The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 07-43

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

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Pharmacare Prog.: Gov't. (N.S.) - Implement, Ms. J. Massey 3821
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2184, Tall Ships 2007: Organizing Comm. - Congrats.,
The Premier 3823
Vote - Affirmative 3823
Res. 2185, EMO: 72 Hours Brochure - Promote,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3823
Vote - Affirmative 3824
Res. 2186, Elliot, Donna: Retirement - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Chisholm 3824
Vote - Affirmative 3825
Res. 2187, Black, Judy - Heart & Stroke Fdn. Award,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3825
Vote - Affirmative 3826
Res. 2188, Micou's Island - Conservation/Protection: Partners -
Thank, Hon. D. Morse 3826
Vote - Affirmative 3826
Res. 2189, EMO: Ground Search & Rescue Mgt. - Funding,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3827
Vote - Affirmative 3827
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 158, Financial Measures (2007) Act, Hon. M. Baker 3828
No. 159, Education Act, Mr. W. Estabrooks 3828
No. 160, Assessment Act, Ms. D. Whalen 3828
No. 161, Student Aid Act, Mr. L. Preyra 3828
No. 162, Motor Vehicle Act, Mr. S. McNeil 3828
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2190, Cdn. Forces Day (Northumberland Unit):
Chipman, Dennis/Participants - Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 3829
Vote - Affirmative 3829
Res. 2191, Health Cancer Rates: Increase - Explain/Reduce,
Mr. H. Theriault 3829
Res. 2192, Halliday, Dorothy - Impact on Youth Award,
Mr. K. Bain 3830
Vote - Affirmative 3831
Res. 2193, MacDonald, Joey (Boston Bruin) - Ottawa:
Pictou MP - Success Lack, Mr. W. Estabrooks 3831
Res. 2194, MacKay, MP Peter: Atl. Accord - Court Case,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3832
Res. 2195, Camp Mockingee - Scotiabank (Windsor): Fundraising -
Congrats., Mr. C. Porter 3832
Vote - Affirmative 3833
Res. 2196, Myers, Dr. Ranson: Death of - Tribute, Mr. D. Dexter 3833
Vote - Affirmative 3834
Res. 2197, Williams, Prem. Danny - Equalization Prog.: Nat'l.
Ad. Campaign - Congrats., Ms. D. Whalen 3834
Res. 2198, Chiasson, Lucella - Youth Leaders in Rural Can.
Award, The Premier 3835
Vote - Affirmative 3835
Res. 2199, United Way (Hfx. Reg.): Commun. Role - Discussion,
Ms. J. Massey 3835
Vote - Affirmative 3836
Res. 2200, Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Fest. (75th):
Organizing Comm. - Congrats., Mr. L. Glavine 3836
Vote - Affirmative 3837
Res. 2201, Campbell, Mitchell/Kendall, Dean/MacLeod, Evan:
Search & Rescue Efforts - Praise, Mr. A. MacLeod 3837
Vote - Affirmative 3838
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2202, Chutzpah Hfs. Jewish Cultural Fest. - Organizers:
Mazel Tov' - Send, Mr. L. Preyra 3838
Vote - Affirmative 3838
Res. 2203, Coastal Communities Network - Anniv. (15th),
Ms. D. Whalen 3839
Vote - Affirmative 3839
Res. 2204, MacLean, Mayor Ann: Achievements - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 3839
Vote - Affirmative 3840
Res. 2205, Marshall, Norma: Boxing Title - Congrats.,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 3840
Vote - Affirmative 3841
Res. 2206, Environ. & Lbr. - Natural Resources: Removal -
Examine, Mr. H. Theriault 3841
Vote - Affirmative 3842
Res. 2207, Gaspereau Press: Success - Recognize, Hon. M. Parent 3842
Vote - Affirmative 3842
Res. 2208, Small, Danielle/Teammates: Boxing Success - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 3843
Vote - Affirmative 3843
Res. 2209, Moe's Place - Theatre Establishment - Applaud,
Mr. C. Porter 3843
Vote - Affirmative 3844
Res. 2210, Blakeney, Rebecca: Spelling Success - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 3844
Vote - Affirmative 3845
Res. 2211, MacLean, Scott: Selfless Work - Thank, Mr. P. Dunn 3845
Vote - Affirmative 3846
Res. 2212, Gabarus FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3846
Vote - Affirmative 3846
Res. 2213, Murphy, John: Hockey Hall of Fame - Induction,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 3846
Vote - Affirmative 3847
Res. 2214, Sealey, Donna Byard - African N.S. Comm. (Truro):
Recognition - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 3847
Vote - Affirmative 3848
Res. 2215, Chandler, Devon: Athletic Talent - Recognize,
Hon. D. Morse 3848
Vote - Affirmative 3849
Vote - Affirmative
Res. 2216, Bedford PeeWee Devils Hockey Team: Congrats.,
Hon. L. Goucher 3849
Vote - Affirmative 3849
Res. 2217, Weatherby, Charlee - Duke of Edinburgh Award,
Hon. K. Casey 3850
Vote - Affirmative 3850
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 415, Commonwealth Games - Bid: Info - Time Frame,
Mr. D. Dexter 3851
No. 416, TPW - Crosswalk Safety: Enhancement - Plans,
Ms. D. Whalen 3852
No. 417, Commonwealth Games Bid - Economic Benefits:
Assessment Delay - Explain, Mr. D. Dexter 3854
No. 418, Health - Walsh Case: Nursing Home Placement -
Details, Mr. D. Dexter 3856
No. 419, Nat. Res.: ATV Instructors - Compensation,
Mr. L. Glavine 3857
No. 420, TPW - Crosswalk Safety: Improvements (03/06-03/07) -
Update, Ms. J. Massey 3859
No. 421, Treasury & Policy Bd. - Executive Bonuses: Report -
Delay Explain, Mr. H. Epstein 3860
No. 422, Health Prom. & Protection: Univ. Infrastructure -
Funding, Ms. D. Whalen 3861
No. 423, Justice: Criminal Injuries Compensation Prog. -
Update, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3863
No. 424, Educ. - Jr. High Sch.: Glace Bay - Site Selection,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3864
No. 425, Nat. Res. - Point Aconi: Lease Costs, Mr. F. Corbett 3865
No. 426, Educ. - Univ. Infrastructure: Plan - Details,
Mr. L. Preyra 3867
No. 427, Educ. - Middleton Sch. Enhancement: Commitment -
Honour, Mr. S. McNeil 3868
No. 428, Health - Stewart Family: Assistance - Announce,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 3869
No. 429, Environ. & Lbr. - Bilcon Negotiations: Responses -
Adequacy, Mr. D. Dexter 3870
Adequacy, Mr. D. Dexter
No. 430, Educ. - Tri-County Sch. Bd.: Underfunding - Explain,
Mr. H. Theriault 3871
No. 431, Health: Lillian Fraser Mem. Hosp. - Emerg. Personnel -
Shortages, Mr. C. Parker 3873
No. 432, Energy - Incandescent Bulbs: Ban - Consider,
Ms. M. Raymond 3874
No. 433, Educ. - Somerset & St. Mary's Schools: Renovations -
Fund, Mr. L. Glavine 3875
No. 434, Health Prom. & Protection.: Akerley Campus Rink - Closure,
Ms. J. Massey 3877
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
^Bill No. 132 - Heritage Properties Act 3878
Mr. H. Epstein 3878
Hon. L. Goucher 3882
Mr. H. Theriault 3885
Mr. L. Glavine 3887
Mr. L. Preyra 3888
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 2111, Anti-Poverty Strategy: Urgency - Reaffirm,
Mr. D. Dexter 3892
Mr. D. Dexter 3892
Hon. M. Parent 3894
Mr. S. McNeil 3897
Mr. G. Gosse 3900
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Scott 3904
Law Amendments Committee, Hon. M. Scott 3904
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Commun. Projects - Vols.: Importance - Recognize,
Mr. C. Porter 3905
Ms. M. More 3908
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3911
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., Mar. 29th, at 12:00 Noon 3914
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2218, G. Fraser Conrad Bridge: Canoe to Sea Soc./
Participants - Congrats., Ms. M. More 3915
Res. 2219, Trenton Mid. Sch. - Bullying: Elimination - Support,
Mr. P. Dunn 3915
Res. 2220, Yarmouth Vanguard - Editor-in-Chief/Staff:
Recognize - Applaud, Hon. R. Hurlburt 3916
Res. 2221, Credit Union Sm. Bus. Financing Loan Guarantee
Prog.: Success - Applaud 3916
Res. 2222, Whalen, Sen. Jigger - Liberal Party: Dedication - Congrats.,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3917
Res. 2223, Gov't. (Can.) - Atl. Party Comm. (Childhood
Obesity): Recommendations - Adopt,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3917
Res. 2224, Rafuse Rink (S. Shore): N.S. Senior Men's Curling
Champions - Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3918
Res. 2225, Kendall, Dean: Search & Rescue Efforts (Main-à-Dieu) -
Praise, Mr. A. MacLeod 3918
Res. 2226, MacLeod, Evan: Search & Rescue Efforts
(Main-à-Dieu) - Praise, Mr. A. MacLeod 3919
Res. 2227, Campbell, Mitch: Search & Rescue Efforts
(Main-à-Dieu) - Praise, Mr. A. MacLeod 3919
Res. 2228, Sydney River FD:Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3920
Res. 2229, Tower Rd. FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3920
Res. 2230, Louisbourg FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3921
Res. 2231, Donkin FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3921
Res. 2232, Grand Lake Rd. FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3922
Res. 2233, Port Morien FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3922
Res. 2234, Big Pond FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3923
Mr. A. MacLeod
Res. 2235, North side East Bay FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3923
Res. 2236, Bateston FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3924
Res. 2237, Mira Rd. FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3924
Res. 2238, Marion Bridge FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3925
Res. 2239, Birch Grove FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3925
Res. 2240, Howie Ctr. FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3926
Res. 2241, Albert Bridge Commun. FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3926
Res. 2242, East Bay FD: Exec./Firefighters - Commend,
Mr. A. MacLeod 3927
Res. 2243, MacLean, Hugh Don - Lake Ainslie Volunteer,
The Premier 3927
Res. 2244, Cameron, Hugh - Lake Ainslie Vol. FD: Serv. (35yrs.) -
Congrats., The Premier 3928
Res. 2245, Campbell, Hugh - Lake Ainslie Vol. FD: Serv. (35yrs.) -
Congrats., The Premier 3928
Res. 2246, MacDougall, Greg - Lake Ainslie Vol. FD.:
Serv. (35 yrs.) - The Premier 3929
Res. 2247, Gillis, Fire Chief Michael - Lake Ainslie Vol. FD.:
Serv. (35 yrs.) - The Premier 3929

[Page 3821]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 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 the daily routine, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Hants West:

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House of Assembly recognize the critical component played by volunteers across Nova Scotia in the everyday success of countless community projects.

That will be heard at the moment of interruption today. We will now commence the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition. The operative clause reads "Whereas the federal/provincial territorial Ministerial Task Force on the National Pharmacare Strategy released their report in Fall 2006; and

3821

[Page 3822]

Whereas the co-pays for prescription drugs and insurance premiums are unaffordable for seniors living on a fixed or low income; and

Whereas Canada and the United States are the only two industrialized countries without a national public drug plan;

Therefore be it resolved that the undersigned urge the provincial government to put forward a Pharmacare program to ease the financial burden on citizens who require prescription drugs to have a high quality of life and sometimes to have a life at all."

There are 800 signatures on this petition, Mr. Speaker, and I have affixed my signature as well.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, if I might make an introduction, with respect to the resolution, before I do my resolution?

MR. SPEAKER: Please, do.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, joining us in your gallery today, it's my pleasure to welcome and introduce Mr. Eric Thomson, Chair of the Board of the Waterfront Development Corporation and Chair of the Tall Ships Committee. With Mr. Thomson is Mr. Bill Campbell, Acting President of the Waterfront Development Corporation - in addition to Tall Ships, the WDCL oversees the provincial interests in waterfront development. Next is Mr. David Jones, the Project Director for Tall Ships Nova Scotia Festival 2007, a don't- miss event here in HRM and across our province, and a great opportunity to invite friends and family home. I would ask all members of the House to welcome our guests here today. (Applause)

[Page 3823]

RESOLUTION NO. 2184

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

Whereas Nova Scotians will once again celebrate their proud Maritime heritage by hosting the largest gathering of Tall Ships in North America; and

Whereas the Tall Ships Nova Scotia Festival 2007 will run from July 13th to July 23rd and feature our own Bluenose II, along with other Tall Ships from as far away as India and Germany; and

Whereas the event will begin with a visit to the Halifax waterfront, after which the ships will head north and south to other ports of call across the province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the organizing committee for Tall Ships 2007 as it creates this festival to showcase our province, an event which, for a few days, turns back the hands of time for Nova Scotians and visitors alike to the elegant age of sail.

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. 2185

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 this year, Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada is from May 6th to 12th; and

Whereas the theme this year is the same as last - advising the public that they need to be prepared to look after themselves and their families for the first 72 hours in an emergency; and

[Page 3824]

Whereas Nova Scotia has worked with federal and provincial colleagues to plan promotional activities throughout the week, and has also had strong support from the Red Cross, Public Safety Canada, Aliant and Nova Scotia Power;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House take copies of the 72 Hours brochure back to their constituency offices to help promote this important public safety program.

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 Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2186

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

Whereas Donna Elliot has been a long-standing employee with the Province of Nova Scotia, with more than 27 years of service in a number of different departments; and

Whereas Donna Elliot has spent the last 10 years working as an aquaculture licensing clerk with the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture; and

Whereas Donna Elliott's co-workers wish her all the best as she begins the next phase of her life by enjoying a well-deserved retirement starting March 31, 2007;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank Ms. Elliot for her years of service to the Province of Nova Scotia and offer her best wishes as she enjoys her retirement years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3825]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2187

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

Whereas Judy Black received the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Chair's Award, recognizing outstanding employee contribution, at a ceremony in Ottawa last month; and

Whereas for 17 years, Ms. Black has contributed significantly to the mission of the Heart and Stroke Foundation and its resuscitation programs; and

Whereas Ms. Black was one of the three principal authors of the 2000 Canadian Basic Life Support Instructor Resource and the co-author of the 2006 Instructor Resource for Resuscitation Programs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Judy Black on receiving this award and applaud her for the leadership she has shown in strengthening resuscitation programs in Nova Scotia and in Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

[Page 3826]

RESOLUTION NO. 2188

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 St. Margarets Bay Stewardship Association and the Province of Nova Scotia entered into a community land securement partnership to acquire Micou's Island, St. Margarets Bay, Halifax County, in support of the association's mission to protect and conserve the natural environment of the island and the traditional social and recreational opportunities valued by its community; and

Whereas the owner of Micou's Island, Roswitha Micou Winsor, has agreed to sell the island to the Crown, a purchase jointly financed by St. Margarets Bay Stewardship Association and the province; and

Whereas this acquisition will contribute to the new Nova Scotia to preserve and protect our environment for future generations, and is a beautiful property, rich in natural beauty but also historic significance that will be available for the enjoyment of residents and of visitors to the St. Margaret's Bay area;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the St. Margaret's Bay Stewardship Association and Roswitha Micou Winsor for helping to conserve and protect Micou's Island for future generations of Nova Scotians.

[2:15 p.m.]

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 Minister of Emergency Management.

RESOLUTION NO. 2189

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

[Page 3827]

Whereas ground search and rescue teams in Nova Scotia are made up of volunteers who dedicate themselves to public safety; and

Whereas we recently announced a successful application for federal funding of $348,000 to bring new satellite technology to ground search and rescue management in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas these volunteer teams will be working closely with the Emergency Management Office to implement this new technology;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate EMO, the committee members who put together the project application, and the Nova Scotia Ground Search and Rescue Association.

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 Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, on an introduction.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the east gallery. We have some very special visitors with us today, 11 representatives of the Provincial Treasury from the Province of Gauteng in South Africa. The representatives are meeting with people in the Municipal Services Division of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations to share best practices on issues related to finance and local government. It has been an extremely valuable learning experience from both perspectives. I would invite the people from South Africa to stand, along with representatives of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: Indeed, we would like to welcome our special guests visiting with us at Province House today.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

[Page 3828]

Bill No. 158 - Entitled an Act Respecting Certain Financial Measures. (Hon. Michael Baker)

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

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to introduce this bill, the Student Aid Act, which calls on the government to establish a new bursary program for the academically qualified, low income, post secondary students that will assist those students in overcoming financial, geographical and other challenges to accessibility to a post-secondary education. Sorry it is so long.

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Actually, we are going to move to the next bill because it is not presented in the proper form. We will come back to the honourable member.

Bill No. 159 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1995-96. The Education Act. (Mr. William Estabrooks)

Bill No. 160 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 23 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Assessment Act, to Exempt Renewable-energy Production Facilities from Property Tax. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

Bill No. 161 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 449 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Student Aid Act. (Mr. Leonard Preyra)

Bill No. 162 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Mr. Stephen McNeil)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

The honourable member for Pictou West.

[Page 3829]

RESOLUTION NO. 2190

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

Whereas on February 15, 2007, the 20 veterans residing at the Northumberland Veterans Unit in Pictou were honoured during the Support Our Canadian Forces Day, as part of National Flag Day; and

Whereas recreation director Dennis Chipman, who organized the event, introduced several guest speakers including members of the 144 Airfield Engineering Flight Pictou; and

Whereas World War II veteran Charles Chisholm, presented a Canadian flag on behalf of the veterans to Private Cory Brown of the 144 Airfield Engineering Flight Pictou, linking the past and the present;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Dennis Chipman and all who participated in the organization and support of Canadian Forces Day held at the Northumberland Veterans Unit in Pictou on February 15, 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 Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2191

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

Whereas 28,000 people in Nova Scotia are currently battling cancer; and

Whereas two out of five Nova Scotians will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and today 15 Nova Scotians will hear that they have cancer; and

[Page 3830]

Whereas 224,000 Nova Scotians do not have medical coverage to cover cancer drugs which cost an average of $200 to $300 per month;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize that cancer rates are on the rise in this province, and implore this government to do everything possible to find out why and find ways to prevent this disease from destroying more Nova Scotian families.

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 Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2192

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

Whereas Dorothy Halliday beat out nominees from across the nation to win the SEDI (Social and Economic Development Innovations) Impact on Youth Award; and

Whereas Dorothy is a founding member of the Community CARES Youth Outreach established in 1999; and

Whereas the SEDI Impact on Youth Award recognizes an exceptional youth worker who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help young people overcome economic and social obstacles and achieve self-sufficiency;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Dorothy Halliday on winning this prestigious award and thank her for her tremendous commitment to the youth in the Cape Breton area.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3831]

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. 2193

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

Whereas the Tory MP from Pictou County gives Nova Scotians little or no support and no success in Ottawa; and

Whereas goaltender, Joey MacDonald, from Pictou County last night went to Ottawa and met with success as a member of the Boston Bruins; and

Whereas Joey MacDonald has shown the necessary leadership and winning attitude when we send Nova Scotians to Ottawa;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Joey MacDonald of the Boston Bruins who knows how to win in Ottawa unlike the Tory Cabinet Minister from Pictou County.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

[Page 3832]

RESOLUTION NO. 2194

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

Whereas Conservative Foreign Affairs Minister and Nova Scotia MP Peter MacKay told members of the House of Parliament yesterday his government is prepared to defend its decision to cap offshore royalties in court and I quote, "I hope that it will not have to go to court, but if it does, we will see them there"; and

Whereas during Question Period the Liberal MP from West Nova, Robert Thibault, continued to press the Harper Government to honour its commitment in regard to the Atlantic Accord; and

Whereas MP Peter MacKay relentlessly preaches that this is a good deal for Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly inform Peter MacKay that we do not believe this is a good deal for Nova Scotians and if we have to undertake a legal battle to prove our point, then we will see him in court.

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 Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2195

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 Scotiabank Branch in Windsor is a cheerful and pleasant place to visit in the downtown Windsor Mall; and

Whereas manager, Steve Groves and his staff participate in a wide array of community activities, helping to raise funds and participate whenever possible; and

[Page 3833]

Whereas one of the latest initiatives undertaken by staff at Scotiabank in downtown Windsor was the successful completion of raising $10,000 to assist with the expansion of Camp Mockingee by the Windsor Rotary Club;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the thoughtful and genuine community spirit shown by staff at the Scotiabank branch in downtown Windsor.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2196

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

Whereas Dr. Ransom A. Myers held the Killam Chair of Ocean Studies at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and published over 100 refereed scientific publications in diverse fields of aquatic ecology; and

Whereas in 2005, Dr. Myers was named one of Fortune Magazine's Top 10 list of people to watch for his research on the dramatic decline in fish species; and

Whereas today I have learned of the all-too-early passing of Ransom Myers following his battle with cancer;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the work and the life of Dr. Ransom Myers who passed away on March 27, 2007, and pass on our sincere condolences to his wife, Rita, and his children, Carlo, Sophia, Gioia, Rosie and Emily.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3834]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[2:30 p.m.]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2197

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

Whereas Newfoundland and Labrador's Premier Danny Williams has undertaken an ad campaign against the Prime Minister for reneging on promises he made about the equalization program and the Atlantic Accord; and

Whereas the full- and half-page ads appearing in national newspapers today outline the betrayal of Stephen Harper's Government to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador; and

Whereas Premier Williams is calling this an awareness campaign, to inform Canadians about the consequences of accepting a Stephen Harper promise;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Danny Williams on his national ad campaign and wish him luck in reversing the Prime Minister's decision to cap offshore royalties in Atlantic Canada.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Premier.

[Page 3835]

RESOLUTION NO. 2198

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

Whereas Lucella Chiasson of Belle Cote has demonstrated outstanding achievement within her community; and

Whereas because of her efforts, Ms. Chiasson has been presented with the Youth Leaders in Rural Canada Award; and

Whereas this young Nova Scotian is committed to continuing her work within her community;

Therefore be it resolved that all the members of this Legislature congratulate Lucella Chiasson on her efforts to enrich our province and on this honour recently bestowed upon her in recognition of her leadership.

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. (Applause)

The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2199

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

Whereas on November 22, 2006, I had the pleasure to attend a breakfast meeting hosted by Captain Marc St-Jean, Base Commander, Canadian Forces Base Halifax, to discuss United Way of Halifax Region's role in our community; and

Whereas there were many participants in attendance who brought their experience, commitment and insight about the Halifax Regional Municipality to the discussions that morning; and

[Page 3836]

Whereas the United Way of Halifax Region is revisiting the changes they made over the past decade and discussing the future;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the United Way of Halifax Region for a successful discussion on their role in our community and wish them all the best as they ask the question, how are we doing and are we on the right track?

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. 2200

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

Whereas in 1932, the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival was organized by the Kentville Board of Trade, where Frank Burns played a key role in making the festival one of Canada's leading Spring celebrations; and

Whereas each year, the festival crowns an Apple Blossom Queen from a group of princesses from Windsor to Annapolis Royal, and Mary Armour of Middleton became the first Queen of the Annapolis festival; and

Whereas the first parade set the standard for excellence with each float depicting an aspect of the apple industry, which has carried on to this year's theme of Small Communities - Big Dreams.

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend best wishes to the organizing committee and the Valley community as they prepare for the 75th Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Festival May 30 to June 4, 2007.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3837]

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2201

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

Whereas recently, three teenagers from Main-á-Dieu, Cape Breton, were singled out for participating in the search to find a missing 14-year-old girl; and

Whereas Mitchell Campbell, Dean Kendall and Evan MacLeod rushed to join searchers in an effort to locate a girl they had never met; and

Whereas the three stumbled upon the girl when they decided to carry on where other searchers had turned back, and when they found her huddled under a tree, they gave her the hats and mitts and warm clothing that they had on them and waited for the rescue crew;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their praise and good wishes to Mitchell Campbell, Dean Kendall and Evan MacLeod for their selfless efforts in locating a stranger, demonstrating a superior contribution to their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

RESOLUTION NO. 2202

[Page 3838]

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 first ever Chutzpah Halifax Jewish Cultural Festival is taking place in Halifax from March 25th to 31st; and

Whereas the festival is sporting a fantastic lineup of award-winning films, theatre and live performances by Oscar-winning Olympia Dukakis and CBC radio host, Jonathan Goldstein; and

Whereas it is no small feat to launch a new festival, even if it is a first-time festival showcasing cultural works that are already receiving rave reviews from audiences across North America;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly send a collective mazel tov, to the organizers of the Halifax Jewish Cultural Festival for bringing Halifax audiences some of the best in new Jewish culture during the Chutzpah Halifax Jewish Cultural Festival running from March 25th to March 31, 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 Halifax Clayton Park.

[Page 3839]

RESOLUTION NO. 2203

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

Whereas the Coastal Communities Network is a community network comprised of over 240 organizations ranging from community economic development agencies, fishing industry representatives, agricultural groups and municipal leaders; and

Whereas since being established in 1992, the Coastal Communities Network has been actively involved in assisting rural communities throughout the province to deal more effectively with social and economic matters; and

Whereas their mission is to provide a forum to encourage dialogue, share information and create strategies and actions that promote the survival and development of Nova Scotia's coastal and rural communities;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Coastal Communities Network on 15 years of supporting coastal communities and being a strong voice for rural 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 Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2204

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

Whereas New Glasgow Mayor Ann MacLean, for more than 20 years, has been making a difference to small-town life in Nova Scotia; and

[Page 3840]

Whereas Mayor MacLean is noted for her commitment to the environmental maintenance of her community, claiming several provincial and national awards in the process but she has also been instrumental in establishing the Canadian Federation of Municipalities Standing Committee for Increasing Women's Participation in Municipal Government; and

Whereas Mayor MacLean's legacy extends much further than securing environmental awards for New Glasgow, she has earned praise across Canada and the world, recently travelling to China to volunteer for the Technical Co-Operation in Migrant Labour Rights Project;

Therefore be it resolved that all members in this House send their best wishes and heartfelt praise to Mayor Ann MacLean on her many achievements in municipal government and her volunteer efforts both nationally and internationally.

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 East.

RESOLUTION NO. 2205

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 Albion Boxing Club in New Glasgow was founded in 1989, to provide training options for male and female youth interested in boxing, with the current enrolment at approximately 25 youth, from the ages of 10 to 18; and

Whereas Norma Marshall, age 15, of Westville has been boxing since she was 11 years old, recently winning the National boxing title in the 52-kg class, repeating her win of 2006; and

Whereas Norma Marshall, is an excellent student and a leader at the Albion Boxing Club;

[Page 3841]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Norma Marshall on her 2006 national boxing title and wish Norma well in the future with boxing and community leadership roles, and also her 2007 title.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West on an introduction.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, it's not often that I get a chance to introduce a constituent, let alone a family member, and I'm pleased this afternoon to introduce my brother, Robert Parker, in the west gallery. Robert is the owner of West River Greenhouses in Pictou County and a former Chair of the Chignecto Central Regional School Board. I'd ask the House to give him a warm welcome. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2206

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

Whereas our natural resources are being taken from our province without value-adding and Nova Scotians are not prospering from this giveaway practice; and

Whereas the practice of removing our water and land has been happening for a long time and will only continue more so in the future; and

Whereas we must do more to salvage what is left of our precious natural resources;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly urge government to examine this issue and look at possibilities to have some profitable return to our communities losing natural resources.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3842]

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

Is it 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. 2207

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

Whereas Gaspereau Press, a literacy publisher and printer based in Kentville, will celebrate National Poetry Month and its 10th anniversary at a prestigious event at the Gladstone Hotel Ballroom in Toronto on the evening of Monday, April 2, 2007; and

Whereas the evening will feature a panel discussion on one of the most, in fact the most important issues of our time, the environment; and

Whereas the event will also mark the launch of four new titles from Gaspereau Press;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the continued success of Gary Dunfield, Andrew Steeves and the staff of Gaspereau Press and congratulate them on their numerous awards.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it 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. 2208

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

[Page 3843]

Whereas Danielle Small of the Berwick Boxing Club and a member of Nova Scotia's boxing team competed at the National Championships in St. Catherine's, Ontario, where she won a bronze medal; and

Whereas in recognition of team Nova Scotia's display of sportsmanship and along with 13 medals they won, our boxers were voted the best team in Canada; and

Whereas Danielle is an extremely proud and accomplished athlete, involved in a sport that requires both mental and physical excellence;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Danielle Small and her boxing teammates and wish them success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2209

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 Front Porch is a great place to visit when anyone comes to Windsor; and

Whereas the Front Porch is located at Moe's Place Music on Gerrish Street in downtown Windsor and offers local musicians a chance to showcase their many talents; and

Whereas the Front Porch can seat up to 60 people and features acoustics second to none;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the initiative of Moe's Place Music owners Willard Wood and Edgar Card for establishing such a dynamic performance style theatre in downtown Windsor, while wishing them many more years of continued success, not only at the store but also, of course, on the Front Porch.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3844]

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

Is it agreed?

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

The motion is carried.

[2:45 p.m.]

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2210

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

Whereas Rebecca Blakeney, aged 12 and a Grade 7 student at Cabot Junior/Senior High in Neil's Harbour, recently participated in the Can West Can Spell National Spelling Bee Regional Finals; and

Whereas Rebecca spelled the word "noticeable" correctly to claim the title of spelling bee champ after 22 rounds of spelling competition on Saturday at Cape Breton University and will now go on to the Can West Can Spell National Spelling Bee in Ottawa from April 11th to 15th; and

Whereas as winner, Rebecca will also participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Rebecca Blakeney on her success and wish her the very best as she participates both in Ottawa and Washington.

Mr. Speaker, I request 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.

[Page 3845]

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2211

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 people of New Glasgow have, for a long time, known of the guardian in their midst; and

Whereas long-serving crosswalk guard Scott MacLean is celebrating over 10 years at what is known locally as Scottie's Corner - Mr. MacLean has been helping children and elderly cross the intersection at March and Washington Streets with a warm smile and a cheerful hello regardless of the weather; and

Whereas Mr. MacLean states he has no plans to retire his crosswalk duties, despite being kept busy with his full-time employment - such community dedication is an example to us all;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their warm wishes to Scott MacLean and thank him for his selfless work.

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 West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2212

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities, and who are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

[Page 3846]

Whereas the Gabarus Fire Department answers a number of local alarms, annually, while always being ready to assist fellow fire departments with mutual aid assistance; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they would call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters of the Gabarus Fire Department for their passion and zeal in responding to alarms when required.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2213

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

Whereas recently, John Murphy of Yarmouth was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame as Nova Scotia's winner of the RBC Hockey Leaders Volunteer Award; and

Whereas Mr. Murphy was nominated by Mr. John McKinnon of Wedgeport, who cited several reasons for nominating, including his willingness to coach multiple teams, his involvement with fundraising and his work with Special Olympics; and

Whereas Mr. Murphy is quoted as saying of his friend's nomination, "I really appreciate that he took the time to write the letter to nominate me and thought that I put in enough time . . . to get nominated";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Mr. John Murphy for his award, and in thanking Mr. John McKinnon for taking the time to submit the nomination.

[Page 3847]

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. 2214

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

Whereas Donna Byard Sealey was recognized for her many achievements at the 2007 African Heritage Month banquet hosted by the African Nova Scotia community of Truro; and

Whereas Donna Byard Sealey, now retired, was the first known Black teacher in the Dartmouth school system, fought relentlessly for the inclusion of Black history and culture in the curriculum, and for the fair and equal treatment of Black students; and

Whereas Donna Byard Sealey has been actively involved in many organizations, including the Nova Scotia Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and National Black Coalition of Canada, and is the author of the Heritage Award winning book, "Coloured Zion: The History of Zion United Baptist Church and the Black Community of Truro, Nova Scotia";

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Donna Byard Sealey for being recognized by the African Nova Scotia community of Truro, salute her leadership and achievement and wish her good health and happiness in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3848]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 2215

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

Whereas snowboarder, Devon Chandler of Wolfville, Kings County, Nova Scotia, participated in the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon, from February 23rd to March 10th; and

Whereas as an 18-year-old, Devon placed seventh out of 18 participants in the Alpine Parallel Giant Slalom, after a competitive two seasons across Canada and the United States; and

Whereas the year has been a challenging one as he finishes up his first year in engineering at Dalhousie University;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the superb athletic talent of snowboarder Devon Chandler while wishing him the utmost success with his academic pursuits in engineering.

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 Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.

RESOLUTION NO. 2216

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

[Page 3849]

Whereas the Bedford Pee Wee Devils Hockey Team participated in the Adam Larade Memorial Hockey Tournament in Pictou, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Bedford Pee Wee Devils won the gold medal at the tournament on March 13, 2007; and

Whereas the Bedford Pee Wee Devils Hockey Team have shown dedication to their sport of hockey and a shining example of excellence in the Bedford Hockey Program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to the Bedford Pee Wee Devils Hockey Team.

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 Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2217

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

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh Award Program was founded in 1956 by Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, to encourage youth to become involved in extracurricular activities leading to growth, development and achievement; and

Whereas Charlee Weatherby, a Grade 11 student at North Colchester High School, was motivated to become a participant in this program; and

Whereas Charlee's activities included such things as volleyball, figure skating, piano, Meals on Wheels, CanSkate and community projects;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their congratulations to Charlee Weatherby for receiving a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award.

[Page 3850]

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 Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, if I could make an introduction, please.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I would like to turn the House's attention to the west gallery where Mr. Roy Nichols, father of Page Jeremy, is with us for this afternoon's proceedings. If he could stand and get a warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[Page 3851]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 2:53 p.m. and end at 4:23 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

COMMONWEALTH GAMES - BID: INFO. - TIME FRAME

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my first question today will be through you to the Premier. Today, we learned a few more details about the failed Commonwealth Games bid process. According to government staff, the day the bid was awarded to Halifax, Commonwealth Games Canada notified the province and HRM that the standard for the games had been increased to the Olympic level. That meant that the Manchester model, used heavily in initial estimates for the affordability of the Halifax bid no longer applied and that costs were likely to increase significantly. My question to the Premier is this, where were the tough questions about a right-sized bid when this information was discovered in December 2005, the day that Halifax won the right to the bid?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Leader of the Official Opposition, thank you for the question. There is not a doubt, and that has been known in the media during the past month or so, in talking about this issue of how the rules changed throughout this bid process. What is clear since day one, what I have said, what is clear, what the minister has said, this needed to be a right-sized games, a games which Nova Scotians could afford. We have stood by that principle since day one, seeing the Commonwealth Games bid come here to our province. Obviously to come here to Halifax would have been a tremendous thing, but at the end of the day we made the decision which was prudent, fiscally responsible and was based on good, solid information - information which we requested, information which we wanted before making that decision.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the province knew from day one that this was going to be a very costly event and they proceeded with a $14 million bidding process anyway. We also learned that the Deputy Minister of Health Promotion and Protection knew the bid was probably not going to work as early as September 2006 when problems with the Shannon Park land became evident. There was an awful lot of international travel and other expenses between September and March, so I want to ask the question: Where were the tough decisions and leadership when it became evident last Fall that the province and HRM were way in over their heads?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, one thing has been very clear and it's something I noticed last summer during the provincial election - you could never really find out where the NDP stood in this issue. Were they in favour or were they against? They want to play

[Page 3852]

both sides of it, but the side that the government wanted to go forward on was the side of the people. We have done so by making sure that the process was done and it was done right.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, what the Premier doesn't want to do is answer questions about accountability for the Commonwealth Games bid. Let's be clear, in December 2005 the province knew the expectations and standards for hosting the Games had been changed - in December 2005, on the day that Halifax became the bid city. They knew that the costs had increased dramatically as a result. Then, again in September 2006, they knew there were further complications with the Shannon Park land, which would mean even higher costs.

My question, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Premier is this: Why, knowing what they knew, did the Premier and the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection take so long to decide to pull the plug on the Commonwealth Games bid?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, again what the government said from day one is that we wanted to have the right size Games that were affordable to Nova Scotians, that were affordable to the people of our province, that indeed will leave a lasting legacy here in our province, but at the end of the day the numbers were simply too large for us to handle.

But we made sure, Mr. Speaker, we went through an appropriate process going and getting outside expertise in that area. I think it would be inappropriate for me to suggest that I, as a politician, would know those numbers right off the top of my head - I'm sure the Leader of the Opposition is not suggesting that he could do so. The fact of the matter is we did the right thing, we went out, we got the information and we made the right decision for our province.

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

TPW - CROSSWALK SAFETY: ENHANCEMENT - PLANS

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. Since the Spring of 2006 the Liberal Caucus has raised concern about crosswalk safety on many occasions. We've lobbied for increased awareness and safety of marked crosswalks for pedestrians, and more education for drivers so they would be more attentive to the roads. Last Spring, there was a tragic fatality in Dartmouth and in July, the government implemented stiffer penalties for drivers who committed crosswalk offences. Crosswalk accidents are continuing - obviously the threat of stiffer fines is not working by itself. The government cannot allow crosswalk safety to be a secondary issue any longer.

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister: What is your government's plan to further enhance safety and awareness at crosswalks in Nova Scotia?

[Page 3853]

[3:00 p.m]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. Obviously all of us are very much aware of the accident that occurred in the crosswalk recently. It is something that is of great concern to all of us and I believe the honourable member has put her finger on the real issue with respect to crosswalk safety, is that increasing fines in and of itself, regardless of what the level of the fine is, is not going to provide us with the answer we need. It is an answer that will be achieved through education programs, awareness and continuous awareness, and we are working toward that.

I can tell the honourable member that officials from my department participated with HRM in January in a symposium that dealt with the whole issue of crosswalk safety and, Mr. Speaker, I'm looking forward to getting the results of that. That will help us again move forward. We do make an effort to ensure that we are maintaining the standards that are in effect right across Canada and we monitor other jurisdictions on a continuous basis.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, again my question to the minister is, in the ensuing time that you say, from January to now, there was a symposium. We're not seeing any changes. We know you have a committee on safety but we're not seeing changes on our streets. I'm calling on the minister to please say what his plan will be to introduce any new measures to improve crosswalk safety. Other provinces are doing more and I would like to see whether or not this province will move. My question to the minister is whether or not you will look at red flashing lights or red solid lights at crosswalks in our province?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the issue of the colour of the lights is something that we have considered and we have monitored. It is not considered to be the best use of indicators with respect to crosswalk safety by the national standards and by what we see across the country.

I would like to point out, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member - and I appreciate her concern - is suggesting that we're not achieving any success in this province with respect to the crosswalk safety and I would tell the honourable member that in the 1960s there were over 600-plus fatalities during the period of the 1960s. That dropped in the 1970s to 454 and it continued to drop so that since 2000, we have had 71 fatalities. Now, that's going from 600 to 71; 71 is too many and we're going to continue to strive, but I do want to point out to the House that progress has been made and we will continue to find ways of making even more progress.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, we're delighted to know that the fatalities are declining, but we should have none, as you said, we should have safer crosswalks. We've had more than 500 injuries in our crosswalks in just five years, since 2000. So it's still not where it should be and I believe there are better mechanisms that we could be putting in place to make the crosswalks safer. Even an education program would help for inattentive drivers or for better pedestrian safety, that they become more aware.

[Page 3854]

Mr. Speaker, we cannot ignore this problem any longer. We need a solid plan to move forward and my question to the minister is, will your government commit to forming a task force that will report back speedily on crosswalk safety in Nova Scotia?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I do want to remind the honourable member and remind members of the House that we have participated and worked with HRM with respect to the issue of crosswalk safety and I'm looking forward to receiving the report from that symposium. Based on what comes out of that, we will evaluate what actions that we need to take.

We have the Road Safety Advisory Committee, Mr. Speaker, and I would remind the honourable member and members of the House that the Road Safety Advisory Committee is made up of people from my Department of Transportation and Public Works, Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, the Department of Justice, the police force at HRM, the RCMP in the province, the Nova Scotia Safety Advisory Committee, and we do receive from them and it is their responsibility to monitor what is happening across the country with respect to issues of safety. We do rely on them and their input. We will take appropriate action upon receiving recommendations, both from the HRM symposium and from the Road Safety Advisory Committee.

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

COMMONWEALTH GAMES BID - ECONOMIC BENEFITS: ASSESSMENT DELAY - EXPLAIN

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: My question is for the Premier. From the outset of the awarding of the status of the Canadian bid city for the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Halifax in December, 2005, many people were curious about the projected benefits of hosting the event. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, our caucus filed an FOI request last Spring, seeking all the cost-benefit analysis done by the government on the potential impacts of the Games. When the response came back it said there were no such documents available. Well today, Mr. Speaker, we learned that the cost-benefit analysis tendered by the government was not received until two days ago, March 26th.

My question for the Premier is this, why did it take your government and the funding partners so long to assess the economic benefits of hosting the Games?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'll refer this one to the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection, so he can update the Leader of the Opposition on the process.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, what I'll tell him is that there were a number of reports that were prepared for a variety of the funding partners, that was one of them. The member is right, the final report wasn't received until two days ago. However, weeks ago we received the draft report which was part of the

[Page 3855]

evidence that we used to help support our decision to move forward to withdraw from the bid procedure.

Mr. Speaker, I think the important thing that the member should know and all Nova Scotians should know is that we said from the very beginning we needed to move forward with the right size games, the games that were affordable for the Province of Nova Scotia, within our fiscal framework; these particular Games turned out not to be. We made the decision and I am proud of the decision we made.

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, the minister says he received those reports weeks ago. I am now going to table a PowerPoint slide presentation from June 5, 2006. This was the presentation to the deputy ministers within government and was among the documents received by the Public Accounts Committee yesterday. The slide is entitled, "Why Should We Support the 2014 Commonwealth Games Bid?" The slide says, "$2 billion economic impact - 15,000 person-years of employment - $450,000,000 paid in salaries and wages."

So, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the Premier this, if his government didn't receive the economic impact study until a week ago or until this week or a draft a few weeks ago, how were they able to provide deputy ministers these numbers more than nine months ago?

THE PREMIER: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, what the Leader of the Opposition, through you, is referring to are some initial estimates done through staff analysis.

Mr. Speaker, what this boils down to is that the government has made a decision. Does the NDP support the government and the decision we have made, or don't they, Mr. Speaker?

MR. DEXTER: What the Official Opposition would like is for the government to understand its responsibility to be accountable to the people of Nova Scotia. That's what we understand, Mr. Speaker.

By now I think all Nova Scotians recognize that this bid process was often more about mixed signals and confusion than it was about communicating a reasoned case for hosting the Games. In light of these new documents that show the government had access to information that would have helped Nova Scotians assess for themselves the benefits of the Games, I would like to ask the Premier this, why did you withhold this information from the public until after the bid collapsed?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the NDP, by not saying where they stand have just said where they stand. That is not on being fiscally responsible to the people of our province. They would be willing to spend until the bank was gone here in our province. Well I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, as long as I am Premier, as long as we are in government, that will not happen here.

[Page 3856]

HEALTH - WALSH CASE:

NURSING HOME PLACEMENT - DETAILS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: My question is for the Premier. Bertha Walsh is 96 years old and she had a stroke six years ago. Her daughter cared for her until she became ill and died just recently. Her son-in-law then continued caring for Bertha. On the 5th of March, Bertha had a serious health episode and was taken to the Dartmouth General Hospital Emergency Room. Her son-in-law said to the staff there that he could continue caring for her and felt that she needed a nursing home. Bertha's son, Ian Walsh - if you can believe this - was called at work and told that he had two choices, come and take her home immediately or she would be placed in a facility. He couldn't take her home, so she was sent to an unlicenced, private care pay, respite facility, by ambulance. My question to the Premier is this, why wasn't this senior offered a transitional unit bed or a temporary hospital bed, like everybody else?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, by virtue of the Leader of the Opposition asking this question, one would hope and one would expect that he perhaps has already put this question to our Minister of Health, previous to Question Period. I'm not aware of that, which one would think would be appropriate. Again, you don't want to hear of any negative experiences that individuals have had and if that has been felt by either Mr. Walsh or by his mother, I think that would be very unfortunate.

Mr. Speaker, again, our health care system is one which we want to provide the very best of care to our seniors. We want to ensure that they have the opportunities not only to be placed in appropriate facilities, but also to have the proper care at home. Again, I refer that to the Minister of Health, to look into that situation, but it would be inappropriate for me talk about any individual, on the floor of the House.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, Ian Walsh isn't contesting the care his mother is receiving at the respite facility, but it's $185 per day, 100 per cent user-pay. The situation is untenable. Bertha is on a waiting list for a nursing home bed, but given the long wait in HRM, the family is worried that the money will soon run out. Other families have been forced to take seniors home to pay the high costs of private home care. Families forced to pay the entire cost of care before the province will step up and help, does that sound familiar? My question to the Premier is, when will he admit that his government is returning to the old 100 per cent user-pay system, by denying seniors care?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely wrong, and I refer this question to the Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as the Premier mentioned in his first answer, I'd be more than happy to have the information of this specific case. It sounds quite a bit off and I would not want to have anything like that happen to any senior

[Page 3857]

in this province. I'm not aware of the details on this one and I would ask the honourable member to provide information to me so I could look into this post-haste.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I think the point here is that Ms. Walsh is just representative of what's happening to many seniors in the system. They are getting lost in the system. The Walsh family did yeoman service caring for their mother for six years. They are now faced with a family crisis and calling out for support. They were refused help and their mother was sent to a private-pay facility. So my final question to the Premier is, how can he justify the refusal of service to a 96-year-old frail senior in need of around-the-clock care?

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

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that there are some details of this issue that we don't understand at this point and I ask the member opposite to provide that information for me. We would not be putting people in this kind of situation without consulting with families and making sure that we're taking appropriate steps. Again, I'm not aware of this issue. It has not been brought to my attention and I look forward to helping out in this case.

[3:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

NAT. RES.: ATV INSTRUCTORS - COMPENSATION

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Last week the government tabled legislation concerning training for ATV drivers that, as usual, was done in haste. It appears that the minister did not contact those who have spent the last year becoming certified instructors for ATV training. Since the legislation was tabled last Wednesday, I have received phone calls from instructors who have spent thousands of dollars becoming trainers in preparing their training courses. Quite frankly, the government has hung them out to dry. My question to the minister is how is your government going to compensate the ATV instructors who have spent so much time and money preparing for your government's former legislation?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I'm rather surprised to discover I tabled legislation last Wednesday, because the government did not table legislation last Wednesday. However we did make some very constructive changes that were done after consultation with the sector and there still remains much opportunity for those who provide the training course - more than what would have been the case unless we brought in the action plan.

[Page 3858]

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, according to last week's changes only new drivers and children under the age of 16 will require training - I guess this means that children will be teaching their parents how to safely drive an ATV.

Last March the government enacted legislation that required ATV drivers to be properly trained. Government said they needed trainers to instruct new and experienced drivers. Now those who took the government at their word have been left out in the cold, and customers who received training they didn't need want their money back. My question to the minister is, how is your government going to compensate the customers who received ATV driver training, from the old regulations, now demanding their money back?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I think it would be appropriate, as the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection is responsible for ATV training courses, that he should be the one responding to these questions.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker I'm pleased to tell the member opposite that he's a little bit wrong - in fact all new drivers are required to take training in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. GLAVINE: We said new drivers. Mr. Speaker, this is yet another example of how the government has botched this issue from the get-go; little communication, little information on closed courses, and now more disorder for ATVers, the instructors and, basically, everyone in this province. ATV instructors will now have to raise their prices for training because of last week's regulations. I'm mystified by the government's hasty reaction at ATV regulations - if they had taken the time in the first place none of this would have happened. My question to the minister is, will you meet with these ATV instructors now that you've taken so much of their business and purpose away?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I have no idea who he's asking the question of, but I'll be more than happy to stand up and answer it, and what I will say to the member opposite is that we take the health and safety of Nova Scotians very seriously. I'm a little disappointed that the member finally comes to this issue with some information; in fact he's what's described by some as the Johnny-come-lately on this issue. What I will say to the member opposite is that the health and safety of Nova Scotians is first and foremost in our minds here in this province; as well, we recognize the fact that families have their right to enjoy these vehicles and that's why we've come forward with a variety of rules and regulations that will protect not only the enjoyment of these vehicles but the health and safety of all Nova Scotians.

[Page 3859]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

TPW - CROSSWALK SAFETY: IMPROVEMENTS (03/06-03/07) - UPDATE

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works. On March 11, 2006, the young life of 16-year-old Mary Beth Chaulk was taken when she was hit by a motorist as she walked across a crosswalk on Portland Street in Dartmouth. On Monday Kaitlyn Murray, 14, was struck in a marked crosswalk on Pleasant Street. I am sure I speak for all members of the House when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the family. We raised crosswalk safety issues with the government last year. The answer from the minister at that time was that these concerns were being worked on by the government. Mr. Speaker, my question for the minister is, what actions have been taken by this government in the last year to improve crosswalk safety in Nova Scotia?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I want to join with the honourable member in the expressions of sorrow that all of us have in the House with respect to the accidents that have occurred. I can tell the honourable member, as I indicated in answer to a previous question, we have participated in the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored HRM symposium on crosswalk safety. I am looking forward to the results of that being brought forward. We will certainly use those results, as well as other information that we get, as we monitor what's going on across the country and formulate further activities with respect to the issue.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, according to media reports this morning, eight people have been killed in marked crosswalks in Nova Scotia since the year 2000. In 2004, Nova Scotia's Auditor General conducted an audit on road safety initiatives within the provincial government. He found that road safety advisory committee approved initiatives used in other jurisdictions, but the needed legislation changes had not been made. My question for the Minister of Transportation and Public Works is, what is the status of these recommendations some three years later?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated to the honourable member, we're continuously looking at the whole issue. I can tell the honourable member and all members of the House that the policies that we have in place and the regulations and the laws that we have in place with respect to crosswalk safety mirror those that are the national standard in this country, as well as being consistent with standards internationally.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, last year when I asked questions on this very same issue, this minister said, " So the answers are not all necessarily in the bag at this stage. I want to ensure that every possible avenue is explored . . .". My question is simple, what options did this minister explore and when can we expect Cabinet to bring forward changes to the regulations or legislation that are needed?

[Page 3860]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, since the honourable member had asked that question I did meet with my colleague, the honourable Minister of Justice, with officials from my department. We reviewed all of the existing activities and regulations with respect to the operation of crosswalks in this province. We asked some questions. Those questions will be answered within the context of the participation that took place in the HRM symposium sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. They will be part of the answers that we asked with respect to what is taking place in other jurisdictions. I am anxiously awaiting the report from that HRM symposium.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I just want to remind all members, no electronic devices are to be utilized during Question Period.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

TREASURY & POLICY BD. - EXECUTIVE BONUSES: REPORT -

DELAY EXPLAIN

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my question will go to the Premier. Just over a year ago, in February 2006, the government received a report from the executive search firm Robertson Surette. This report was a review of what was supposed to be a one time and secret pay-for-performance system that awarded lump sum bonuses for senior officials within government. The curious thing is that the Robertson Surette report didn't see the light of day for a full year. In fact, the addendum to the report, which was completed last month, notes that the Public Service Commission was not even made aware of this report's existence until October 2006, that is six full months after it was submitted to the government. That is, the same entities that supposedly took over the file in 2005.

Mr. Speaker, I ask the Premier, what possible reason could he have had for sitting on this report for more than one year?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, what the government has been clear on is that we wanted to review what is currently the practice when it came to senior officials' pay. The government changed the direction for that to get rid of the bonuses of which the Opposition spoke often about. The government concurs with what their feelings were at the time and others across the province and put in a fair model for those senior officials which is also competitive, at the same time, with what we see similar in the private sector and other sectors, the public sector, in Atlantic Canada. It is fair, it is reasonable, and it is a new change in direction for the Province of Nova Scotia.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, the government's so called review of the practice- in the words of the Premier in terms of its response to this report -will end up costing taxpayers up to $1.3 million. Here's how. Instead of doing away with the bonuses immediately last Spring, as the report recommended, they instead paid out bonuses and then they boosted senior officials salaries by 38 per cent. Now isn't that a sweet deal? I ask the Premier, how

[Page 3861]

does he justify paying out additional $15,000 per head bonuses and then boosting those salaries by nearly 40 per cent?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, for greater clarification, I will pass that to the Minister responsible for Treasury and Policy Board.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the question of pay for senior public servants is one that this House has discussed on many occasions in the past. There has been a great deal of criticism of the bonus system that was employed. We took the steps necessary in order to eliminate those bonuses. We are now paying our senior public servants a competitive wage in this province, one which will allow us to deal with the issue of recruitment and retention and ensure that we have the very best qualified public servants in senior posts in this province. We are very pleased with the progress we have made in that regard.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, my final question does go to the Minister responsible for the Treasury and Policy Board. Neither the Robertson-Surette Report nor the government's new policy of ending bonuses for deputy ministers deals with the government's payment of $20,000 and $30,000 bonuses that are going to Crown Corporation CEOs and executives. I would like to ask that minister, when will the practice of paying these out-of-control bonuses to that group of officials come to an end?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the category of individuals to which the honourable member refers are very often governed by employment contracts that are negotiated by our arm's- length corporations and operations of government, owned by government. I can tell the House that we are very pleased with our ability to compensate our senior public servants in this province. I find it very strange that coming from the other side of the House we hear from a group of people who are prepared to go ahead and spend $1.7 billion on Commonwealth Games but they are not prepared to pay senior public servants in this province a decent wage.

[3:30 p.m.]

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

HEALTH PROM. & PROTECTION: UNIV. INFRASTRUCTURE - FUNDING

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. In the wake of the lost bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, two major challenges were identified, the small size of our province to host such an event and the huge sport and recreation deficit that exists in this province. This deficit lead to the ballooning cost which hit $1.7 billion. Nova Scotia has no sport infrastructure in place to

[Page 3862]

host such an event and was essentially starting from scratch. We are no further ahead today - we're even having trouble maintaining the sports facilities we have.

My question to the Minister is, why has your government allowed the infrastructure deficit to spiral out of control for sport and recreation?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I have never been so pleased to have a question asked in my life. What I'll say to the member opposite is, I am very proud of our government's step to address the infrastructure deficit here in the Province of Nova Scotia. A year ago we moved our recreation facility development fund from $2 million annually to $3 million annually - a 50 per cent increase.

This year we have added a program that will see $150 million over the next 10 years invested in sport and recreation facilities in this province, Mr. Speaker. That is something I am very proud of.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I've never been so pleased to respond to a question again and ask another question. This program of $50 million over 10 years is a day late and a dollar short. It is absolutely inadequate. The $150 million he refers to requires $100 million from our community members themselves. The facilities are inadequate and this tiny amount towards it will not go anywhere to putting a dent into the needs we have in this province. One single, bare-bones rink costs $4 million and we have 55 municipalities lining up at your doorstep, as the Minister of Sport and Recreation.

So Mr. Speaker, this infrastructure deficit is extreme and your staff knows exactly the full volume of it and I would love to know the full, multi-million dollar figure of that amount. Perhaps the minister would share with us the entire sport deficit that currently exists.

MR. BARNET: What I'll say to the member opposite is the investment that we're making as a result of this budget is the single biggest investment in sport and recreation infrastructure in the history our province, Mr. Speaker. It is something I am very proud of and Nova Scotians have embraced.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister should be ashamed to say that this is the biggest investment in sport and recreation. The deficit is extreme and I believe that we should be doing something a lot more aggressive than what is being proposed today. Our communities need leadership from the minister and from this government and they need help to provide the direction where we can actually address this growing deficit and create the infrastructure that will keep people living in our communities, which is a key worry for people across this province.

[Page 3863]

My question, Mr. Speaker, in the wake of the Commonwealth Games collapse, will you commit to consult with community and municipal leaders to put forward a long-term strategy that will finally invest in infrastructure that is so urgently needed in the province.

MR. BARNET: Well, Mr. Speaker, what I will tell the member opposite is that, in my role as the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection, I consult with municipalities and sport and recreation groups across this province almost on a daily basis. I will tell the member opposite that as I've been out around the community over the past week since we've tabled this budget, people have embraced this news as great news for Nova Scotia and it is something that we are all very proud of, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

JUSTICE: CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION PROG. - UPDATE

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My question through you is to the Minister of Justice. It has been seven years since this government severely limited the scope of assistance available to victims of violent crime in our province. In 2000, this government decided to cut virtually all services under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Program, except counseling services.

Mr. Speaker, last year when I asked the minister in this House about this program, he replied, and I quote, "We'll continue to review criminal injuries issues, in fact make them stronger and better." So I want to ask the Minister of Justice, since he hasn't boosted the budget for criminal injuries compensation, what exactly has he done in the past year to make this program "stronger and better"?

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable member for the question. I did say earlier that we would continue to review the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program in this province. It's something that's very much needed in this province. It was for a number of years. It is, in fact, taken advantage of on a daily basis. The honourable member would realize as well that within the recent federal budget, additional dollars have been allocated for criminal injuries and we wait for the decision on how those federal dollars will be spent across this country, and see how we may take advantage of those programs.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister. Indeed, it's true. The federal Justice Department announced a $13 million per year initiative to assist victims of crime and part of this program was to divide $3.8 million among provinces for Victims Services. Nova Scotia should be entitled to at least $110,000 a year from this funding. This is about the same amount that was cut from the provincial program by this government in 2000. Now that we have a funding source, I want to ask the minister, will he commit to directing this new federal money to the criminal injuries program to assist victims of violent crime?

[Page 3864]

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again I thank the honourable member for the question. Obviously we're waiting to see how those dollars will be allocated across the country before we can make any kind of a commitment. I want to assure the member opposite that the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program is taken advantage of by many people across this province. It's very important and we should not lessen the importance of how that's helped many victims across Nova Scotia and will continue to do so.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, since this program was cut many of us have seen case after case of victims of violent crime, needing other forms of assistance beyond counselling and not being able to access them. Indeed we've seen people with access to counselling services having to appeal, to launch formal appeals, to get more counselling than the program is prepared to provide. I want to the ask the minster, when will he get the message that it's time. It's time now for resources beyond the rhetoric of concern about crime, to actually help victims of violent crime in our province?

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again, thank you for the question. There are other programs as well in this province, where assistance is given in regard to particularly restitution, court services. There's all types of counselling assistance that is offered to victims of crime. I stand in this House and listen in this House on a daily basis where the members opposite spend millions and millions, in fact billions of dollars. This is about making a decision about priorities. We've made decisions and we continue to do so. This is a very important issue the member brings before the House, and I wish we had a lot more money to spend on all these programs. Unfortunately we don't. I'd like to know when was the last time the members opposite actually told an individual or a group across this province there was not enough money to spend on all of these programs that they continue to talk about day after day in this House?

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

EDUC. - JR. HIGH SCH.: GLACE BAY - SITE SELECTION

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. As we all know, the government announced the new junior high school in Glace Bay some four years ago, but has yet to start construction. Yesterday the Minister of Education stated that the construction of the school hasn't started because there is no safe site selected yet. Her department officials say you can't start construction without a proper site selection. Two sites have been identified in Glace Bay. So my question to the minister is, can the minister tell the House why one of those two sites has not been chosen as yet?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite and to all members of the House. I will repeat the comments that I made yesterday. In that we want to make sure that the site that we choose is safe. Two sites have been submitted and costs are being developed and estimated, as we speak, to bring services to the site that could become the preferred site.

[Page 3865]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the Cape Breton-Victoria District School Board has not yet approved a site for the new Northside Elementary School that was announced in last week's budget. The Department of Education selected the site without consultation. The Cape Breton-Victoria District School Board's number one priority was, and still is to this very day, a new junior high school for Glace Bay. So my question to the minister is, why is the minister not listening to the priorities of the Cape Breton-Victoria District School Board?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, again to the member opposite and to all members of the House, we work closely with our regional school boards. They do identify the needs within their board. They also work with us and are members of the site selection committee to determine best sites, and once that report is completed and we are satisfied with the site and it passes the environmental assessment done by the Department of Transportation and Public Works, then we move forward. That has not happened with the Glace Bay site, and when it does, I will be glad to stand in the House and announce an opening date.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, that should have been done long ago. The minister says the new school in Glace Bay can't proceed because there's no safe site, but the Department of Education doesn't even own the land that has been chosen for the new school in North Sydney. As a matter of fact, they haven't even entered into negotiations to purchase the land from the local parish there, and they haven't even tested the land yet where the new school in North Sydney is going to be located.

So, Mr. Speaker, they threw the priorities of the district school board out the window. They chose a site that they haven't tested and they don't even own. Why doesn't this minister just fess up and admit that the announcement in the budget was nothing but pure politics at the expense of the people of Glace Bay?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the members of the House that in the 2003 Capital Construction Report that was accepted, there were 12 new schools that were identified. I'm very proud to say that two of those have been opened, five will be opened in this coming year, five remain to be opened, and that's something we're very proud of.

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

NAT. RES. - POINT ACONI: LEASE - COSTS

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. I would like to table Order in Council 2007-143, which approves the lease of 61 hectares of Crown land situated in beautiful Point Aconi, Cape Breton, to Pioneer Coal Limited to develop a strip mine. Pioneer Coal Limited is being charged an annual rent of 10 per cent of the appraised value of this land, which would be about $3,500 per annum. So I want to ask the minister, why does he consider this a reasonable rate of return on land that is going to be destroyed by strip mining?

[Page 3866]

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for affording me the opportunity to first of all point out that this is the final step in the regulatory process. They had complied with all the environmental requirements and, ultimately, it came to a lease. What the member would appreciate, if he has ever been to the Point Aconi site, is that it is just pocked with open bootleg pits from the last two centuries. In some cases there is all kinds of garbage in them. It is not a healthy or safe environment, and this goes a long way to cleaning up the devastation that has been left from a couple of centuries of coal mining in that area.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, to that same minister, maybe he should turn around and talk to the member for Victoria-The Lakes and get a tour of beautiful Boularderie Island and Point Aconi. It would certainly dismiss these inaccurate descriptions of beautiful Point Aconi. I will table now another Order in Council, Order in Council 2004-514. This OIC just leases one hectare of Crown land in Inverness County to Black River Hydro Limited for the purpose of wind energy generation. Now, this energy company will be charged an annual rent of $3,500 per megawatt of capacity on each wind turbine for the first ten years of this lease. I'd like to ask this minister, why does it cost the same amount to rent one hectare of Crown land for wind energy as it does for 61 hectares of Crown land for strip mining?

[2:45 p.m.]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, clearly there are two totally different uses being put in place for the properties. Clearly, in the first one, it's a remediation plan to clean up a couple of centuries of coal mining, often bootleg mines. At the end of the day it has been shown in many cases that the land is in much better condition afterwards and we look forward to the completion of the remediation of Port Aconi.

MR. CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, it's Point Aconi, Mr. Minister. You know the largesse of Mr. Chisholm, if it was so great, we would see Reserve cleaned up, we would see St. Rose cleaned up. He's left them in a mess, but it's alright to give him almost free land from the people of Nova Scotia.

I want to ask you, Mr. Speaker, the outcome of both of the leases would be the same for the generation of power for the use of Nova Scotians. Their impact on Crown land will be hugely different. On one hand, we will have a wind turbine, on the other hand, we'll have 60 hectares of Cape Breton land forever scarred because of strip mining. I want to ask this minister, how much do these actions fit with his government's recent initiatives regarding environmental sustainability and stewardship?

MR. MORSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm very pleased the member points out the excellent record of this government in that regards of the environment, clearly it's very important to remediate those lands in Point Aconi. While the NDP may believe we have $1.7 billion to throw about, this government is very frugal with our finances and it is good to have it done in this manner so that it does not come at taxpayers' expense.

[Page 3867]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

EDUC. - UNIV. INFRASTRUCTURE: PLAN - DETAILS

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker my question is for the Minister of Education. Many members of the university community in Nova Scotia were disappointed to hear last week that this government is continuing to ignore their pressing infrastructure needs. Without any financial commitment to deal with the deferred maintenance problem, estimated to be more than $422 million as of last year, we will continue to see universities look for other ways to meet their needs for teaching and research facilities. The reality is that often means seeking more from the pockets of financially strapped students and their families. I ask the minister why does your government continue to ignore the needs of universities in Nova Scotia struggling with crumbling infrastructure?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I think it's already been made a public statement that this is a tough budget and priorities have to be set. I have listened constantly to the needs of students and our budget did respond to the needs of students and we're prepared to stand up and support them.

MR. PREYRA: They always seem to be tough budgets and they always seem to be tough on working families and students. Mr. Speaker, money talks and in this case all we hear is silence from the government. Universities are not asking for a handout, universities are an integral part of our knowledge economy and they contribute significantly to creating jobs and enhancing our research and economic development capacity. This government seemed to recognize this need, at least on paper, when they promised to address this issue as part of the existing MOU, one that is about to expire. I ask the minister, shouldn't you deliver on the terms of the existing MOU, like delivering financial assistance to infrastructure, before you move on to the next one?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, the funding to universities for this upcoming year in the budget that is before us now has been increased significantly. We have also increased the support to our university students and we certainly value the work that is done by our universities and the quality of education that they provide as we go into the second round of MOU, which has already begun.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, the government is a long way from delivering on its promise to reduce the gap between national tuition rates and tuition rates in Nova Scotia. There is a vacuum created by this government's inaction. This vacuum is filled with proposals for auxiliary fees and other charges for facility renewal on campuses. The translation is higher fees for students and more students going down the road. There have even been proposals brought forward by universities for a bond issue or mortgage arrangements to deal with this need. I ask the minister, when can universities expect to hear about a plan for addressing their infrastructure needs?

[Page 3868]

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, again I want to refer to the dollars that are going toward supporting our universities and our students - and the reference to the national average in the last two years, last year and the upcoming year, we will have closed the gap in tuitions. Instead of being a $2,000 gap between us and the national average, it will be $1,000 - and I am proud of that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

EDUC. - MIDDLETON SCH. ENHANCEMENT: COMMITMENT - HONOUR

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The Department of Education made a commitment to the people of Middleton for a school enhancement project in the amount of $2.2 million to replace a music room and add a new gym facility to their 55-year-old building, with a major part of this work to start this fiscal year and be completed by the 2008-09 school year. Several bodies, such as the Middleton Band Parents Association, the Middleton Regional High School Advisory Council, as well as the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board, had all lobbied the Department of Education and were pleased when the announcement was made that construction would start in September 2007. Now they are being told the $1.7 million that was marked for this fiscal year is not available. My question to the minister is why has your department broken its commitment to the people of Middleton by not starting this project in September?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the school community in Middleton for putting together a plan that would help assist the department as they look at renovations for that school. It is that community partnership that we value. I would also like to tell the member opposite and other members of this House that we have looked at our budget, we have looked at what we can do within the school board, and have started negotiations to see if we can come up with a plan and a reallocation based on school board priorities, to address the Middleton issue.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the current band room is both inadequate and unsafe for any and all band operations. I will table a letter from Gordon Whitehead of the company Hearing Conservation and Civic Audiology Limited. Mr. Whitehead states: "It is the recommendation of this writer that use of the current bandroom, for all band activities, should cease immediately. The sound levels are not acceptable in view of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour guidelines for an employee. After analyzing the data in detail, it can be seen that many of the students are also at serious risk of permanent damage to hearing."

My question to the minister is, will the minister put the health of students and staff first and commit to building a new music room and gymnasium for the Middleton Regional High School in the timeline promised?

[Page 3869]

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, the health and safety of our students is a priority, and adequate and appropriate facilities in which we can deliver a program is also a priority. Those are two of the things that are driving us to work with the school board to look at a space that is appropriate for the delivery of the music program.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, earlier in Question Period the minister spoke of a 2003 construction report that her department had in their hands. From that report, school projects, either new construction or renovations, have been delayed, delayed and delayed, only to be revisited upon an election and upon an election. My question is directly to the minister, do you support spending money on pools and rinks ahead of providing quality education facilities for our children?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I did refer to the 2003 Capital Construction Report and my commitment is to work through what has been approved by this province and we are currently doing that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

HEALTH - STEWART FAMILY: ASSISTANCE - ANNOUNCE

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Last Fall, Phillip Stewart came to this House to speak about his wife who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2004. The result of this injury was short-term memory loss. Because of this, she cannot be alone. Unfortunately, there are no programs in Pictou County to help her. This means that the Stewarts must pay someone to be with her at all times and the family continues to suffer financial hardship. My question is, why isn't your department moving forward to help families like the Stewarts?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I know from the visit of last Fall that the gentleman did have the opportunity to come in and talk to me and staff and looking at some options for his wife. Of course, I can't speak to the specifics of any case, but I do know that there has some review and some assessments done and if the member wanted to discuss that afterward, I would be happy to do so.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of what has not been done. The self-managed care program offered by the Department of Health would help to solve the Stewart's problem. However, they cannot access it because of Mrs. Stewart's disability. There is no equivalent program they can access, so the Stewarts continue to live with a diminished quality of life while she and her family work to find a solution. My question is, when will your department provide services for rural Nova Scotians who have had a traumatic brain injury?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that we continue our investment in the self-managed care. As I cannot speak to the specifics of any case on the floor of this

[Page 3870]

House, I'd be happy to speak with the member opposite as soon as Question Period is complete.

MR. MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health's staff told Mr. Stewart that they were reassessing the case and working towards a solution. That was back in November. The Stewarts have not heard from the Department of Health since early January. My question is, when will you tell the Stewart family what assistance they will be receiving from your department?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, again I thank the member opposite for his question and his concern for his constituents. As he does well know, I cannot answer to specifics of particular cases due to privacy issues. I will be happy to speak with the member opposite as soon as Question Period is complete.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

ENVIRON.& LBR. - BILCON NEGOTIATIONS: RESPONSES - ADEQUACY

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be through you to the Minister of Environment and Labour. As I'm sure you're aware, Digby Neck is a narrow and fragile piece of land and one of the first settled areas of this province. Since 2002 this area has been under threat from a basalt mine development being planned by Bilcon. The company's environmental impact statement led to questions of clarification to be asked by the joint panel review. Many inaccuracies have been found in the company's responses and currently the ball is back in the hands of the company. My question for the minister is this, is he satisfied with the company's responses to date?

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I haven't seen the company's responses to date because what I will see is the recommendation of the joint panel review when it comes to me and it hasn't yet come to me.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm sorry to hear that the minister is not paying attention to this issue, which is extraordinarily important to the people of Digby Neck. The people who live there make their living from fishing and tourism. The environmental impacts from blasting and increased shipping threaten what is left of the fishery in the area and scarred landscape will do little to what is left of the fishery in the area and scarred landscape will do little to attract tourists to the area. So my question for the minister is, through you of course, Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell this House and the residents of Digby Neck how this project fits within his government's sustainability plans?

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I do want to take issue with the speaker's preliminary remark that I'm not paying attention to this important issue. The difference is that I allow

[Page 3871]

the judicial process to go forward, the regulatory process to go forward, without intervening the way the Opposition would want me to do.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it's not just Digby Neck that is in danger. If Bill Cohn gets permission to build this quarry, there will be nothing stopping them from applying for future expansions or other companies applying for access to the same material. As of late, this minister has dragged his caucus colleagues into accepting the importance of the environment and has even brought forward legislation he hopes will protect the environment. My question to the minister is, how does he propose to use legislation to protect Digby Neck?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, as the member knows, the Digby Neck, or the White's Quarry Project, has gone to a joint federal/provincial panel review. That federal/provincial panel review, is under experts from Dalhousie University, who I understand are universally acclaimed to be the best in their field in this issue and have the confidence of the opponents of this White's Quarry. Also, that federal/provincial review was ratcheted up to the highest level that was possible by my predecessor here, who is my colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources, and it is one of the best panel reviews that will be done and I have confidence in the panel review.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis. (Interruptions)

EDUC. - TRI-COUNTY SCH. BD.: UNDER FUNDING - EXPLAIN

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: I lost track, Mr. Speaker, Digby Neck, I heard that. When I hear about Digby, I lose track.

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The Tri-County Regional School Board has historically been under funded by this government and continues to be so. It is the second-lowest funded school board per capita in the country. It is difficult for the board to provide comparable education services when it lacks the necessary funding to do so. In addition, Tri-County shares services, service units for finance and human resources, with the South Shore Regional School Board. Yet it receives less funding from the province. This amalgamation was done by cost-sharing purposes, yet no report has been reproduced, indicating the saving that this has made. My question to the minister is, why has the minister and her department underfunded the Tri-County Regional School Board?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite and to all members of the House, the whole question of funding to school boards was one that was under review. The Hogg report was done. It was a thorough report and we are implementing the recommendation on the Hogg report.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, the students of the Tri-County merit the same curriculum facilities and funding as any other school board in this province. Other school

[Page 3872]

boards, such as the South Shore Regional School Board and the Strait Regional School Board, receive $7,270 and $8,213 respectively. Tri-County only received $6,900, this despite having similar enrolment numbers. This is clearly unfair and unacceptable for students who have the right to fair education. My question to the minister is, can the minister tell the House why there is such a difference for funding per student?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, in the Hogg report there were a number of factors that were used to determine what the funding formula would look at and geography was certainly one of them, in addition to student numbers, and I would be glad to share that with the member opposite, if that would help him.

MR. THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, funding for school boards is an annual lump sum, based on previous years enrolment numbers. However Tri-County fell just short of 2 per cent declining enrolment payment, as recommended in the Hogg Report. This means that the board may lose funding services. This is extremely unfair to the students of Tri-County, particularly because two of the school boards in the province are considered over-funded. This means that students from Tri-County will receive $3 million less in school funding than they did in the previous year.

My question to the minister: Will the minister meet and review funding to the Tri-County school board and work for fair funding?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, it would be the goal of my department, and it is my goal as well, to make sure that we provide a high quality and a standard of education for all students and that no student goes unfunded, as per the formula that has been recommended. However, if there is deemed to be an unfair allocation of funds, I would be prepared to review that.

[Page 3873]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

HEALTH: LILLIAN FRASER MEM. HOSP.- EMERG. PERSONNEL - SHORTAGES

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health. Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital in Tatamagouche serves western Pictou County and parts of Colchester and Cumberland Counties. Recently the DHA announced that because of physician shortages, the emergency department would be closed most weekdays during March and April. Soon summer residents will arrive and the population will actually triple, so my question to the minister: Can the minister tell what his department is doing to address, with the local DHA, the serious shortage of emergency personnel at Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the member opposite for bringing this question forward. Of course the member for Colchester North has talked about it quite often as well. What we have been able to do in the last number of weeks is find a physician to work at that emergency room until, I believe, sometime in April. What we're doing right now is looking at the other options of finding other physicians to work in that so-needed facility.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, certainly not having an emergency department open is very stressful for the community along the North Shore. It is completely unacceptable that this community does not know whether the emergency department is open or not, or whether they have to drive to New Glasgow or Truro or wherever.

So my question, Mr. Speaker, to the minister: When is the Department of Health going to get serious about doctor recruitment and doctor retention in this province, and show rural Nova Scotians that they are working on the crisis facing our emergency departments?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, we are very serious about doctor retention and recruitment in this province. Over the last 18 months we've seen the increase of 188 new physicians in this province. We now have the highest physician per population ratio in all of Canada. It is absolutely the best in all of Canada, and working with the district health authority we will be working to keep that emergency room open, as well as investing this year $150,000 to continue work on a primary health care unit for that hospital as well, so we are serving well the people of Tatamagouche.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, well people can't get an emergency room and they don't know where to go, they are not being well served. The people of the North Shore have raised a lot of money through the hospital foundation, in fact $0.5 million recently for renovations and modernization, and really people feel they are paying for a service that they are not getting. So my final question: Specifically what is your department doing to assist Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital find the emergency doctors that they require?

[Page 3874]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'll say it again as I did in my previous answer, we are working with the DHA to find and identify individuals who would be interested in working at Lillian Fraser Memorial Hospital, who would be interested in working in emergency rooms across the province. We have had some tremendous luck over the last 18 months where we have seen 188 new physicians come to this province and set up practices. So I think we will continue that good record and continue for the purposes of all Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

ENERGY - INCANDESCENT BULBS: BAN - CONSIDER

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I would like to address my question to the Minister of Energy. As the minister knows, there's a great deal of effort being devoted right now to complying with the Kyoto protocols and other climate change-effective strategies. The Australian Government recently has banned the sale of incandescent light bulbs in an effort to promote energy efficiency. In a recent assessment of energy impact of incandescent bulbs in Nova Scotia, it was estimated that banning them would save the province approximately 2 per cent of its annual energy consumption. So my first question is to what extent has the department considered simply banning incandescent bulbs?

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, what the member speaks of is not something new. Of course, we're very aware of the amount of electricity the standard light bulb uses and the department is doing a review and is doing a proper assessment to move forward with the option of educating people to use the appropriate light bulb for their needs.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, actually I would like to address my second question to the Minister of Environment and Labour because I think that much of the education piece does fall into the Environment portfolio. The Department of Energy has devoted a great deal of energy and money into circulating compact fluorescent light bulbs recently, which are the accepted alternative to incandescents but, although these bulbs do reduce energy consumption, they actually themselves contain mercury.

As the Minister of Environment will know, recent studies of the body burden of mercury and waterfowl in Kejimkujik Park have shown that Nova Scotia is actually one of the mercury hot spots in North America - and that's water-borne mercury. Reducing coal consumption may eventually reduce mercury emissions, but dumping fluorescent bulbs into landfills actually will put mercury directly into the landfill, which is something nobody wants to see. So my question to the minister is how will you help people who want to be energy efficient with their lighting, but are worried about sending mercury directly to landfills?

[Page 3875]

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question for two reasons. First, it gives me a chance to commend my colleague, the Minister of Energy, for the great work that he has been doing, and Conserve Nova Scotia. (Applause)

Secondly, it also gives me a chance to talk about why we brought forth the bill on environmental and economic sustainability and why we included in that targets for greenhouse emissions, targets for emissions from cars, because we need to look at the environment as a whole. That's one thing that all of us have learned recently, Mr. Speaker, the environment operates as a self-regulating whole. Some people use the word "Gaia" to talk about that - James Lovelock was the one who coined that word, but the important thing is to look at it holistically. The member raises a very important point that we should not try to fix one problem and cause another - we need to look holistically at the issue.

MS. RAYMOND: Here is the problem though. Unfortunately, the government is distributing light bulbs, compact fluorescent light bulbs, which say on the box that they're hazardous waste, should be disposed of as hazardous waste, and it's estimated that this province produces about 4,500 tons of electronic product waste annually. The Department of Environment and Labour has eventually come up with finalizing e- waste regulations that will come into effect next year, but they don't include any regulation, despite this, to recycle fluorescent bulbs and the CFL bulbs, which are actually being circulated at this moment, although the box says that they should be disposed of as hazardous waste and contain many of the same components as electronic waste. So my final question to the minister is why waste the opportunity in the new e-waste regulations by not including fluorescent bulbs?

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, certainly I'll take that under advisement because I know that when she makes suggestions, she makes them from her heart with a real concern for the environment. (Applause) However, I cannot let this opportunity go by without boasting of the electronic waste regulations this province brought forward - they are the most stringent in the whole country of Canada. We are leading the way and everyone is looking now to Nova Scotia in terms of electronic waste because we are the leaders, not simply in bringing in year one, but year two, which other provinces haven't done. We have vaulted into the lead and we are the leaders in waste disposal, and we will maintain that leadership and thank you for that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

EDUC. - SOMERSET & ST. MARY'S SCHOOLS: RENOVATIONS - FUND

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. The Government of Nova Scotia announced on June 10, 2003, in a pre-election announcement that students at Somerset and St. Mary's Elementary School would receive funding for new music rooms and gymnasiums. The renovations were scheduled to begin

[Page 3876]

in September 2004 and should have been completed during the 2008 school year - however, renovations have to date consisted of a new parking lot and electrical entrances. My question to the minister: Why hasn't the government fulfilled its commitments to the students of Somerset and St. Mary's and advanced the school renovations?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, in reference to the capital list and the renovation projects that were announced, all of those projects that were announced are still in the queue. They will be completed, some of them will be delayed. Those are two of them.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, the students of Somerset and St. Mary's are just as deserving as any other students across this province, and it's a shame this government is playing politics with their education. This government committed to investing $2.8 million for the renovations of Somerset, and $2.9 million for the renovations of St. Mary's, which included the addition of a new gymnasium and music room and a conversion of the multi-purpose room into a cafeteria.

These renovations are essential so that students are able to access the highest level of education possible. My question to the minister: Why has this government delayed the renovations of Somerset and St. Mary's Elementary Schools?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, thank you for the question. We have been in discussion, he and I, on this particular issue. It's information that I have received that all tenders that were awarded will be let and our dollars for this current budget year and the upcoming budget year will go to honouring those tenders.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, it sounds half promising, but it is clear this government does not fully comprehend the severity of those schools' needs. Allow me to reiterate their importance. I will table one of the letters sent to my office by students and parents of students. Todd Brown of Somerset Elementary writes:"I am upset that the government is not living up to the promise of money for our gym. We are one of afew schools that can't play volleyball and other sports because our gym is too small. We cannot throw a ball up without it bouncing off the ceiling. Our home and school has raised lots of money for the school. They promised. Now the government is not helping. I think the government should keep their promise."

My question to the minister is will the minister keep its promise to Todd and all the other students of Somerset and St. Mary's Elementary and begin renovations in 2007?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, if I could remind the members of the House that since 1998 this government has built 71 new schools, starting in 1999 - 71 new schools in this province. That is a commitment to our students.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

[Page 3877]

HEALTH PROM. & PROTECTION: AKERLEY CAMPUS RINK - CLOSURE

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. Akerley Rink, located at the Nova Scotia Community College, Akerley Campus, has been an important part of the local community for 25 years. The Nova Scotia Community College will turn the rink into teaching space for heavy truck operation and a maintenance course instead. There was no community consultation prior to the announcement of the rink closing. My question to the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection is why didn't his department fight to keep that rink open?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, what I'll tell the member opposite is that the provision of recreation facilities like arenas are the responsibilities of municipalities in this province. What I will say is that I did meet with the mayor and the councillor for the area. We discussed the concerns and I encouraged the mayor and councillor to bring forward an application through our recreational facilities development program, so that the province could play a role in the funding of that facility. To date, we've not seen any application from the municipality or from any community group with respect to a new facility in that community.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, I believe the minister does know that this rink is a critical piece of recreational infrastructure and that is recreational for the Dartmouth community. Nova Scotia Community College, granted, does need that space, but it's still going to be a huge loss for families in the area. The Dartmouth Whalers and the Bedford Blue hockey teams use this space, as well as Cole Harbour Ringette. Health Promotion and Protection staff should have been working with the NSCC to replace the rink from the very beginning. A new sport centre near by does not include an ice surface. My question to the minister is, in light of the importance of physical activity, why is the rink being allowed to shut down?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, again, to the member opposite, the member should be aware that recreation facilities like arenas are the responsibility of municipalities in this province. As I said in my first answer, I met with the mayor, I met with the councillor. I encouraged them to bring forward an application under the recreational facilities development program. I believe that arena is essential to serving that community. So far, we've not received an application, either from the mayor or from any community group, with respect to that facility. It's disappointing, but they've not applied.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, it's a Nova Scotia Community College and that's under the purview of the provincial government. It could have been given funding for new space, or you could have provided a grant through the Office of Health Promotion and Protection to provide a rink for the community. With the high rates of obesity, we need more rinks, not less. My question is, will you commit to working with the community to resolve the issue and either save or replace this rink?

[Page 3878]

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, we have a program that's application based. The member did not submit an application, no community groups submitted an application and the municipality did not submit an application. I encourage them to do that because it is certainly a need that needs to be addressed in that community. Our investment of $1 million in that community . . .

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

The honourable member for Cape Breton South on an introduction.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, in the west gallery today we have Mr. Bobby Burchell, who is a distinguished Cape Bretoner, but also a good friend of mine who's here today watching the proceedings and I'm sure he's learning a great deal. Bobby is the International Executive Member of the United Mine Workers of America, for many years, and has toiled on behalf of miners in Cape Breton and in other areas of his jurisdiction. Both working miners and retired miners and the community certainly owes Bobby a debt of gratitude for all the work that he's done for years, on behalf of miners and I'd like him to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 132.

Bill No. 132 - Heritage Property Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, we're here to discuss at second reading a bill that is, I have to say, a wonderful example of conciseness in its drafting. I offer my congratulations to the Legislative Counsel and his staff for all of this. It's a mere 16 words. It's only two lines. The only reason it's two lines is that the first line is indented, otherwise I think the 16 words could have been just in the one line, and I'll read it in its entirety. It says: "Section 18 of Chapter 199 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Heritage Property Act, is repealed."

[Page 3879]

Well, I thank the Legislative Counsel for this and it seems to me that it admirably achieves its objective, but I would like to explain what that objective is and I have to say, perhaps before doing so, that I'm surprised that this is a bill that is being brought forward by the Opposition. It's not clear to me why it is that the government hasn't brought forward a bill to this effect. The reason I say this is that this bill is a direct result of one of the only two, I think, legislative recommendations that came from Voluntary Planning in its report, in its extensive and admirable report from last year, called Our Heritage Future: A Shared Responsibility.

Mr. Speaker, this task force that was established by Voluntary Planning had a very thorough look at all aspects of heritage in the Province of Nova Scotia. Just to jump ahead, in the end I think they made only two recommendations that required legislation, and this is one of them. So this bill, and a companion bill that I also introduced, addresses the second recommendation of Voluntary Planning.

This was a distinguished task force. They held public hearings over the full course of a year, public meetings in a variety of communities all across the province. It was chaired by Maureen Reid, who is a lawyer and business person here in metro. It included representatives from the Mi'kmaq community, Mr. Tim Bernard from Millbrook. We saw on the Voluntary Planning task force, Ronald Caplan, the well-known historian from Cape Breton; we saw Elizabeth Cromwell from Birchtown, who has been very active in the Black Loyalist Heritage Society; we saw Gabriel LeBlanc from D'Escousse, who has been very active in the Acadian community; Candace Stevenson, a retired senior bureaucrat from the provincial government who has expertise in heritage matters. This was, I emphasize, a very distinguished panel.

One of their recommendations, the one that we're dealing with today, focused on this particular amendment to the Heritage Property Act. Here's what they say - we have, of course, the explanatory note that our Legislative Counsel has given us, but I will read from the report, at Page 21, the relevant paragraph. I am happy to table the extract for members. The relevant paragraph says; "The Heritage Property Act should be amended to remove the one-year waiting period provision so that municipalities have the option to reject proposals for alteration or demolition of registered heritage properties. Alteration or demolition can still occur, but only with council approval and extenuating circumstances or through an official appeal process available to the property owner."

Now what does this mean? The net effect of this amendment would be to place municipally designated heritage properties on exactly the same footing as provincially designated heritage properties. Under the Heritage Property Act, at the moment, there are two levels of government that are able to designate heritage property - the province itself, and the different municipalities.

There has been built into our legislation a vital difference between the consequences of designation provincially or municipally. The vital difference is that when a property is

[Page 3880]

designated by a municipality and the owner wishes to either make an exterior change or might, in fact, have it in mind to demolish that property, they are obliged to go to the municipality - as they are at the provincial level, at the provincial level it would have been to the provincial government - and seek permission. At the provincial level, if the province declines to allow the demolition or the exterior alteration, that's an end of it, the owner is stuck; they might come back with another proposal of some sort, but that's the end of the matter. At the municipal level, if the property is only designated municipally, the owner can wait a year and then do what they want with their property. That has been a long-standing, vital difference between designation at the provincial, and designation at the municipal level.

What has happened, of course, is, unfortunately, we've lost buildings. Due to this difference, occasionally solutions have not been found that are mutually agreeable for the owner and for the municipality, and the owner has been able to wait a year and demolish the property. This is not a desirable result. I want to be clear that if this amendment is adopted, it will not prevent demolition, absolutely, and it won't prevent exterior alterations absolutely. What it will do is it will require the municipality jointly with the owner to work out an agreement.

[4:30 p.m.]

The one-year delay provision that exists in the legislation at the moment, has been designed to allow the municipality to work out with the owner some kind of solution. Clearly, it provides pressure in the situation. The trouble is that, although many municipalities are happy to work with the owners of designated heritage properties, solutions aren't always found and we end up losing properties. This is a regrettable position to find ourselves in.

I want to say that this is not, of course, only an issue in HRM. The Voluntary Planning Task Force is a province-wide task force. They examine the situation province-wide and the recommendation that they are making would apply to municipalities all across the province. Of course, there are wonderful heritage properties outside of metro. There is probably no built community across Nova Scotia that doesn't have heritage properties, not all of which, I have to say, have actually gone through the designation process, unfortunately.

We have to recognize, and this is what the Voluntary Planning Task Force does recognize, is that the heritage properties are an important tourist attraction and an important part of the building up of that aspect of our economy in Nova Scotia. People come here, in part, to see the built heritage. Of course they come to see our natural heritage and that aspect of our wealth. They come because Nova Scotia, in many respects, is a beautiful place both in terms of its natural blessings and in terms of some of the built heritage that we have. We want that to continue to be the case. We want not to lose the housing stock.

[Page 3881]

When properties are considered for evaluation for designation, they go through process that is principled, detailed and independent. Municipalities in the province have adopted a scoring system that is an internationally-recognized scoring system. Properties are assessed for their inherent architectural importance. They are assessed for their association with historic personages or historic events and they are assessed, as well, for the condition that they might still be in. Various points are assigned and there is a waiting system and research is done to support the findings of what the committees go through.

I am familiar with this process. HRM, where I served for a number of years as a councillor and the City of Halifax before that, both had Heritage Advisory Committees. Councillors are part of the membership of those committees. I happened to be one of the councillors serving on the City of Halifax and then the HRM Heritage Advisory Committee in those years. The majority of people on those committees are not councillors. The majority are people who have expertise in heritage matters or who are owners of heritage properties or who are business people. I should be clear - because it is business people who agree in seeing that there is a value in trying to find ways to maintain these buildings.

So it was always something, I think, of an anomaly that this difference existed between municipally and provincially designated buildings. The Voluntary Planning Task Force came to the conclusion that this distinction was artificial, that this distinction should be removed. When I read their recommendation, when I read their analysis, I found myself, as Heritage Critic for our caucus, agreeing with it. I didn't see that there was a problem. This certainly was an open and public analysis by voluntary planning; its recommendations have been widely publicized. I'm not aware of people who are objecting to this. I can't think of what the objection would be.

I should say that it's important to note that the rights of owners of heritage properties have to be respected. They are respected in the designation process, there's an appeal. The fact that it's objective is also important, the fact that there's an objective scoring system. That is to say this all becomes a part of what it is that's available to owners. I want to say that of course the existence of financial incentives for owners of buildings is also an important companion piece here. Voluntary planning went out of its way to say that financial inducements for the owners of such buildings should continue to be put in place, because one recognizes that sometimes there are extra expenses associated with these buildings and that has to be taken account of. I think everyone recognizes that, but as part of our community as a whole, they have a vital role to play and that balance has to be struck between the rights of the owner and the interests of the community in maintaining these buildings.

There are ways that this can be tackled. Government can purchase these buildings and I think in some circumstances that should happen, in others financial incentives should be made available. Along with those things should be this change in the law, so I'm hoping that this is a measure that the government will find that it can support. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to talk.

[Page 3882]

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

HON. LEONARD GOUCHER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity today to rise to speak to Bill No. 132.

If I could, before I continue, I think it's very important that those who are watching here this evening understand what this bill is all about. If you don't mind, I'm just going to read the excerpt which is Section 18 it says "not withstanding Section 17, where the owner of a Municipal Heritage Property has made an application for permission to alter the exterior appearance of or demolish the property and the application is not approved, the owner may make the alteration and carry out the demolition at any time after one year from the date of the application, provided that the alteration or demolition shall not be undertaken more than two years after the date of the application." Mr. Speaker, that's incredibly important for any municipal officials who are watching, any individuals who are in the province here who have municipally registered heritage properties, because the implications are huge.

Mr. Speaker, as Minister responsible for the Heritage Property Act, I personally cannot support the amendments proposed in Bill No. 132. The province is committed to the identification, registration and protection of Nova Scotia's heritage properties through the Heritage Property Act. The department's heritage division administers this act for the province, offering financial support, professional advice to the owners of registered heritage properties. Under the act, heritage properties can be registered either by the municipality or by the province where they can carry both designations.

Mr. Speaker, in the community in which I live in Bedford, we have two provincially registered heritage properties. One is the Moyers Information Centre. which carries provincial registration and also Scott Manor House, circa 1771. It's one of the oldest structures in this province, carries a provincial heritage designation. There are numerous other ones that carry municipal heritage designations. I would worry, that if this particular bill goes through, what we would be left with would be two provincial registered buildings and no municipally registered buildings, because those individuals may not want to carry the incumbrance similar to that of the provincial legislation.

Mr. Speaker, there are 267 registered provincial heritage properties in Nova Scotia. The owners of these properties must go through a rigorous process to substantially alter, deregister or demolish the property. To deregister a provincial heritage property, the request must go to the advisory council on heritage property. Mr. Speaker, the reason I'm going through these is that what would end up happening, you would have very similar circumstances in the future, if Bill No. 132 happened to go through this House, for municipally-registered properties. The council makes recommendation to the minister responsible, who is myself, to make the final decision to substantially alter or to demolish a provincially-registered building. The Governor in Council, who is Cabinet, the Executive Council, must make that decision, taking into account the Advisory Council's recommendation.

[Page 3883]

As you can see, Mr. Speaker, the matter of deregistration or demolition of a heritage property is not taken lightly, nor is it a common practice. Recently, actually, we have had to deal with one of those and it's the first one that I can remember probably, that has happened other than something that has been caused by fire or some damage where the property, the deregistration was requested.

Municipal heritage designation offers a different level of protection. In the case of municipally-registered property, the owner must apply to the municipality to substantially alter the exterior or demolish the property. If the municipality denies the request, the owner must abide by that decision for one year, during which time the owner and the municipality can try to resolve the issue and reach a mutually agreeable solution.

However, if that doesn't happen after one year, the owner can proceed with the alteration or demolition without penalty. Bill No. 132 would remove the homeowner's right to do that, essentially imposing the same restrictions as those placed on provincially-registered properties.

Mr. Speaker, there are approximately 1,500 registered municipal heritage properties in Nova Scotia.

AN HON. MEMBER: That's a lot.

MR. GOUCHER: It sure is a lot. The owners of those properties, just like the owners of the provincially-registered properties, know the rules when they apply to register their homes or purchase a home with a heritage designation. There is a reason that we have five municipally-registered properties for every one provincially-registered property. It's because there are many people who see the benefit of heritage designation and want to participate in a program, but who are unwilling to live with the conditions of a provincial designation. That goes back to what I said before, Mr. Speaker. The encumbrances that go with a provincially-designated property - those encumbrances are basically for life. Unless it is deemed by either the minister to deregister, or if another application to alter or demolish comes along, then it is Executive Council that has to make the decision. Those are significant decisions.

This bill would change the rules for municipally-registered properties without the benefit or courtesy of talking to those most affected - the municipalities and homeowners themselves. Mr. Speaker, I understand why this amendment is coming forward and that there is undoubtedly some support for it in the heritage community. But, there is also some opposition and I feel that we have a responsibility, as government, to hear from all sides on this issue before we unilaterally make a decision to impose binding changes on homeowners - and I say that, binding changes, because they would be.

In the process of trying to protect and preserve our treasured heritage properties, we don't want to deter people from registering such properties, either provincially or, in this case, municipally. That is what can happen if people see the rules change midstream without

[Page 3884]

any consultation on the matter. A fear that those people who want to participate in the preservation, recognition and promotion of heritage properties, on some level, may simply not be willing to live with the encumbrance of provincial designation.

Mr. Speaker, I go back to that - the encumbrance of provincial designation. That is critical in this particular bill to consider because if we go that route, the municipally-registered properties that we have - 1,500 or so - they will disappear. Anybody's chance or opportunity , on behalf of heritage in this province, to seek some recognition for that property will disappear as well. Those homeowners won't come forward for any kind of designation and in the end we could lose a key component of our program.

[4:45 p.m.]

While there may be some room for improvement, the Heritage Act, in general, has worked effectively and the Heritage Property Program is viewed positively. As you know, Mr. Speaker, the department is in the process of developing a heritage strategy in Nova Scotia as mentioned by my colleague on the opposite side. This process has taken into account 59 recommendations made by the Voluntary Planning Task Force on Heritage in December of 2006. Bill No. 132 is a reflection of Recommendation #27, in that particular document, entitled Our Heritage Future, A Shared Responsibility. Through voluntary planning, 22 community meetings and 300 written submission were heard from many people on the issue of Heritage properties. We expect that the heritage strategy will also address heritage properties, among many other topics.

Mr. Speaker, again, I go back to that document. There are 59 recommendations in there and they deal with everything through a broad spectrum, including issues like Treasure Trove Act, so it deals with a lot of different issues.

I appreciate the intent of the members opposite in bringing the Bill No. 132 forward. However, the amendments proposed at this time in the bill, or any other substantive amendments, should be considered in an overall review of the Act, and after consultation with the municipal government, owners and registered properties, the Advisory Council on Heritage Properties and other sector community stakeholders.

Mr. Speaker, this government is not willing to use a hammer and go out there and just bring legislation down for the sake of bringing legislation down, without consultation. The municipalities deserve it. The owners of the registered heritage properties municipally deserve it, and it is not up to us, as a government, to take an action, which would encumber their properties beyond what they believed would happen when they were municipally registered and that's what would happen with Bill No. 132. It should proceed in the context of a comprehensive heritage strategy, which we expect in the Fall of this year.

I think, going back to the community in which I live, there a lot of homes right now, that are either architecturally significant or by age are significant. Even with the present

[Page 3885]

regulations, Mr. Speaker, many of those individuals are very reluctant to register those properties, even municipally, because of the encumbrances that carry with it. That one year, to some people, they view it somewhat negatively. They would love to have a heritage designation on their property. But with Bill No. 132, we're going miles beyond that particular issue.

I was a councillor, the same as the honourable member opposite, for 14 years. I, as well, sat on - when it was the Town of Bedford in those days - on the Heritage Advisory Committee. We are very proud of the heritage in our community. As a government, I can tell you without question, we are extremely proud of the heritage in this province. We are there to help protect and preserve that heritage and work with the individuals who own those properties, to ensure that that happens. But, again, Mr. Speaker, as a government, we are not prepared to come down on those who have municipally registered properties, and without any consultation of any type, try to impose our will on them. There is, as the member opposite stated, an ongoing review, a departmental review, at this time, of the Voluntary Planning Task Force recommendation on heritage.

If we, as a government, adopted Bill No. 132, we would, in effect, prejudice a process which everybody in this House, I believe, supported, and prejudice many of the very important articles within that document and in this case, it would be article #27, which is, I understand a component where the heritage members in our community would want to see happen, but that is not done and will not be done without full consultation. Mr. Speaker, I hope to see, in the very near future, in the Fall of this year, a heritage strategy adopted for this province that we can all be very proud of and that we can all say that we took a full part in. Thank you very much.

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

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of this bill. Last year, July 11, 2006, our Party - the Liberal Party - submitted a bill somewhat like this. What the minister is reading in this bill, I haven't read the same thing I guess. What I'm reading in this bill is to keep our heritage properties the same as they are - the interior and exterior. This bill is just saying the exterior and the Liberal bill said more of the interior. So it seems to be read different than what we are reading it on this side of the floor. The task force recommendation in this book, Built Heritage - first I want to say what heritage means, a nation's historic monuments from culture. That's what we're talking about here today.

Mr. Speaker, Built Heritage is likely the most visible element of Nova Scotia's culture of heritage assets. It sets us apart from other jurisdictions and contributes greatly to the character of our communities and our pride in them. In Annapolis Royal where I live- the minister spoke of quite a few heritage properties around the province - Annapolis Royal, the province's smallest town but one of the most historic, has a marvelous record, illustrated by the fact that in 2006 it was awarded the Prince of Wales trophy for heritage. In 2004, it was chosen as the most livable small town by the United Nations. In this town, we have

[Page 3886]

approximately 150-some heritage buildings and it has made it world-known with over 100,000 visitors coming to that little town every year to see this heritage that we're protecting.

Mr. Speaker, we're standing in a beautiful building of heritage here. It hasn't been changed outside and it hasn't been changed inside. They won't even put an air-conditioner in here because they're afraid to change it . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: We got a new carpet.

MR. THERIAULT: Well, a new carpet, whatever, that's all right.

Mr. Speaker, if we don't act to try to save to the best of our ability our heritage properties, we'll have no history and without any history, we will be in hard shape. Nova Scotia is the history of Canada; it's where we started . Would the provincial government ever sell this building if we go bankrupt - which we could, it's possible - would you sell off this building to someone and say, do what you want with it? Would the federal government do that to the Parliament Building in Ottawa? Would we do that to the pyramids in Egypt? Would we do that? We know we wouldn't. We would be crazy if we did.

So why, with any more heritage properties coming on, would we say to somebody, you take that and do what you want with it, burn it down, do what you want, put it on a skid and haul it back in the woods? Without protection, good protection, from this province of our heritage properties, we'll lose our heritage - after a while. We'll have this kept up here, I'm sure, we won't let this great building go -surely to God we'll keep this - but we have got to keep other heritage properties just the same as we're keeping the properties in Annapolis Royal. It's beautiful - the best small town to live in in North America, because of its heritage.

For the minister to stand over there and say this bill isn't right - well, if this bill isn't right, let's change it a little bit more to make it right, to make sure that we save our heritage. That's all I'm going to say on that today, Mr. Speaker. I just would like to get to the point and that is my point. We've got to take care of our heritage in this province and I think this bill and the bill that we put in last year is an avenue to go through to make sure that our heritage stays in this province. With the rest of my time, I'll hand it over to my colleague, the honourable member for Kings West.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm certainly pleased to stand in my place today and say a few words about Bill No. 132. As the member for Halifax Chebucto, who put this bill forward, said, it is very tidy and concise in terms of its construction. It simply says " This Bill removes the right of the owner of a municipal heritage property to alter the exterior

[Page 3887]

appearance of the property or to demolish the property one year after the municipality has refused permission to do so."

This bill looks after what probably is a weakness in our current legislation or model of handling heritage in our province. It certainly is very easy for a family or even for a community to not have the resources to look after one of the distinguished buildings in our communities. By removing the right of the owner, it gives the province a chance to help in holding on to that heritage building.

As we go across Nova Scotia, we know that in every community there are such buildings that are constantly requiring upkeep and preservation in their original state. The need to do this is certainly, absolutely required and valuable for us to maintain.

I'm pleased to hear that the minister has given full marks to Voluntary Planning and a report that they put out, Our Heritage Future: A Shared Responsibility, and that he and his department are moving toward a heritage strategy. Hopefully this bill that has been put forward, if not in exact nature that the spirit of this bill will be seen in the heritage strategy.

One of the things that I'm often presented with, or the question given to me living in the Annapolis Valley is can you imagine the Valley without its agricultural land? Well, can we imagine Nova Scotia without its heritage properties, whether it's a walk through Mahone Bay or the United Nations - recognized community of Lunenburg, as well as the member for Digby-Annapolis has said, Annapolis Royal?

I think of buildings that came very, very close, one in particular in my community of Middleton, the famous MacDonald School, when that was in disrepair. If we had let that building simply be demolished, go under the wrecking ball, what a loss for the history of this province - and the same way with the old Lunenburg Academy, if that weren't kept up and seen as living heritage, what a tremendous loss to our province.

One of the areas that I really do have to mention in these few minutes is the volunteers - in fact that happens to be the topic of our late debate tonight. Volunteers, people described as having a special devotion to these buildings and their preservation, need to be recognized as well during this time and in some way acknowledge them as part of the heritage strategy that the minister will be bringing forth.

[5:00 p.m.]

It also gives me an opportunity to speak for a moment about a gentleman in my community by the name of Granville Thompson, who has a great interest in the history and buildings of this province and he never ceases on occasion to let me know when something is happening in this area. I know how pleased he was to see Voluntary Planning put an immense amount of work into the future of the buildings across Nova Scotia. There are

[Page 3888]

many, many more like him, through volunteer work and through advocacy, that can indeed keep some of these buildings.

One of the buildings in my area, St. Mary's Anglican Church, is a great symbol and visible presence of a time passed, when things were very simple, when they took the clamshells off the beaches around Morden and had them crushed down to help make the plaster in those ceilings.

When I think that that building was hit by lightening and the steeple and part of the roof area was destroyed back about 8 to 10 years ago, and if the community hadn't responded to absolutely have it restored in its original nature, so I think keeping these buildings and the facade of the community is, yes, an enormous challenge but I think the next generation of Nova Scotians would feel very much that we had let them down if in fact we didn't work to preserve as many of the buildings as possible. Even in my community of Kingston, to see some of the old apple processing warehouses disappear is, again, an enormous loss. You know, in my community, if they had had the foresight to keep the old railway station, a great heritage building that could, in fact, house a museum today.

So certainly we have an enormous challenge. I think this bill is a step in the right direction and hopefully its spirit and intent will be carried into future debate, and also development of the heritage strategy for the province. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

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

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It is with great pleasure that I rise today to speak in support of Bill No. 132, which amends the Heritage Property Act. Mr. Speaker, if there is one issue that stirs the passions of Haligonians, and certainly in Halifax Citadel it is the issue of heritage preservation and urban design. Whether it is a question of municipal councillors parking at the Grand Parade, or protecting the view plains on Halifax Citadel, or creating the Barrington Street heritage district, or stopping the infilling on the historic Northwest Arm, these issues of heritage preservation stir huge passions. It is not just a question in Halifax and heritage preservation is not just an issue in Halifax, it is an issue in all of Nova Scotia, but it is a particular issue in Halifax Citadel and I think Halifax, in many ways, embodies and illustrates how important this is to all Nova Scotians.

The vigorous debates we have here in Halifax about heritage creates a great deal of frustration, I know, but it is also proof positive that Nova Scotians care about our history and our heritage, both our built heritage and the heritage we wish to pass on to future generations. Our heritage reminds us and tells the world who we are and where we've come from and certainly here in this historic House, sitting here with great honour and pride and also represent this historic district, we're reminded that we are the birthplace of responsible government and we are one of the last remaining cities on the Atlantic Seaboard that retains and celebrates its Maritime heritage and its connections to the Age of Sail.

[Page 3889]

Our history and heritage is not just about living in the past or being proud of our communities. Our heritage, both built and natural, has become a tremendous asset for tourism and economic development. People come from all over the world to visit, to work and study here. What this bill seeks to do is to preserve, protect and promote that built and natural heritage and to create a consistent and coherent framework for the designation, the preservation and the demolition of heritage properties and to protect this historic asset and valuable economic asset.

At the moment there are two sets of rules that govern the designation, the preservation and demolition, the municipal and the provincial, and often the federal as well. Among other things, municipal rules, municipal designation allows a property owner to apply to demolish a municipally designated heritage property, to wait for a year and then demolish it. The onus really rests then, in this situation, on volunteer groups, on citizens groups, on ordinary Nova Scotians to preserve what is really a common heritage.

They demolish to save on taxes and we need look at our tax regime and the extent to which the tax regime discourages people from preserving, promoting and protecting our heritage spaces and our heritage buildings. They demolish it to save on the upkeep and perhaps we need to look at how we're going to encourage property owners to renovate, to improve the exterior of buildings and the interior of buildings as well. They demolish it to build bigger and more lucrative residential and commercial properties. Perhaps we need to look at how we're going to preserve our heritage buildings while adding density, especially in places like downtown Halifax, how we're going to get more people to live here but recognizing and respecting our roots in the Age of Sail and our Maritime heritage.

We need to do a great deal, Mr. Speaker, to preserve our heritage, we need to do a great deal to discourage people from demolishing heritage homes. The minister said earlier that he didn't want to wield the hammer of this legislation. Really, all this legislation does is reconcile and harmonize. The minister says that he really doesn't want to do things too quickly, he doesn't want to work in a hurry. He said there are only two historic properties in his constituency and I wonder how many historic properties there were 10 years ago. The minister says he wants to consult more broadly yet this report, Our Heritage Future: A Shared Responsibility, organized after extensive consultation by the Voluntary Planning Heritage Strategy Task Force, was commissioned in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage. This report was commissioned in partnership with the Federation of Nova Scotian Heritage. The minister's report, which he commissioned, was described as a comprehensive arms-length study that demonstrates a strong desire to provide strategic leadership.

His comments today essentially are a repudiation of a task force, of a process, of an extensive consultation process that he himself initiated. In many cases, these historic buildings are demolished and replaced by parking lots. I want to table a collage of photographs of historic houses, before and after. We can see in this collage just what happened in 2006, you can imagine what has happened over the last 10 years. While the

[Page 3890]

minister waits for more study, historic homes are being demolished and being replaced by parking lots. Just across the street, for example, Mr. Speaker, you can see one great parking lot that is used by all kinds of people for unsavoury purposes - without going into too much detail - and further down the road we have a parking lot with a lot of rubble in it. Many of us will remember the old Irving Station at the corner of Dresden Row and Sackville Street, which was demolished under these conditions.

Anyway, that picture tells a whole story, Mr. Speaker. On Granville Street, on Morris Street, on South Street, Blowers Street, Wellington Street, all around us we see why we need this particular legislation.

So, Mr. Speaker, this bill seeks to establish one standard, a province-wide standard, for the designation and demolition of heritage properties. It places them on the same footing, and contrary to what the minister says, it sets one standard - it helps property owners, because they know exactly what the standard is, they don't have to go hunting and fishing for it. Things don't fall between the cracks.

We want to place municipally designated buildings and heritage properties on the same footing as provincially designated buildings.

AN HON. MEMBER: With the same encumbrances.

MR. PREYRA: With the same encumbrances, yes. That is precisely what the intention of this legislation is, Mr. Speaker. This bill sets to establish one standard, and coherence and consistency and harmony is an important part of public policy-making. Perhaps it is why we have more historically-designated buildings in Halifax, and we have two left in Bedford, but that's another story. (Interruption) Perhaps they need an MLA who is more committed to the preservation of historic properties.

This establishes a better process, Mr. Speaker. It establishes a process where designations and demolitions are examined by more qualified committees. If it puts an encumbrance at all, it puts the onus on the city, on the province, on the homeowner to find a solution once a building is designated. It does not say that a heritage property can not be demolished. It just says you just can't wait for a year and then demolish it. It puts the onus on the property owner and the government to find solutions. It provides a stronger enforcement mechanism. Most municipalities sometimes don't have the will or the ability to defend those designations.

Mr. Speaker, we treat the preservation of heritage properties as the responsibility of individual property owners, but if you read the Voluntary Planning task force report, Our Heritage Future :A Shared Responsibility, it makes a very important point. It should not just rest on the property owners; the responsibility for preserving heritage homes and historic sites should not rest on the property owners. If we believe that this is part of our common

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heritage, if we believe that this is a legacy that we want to pass on to future generations, then we have to take a collective responsibility for preserving and promoting that heritage.

We have to help property owners to conserve them. We have to give them incentives. We cannot just wield a hammer, and this legislation doesn't wield it. We need to do more than just pass a piece of legislation that says that the provincial Heritage Property Act now applies. We have to find ways to provide a favourable tax regime. Perhaps we can allow property owners to defer taxes, perhaps we can freeze it. We can freeze taxes for properties and businesses that improve their properties, especially the facades, the exterior.

We need to provide more grants for renovations and restorations and alterations. We need to do more to train skilled workers who can help preserve our historic properties. We need to do more in terms of education and training there.

[5:15 p.m.]

The best way to do this is we have to start somewhere and we have to start with one consistent, coherent, piece of legislation that offers clear direction to property owners and puts a clear onus on government, at the different levels of government, to preserve our heritage, to promote it, because it is a shared responsibility. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The time has expired for debate on Bill No. 132.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

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

[Page 3892]

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 2111.

Res. No. 2111, Anti-Poverty Strategy: Urgency - Reaffirm - notice given Mar. 26/07 - (Mr. D. Dexter)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to speak to this resolution and, as the Speaker will recall, this was a resolution that I brought before the House. Just so that those people who are not familiar with the resolution will have some indication of what it was that I said in the resolved section of the resolution, I'm going to read it, because I think it's important for people to understand. What I'm asking the House for, is an approval of a resolution, the operative clause reads:

"Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly reaffirm the urgency of adopting a multifaceted, anti-poverty strategy, as recently recommended by the Minimum Wage Review Committee, to eliminate the depth and extent of poverty in our province."

Mr. Speaker, I get the opportunity to speak first on this and my colleague for Cape Breton Nova will have an opportunity to speak to it as well, but I think, contained in that resolution there is much that people don't understand about the existence of poverty in our province, the extent or the depth of the reality of poverty.

I'm sure that if you happen to be in Halifax-Dartmouth, perhaps you've driven by some of the food banks and seen the lineups, or perhaps you've been downtown and you've seen the number of homeless people who are here; poverty is much deeper than what you see on the surface. What you see on the surface is often just a symptom of what is going on broadly throughout your society.

I'm going to try to demonstrate that a little bit for you in the initial part of the debate on this resolution. I'm going to begin by tabling, if I may, some statistical analysis that was done by the Canadian Council on Social Development. This is specifically with respect to children and poverty in the Province of Nova Scotia. I think it's interesting because what this statistical analysis does specifically is, it sets out the years in which this government has been in power.

So we're going to deal with the years 1999 through to the most recent figures, which is 2003, and look at what has happened over those years. When this government came to power in 1999, the number of children, defined as children under 18 years of age, who were

[Page 3893]

living in poverty in Nova Scotia, were 17.6 per cent of the population, of the children's population under 18.

Since 1999, over that five year period - 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 - that has increased to 20.7 per cent of the children under the age of 18. So, we have had a steady rise, each year this government has been in power, in the number of children who are living in poverty. I want to put just a bit more meat on that because specifically the numbers went from 36,000 through to 40,000 children. So, in this province, where in 1999 when this government came to power, there were 36,000 children living in poverty, we now are at the very regrettable level of 40,000 children in this province who are living in poverty. What's interesting for comparison purposes, Mr. Speaker, is that at the time when the actual raw numbers of children are increasing, the actual population under 18 is decreasing.

I will just give you an example, from 1994 to 2004. In 1994 the number of children aged 0 to 4 in this province were 60,060. In 2004, there were 44,571, that is a 25.8 per cent drop in the number of children between the ages of 0 and 4. You can go through each of the categories, 5 to 9, 10 to 14, 15 to 19 and in each one of those categories, the number of children has shrunk over the last 10 years. The numbers have shrunk, yet the number of children who are living in poverty has continued to increase. I think this underlines, for those people who aren't often thinking about this, some of the extent of the poverty that exists in this province with respect to - in this particular instance - the population of children.

For a long time in the Party I am a member of and the Party that I am the Leader of, we have had discussions about the importance of poverty reduction strategies. I don't think we called them that back in the day. I think we just noted that poverty was outstanding in our communities and something had to be done to remedy the plight of people unable to sustain themselves and their families.

One thing has always remained true about poverty in this province and that is this - there isn't poverty in the province because there is a lack of resources, there isn't poverty in this province because there is a lack of income. In fact, we have plenty of resources and we have plenty of income. Unfortunately, there is poverty in this province because those resources are not distributed in a way that allows families, allows people to have a decent way of life. Income is not distributed in a way that allows people to have sufficient resources, sufficient income to be able to provide for themselves and for their families.

The individual stories of why that happens is different family to family and that's what we have to understand. When we talk about a multifaceted strategy to address poverty, it's because the things that affect the daily lives of people differ as much as families are different.

This morning, I, like many members of the Legislature, had the opportunity to go to the Canadian Cancer Society's breakfast. They were calling the MLAs together for what was essentially a breakfast to promote awareness around issues. One of the things that they talked

[Page 3894]

about was what happens to the vast number of people in this province, I think they said 24 per cent of the people in the province do not have access to a Pharmacare plan that will cover their drugs. They talked about the fact that when people came in to see them and talk about the deficits associated with their drug plans, they would lie awake at night and say, how am I going to pay for the drugs that I need. The way that they would do that is by taking money out of their food budget, by taking money out of their housing allowance, by trying to cobble together money from the various aspects of the other parts of their life in order to pay for their drugs. So that is one way in which people's lives are impacted and one way in which people are subject to the ravages of poverty because they have a need that is not being addressed by government. They have insufficient economic resources, insufficient income to be able to deal with this.

There are a lot of things that I'd like to deal with. I know my colleague, the honourable member for Cape Breton Nova is going to have a chance, but one of ones that always drives me absolutely crazy, with respect to the seniors' population, is that I often hear from people the idea that sometimes seniors are misrepresented in poverty figures because they own their own home, therefore, somehow have a source of wealth that is hidden in the income statistics. Well this is ridiculous and I want to address this because I have heard it too many times. If people were called upon to sell their homes in order to put income into the stream, what would happen is very quickly that income would be diminished and the senior would then - first of all, it won't generate enough money, the income from that money won't generate enough to pay the rent, so it will be constantly depleting it and then in the end, they are going to end up worse off than if they hadn't done that in the first place.

So this is a fallacious argument with respect to seniors and many seniors in this province find themselves in poverty. I can see you are telling me that my time has elapsed. This is a big subject, it needs to be discussed more in this Legislature and I encourage the other members to bring forward resolutions and to bring forward the bill that is on the order paper so that there can be a proper debate of this matter in the Legislature. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

HON. MARK PARENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of my colleague, the Minister of Community Services, on this issue. I want to start with just a few scattered thoughts on it before coming to more of a focus on the need for a poverty reduction scheme, something that my colleague affirms, something that this government affirms, something that we hope to make a government-wide initiative.

The opportunity to speak on the resolution the honourable member put forward gives me an opportunity to talk to a few issues that I have been thinking about lately. One of them was the great pride I feel in Nova Scotia as a result of the work that has been done by the Coady Institute, which is in the riding of my honourable colleague in front of me. The reason I mention that is I had the great honour of representing the Premier at the World Microcredit

[Page 3895]

Summit that was held here in Halifax. This was a phenomenal summit, it was a world-class event and I had the honour of sitting beside Dr. Muhammad Yunus. I've never had the opportunity to talk to a Nobel Peace Prize winner directly before and so the opportunity to sit beside him and talk with him was an opportunity that I cherished and that I'll remember, Mr. Speaker.

I also had an opportunity to talk to him about the Coady Institute and the fact that the Microcredit movement, which is one of the ways of lifting people out of poverty and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty, had its start here in Nova Scotia. Now it is coming back to us from the Country of Bangladesh, it is led by the Grameen Foundation and Dr. Yunus, as you know, who is the founder of that foundation, received the Nobel Peace Prize. But, Mr. Speaker, it was Nova Scotia and that was referenced in some of the remarks, I think, that my colleague the Honourable Peter MacKay made. It was Nova Scotia that really set the model for microcredit financing and then exported this out through the many students who came and studied at the Coady Institute and then went back to their home countries. So it is fascinating to see that work coming back now.

That is an important movement, Mr. Speaker, microcredit, not simply in Bangladesh and in India and countries throughout the Two-Thirds World where it has been so important, but here in Nova Scotia. The co-operative movement in Nova Scotia is something to be extremely proud of and it has been something that has been fundamental in helping people empower themselves, because that old saying is true, you give a person a fish and they have a meal for a day, you teach them how to fish and they have a meal for a lifetime. So the microcredit unit, the Coady Institute, the work that St. Francis Xavier University has been doing, needs to be trumpeted over and over again. It is a real privilege to see the world taking this model, using it and recognizing it through the bestowal of a Nobel Peace Prize on Dr. Muhammad Yunus, a very humble man, a man full of smiles and humour and yet a man changing the face of Bangladesh and of India and changing it through lessons, really, that were pioneered here in Nova Scotia.(Applause)

The other thought I have been thinking about, Mr. Speaker, recently is the importance of work. We talk about leisure and everyone wants adequate leisure and we want a balance but the importance of work cannot be underestimated, not simply for the economic benefits it brings but for the sense of self-respect. So our government has been trying, through the Minister of Economic Development and through other ministers, trying to work very hard at helping Nova Scotians have job opportunities, Mr. Speaker, which is an essential element in poverty reduction, is the fact that more people are working in Nova Scotia now than have ever worked before. Not only does that help in poverty reduction but I underline that it helps in one's sense of self-respect, one's sense of contributing to the larger society. I really think that we need to reaffirm the value of good honest work and to hold it up as something that is an important plank in a poverty reduction strategy but, even more important than that, an important plank in terms of people's self-respect and sense of contribution to the larger society.

[Page 3896]

[5:30 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, we've moved into a society that talks about people's rights, human rights, and I agree with that, but we also have responsibilities. When you balance those two rights and responsibilities, there's the sense of self-respect and the sense of contribution that makes an incredible difference, we must never forget that, and I think we need to emphasize that.

The third thing that comes to mind, Mr. Speaker, before I get to the Nova Scotia situation is the change that has happened globally really, in regard to understanding that it's not a choice between you either do poverty reduction on the one side and forget about the economic growth on the other side, or you do economic growth and forget about poverty reduction, that really the two belong together. As you involve yourself in economic growth, you're going to be concerned about poverty reduction because you can't have a vibrant economy where many people languish in poverty and as you are involved in poverty reduction, that's going to lead to economic growth.

So in the World Bank, the international development community, Mr. Speaker, if you go and do some research, you'll find that nations throughout the world have cottoned on to this concept. It's very similar, if I may revert to my portfolio for a second, it's very similar to the concept we have that economic growth and environmental protection go hand in hand. Not that long ago those two were seen as opposites. You either did one or the other. You did one at the expense of the other. We now realize that's totally untrue, that the two belong together, and it's the same thing with economic growth and poverty reduction.

Mr. Speaker, the fourth thing before I get to Nova Scotia, and I hope I don't run out of time there, I'll have to keep my eye on the clock, is the example of Ireland in poverty reduction because we often reference it. There's a fascinating presentation that was done by a Mrs. Helen Johnston, Director of the Combat Poverty Agency in Ireland, that she made to the Senate in Australia using the Irish experience on poverty reduction which was started about 1997 in the Country of Ireland, where she explains what they did.

Mr. Speaker, I researched that and took the opportunity to read through her remarks and what struck me was that many of the things that they're doing in Ireland, we're already doing in Nova Scotia. The difference I think is that they packaged them together and looked at this as a government-wide strategy, not simply one department doing this and another department doing that, but looking at it in its totality. I think that's what we're moving towards. In fact, I know that's what we're moving towards. We're committed. A lead department in that will be the Department of Community Services, but that's simply the lead department. This will be an across-government effort to do poverty reduction, bringing together some of the things that are already in place, but things that we can do better when we have this unified approach.

[Page 3897]

Many of the problems, Mr. Speaker, that we face in our modern society, our post-modern society actually, challenge governments because governments are founded on departments that tend to be siloed, while the problems of the environment, poverty reduction, cut across all levels of government. So we're learning to work in that across-government way. Anyway, we've done many things, minimum wage programs under me, child benefits. We have outperformed, since 1999, the Canadian average in terms of prevalence of low income within the population. In fact, the number of individuals living in low-income households in Nova Scotia dropped by almost 30 per cent from 1995 to the year 2004. We're proud of that but that's not enough. We want to continue. We want to do more.

The Department of Community Services, Mr. Speaker, is the third-largest funded department in our government. My honourable colleague was the minister of that department for many years and respected across Nova Scotia for what he's done to help in the alleviation of poverty and working for that. They'll be the lead department, as I stated, leading forth with consultations, looking at what we're already doing, looking at the gaps where we need to do something, and helping to bring forth this poverty reduction strategy that will be across government. They have had some successes to date, they anticipate even more successes in the future and I know that my colleague, the Honourable Judy Streatch, is the dynamic sort of person who can lead this forward and my department, which contributes on the labour side mainly, will certainly assist in this government-wide strategy under the dynamic leadership of my colleague, the Honourable Judy Streatch.

We appreciate the motion that the member put forward, it's something we're already committed to and it's something that we're already working at. As we've had some progress in the past, I look forward to even more progress in the future. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to rise and speak to Resolution No. 2111. I want to congratulate the Leader of the Official Opposition for bringing this forward. It was on March 20th that I brought a resolution forward encouraging the government to deal with the issue of poverty. The resolution that I brought forward actually read, "Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly call on this government to acknowledge the plight of the homeless and working poor and take action by developing a poverty reduction strategy." I was pleased that the government supported that resolution as we begin to move forward to build on this issue.

I was a bit surprised by the remarks brought forward by the government, the issue of creating more jobs was the issue of solving the poverty issue, when in fact, in the Province of Nova Scotia, there are 11,400 children with one working parent, still living in poverty. The Leader of the Official Opposition spoke about not understanding the issue of poverty, of not seeing the face of poverty when they look across Nova Scotia and I think that's accurate. I think in many ways, people view the issue of poverty as those on social assistance, it couldn't be further from the truth. The issues that are caused from the poverty

[Page 3898]

issue go way beyond the Department of Community Services. I was pleased to hear the member of the government speak and say this is not just a community services issue.

Mr. Speaker, I think that's the biggest problem facing this particular issue in solving it. It's not the fact that people don't view the face or they don't see it in their communities, it's in this institution. We have not been able to break down the walls between one department to the other when it comes to solving the issue of poverty and the effects on the children in our global communities. That's why when I brought forward a bill in the Fall sitting of the Legislature, Bill No. 74, an Act to Establish a Committee to Develop a Poverty Reduction Strategy in Nova Scotia, I specifically mentioned more than the Department of Community Services. I talked about the Department of Education, the Department of Finance, the Department of Health, and the Department of Justice. Many of these departments deal with the results of poverty and we're good as a province at dealing -sometimes we believe- with the result of the issue, we're not focused on what's causing the issue. We believe sometimes in the issue of justice, let's create more prisons, put more policemen on the streets and yet we're not dealing with the issue of why we're having the problems on the street.

I believe poverty is an underlying cause to many of the issues that our young people are facing in the Province of Nova Scotia. It's a well-known fact, a child going to school in the morning with a nutritious breakfast will learn better than one that doesn't. The issues that we face in the educational institutions in the Province of Nova Scotia, I believe some of those can be traced back to the issue of poverty. Some of our communities are doing a wonderful job of creating breakfast programs in their individual schools, but what are we doing as a collective? What are we doing as members of the House of Assembly to deal with what I think is the biggest issue facing our province today, the issue of poverty in dealing with young people in the Province of Nova Scotia?

When you think there are 11,400 children in working families in Nova Scotia living in poverty. My honourable colleague from Halifax Clayton Park often talks about the issue of poverty having a feminine face. She's right in many ways, many of those children are living in single parent families with the mother being the head of the household. This is an issue that we need to come together on collectively. We need to set aside our partisanship that so often takes hold of us inside of this House and move forward on the issue of poverty.

I have a bill on the floor of this House that I was honoured to introduce last Fall. If the minister wants to introduce her own bill on the issue of poverty and the changes, I would be more than happy to support it, providing that the end result is focused on ensuring that Nova Scotian children and low-income Nova Scotians have an opportunity to come out of poverty. We need to reach out to many of the people who are dealing with this issue on a day- to- day basis on the streets of our collective communities, who actually have ideas and have a proven record on dealing with the issue of poverty - what they need from us is some leadership and some finances to deal with his problem.

[Page 3899]

When you think that 52,000 Nova Scotians are on social assistance - and the Leader of the Official Opposition said that there were 40,000 Nova Scotia children living in poverty, and yet we seem to say that that is okay. The issue is not in the budget, which was disappointing for me and I'm sure it was disappointing for other members of the House. We didn't even have in the budget enough money to develop that strategy, let alone try to deal with the root causes.

In some cases, I don't believe it's an enormous amount of money that needs to be thrown at the issue to solve the problem. Oftentimes if we make the acknowledgment of the problem, oftentimes if we just acknowledge and say there is and reach out to the many men and women in our communities who are dealing with organizations who are on the front lines dealing with people and the effects of poverty. Whether it's the homeless, whether it is the working poor, whether it's those with mental health issues, whether it's a whole cross- section of Nova Scotians who have different reasons why they are in the situation they're in - if we reached out to those men and women who were dealing with that issue and sometimes provided them just a little financial impetus to get moving forward, to allow them to expand on what they are already doing, we could deal with much of the issue that we're talking about here today.

I have spoken to the minister on many occasions about this particular issue. I must say I've been pleased with many of those conversations, that she is prepared to move forward on the issue of poverty. My concern is that we're going to allow the opportunity that we have in front of us now, with the will that I believe is in all three Parties to deal with this issue, if we do not bring it before the House either in this sitting or in the Fall, bearing in mind that for every day that we wait to bring in the issue to develop a strategy around the issue of poverty, it's one day longer before we actually deal with the issue of poverty.

I want to also acknowledge to the minister that I expect that the resolution passed in this House unanimously to be respected by their government, to be respected by her department as the lead, but I also expect the other ministers in that government who are dealing with the results of poverty to step up and acknowledge that. Step up and say we're here, we're prepared to provide you not only with the moral support, as was provided by the Minister of Environment and Labour, but our departments are here with our staff and finances to ensure that this issue is dealt with in a way that will not only make Nova Scotians proud of what we're doing in here, but we'll deal with the issue and will have a true impact on the streets of Nova Scotia and the people who are living in poverty. It is critical on every facet of our government, whether it be health care, education, justice, whether it be the issue of community services, that we deal with this issue now.

[5:45 p.m.]

We often talk about the financial issues of the Province of Nova Scotia and the burden on our finances. Unless we invest in a strategy around the issue of poverty, the problems being faced by those departments will continue to balloon, because as long as we

[Page 3900]

allow this issue to grow - and it is growing in the Province of Nova Scotia. As long as we allow this to continue to grow, it will continue to add its stress on every budget that the government has in every department. So I want to say to the minister, and I want to say to the government, we expect you to live up to your commitment that you made on March 20th by passing the resolution to develop a strategy around the issue of poverty and we expect you to live to that commitment in this year, so that Nova Scotians living in poverty can feel that they have hope as we move forward.

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction this evening before I start?

MR. SPEAKER: Absolutely.

MR. GOSSE: In the west gallery here today, viewing the proceedings on Bill No. 2111 is a friend of mine from Whitney Pier, Barry Walsh. May he have the warm welcome of the House and enjoy this evening. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I, too, am proud today to rise on Resolution No. 2111. I have been the Housing Critic on affordable housing since 2003. The area that I represent in Cape Breton Nova has the highest unemployment of any area in Nova Scotia. I am always getting e-mails from organizations and I have gone to two different forums on poverty, on faces of poverty, HCAP, Antigonish Women's Centre - they all have had no progress or any kind of help. For example, 83 per cent of the seniors in Cape Breton live below the poverty level. Are we doing anything about that in this Legislature? Have we done anything about that in this Legislature in recent years? No.

But I will talk about something. I will talk about the Standing Committee on Community Services and how this Party has been the chairman of that committee since 1998. I will talk about the work done by my colleague, the member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley, being the chairman of that committee and the good work that she has done in organizing these forums and bringing attention to these issues for all Nova Scotians, the countless number of hours that she has put in bringing these issues forward and my other colleague who retired last year, from Dartmouth North, Jerry Pye, the issues that he fought for people with disabilities. Still, as I sit in this Legislature, the day that Jerry left he told me, Gordie, he said, you are going to have to pick up on those issues because I'm leaving. I said, Jerry, I will do my best. I will do my best, Jerry. I promise you that, I will do my best.

So we talk about seniors' issues, the Pharmacare co-pay, each individual senior will have $46 more to pay this year. How much does their pension rise? How much? Not $46. So we are going to have seniors in this province not taking their medication because they can't afford to get their medication; we are going to have seniors who can't afford affordable housing. They can't get in affordable housing. We see minuscule increases by this

[Page 3901]

government for the last number of years. They are always talking about a strategy and review and review and a strategy and we never actually see any meat on the bones. You know what I mean?

It was a really good resolution that the member for Annapolis had brought up earlier there - or Kings, Mr. Speaker- even their own government Party, at their own PC convention, brought up a resolution to move forward with a strategy on poverty. How this government will take these, how will they regard their own resolution from their own members to deal in changing the policy and start funding the Department of Community Services to assist families and individuals out of poverty. They don't want a handout, they want a hand up. Single mothers and single people in this province want to be able to go to university. They want to be able to attend university. I don't see why they can't be given a hand up. There are different cases of people who are living in poverty each and every day.

We heard about catastrophic drug costs for people, for low-income families. I am glad that the member did touch on poverty associated with youth crime. Now if anybody just recently had to read what was in the McEvoy report, Mr. Speaker, there is a coalition between poverty and youth crime, absolutely. We, in my community, try to deal with this by having a youth centre with programs, free of charge, to eliminate that barrier, to have all young people available to have these programs.

Can a young person today pay $475 to play minor hockey? No. Are more young people smoking in Cape Breton? I don't know. Young girls between the ages of 12 and 16 are. I see them walking to the school and having a cigarette.

I don't understand, the poverty we see today is just beyond me, at times when I have people come into my office, and I get emotional at times thinking about the choices they have to make today in society to bring up their children, the choices they have to make. They either don't pay the light bill or feed their children. Those are choices you hear about each and every week. Then you get phone calls - we all do, as MLAs - they're going to cut my power off, or they're going to cut off my child tax credit, I owe this and I owe that. We all hear those each and every day in our constituency offices, and we're on the phone trying to rectify things and trying to get things - well why did you do that? Well, I had to make a choice whether I was going to buy groceries or pay the power bill, you understand that. Then they get in the hole, then an overpayment.

The Department of Community Services, there are hard-working people in that department. The minister has said many times in this Legislature how proud she is of the people who work in that department. I agree with that 100 per cent, but I agree that there sometimes has to be some compassion. If I was to tell you about a recent case that I had in my office it would just turn this Legislature upside down to think that this could happen to an individual.

[Page 3902]

We must, as a government, make a concentrated effort to try to get rid of poverty. We have to accomplish something that is good for the people of Nova Scotia who live in poverty. If we could do something - there has to be a better response to Community Services assistance, to the caseworkers. We have to change some of those old policies. When I think about it, 20 years ago people were making more money in Community Services than they are today in 2007 - 20 years ago. That is hard to believe.

The minimum wage, we say we're doing good, the minimum wage is $7.15 an hour. So somebody collects minimum wage for a full year, $14,872 on minimum wage. In May of this year it goes up to $7.60, so that person will make $17,024 a year. We want a working wage, we want a living wage - not a minimum wage. We want a wage around $9.00 or $10.00 an hour, something in that range, so these people can actually feel good about themselves.

I hear this all the time since I've been elected, in the last almost four years, that we haven't done anything to help people get off the system. They are stuck in the system, they want to get off the system, and we have done nothing. People with disabilities, I'll give you an example of one case I was working on just recently. I had a lady who has cancer and was living in one of those units that was full of asbestos, and she decided that she was going to move. Now this lady has had cancer, but she is under the age of 58. The policy in that department is, even though she has a disability and is battling cancer, she does not qualify for public housing because she is under the age of 58.

I have another lady who has a very rare form of Parkinson's. She is the only one in her family of six siblings - she catches the gene, none of the other siblings did. She is only 48 years of age. Does she fit under the policy? No, she doesn't fit under the policy. This is a disability.

I have another constituent who has muscular dystrophy, a rare form, but she is only 46 years of age. Does she fit under the policy? No, she doesn't. These people with disabilities, mental disabilities, physical disabilities - where are we putting these people? We're putting them in with slum landlords, because that's all they get from the department to live on.

We talked about this earlier, and I talked about it before, that maybe we should look at a policy like they had last year, when, if you were a recipient of Community Services, you could have gone down to the Valley and picked potatoes or picked apples or whatever else, and made $3,000 before it was deducted. Maybe it is time that we took that policy and said okay, every recipient of Community Services in the province can earn $3,000, before they are even looked at. Maybe that is the thing we should look at. That would be a start, anything would be a start. If we can do it for apple pickers, why can't we do it across the whole province?

[Page 3903]

I remember when I first got elected, I wanted to hire a fellow from Community Services to clean my office. I could give him a little break. So I told him, I'll give you $100 every two weeks to clean my office. He up and had to quit because they were taking $70 out of the $100 I was giving him. I was only trying to help him, but he had to quit that job. When he told me that, it was only the first two weeks that I was elected, and then I realized the 70/30 policy. We send millions of dollars away to society in foreign aid, to foreign countries and I'm not saying that's wrong or whatever else, but we got to start looking after our own. I say it again, when 83 per cent of the seniors in Cape Breton are living in poverty, there's something wrong with the policy in this province. We have to look at doing a strategy on how we can help people that live below the poverty line, how we can help our seniors, how we can help our people with disabilities, how we can help people on income assistance. Let's educate our people.

In Cape Breton we always say the best thing we do now is we export our young people. We've been exporting our brains for many years. Let's start bringing them back, let's start educating the people that live on community services. Thank you Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, that concludes our business for the day.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, I move to revert back to the order of business, Presenting Reports of Committees.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3904]

[PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 141 - Respiratory Therapist Act.

and the committee recommends this bill to the favourable consideration of the House, with certain amendments.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

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

Bill No. 136 - Administration of Justice Act.

Bill No. 137 - Livestock Health Services Act.

Bill No. 144 - Municipal Grants Act.

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

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit until 8:00 p.m. Following the Daily Routine the House will go into Estimates followed by Public Bills for Second Reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion before the House is to rise and meet again tomorrow at the 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m.

[Page 3905]

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 adjournment motion was submitted by the honourable member for Hants West:

"Therefore be it resolved that all MLA's in this House of Assembly recognize the critical component played by volunteers across Nova Scotia in the everyday success of countless community projects."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants West.

COMMUN. PROJECTS -VOLS: IMPORTANCE - RECOGNIZE

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, it's indeed a pleasure to stand this evening in my place and speak to a topic that is near and dear to all of our hearts in this province, no matter which area we represent, and that is volunteerism. It should be noted that Nova Scotia has the highest rate of volunteers in this country and that says a lot about our people here in this province and their dedication, no matter what the organization.

I just want to touch on a few points over the next few minutes and I want to start with firefighters. We've had numerous pieces of different resolutions go through with regards to firefighters and the great work they continue to do and have done over the years. The area of Hants West is certainly no exception, we have a number of fire departments and fire fighters in our area. Some of our fire departments host a number of firefighters day and night, always there when you need them, much work going on in that area down there whether it's a fish supper they hold down there every once and awhile, generally once a month or every other month, raising funds to continue purchasing vehicles. They have a jam session down there that brings numerous people out. Again, volunteers taking part in organizing all of these things.

We move up to Brooklyn, another great fire service, many great firefighters there, mutual aid departments helping assisting the different areas, Windsor Fire Department, Windsor Station II Fire Department, numerous members, the chiefs, with the exception of the Windsor Fire Department now all of the chiefs - all of the members are volunteers in that department and have been, some for 30, 40, 50 years. Walter Stevens, a former chief in the

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Town of Windsor, I can't remember just how many years, 50 or 60 years, that gentleman gave to his community in the Town of Windsor and Municipality of West Hants for which they serviced. Sixty-five members in the Town of Windsor's fire station, all volunteers with the exception of the chief now, who also was a volunteer member for well over 30-plus years.

Mr. Speaker, those deeds cannot go unrecognized. We move to Hantsport, again numerous volunteers in Hantsport with regard to the fire service. A good example, this year in January, they do an annual - I believe this January was the seventh annual food drive. Something like a couple tons of food gathered on a rainy, wet, damp day in January by the people, spirits not deterred whatsoever, out there in the rain gathering food; an annual drive and that's to be commended as well. All of these departments putting on breakfasts, fundraisers, anything and everything to help out communities, to raise money for those facilities and to continue the purchasing of trucks, the purchasing of equipment. To continue the good service to the municipalities of West Hants, of the Town of Windsor, of the Town of Hantsport. Again I want to say that that service is exceptional and we're grateful for that service and those people. As you know, in our budget this year we've put forward an excellent tax measure that recognizes the essential service of firefighters here in Nova Scotia and in all of our communities.

We have so many different groups, Mr. Speaker. We have the Rotary Club, we have the Lions Club, and there will be some I forget, there's no question, that I'll miss, not intentionally that's for sure. The Cancer Society - I believe March may be the month we'll see these folks knocking on our doors again. Never ending, year after year after year, we go to annual receptions for these volunteers and awards and you see the same people, it's just the dedication, and you can see many, many people for many years taking part. Whether it's Heart and Stroke, again the same thing, out knocking on our doors in February, a cold month and they're still there.

Mr. Speaker, many of these folks never complain. You never hear it. It doesn't matter what the issue is, it's what can we do to help the organization we're involved with. One rather interesting one, and the honourable member for Annapolis spoke to it a few minutes ago - he touched on this with regard to the schools - is the breakfast programs. We know in numerous schools across this province breakfast programs are run and who are they run by? Of course, they're run by the volunteers - the parents. Enough cannot be said about that. There's nothing more appetizing - I guess for lack of a better word - than having a full belly in the morning for our children, starting off their day when they are learning. Again, that's volunteer support providing that in most cases.

I know certainly in our area it is and it's not just the breakfast programs, it's the after school programs. There's teacher involvement but there's volunteer support there as well from the parents and members of our communities, whether it's the basketball games, to traveling with our children around this province, or whether it's the hockey games. All of our schools have these.

[Page 3907]

All of our communities, generally speaking, have minor hockey teams. Just as an example, Mr. Speaker - Hughie Maynard, a fine example, a gentleman who coached hockey from when I was just a kid and joined minor hockey; I played with his son. I was fortunate enough to have Hughie as a coach for a number of years as we grew up and went along in the different age groups, bantam, peewee, midget, et cetera, and some rep team. That meant traveling around this province and people like Hughie Maynard are the people who transferred us around. He's just one name that comes to mind and there were many on every weekend. A weekend whether we were in Yarmouth, a weekend in Pictou County, down in the honourable colleague's area down there. I know he has spent a lot of time as well coaching so he knows what that's like. We all know what that's like to have community volunteers and it doesn't matter if it's hockey.

The same with baseball in the summer time. Dave Shankel, a great guy, he has been on the ballfield, that I can recall in Windsor for I don't know how many years. I almost hate to mention the number, it has been that many years. Unfortunately, I am getting up there and I remember Dave coaching when I was a little bit younger and now he's coaching my kids in baseball and I don't know what you call it, the minor baseball league, it has got a name now, and different levels for the children. (Interruption) T-ball, thank you very much. T-ball there now and my kids all play T-ball and who was there every summer faithfully - Dave Shankel, Fred Rodgers, the same names keep coming, Dave Pemberton spent many years there, as my honourable colleague across the way would certainly be familiar with these names and others, many others. I'm sure that he would recognize any of those names.

Again, it's the traveling around, how are we getting there on Saturday? Dave Shankel's got a car, we're loading up the car and heading to Sackville maybe to play our game or down the Valley, a more popular spot for us in the Valley League, heading for Kentville, New Minas and playing. The same with hockey as I mentioned, you jump in the same- in Hughie's truck- and off we go and travel around this province. Those people have come, they've done their time, and we see new people coming now putting that time in.

It is great to see the evolution of volunteers, it's something that this province needs to be proud of. We just can't say enough. All of us members in this House have an opportunity to travel throughout our constituencies. We travel around and we go to breakfast, we meet people traveling around on the weekends and through the evenings, et cetera - I know I'm running out of time and I could talk for hours on this subject as I'm sure any of us could, recognizing great people.

We go to Belmont the first Saturday of every month. I would invite any of you who are there to come down and support that great community hall, they've done wonders down there. It's amazing how many volunteers that one little community can produce just to operate the hall and keep it up, new windows and new doors, et cetera and the other things that services don't provide.

[Page 3908]

Bowling on Saturday mornings, my kids go bowling on Saturday morning. There's a great turnout for bowling on Saturday morning, the youth league there supports that. The Windsor Bowling Centre is owned and operated by Wayne and Brenda Mason, I'm sure my honourable colleague would also recognize those names and many other volunteers. Kenny Kehoe, Valerie Seary, Peg Park, numerous coaches - two levels in the morning the younger and as we move through the morning to the afternoon, the older group. Again, what a commitment, these people drive around the province, Port Hawkesbury, all over, doing provincials, whether we're coming to Dartmouth, it doesn't matter. Volunteerism is amazing in the community of Hants West, just amazing, and I'm sure it is in other areas.

We spoke briefly a little earlier and the honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage touched on heritage sites in this province. Our heritage societies - those are volunteer groups; planning members come and they decide what is going to take place. A lot of time is put in and those folks need to be recognized as well. Touching on the subject of heritage, it would be a shame to see that taken away from them, the work that they've put in without some of the things that we spoke to a little bit earlier today, without that consultation. It would be a shame if they weren't involved in decisions that would be made to change anything in this province with regard to heritage sites.

I know I was on council for two years in the Town of Windsor, prior to being elected last June and it was an honour to be part of the heritage committee there and work with people from the community, with fellow councillors. I'm told, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, my time is up. I won't take that from him, I thank you very much and I just can't say enough about the seniors in our area.

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

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I'm always pleased to stand in the Legislature and talk about the wonderful contributions from our many volunteers in this province. I cannot reflect upon their many contributions without recognizing that this is a resource sector that is in crisis. I think the lack of leadership coming from the government side of the House is something that we need to be very concerned about, in regard to the voluntary sector.

While I recognize that a number of volunteers are called such, they're informal volunteers because they work informally, they're not connected with organizations within our province. They are good neighbours, they're good friends and they do help one another out. But when I'm talking about the voluntary sector, I'm talking about volunteers who work through community organizations, service groups, community agencies and other levels of activity in our communities.

I don't think anyone in this Chamber would be surprised to find out that one in every three Nova Scotians is a volunteer in this province. What is a bit scary is the fact that only 25 per cent of the contribute about 73 per cent of the voluntary effort in this province. That

[Page 3909]

suggests that that sector is quite vulnerable to a loss of volunteers and that's the trend that is happening across Canada.

Everywhere outside of Atlantic Canada, the number of people volunteering in our communities is decreasing. That's going to be a fact of life here in Nova Scotia as well. The only reason our numbers are artificially kept high is because of the increasing number of what I'm calling informal volunteers - people just being good neighbours and good friends and helping out within their family.

Part of the reason our voluntary sector is disappointed, because they've been looking to this government for leadership, are a couple of the promises in the last provincial campaign. I just want to remind my colleagues opposite that two of their campaign promises were, one, to eliminate the need for not-for-profit groups and organizations to have buy insurance when they use school buildings for recreational and community events. We haven't seen any evidence of that being carried forward.

Also, there was a promise to look at recommendations from the Canada-Nova Scotia Volunteerism Initiative Network, which I'm proud to say I helped to bring to this province in my previous life. One of the Progressive Conservative promises was to develop volunteer resource centres to help support the many community groups across our province. I haven't seen any evidence yet that is in the making either.

Part of the reason our voluntary sector organizations are so busy these days is because they are trying to fill the gap - the program and service gap - created by the provincial government. There are a number of activities very necessary to the survival, safety, health and education of people living across Nova Scotia that are not being picked up by this government. Those responsibilities are being downloaded to the community, to families and to community organizations.

I take for example, the women's centres across Nova Scotia. There's a huge increased demand on their services, resulting partly because of the inadequate level of income that many of these women live on, also, because of the risk of violence at home and in their communities, the lack of educational and skills and training opportunities within their rural communities.

So, they are creating a huge flood of entrants into the women's centres. The women's centres are not getting the additional money they need to create the programs and services needed to meet the needs of this increased clientele. So, they're having to go to community organizations, service groups within their communities and asking for funding that they can redirect to the women who are using the women's centres.

For example, during the Forum on Poverty - the second one we just held in February in the Red Room - we heard a very eloquent speaker from the Antigonish Women's Centre. She mentioned that the Lions Club in Antigonish - sorry, the Kinsmen Club in Antigonish, actually had contributed over $25,000 to help with the emergency needs of the women and

[Page 3910]

children coming through their centre. This isn't to help with the operations or the programming of the women's centre, but this is to meet some of the day to day financial needs of the women and children who have come to the women's centre.

This shows the ripple effect of, first of all, inadequate incomes for women in particular, but also people on disability and people on social assistance in this province. It's showing the inadequate core funding for a lot of the community organizations and agencies who are actually performing the mandated responsibilities of various government departments. Just showing the ripple effect, the increased workload for the women's centres are spilling over into increased financial demands on the charities and service organizations within that community.

There's also the risk of burn out. When you have a small proportion of your volunteers providing most of the donations and providing most of the work hours, as that volunteer group ages, they are at risk of burn out or moving on to other things. Again, I just want to mention that sometimes because there's not a gender

[6:15 p.m.]

Again, I just want to mention that sometimes because there is not a gender lens put on some of the policy development and legislation created by government, sometimes people don't realize that public policy is not neutral, it has a different impact on men than women.

I spent 15 years before I was elected, working in the voluntary sector in rural Nova Scotia and it was amazing how many older women, in particular, were staying home to look after loved ones who had been released early from hospital or who had go in for day surgery. Or, they were babysitting grandchildren because there was no non-profit, affordable child care in their community. They were being pulled out of the voluntary sector, out of those community organizations, and that was really creating a lot of stress for the volunteer activity in their community.

Add to that out-migration, where you have a couple of generations of younger members of the community and families actually missing, to a large extent, in those communities. You can see again, the cumulative effect of many of the misguided policies and lack of focus of the government, in terms of what they do, in terms of their policy development, how that impacts down the road on the communities and on the families.

So I just want to say that unless this government gets very serious about protecting the natural resource, which is our voluntary sector, we are going to lose the equivalent of 25,000 jobs in this province. This would have a serious impact on our quality of life and on the activities especially in rural Nova Scotia.

So while I am pleased to give recognition to the wonderful efforts of the volunteers across our province, I do want to urge the government to take seriously the concerns of the

[Page 3911]

voluntary sector because if that collapses, it is going to be just as bad as if the physical infrastructure in our communities collapses. The social infrastructure is provided by our voluntary sector and the 250,000 people who volunteer across Nova Scotia. We have to protect that and we have to allow them to continue the good work that they're doing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It is a pleasure to rise this evening and to speak to this matter and I want to congratulate the member for Hants West on bringing this matter forward tonight. It is a matter that I think we all can agree with and one that everybody in Nova Scotia realizes, how would government provide all the services that people require today, without the services of volunteers throughout Nova Scotia in many areas of our community, in many facets of our daily life.

A couple of personal observations that I would like to tell you, Mr. Speaker, and members of the House about volunteers involves my wife Ann and the CIBC Run For The Cure in Sydney. As you know, most members were attending the Nova Scotia Cancer Society Breakfast this morning, and heard about the tremendous efforts that are being made to provide drugs to people who have been afflicted with cancer. I can tell you that in the CIBC Run For The Cure Program in my area, the Cape Breton area, one just has to witness what is going on there and what happens with the literally hundreds of volunteers who come out. Not only on that day for the run, but all the preparation work that goes into it for the entire year. I can tell you that I know first-hand, the fact that my wife is the Chairman, that she spends a great deal of time, and so does the committee, on that. Last year they raised in excess of, I believe $400,000-some odd for the CIBC.

That happens right across Canada and it happens up here in metro and it happens down in the Valley. It is a labour of love, it really is, for those people who are volunteers. Almost every one of them knows somebody who is touched by cancer, that cancer has touched. To see some of the teams that get together and the kind of organization they put into it for the year, for the one common purpose, to try to eradicate breast cancer in women. It is just something that you have to see and be part of to believe the kind of work that is being done there.

So I want to congratulate all the volunteers in the CIBC Run for the Cure, starting with Ann MacDonald and all the other volunteers who make a difference in the Run for the Cure and perhaps some day breast cancer among women will be a thing of the past, let's hope so.

I also want to talk about a friend of mine in our area. His name was Cowboy Jim Hureau. He was a volunteer for many years. Cowboy Jim was born mentally challenged and never went to school, but he used to hang around the Sydney Forum at a young age and started getting involved with ticket selling and that while we were playing hockey, a bunch

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of us who were affectionately known as rink rats and hung around the forum from the time we could walk. Cowboy was always there and he was selling tickets all the time for every organization that would ask him. Cowboy had a unique way of selling tickets. If the ticket was $1 and you gave him $20, you never got any change. Whatever you gave him, it went to the organization that he was selling the tickets for. But he was the kind of volunteer who endeared himself to everybody in the community because organizations would go to him with tickets and ask if he would sell these tickets for this organization. He would say yes.

I recall a couple of incidents that come to mind, when I was mayor in Sydney, in I believe it was 1980, the Governor General Ed Schreyer and his wife Lily came to Sydney. There was an event, of course, at the Civic Centre with all kinds of hoopla and bands and security people all over the place and the limousine pulls up with the Governor General and, of course, I am there and my children are there and who comes trotting across the walkway but Cowboy Jim with a bunch of tickets in his hand. Of course, the security people were getting all out of sorts there and I just put my hand up and said, no, he's okay. So he gets over right next to me and he's standing there and he still has the tickets in his hand. I'm saying, Cowboy, you are not going to try to sell the Governor General a ticket. Uh-huh, he said. Uh-huh. I said, no, no, don't do that. He said, who he? I said, he's the Governor General. So this is the way Cowboy used to talk. He wasn't impressed, but he was still saying to me, can I sell him a ticket, because he wanted to sell him a ticket because he knew he probably had money because he was all dressed up.

Anyway, Cowboy would do that and on that particular day, by the way, he didn't sell him a ticket, but the Governor General took the time to talk to him and asked him about his ticket-selling activities, which Cowboy was impressed, but not too impressed, because Cowboy Jim could be at home with paupers or kings, it didn't make any difference. He treated them all the same and everybody in our community knew and loved him, not only for the kind of character he was, but the kind of volunteer he was for different organizations. So those are the kinds of things you remember over the years and I think people remembered more about that event, the fact that Cowboy was asking who Governor General Schreyer was and everybody in the audience knew who Cowboy Jim was that day. Before Governor General Schreyer left, he knew who Cowboy Jim was too.

I just want to say that it was mentioned earlier about volunteer firefighters and service clubs in our community, and in all communities throughout Nova Scotia, that play a very important role in our daily lives. I think of a few who come to mind, that I am aware of, the volunteers that sometimes don't get public recognition, but the volunteers who nevertheless perform a very important service.

One of the things that comes to mind is the tremendous number of volunteers who, certainly in a labour of love, spend time in the palliative care program for people in our community. There is not much publicity in that and there is not much fanfare around it because nobody likes to talk about palliative care. But the kind of work that those volunteers in our community, in every community in Nova Scotia do in regard to those who are

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terminally ill, is something to behold, making their quality of life better in their last days. That, to me, is truly a labour of love and there are all kinds of people in our community who are doing that. They are people who expect nothing more than to make life easier for those who have limited life left. So to the volunteers in the palliative care program, they deserve our undying thanks for sure.

There are other volunteers, the volunteers with Meals on Wheels programs every day for seniors, or they volunteer to go and sit with seniors, or they volunteer to go to seniors' clubs with recreation activities. All of these people, and we all know who they are in our communities, they don't expect anything out of it except that they get the satisfaction that they're helping their fellow citizens and that they're performing a role they get personal satisfaction out of, as well.

I believe that we here in Nova Scotia are blessed with those kinds of volunteers who are in abundance, and thank Heavens they are in abundance, because as I said at the outset, how would this government or any government of whatever political stripe, cope with the many demands of Nova Scotians and the many needs out there unless they had a huge volunteer sector.

There's not enough money in anybody's treasury to do all of that from the public purse. We are extremely fortunate here in Nova Scotia to have volunteers who don't ask for any recognition other than the ability to be able to perform a service on behalf of their fellow citizens. In our community and in all communities I know throughout Nova Scotia and every member in this House knows the people in their community, every once in a while we should just stop and say hello to these people and thank them for the work they do in their community because they do perform a role that government can't really perform, because it's a personal role, it's a one-on-one type of situation, in a lot of cases.

Mr. Speaker, I'll end up by saying that, again, if you could stand at Victoria Park in October and watch the CIBC Run for the Cure volunteers, they are there all day with their T-shirts on celebrating the people who they've known over the years who fell victim to cancer and have since passed away, and they are there raising money so perhaps in the future there won't be any more people in our community or in any other community in Nova Scotia succumbing to that horrible disease called breast cancer.

That is certainly something that these people believe will happen if they get out there and they keep raising money and putting money into the program in order to extend the research necessary to perhaps come up with a cure for breast cancer. I certainly want to congratulate my wife, as the chairman for the past couple of years, and all the volunteers, hundreds of them in the Sydney area who are involved in this every year. I know that I speak for every member of this House when they are so proud of the volunteers in their own community. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

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MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. I would like to thank all the honourable members for having taken part in tonight's late debate.

The motion is carried.

We stand adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:28 p.m.]

[Page 3915]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2218

By: Ms. Marilyn More (Dartmouth South-Portland Valley)

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

Whereas the G. Fraser Conrad Bridge was officially opened at Lake Banook on January 15, 2007, linking well-used sections of the Trans-Canada Trail along the south side of Lake Banook and the Shubie Park trail system; and

Whereas volunteers from the Canoe 2 The Sea Society and the Shubenacadie Canal Commission provided leadership in this fundraising effort; and

Whereas the funders included the Trans-Canada Trails, HRM, Province of Nova Scotia, Dartmouth Crossing and Conrad Brothers Ltd.;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the Shubenacadie Canal Commission and the Canoe 2 The Sea Society for their leadership and perseverance in creating this landmark bridge, and thank all the funding partners, especially Dartmouth Crossing and the Conrad family for their generosity and recognition of importance of active transportation trail systems.

RESOLUTION NO. 2219

By: Mr. Patrick Dunn (Pictou Centre)

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

Whereas the students and staff at Trenton Middle School have made great progress towards making their environment a bully-free one; and

Whereas in September of this year the school held its first anti-bullying program, administered through the Red Cross, called Respect Ed - Beyond the Hurt; and

Whereas the two-day program was attended by student volunteers from Grades 5 to 9, teachers, lunch supervisors, police officers and community leaders - a committee was formed during the workshop and is now equipped to better identify bullying incidents, provide support to victims and monitor safer rooms during the academic year;

[Page 3916]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their thankful support to the Trenton Middle School community for its work to eliminate bullying.

RESOLUTION NO. 2220

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Economic Development)

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

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

Whereas the Yarmouth Vanguard has been recognized by the association for the excellence in journalism, and Editor-In-Chief Fred Hatfield has won the association's 2006 Margaret Hennigar Memorial Award for General Excellence in having the Best Local Editorial for papers with a circulation between 4,000 and 12,4999, while the newspaper also was chosen for having the Best In-House Ad Campaign; and

Whereas Tina Comeau of the Vanguard has been named by the association for having the Best Photo Essay, while placing second for writing the Best Feature Series in Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the dynamic work ethic and creativity of Fred Hatfield and his staff at the Yarmouth Vanguard for being recognized as one of the best community newspapers in Canada.

RESOLUTION NO. 2221

By: Mr. Richard Hurlburt (Economic Development)

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

Whereas the Credit Union Small Business Financing/ Loan Guarantee Program has leveraged a total of $18.1 million in loans to 245 small businesses throughout the province; and

Whereas this loan program has created or maintained more than 1,500 jobs, mainly in rural Nova Scotia; and

Whereas given current trends, the program is expected to reach about a thousand businesses over the next decade and could double or triple its current job creation figures;

[Page 3917]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the success of this program and the partnership of the Credit Unions, the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council and Nova Scotia Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 2222

By: Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay)

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

Whereas Jigger Phalen was born in the Town of Glace Bay on March 28, 1934, and is celebrating his 73rd birthday today; and

Whereas Senator Phalen has dedicated his time to the Glace Bay Liberal Association, as well as the provincial and federal Liberal Parties, as a volunteer, as well as being appointed campaign manger during many elections through his career; and

Whereas Senator (Jigger) Phalen has made major contributions to the Liberal Party and was appointed Senator in 2001 - he is a current member of the Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, and Transport and Communications committees;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Senator Jigger Phalen for his many years of dedication to the Liberal Party and wish him a very Happy Birthday.

RESOLUTION NO. 2223

By: Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay)

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

Whereas the federal government recently released an all-Party report which shows a shocking epidemic of childhood obesity, creating the first generation of Canadians who will live shorter lives than their parents; and

Whereas obesity triggers a range of preventable chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, joint problems and mental health issues which cost this country's health system billions of dollars a year; and

Whereas obesity outranks smoking and drinking in its impact on health and costs related to health care; and

[Page 3918]

Whereas the report outlines 13 recommendations aimed at active lifestyles, healthy food choices, public awareness and advertising.

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly call on this government to adopt the recommendations set forth in the federal government's all-Party report and put a stop to the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country.

RESOLUTION NO. 2224

By: Hon. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson (Immigration)

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

Whereas curling is an international sport enjoyed by thousands; and

Whereas this South Shore Curling Team has had an outstanding year; and

Whereas Brian Rafuse, Dave Slauenwhite, Alan Darragh and Glenn Josephson are the 2007 Nova Scotia Senior Mens Curling Champions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Brian Rafuse, Dave Slauenwhite, Alan Darragh and Glenn Josephson on their provincial title and wish them good luck as they represent Nova Scotia at the senior nationals in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.

RESOLUTION NO. 2225

By: Mr. Alfie MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas recently three teenagers from Main-à-Dieu, Cape Breton, immediately joined the search to find a 14-year-old girl along the rocky coastline; and

Whereas 18-year-old Dean Kendall and two friends came across Bridget huddled under a tree in a wooded area away from the coast where searchers had earlier turned back; and

Whereas Dean and his friends provided the girl with the dry clothes and mittens and hats they were wearing, while they waited for the rescue boat to arrive;

[Page 3919]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their sincere praise to Dean Kendall for his heroic efforts in locating the missing girl and ensuring that this story had a happy ending.

RESOLUTION NO. 2226

By: Mr. Alfie MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas recently three teenagers from Main-à-Dieu, Cape Breton, immediately joined the search to find a 14-year-old girl along the rocky coastline; and

Whereas 17-year-old Evan MacLeod and two friends came across Bridget huddled under a tree in a wooded area away from the coast where searchers had earlier turned back; and

Whereas Evan and his friend provided the girl with the dry clothes and mittens and hats they were wearing ,while they waited for the rescue boat to arrive;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their sincere praise to Evan MacLeod for his heroic efforts in locating the missing girl and ensuring that this story had a happy ending.

RESOLUTION NO. 2227

By: Mr. Alfie MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas recently three teenagers from Main-à-Dieu, Cape Breton, immediately joined the search to find a 14-year-old girl along the rocky coastline; and

Whereas 15-year-old Mitchell Campbell and two friends came across Bridget huddled under a tree in a wooded area away from the coast where searchers had earlier turned back; and

Whereas Mitchell and his friends provided the girl with the dry clothes and mittens and hats they were wearing, while they waited for the rescue boat to arrive.

[Page 3920]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their sincere praise to Mitchell Campbell for his heroic efforts in locating the missing girl and ensuring that this story had a happy ending.

RESOLUTION NO. 2228

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities and are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas the Sydney River Fire Department answers a number of local alarms annually while always being ready to assist fellow fire departments with mutual aid assistance; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters of the Sydney River Fire Department for their passion and zeal in responding to alarms when required.

RESOLUTION NO. 2229

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need, regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Tower Road Fire Department answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters from the Tower Road Fire Department for their excellent response in times of need while wishing them continued success.

[Page 3921]

RESOLUTION NO. 2230

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need, regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Louisbourg Fire Department answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters from the Louisbourg Fire Department for their excellent response in times of need while wishing them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2231

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need, regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Donkin Fire Department answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters from the Donkin Fire Department for their excellent response in times of need while wishing them continued success.

[Page 3922]

RESOLUTION NO. 2232

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need, regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Grand Lake Fire Department answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters from the Grand Lake Fire Department for their excellent response in times of need while wishing them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2233

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need, regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Port Morien Fire Department answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters from the Port Morien Fire Department for their excellent response in times of need while wishing them continued success.

[Page 3923]

RESOLUTION NO. 2234

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need, regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Big Pond Fire Department answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters from the Big Pond Fire Department for their excellent response in times of need while wishing them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2235

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need, regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Northside East Bay Fire Department answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters from the Northside East Bay Fire Department for their excellent response in times of need while wishing them continued success.

[Page 3924]

RESOLUTION NO. 2236

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are summoned in times of need regardless of the time of day or night; and

Whereas the Bateston Fire Department answers a number of alarms annually; and

Whereas a community without the dedication of volunteer firefighters would be a community at great risk because of the uncertainty of when an emergency can arise;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters from the Bateston Fire Department for their excellent response in times of need while wishing them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 2237

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities and are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas the Mira Road Fire Department answers a number of local alarms annually while always being ready to assist fellow fire departments with mutual aid assistance; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters of the Mira Road Fire Department for their passion and zeal in responding to alarms when required.

[Page 3925]

RESOLUTION NO. 2238

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Novas Scotia communities and are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas the Marion Bridge Fire Department answers a number of local alarms annually while always being ready to assist fellow fire departments with mutual aid assistance; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters of the Marion Bridge Fire Department for their passion and zeal in responding to alarms when required.

RESOLUTION NO. 2239

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities and are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas the Birch Grove Fire Department answers a number of local alarms annually while always being ready to assist fellow fire departments with mutual aid assistance; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters of the Birch Grove Fire Department for their passion and zeal in responding to alarms when required.

RESOLUTION NO. 2240

[Page 3926]

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities and are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas the Howie Centre Fire Department answers a number of local alarms annually while always being ready to assist fellow fire departments with mutual aid assistance; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters of the Howie Centre Fire Department for their passion and zeal in responding to alarms when required.

RESOLUTION NO. 2241

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities and are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas the Albert Bridge Community Fire Department answers a number of local alarms annually while always being ready to assist fellow fire departments with mutual aid assistance; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters of the Albert Bridge Community Fire Department for their passion and zeal in responding to alarms when required.

RESOLUTION NO. 2242

[Page 3927]

By: Mr. Alfred MacLeod (Cape Breton West)

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

Whereas firefighters are the lifeblood of rural Nova Scotia communities and are called out at any given time of the day or night; and

Whereas the East Bay Fire Department answers a number of local alarms annually while always being ready to assist fellow fire departments with mutual aid assistance; and

Whereas a community without the devotion of volunteer firefighters would be a community living on the edge, not knowing whom they could call at a time of peril or distress;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House commend the executive and firefighters of the East Bay Fire Department for their passion and zeal in responding to alarms when required.

RESOLUTION NO. 2243

By: The Premier

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

Whereas volunteers are the backbone of many of our community organizations, especially in our rural areas; and

Whereas our many volunteer fire departments continue to risk their lives for the safety and security of our communities; and

Whereas Hugh Don MacLean has given 35 years of active service as a volunteer firefighter with the Lake Ainslie Volunteer Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate and thank Hugh Don MacLean for his years of exemplary service.

[Page 3928]

RESOLUTION NO. 2244

By: The Premier

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

Whereas volunteers are the backbone of many of our community organizations, especially in our rural areas; and

Whereas our many volunteer fire departments continue to risk their lives for the safety and security of our communities; and

Whereas Hugh Cameron has given 35 years of active service as a volunteer firefighter with the Lake Ainslie Volunteer Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate and thank Hugh Cameron for his years of exemplary service.

RESOLUTION NO. 2245

By: The Premier

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

Whereas volunteers are the backbone of many of our community organizations, especially in our rural areas; and

Whereas our many volunteer fire departments continue to risk their lives for the safety and security of our communities; and

Whereas Hugh Campbell has given 35 years of active service as a volunteer firefighter with the Lake Ainslie Volunteer Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that all the members of this Legislature congratulate and thank Hugh Campbell for his years of exemplary service.

[Page 3929]

RESOLUTION NO. 2246

By: The Premier

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

Whereas volunteers are the backbone of many of our community organizations, especially in our rural areas; and

Whereas our many volunteer fire departments continue to risk their lives for the safety and security of our communities; and

Whereas Greg MacDougall has given 35 years of active service as a volunteer firefighter with the Lake Ainslie Volunteer Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate and thank Greg MacDougall for his years of exemplary service.

RESOLUTION NO. 2247

By: The Premier

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

Whereas volunteers are the backbone of many of our community organizations, especially in our rural areas; and

Whereas our many volunteer fire departments continue to risk their lives for the safety and security of our communities; and

Whereas Fire Chief Michael Gillis has given 35 years of active service as a volunteer firefighter with the Lake Ainslie Volunteer Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature congratulate and thank Chief Michael Gillis for his years of exemplary service.