District Elementary School staff and students and the Municipality of West Hants Recreation Department for getting involved in "Go for Green".

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2022

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

Whereas hockey is a healthy pastime for children, both in terms of physical activity as well as a character builder; and

[Page 3510]

Whereas tournaments are great forums for allowing young players to test their skills and to meet other players from around the province; and

Whereas on March 11, 2007, the East Hants Midget AAA Penguins defended their title as provincial champions by winning gold at the provincial tournament held at the East Hants Sportsplex;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the players and coaching staff of the East Hants AAA Penguins hockey team on winning the gold at the provincial tournament and on their accomplishment as repeat champions.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 2023

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

Whereas Marlo, Carolina, Joanne, Christine and Jane are a group of women in Halifax who are extremely angry about the Stephen Harper Government's anti-women mandate, so angry that they have started a national campaign to get women involved; and

Whereas the Women are Angry campaign has created a Web site to give women from across the country a place to have their voice heard and get direction as to who they can contact to make a difference; and

Whereas, through their Web site, thewomenareangry.org, they are working to spread the word of gender inequality and ensuring the voice of women will be heard;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Marlo, Carolina, Joanne, Christine and Jane for taking the initiative and creating this network.

[Page 3511]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2024

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

Whereas the dedicated members of the Aberdeen Hospital Foundation have changed the face of patient care in Pictou County; and

Whereas over the last 20 years the foundation has raised more than $6.5 million, spent $9 million on equipment and now has $21 million in their fund; and

Whereas in February of this year, the foundation celebrated its tremendous work and how it has improved patient care at Aberdeen Hospital including its donation of 25 per cent toward the cost of the hospital's new MRI machine;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the Aberdeen Hospital Foundation and its remarkable achievements - donations from inside and outside the community it serves has enabled the hospital to provide Pictonians with the best possible care and hospital foundations across Nova Scotia can be encouraged to follow Aberdeen's lead to ensure the best care for all Nova Scotians.

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 3512]

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin with an introduction, if I may.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. DEXTER: In the west gallery are three people I would like to bring to the attention of the House. They are here this afternoon to observe the House and Question Period. They are Ashley Kowalewski, Mary Baldwin and Catherine Lear. I wonder if the House would welcome them. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2025

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

Whereas Conservative MP Gerald Keddy has stated that his constituents are willing to sacrifice the offshore revenue guarantee in return for other measures in the federal budget; and

Whereas in Elmsdale on November 9, 2004, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper spoke about Paul Martin's intention of breaking a promise to provide provinces with 100 per cent of resource revenue outside the equalization formula; and

Whereas Mr. Harper stated that if the Prime Minister did not relent, the issue would destroy the Liberal Government's political base in Atlantic Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that this House respectfully remind the Prime Minister of his own words, failure to relent on plans to break the promise of an offshore revenue guarantee will destroy his federal government's political base in Atlantic Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

[Page 3513]

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, with your consent, I'd like to make an introduction in the west gallery, if I could.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. COLWELL: Seated in the west gallery is a resident from my community, Mr. Avery Crawley from East Preston. With him today is Gloria Wesley from Halifax and I would ask the House to give them a warm welcome today. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 2026

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

Whereas Avery Crawley is a resident of the community of East Preston and has for years enjoyed telling Bible stories through visual art carvings such as Adam, Eve, the Serpent in Eden, the Passion of Jesus Christ on the Cross and the Sower parable; and

Whereas Avery Crawley has used his creative gifts and talents to express unique visual arts in wood carving, especially the roots of local Canadian trees, and has presented one of his uniquely carved walking sticks to the Governor General of Canada on her most recent visit to Halifax; and

Whereas Avery Crawley's creative art includes walking sticks, talk sticks, shafts, rods, sculptures and other works which have been widely collected locally, nationally and internationally and also have been on display in the 16th Annual Acadia Art Show at Acadia University recently and a piece is currently on display at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia named, The Soul Speaks;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House join me in recognizing Avery Crawley for his special talent and congratulate him on his recent successes and contributions as a Nova Scotia artisan and wish him well in the future with his exquisite creations.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 3514]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and with your permission I'd like to make an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, through you and to all members of the House, in the east gallery I'd like to draw your attention to Mr. Douglas Milburn; Doug operates a company in Sydney called Advanced Glazing. Next to him is Steve Lily; he operates a company called Photocase. These are two leading-edge companies in Cape Breton that have international recognition and along with them is Mr. Mike Rudderham. So I'd like to welcome them. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 2027

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

Whereas the Canada-Atlantic Professional Photographers of Canada-Atlantic recently held a conference and competition in Saint John; and

Whereas the conference held annually resulted in Warren and Kathryn Gordon being recognized for their excellent photographic skills; and

Whereas Warren submitted four prints to the competition, with one being given an award of excellence for best pictorial/floral photo while Kathryn received an award of merit as one of the three nominees for the Professional Photographers of Canada Photographer of the Year award;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to both Warren and Kathryn Gordon for their outstanding work and recognition by their peers at this annual conference.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3515]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2028

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

Whereas the restoration and operation of the Fortress of Louisbourg was planned by the Government of Canada to sustain jobs in Cape Breton as the coal and steel industry wound down; and

Whereas the restoration of Louisbourg has proven to be a keystone tourist attraction as well as a major academic achievement; and

Whereas although it has become even more difficult to keep families in Cape Breton, the federal government has proposed contracting out cleaning services at Louisbourg, which would eliminate reliable public sector jobs;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly urge the federal government to reconsider its plans to reduce the number of public service jobs at the Fortress of Louisbourg, keeping the fortress as a stable source of employment and a high quality tourist attraction.

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. 2029

[Page 3516]

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 in 2004, 23 people each day were diagnosed with cancer in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas scientific evidence shows that deaths due to colorectal cancer can be reduced by as much as 17 per cent if Canadians in senior age groups were tested bi-annually; and

Whereas this province has so far ignored the call by the Canadian Cancer Society to implement a screening program for this form of cancer;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and offer our support to those who suffer with this debilitating disease.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 2030

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

Whereas Mike Topley was named Rotarian of the Year by the Truro Rotary Club at its 2007 Charter Night which celebrated the club's 81st Anniversary and the 102nd Anniversary of Rotary International; and

Whereas Mike Topley joined the Rotary Club of Truro in 1997, later served as club secretary, in 2002-03 was club president, and in the past year served on the Nomination and Awards Sub-committee, on the Auction Sub-committee and chaired the Yearbook Sub-committee; and

[Page 3517]

Whereas Mike Topley is one of only two members of the Rotary Club of Truro to have filled the four major roles as club secretary, auction chair, club president and yearbook chair;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mike Topley on being recognized as Rotarian of the Year by the Rotary Club of Truro and thank him for his service to his community, the Province of Nova Scotia, and other countries through the Rotary Club of Truro.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 2031

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

Whereas the Khyber Arts Society is currently running a series of community consultations and events in order to develop a feasibility report on the future of the Khyber Centre for the Arts; and

Whereas the Khyber Centre for the Arts has operated under the direction of the Khyber Arts Society for more than a decade in the face of perpetual financial uncertainty and a lack of committed support from both the city and the province; and

Whereas multi-purpose, artist-run centres like the Khyber Centre for the Arts do so much to enhance a community's artistic and cultural life as well as nurture new and emerging artists;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the widespread cultural, social and economic benefits that art and cultural spaces bring to a community and applaud the Khyber Arts Society's efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Khyber Centre for the Arts.

[Page 3518]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2032

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

Whereas Penny LaRocque is one of Nova Scotia's most successful curlers - winning the 1983 Scott Tournament of Hearts, numerous provincial women's championships, as well as mixed and senior championships; and

Whereas Mrs. LaRocque has recently added to her trophy case with a recent fourth consecutive win of the Nova Scotia Senior Women's Curling Championship held in Bridgewater; and

Whereas Penny and her team - Marg Cutcliffe, Jane Arseneau and Jill Linquist - will represent Nova Scotia from March 18th to March 25th at the Canadian Seniors Curling Championships in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize Penny LaRocque's remarkable curling career and wish her and her team every success as they represent 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.

[Page 3519]

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2033

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

Whereas Carolyn Hetherington of Ship's Company Theatre gave a poignant portrayal of Lillibet in the production of Lillibet that garnered her the prestigious award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role; and

Whereas Ship's Company Theatre's 2006 productions took home two awards during the annual Robert E. Merritt Awards Ceremony on March 19th; and

Whereas because Carolyn Hetherington is currently touring with the play Half Life, artistic director, Pamela Halstead, accepted the award on her behalf and spoke of Carolyn's gratitude for the opportunity to do what she loved to do in this beautiful province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Carolyn Hetherington on this prestigious award and wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2034

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

Whereas $3.3 million in funding has been secured, plans are complete and the opening of the East Dartmouth Community Centre is slated for January 2008; and

[Page 3520]

Whereas there is still the need to raise $500,000 for furniture and equipment just to name a few items that will be necessary to offer quality programs and services to the community; and

Whereas donations can be made to the East Dartmouth Community Centre Campaign Fund by residents, community organizations, local businesses and corporate partners;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the East Dartmouth Community Centre Fundraising Campaign committee on their campaign "Believe It Build It Experience It" and with them much success in their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2035

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

Nova Scotia's coastal lands need protection from environmental concerns; and

Whereas the government recently purchased more coastal land for protection from industrial use; and

Whereas a beautiful peninsula in western Nova Scotia, much like the Florida Keys of the United States, may turn into an industrial gravel pit for the United States;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this government investigate the possible purchase of some of Digby Neck and the islands for the protection from this needless destruction.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3521]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2036

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 communities across Nova Scotia are enriched through the work of volunteers; and

Whereas volunteers provide hundreds of thousands of hours per year sharing their time and skills; and

Whereas Mae Forbes of Bridgewater has been recognized as the Maritimer of the Week by ATV for her almost 70 years of volunteer work to the South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate 96 years young, Mae Forbes of Bridgewater, for being named Maritimer of the Week and for the countless number of hours she has donated and continues to donate to the South Shore Regional Hospital in Bridgewater.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

[Page 3522]

RESOLUTION NO. 2037

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

Whereas today, March 22nd, is World Water Day; and

Whereas the international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew from the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro; and

Whereas it is projected that by the year 2025, 1.8 billion people will be suffering from water scarcity, largely as a result of degradation, not loss of water, it is important that increased integration and co-operation must ensure a sustainable, efficient and equitable management of scarce water resources locally and internationally;

Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature recognize World Water Day and work to ensure sustainable, efficient and equitable management of Nova Scotia's own water resources.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2038

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

Whereas more than 80 per cent of new cars come with convenient power windows; and

Whereas few people realize that certain types of power windows pose a deadly danger, and switches in many vehicles can be pushed by accident, especially by young children; and

[Page 3523]

Whereas in the last decade, more than 30 children have been killed after getting trapped in a power window, and while some cars have auto reverse sensors installed so if the window hits an object it automatically goes down, more vehicles should be required to have this safety feature;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly urge the government to communicate with Transport Canada to investigate the rising number of injuries and deaths caused by power windows and explore other means to prevent these incidents.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for waiver.

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. 2039

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

Whereas Halifax Regional Municipality Fire and Emergency crews and volunteers quickly responded to an apartment complex fire on Tuesday, March 13, 2007; and

Whereas the fire caused extensive damage and resulted in the loss of one building at Pier's Landing on Hammonds Plains Road in Bedford, the quick response by sixty HRM Fire and Emergency Services and HRM Police personnel prevented the loss of surrounding buildings; and

Whereas the HRM Fire and Emergency crews and HRM Police, along with the many volunteers and local businesses, helped prevent the loss of life and prevented injury to the residents and provided support to those affected by this crisis;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their appreciation to these dedicated members of the HRM Fire and Emergency Services, HRM Police, and the many volunteers and businesses who responded to this tragic event.

[Page 3524]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank.

RESOLUTION NO. 2040

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

Whereas Georges P. Vanier Junior High School spelling champ, Patrick Leclair, participated in the CanSpell Regional Spelling Bee at Dalhousie University in March2007; and

Whereas 14-year-old Patrick won runner-up in the"bee", competing against 38 regional spelling champs from across the province; and

Whereas Patrick will travel to Ottawa to compete in the CanSpell National Spelling Bee in April 2007, from which the winner will proceed to the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Patrick Leclair for his spelling prowess and provincial award, and wish Patrick the best of luck at the Canadian National Spelling Bee in April, 2007.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 3525]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 2041

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

Whereas International Women's Day has been observed since the early 1900s, recognizing the contributions women have made to society; and

Whereas over the past century, women have made significant gains in the way in which they are able to shape our society - whether it be the struggle for the right to vote or striving for equal pay, women have fought hard to overcome adversity; and

Whereas women are under- represented in both business and politics and there is still a great deal of work to be done;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly recognize the contribution women have made to Nova Scotia and the importance of International Women's Day.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 2042

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

[Page 3526]

Whereas Alex Duckworth from Kingsburg, Nova Scotia, was part of the Nova Scotia Snowboarding Team at the 2007 Canada Games; and

Whereas Alex Duckworth received the gold medal in the half-pipe snowboarding event on February 28th; and

Whereas Alex Duckworth's medal was the first for Nova Scotia during the Games;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Alex Duckworth on her excellent performance at the 2007 Canada Games and on her receiving a gold medal for Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 2043

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

Whereas Sackville hockey teams have had a lot of success capturing provincial titles in the past; and

Whereas the Sackville Flyers Peewee AAA hockey team was very successful in many tournaments this year, finishing in first place in the regular season league play; and

Whereas the Sackville Flyers Peewee AAA hockey team participated in this year's provincial championships in Sydney, Nova Scotia, and won the tournament to become provincial champions;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the players of the Sackville Flyers Peewee AAA hockey team on becoming provincial champions and wish

[Page 3527]

them continued luck as they move on to represent our province at the Atlantic championships in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 2044

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

Whereas on January 12, 1971, the North Preston Day Care Centre proudly opened its doors; and

Whereas this was the first Black day care centre in the Halifax-Dartmouth area providing a very necessary service for working parents in the community of North Preston; and

Whereas many parents felt more at ease to be able to drop off their children knowing they would be lovingly cared for by members of their community;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly join me in congratulating the North Preston Day Care Society for their hard work and dedication in running this centre and the difference they have made in the lives of the children and families of the community for the past 36 years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3528]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Energy.

RESOLUTION NO. 2045

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

Whereas Oliver Murphy of West Chezzetcook is retiring from his job in the unique profession as a grave digger with over 50 years of dedicated service to the Eastern Shore; and

Whereas Oliver Murphy, who dug his first grave at the young age of 14, went on to pursue a career in the excavation business, thereby acquiring many skills, namely as a dynamite person, most helpful when digging graves in our rugged Nova Scotian terrain; and

Whereas Oliver, a highly-regarded gentleman, unassuming and modest by nature, has used his many talents throughout the years, demonstrating the utmost consideration for families involved by maintaining a respect for the deceased, as well as the grieving, while crafting final resting places for the recently departed;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge and congratulate Mr. Murphy on a most well-deserved retirement.

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. 2046

[Page 3529]

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 February 16th to 18th, the 2007 Canadian National Cadet Boxing Championships were held in St. Catherines, Ontario; and

Whereas 14-year-old Whitney Pier native, Carl Campbell, defeated Germaine Chartrand in the semi-final in the 48 kg weight class; and

Whereas by doing so, Carl Campbell captured the silver medal in his weight division;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Carl Campbell on his silver medal win and wish Carl all the best in his future boxing endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2047

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

Whereas 11-year-old Nicholas Harvey of Concession participated in the N.B. Cup Mars-GMC Series in Edmundston, New Brunswick, on January 20, 2007; and

Whereas Nicholas competed in the downhill ski category of K1(11 to 12 years old) slalom race; and

Whereas with the combined time of one minute and 30.41 seconds for two runs, Nicholas won a bronze medal;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Nicholas Harvey for winning a bronze medal in this competitive skiing event.

[Page 3530]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 2048

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 RRFB and the Valley Waste-Resource Management are hosts of the Nova Scotia Recycles Contest for students from Grades Primary to 12 to help raise awareness about waste reduction and recycling in this province; and

[3:00 p.m.]

Whereas Autumn Rafuse is a student at the Northeast Kings Education Centre in Canning; and

Whereas Autumn Rafuse was a winner of the contest in the Valley Region;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Ms. Rafuse's interest and concern for the promotion of best practices for waste reduction and recycling in her 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.

[Page 3531]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel on an amendment request.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence and that of the House, I would like to re-read the second "whereas" in my resolution on the Khyber Arts Society.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

MR. PREYRA: Whereas the Khyber Centre for the Arts has operated under the direction of the Khyber Arts Society for more than a decade in the face of perpetual financial uncertainty;

MR. SPEAKER: The rest of the clauses remain the same?

MR. PREYRA: Yes.

I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2049

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

Whereas the Garden of Eden Community Hall, for decades the community school, was incorporated in the 1970s and has been operated by a group of dedicated volunteers for close to 40 years; and

[Page 3532]

Whereas the community hall is a vibrant part of the Garden of Eden, used regularly by the Women's Institute, seniors' groups, youth groups, and for community events including those central to the Garden of Eden, Blue Mountain, and East River St. Marys; and

Whereas the community hall has been home for a well-attended summer recreation program, which has been part of the Garden of Eden community for more than 20 years;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend the volunteers for their dedication and eager contribution to the community of the Garden of Eden through the programming at, and the steadfast use of, the Garden of Eden Community Hall in historic Pictou East.

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. 2050

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

Whereas emergency rooms at the Digby General Hospital are frequently closed and local people are asking for a solution; and

Whereas rural doctors are becoming more and more difficult to find; and

Whereas Long Island, Digby County nurse practitioners are doing a wonderful job taking care of patients at a much smaller financial expense to the taxpayers;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Department of Health help the Digby General Emergency Room hire nurse practitioners to help our few existing doctors keep this service open.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3533]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2051

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

Whereas the theme for Social Work Week, celebrated in Nova Scotia between March 4th and 10th, this year was Social Workers : Making a Difference in the Lives of Children and Families; and

Whereas one exceptionally special group of social workers understanding the significance even more of this year's theme were the social workers at the IWK Health Centre; and

Whereas families from the constituency of Hants West, and elsewhere across Nova Scotia and the Maritimes, realize and appreciate the incredible support offered by the IWK social workers, whenever it is required, on everything from travel assistance to teaching to facilitating bereavement support;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions and monumental effort, sometimes through exceptional stress, put forward by social workers at the IWK on a daily basis.

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 3534]

The honourable member for Shelburne.

[Page 3535]

RESOLUTION NO. 2052

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

Whereas Stanley Greenwood of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia, has built 982 boats of various sizes and materials in the last half century; and

Whereas Stanley went to work for his uncle, Joe Greenwood, in 1954 at the age of 17 and learned the ways of boat building from his uncle and stayed with him until 1975; and

Whereas the first boat Stanley built on his own was in 1965 and Stanley only needs to build 18 more boats to make it an even 1,000 - in Stanley Greenwood's words, "Retirement is not good for your health and well-being";

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Stanley Greenwood, commonly known as "Chainsaw," on the amazing feat of building 982 boats and extend sincere wishes to Stanley on reaching his goal of 1,000 boats built.

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. 2053

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

Whereas the students of Pictou and Cumberland Counties have entered the race to claim the title of Best Readers in the World, launched earlier this year; and

Whereas the young Nova Scotia readers will compete against children their own age from County Clare, Ireland, to read the most number of books per student; and

[Page 3536]

Whereas the winning school will be presented, after the highest average number of books is calculated, with $3,000 in new books for its library - the event is the result of the Pictou County RCMP Department's Adopt-A-Library Program that aims to combat youth crime by improving literacy skills;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their enthusiastic support to the young readers in Pictou and Cumberland Counties as they compete for the title of the World's Best Readers, encouraging such initiatives is another way to support the education of our young people and demonstrate their abilities on the world's stage.

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. 2054

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

Whereas on February 26, 2007, students took part in the DARE graduation ceremony of Atlantic Memorial School in Shad Bay; and

Whereas 25 graduates from the Grade 5 class successfully completed the DARE program; and

Whereas RCMP Constable Mike Cochrane and teacher Linda Joyce demonstrated professional leadership in providing this DARE course;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the students of the 2007 DARE graduation class from Atlantic Memorial School on their successful accomplishments.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3537]

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. 2055

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

Whereas the fight against stroke and heart disease is waged not only by doctors but also by our neighbours; and

Whereas volunteers assist the Heart and Stroke Foundation by canvassing for money for research to fight stroke and heart disease; and

Whereas Amy McLellan of Milford Station was recently awarded a golden pin by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia for 25 years of door-to-door canvassing to raise funds;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Amy McLellan on receiving the golden pin award by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and thank her for her continued fundraising efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 3538]

RESOLUTION NO. 2056

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

Whereas in December 2006, Eric Graves Junior High School donated over 800 non-perishable food items to the Nova Scotia Food Bank; and

Whereas the food was collected during a homeroom class collection competition during the last two weeks of school and during the school Christmas concert; and

Whereas there was also a silver collection during the school concert whose proceeds went to defray the cost of the sound system rental with the balance of funds going directly to help support a needy family at Christmas;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the students, teachers and parents of Eric Graves Junior High School on their successful food drive and thank them for supporting the school and community in such a generous way.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2057

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

Whereas the Westville Academy of Boxing was founded in February 2005 to provide wider training options for male and female youth interested in boxing and at present, enrolment is 27 youth from the ages of 10 to 18; and

Whereas Dukas Davis, 17, of Westville, recently won the Canadian Junior Super Heavyweight title at the National Championship matches in Ontario; and

[Page 3539]

Whereas Dukas Davis was named Canadian Junior Male Boxer of 2007;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Dukas Davis on winning the National Super Heavyweight title and the title of Canadian Junior Male Boxer 2007.

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. 2058

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

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald students are raising funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation HIV/AIDS Grandmothers project in Africa; and

Whereas these students' efforts indicate their involvement and commitment; and

Whereas all funds raised will go to assist the Grandmothers in Africa program;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank the students of Sir John A. Macdonald High School for their efforts to assist the Stephen Lewis Foundation for the HIV/AIDS Grandmothers project in Africa.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3540]

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. 2059

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

Whereas the yurt has charms to lure the most diehard couch potato, a fact well known to Jake Wentzell and Melissa Duggan; and

Whereas Jake and Melissa have worked as outdoor educators since their high school days and are now putting into practice everything they've learned, keeping cows and chickens, growing their own vegetables and living in a teepee while they build their yurt, to exacting Mongolian standards; and

Whereas Jake and Melissa are committed to minimizing their ecological footprint and teaching others how to do the same;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Melissa and Jake on their enterprise, their cheese, butter and eggs, their yurt and their commitment to sharing with others the skills of living off the land.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 3:13 p.m. and end at 4:13 p.m.

[Page 3541]

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

COM. SERV. - PROGRAMS: UNIV. STUDENTS - EXCLUSION EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, Ashley Kowalewski is pursuing her Bachelor of Public Relations at Mount Saint Vincent University. She's also the parent of a seven-month old daughter. Ashley needs to complete just four courses to graduate, but student loans aren't enough and she needs to have help with housing and childcare. When she contacted the Department of Community Services, she was told she can't get help because she's in university and that she should consider community college. My question to the Minister of Community Services is, why does her department's programs remain out of reach for so many single parents attending university, who need help?

MR. SPEAKER: The Minister of Community Services. Order, please. While we welcome all our guests to the gallery today, you cannot respond either favourably or negatively to the activities in the Chamber by the members.

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the opportunity to rise and speak to this very important issue. There's no question that we have a tremendous pool of talent and capability in the province. When it comes to post-secondary training, we all know the importance and the success rates that go along with post-secondary education. Within the Department of Community Services, of course, we have a variety of programs to assist our clientele with employment support and income assistance. We do a fine job of providing those resources to individuals who qualify for the programs that we offer.

We also have the Department of Economic Development and the Department of Education who also offer programs to individuals in need of assistance.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, if the minister thinks the department is doing a fine job, she should talk to some of the people who really need help from her department and who aren't getting it. (Applause)

In this case, Mr. Speaker, Ashley had struggled in the face of the sudden death of her child's father which necessitated her moving back to Nova Scotia and she remains focused on completing her degree and providing for her child. She is so close; yet without a little help, she may not be able to complete her degree. The Career Seek pilot project for single parents in university is not an effective option for students in Ashley's situation. So my question to the minister is this, why not simply eliminate restrictions on university attendance altogether so that single parents can complete their degrees and still care for their children?

[Page 3542]

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again it's my privilege to rise to speak about a few of the opportunities that we do have within the Department of Community Services, specifically the very interesting and exciting project that we undertook with the universities across the province to provide for housing options for students which was an initiative of this government. I'm very pleased with that.

As well, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member mentioned Career Seek. We will be putting 50 additional students in post-secondary university this Fall. We've very pleased to be rolling that out and adding 50 to that over the next consecutive four years for a total of 200 individuals who would not otherwise have qualified for post-secondary. As well, we also offer a variety of programs for our child care program, the program introduced by this government to better serve the needs of single parents and parents who chose to go to post-secondary education.

MR. DEXTER: You know, Mr. Speaker, I think the minister thinks she's speaking into a vacuum, that she can say whatever she wants no matter how disconnected it is from the question and as long as it sounds good, that's okay with her. She hasn't addressed this situation at all in the first question. So I'm going to try one more time to make her understand. Career Seek is a poor response to a poor policy of this government, a policy that should never have been put in place in the first instance. Restrictions on single parents pursuing university while retaining benefits need to be removed, period.

So my question, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister is this, when will this government ensure that students like Ashley can finish the program of their choosing while getting enough help to provide for their families?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise to respond to the member opposite that I'm sure the 200 individuals in the Province of Nova Scotia who will be empowered by the Career Seek Program and who will be able to go on and break the cycle and better provide for them and their families, indeed is a good program, and I'm sure those individuals are more than pleased with the initiatives of the Career Seek Program.

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

SERVICE N.S. & MUN. REL.: KEEP THE HEAT PROG. - ALTERNATIVES

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Last month the Affordable Energy Coalition released its report card which rated the government's Energy Assistance Program. The coalition gave the province a failing grade - an F. An F for scrapping the Keep The Heat program and failing to replace it with any other program that would be targeted to low-income Nova Scotians. Low-income Nova Scotians are having difficulty heating their homes and keeping up with the high cost of heat. Many are being forced to make decisions between heat, food and medicine. It can't continue.

[Page 3543]

Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is, in light of the failing grade, is your department looking at any alternative programs to help low-income Nova Scotians heat their homes?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the Your Energy Rebate Program is far-reaching indeed, it has touched just about every family in this province with their home energy costs. Your Energy Rebate Program has an annualized cost of somewhere around $75 million. It replaced an $18 million program with an annualized cost

Mr. Speaker, and it has had far-reaching benefits to families right across this province.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I am surprised to hear the minister say that in fact he thinks these two programs are the same and that one replaces the other because the Keep the Heat program was based on income. It was designed to help people who cannot afford to heat their homes. The average amount of benefit from the HST reduction is $200 per family and yet the amount that was given in a rebate under the Keep the Heat program was $250, so low-income Nova Scotians are receiving far less because they don't even get the average $200 saving.

It is really a shame and it is also irresponsible to leave people who are low-income with no program, to replace an $18 million program that helped people with a $75 million program.

My question to the Minister, Mr. Speaker, is will you begin to consult with stakeholders now to immediately put in place an energy poverty reduction strategy with a focus on energy assistance for low-income Nova Scotians?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, one of the interesting things about the rebate program versus the program that we have now, Your Energy Rebate Program, is that the take-up, to be quite frank, of the original program was very small. I want to assure the honourable member and all members of this House that more low-income people in this province are benefitting from the current program than they did under the former program.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I think it is important to note that in our constituency offices people are calling this year, asking how they can get their rebate from the Keep the Heat program. They are not aware that it has been cancelled and they were counting on it to pay their heat this winter. There have been many, many.

I think the fact that there was a slower or a smaller take-up was because the government didn't make it properly well known across this province. The $232,000 the government is spending this year on their slanted, one-sided political newsletter would provide more than 900 low-income, Keep the Heat program recipients. Mr. Speaker, this government has misplaced priorities and the people of the province deserve better.

[Page 3544]

My question to the minister is, will you commit to bringing back the Keep the Heat program?

MR. MUIR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would like to tell members of the House and those who are viewing that about 40,000 home energy kits have been distributed to date to low-income households, 16,000 to the Housing Authority.

This government acknowledges that residential energy costs are difficult for some people and we are attacking the problem not only through Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations but through the offices of my colleague, the good Minister of Energy.

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

HEALTH - LONG-TERM CARE:100-KM RULE - APPEALS PROCESS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be through you to the Premier. Last February a 91-year-old British Columbia resident, Fanny Albo, died two days after being transferred from a hospital bed to a nursing home over an hour away. This transfer took place under B.C.'s first available bed rule, which is identical to the 100-kilometre policy here in Nova Scotia. Just two weeks later, Fanny's husband of 70 years died.

In the aftermath, changes were made to B.C.'s first available bed policy, including the implementation of an appeal process. So my question to the Premier is this, why won't his government follow the lead of other jurisdictions and implement an appeal process for the 100-kilometre rule?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the Leader of the Opposition for the suggestion and it is certainly one worth looking at, and we will give it consideration.

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, I hope the Premier understands that the reality is that the unspeakably cruel separation of senior couples happens in Nova Scotia on a regular basis. This government has simply had the great fortune to escape the kind of media firestorm that occurred in British Columbia. This doesn't diminish the impact of this policy on seniors and their families. Two independent inquiries in B.C. concluded that the first available bed policy need review and an appeal process and that better services were needed to be put in place for seniors. My question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Premier is, when will Nova Scotia review its first available bed policy to ensure fairness for our seniors?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer to the Minister of Health to update the Leader of Opposition on the strategy in place.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, what I will do as well is put our continuing care strategy on the floor of the House and I will talk about our expanded

[Page 3545]

capacity, our supporting caregivers, our investing in human resources, our improving access to primary care, to delivering fair and timely care. I can say that on a regular basis, we review the policy on placement and as we said before, as we go forward with the construction of 832 beds that we will ensure that people will be able to get services closer to home. But we want to make sure that all patients and all seniors who are in our residences are able to get the safest care possible, which is why we continue to update our services and make sure we expand our services for all Nova Scotians.

MR. DEXTER: I think I put my finger on the problem, Mr. Speaker - the ministers talk, but they don't listen. Now if they would listen to the questions that are being posed, they would know that every time a senior is moved far away from their family and friends in the final stages of life, it is a very personal tragedy for that individual and for their family. There are more humane, more compassionate ways to handle the overload in our long-term care system; we've suggested many of them, measures that have worked in other jurisdictions. My question is to the Premier is, how many more seniors and their families will be traumatized before this policy is phased out and an appeal process is put in place? How many more?

THE PREMIER: The Leader of the Opposition talks about listening. Obviously, he didn't listen to my first answer and that is that the government is willing to listen to any ideas out there and we will listen to that idea, we will take a look at it. We will take a look at the merits, as we do on a regular basis, to review the policy. Mr. Speaker, the fact is that we are not narrowly focused on simply beds in our province. We also want the opportunities for seniors in our province to have the opportunity through programs, through home care and such broad activities to stay at home and to have that choice as well.

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

ENERGY - BUSINESSES: CONSERVATION - PLANS

MR. FRANK CORBETT: My question, through you, Mr. Speaker, is to the Minister of Energy. The majority of people employed in Nova Scotia work for small businesses and there are huge opportunities to save money through efficiency programs. A recent report from NovaKnowledge found that Eco-Efficiency Centre is one of Nova Scotia's best kept secrets. This organization helps small businesses conserve energy and therefore save money, but Conserve Nova Scotia, the minister's pinup organization, has no business focus programs on its Web site. Not only that, it doesn't even advertise Eco-Efficiency Centre.

So through you, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister can he tell me how he plans to help businesses conserve energy and therefore save money?

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, Conserve Nova Scotia is an agency designed and created by this government and it is to require both individuals and private sector people to be more efficient. We are moving along aggressively approaching both

[Page 3546]

business people and personal people to be more energy efficient. Throughout the next number of months, new programs are being presented to help both business and private people to be more energy efficient.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my first supplementary will be to the acting Minister of Transportation and Public Works because not only businesses are having a hard time conserving energy but government is also. The Nova Scotia Government, itself, is a huge consumer of energy. The Department of Transportation and Public Works manages over 1,400 buildings on behalf of the government. That's a lot of light bulbs to change and we asked the department about their energy efficiency policies, and I would like to table the response which says, "We have located no records with respect to your request for policy documents concerning the promotion and implementation of energy efficiency activities in public buildings." So I want to ask the acting minister, how much money is his department wasting every day by refusing to implement energy efficiency policies in government-run buildings?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Well, Mr. Speaker, that's a good question and it deserves a good answer and unfortunately, I don't have one right now. So what I would say to the member opposite is, I will bring it to the attention of the minister and have him report back to the member opposite and to the House. Thank you.

MR. CORBETT: I would like to thank the minister for his answer. (Laughter)

AN HON. MEMBER: As brief as it was.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my final supplementary goes back to the Minister of Energy. Promoting efficiency is the most cost-effective way to reduce our energy bills because a kilowatt hour of energy saved is equal to the cost of one produced. Research from environmental organizations shows that energy efficiency programs can return $2.00 to $4.00 for every dollar that is spent. Pilot programs and rebate schemes are all very well, but they are not going to make real changes in our energy consumption if it is just hot air. So my question to the minister is, can he tell us how much energy Conserve Nova Scotia's programs have really conserved for this province this year?

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to stand in my place and say that Conserve Nova Scotia at this point is moving towards a success rate that is somewhat unbelievable. Every Nova Scotian is aware of Conserve Nova Scotia; most Nova Scotians, if not all Nova Scotians, are aware of energy efficiency and I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, with the promotion and education of Conserve Nova Scotia involved in people saving energy will be very beneficial to all people in Nova Scotia.. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

[Page 3547]

TCH - C.B. FOSSIL CENTRE: FUNDING DELAY - EXPLAIN

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. The Cape Breton Fossil Centre, located in Sydney Mines, has been virtually ignored by this government. The Fossil Centre is run by the Sydney Mines Heritage Society, which focuses on the local history and on the important role which mining once played in the area.

Mr. Speaker, the Fossil Centre has been in constant struggle with this government over operational funding. For whatever reason, this government has decided to neglect any and all financial obligations it has made with the centre, which are now resulting in closure in April. My question is, why has the minister delayed funding to the Fossil Centre?

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. This department has never delayed funding to either museum under their care. The Community Museum Assistance Program funds both of those museums to the tune of about $17,400. Through that fund we also fund 67 other museums in this province, or a total of 67 I should say, with a funding of $880,000. So that particular museum, through the Heritage Society, receives more than their fair share under that program. Thank you.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, it is a shame that this community-oriented heritage initiative will be forced to close its doors for reasons of political partisanship.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh.

MR. MCNEIL: This is ironic for a government that has been elected by rural Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, in 2006 a commitment was made on behalf of the provincial government to contribute $141,000 to both the Sydney Mines Heritage Museum and the Cape Breton Fossil Centre. The government has yet to act on that commitment, so my question is, will the minister honour that commitment and fund the Fossil Centre?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, I've got to be quite honest with you and with the member opposite, we have never received any official ask from the Fossil Museum in Cape Breton for anything over and above what we've presented them through the Community Museum Assistance Program, which was $17,400. As minister of this department - and I was actually reviewing some correspondence today - I have never, ever seen any written requests through me or to any previous minister, for $141,000.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member who represents that riding ever speaks to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage? It is clear that this government doesn't understand the importance the Fossil Centre has been to the people of Sydney Mines and to Cape Breton. I will table letters that have been sent to us by Grade 4 and 5 students. Holly writes, "It is important we keep this part of our heritage so that young kids today and in the future can see it." Graham writes, "The museum attracts tourists and when there are

[Page 3548]

tourists there are money and lots of it." I would suggest, perhaps, maybe there's a consultant on the way from the Department of Tourism Culture and Heritage, and he seems to understand it. Finally, Shannon writes, "Do you ever go and visit the Fossil Centre? Do you never? You should, because you will probably change your mind."

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the Fossil Centre is extremely important to the residents of Sydney Mines. So my question is, will the minister do the right thing and keep the centre open?

MR. GOUCHER: Mr. Speaker, it's got to be clearly understood - by the way, it is the Department of Heritage that the funding comes from, not Tourism. On February 21st, we were advised of the closure by the group in Sydney Mines. It was not the Department of Heritage that closed the museum, it was a choice made by the group, in the area, on their own. We have supported and we do support all museums in this province, the community museums, through the Community Museums Assistance Program. We consider heritage in this province to be extremely important, and value every community museum in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

HEALTH - ABERDEEN HOSP.: CRISIS - UPDATE

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Health, the Aberdeen Hospital in New Glasgow is recruiting for ten specialists at this time, and two of those required are internists. The hospital now has only three full-time internists and they will only continue to work until June 30th of this year. After that, many services could be closed or curtailed because there are not the necessary doctors to keep up with the job duties. On February 6th of this year, my colleague for Pictou East and I wrote to the minister asking what his department is doing to alleviate this very serious situation. So my question to the minister is, can you give us an update on the pending crisis at the Aberdeen Hospital?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that over the last number of months that I have been working hard with the member for Pictou Centre, and of course with the members opposite, in trying to come up with some options for some of those replacements that he just talked about.

Mr. Speaker, I can also say that many regions are needing doctors, and we all compete on a Canadian context and, as a matter of fact, North American context for physicians and specialists. I know that over the last 18 months or so we've been able to attract 188 new doctors to this province, and will continue to work with the district health authority to make sure that they have the complement they need.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, this is a very serious situation and, without seamless coverage, the Aberdeen Hospital could be downgraded from a regional hospital to a

[Page 3549]

community hospital, and that would mean the emergency department, general surgery, orthopedics, ICU, could all be closed or at least severely curtailed. This is unacceptable to the residents of Pictou County and to northern Nova Scotia. So my question again to the minister is, Mr. Minister, can you assure this House and the residents of Pictou County that the Aberdeen Hospital will receive the assistance it requires to remain a regional hospital?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I know the member opposite likes to talk about could or would or might, but I know that we are continuing to work with the district health authority to make sure that site remains a regional hospital.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, this is not about could, would or should - it's a real actual thing that's happening in the Aberdeen Hospital. I think the government needs to make a commitment to providing a standard of internal medicine right across this province. If not, our health care system is going fall apart. We don't want to see Aberdeen Hospital patients being moved to other hospitals in the area. So my final question is, is the Department of Health going to ensure that the Aberdeen Hospital has adequate internists to serve Pictou County?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well from my meeting with him quickly yesterday, bringing him an update on how the recruitment process is going to find an internal medicine physician for the Aberdeen Hospital. As far as we know at this point there are two possible candidates. There are ongoing negotiations and I will make sure that I keep the member opposite, as well as the member for Pictou Centre, as well as the member for Pictou East, aware of the situation as we expand the services at Aberdeen Hospital.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

HEALTH - AMBULANCE & FEE POLICY: ANNOUNCEMENT - TIME FRAME

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. On October 31, 2005, the Minister of Health received a consultant's report on ambulance fees in Nova Scotia. This report was commissioned as a direct response to pressure from the NDP to address six specific aspects of the fee policy that resulted in terrible unfairness to Nova Scotians, but the Minister of Health sat on that report and sat on that report. Finally, yesterday, we received a copy of the report under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act a year and a half after it was handed to the minister. My question to the Minister of Health, when will the minister announce changes to the ambulance fee policy?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well that there are financial implications in that report, ones that will be taken under advisement, ones that we'll be bringing forward in Cabinet. In the fullness of time, we will make sure that we make sure that Nova Scotians receive the ambulance service that they do deserve as well as a fair funding or fair charging system.

[Page 3550]

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I have read the report. There are no financial implications. There is a recommendation for a general increase in the fee, which we reject. All of the other changes to make the ambulance fee system more fair are revenue-neutral. The consultant recommends a number of positive changes to correct unfairness in the ambulance fee system, such as for workplace injuries and for people who simply do not have the financial means to pay their ambulance bills. My question to the minister, when will the minister finally eliminate the unfair aspect of Nova Scotia's ambulance fee policy?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can again say to the member opposite that there are a number of issues that have to be further investigated, as a matter of fact that need to be brought forward to Cabinet for its second look as well, and I will do that as soon as I can. Again, there are a couple of issues in there that do have financial implications and, of course, we're in the middle of a budgetary process.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, I would understand if the minister would need more time if he got the report last week or last money. He got it a year and a half ago. Every single person that I have helped to challenge their ambulance fee has seen the bill dropped completely by the Department of Health - every single one without exception. Surely that is the only confirmation we need that the department knows it is on shaky ground. Every day that goes by means more Nova Scotians get hit with unfair ambulance bills. My question to the minister, how can the minister justify his continuing inaction on the issue of restoring fairness to ambulance fees in Nova Scotia?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I just want to thank the member opposite for bringing this issue to the floor of the House. I can say that we are still looking at the recommendations. There are a number of recommendations that are held within that report that talk about increasing fees to some Nova Scotians. We want to make sure that we have the financial resources in order to not do some of those things, but we will be bringing that forward to make sure and continue to make sure that Nova Scotians have the best ambulance system in North America.

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

COM. SERV.: POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY - CREATE

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. I read a resolution in the House on Tuesday afternoon asking all members of this House of Assembly to call on this government to acknowledge the plight of the homeless and the working poor of Nova Scotia and to take action in developing a poverty reduction strategy. The resolution received unanimous approval of the House. So

[Page 3551]

my question to the minister is, will your government respect the will of this House in addressing the issue of poverty through the creation of a poverty reduction strategy?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I thank my honourable colleague for allowing me to rise today and recommit the Premier's commitment to the people of Nova Scotia and the people of this House that indeed we will, we are, embarking on such a strategy and we will continue to do so in the days to come.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the need for a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy for this province has been brought before this government on many occasions. A two-day poverty forum was held in January 2006, where community groups and individuals shared their stories of living in poverty. The Liberal caucus listened to those individuals and brought forward a bill, during last Fall's sitting of the House of Assembly, to strike a multi-departmental and community working committee to work in collaboration toward developing a poverty reduction strategy.

My question to the minister is, when will the multi-departmental and community representative working committee be assembled and given the task of creating Nova Scotia's first poverty reduction strategy?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, oftentimes in this House we find ourselves in a position where we can respond immediately to something and other times it takes a longer period of time. Certainly, to the member opposite, this government is moving, has been moving, and will continue to move on the poverty reduction strategy. The member asks when - we are doing it as we speak. Certainly we have lots of initiatives underway in the department and we look forward to collaborating with stakeholders across the province as we move forward with that more collaborative, structured strategy in the days to come.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia has a dedicated group of community representatives who are ready to get to work. We have the unanimous approval of the members of this House that we should move forward on the initiative. What we need from this government is the political will. Will this government commit to a date when the people of Nova Scotia will have a poverty reduction strategy in place?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again to my honourable colleague across the way. We make mention of interdepartmental co-operation and committees and groups working on strategies, and we have done that. We have Economic Development and Education in line with us and it certainly is my intention to bring a strategy forward in the very near future, and perhaps if we could get all of our stakeholders together and get some positive work together, we could have it ready this Fall.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

[Page 3552]

ENVIRON. & LBR: VIOLENCE IN WORKPLACE POLICY - TIME FRAME

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Environment and Labour.

Last November, the NDP caucus, in association with a number of public sector unions, called on the minister to protect workers from the threat of violence in the workplace. Mr. Speaker, as you know, this is not a new issue. Nova Scotian workers and their unions have campaigned for legislation on this for more than a decade. On November 15th just past, the minister, in this House, said that the government would present its final plan in March of this year. Well, there are now nine days left in March and there is still no plan. I would like to ask the minister, where is the promised plan on violence in the workplace to protect Nova Scotian workers?

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, there are nine days left in March and the plan will be brought forth very, very soon.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, we all know that recent polling of public sector workers show that workplace violence is increasing in frequency and intensity. The NDP caucus recently gathered information on student suspensions in Nova Scotia's schools, for example, and of the three school boards that record data on suspensions due to violence against teachers, there were 200 suspensions last year alone - that's only in three out of nine boards. So I would like to ask the minister, in light of these worrying statistics why is it taking so long to introduce regulations to protect Nova Scotian workers, such as teachers, from violence at work?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, in the Fall of this year I met, along with my colleague, the Minister of Education and colleagues from the Department of Health and colleagues from the Department of Public Service, with union leaders. We promised that we would bring forth a strategy at that time at the end of March and we are doing that. We have had consultation with Nova Scotians across the province and so from the Fall of this year to March is not, I would suggest, a long time.

We realize the problem that teachers have, we realize the problem that health care workers have and the minister and myself are 100 per cent committed to doing all we can to minimize workplace violence in the schools and health care centres and in other institutions and businesses across this province. I think when the plans come forward I would hope that we would have the support of the Parties opposite because we're finally going to deal with workplace violence.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister, we'll be looking forward to scrutinizing that plan, but teachers and health care professionals, nurses, social workers, people in the public sector, aren't the only workers who are impacted by violence at work. We all know that the private sector also is a place where workers can

[Page 3553]

be subjected to a fair amount of abuse and violence - people who handle alcohol, taxi drivers, people in convenience stores and throughout other parts of the private sector that often deal with the public.

So my final question to the minister is, will you commit that any legislation you bring forward this year will give the same protection to the private sector, the workers who are subjected to violence every day in some settings, as you will to workers in the public sector?

MR. PARENT: Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. The member cites high-risk occupations that are targeted in the plan, that the international labour organization and occupational health and safety jurisdictions throughout North America have agreed are the prime victims of violence in the workplace, be they public sector or private sector. The only reason I mentioned the public sector was because the member opposite had raised the issue of the Department of Education's concern for teachers and I wanted to highlight that the Minister of Education was 100 per cent committed to working with my department to minimize workplace violence in that field, but people who work in convenience stores, taxi drivers, people who handle money, people who interface with the public and are victims of violence, this plan will be targeted for them, as well as for people in public sectors. I thank the member for the question.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH - CANCER RATES (N.S.): REDUCTION - PLANS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Cancer Care in Nova Scotia's report on cancer rates in this province indicated that 23 Nova Scotians were diagnosed each day with some form of cancer and the numbers continue to rise. Over 27,700 are living with an invasive cancer diagnosis in this province. Prostate, lung, breast and colorectal cancer accounted for the highest number of cancer diagnoses among both men and women. Cancer rates in Queens and Pictou Counties are higher than in the rest of the province; the incidence of lung cancer in Cape Breton County remains disproportionately higher than anywhere else in this province.

My question to the minister, Mr. Speaker, is what solutions does the minister's department have to reduce the number of cancer diagnoses in this province?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I think that is the crux of the issue, to make sure that we find ways to make our population healthy and try to find ways to stop the incidence of cancer that happens far too often in our communities to family members and to friends, which is why this government has taken the proactive step in setting up the Department of Health Promotion and Protection. I know there are a number of initiatives going on through that department of my esteemed colleague the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

[Page 3554]

Mr. Speaker, we'll continue in our department, the Department of Health, to provide services to make sure that we can help those individuals through their cancers.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the Cancer Care Report suggests the decrease in certain forms of cancer, such as breast and cervical cancer, is due to an increased emphasis on screening programs. Scientific evidence shows that deaths due to colorectal cancer can be reduced by as much as 17 per cent. But this province has so far ignored the call by the Canadian Cancer Society and Cancer Care Nova Scotia to implement a province-wide screening program for colorectal cancer and prostate cancer, the incidence rates of which are on the rise. My question to the minister is, will this government commit to the implementation of proven screening programs, like colorectal screening, and the improvement of existing screening programs in light of the recommendations that are set out in that report?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the member opposite that we were very happy to receive the report from Cancer Care Nova Scotia and their recommendations on a colorectal screening program. It is one that, of course, through our budgeting process, that we have put that one up to get funded. I look forward to a budget that, apparently, is coming tomorrow.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, simply put, this government's focus has been on treating cancer in the past, rather than preventing cancer. The government has to change that focus to prevention rather than treatment. My final question for the minister is, what prevention programs will this government bring forward this year to reduce the incidence of cancer in this province and protect the sustainability of our health care system?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I know there are a number of issues that my colleague, the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection, can answer on this issue.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, we have taken a number of initiatives to help reduce the prevalence of cancer in Nova Scotia, including our tobacco reduction strategy, Sun Safe initiatives and the use of new vaccines to help prevent Nova Scotians from cancer. I will say to the member opposite that these initiatives, many of them are new, they have shown great success and we will continue to improve upon the initiatives we have in place and build upon what we're already doing.

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

HEALTH PROM. & PROTECTION: FALL RIVER REC. CTR. PROJECT - FUNDING

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. In 2006, in pre-election announcements, the government released

[Page 3555]

a number of money envelopes to various recreation facilities around the province. This money was to be dedicated to facility improvements, equipment purchases and similar expenses. My question to the minister is, when can Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank expect some provincial money to assist with the construction of the soon to be built recreation centre in Fall River?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, the project the member opposite is speaking about was applied for under the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program and that would be the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations who is responsible for that program.

But, I'm pleased to say to the member opposite that we have invested in hundreds of facilities across this province, we've increased our budget by 100 per cent and we will continue to work to ensure that recreation and physical facilities are available for all Nova Scotians so that we can work towards becoming the healthiest and safest province in this country.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, communities all across the province are receiving sports and recreation infrastructure for equipment upgrades, uniforms and other necessary investments. The Department of Health Promotion and Protection even overspent its 2006-07 budget estimates in order to help organizations and communities invest in recreational opportunities. (Applause) My question is, when can the riding of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank expect some of that money to assist residents associations to maintain what they have?

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I'll say to the member opposite that we've invested in every single constituency in this province, including the constituency of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank. I can tell you that as minister, I've had the opportunity to deliver cheques to groups and organizations in that community and we will continue to do the kind of thing that is necessary to help make Nova Scotia the healthiest and safest province in this country.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I suspect the cheque's in the mail. This government says it wants to promote healthy living and physically active lifestyles, but many communities such as Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank have had little help in putting the necessary infrastructure in place to make that happen. My final question to the minister is, what is the province doing, in partnership with the people of my constituency, to assist in the maintenance and construction of playing venues, walking trails, designated safe biking routes and other recreational infrastructure?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, what I'll say to the member opposite is, we're doing exactly what we do in all communities in this province and that is we work with community

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groups and organizations to help invest in the kind of infrastructure that is necessary to move our province to the place where we want it to be: the healthiest and safest province in the country. And I'll say to the member opposite that I know for a fact that we have made investments in his community, in communities like Beaver Bank, Fall River and Waverley, over the period of time that I've been a minister, and we will continue to do that, as applications come forward from the community and as we work with communities across this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - CAPE SABLE CAUSEWAY: ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY - ENSURE

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. For some time, Barrington Municipal Council has been attempting to have the appropriate authorities complete an environmental study of the water surrounding Cape Sable Causeway. I wish to table documents, from the Municipality of the District of Barrington, from 2002, concerning this issue. My question through you is, will the minister take the leadership role and ensure that his department carries out the needed environmental study?

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much for the question. I can commit that if my department needs to do environmental assessments, they will be done.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this environmental study would be to determine whether or not there is pollution resulting from the construction of Cape Sable Island Causeway. Fishermen in the area have complained that deposits of fine material up to two to three feet in depth have occurred west of the causeway and of the contamination with sewer. My question for the minister is, will he help local fishermen and residents of Cape Sable Island, and have his department carry out a study on how to solve this problem?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, if it falls within the purview of my department, the answer is absolutely, yes.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, it has been recommended by locals that some type of alteration may be needed to make the causeway and to allow the passing of water from one side to another. What is needed is for this department to take action and look at this particular situation. My question to the minister is, will he examine the issue and bring his findings to Barrington Municipal Council?

MR. PARENT: As I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, if it falls within the purview of my department, the answer is absolutely, yes. But this gives me an opportunity talk about something that I mentioned last Fall in response to a question from another member from the Party opposite, about the need to have an integrated water strategy for the Province of Nova

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Scotia that looked at all water aspects. At that time, I made the commitment that as minister, I would look very closely at that and I want to reaffirm my desire to move forward on that. I'm hopeful some news will come forward.

Mr. Speaker, water, and the ability to access water - not only for drinking but for many other ways - and rising sea levels, all those things are going to become critically important in the future and I want to position this province, this government, the people of this province, on the forefront of water management. So I can commit to that this afternoon.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

ENVIRON. & LBR.: MANDATORY RETIREMENT - RECONSIDER

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. There is currently, in Nova Scotia, a serious lack of workers, especially qualified workers and there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Between the rampant out-migration to places further west and our aging population workforce, it is shrinking at an alarming rate. The federal government has recently issued a statement encouraging workers to stay in the workforce past the age of 65, if possible. However, for most employees in this province that choice is simply not available. My question to the minister is, will the minister reconsider the existing rules regarding mandatory retirement in light of the growing shortage in qualified workers?

HON. MARK PARENT: I can respond to the speaker that not only, yes, will I, but yes, I have done, and just watch in the future what will happen.

MR. GLAVINE: Perhaps I don't need parts two and three today, but we'll go ahead anyway. Statistics Canada released numbers indicating that in 2005, over 22 per cent of the total number of workers in the country were within 10 years of retirement. Compare that to only 10 years ago when only 10 per cent of workers were within 10 years of retirement. Statistics Canada foresees that in less than 45 years there will be as many retired as there are non-retired people in this country, putting a huge strain on our tax system. We see the proof of these numbers right here in Nova Scotia. Last year we lost over 800 teachers to retirement, and we do not have an equal number of new teachers to replace them. My question to the minister is, how does the minister propose to deal with the growing number of retiring workers and the impending lack of qualified workers?

MR. PARENT: Yes, the member opposite is absolutely right. He didn't need parts two and three of his question, but he does raise a very interesting issue and a very interesting problem. I had discussions several months ago with the federal Assistant Deputy Minister of Labour about the possibility of moving forward and encouraging workers to stay in the workforce beyond the mandatory age of retirement. He told me that if we're able to do that, and to transition workers out rather than an absolute retirement date, we could solve many of the labour shortage problems within the country of Canada. So, on his advice, I began

[Page 3558]

work on that issue. So I want to thank the member opposite. I know he has a concern, he has brought this forward, and I want to assure him that I think I will be able, on this issue, to give him some - I hesitate to use the word pleasure - satisfaction.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, most Canadian provinces have eliminated mandatory retirement, as has the U.S., Australia and New Zealand. Ontario is the most recent province to do away with mandatory retirement with the approval of all three Parties of its Legislature. This government has already acknowledged the unfairness of mandatory retirement when they amended the Public Service Superannuation Act in 2003. Unfortunately, this is only a half measure and only applies to provincial government employees. My question to the minister is, will the minister commit to the elimination of mandatory retirement in the Province of Nova Scotia?

MR. PARENT: Yes.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member Sackville-Cobequid.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL.: ACCESS N.S. OFF. (SACK. AREA) - ANNOUNCE

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. I recently met with the board of directors of the Sackville Drive Business Association and they brought concerns to me about the lack of government services in and around the Sackville area. So I would like to ask the minister today when can the businesses in Sackville expect an announcement of an Access Nova Scotia office to be located in the Sackville area to ensure that small businesses in that area can gain the access to the services they need to continue their businesses?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, my colleague who sits down to my left reminds me of that probably on about a weekly basis. So your question is not something I'm unfamiliar with and, certainly, my department has made a commitment in that direction. We are looking at the situation right now. As you know, there are certain steps that you have to proceed through, and we have to work through the Department of Transportation and Public Works as well, but, clearly, that is an item that's very high on our agenda.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, as the minister might know, the catchment area for the Sackville area, for the Cobequid Community Health Centre, is over 100,000 residents, and that would be the same for an Access Nova Scotia office. It doesn't just service the community of Sackville, but much further and much broader.

The residents have also been wondering and have been concerned around the lack of an Access Nova Scotia office in this area. So I'd like to ask the minister today if he could give us a timeline on when his department will make an announcement for the opening of a new office in the Sackville area, Mr. Speaker?

[Page 3559]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, and I have told my colleague, the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection, the department is actively working on this file. We are also trying to see if we can deliver a better service to the people who would be served by that office if we partner with other levels of government.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, I know this has indeed been a concern and an issue that I know I have been aware of since I took office in Sackville in 2003. Along with that, throughout the years, the residents and the businesses in the area have been told that the site for a possible new Access Nova Scotia office would have been the site of the old Cobequid Community Health Centre. So I'd like to ask the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations if that, indeed, is going to be the case or can he provide a location that his department might be looking at to bring that office to the community?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, indeed the member is right, the initial intention was to use the old Cobequid Multi-Purpose Centre for the new Access office. However, in looking at that facility, studying the facility and the acute needs of the Department of Community Services, as you know, the decision has been made to use that as a residential facility for the Department of Community Services and to provide much-needed living space for some people who were living in space that was not quite that desirable.

I see the member for Halifax Needham nodding her head in support and she knows very well the group of people to whom I am referring.

We are currently working with the Department of Transportation . . .

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

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Thank you very much, Mr. Premier (Laughter) Oh, sorry, what did I call him?

AN HON. MEMBER: You called him Premier.

THE PREMIER: Many things happening as we speak.(Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, I'd like to bring the attention of the House to the east gallery of some very special guests here with us today. We have Erica, who is age 12, and Emily who is age 9 and Jaima who is age 7. They are accompanied by their mother, Leslie.

AN HON. MEMBER: How old is she?

[Page 3560]

THE PREMIER: If you add up all the other numbers combined, Mr. Speaker, you'll have the age of Leslie, which is in her 20's.

Mr. Speaker, of course we'd like to welcome them. I notice that the girls have their Webkinz with them here today, which are very popular these days across the province. Of course they are the family of the member for Hants West and I would like to welcome them here today. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed welcome to our special guests and all visitors to the House today.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 144, the Municipal Grants Act.

Bill No. 144 - Municipal Grants Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to speak in second reading debate on An Act to Establish an Award to Recognize Bravery of - oh, my apologies - I've got to clear my ears out.

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to tell the Premier that is, indeed, a very worthy Act and I look forward to your comments on it.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to open second reading on Bill No. 144, An Act to Amend the Municipal Grants Act. Mr. Speaker, this amendment addresses a concern of Nova Scotia municipalities. Last year, the government increased grants in lieu for property of university residences and other supported institutions to 100 per cent from 50 per cent. Mr. Speaker, the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities supported this but they wanted the legislation

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changed so that this particular grant would not have to be increased on an annual basis, and effectively that's what this amendment does. It enshrines in legislation that guilt payment for university residences and other supported institutions would go to 100 per cent from 50 per cent. So what it does is really negate the necessity for the Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations to do this every year.

It's a good thing, Mr. Speaker, because according to the existing legislation, the province's grant would only be equal to 50 per cent of what full taxes would be. The amendment moves it to 100 per cent and the municipalities that will benefit from this amendment include HRM, CBRM, the Towns of Antigonish, Pictou, Port Hawkesbury, Truro and Wolfville and, also, the Municipalities of Colchester and Clare. This amendment completes a commitment made by this government in the 2006-07 budget to put this very positive change into legislation. With those few words, I move second reading of Bill No. 144.

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

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise in my place this afternoon. I will be certainly briefer than the minister was with respect to the amendments. We are pleased, first of all, that this amendment falls in line with UNSM. We are very pleased with the consultation process that has been followed to put this amendment forward. We recognize that it moves it to 100 per cent and we look forward to this bill moving forward.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise and just say a few words about this amendment to the Municipal Grants Act. I know from being an earlier municipal councillor that this has been an issue on UNSM's agenda for a number of years. First of all, to see the amount of grants in lieu rise and now to see it at 100 per cent is where they want it to be. So it is a positive move, I know, from the municipality's perspective and I think rightly compensates them for hosting these residences within their municipalities. There are costs associated with fire service and maintenance and so on, from a city's perspective or municipality's perspective, and I think it is a fair system. To have it enshrined in legislation gives a lot better sense of confidence, I believe, for the municipalities that it doesn't become an item that is up for negotiation from year to year.

So I do congratulate the government in consulting with UNSM and seeing eye to eye with them on this particular issue. We don't always, in this House, agree with UNSM but it is important that we have good communications with that association of municipalities. I believe this will help those 10 municipalities that were named in the press release, including a number of smaller places that I believe are hosting hospital residences in addition to universities.

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With that, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to seeing this bill move through the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, this is going to be very brief, but I also want to thank the Premier and the minister for allowing this to come forward and for the support of the two Opposition critics. This has been especially difficult for university communities and I think it was some 40 years ago there was a commitment made that the grant, which I think at that time was at 30 per cent, would be increased to 100 per cent. This has been something that the Town of Wolfville, which is particularly affected by this provision, has long pursued with successive governments. Wolfville is a unique situation because about 50 per cent of its assessment is Acadia University so it has meant that the other 50 per cent of the property owners in Wolfville have had to carry the whole load for the town, and it's something that council, under Mayor Bob Stead, has diligently pursued to have addressed by this government. I, again, am very appreciative of the support from the Premier, the minister, and the Opposition Parties, for this long overdue amendment.

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, I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the House for their support of this amendment, and I would now call for the vote on second reading of the Municipal Grants Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 144. 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. 138.

Bill No. 138 - Medal of Bravery Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to speak in second reading debate on an Act to Establish an Award to Recognize Bravery of Nova Scotians. When I tabled the bill on Tuesday, I was honoured to have present here in our gallery - and as well at the debriefing that we did across the way in the Red Room - representatives of our

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police, fire, ground search and rescue, and emergency health services. These individuals are the true heroes, as you well know, of our communities. These individuals are generally the first ones we think of when we think of heroes, we all have many heroes in our communities, but these are the individuals who are often called first to an emergency situation.

Though I think all MLAs in their time as a provincial representative have thought it would be would be a nice thing to be able to reward actions of bravery arising from situations in their communities - I certainly have and I certainly have had individuals present that to me in my own riding. Of course, as the title of the bill notes, the award will recognize the bravery of Nova Scotians and that means any Nova Scotian.

There are many stories we have heard where an innocent bystander throws themself into a dangerous situation to assist another with no thought to their own safety. I know that we have heroes in our own Legislature, and I stand to be corrected but I believe the honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect was recognized at one point for an act of bravery, and perhaps the honourable member for Cumberland South as well, so we have a couple of people here in our own Legislature who have been recognized, and duly so.

The Medal of Bravery for Nova Scotia, or MBNS will be an opportunity to recognize such heroics. For those in uniform, and we all know individuals who have gone above and beyond what would have ever been expected of that uniform, and this would of course include our citizens serving in the Canadian military here and around the world.

It will be an honour to see those chosen in the first award ceremony and they will stand as an example for all others. These heroes are often the last to take credit for what they have seen as an action that anybody in their place would have done, but that is a question nobody could answer.

The bill, if passed and once proclaimed, would be retroactive to January 1, 2007 - this gives the committee that will make the recommendations to Executive Council a starting point from which to begin their process. I also noted in my press briefing that the medal could also be bestowed posthumously.

Nova Scotians are an extraordinary group of citizens and I am pleased to move second reading of an Act to Establish an Award to Recognize Bravery of Nova Scotians, a bill which will enable our province to recognize the extraordinary actions of the people of this province, and I look forward to the comments of both the Official Opposition and the Liberal Party as well.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank the Premier for bringing this legislation forward. I want you to know that in my years of public service I have had the opportunity on a few occasions to be recognized. Sometimes in a positive manner, but I want

[Page 3564]

you to know that probably the greatest honour I ever received was on this one particular sunny Thursday afternoon at our cottage on P.E.I.

I received a call from the secretary to the Governor General of Canada. It's not someone that you probably expect to hear from. At that time, I was informed that because of an event that had taken place almost a year and a half before, that I had been selected to receive a Medal of Bravery.

The reaction, of course, from teaching colleagues and I guess some of the kids that I had in the school at the time was, what will you ever do with a medal? Well, today, at the urging of our good Sergeant-At-Arms, Captain Greenham, he has said that it would be appropriate on a debate of this nature that I finally wear the Medal of Bravery. I know we're not allowed props.

I have accepted that particular offer and I have proudly demonstrated publicly for the first time the fact that, yes, I have a Medal of Bravery. (Applause) I know you probably found it a little difficult, particularly the member for Glace Bay, to know that I'm shy and reserved in such matters. I want you to know that it is part of the recognition and the process that I would like to go through now.

I want to point out to members opposite that I know there are deserving paramedics - like my young friend, the member for Sackville-Cobequid - there are deserving volunteer firefighters, professional police services which we are blessed with in this province and just average citizens will have the opportunity to be recognized and have after their name, MBNS. I know some of you, on occasion, have asked what that particular MB after my name means, well I guess now, along with the member for Cumberland South, you are aware of the significance of the event.

I just want to take the members opposite through the process. I know we're at the stage where we can't look at the bill clause by clause, I don't want to alarm the Premier about this, but I have some concerns about the process. I have some concerns about the nomination process, how the names are selected and the particular role of one person in this province that needs to be clearly identified.

I know at a previous time in this House, when there was a previous Lieutenant-Governor, I was asked at the time to send back my Medal of Bravery. Maybe the Speaker would remember that particular event. It's not necessarily something that I relive, let me tell you, when that particular difficulty arose between the Lieutenant-Governor at the time and myself about her expenses.

But, what we're talking about here is the Queen's representative in this province and her role in this case, Ms. Francis' role, as it would have been with Ms. Freeman's role. What is their role when it comes to the Medal of Bravery for Nova Scotia? I want to make it very

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clear that when I received my Medal of Bravery, I did not, under any circumstances, would certainly have accepted it, have not received any medal from the Prime Minister of Canada.

At the particular ceremony there were some Cabinet Ministers present, I received the Medal of Bravery for this country from the Governor General. I'm concerned about the fact that the role of the Lieutenant-Governor is crucial in this process. It's a meaningful process, we have a number of very involved Lieutenant-Governors going back to Mr. Kinley, and of course, Ms. Freeman and now Ms. Francis, and their particular roles are crucial when we look at making sure that this is an intrinsic part of the Medal of Bravery.

I would like to table, for the interest of the members of the House, and I guess I should publicly thank my daughter for making sure I get these items here. I'd like to table this and I'm going to read from this copy if I may. When I informed my daughter earlier today that we were going to talk about the Medal of Bravery, first of all, she, along with Mr. Greenham, were the ones who insisted I wear this medal. I'm going to quote from the Decorations for Bravery for the Federal Government.

I think we have to learn from the lesson of how this particular Medal of Bravery takes place in Canada. I would hope that some of these changes could be incorporated into the process. The idea is a wonderful idea but the process is crucial here.

[4:30 p.m.]

Decorations for bravery - at the federal level, of course, you have the Cross of Valour, the Star of Courage, and the Medal of Bravery. Nominations can be handed in by anyone. They must clearly state the reason for the particular event and they can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to this particular address: Honours Secretariat, Government House, Ottawa, Ontario. I point out that the nomination process begins by it going to Government House. That's a crucial difference from how I understand the process that is going to take place here.

Now over the run of a year or various months, I am sure that the Governor General of Canada receives a lot of nominations and I have, incidentally, Mr. Speaker, nominated citizens in my community for the Medal of Bravery. They have not been awarded the Medal of Bravery for incidents, traffic accidents in particular, but I actually never informed these residents that I began the process. This was prior to me being an elected official. I was aware of people in my community, a volunteer firefighter in particular, whose name I would like to mention at this time, I believed he certainly should have received a Medal of Bravery. His case was never investigated. He never was designated for a Medal of Bravery but I had initiated the nomination process because I can tell you, I am used to, as a principal of a school, having the RCMP officers drop into my school, drop into our schools.

I am not off on a tangent, for a change, Mr. Speaker, because this one particular day, I had a staff sergeant arrive at my office and he wanted to speak to me privately. Now you

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can imagine the thoughts that go through your mind at that time, how are my children, was my wife safe and so on. He identified himself as a staff sergeant so I knew that this was obviously a case of some significance. This particular RCMP officer's job, and I am sure maybe the member for Cumberland South went through the same process, this RCMP officer's job is to investigate people who have been nominated by other citizens in the community or, in the case of my nomination, by a bus driver who arrived on the scene of a burning car after I had gotten the gentleman out of the burning car. That's all we will say about that particular event, especially when the car blew up and ruined my perfectly good leather jacket, but that is another story unto itself. That RCMP officer is assigned the responsibility of investigating the cases of people who are nominated.

That's a key part of the process, from my understanding, and again I could be wrong about this, but this is another key part of the process. When someone is nominated and it goes to Government House in Ottawa, the RCMP then forms an investigative team and they investigate people who have been nominated, or they investigate the cases who have been nominated for a Medal of Bravery. At the time, the RCMP informed me that I had broken the leg of the man that I had taken out of the car. Actually, that was my first result of thinking I'm going to get sued. He was just looking at the accident. He needed the details. At no time - maybe the member for Cumberland South can take us through his particular investigation - was I informed that there was going to be a Medal of Bravery.

The RCMP then report back to an advisory council. The advisory council, and I am aware of the fact that if you look at the process, there will be such a council in this province when this legislation goes ahead, but the advisory council, they report to the Governor General. There is no reference to Order in Council, there is no reference to the provincial secretary. They report to the Governor General. That is a key way to make sure that there is consistency when it comes to the Medal of Bravery, whether it is awarded in Ottawa or whether it is awarded in Halifax, that there has to be that consistent between the two processes. In particular, I want to highlight the fact again, I would hope that there could be a necessary amendment or some process at the Law Amendments Committee where we could clearly identify the role of the Lieutenant Governor in this award. I think it is crucial that when the members bring forth names or common citizens around our province bring forth names, they know that these names will be investigated, the particular incident will be investigated and then, compounding that, the Lieutenant Governor and the advisory council should have, and hopefully will have, the ultimate say whether this particular person is eligible for this honour.

It is an honour, it is an opportunity to recognize people who for various reasons have put their life in harm's way and I congratulate the Premier for making sure that he included the fact that the award could also be given posthumously. I can tell you that day when I was in Ottawa it was a nervous day. It was a formal event, the Governor General of course, you are presented, your awards are announced of what happened on that particular day. During the event there would a couple of Medals of Bravery that were awarded posthumously. That, as you can tell, Mr. Speaker, was very emotional.

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So with those comments I will take my place. We have much to learn in the process. I would hope that members would look at this legislation, I would hope that the Premier would look at the legislation suggestions that I have brought forward. I am concerned about the process, it is a wonderful idea, it has the support of this caucus but as it goes forward to the Law Amendments Committee, it is crucial that we change the process, we make sure the Lieutenant Governor is involved and the Order in Council part of the process, in my view, should be dismissed. With those comments I'll take my seat. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I also rise in support of Bill No. 138, An Act to Establish an Award to Recognize Bravery of Nova Scotians. At the outset I want to congratulate the Premier for bringing this bill forward today. It is not often that we here in the House and all three Parties get to talk about something that we can all agree on at the outset in a bill, and the need to do something like this is evident in this province. The Premier has recognized that and I want to thank him for bringing the bill forward. I also want to thank the member for Timberlea-Prospect not only for his bravery award that he received, for telling us about the process, but also suggesting that there may be some amendments necessary in this bill to make the bill even better for Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I consider this bill to be one that will finally give recognition to Nova Scotians in and out of uniform. From one end of this province to the other, people on a daily basis go about their business, doing their best to contribute to society but every once in a while people in our community step outside of that and come to the aid and assistance of people in need in our communities, or people who are in trouble, and for this these people should be recognized.

I certainly agree that this bill should go forward as quickly as possible. I also agree, Mr. Speaker, that perhaps there will be some additional discussion at the Law Amendments Committee regarding this bill because no bill is perfect and there may be room to strengthen this bill, as the member for Timberlea-Prospect suggested. Nevertheless, the intent of the bill I think is one that is good, it is good that all three Parties will support it. It is especially appropriate that the Premier himself felt strongly enough about this bill that he decided to bring it to the House himself and again I congratulate him for that.

Also, I know there are many people in Nova Scotia who know somebody who has been involved in a courageous act of helping somebody else in their community, or perhaps people they didn't even know and this will provide a mechanism for people, for the government of this province to recognize officially these people and their heroic acts.

We have a lot of heroes in this province, everybody in this Chamber knows someone who has put his own life at risk in order to help a fellow citizen. So it is an appropriate bill to be brought here, Mr. Premier, and Mr. Speaker, I am looking forward to this bill going

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forward to the Law Amendments Committee and finally becoming law in this province as soon as possible. Thank you.

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

The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I certainly do appreciate the comments of both the member for Timberlea-Prospect, whom I mentioned in my comments was also recognized for his award of bravery at one time, and also our Minister of Justice, the member for Cumberland South, as well, and certainly the comments from the member for Cape Breton South.

Again, Mr. Speaker, the Act itself is there to recognize all Nova Scotians and to ensure that we do so in an appropriate way. No doubt, there will be some positive ideas brought forward through the process at the Law Amendments Committee and I look forward to that. With that, I would like to move second reading of Bill No. 138.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 138. 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. 145.

Bill No. 145 - Education Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to speak to second reading of Bill No. 145. You will recall I introduced that yesterday- March 21st - and that is to improve the school review process as it's contained in the Education Act and its associated regulations. For the information of everyone in the House, the review process that was conducted resulted in a report and recommendations. There were seven recommendations in that report and the amendments that were introduced and to which we will speak today reflect the acceptance of each one of those seven recommendations.

The intent of the amendments and the intent of the review was to give the school communities a clear, predictable process that would ensure all voices and considerations are heard before there's a decision made about the future of their school. If I could just speak

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briefly to each one of those recommendations, and that's each one of the amendments, the first one was to remove the word closure from any reference in the Act and in the regulations. The reason that was recommended and accepted is because there are other options besides closure. Those options could be consolidation, school boundary reviews, maintain the status quo. So the reference to closure would be removed.

Recommendation number two is that we wanted to clarify the criteria for school boards to use during that school review. This would bring consistency across the province. All boards would be using the same criteria and school boards themselves would no longer have the authority to make by-laws regarding the review process.

Recommendation number three was that the board would be required to prepare a comprehensive report explaining why the school was under review and the school community would have an opportunity to respond to that.

Recommendation number four spoke to the time frame and there was a recommended extension from the time frame of four months to one year for that review process to unfold.

Recommendation number five spoke to having school advisory councils, where they exist, part of that review process and part of the review team.

Recommendation number six was to ensure that once a decision had been made to have a school closed or consolidated, the principals of the schools, the one receiving school and the one from which the students would be moving, would work together on a transition plan to minimize the impact of students from both schools.

[4:45 p.m.]

The seventh recommendation referred to consolidation and although the review was for closure, the committee heard loud and clear, and included in their report, that the same review process should apply to consolidation of schools. So the seventh recommendation is that the same process would be used.

To conclude, after that review process is completed and there's a recommendation from the board, the school board's decision would be final. There is nothing in the Education Act that gives the Minister of Education the authority to overrule that and that's important that that be understood. So, those are just a few comments with respect to second reading of Bill No. 145, and I would welcome comments from my colleagues.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I feel a lot more comfortable now on a topic that I know will be of real interest to members here on this side of the House. We have a number of members who will be speaking at various stages in this piece of legislation,

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because probably we all know when it comes to consolidations, or comes to - and I know the word is not supposed to be used and I compliment the commissioners who were looking at this particular process of saying school reviews, not school closures.

You know at times - and I know in your previous life, Mr. Speaker, when we had lives, when we were schoolteachers - it was oftentimes difficult to get parents to come out to various events. They would come if you had a huge issue, but on a regular routine you would have a parent meeting on whatever the particular issue was and you would have problems attracting parents to attend - but you mention the words "school closure" and the gym is full. It's emotional, it's confrontational and, let me tell you, the process needed changing.

Now for the members opposite and some of the members of this caucus, I just want to give you a quick history lesson, and I know the member for Lunenburg, in particular, loves my history lessons. I wish him all the best and I know he's going to make sure he's back in this House on many occasions to listen to history lessons from this old teacher. (Applause)

At the time when we were facing school closures, we looked at the process and said let's put the brakes on. Let's use the word "moratorium," and the people in my caucus at that time, the NDP caucus, said to our Leader that it was time to call for a moratorium when it comes to school closures - we were using that nasty words at the time, school closures. The process is just flawed - it's flawed. When our Leader brought it forward, and this will appear as negative and it will appear as confrontational, the suggestion was dismissed. The minister at the time said no can do - well he didn't say it that way, but he said it's impossible. We cannot interfere in the process. It's not something that we should be involved in. It's not really something that the province has much to say about. We aren't interested in a moratorium and we aren't interested in a review.

The history lesson won't go on much longer, because I know it's a painful process.

On the horizon, there was talk of an election - remember that talk of an election? Suddenly there was a review and there were to be no closures or reviews to continue on any schools at that time. I know that when that announcement was made, I know the members of the caucus at the time said, get the signs out, we're going to the people - because one of the most confrontational and emotional, and electorally sensitive events is a school closure.

But, in the meantime, it was decided that this process and these two particular veteran schoolteachers and school administrators would go across the province, and they've done a good job. The location of some of their meetings concerned us, but I know my good friend for Halifax Citadel took the initiative to have his own meeting - overflowing crowd, all kinds of people there and in addition, as we well know, there were people there from the department that night monitoring the comments.

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Before I go any further I want to take the members opposite, and the members of the Third Party, through this process because there are certain examples I can point out to them as I take this tour of the province - and I'm not going to be a Hank Snow and go everywhere, but I'm going to take you to a couple of locations. I want to thank my good friend for Cape Breton Nova, and my friend for Cape Breton Centre, who said when we were in Cape Breton a number of years ago, years ago, when they said to me that as the Education Critic I have to go to the Gowrie School in Port Morion because, believe it or not, no other MLAs have ever been there to see that this school - in the words of my friend for Cape Breton Nova - is on the chopping block.

Now, when we went to beautiful, scenic Port Morion - when we went down that day we stopped in the local corner store. The very first thing the man brought to my attention - aside from the fact that he was a huge Montreal Canadiens fan, and I got over that - he brought to my attention that I should speak to a number of mothers in the community who were disputing the numbers that the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board were bringing forward about the proposed enrolments when it comes to school closing.

You see, Mr. Speaker, and you know this, that statistic, declining enrolments - those numbers and those statistics are only one factor when it comes to closing schools. Yet the board in Cape Breton had the numbers wrong and these two mothers in the beautiful, scenic community of Port Morien, knocked on every door in the community and they pointed out, quite correctly, these are the correct numbers. They did a census, really, of the young children who would be coming forward to their school.

So we went to Port Morien and we went to the Gowrie Memorial School. My friend, the member for Sackville-Cobequid, joined us, and the response and the reception was absolutely emotional. They took us into their library. The custodian was present and he, knowing of my past as a schoolteacher, said, I'll tell you the pride in this school. I'll take you into the washrooms because that is an indicator of what the young people think of their school. You can go to all the fancy labs, you can go to all the computer rooms, the library, but you go in, and in this case I know you are going to think of this, Mr. Speaker, we went in the boys washroom, let me be clear. The washrooms at that little elementary school were immaculate. That was an indicator of the pride that the children in that school had and the number of parents who were present that day, and they knew we were coming - as the corner store owner in Port Morien knew - because we wanted to see first hand what this wonderful little school was offering to that community.

Port Morien is a community that deserves and must continue to have its school. That school, as you well know from your area, Mr. Speaker, and other members from around the province know, that school is more than just an educational institution. It is a place where seniors meet. It is a place where people drop in for community meetings. It's a place where people in the community feel comfortable because they either went there as students or, of course, they have their children or grandchildren attending the school.

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I would like to take you from Port Morien, if I could, Mr. Speaker, and take you to Clark's Harbour. Maybe I should, as my good friend, the member for Shelburne, calls it "Claak's Haabour," but I don't do a very good imitation of trying to make sure that I'm not from Shelburne County. We went to Clark's Harbour and I hadn't been in Clark's Harbour for a number of years actually, because Clark's Harbour, of course, is famous for its ballplayers. There was again, another young mother who contacted my office and said I want you to come to visit our school. They are thinking of closing the school.

My first question to this young woman, Tiffany Hunt is her name incidentally, my first question to Tiffany, well who has been there to review your school? You will be the first, she said. I said, well, I mean there must be other people involved in the process. They haven't been to see our school. I told the member at the time, who is no longer present with us now - he wisely decided, considering the opposition in the upcoming election not to offer, obviously - I said to that member at the time, Mr. O'Donnell, I am going to Clark's Harbour. I have been invited by Tiffany Hunt to go to the school. And we went. This time I was accompanied by my friend, the member for Cape Breton Centre. We had the opportunity to go into the school to visit all the classrooms, to look at the school, to hear from parents, again, mothers were the ones doing the tour with us, how responsible the principal was in making sure that we understood how important that school is to that wonderful coastal community.

I would also like to take you to the community of Upper Musquodoboit. Upper Musquodoboit Consolidated School is in that corner of Halifax County that of course we took the infamous school bus ride in with the HRSB members who were present at the time. It was important that we said, let's go out and let's see how far these children have to travel on these school buses.

The member from that particular community, the good member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, joined us at the community meeting that night, but he could not come on the bus ride. Again, I look forward to the opportunity of having that member involved in the process of keeping schools open, because he spoke that night, he spoke that night as a member of the government. He spoke up because he knew how important the school in Upper Musquodoboit was.

I mention my good friend from the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, because in the review process that was taking place that very night - and the school board members were sitting there listening to the presentations, and they were talking about enrolments, of course, always got to talk about enrolments and how many Primary children are going to be there and how many children are in the local day cares and so on - there was a gentleman that night who went to the microphone. He went to the microphone and introduced himself and said that he was going to begin a new business in the community. He was looking forward to opening - are you ready, Mr. Speaker - a gold mine. A gold mine. People looked at each other and said, my God, this is a famous mining area, if you look back in the history of gold mining. He made an announcement that evening that his new business,

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in the gold mining business, would help the community. People would be moving into the community because of the business possibilities of the gold mine in Upper Musquodoboit.

The school board members and the school board staff knew nothing about this particular economic development. They had not done - the staff members from the HRSB - their homework. They were not using economic development factors, they were not using geography factors. They were looking at the one number they can get their head around, enrolment numbers. Now enrolment numbers are only one of the factors, and to the credit of the people who have been involved in this committee, they have gone out and said it is important that we consider not just enrolment. We consider economic development, we consider other issues within the community, distance, and the bus drive, and so on.

One particular school board member that night had quite an event on the bus. She is no longer a school board member. I know, that night, she was quite upset with the ride, because as she got off the bus, considering the tips and the turns and the turnaround spots and everything, she became physically ill to her stomach. So you can imagine a 45-minute bus drive to that school, but if the school had been closed it would have been over an hour, one way, to take elementary children to a school.

I also want to compliment the people in the Hubbards community who very actively looked at their school, Shatford Memorial Elementary School. They pointed out to the school board during the process, just don't give us enrolment numbers, it is not just enrolment numbers, look at the economic development and the businesses that are moving into this community. They pointed that out in Fox Point, which of course is just across the boundary line in Lunenburg County. I mean there are people who will drive to a business and, for various reasons, live in the historic community of Hubbards.

When all those factors are considered, the onus must not be on the parents, Mr. Speaker. The onus must not be on the volunteers. The onus must be on the board, the professional people who work for the school boards, and the staff members to do the work to make sure they have all of the statistics, all the information so when they bring forth the recommendation, it isn't to close it and that's it - to work with the community, to engage the community, to make sure the process is open and transparent.

[5:00 p.m.]

All of these recommendations have been accepted or are included in the legislation, but it takes some nasty confrontation and it takes a much more proactive approach to the review of schools by professional staff who have to look at more than just their desktop computer when they are looking at projected enrolments. They have to look at economic development, they have to look at factors of geography.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss, as the MLA for Timberlea-Prospect, with the growing community and the new high school, and an elementary school of over 800

[Page 3574]

children. An elementary school from Primary to Grade 5 that's between two existing schools; one used to be Timberlea Junior High and the other one was built as Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Elementary school. Now the junior high students go to a new school and in the morning when you go into BLT, Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea Elementary school, and buses and walkers and parents dropping off, they literally have teachers, principal and vice principal outside directing traffic. Eight hundred-plus children go to that school.

I'm not saying - and you've heard me say this before, grammatically incorrect - when it comes to schools, big ain't necessarily better. So, you're talking to an MLA who has been blessed with no problem when it comes to declining enrolment in schools. However, there is a unique fishing community that I represent called Terence Bay.

Terence Bay, the home of the Slaunwhites and all their famous ball prowess, and I know when it comes to anyone who is athletic - my good friend, the member for Dartmouth North, in fact, when he was a ballplayer in his distant past, many times stepped in against the Slaunwhites; many times took three polite swings and then sat down. Let me tell you, based on where he was from in a community that he grew up in in Dover, Terence Bay has a small elementary school, they have combined classes in that school. Terence Bay is one of those schools that it continually must make sure that it reinforces itself. It plays an integral role in that fishing community, in that coastal community of Terence Bay.

If you go to Terence Bay any day, you will find seniors in the school. You will find seniors there helping out, you'll find seniors who have dropped in to have a cup of tea with the principal. What a wonderful compliment to the principal, David Haverstock, that seniors in the community, retired people in the community, feel comfortable that they can just drop in to see how Mr. Haverstock and things are going on in the school today.

Also at the Terence Bay Elementary school is the Resource Opportunities Centre. The Resource Opportunities Centre, under the leadership of Barb Allen, has reinvented itself from the old CAP sites, and because of funding problems, they have made sure that there are computers and Internet access available in the community of Terence Bay.

The school in Terence Bay is crucial to the vital future of that community. It's used in the evening for meetings, it's used for yoga, it's used for exercise class, it's used by people of all ages. It's not just a school, it is the focal point of that community. In the midst of all the growth in the community of Timberlea-Prospect, there is a small elementary school that is crucially important to the children, to, of course, the teachers, but to the community of Terence Bay and Lower Prospect.

I want the minister opposite to know that these comments resound across this province because of the Terence Bays, because of Port Morien, because of other areas around this province that will benefit from this process as it is going to be brought forward.

[Page 3575]

With those comments, I would like to take my place. I look forward to this particular piece of legislation going through to the Law Amendments Committee, I look forward to other members engaging in the debate because when it comes to schools, they are more than just buildings for education, they are buildings where every member of our community should feel comfortable making sure that they can drop in at any time to see how their children, their grandchildren, are doing in school. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm having a difficult time getting standing room in this corner. Certainly, I'm pleased to be on my feet about this particular topic and this particular piece of legislation, certainly a piece of legislation that in the view of our caucus has been long overdue. There are many members currently in the House and ones who were here before that engaged in a lot of debate, a lot of conversation around this topic, and a lot of frustrating conversation, I might add.

I want to first of all commend government for moving from a moratorium on schools to actually putting in place a study to look at the process.

I really do want to commend Mrs. Norma Kennedy and Mr. Mike MacDougall for the work that they did. In fact, I went out to one of the sites, a location in Berwick, and while there weren't a large number in attendance - I know in some of the other sites, there weren't a large number out to give input, but the people who were there certainly added to this paper right here.

I spoke that night and it was interesting to see when I picked up the document that there were at least three of the areas that I had been presenting that are here in perhaps a different form, but nevertheless, now are showing up in this report.

In fact, it was in my first year here in the Legislature, 2003-04 school year as Education Critic. My colleague for Annapolis took me to two sites that were being considered for closure. They were the schools of Margaretsville and Springfield. Again, two schools that were seeing their enrolment starting to slip. I think, in many ways, the words closure, declining enrolment, became very, very synonymous - and in fact, as soon as we started to see that downward spiral of students, that decline, then closure became the operative word.

Also, I have had a very, very strong feeling and also probably have deducted that the large school boards, as well, were I think much quicker and perhaps a little bit more distant from the actual small rural school that they were investigating for closure. I think that was the operative word and many times communities and families felt that they certainly weren't engaged that strongly in the process. They may have had a community meeting, and they

[Page 3576]

heard the facts from school board members as to what they were doing and often presented the benefits of going to a larger community school.

But, nevertheless, getting on the bus and moving out of the community - especially elementary students - and changing one of the real focuses that our communities have had. There are many, many people that we meet who still reminisce and talk about the one and two and three-room school houses and the outstanding education they received in those small schools. I think some of the underpinnings of this report - I will refer to some of the recommendations which are going to be enshrined in the legislation, and I'll refer to some of those as I go along - but, in recent years there has been a slowing down and taking a second look at the true value of a small community school.

There was a study done for the Chignecto school board and perhaps the Minister of Education, in fact, may be familiar with that study that was done by an Acadia University professor to take a look at the human face of education in a small setting. It's a wonderful document, a wonderful piece of work and very, very thought-provoking about sometimes policies that do go astray and create, perhaps, more negative situations for education than positive ones.

So, in terms of where we are now, I think the emphasis is truly being placed upon the review process. We are moving at it with a different framework and a different frame of mind. That is taking a look, for example, at a whole number of factors that need to be accounted for. Certainly I think when we take a look at things like space, reconfiguration, school boundary reviews, alternate use of school areas, those really can, I think, impinge pretty strongly in the direction that will be taken when that goes on.

So I like that concept of school review. I think that's what Nova Scotians, first when this came to the attention of the media, when the minister made her announcement on this process, was that the school was going to go through a review process.

I know that one of the areas I spoke about when I went to Berwick was taking a look at a much lengthier process and that was to actually parallel a school year, take 12 months and you could have different phases of the review process during actually a school year. There are very, very good times to get parents together, to get teachers together, to get community leaders together, so I think that, in fact, is one of the pieces here that we have talked about.

Also, of course, with the review process it won't be just a simple focus on one school, it is going to be taking a look at all of the schools inside of a system. So the system-wide approach, I think, has a great deal of merit because we can have a small school, maybe a school even with numbers going down, that in light of the context of delivering the program to students in remote areas then the system-wide look may, in fact, be one of the key points that will keep a school viable. Obviously enrolment does have to give still a pretty strong consideration and play.

[Page 3577]

One of the things that also needs to be taken a look at, in my view, are the population patterns that may be emerging with a particular school, not just the existing population now, because you may have a small industry, a new development, a revival in fact of perhaps one of our old industries in a particular area. You get a sawmill that comes back to life or a mine, as the member opposite started to talk about, the gold mine. Those things need to be looked at from five and 10 years out - will there be young families attracted to the area now? Sometimes it really is just a matter of a small number of families that can add to the school population, to, I think, reinstate and re-instill in those people who are doing the review, in fact that it now can, indeed, be viable.

You know there is no question that from the point of view of accountability and the responsibility of the minister and the Department of Education, a school has to be able to deliver the public school program - the PSP. That cannot be compromised. We have to be able to take children through the curriculum of the different grades so that if it's an elementary school, when they reach Grade 5 they have had the quality of education that will prepare them for junior high. If it is a junior high that is being looked at, that the students indeed have had the best possible junior high education and are now ready for high school. So being able to put the program in the school and have it delivered well certainly has to be given strong consideration.

One of the things that I thought that really excited me about this review process was that it is designed to really engage the larger community. Lots of times there are people outside of the parental community who have their children in the school. There are many others whom I think can bring good information and perhaps unknown information to a series of meetings that may go on during the review process. So I think there is a much greater opportunity for strong input before the final document is put together. Once that review document, once the study committee puts together its document there is going to be, again, another opportunity, after the school board takes a look at it, to have it presented back to the school, to the school community. I think that certainly, again, is a very, very strong part of this particular piece of legislation.

[5:15 p.m.]

It also gives a school principal - and very often my experience tells me that the school principal is very often the person who brings the personality, who brings the energy, the program and the excitement to a school, and keeps the quality of education as his primary thrust in all he does, or she does. So I think having the principal play a key role and participate as a member of the study committee is going to be able to give the committee some real key insight. Many of these people have been in those schools, and their level of commitment to those schools, and to providing the raison d'être for them staying open, I think, can be well documented, and bring the times of review ideas that certainly will be critical to the process.

[Page 3578]

The same way with staff. Lots of times staff in the past have really felt on the sidelines when a school closure is being looked it. They have felt that the board has identified the school. It gets out there in the media that this school is slated for closure. In the past, staff have kind of felt that they were immobilized and not able to truly engage in the kind of input that they could have.

So I think one of the things that will be good for this process, with this piece of legislation, is to perhaps hear two or three alternate ideas, some additional ideas, and I think it may be very well a piece of legislation that when it does go to the Law Amendments Committee, we will hear from others in communities across Nova Scotia, as well, I'm sure, educators who have struggled with this in the past, and school board members, hopefully, will come forth to shed perhaps some additional light on it.

I think the legislation could very well end up with a few amendments, but certainly the key pieces of this legislation around school review and the process that will go forward once the moratorium is over, I think, has been immensely strengthened, and communities will be the beneficiary of now taking a new view about our small rural schools or even our small inner-city schools and the part they play.

The real proof, of course, again will come when we see this process put into practice. When this process is given its first run through, I think that's when we will be able to truly see whether or not a significant change has taken place. There's no question that when, I'm sure any of us as MLAs, and we do get an opportunity to go to school. For me, as a former educator, going in the school door is something that I truly delight in having the opportunity to do. Living in the Annapolis Valley, in my riding there are three smaller schools and the vibrancy in those schools, and the feeling of the parents toward what takes place in those schools, every now and then we almost need a little bit of a crisis to see just how people think and feel about these small schools.

During the Fall, I had the opportunity when they were looking at taking French immersion from just a small school, it's time now to centralize and how often does that take place? The program delivery can be better in a big school. Now, of course, there is a new wave of thinking about whether, in fact, that really does take place. But I had the opportunity, through looking at dismantling French immersion in some of the small schools and centralizing it into regional pods, to regional locations where they would deliver French immersion. Some of the best letters that I have received since becoming an MLA were from parents of the school, the Dwight Ross Elementary School. When they were going to take French immersion from that school and the parents started writing letters, you get a sense of what that school means in their lives and especially as they voice how their children feel about their school, their teachers and their principal.

I think we, in Nova Scotia, and I would like to go on the record in saying this, that I truly feel that in the past we have made mistakes with closing some of our small, rural schools. They could still be vibrant places of education in our communities and especially

[Page 3579]

now looking at more of the concept of the resource centre, the teaching centre or the learning centre and a whole lot of other programs like the CAP site, like a community library, like a place for arts and crafts, where we get the mingling of an entire generation of people from the five-year-old to the 85-year-old and that, perhaps, is indeed one of the settings and one of the environments in which good, sound education can truly take place.

So I do look forward to the continued comments from members opposite and from government members and certainly look forward to the debate when it goes to the Law Amendments Committee and with that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

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

MR. ALFRED MACLEOD: Mr. Speaker, today it gives me great pleasure to stand and speak to Bill No. 145 and I am very proud to be a part of the government that has brought this forward. I want to talk about the school review process but I don't want to talk about it as an MLA. I want to talk about it as a parent, as someone who has been involved in the process for a number of periods of time.

My daughter turned 28 last February, Mr. Speaker, and when she was 16 months old I went to my first meeting to try to keep a school open, a school that she would be attending, and since that time, I have been to five different meetings trying to keep schools open with five different criteria for the people that say the reasons why the schools were closing. Today, with this type of legislation, we have a criterion that is going to be the same regardless if you are in Cape Breton or in Yarmouth. Everybody is going to be treated the same way with this criterion and I think that is important for the people of the Province of Nova Scotia.

You know, the time that was allowed to do the review process before was very short and it was at the whim of the boards. Now we have a standard time frame that everybody will be treated, again, the same way. As legislators in this province, I think it is important that the people, regardless of where they live, are treated on the same level and with the same standards, and that is something that this bill will afford.

I come from a community, Mr. Speaker, that had the last one-room schoolhouse in Canada. When we had that one-room schoolhouse, people were in that school, they knew everybody, everybody was a name - it wasn't a number, like you see today. The criteria of keeping schools open is going to allow people to be more important. With the technology that we have available today, the size of the structure doesn't matter, what does matter is that the schools are there for the people they are meant to serve.

I think the process that has been put in place and brought forward by the Minister of Education for school review is a very positive step, and it is a step that will enhance the education of our young children right across this province. I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, when this bill comes forward I will be voting in favour. Thank you.

[Page 3580]

MR. SPEAKER; The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise today and speak to this bill. I would like to echo what my colleague on the other side of the House has just said and the member for Timberlea-Prospect and, as well, the Critic for Education in the Liberal Party.

I think the minister is to be commended for bringing this legislation forward. It has been a very long hard road for her and for the members of her staff. I apologize in advance to her and to her staff for tormenting her with this issue for a long period of time, but I think the end result of this is a big step forward in the review process. I think it's something that no community should have to go through again, and the process outlined in this proposed legislation will make it easier for the minister and her staff but, more importantly, for the communities and the schools that are affected.

I think if there is one thing we have learned in this process is that community schools are important, that community schools matter, and that it is important for us to establish review processes that consult the community, consult them meaningfully and give them a significant say, because at the end the schools really belong to the communities and we are just the people who administer them. So I would like to thank the minister for establishing this process.

As the member for Timberlea-Prospect said in his recounting of the history of this issue, it did originate in the period leading up to the election, where the Leader of my Party essentially condemned the way in which the school closures were being conducted. In large part, they were little more than railroad operations, and the debate then was more about rural communities because we know that schools lie at the heart of rural communities. We know that young families move into those areas, businesses move in, that new developments are built largely on school communities, they lie at the heart of the community, and if you close those schools it essentially cuts the hearts of those communities out. We know that especially in rural areas we need to do everything possible to make sure that those communities remain viable.

Schools are important not just to rural communities - as we discovered in my constituency of Halifax Citadel, the threatened closure of those three school galvanized the community. I should say at this point that I want to commend the members of my community, especially the Citadel Schools Group that organized so quickly and so effectively to bring their voices to bear on this issue and, with your indulgence, I would like to name them: Waye Mason, Mike Kilfoil, Aubrey Fricker, Doug Clapp, and my own constituency assistant who helped to organize that group in very short order.

We're very happy that the government at the time agreed with our call for a moratorium on school closures. We applaud very much the recommendation of the minister to create this review committee, the creation of the review committee. I must say that at the

[Page 3581]

time we were not particularly enthusiastic about the scope of this committee, its terms of reference, and those scopes were broadened through the process - but we accept and we applaud those recommendations. I want to compliment the co-chairs of that committee, Norma Kennedy and Mike McDougall, for their recommendations. I think their recommendations went a long way to responding to the needs of the community and what groups were saying, particularly in my constituency of Halifax Citadel, which I daresay the issue got the most attention.

I just want to say this by way of introduction for thanking the minister again for her extraordinary efforts in listening to my community and to listening to parents in the community on this issue.

[5:30 p.m.]

As the member opposite said, this bill has a number of very positive measures in it. I believe it is important to have one review process, and that school boards should not be allowed to make up review processes as they go along and as it suits their purposes. I think whether it was intended or not, certainly in Halifax Citadel people were not even aware that a process was underway and that recommendations were going forward. The closure of a community school, schools in a community, should not be a surprise to members of the community. There should be meaningful consultation, there should be extensive consultation, and I think the establishment of one single review process imposes a discipline on school boards, certainly in legislation if not in fact later on.

We agree also with the establishment and the need for clear, objective and transparent evaluative measures for school closures. I'll be saying a little bit more about the measures later on, but I think the general principle behind the bill which seeks to establish these clear, objective, transparent evaluation methods is a noble one and we support that. We also support the idea, the need for a longer process of studying the proposed closures. The previous period of four months was not long enough, and most of the time it was established when schools were closed so that parents and the community did not have enough of an opportunity to mobilize. So we think the one-year process allows for a longer period of reflection and evaluation.

That being said, Mr. Speaker, we still do have some issues with the legislation as it is proposed. We know that we'll have an opportunity to speak to this in Law Amendments Committee when we go through a line-by-line review of it, but I would like to speak in general about the principles that guide our response to this bill.

As it is outlined, the minister in her comments on the bill identified four criteria that would be used for school reviews.

Enrolment patterns, historical and projected, and we know that that, too, is an issue that we will be looking at later on - the projections themselves sometimes are flawed. We

[Page 3582]

know in our case, in Halifax Citadel, the minister's department or the board was projecting one population assumption and the City of Halifax, the HRM, was projecting a completely different one, and there was a pretty significant inconsistency in those two projections - the City of Halifax was projecting a 25,000 increase in population and the board was projecting a decrease. Those numbers are too important to be played around with.

We do appreciate the inclusion of these projected population trends and enrolment patterns and we would like to look, in the Law Amendments Committee, about how these are going to be conducted.

The other criteria, the ability of a school to deliver the public school program - we will be talking about later on - and the operational requirements of the facility. These are the four criteria outlined in the minister's comments.

I would like to add three or four other factors that need to be considered that arose in the discussion of this bill in my constituency and in the public meetings that we organized on this issue. There is no accounting in here, there is no inclusion in here of community needs. We know that in inner city schools particularly, but also in rural schools, that because these schools lie at the heart of the community they also provide other services. They provide after-school care, child care, recreation, lifelong learning, English as a second language - these schools are not just places where students go during the day and then leave, these schools provide the infrastructure for community activity. We should include - we must include - in that criteria what purpose this school serves in its broadest sense. If the closure of that school will mean the elimination of those services, then we need to take that into consideration.

So in considering a school for closure, we have to include the other government departments, particularly Community Services, and Health Promotion and Protection, because those schools, the excess space or the available space could well be used. Earlier in the last session I commended the minister for what her department is doing at St. Pat's, where there is some surplus space and a centre for youth at risk and juvenile justice has been set up and the school continues to function quite effectively. As far as I know the program is working very well. So I would suggest to the minister that we do need to include these kinds of community needs where important vital social community services could be served in that space.

We also need to look at the municipal and community economic development needs. More and more we see, and we heard in our travels across rural Nova Scotia that rural communities would like a more educated population; they would like skilled workers. They would like to have a place where they could provide for lifelong learning and training, that many businesses come because the community school is there, and we need to add economic development potential and its contributions to economic development.

[Page 3583]

Health promotion is another issue, Mr. Speaker. In my constituency of Halifax Citadel three schools were going to be closed and 700 elementary school students would be required to go to this school, and the criteria for determining whether one would get bus transportation or not - and I daresay that the provision of bus transportation to these elementary school students is not really a service, that it's important for health promotion reasons that students and their parents be given the opportunity to walk to school, that that plays quite a significant role in promoting the health of the students.

The distance from a school, the distance that a student has to walk also affects the building of community; many communities, many family friendships, many social connections are built by parents who hang around the schoolyard because they've walked their children to school. That's how people make friends and that's what builds community. The presence of these local schools in these communities help, these are the bonds that build and bind communities together. My point here is that we need to think about health promotion when we're thinking about the distance between school populations and their schools. So, in general, what I'm saying to the minister is that this bill is wonderful in the criteria that it sets out, but perhaps the criteria need to be broadened to include community needs broadly defined.

I know the minister, from conversations with her and in her public comments, is aware of these and is sympathetic to them, but we would like to see some more attention paid to these broader needs.

I wanted to say something also about the process of consultation. One of the things we've learned in this debate is that communities do want to be consulted and communities do want to be consulted meaningfully. I don't think that process that led to the recommendations to close the schools in my community were based on anything that could be considered meaningful consultation, and this bill goes some way towards addressing that gap in the system, but there are questions there as well on the comprehensiveness of the consultation itself.

There is a question about school advisory committees and to what extent they will be consulted. Many schools don't have school advisory committees and there's a concern there that the community will not be consulted meaningfully if there isn't the structure in place for meaningful consultation. So we would very much like to see more detail in terms of what constitutes effective and meaningful and timely consultation on these issues. If my constituency of Halifax Citadel sounds skeptical and suspicious about the process of consultation, it's because they have good reason to be so, and without questioning the motives of the minister herself, and I think this will correct some of that and maybe help assuage some of the concerns of the members of my community. The point is that we do have to have a process that is meaningful, that's broad based, that's transparent, that's timely. We do not expect this to be in the legislation itself, but we expect to see that in the regulations.

[Page 3584]

There's also a concern about the weight of the study committee's report. We know that one can go through the process of consulting with the community and then set it aside. There's nothing in this legislation that says the community matters or the study committee's report matters. Perhaps it may be too strong to say that the committee's recommendation should be binding, because we would like the minister and elected officials to have a say in it, but, at the same time, we would like to see the community's opinion carry a significant weight in this process.

I'd also like to say something about consolidations. This legislation goes some way towards correcting that gap. The regulations, as they were drafted previously, said that school consolidations did not have to go through that process. The assumption there was that because schools were being consolidated, then they weren't being closed. In my constituency, three schools were closed, slated for closure and consolidation, and the board argued that, really, there wasn't any need for a thorough consultative process, there wasn't any need to involve the parents of the community because these schools were not really being closed, they were consolidated, never mind they were going from schools of 200 and 300 to schools of 700, and that students would be required to walk up to two kilometres.

So, the inclusion of school consolidations and the requirement that this review process apply to consolidations, I think is a great step forward, and I commend the minister for including consolidations in that process.

That's not to say that we agree with the creation of big-box schools. We believe that big-box schools are a retrograde step, that big-box schools do very little to contribute to the education of students, particularly elementary school students.We need to keep the educational goals in mind when we're looking at the bottom line. We also know that big-box schools in Halifax Citadel - for example, two schools were consolidated, are in the process of being consolidated, St. Pat's and Queen Elizabeth. In that process we've lost gyms, in fact, the new school does not even have an auditorium. Consolidation has meant the loss of facilities to the students and to the community. So in no way are we condoning the creation of these consolidated schools, but we do appreciate the inclusion and we applaud the inclusion of consolidations and the extension of the review process to consolidated schools.

Before I close, Mr. Speaker, I would like to note that we would like some clarification on the status of existing review processes. The minister, in her conversations with me and public comments, has said that this bill, these amendments would apply to schools that are currently under review. I wanted to, if I may, comment on her press release relating to this. The minister said: I want to reiterate what I said in February about the school reviews that were held in abeyance in 2006. School boards wishing to continue those reviews must start the process anew. These new reviews would be conducted under the new process established by these proposed amendments and the resulting changes to the associated regulations.

[Page 3585]

I know that we can probably do this later on, but the bill reads: "For greater certainty, this Act does not apply to public schools for which consideration for permanent closure has been completed and a decision to close has been made before this Act comes into force." There is a significant amount of ambiguity between those two statements, and I received a number of calls overnight from parents who were wondering why that discrepancy is there in the legislation. They would want to be reassured that those schools that are currently under review and where a decision may or may not have been reached, using this flawed process, the illegitimate process, and they want confirmation from the minister that those schools, including the three schools in Halifax Citadel, will be required to go through the new review process if the school board decides that they do want to review those schools again. But we would like some confirmation on that.

[5:45 p.m.]

So in closing, I would like to again thank the minister for bringing this legislation forward, for seeing this difficult process through and while we agree in general with the principles that underlie this bill, we will have a lot more to say about it when this bill comes forward for review at Law Amendments Committee later on. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I, too, am very pleased to have an opportunity to stand in my place and speak to Bill No. 145, the amendments to the Education Act with respect to school review and school closure, amalgamation, whatever we are going to call it now.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member permit an introduction?

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel on an introduction.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my enthusiasm for responding to this bill, I neglected to note the presence in the gallery of my son Ben. This is his first appearance in the gallery and he is very shy and I appreciate him being here. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and welcome to Ben in the gallery. This is actually probably one of the most important pieces of legislation we have had to discuss for some time. I find the approach that's been taken by the two-person panel appointed by the Minister of Education on this review is just a very constructive and respectful approach. I would like to open my comments by thanking Norma

[Page 3586]

Kennedy and Mike MacDougall for the work they did with respect to consulting on what a school review process should look like.

I had, Mr. Speaker, the privilege of appearing one evening at one of the meetings they held, with a number of my colleagues over in Dartmouth. In my time both outside of politics and since being in this House, I have had an opportunity to present in many forums, in front of many consultative kinds of groups and I have to say that I found the chairpeople of that process very well informed, very respectful of the presenters. They established an excellent process. I know that I and others felt not only listened to but we felt heard, especially when we saw the recommendations that they brought forward. I want to say thank you and I would like very much to have that reflected on the record.

Mr. Speaker, shortly after I was elected, schools in the area that I represent, which is Halifax Needham, the north and a little bit of central Halifax, were identified for school closures. That experience was a new experience for me. As someone who has never had children in the school system, I hadn't had the occasion to participate in those processes before, but I have to tell you it was one of the most frustrating and really illogical, irrational processes that I had ever been through.

There were a number of schools that are both in the constituency that I represent or schools that parents who live in my constituency sent their children to and as the member of the Legislature for the area, I was approached by people to help them negotiate this process, and it was quite an eye opener.

The member for Timberlea-Prospect talked about a little history lesson, taking you on a tour of some of his experiences and I won't get into a long, drawn out history lesson, I know the hour is growing late, but the kinds of problems in the process were characterized, I would say, by information that was erroneous, the board had information on the use of the school, the space in a school, really, even the number of children in attendance in the programs was often incomplete or erroneous, there were no site visits to a school by the people who were preparing the reports. Sometimes we wondered if the information we were reading was about the school that we knew in the community because it bore no resemblance.

Principals weren't allowed to provide any information to parents who were attempting to find a way to develop their response to the school closure process and the study that had been done. The educational features of the school weren't taken into consideration, so we literally, in my constituency, had a situation where a school that had a high enrolment, that was certainly perceived by the community as being a well-functioning school, educationally as well as socially, was slated to close while a school that was in serious crisis, high teacher turnover, low attendance, low graduation rates, was not slated to close, wasn't up for review.

[Page 3587]

The reason we were given when we raised this question was it was all about square footage and the utility of square footage. We were thinking, schools aren't about space, they're about education, they're about educating our kids, they're not about space. We really were frustrated by the criteria that were being used that never took into consideration the educational features of a particular school, vis-à-vis other schools in the area.

The other thing - and several of my colleagues have spoken to this - is the community use of the schools, the fact that one of the schools, Joseph Howe School, that was being looked at for closure, had a developmental centre, one of the few child care and early childhood learning centres in this city, for children who are developmentally delayed. This particular centre has been in this school for many years and the centre has, in fact, invested heavily in renovations in their area of the school, the special playground area and what have you. For the families who use that centre and for the community who supported that centre, to be confronted with a decision in which they had no consideration, the fact that they were in this school didn't even appear in any of the studies for the proposed closure of Joseph Howe was not only frustrating, it was hurtful. It was hurtful and certainly for many people practically insulting and certainly for parents with children with developmental disabilities.

Mr. Speaker, in that process my community learned a lot about the problems with the school review process. You know in this debate what sometimes gets lost because the debate has focused so - I think it has focused largely on rural and small communities around the province. What has, I think, sometimes been lost is the fact that even in the urban centres the sense of community is often defined by the neighbourhood that you live in and that's defined by the school that the children attend. Certainly in my constituency there are strong neighbourhoods that are organized around their neighbourhood schools, schools like St. Stephen's Elementary School in the North End of Halifax, or Joseph Howe, as I've indicated, Alexander McKay, St. Joseph's Alexander McKay, a school that survived the Halifax explosion and you're not going to find a school that's much more rooted in the history of this province than that school.

So the very idea that these schools would be identified for closure, with a flawed information base and a process that disadvantages the participation of the parents and the community and doesn't take into consideration all of the attributes that people are concerned about, including the educational component, is certainly something that we were concerned about and we brought to Ms. Kennedy and Mr. MacDougall through their process. So I'm very pleased that the minister has listened to the consultation process and brought forward the various recommendations that they made that are here in this House.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. With the lateness of tonight's debate, would the honourable member consider adjourning the debate and return to this debate on a future day?

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Absolutely. I move that we adjourn the debate.

[Page 3588]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is to adjourn the debate and return to this debate on a future day.

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

The motion is carried.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. That concludes the government's business for today. I move that the House be adjourned to sit again tomorrow, commenting at 1:00 p.m until 6:00 p.m. The order of business, beginning at 1:00 p.m., the Minister of Finance will present the Budget, followed by the daily routine and, if time permits, Public Bills for Second Reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is for the House to rise and meet again tomorrow at the hour of 1:00 p.m.

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

The motion is carried.

[6:00 p.m.]

We have arrived at the moment of interruption. The adjournment debate has been chosen, as announced earlier. It was submitted by the honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park:

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Government immediately address the potential closure of the Cape Breton Fossil Museum and with consultation implement a long-term strategy to ensure its continued success.

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE (5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to rise and talk about this resolution but with a great deal of, I guess, bewilderment and somewhat puzzled as to why we are talking about this topic to begin with. I, for the life of me, can't understand why this government has decided they don't want any kind of relationship with the Cape Breton Fossil Centre and they decided to just wipe their hands of what's happening with the fossil centre.

[Page 3589]

There are some facts that should be made known about this. The Cape Breton Fossil Centre has been operated by the Sydney Mines Heritage Society since the year 2002. In 2003, the then Premier, John Hamm, and the MLA for Cape Breton North, visited the proposed site of the centre. There was a commitment made on behalf of the provincial government for $200,000 to go towards the construction and operation costs of the centre. There was a business plan put together, both then Premier John Hamm and the MLA for the area received copies, and construction began.

Then the head of the centre, Mr. Jim Tobin, was informed the centre would only receive $50,000 and the remainder of the money would have to be obtained through other means. The dollar amount has changed on several occasions - as a matter of fact, regional council was brought into the equation here and asked if they could offer about $81,000 to go towards the centre and the province would do the same. That dollar amount was in addition to what the municipality had already done for the fossil centre - they gave them the train station, they purchased the land it was on and they gave them about $3,000 for repairs.

The centre ended up only receiving about $81,000 of the $200,000 that it needed. There was another commitment made just last year to the fossil centre. The centre requested $141,000 - now the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage referred to this in Question Period today and said that request had never come across his desk. It's my understanding that request was made to the MLA for the area, to the current Premier of the government, and at one time, as I understand it, to the former Tourism Minister who is now the current Premier of the government.

That member - the current Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage now - may not have seen that request, but that request did exist. That request was made and members of his government know that request was made. It's not a question of whether or not that request was made, the request was never honoured. That's the problem and that's the problem we're now facing. The money never came forward - the government made a financial promise and did not provide the funding that the centre needed.

Now, Mr. Speaker, what's troublesome here is that throughout this entire ordeal the Sydney Mines Heritage Society has used some of their operational funds to help keep the fossil centre going, to keep it running - they wouldn't have had to do that if there was provincial funding. The Sydney Mines Heritage Society and the Cape Breton Fossil Centre now are going to be forced to close next month and right now, I don't know, I think it's up in the air as to what's going to happen with the fossils and the artifacts that relate to the history of the mining of that area.(Interruption) A member over on the other side tells me they'll be okay. I guess I'll take his word.

Some of these fossils, as I understand it, are copyrighted. Some of them have specific meaning to the area; some of them have specific meaning to the province. They're an important piece of history to a coal mining area such as Sydney Mines - and other coal mining areas as well, that surround it.

[Page 3590]

Let's get to the crux of the problem here. I can't understand why a centre such as this, that's located in a riding that is held by a government member, is in such a fight with the government to obtain funding for its museum, for its centre.

AN HON. MEMBER: Perplexing.

MR. DAVID WILSON(Glace Bay): It's more than perplexing - usually we're standing in our places here asking, why is such-and-such a facility or whatever receiving so much funding because it's located in a government riding? Or, why does it have more pavement? - you know, the usual way we go.

But the response here to date, and including today, has been that, well, they had provided funding, but they haven't provided the funding that was requested and the funding that's there is not adequate enough to keep the fossil centre open. So you're left with closure by the end of next month.

Again I refer, Mr. Speaker, you know, our Critic for Tourism, Culture and Heritage in the Liberal caucus, the MLA for Annapolis, rose today and spoke about the importance of the fossil centre and the letters that we've received, and the letters that have been received from various school children in the area saying that they toured the museum and how great it was, you know, encouraging people to go to visit the centre to see what's there. So I'm glad that this has come forward at this point in time because it's probably, as I said, it's puzzling. It's a little bit worrisome, it's troublesome, because I can't understand why, and I would at this time like to table some correspondence that the head of the heritage museum, Mr. Jim Tobin, had between the former Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage and also between then-Premier John Hamm.

I'll table that, Mr. Speaker, for the members to take a look at. It refers in that correspondence to the funding that was promised and the funding that was received. So we're left with a topic that we're talking about as to whether or not it's the right thing to keep the centre open. I can't find anybody except the government, and in particular the member for that area, who disagrees that it's not a good idea to keep that centre open. At the bottom of the pile, but at the heart of the story, perhaps is the answer - politics.

Politics, Mr. Speaker, perhaps because this centre was funded first of all by a Liberal Government and perhaps because - I'll take it another step further - a former Liberal candidate in that area is involved with, I believe, the board of directors of the heritage museum and perhaps because there was a large amount of federal funding by the current MP for the area, Mr. Mark Eyking. Perhaps because of all of that, and this has been - I know I would like to deal with facts but this certainly has been on the rumour mill back home - that because of all the politics mixed in here, we're not seeing the provincial government involvement here and perhaps explains the strange reaction of a government member in a government riding as to why he wouldn't help out.

[Page 3591]

I know when we talk here, sometimes we talk in tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars, we tend to make it think like it doesn't mean a lot, but I mean what we're talking about here, it's pretty minuscule compared to what some of the actual totals that we deal with in this Legislature, but it would mean a lot, number one, to the people, of course, of the Heritage Society, the people who operate the centre, and the people of the area. This is an important piece of culture and history to Sydney Mines and surrounding area as I said. It's not just school children or people from Sydney Mines who visit that area and not to mention what it would add to tourism, the tourism impact that it would have to have such a centre.

I know from having the Miners Museum located in Glace Bay what a tremendous asset that could be to your community and, you know, with the proper funding and modernization, the museum in Glace Bay hopes to keep increasing its numbers. I can't see why that wouldn't be the case if the continued operation was guaranteed by this government, Mr. Speaker, in the case of the Sydney Mines and the Cape Breton Fossil Centre and the Sydney Mines Heritage Society.

So, Mr. Speaker, again, I'm glad that this is up for debate here tonight and I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of the speakers tonight and perhaps to hearing an explanation of exactly why this government is not following through on its commitment to the Cape Breton Fossil Centre.

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

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, as is the case in this House, it's not often the member who would be the Speaker would rise and speak to this. However, people have chosen to talk about a subject that is important and it's within my constituency and I feel it incumbent upon me that I rise to my feet tonight to talk about some of the realities around this particular centre and the situation that other people have found themselves in and are lashing out against the provincial government when, indeed, maybe we need to go back to a little bit of history here. I've heard the member for Glace Bay have his account of this but it's not the real account of what has occurred.

It is interesting to see Liberal members talk about politics being played in Nova Scotia - the politics being played with this. Well, I do remember politics being played because I remember when the federal government made the announcement - that's right, the provincial government wasn't invited. In fact, we were asked not to be there for that announcement to detract from the federal member getting the glory because this was their centre, that they were the rising star and hallelujah, an epiphany hit Mark Eyking and all of a sudden, he had the woes solved for the future of the community. Well, the community is still waiting for that member to decide what he's going to do.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Glace Bay on a point of order.

[Page 3592]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I have to tell you, this is unprecedented in this Legislature that a Speaker of the House of Assembly who has been given an impartial job as Speaker of this Legislature would stand during a late debate and make the kind of comments that have just been made. I would go further as to say that perhaps that would call into question the impartiality of the Speaker in this case. I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to look into that matter immediately. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I will take that matter under advisement, honourable member. I will return to the current speaker.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'll show no impartiality when it comes to Cape Breton North and the interests of that community and I will not be impartial here tonight because that member has chosen to raise a matter that he could have raised outside of this House before or after this session and I feel a responsibility on behalf of the responsible citizens of my community within Cape Breton, that care enough to stand up and want the truth to be told.

I have heard misinformation from the member for Glace Bay, that's a reality. What he stated here is not the reality of the file of the case.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay on a point of order.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I feel compelled to rise in my seat when I've been challenged with putting false information before this House. Again, I'm being challenged by the Speaker of this House - an unprecedented move. This is calling into question all sorts of things.

Mr. Speaker, I don't know, maybe perhaps you can explain it to me now, but I just can't believe that this is happening right now, that I'm being called into question by the Speaker of this Legislature.

MR. SPEAKER: The member makes a very good point. I will take it under advisement and report to the honourable member on a future day. Thank you.

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, the member for Cape Breton North takes exception to the member for Glace Bay, that's the reality of the dispute here because he can't take the fact that he decides to put a one-sided debate forward and a perspective about my constituency and a file within my constituency, and he can't handle the fact that the Liberal politics around this - interestingly enough, no politics. Well, a Liberal leadership candidate brought it forward as a resolution in this House; another Liberal leadership candidate, that's right, brought it up during Question Period.

Interestingly enough, at the time, with this announcement, it was great that the member of Parliament - oh, I remember being told by many people, that's right, because the

[Page 3593]

member of Parliament at the time introduced the Liberal candidate of the day as the next MLA for Cape Breton North and that was two elections ago. If the Liberals want to talk about politics, yes, there is politics related to this.

The reality is, this province worked in earnest and I, as the local member, have worked in earnest. What's misrepresented is suggesting that there were commitments made, when I know as my privilege as the member for Cape Breton North - and I'll stand on my record any time and people would know - that I've made a commitment in Cape Breton North or to Cape Bretoners, I've lived up to that commitment where I would own up to it otherwise. (Applause)

[6:15 p.m.]

What I don't have is people now saying we made a commitment and it was in writing - well, all of a sudden, no, that's a verbal commitment. All of a sudden it's being skewed to try to make the provincial government look bad when that facility has received the maximum amount. What was not discussed was before the facility was built, that I sat down with the board of directors and talked to them about my concerns about the operating capacity of such a large facility that the federal government was going to fund an historic thing, where they over-fund the capital component of it and the operating is never factored in and left to the province, and now we're bereft of some of the solutions that the federal government had before.

Mr. Speaker, I want to tell you that the provincial government and I, as MLA, worked in earnest to make sure we explored opportunities. They've received everything they're eligible for, they have received more than that in terms of the goodwill to try to partner on that.

Mr. Speaker, as you know and as the member would know, I was pleased as a member of this government to put money into the Miners' Museum, I was pleased to put money into Glace Bay, into Cape Breton South, in the Old Sydney Society, I was pleased to work in North Sydney. I have not been biased against any heritage project in Cape Breton because we are committed to making sure we grow the culture and heritage component of Cape Breton. So I've had no bias about which community this government or as I and a member previous in this government, as a minister, was happy to fund and I did not put geographic boundaries around that.

If people want to talk about politics being played, let's get into this. I have been on the record in the media, I have been in the media with regards to, where is the information? I have asked time after time for the financial information so that the minister could actually make an interpretation on that and time after time it is not presented other than it is available to the federal government. Well, why didn't the provincial government have that information? If it was the case, then that member would be presenting us with that case

[Page 3594]

today. He has no numbers to offer. He has talked about what was promised, but he has nothing presented to us to suggest that they have dealt with this.

Mr. Speaker, they want to go on and the Liberal caucus right now and raise an issue within Cape Breton North. I'll say to that member that this - my integrity as a member for Cape Breton North - supersedes my duties as Speaker because I have an obligation to people of that constituency and I'll honour it any day because you are bereft of things. Mr. Speaker, there may be a need for a fossil centre in Nova Scotia and it is for all the old, ailing, Liberal politicians who find themselves leadership after leadership - and we may have to fund that because that might be an appropriate fossil centre for the Province of Nova Scotia and I think we'd actually get a unanimous vote on that particular matter before the House.

In all seriousness, what we have, Mr. Speaker, is the reality of a centre that found itself beyond its capacity to operate and has blamed the provincial level of government as its reason for not being able to operate when those concerns were clearly laid out, when the amount of money eligible has received to the maximum that would be eligible for a community museum of that size.

So how is it, all of a sudden, that we are at fault with that, other than people who have interests? If the community wants to continue, Mr. Speaker, it is about looking at alternatives, looking at what may be feasible, but right now there is over-capacity that is there and they have to look at what the options are within the framework of the funding available or other programs of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

So, Mr. Speaker, I'd be pleased any time to account for my actions and my responsibilities on behalf of the people of Cape Breton North. But for the member for Glace Bay to talk about my other duties in this House - and if I have never been impartial in sitting in the Chair as Speaker, then I ask him to stand and challenge - I guess he has challenged and you'll rule on that, Mr. Speaker, and I'll be impartial with regards to that.

If your ruling is such that I've been inappropriate, then I'll accept that ruling no different than I'll accept my accountability to the people of Cape Breton North as a member of the Progressive Conservative Government, Mr. Speaker. I will not deter from the rabbit tracks that he is trying to throw on the floor of the House, again because he is trying to chip away because he is talking again about a Liberal deal. Well, the Liberal deal for Cape Breton North was a bad deal and the Liberal squeal from Glace Bay is still a bad squeal we hear in this Legislature here tonight. So . . .

MR. SPEAKER: On a point of order, the honourable member for Glace Bay.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Well, Mr. Speaker, I'll have you rule on something else, too. I think that my rights and privileges as a member of this House are now being ignored and any other adjective you can use right now, by the member for Cape Breton

[Page 3595]

North and I'd ask you to look into the use of his language right now and what he just said. I would appreciate that as well.

As the member for Glace Bay, I'll put my integrity up against the member for Cape Breton North any day, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

The honourable member for Cape Breton North.

MR. CLARKE: Well, Mr. Speaker, if the word squeal has resonated negatively, then I can only go to the cause of how he interpreted it but it wasn't the way I had said it and I regret it if that be the case.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member's time has expired.

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think that's the most heated late debate I've witnesses so far since 2003. I don't know if I've stepped into the middle of a political tug or war or what. I think there's a bigger picture here. Certainly there is an issue with the Cape Breton Fossil Museum and on November 8th I did question the government on that issue. Certainly they're part of a bigger picture which we've seen come out in the government's own, Our Heritage Future: A Shared Responsibility, Recommendations for Nova Scotia's Heritage Strategy and Voluntary Planning document.

So that's what I'm going to be highlighting here tonight. This was a lot of good work done by a lot of great volunteers and they've put their hearts and souls into this, 11 volunteers who held 22 community meetings and received over 500 written submissions. I guess what we can say is we certainly can hope that the Cape Breton Fossil Centre certainly is not stuck in the middle of some kind of a political problem, but I would like to speak about some facts that we do know.

We've seen, in fact, in our January 2007 key tourism indicators that the visitation to our Nova Scotia Museum is down around 12 per cent, even back then, and we do know that the funding to our museums and our art galleries in Nova Scotia has taken cuts over the years to the tune of $1 million in 2004-05. It's hard to come back from funding cuts like that. There have been cuts to our community museums and this has forced some of our community museums to actually compete against each other annually for this pot of money. So what they're hoping for is long-term stable funding in the future. The Voluntary Planning group, the 11 volunteers who were on that, actually have an executive summary at the front of this book which really summarizes a lot of the problems that they heard about when they travelled around the province.

[Page 3596]

They do believe, in fact, Mr. Speaker, that provincial funding in heritage can yield some excellent social and economic returns and that tourists are attracted by what makes us unique in our province and what makes us interesting and, of course, that is our heritage. They have said, of course, that heritage contributes greatly to our quality of life here in Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, the problem is that those benefits have not been fully realized in Nova Scotia. They have made 59 recommendations in this booklet in 16 subject areas.

One of the ones they really strike on that I'm going to talk about tonight, and I probably will run out of time, is they would like to see a well-resourced museum system that could actually contribute to the social and economic well-being of our province, that could do this by educating and entertaining tourists and others who come into the province and people who live here. Unfortunately, despite the valued efforts of our people who work in our heritage sector, the Nova Scotia museums are falling short of fulfilling that kind of potential.

Budgets have stayed the same or decreased steadily over the years. Museums have actually closed and others are facing the same fate across the province. Some that were open all year now have to close because they simply can't afford to heat the buildings. Workers are being laid off across the province. Their hours are cut back in order to keep the doors of the museum open. They're poorly compensated. The training budgets are very small and there are no plans to replace the experts that exist in our province right now. Curators are out there fundraising instead of what they should be doing, which is adding to the collection, preserving and interpreting things for the people of our province and our tourists.

Maintenance problems, roofs that can't be fixed, schools that are cutting back on field trips, there's too great a reliance on volunteers right now. We've got an aging volunteer sector. Volunteers are harder to recruit. There's a problem with project funding and they need to have that replaced with operational funding on a consistent basis across the province. They are having a problem keeping up with the technology in their field and the conservation labs are virtually non-existent. So far, you know, it's basically all bad news, if you look at this document, in their executive summary - that's just a summary. They do believe that government should review and restructure the Nova Scotia Museum framework within the next year and that there should be substantial ongoing investments that would be needed to make a long-term commitment in these collections, the management interpretation of them, and the innovation that's needed in that sector.

The Nova Scotia Museum faces a dire situation in virtually all aspects of their work. They've got over 900,000 artifacts and specimens and they have no conservation lab or a budget to preserve those objects. That is a sad fact.

The curatorial staff has also steadily decreased in numbers and there's been no substantial new investment made in the restructuring of the Nova Scotia Museum. Our community museums, which really sometimes are maybe one of the few tourism draws in a community - we currently have 66 of these museums and they share less than $1 million

[Page 3597]

in funding from the province through the Community Museum Assistance Program. Those amounts range anywhere from $64,000 a year to as low as $659 annually.

We need new facilities that need to be added on. What is happening is we've got new facilities that are being added on, but the money is not following them. The province is allowing new facilities to open and this is what it sounds like one of the issues today is, a facility opened but there was no continuation of long-term money flowing. Why build them if you're not going to allow the money to flow through?

There are some recommendations involved here with the museums. The strategy is that they believe they should create a museum working group whose mandate is to develop an interpretive plan for the province and restructure Nova Scotia's framework for museums. They would like to identify the heritage centerpieces across the province at former networks of significant museums that are owned by the provincial government and identify the year-round, regionally significant country regional heritage facilities which are supported by the province and also identify those community museums that should be supported by the Community Museum Assistance Program in partnership with municipal grants and also to increase funding to the restructured Nova Scotia Museum so they can carry out their mandate.

They would like us to establish and staff a provincial conservation lab, freeze the current list of museums that do get funding under the Community Museum Assistance Program until Nova Scotia Museum's framework has been restructured and add new ones only as the funding increases. I think this is a problem that we got ourselves into. They would like to make the Passage Project a permanent addition to the Community Museum Assistance Program.

So, in wrapping up, I'd like to say that when our caucus was presented with, not this document, but the interim one, I did have some questions, we all did. One of the things I would have liked to see in here was - although they're volunteers and they've worked awfully hard to make this document - timelines. There are a few timelines, like, from a year from now, but there's no monetary specific amounts attached to it. This is why we need this new framework and this is why we need a new mandate across the province so that we really have a long-term plan that we can move forward on. With that, I will take my seat. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: I'd like to thank all the honourable members for having taken part in tonight's late debate. The motion for adjournment has been made.

The House will now rise and sit again tomorrow at the hour of 1:00 p.m. Thank you.

[The House rose at 6:29 p.m.]

[Page 3598]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2060

By: Hon. Barry Barnet (Communications Nova Scotia )

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

Whereas the Canadian Community Newspaper Association is made up of more than 700 English language newspapers and dedicated to excellence with a combined circulation of more than 12 million newspapers across Canada; and

Whereas the Annapolis County Spectator has been recognized by the association for having the best front page in 2006 for newspapers in Canada with a circulation between 1,250 and 1,999 while finishing second in the category of Best All-round Newspaper, second only to the Fort MacLeod, Alberta Gazette; and

Whereas the Annapolis County Spectator will be both recognized and honoured at the Canadian Community Newspaper Association's Better Newspaper Competition Gala Awards Banquet on the evening of May 11th in Winnipeg, Manitoba;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the dynamic work ethic and creativity of editorial staff at the Annapolis County Spectator for being recognized as one of the leading community newspapers with a circulation of between 1,250 and 1,999 anywhere in Canada.

RESOLUTION NO. 2061

By: David Wilson (Glace Bay)

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

Whereas members of the Hometown Metro Bees recently competed and won the Glace Bay Peewee Hockey Tournament; and

Whereas coaches for the Hometown Metro Bees Peewee hockey team are Aubrey Cameron, Donald MacQueen and Steve Deveaux; and

Whereas members of the Hometown Metro Bees are; Cameron Gilmet, Justin Lynk, Taylor Cameron, Cody Baxter, Curtis Matheson, Brad MacDonald, Ernie Jewells, Brandon Gilmet, Mark Kelland, Tyler Southwell, Cody McNeil, Alan Currie, Jake MacDonald, Robert MacQueen and Ryan Orr;

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Therefore be it resolved that Members of the House of Assembly congratulate both the members of the Hometown Metro Bees Peewee hockey team and their coaches for a job well done.

RESOLUTION NO. 2062

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Michael Doherty of Ship's Company Theatre captured the award for Outstanding Sound Design/Original Score for his haunting compositions and beautiful sound scape for Daniel Lillford's "The Mystery of Maddy Heisler"; and

Whereas Ship's Company Theatre's 2006 productions took home two awards during the annual Robert E. Merritt Awards Ceremony on March 19th; and

Whereas Michael Doherty was honoured for his work at the ceremony, which was held at the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth with nearly a dozen staff, board members and friends of Ship's Company Theatre from the Parrsboro region attending the festivities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Michael Doherty on this prestigious award and wish him continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2063

By: Leo Glavine (Kings West)

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

Whereas Alex Braden, a West Kings graduate of 2003 and a native of South Berwick, Kings county, is now an ROTP cadet at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, in his fourth and final year with a combined study in chemistry and political science; and

Whereas while serving as aide-de-camp to RMC Commandant Brigadier-General Jocelyn Lacroix, he helped to organize and travel with an RMC delegation to Calgary where Alex Braden was given the opportunity to sing both the Canadian and American national anthems at a Calgary Flames game; and

Whereas after a May 2007 graduation, and additional training, Alex Braden plans to be an Electrical Mechanical Engineering officer (EME), a distinctively army occupation;

[Page 3600]

Therefore be it resolved that Members of the House of Assembly extend congratulations and best wishes to South Berwick native, Alex Braden, in his current and future efforts within the Canadian Armed Forces and beyond.

RESOLUTION NO. 2064

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas John Mitchell of Springhill is a hero in the eyes of his community and certainly to the family and friends of a man whom John assisted; and

Whereas on February 21, 2007, John Mitchell arrived at the home of his friend to return a tool that he had borrowed, and found his friend collapsed on the floor of his garage where he had been working on his vehicle; and

Whereas his friend had left the vehicle running and the fumes had overpowered him, he tried to get out of the garage, but collapsed before he could get out - John pulled him from the building and called for assistance that saved his life;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate John Mitchell on his quick actions that saved his friend's life and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2065

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas the Oxford Area Skating Club's Star Skaters skated to gold at the 2007 Skating Fest in Amherst recently, skating to River Dance; and

Whereas the club's skaters brought home two gold, a silver and a bronze showing their talent and dedicated hard work throughout the year; and

Whereas the Star Skaters members are Andrea Dorn, Virginia King, Nicola Baldwin, Emily Rushton, Cara Wood, Megan Purdy, Kendra Mattinson, Chelsea Miller, Jillian Gordon and Taya Bragg;

[Page 3601]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the members of the Oxford Area Skating Club's Star Skaters on this outstanding achievement and we wish them continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2066

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Kathryn Hickman of Oxford was crowned Miss Congeniality at the 2007 Oxford Volunteer Fire Department's Winter Carnival; and

Whereas Kathryn is the 9 year old daughter of Ken and Norma Hickman and she is a Grade 3 student at Oxford Elementary School; and

Whereas Kathryn's outgoing attitude and friendly ways earned her the much deserved title of Miss Congeniality;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kathryn Hickman on this outstanding honour and we wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2067

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Kate Scallion of Wentworth, Cumberland County, is a proud member of a hard-working and dedicated group of athletes that represented Nova Scotia in the 2007 Canada Winter Games; and

Whereas Kate represented our province in the Cross Country Skiing division for team Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the 2007 Canada Winter Games celebrated its 40th Anniversary this year and was hosted by Whitehorse;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kate Scallion on this outstanding honour and we wish her continued success in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2068

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas William (Bill) Adshade of Springhill has been nicknamed "Bill the Builder" for the work he's done helping construct homes for the poor in El Salvador and once again Bill is picking up building equipment and packing his bags; and

Whereas Bill has been helping the poor with new homes in El Salvador for five years in a row hoping this year to build seven more homes with his team; and

Whereas Bill and his team's passion is to provide homes to these people who desperately need them and he is honoured that he is a part of this team that makes such a difference in the lives of these people who are so grateful that they have become a part of Bill's family;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Bill Adshade on the incredible and much needed work that he is doing to help the poor in El Salvador in which to have homes to raise their families and we wish him and his team many years of success as they do this important work.

RESOLUTION NO. 2069

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Murray Meldrum was honoured at an annual banquet as he stepped down after serving 16 years as Chief of the Southampton Volunteer Fire Department; and

Whereas Murray actually served for over 26 years with the department, 16 as chief, giving unselfishly of his time and service to the community; and

Whereas the Southampton Volunteer Fire Department honoured him by paying special tribute to him and presenting him with a plaque and a gift to show their appreciation for his many years of service;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Murray Meldrum on his 26 years of service to the Southampton Volunteer Fire Department and we wish him many years of health and happiness.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2070

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas the River Hebert Fire Department has been serving the people of this area for 60 years; and

Whereas these many volunteers, the ladies auxiliary and the community have supported their efforts which has saved this area millions of dollars in loss of property and also loss of life; and

Whereas their leadership and efforts are appreciated by all residents;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the River Hebert Volunteer Fire Department on the occasion of their 60th Anniversary and we thank them for their many years of service.

RESOLUTION NO. 2071

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Hinson Steeves, a native of Joggins and a Second World War veteran received a medal from the Russian Government for his part in serving with the Allied Forces and supporting the Russian war effort; and

Whereas Steeves and all of Canada's Merchant Navy was vital to the Allied cause during the Second World War as its ships transported desperately needed equipment, fuel, goods and personnel to Europe and around the world; and

Whereas despite the dangers and hardships faced by the convoys sailing the Murmansk Run, the Allies were unanimous in their desire to keep the Soviet Union in the fight;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Hinson Steeves on receiving this outstanding and well-deserved award and we wish him many years of good health and peace.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2072

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Katelyn Moore, a Grade 12 student at Oxford Regional High School, entered and came out the winner in the northern region for Grade 12 division of the Nova Scotia Recycles Contest; and

Whereas for her win, Katelyn was honoured with a $1,500.00 scholarship to any post-secondary institution; and

Whereas Katelyn did her project on ways that people all across the province can help reduce the amount of garbage each year and had many ideas on how people can do this;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Katelyn Moore on this outstanding achievement and we wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2073

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas the Springhill High Golden Eagles, three-time defending provincial champions, posted victories over Guysborough, Musquodoboit and Hants North to claim its ninth regional championship in 10 years and seventh consecutive; and

Whereas the Golden Eagles will now advance to the NSSAF III Championship to be held in Shelburne; and

Whereas scoring members of the Golden Eagles are Teesha Symes, Kathryn MacDonald, Alissa Quinn, Hilary Burbine, Brittany Barton, Shauna Ryan, Lacey Rushton, Sam McCormick and Tiffany Hunter;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Springhill High Golden Eagles on this outstanding achievement and we wish them luck in all future games.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2074

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas the Springhill High Golden Eagles earned victories over several other high school basketball teams to claim its own 16th annual Tournament of Hearts in February; and

Whereas the event, which saw three teams competing for the title, was a round robin affair where Springhill beat out Pugwash and Amherst teams; and

Whereas Kathryn MacDonald poured in 31 points; Lacey Rushton hooped 10; Teesha Symes hooped eight; Shauna Ryan, five; Brittany Barton, four; Tiffany Hunter, three; Courtney Sauveur, two; and Alissa Quinn with one; sending them to victory over the Amherst team;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Springhill High Golden Eagles on winning the Tournament of Hearts and we wish the team continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2075

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Tamara McKinnon, a Grade 2 student at River Hebert Elementary School, was one of many students who participated in the spelling bee held to celebrate Literacy Day in River Hebert; and

Whereas Tamara was presented with the first place certificate for Grade 2 students showing her hard work and determination; and

Whereas all the students took on the challenge to study all the words, understanding the importance of literacy in our schools today;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Tamara McKinnon on her first place finish in the Grade 2 division at the River Hebert Elementary School spelling bee and wish her all the best in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2076

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Avery Beaton, a Grade 4 student at River Hebert Elementary School was one of many students who participated in the spelling bee held to celebrate Literacy Day in River Hebert; and

Whereas Avery was presented with the first place certificate for Grade 4 students showing his hard work and determination; and

Whereas all the students took on the challenge to study all the words understanding the importance of literacy in our schools today;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Avery Beaton on his first place finish in the Grade 4 division at the River Hebert Elementary School spelling bee and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2077

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Sarah Beardsley, a Grade 1 student at River Hebert Elementary School, was one of many students who participated in the spelling bee held to celebrate Literacy Day in River Hebert; and

Whereas Sarah was presented with the first place certificate for Grade 1 students showing her hard work and determination; and

Whereas all the students took on the challenge to study all the words, understanding the importance of literacy in our schools today;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Sarah Beardsley on her first place finish in the Grade 1 division at the River Hebert Elementary School spelling bee and wish her all the best in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2078

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Kaley O'Brien, a Grade 5 student at River Hebert Elementary School, was one of many students who participated in the spelling bee held to celebrate Literacy Day in River Hebert; and

Whereas Kaley was presented with the first place certificate for Grade 5 students showing her hard work and determination; and

Whereas all the students took on the challenge to study all the words, understanding the importance of literacy in our schools today;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kaley O'Brien on her first place finish in the Grade 5 division at the River Hebert Elementary School spelling bee and wish her all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2079

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas David Quinn, a Grade 6 student at River Hebert Elementary School, was one of many students who participated in the spelling bee held to celebrate Literacy Day in River Hebert; and

Whereas David was presented with the first place certificate for Grade 6 students showing his hard work and determination; and

Whereas all the students took on the challenge to study all the words, understanding the importance of literacy in our schools today;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate David Quinn on his first place finish in the Grade 6 division at the River Hebert Elementary School spelling bee and wish him all the best in the future.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2080

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Zack Creese, a Grade 3 student at River Hebert Elementary School, was one of many students who participated in the spelling bee held to celebrate Literacy Day in River Hebert; and

Whereas Zack was presented with the first place certificate for Grade 3 students showing his hard work and determination; and

Whereas all the students took on the challenge to study all the words, understanding the importance of literacy in our schools today;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Zack Creese on his first place finish in the Grade 3 division at the River Hebert Elementary School spelling bee and wish him all the best in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2081

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Tory Rushton of Oxford has been honoured with the well-deserved position of fire chief for the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department; and

Whereas Tory was sworn in as chief, elevating him from the position of deputy chief, a post he held for several years; and

Whereas Tory has been a faithful member of the fire department for many years and is well respected and admired by his fellow firefighters and the citizens of Oxford and surrounding areas;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Tory Rushton on being appointed as new fire chief of the Oxford Volunteer Fire Department and we wish him many years of safe service.

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RESOLUTION NO. 2082

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Tia Davis, a student at River Hebert District High School was one of three top spellers in the school; and

Whereas Tia participated in the Spelling Bee 4 Literacy event held in February at the River Hebert School; and

Whereas this was the first annual Spelling Bee 4 Literacy with students from both Grades 7 and 8 competing, with Tia studying hard to place third;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Tia Davis on this achievement and we wish her continued success in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 2083

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Justice)

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

Whereas Eric Bjarnason, a Grade 7 student at River Hebert District High School was one of three top spellers in the school; and

Whereas Eric participated in the Spelling Bee 4 Literacy event held in February at the River Hebert School; and

Whereas this was the first annual Spelling Bee 4 Literacy with students from both Grades 7 and 8 competing, with Eric studying hard to place second;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Eric Bjarnason on this achievement and we wish him continued success in all future endeavours.