The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 07-12

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Alfie MacLeod

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

Available on INTERNET at http://www.gov.n s.ca/legislature/HOUSE_BUSINESS/hansard.html


Second Session

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES:
Law Amendments Committee,
Hon. C. Clarke 1207
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
Message From Lieutenant Governor,
Hon. C. Clarke 1208
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 973, Deagle, Christine & Fam.: Can. Fam. Breakaway Contest -
Best Wishes, The Premier 1208
Vote - Affirmative 1209
Res. 974, Cameron, John Allan: Cdn. Country Music Hall of Fame -
Induction (Posthumous),
The Premier 1209
Vote - Affirmative 1210
Res. 975, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Employees: Charities - Support
Thank, Hon. J. Muir 1210
Vote - Affirmative 1210
Res. 976, N.S. PSC/Cox-Brown, Kathy: Work - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1211
Vote - Affirmative 1211
Res. 977, Nat'l. Skills Comp.: N.S. Reps. - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 1211
Vote - Affirmative 1212
Res. 978, Highland Commun. Res. Services - Anniv. (30th),
Hon. J. Streatch 1212
Vote - Affirmative 1213
Res. 979, Women's Institutes - Buy Local Challenge Prog.,
Hon. B. Taylor 1213
Vote - Affirmative 1214
Res. 980, Evans, Doris - Lt.-Gov.'s Intergenerational Award,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 1214
Vote - Affirmative 1214
Res. 981, Clark, Janet: Retirement - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 1215
Vote - Affirmative 1215
Res. 982, Atkins, Asst. Commander Ian - Order of St. John,
Hon. C. Clarke 1215
Vote - Affirmative 1216
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 87, Couples in Nursing-home Healthcare Act,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1216
No. 88, Private Investigators and Private Guards Act,
Ms. D. Whalen 1216
No. 89, Carbon Offsets Fund Act,
Mr. G. Steele 1216
No. 90, Assessment Act,
Ms. D. Whalen 1216
No. 91, Adult Protection Act,
Ms. V. Conrad 1216
No. 92, Motor Vehicle Act,
Mr. M. Samson 1217
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Environ. & Lbr.: After-Hours Work - Safety,
Mr. P. Paris 1217
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 983, Doucet, Jack & Ian: World Vision - Fundraising,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 1217
Vote - Affirmative 1218
Res. 984, CBRM: Inter-Prov. Migration - Address,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 1218
Vote - Affirmative 1219
Res. 985, Newcombe, Jordan: Golf Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Porter 1219
Vote - Affirmative 1220
Res. 986, deMoliter, Janet (Tee) - Hillcrest Acad. Sch. Vol. - Congrats.,
Mr. S. Belliveau 1220
Vote - Affirmative 1220
Res. 987, Williams, Dolly/Congress of Black Women - Book Release,
Mr. K. Colwell 1221
Vote - Affirmative 1221
Res. 988, Dorrington, Frank (Danky): N.S. Sport Hall of Fame -
Induction, Mr. P. Dunn 1221
Vote - Affirmative 1222
Res. 989, Highland Commun. Res. Services: Bd. Members/Staff -
Efforts Commend, Mr. C. MacKinnon 1222
Vote - Affirmative 1223
Res. 990, Raise a Reader Campaign: Participants - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 1223
Vote - Affirmative 1224
Res. 991, Fricker, Owen: Diabetes Fundraising - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 1224
Vote - Affirmative 1225
Res. 992, Andrews, Edward & Marjorie - Anniv. (70th),
Mr. P. Paris 1225
Vote - Affirmative 1225
Res. 993, Thompson, Jonathan: Accomplishments - Recognize,
Mr. H. Theriault 1225
Vote - Affirmative 1226
Res. 994, Immigration - Project China: Students - Welcome,
Hon. L. Goucher 1226
Vote - Affirmative 1227
Res. 995, Canstruction N.S. (2007): Participants - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Preyra 1227
Vote - Affirmative 1228
Res. 996, Cameron, Sandra: Dreams Take Flight - Participation,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 1228
Vote - Affirmative 1228
Res. 997, St. FX: X Ring Ceremony/Recipients - Salute,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 1229
Vote - Affirmative 1229
Res. 998, McHugh, Ed. - Pres.: St. FX Alumni Assoc. - Appt.,
Mr. L. Glavine 1229
Vote - Affirmative 1230
Res. 999, Surette, Juanita: Special Ed. Teacher's Aide Diploma -
Congrats., Hon. C. d'Entremont 1230
Vote - Affirmative 1231
Res. 1000, Mellish, Bob: Honorary Consul of Iceland in Halifax - Appt.,
Ms. D. Whalen 1231
Vote - Affirmative 1231
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 9:46 A.M. 1232
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 9:52 A.M. 1232
CWH REPORTS 1232
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 63, Oil Refineries and L.N.G. Plants Municipal Taxation Act
Hon. J. Muir 1233
Mr. B. Kent 1237^
Ms. D. Whalen 1239
Ms. M. More 1241
Mr. K. Colwell 1242
Hon. J. Muir 1245
Vote - Affirmative 1245
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., Dec. 10th at 7:00 p.m. 1246
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1001, Immigration - Proj. China: Bedford South Sch. -
Host Families, Hon. L. Goucher 1247
Res. 1002, Morrison, Ian - Hfx. Sci-Tech Expo,
Ms. J. Massey 1247
Res. 1003, Women's Institute Wk. (18/02 - 24/02/08) - Best Wishes,
Hon. B. Taylor 1248
Res. 1004, Page, Ellen: Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 1248
Res. 1005, Christmas Daddies Telethon: CTV/Contributors -
Congrats., Mr. M. Samson 1249

[Page 1207]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2007

Sixtieth General Assembly

Second Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Alfie MacLeod

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: 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. 11 - Civil Forfeiture Act.

Bill No. 12 - Evidence Act.

Bill No. 13 - Probate Act.

[Page 1208]

1207

Bill No. 15 - Small Claims Court Act.

Bill No. 27 - Hospitals Act.

Bill No. 39 - Rental Property Conversion Act.

Bill No. 41- Municipal Government Act.

Bill No. 43 - Municipal Elections Act.

Bill No. 49 - Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act.

Bill No. 52 - Credit Union Act.

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

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

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a notice from Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor regarding amendments affecting the Constitution Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The notice is tabled.

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 973

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

Whereas Canadians are some of the most ardent hockey fans and Hockey Night in Canada's Family Breakaway Contest will honour some of its biggest supporters; and

[Page 1209]

Whereas some of those fans stand out with their level of enthusiasm, like Toronto Maple Leaf fans Christine Deagle and her parents, Gena and Walter; and

Whereas Christine, a Grade 11 student of Inverness Education Centre-Academy, was born with Dandy Walker Syndrome, leaving her dealing with ongoing medical issues like severe spinal disease and has endured 16 major surgeries but she never misses her Leafs;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish Christine Deagle and her family all the best as they await to hear this Saturday if they are the winners of the contest's grand prize of a $25,000 trip for six to any NHL city with, of course, game tickets as part of the prize.

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 Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 974

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

Whereas the late John Allan Cameron, the godfather of Celtic music, will not soon be forgotten thanks to his many fans, musical colleagues and the lives he has touched worldwide; and

Whereas John Allan has received many distinguished honours over his illustrious life and career; and

Whereas just this Fall, John Allan Cameron was inducted posthumously into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in the artist category;

[Page 1210]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating John Allan's wife, Angela, and his family on this well-earned honour for a beloved Nova Scotian musician and extend our best wishes to them.

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. 975

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

Whereas Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations employees have completed their annual angel tree program for the Salvation Army; and

Whereas Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations employees supplied gifts for over 200 children, double last year's total; and

Whereas Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations employees, as a group, actively support charities year-round with this month's charity being the Salvation Army;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank and congratulate the employees in Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations for their continuing support for leading charities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1211]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 976

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 ensuring Public Service employees are supported to do their best work is an important part of delivering quality programs and services to our citizens; and

Whereas regular employee surveying helps us better understand employees' perceptions and needs so that we may develop innovative and effective human resource strategies; and

Whereas in 2005, the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission was among the founding Public Service organizations of the Employee Engagement Interjurisdictional Initiative, a team that received a bronze award from the Alberta Premier's Award of Excellence Program on November 29, 2007;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the staff of the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission, and in particular Kathy Cox-Brown, Director of Evaluation and Audit, and her team whose work benefits thousands of provincial public servants and all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 977

[Page 1212]

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 Canadian National Skills Competition held in Saskatoon in 2007 recognized 40 skills-related trades; and

Whereas the 42 competitors representing Nova Scotia at this competition brought home nine bronze, five silver and two gold medals; and

Whereas these competitors prepared diligently for this national event with the guidance of their mentors and trainers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the 42 competitors on their outstanding performances as they represented Nova Scotia at the National Skills Competition.

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 Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 978

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

Whereas Highland Community Residential Services is a non-profit organization that provides living options in the community for people who have an intellectual disability and/or long-term mental illness; and

Whereas HCRS is celebrating its 30th year of promoting independence and community participation for its residents in northern Nova Scotia; and

[Page 1213]

Whereas the Department of Community Services is pleased to support the wonderful work of HCRS and similar programs through important and influential funding;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the commitment and dedication of the approximately 100 staff of Highland Community Residential Services to the individuals they support, which in turn supports the goal of this government to help persons with disabilities meet their full potential each and every day.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 979

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

Whereas the Women's Institutes of Nova Scotia is a well-respected community organization that supports local farmers and producers; and

Whereas this organization continues to educate and promote the benefits of fresh, local food and encourages people to buy local products; and

Whereas the Women's Institutes of Nova Scotia, along with the Rural Research Centre at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, have developed a second Buy Local Food survey to gauge the buying habits and opinions of consumer practices;

Therefore be it resolved that the Women's Institutes of Nova Scotia be congratulated on their project, the Women's Institutes Buy Local Challenge Project, and wish them well in their awareness programs this Fall and winter.

[9:15 a.m.]

[Page 1214]

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.

[9:15 a.m.]

The honourable Minister of Seniors.

RESOLUTION NO. 980

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

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, the Honourable Mayann E. Francis, announced in her inaugural speech last year, her commitment to advancing two areas of interest - recognizing healthy communities and the wisdom of elders; and

Whereas an award, the Lieutenant Governor's Intergenerational Award, was created by the Department of Seniors to foster interaction and bonding between Nova Scotians of different ages by celebrating and promoting inspiring intergenerational programs existing in communities across the province; and

Whereas the Department of Seniors sponsors the Outstanding Volunteer Service Award: Older Generation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Doris Evans of Cherrybrook on receiving the Outstanding Volunteer Service Award: Older Generation, for a lifetime of service promoting the literacy of youth in her community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 1215]

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. 981

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

Whereas Janet Clark has been the long-standing chief librarian of the South Shore Regional Library system; and

Whereas Janet Clark has worked diligently to provide the best service possible to the residents of Lunenburg and Queens Counties through the mobile libraries and branch location; and

Whereas Janet Clark has recently retired as chief librarian after 23 years of dedication to rural Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend best wishes to Janet Clark on her retirement and thank her for her leadership and dedication to the South Shore Regional Library system.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 982

[Page 1216]

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

Whereas the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem is a working order of charitably minded men and women whose philanthropy is expressed principally through its two foundations, the St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem and St. John Ambulance; and

Whereas St. John Ambulance Canada is a charitable organization whose mission is to enable Canadians to improve their health, safety and quality of life by providing training and community service, and in addition this organization supports the Hospital of St. John in Jerusalem by providing for the services of a surgeon and supplying optical equipment and funds for special projects; and

Whereas this past June Assistant Commissioner Ian Atkins, the highest ranking member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia, was presented the Order of St. John by the Governor General of Canada;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Assistant Commissioner Atkins on this prestigious honour and thank him for his many years of service to the people of Nova Scotia and 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.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 87 - Entitled an Act to Prevent the Separation of Couples in Need of Nursing-home Healthcare. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

Bill No. 88 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 356 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Private Investigators and Private Guards Act. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

[Page 1217]

Bill No. 89 - Entitled an Act to Establish the Nova Scotia Voluntary Carbon Offsets Fund. (Mr. Graham Steele)

Bill No. 90 - 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. 91 - Entitled An Act to Amend Chapter 2 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Adult Protection Act. (Ms. Vicki Conrad)

Bill No. 92 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 293 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act. (Mr. Michel Samson)

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

There has been a request to revert to the order of business, Presenting and Reading Petitions.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

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

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, permission to make an introduction before I table the petition?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. PARIS: Seated in the west gallery we have Windsor Junction residents Wendy and Gerald Briand. I would like if the House would give them a warm welcome. (Applause)

Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition calling for the government to do something with respect to after hours employees, in the light of panic buttons or no one person working alone. This petition was circulated by Wendy Briand and she has received over 1,000 signatures and I have affixed my name to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

NOTICES OF MOTION

[Page 1218]

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

RESOLUTION NO. 983

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

Whereas Jack and Ian Doucet, the sons of Colleen and Dennis Doucet of Haliburton Hills, collected donations in their neighbourhood raising funds for World Vision; and

Whereas this money will help families in Uganda; and

Whereas Jack and Ian also contributed personally from their piggy banks;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the initiative of Jack and Ian, and congratulate them both on their initiative and hard work in raising funds for impoverished families in Uganda through World Vision.

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 South.

RESOLUTION NO. 984

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

Whereas in recently released Statistics Canada Census data we see that Nova Scotia had a net loss of 8,005 people to interprovincial migration; and

Whereas Cape Breton, and in particular Cape Breton Regional Municipality, accounts for more than 80 per cent of the out-migration facing this province; and

[Page 1219]

Whereas out-migration can play a devastating role on the local economy and business community, the health care system and other various programs;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and this government recognize the issue of interprovincial migration and work toward addressing this disturbing trend.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled. (Interruption)

Okay, I get different directions here. There has been a request for waiver.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 985

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

Whereas Jordan Newcombe has been golfing since the age of eight and is showing his athletic prowess in the sport more and more every year; and

Whereas Jordan, who is now a Grade 10 student at Avon View High and is presently one of the top-ranked, juvenile-aged golfers in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Jordan had an incredible 2007 season on the links, being the number one Nova Scotian and placing seventh overall in the Nike Canadian Junior Golf Tour, while also

[Page 1220]

winning the 2007 Junior and Juvenile titles at Avon Valley, placing second at the Ken-Wo junior championship, fifth in the juvenile category and 10th overall at the Nova Scotia junior provincials, while finishing fourth at the East Coast junior championships in the juvenile division;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House today applaud Jordan Newcombe, who went well beyond all expectations in 2007, and wish him continued success as he ardently strives toward earning a gold scholarship to university.

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 Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 986

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

Whereas Janet (Tee) deMoliter of Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, has volunteered for the past eight years at Hillcrest Academy School; and

Whereas Tee can be found in the school anytime, faithfully helping in any way she can from running photocopies, faxes, answering phones, decorating for Christmas, as well as helping with school concerts; and

Whereas Tee is a secretary for the Home and School, she is a part of the school's accreditation process, and sits on the School Advisory Council;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Janet (Tee) deMoliter as a cheerful, dependable volunteer, ready to help at all times, being greatly appreciated by Hillcrest Academy School.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 1221]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 1222]

RESOLUTION NO. 987

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

Whereas the recently released book Black Women Who Made a Difference in Nova Scotia is a collection of stories from 56 local Black women; and

Whereas the editor of the book, Dolly Williams, is also honoured in this book; and

Whereas the voices of generations of Black women who have made their mark in our communities are no longer silent with this book release;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize the 56 local Black women who have made a difference in Nova Scotia, and congratulate Dolly Williams and the local chapter of the Congress of Black Women for producing this marvellous book.

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.

[9:30 a.m.]

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 988

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

Whereas legendary senior hockey player Frank "Danky" Dorrington was recently inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame; and

[Page 1223]

Whereas the New Glasgow resident is remembered primarily for his effort in the early days of senior hockey in Newfoundland and Labrador, where he was inducted into that province's Hall of Fame in 1988; and

Whereas the great stickhandler is remembered for his enthusiasm and attitude throughout his 17-year career, and joined other inductees including Stanley Cup winner Wendell Young, Canadian Curling champion Penny LaRocque, and former Major League Baseball players Charles Smith and Fred Lake;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their sincere congratulations to Frank "Danky" Dorrington on being inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame as we recognize the many and various achievements of those who call Nova Scotia home.

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. 989

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

Whereas Highland Community Residential Services was established in 1977 and is committed to ensuring inclusion in community life for persons with an intellectual disability or dealing with mental health issues; and

Whereas Highland Community Residential Services provides personalized supports promoting wellness, personal dignity, and human rights through residentially based services that include a supervised apartment program, small options for children, a summer day program for children with intellectual disabilities, and an independent living support program; and

[Page 1224]

Whereas Highland Community Residential Services has grown from one developmental home supporting nine persons to programs to support 68 persons through its residential services, and supports an additional 180 persons through its Northern Region Respite Service, and Highland Community Residential Services celebrated its 30th Anniversary in November of this year;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly commend the more than 100 people who have served on the Highland Community Residential Services Board since 1977 for their dedication, and commend the staff at Highland Community Residential Services for their continuing efforts to support the needs of intellectually disabled adults and children in Pictou County and the northern region of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 990

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

Whereas the 2007 ChronicleHerald and Global Maritimes Raise a Reader Campaign took place on October 3rd; and

Whereas this year's event was a tremendous success, raising over $7,000 for literacy programs across the province; and

Whereas there were many community leaders and volunteers stationed at corners throughout HRM, handing out copies of the ChronicleHerald in exchange for donations to this literacy campaign;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate all those involved in making this year's event so successful and wish this campaign great success in the future.

[Page 1225]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 991

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

Whereas Cape Smokey Elementary School student, seven-year old Owen Fricker, was diagnosed with Type 1 juvenile diabetes one year ago; and

Whereas more than 200,000 Canadians have juvenile-onset diabetes who are insulin-dependent; and

Whereas following his diagnosis, Owen explained to his parents, Trish and Lance Fricker, that he wanted to do something to help find a cure and ended up raising more than $4,200 with support from his parents, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Cape Smokey Elementary School students as they all assisted Owen with his Walk to Cure Campaign;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize that Canada has the third highest occurrence rate of Type 1 diabetes in children 14 years of age or younger and applaud Owen, his family and fellow students, along with the Nova Scotia branch of the Canadian Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, for their dynamic fundraising efforts.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 1226]

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 992

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

Whereas Waverley residents Edward and Marjorie Andrews, who met when they were both 18 years old, at the North Star Rowing and Paddling Club in Dartmouth, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on the 22nd of October, 2007; and

Whereas Edward and Marjorie Andrews celebrated there remarkable milestone with many close friends and family, including their four children;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Edward and Marjorie Andrews on their 70th wedding anniversary and recognize their commitment and loyalty to one another over the past seven decades.

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 mined, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 993

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

Whereas Jonathan Thompson of Weymouth is a fine example of what determination, faith and the support of others can do; and

[Page 1227]

Whereas at the age of four Jonathan was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disorder which affects the development and generation of muscle tissue in the body; and

Whereas Jonathan overcame this adversity and in May of 2006 he graduated from Saint Mary's University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and in May he was given the title of Honourary Pastor by the New Tusket Baptist Church in recognition of his faithful service in the church and in the inspiration he gives to others;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House of Assembly recognize the accomplishments of Jonathan Thompson and wish him success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Immigration.

RESOLUTION NO. 994

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

Whereas Project China is a program conducted by the Halifax Regional School Board and the Government of China to allow 60 Grade 8 students to attend school in our province; and

Whereas eight of these students attend Bedford South School and are integrated into regular classes where they share with our students Chinese culture through activities and events; and

Whereas these students will leave a lasting impression of the Chinese culture on our students and their host families;

[Page 1228]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House welcome these Chinese students from Suzho, China, and thank them for bringing their culture into our classrooms and community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 995

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

Whereas Canstruction Nova Scotia is an event in which teams construct sculptures out of donated canned goods, eventually donating the building materials to Feed Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the 19 teams participating in this year's event and collected 48,000 cans of food and over $30,000 for Feed Nova Scotia; and

Whereas presentations included one by the First Baptist Church of Halifax entitled, Loaves and Fishes, a project which underlined the congregations continuing commitment to meeting the spiritual and sustenance needs of our community;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Feed Nova Scotia and all the organizers and participants of Canstruction Nova Scotia 2007, including the First Baptist Church of Halifax for putting their faith into practice by helping to feed the hungry in their time of need.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 1229]

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 996

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

Whereas Sandra Cameron of Glace Bay, an employee with Air Canada Jazz, helped with the Dreams Take Flight program; and

Whereas Sandra assisted with the finalization of the plans for the Dreams Take Flight program, which enabled 100 children from across Atlantic Canada to visit Disney World in Florida, four of the children were from the Glace Bay-Reserve Mines area; and

Whereas the program is made up of many volunteers of the Air Canada family and is organized by a non-profit organization, along with the help of businesses and organizations throughout Atlantic Canada and locally, $2,000 was raised;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate Sandra Cameron for her participation in organizing this year's event.

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 Deputy Premier.

[Page 1230]

RESOLUTION NO. 997

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

Whereas each year on the Feast Day of St. Francis Xavier - also known as St. F. X. Day - the university holds its X-Ring Investiture Ceremony; and

Whereas students look forward to the opportunity when they can first wear their X- Ring, almost as eagerly as they do for the actual receipt of their diploma, holding a countdown to the event at least a year in advance; and

Whereas this year more than 1,000 students received their X-Rings while proud alumni, family and friends looked on;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House salute this unique tradition of this esteemed educational institution and salute this year's recipients of their X- Ring and wish them well in their future pursuits.

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. 998

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

Whereas St. F. X.'s alumni is one of the strongest organizations with active members across the world; and

[Page 1231]

Whereas the X- Ring symbolizes more than a degree, it is a symbol of belonging to a much larger association; and

Whereas Ed McHugh, who graduated in 1979, is now the president of the St. F. X. Alumni Association where he will work to promote the university and keep the spirit of X strong;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Ed McHugh and wish him continued success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 999

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 on June 23, 2007, the campus of Saint Anne's University in Tusket held their graduating exercises; and

Whereas five certificates were awarded for Special Education Teacher's Aide and one certificate in Continuing Health Care; and

Whereas Juanita Surette received her certificate as a Special Education Teacher's Aide and was also valedictorian for the class;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Juanita Surette in obtaining her diploma and wish her much success in her newly chosen career.

[Page 1232]

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 1000

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

Whereas Bob Mellish of Halifax has been appointed to join the Consular Corps in Nova Scotia as the Honorary Consul of Iceland in Halifax; and

Whereas throughout his legal career, Mr. Mellish has worked on behalf of Icelandic clients in Canada; and

Whereas in his new role, Mr. Mellish will now be responsible for furthering the interests of Iceland and the Icelandic nationals living in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Bob Mellish on his appointment as Honorary Consul of Iceland in Halifax and wish him continued success in all of his endeavours;

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 1233]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Government Motions.

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills, and that the bills be added to the order paper.

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

The motion is carried.

[9:46 a.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

[9:52 a.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened with Deputy Speaker Mr. Wayne Gaudet in the Chair.]

MR. SPEAKER: The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House on Bills reports:

THE CLERK: That the committee has met and considered the following bills:

Bill No. 11 - Civil Forfeiture Act.

Bill No. 12 - Evidence Act.

Bill No. 13 - Probate Act.

Bill No. 15 - Small Claims Court Act.

Bill No. 27 - Hospitals Act.

[Page 1234]

Bill No. 39 - Rental Property Conversion Act.

Bill No. 41 - Municipal Government Act.

Bill No. 43 - Municipal Elections Act.

Bill No. 49 - Civil Service Collective Bargaining Act.

Bill No. 52 - Credit Union Act.

and the chairman has been instructed to recommend these bills to the favourable consideration of the House, each without amendment.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 63.

Bill No. 63 - Oil Refineries and L.N.G. Plants Municipal Taxation Act.

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to rise to bring forward amendments to the Oil Refineries and L.N.G. Plants Municipal Taxation Act. What this Act does is lays out the taxation framework for Halifax Regional Municipality and the Imperial Oil Refinery.

Earlier this year, the parties were negotiating taxes and they asked my department to review the legislation and to clarify any existing ambiguities. In 2004, the Act was changed and I'll get into the history of that in a few minutes, but in the legislation that was then adopted there were differences of interpretation by HRM and Imperial. The parties came to my department and asked if we would review the legislation to see if these parts which were, I guess we'll say, subject to interpretation could be clarified in a way that was acceptable to both parties.

[Page 1235]

I tell you that to explain that the amendments that are being debated today are the result of consultations and discussions with both the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Imperial Oil Refinery. What these amendments really do is to reflect a municipal tax agreement that was reached and negotiated by the two parties involved, the Halifax Regional Municipality and Imperial Oil Refinery Limited.

These amendments do a number of things and first of all, they will clarify the wording as it relates to local area rates. To be quite frank, when I mentioned that there was some difference in interpretation of the original 2004 legislation by the parties, the difference in interpretation revolved basically around area rates. The interpretation of Imperial Oil was that they didn't have to pay them, that they were part of the package that had been negotiated in 2004. The position of the city was that they were outside that agreement and that Imperial Oil was subject to them. That has now been clarified and there will be no more debate about whether area rates are included or whether area rates aren't included.

The second thing these amendments do is to set a base payment to HRM of about $3.6 million annually for the Imperial Oil Refinery, beginning in the taxation year 2007-08 and running until 2011-12. I look at that amount of money and I think of my own constituency and how we would love to have one business that was contributing $3.6 million to the taxation base.

The third thing is to establish a method for increasing Imperial's municipal taxes if one of its competitors reaches a similar taxation level. That point I just want to deviate a little bit and give the House a few comparisons. The issue of taxing refineries has not only been a problem here in Nova Scotia, it has been right across Canada and it becomes public every once in a while.

The situation in Nova Scotia for Imperial Oil was this, prior to 2003, Imperial Oil was taxed on the value of its property, its buildings and its equipment. In 2003, Imperial Oil invested $80 million to upgrade the refinery, which was required to meet new federal guidelines associated with the production of ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel. So they put $80 million into the operation to meet federal guidelines.

Now the $80 million that was invested did not significantly increase production, which is about 88,000 barrels per day, however, because they have put $80 million into improving the structure, to meet federal guidelines (Interruptions) Yes, I see that. The subsequent reassessment in taxes saw Imperial's tax bill jump from $2.6 million to $6.2 million. If I do the mathematics on that, I think that is about a $3.6 million increase in taxes. At that point, the department got involved, in part because at that time an additional $80 million upgrade was put on hold by Imperial, pending the resolution of the tax issue. The department, at that point, tried to determine the best way to establish a tax rate and a tax base for the municipality.

[Page 1236]

[10:00 a.m.]

So what it did, as my department does - it's a very thorough department - they went across Canada and took a look at how other refineries were taxed. Now what they found was that there was really no particular pattern, so in their wisdom - and it was wise, I think - they decided to take a look at the taxes per barrel of production, and that was the method that was finally established.

I just want to give you some examples of the cross-country comparisons that were found when they were doing this for the purpose of this review in 2006-2007. In Dartmouth, Imperial was paying $41 per barrel; the Petro-Canada refinery in Montreal was paying $26 per barrel; the Imperial refinery in Sarnia was paying $25 per barrel; the Shell refinery in Montreal was paying $23 per barrel; in Saint John, New Brunswick, which is the other source of most of our petroleum here in Nova Scotia, the Irving refinery's tax bill in Saint John was $17 per barrel; in Levi, Quebec, the Ultramar refinery there was paying $15 per barrel; in Sarnia, Ontario, the Shell refinery is paying $11 per barrel; the Sunoco refinery, which is also in Sarnia, $10 per barrel; and the Imperial refinery in Nanticoke, Ontario, the municipal taxes are $9 per barrel.

So I say this information is based on 2005 - or it is 2005 information, and it was done by the department to try to establish some groundwork as we prepared to review the legislation and come to the amendments that you have in front of you this morning. So clearly . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I was just wondering if the minister would be kind enough to table that information.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The information is tabled.

MR. MUIR: Anyway, Mr. Speaker, getting back to this. There was a fair bit of research done and the compromise - and it was a compromise - that was reached by Imperial and HRM, I think, is a good one for the parties involved. The ability to change the established method for increasing the municipal taxes if one of the competitors reaches a similar taxation level - I gave you those numbers and you can see there has to be considerable catch-up in a five year period for it to change, to be quite frank.

However, it is built in there if the taxes and the other refineries rise, then there is the ability for these folks to come to an agreement to raise the tax structure of Imperial here in Nova Scotia and the minister would be involved in that.

[Page 1237]

The whole point of this exercise was to try and find an appropriate measure that would reflect and protect Imperial's relative comparative position and competitive position when compared to other Eastern Canadian refineries. So in 2004, obviously HRM wanted more, but the province passed the Act in 2004 which set those taxes based on a per barrel proxy.

The result of that was in 2005, Imperial did go ahead with Phase II of the upgrade, which was another $80 million. I want to just add that over 70 per cent of that work was done by local people and local contractors and companies. That money, 70 per cent of that money, basically went directly into the economy of HRM and the surrounding areas from where the workers and the companies would have come. Imperial did acknowledge at that time that this (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for giving me a moment of his time. I want to take the opportunity to welcome a couple of guests here in the east gallery, a couple of individuals who are from Inverness County, in fact, are over in Dartmouth at the present time and are good friends to some others in this House as well. Actually, the gentleman I'm going to introduce was a former Page here a number of years ago as well during the time of Dr. Jim MacLean when he was an MLA in this House. I'd like to welcome Eddie and Marie Copley to the House of Assembly, a former Page of the House. Welcome. (applause)

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

MR. MUIR: I, too, welcome the Copleys to the House and if I remember correctly, the Premier, the Deputy Premier and I were talking about, they had a son Randy who was a pretty fair hockey player, I think. Drafted by New York, is that correct? Yes. (Applause)

AN HON. MEMBER: The Bruins could have used Randy last night.

MR. SPEAKER: Bill No. 63 - right? The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Perhaps you could bring the government minister back to the bill and avoid the rabbit tracks from other people in the House today?

MR. SPEAKER: So, so much for the hockey game last night?

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I always go with your rulings, you are wise beyond your years, but we have a bill under discussion here.

[Page 1238]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you, sir, we'll return to Bill No. 63. The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, well, you know, I do remember when the Bruins were a force some time ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: About the same time the Maple Leafs were.

MR. MUIR: Yes, about the same time - actually I think it was before the Premier was born, I think is what he said. But, that was back in the days of Fleming MacKell and you remember it was about 40 years ago that he played senior hockey in New Glasgow.

Anyway, to get back to this important piece of legislation, Imperial did go ahead with Phase II of that upgrade, another $80 million into the local economy. It is important that here in Nova Scotia we have a reliable and dependable source of fuel for our province.

Mr. Speaker, we used to have an Ultramar refinery down at the Strait but that closed and we had a refinery - another refinery, I believe, out in Eastern Passage, Ultramar, and it closed. We have in Atlantic, or at least in Maritime Canada - we have the Irving refinery and we have the Imperial refinery. We're pretty lucky to have that facility here. It does provide most of the petroleum products which are sold and distributed here in Nova Scotia for all of the companies. There is some Irving product that does come in, in the northern end of the province, but basically a good deal of that product that we have and that secure supply that we have in Nova Scotia does come from that Imperial Oil refinery over there in Eastern Passage.

Before I close, Mr. Speaker, I want to make two other points. I think it is worth noting that the end of that agreement is that Imperial's taxes jumped by $1 million annually and that will be ongoing.

The other thing in this amendment, Mr. Speaker, with the amendment, is that in light of the discussion about the interpretation of area rates and whatnot, Imperial made a one-time payment or will make a one-time payment of $450,000 to the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Mr. Speaker, it should be noted that this legislation keeps Imperial as the highest taxed refinery in Eastern Canada but it also provides them with certainty in this tax payment for the next five years. With those few words of explanation, I now move second reading of Bill No. 63, the Oil Refineries and LNG Plants Municipal Taxation Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The Chair now recognizes the honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

[Page 1239]

MS. BECKY KENT Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll start with certainly thanking the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations for bringing this to the floor, the Act to Amend the Oil Refineries and LNG Plant Municipal Taxation Act. It is not news to many of the members in this Chamber that there's significant history on this particular issue. Indeed as the honourable member mentioned, in 2004, much discussion and debate around the decisions and the cap around taxation for the refinery. They were thought to have resolved the issue, the tax issues associated with Imperial Oil, but clearly we can say it didn't quite cut it, so here we are again.

Before I offer my comments on the bill, which generally are certainly supportive, I want to highlight the importance of the sustainability of this refinery to the people of my riding and, I think it is safe to say, on behalf of my colleague in caucus and the member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley as well. Many of the 210 employees at this refinery are residents of our ridings and to be clear, resolving these issues is important to their quality of life, to their sense of stability, for their jobs.

I'd like to go on the record, Mr. Speaker, as well as saying that really from my perspective, I want to note the tremendous corporate entity that Imperial Oil is in the Dartmouth communities and those that surround it. I believe them to be very responsive, generous at a very local level and financially they contribute to many projects. In particular they are the sole provider of a breakfast program at the South Woodside Community School and it's an asset to that community that, as we all know, is tremendously important. They are an engaging corporate entity with the community on environmental, safety, communication strategy. They do everything they can to be a good corporate entity for those communities that host them.

I think we need to commend them for that, Mr. Speaker. Often a refinery of this size and the nature of the business that is being done there, they can be looked at potentially as a big, bad refinery. But from my perspective, having represented the area as the local councillor for the past three years, I think they're a very good corporate entity and they're good to that community. I think that's worth noting and I would like it to be on the record.

While representing this area over the past three years as the councillor, I worked very hard, Mr. Speaker, to mend a fractured relationship between HRM and the Imperial Oil Dartmouth Refinery. The former plant manager, Brian Fairley, was very committed to this goal and he worked with me to that end and I believe we were successful. I think that the bill and the efforts and the discussions that have gone on with the current manager, Janet Matsushita, is evidence of that. HRM and the staff there have come to a solution on the clarity of the area rate, the taxation issues and those that affect it.

This is a significant amount of money that's on the table, Mr. Speaker. It's an important issue to the municipality. This bill clarifies the expectation of tax payment for the refinery and it creates a five-year agreement for future tax rates.

[Page 1240]

What this does, Mr. Speaker, is it gives both sides, both stakeholders, a sense of certainty for their budgets and both rely on that certainty. Mayor Kelly was quoted in the papers recently and stating that the council of the day is not entirely satisfied with this arrangement. No doubt that's correct. The discussions on the table certainly when I was there would attest to that, but they do see it as a way forward.

[10:15 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, it's important. I guess the mayor has suggested there's still a dissatisfaction with the former legislation that was on the table and they see this as a better scenario than that previous cap. The lump sum payment of $450,000 settles, although a shortfall, an arrears of debt and no doubt I have confidence in the councillors at HRM that they'll put this money to good use in the communities that they serve.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to see that this is going forward and certainly I was very supportive of it while on council and I'm pleased to see it now go to the Law Amendments Committee.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise to say a few words today about Bill No. 63 which is an amendment to the Oil Refineries and LNG Plants Municipal Taxation Act which was passed here just a few years ago.

Mr. Speaker, I well remember the debate that took place around that original bill and it was opposed by HRM very vigorously, also by CBRM. They came here to the Law Amendments Committee and the UNSM. Their main concern was that this bill was the provincial government moving in to alter an established method of assessment and that was done in this one instance to cover the LNG plants and even then, more specifically, the Imperial Oil Refinery. It was done to address competitiveness, as the minister has said today. That same argument holds true today as it did then, the need to maintain the refinery, but I think it's important to note that this is altering the way we handle taxation municipally and that on that principle the Liberal caucus last time around had voted against the bill. In fact, all of the NDP caucus had voted against the original bill with the exception of the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage. So it was one that on principle is actually monkeying with something that shouldn't be changed, you know, as a basis of certainty for municipalities.

However, Mr. Speaker, the need for competitiveness and keeping that refinery open was clear. At the time, and I still feel it's worth noting, there are other tools that the provincial government has that can be used to support industry. We have NSBI that works with industry. We have the Office of Economic Development. We have a strategic infrastructure fund that can be identified and the province itself has its own taxation that can play a role. I noted when the minister said that there had been two large investments in the

[Page 1241]

plant. That's very good news for Nova Scotia to have a company that continues to invest and improve their facilities and look for efficiencies, but here in Nova Scotia we have a tax that goes on capital improvements and it's an investment tax that we put on to large companies that choose to upgrade and invest in their facilities. That is a very regressive tax that holds back the province rather than moving it forward. So those are the kind of tools that the province has to encourage people to stay here, and new companies to come here, that we can address ourselves.

I also wanted to mention that in the debate last time around, in 2004, the government had promised that they were going to do an overall review - I would like find the exact words, but they said that they were going to review the taxation for large, industrial taxpayers.

"Undertake a review of the province's assessment and taxation policies of heavy industrial properties" - the wording that was used, and I am not sure, Mr. Speaker, whether or not that review was ever undertaken. I just wanted to raise it today in the hopes that perhaps the minister will look to see if that has been done and, if not, I think it is still topical. I think it is still important, and I would ask that we do look at doing exactly that because we are creating an exception for this one facility and others can follow and perhaps ask for the same thing.

So we should have a plan and an approach that is well understood by all industries in the province. I think that is only fair because this bill will allow certainty and stability for the refinery and HRM, in this case, but there are other facilities and other industries that will not have the same certainty. So I think it is just good to know that a review could be done; I think that would be very important.

Again, I certainly support the idea of this bill. I think it is different than previously because HRM has come to at least a working relationship with the refinery; they have come to terms with it. The $3.6 million a year gives a significant amount of money to the tax base, which is important. As was mentioned, the refinery in Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage is employing, I think, 210 people. So that is a significant amount of employment and we all know the multiplier effect of those dollars, the number of other jobs that are dependent upon good, industrial jobs in our community.

So we certainly understand the importance of supporting a good employer within the community and seeing that this refinery stays. There are bigger industrial concerns, as well, about having a stable supply of oil that is here in our province, so that we are not dependent upon other provinces for their refineries and for our supply of gasoline and fuels. I think that is important, as well, as a strategic aspect of our province and our industrial base - that, I am sure, factored into the original bill and probably is very much a factor today.

[Page 1242]

Mr. Speaker, there is some question around any future LNG plants that we may attract to our province, and I just want to mention that the bill covers that but only in a general way. It says that in future, if we have an LNG plant in Nova Scotia, the municipal taxation rates will be determined by regulation. So, again, it does leave it wide open - it can come whenever, at that time.

At this point in time, again, HRM seems to have accepted the arrangement. The agreement to give them a one-time payment of $450,000 is a compromise with the municipality who felt they were entitled to some area rates which they would apply to all businesses and all commercial properties and residences in the municipality. Because that has been denied and argued by the refinery, they have gone ahead with a one-time payment, which they are calling a goodwill payment. I hope the municipality will use that wisely because it is not often you get a payment that comes out of the blue. In this case, I know there are many pressing needs, but I hope they will use it to help support the other taxpayers of this municipality who do carry the lion's share of the load.

As I said, we are in agreement with the changes. We have spoken to HRM and we understand that it is in everyone's best interest to move forward with this issue. So with that, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to it going to the Law Amendments Committee and I will take my closing.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham on an introduction.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, and members of the House, I would like to draw your attention to the west gallery where have high school students from Shambhala School in the north end of Halifax. They are accompanied by their teacher, Cynthia Moore, and I would ask them to stand and receive the warm reception of the House. (Applause)

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

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased just to take a few minutes to speak on Bill No. 63. As has been mentioned earlier, I think the Opposition Parties struggled with the original legislation because we hated to see exceptions made to the taxation procedures and guidelines within the province. Although, we understood the very unique and difficult situation the Imperial Oil Refinery was in.

So, I'm very pleased to see the refinery officials and HRM - Halifax Regional Municipality - have reached an understanding whereby they're clarifying their position and at least it will provide some consistency and stability and knowledge of what's coming down the road for at least the next five years by both the municipality and the refinery.

[Page 1243]

I wanted to mention the refinery is actually in Dartmouth South-Portland Valley, although its workers certainly live in a number of different or neighbouring constituencies. The Imperial Oil Refinery has been a significant employer in our area and it has an excellent track record. It's been a leader in worker safety - it's actually had 5.5 million hours without serious injury. I think that's quite a record (Applause).

It's an industry that could put neighbourhoods at risk and they have done a lot to both ensure the safety of the neighbouring South Woodside and North Woodside communities and also Shearwater on the other side. They hold regular meetings with community leaders and community members to both update them on information regarding changes at the refinery and also to answer any questions about safety.

It's been mentioned that it's a major employer - over 200 citizens of our province work at the refinery. On average, about 70 contract workers per year, certainly during the two extensive upgrades over the last several years that number has increased. It's an economic catalyst for not only Metro Halifax, but Nova Scotia generally because it's put in hundreds of millions of dollars investment.

It has a long history of support for community endeavours. It's been a major supporter of the local North Woodside Elementary School. It's supported the Natal Day Esso Talent Show, Neptune Theatre, the Discovery Centre, Phoenix Centre, the Esso Atlantic Bantam AAA Hockey Tournament, the various initiatives of the IWK. Significantly, it's partnered with the Nova Scotia Community College to create a world-class training course for its employees which has benefitted both other Nova Scotians and potential workers for the refinery.

I just want to be on record that I certainly support fair and consistent taxation. I'm really pleased to see two major economic stimulants or catalysts in our province, HRM and the Imperial Oil Refinery reach an agreement clarifying the interpretation of the original bill. This refinery has actually been in Dartmouth since 1918, so it's approaching 100 years of operation within our province. I think we have to protect its future in our province. We do need a local source of petroleum products. It's a major employer, it invests heavily in our economy and in our communities and we're very proud to have this refinery in Nova Scotia. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, this is an important bill to the refinery in Eastern Passage. I think it's an important bill to Nova Scotians. The last bill that came forward here, I didn't support because it transferred the tax burden onto the residents of HRM - about $1 million a year that I thought was really aggressive taxing. I still hold that contention but, at the same time, and I'm very pleased with the information the minister supplied on the per barrel price of taxes, as compared to taxes, and you look at Imperial Oil

[Page 1244]

as the highest in Eastern Canada. If I was building a new refinery, I definitely wouldn't locate it in HRM, that's without question because that's one major factor of your operating costs that you would have to take into consideration.

So I think it's time we really looked at all the taxation within HRM in particular and in the province. I see so many people losing their homes to property taxes now, they can't pay on a fixed income. The taxes keep going up and up because of huge assessments. I again want to thank the minister for adopting a process we went through last year to fix the increase in assessments that the Consumer Price Index and we're very pleased that they accepted that idea from our caucus and moved forward with it because the old system of assessment caps was really a sham, to say the least. Over six years, your taxes would double anyway, so it really was no tax break to the individuals.

Most people have seen tax increases in two-fold, three-fold, four-fold on your property taxes. Then you see companies like Moirs candy factory packing up and leaving Dartmouth, a company that has been in Nova Scotia since they first started, a couple of hundred years ago. I'm certainly sure that one of the reasons they left this area was high property taxes, among other high costs. Unfortunately, we can't afford to lose businesses like that because of high taxes.

[10:30 a.m.]

I'm really pleased to see that the municipality and Imperial Oil and through the department have worked out a deal, I still don't think it's a very good deal for the company or the taxpayers of HRM. We are all going to share the burden of this as it goes through but, at the same time, it's very important to keep a good corporate citizen like Imperial Oil here. That was our intention last year, as well. We have no ill feelings toward Imperial Oil - I think they are excellent people and excellent people to work with and it is shown by the willingness to pay higher property taxes than anyone else in Eastern Canada. So it says a lot for them to stay here in Eastern Passage - the Woodside area, actually, not Eastern Passage.

It is good to see this but, at the same time, this brings up a much bigger issue of taxation for businesses here in Nova Scotia - property taxes. We've seen a very regressive bill put forward by the government on windmills, that windmills are going to be taxed on their capability of producing power, whether they produce it or not. It is going to put a huge impact, it is a regressive step towards green energy.

When you look at all these things and look at property taxes, we have to raise taxes to provide services for our municipalities and that has to be done in a very efficient way. I think there can be improvements made.

I know when I sat on regional council there were some things that went through there that I didn't agree with. Then when you look at our tax dollars going to the failed attempt for

[Page 1245]

the Commonwealth Games, I think that was very unfortunate and a lot of time wasted on trivial issues that really should be redirected to issues that will help us, as residents of HRM, and help us as Nova Scotians. Because if we don't have a strong economy here and a strong economy supported by businesses like Imperial Oil or Moirs candy factory, that now is probably gone out of this province for good, or the TrentonWorks or whatever other companies are here, our economy is slowly going to slow down.

When it does slow down, all these major things that we should be doing and like the Commonwealth Games - if we had the money to do it and the facilities in place, or most of the facilities to start with, it would probably make sense. But starting from scratch and having nothing and a huge bill like that, we certainly couldn't afford it as a province or as a municipality, although we spend millions of dollars finding that out. I think we should have come to that conclusion much sooner than before we spent the millions of dollars.

Basically in HRM probably all the taxes paid in one year are going to go to that missed Commonwealth Games blunder, I would say. The money could have fixed roads, put sewers in, done a lot of things that would have been very, very helpful to all residents of HRM, improve the traffic situation which is getting worse and worse in HRM with little effort to correct that situation.

So I should go through this, you know - I'm glad to see that the municipality and the oil refinery have come to an agreement. It's an agreement that will cost the property tax owners in the province some money, or not the province but HRM because we don't have a property. Just sort of keep that in mind when you're paying your tax bill, along with all the extra charges they put on for area rates and some of the things that I've talked about here before in this House.

We've got to come to a balance with this and I think the approaches the department took with this - looking at the price per barrel - is a very fair way to do it and the fact that the minister through regulation can change this. I think that's positive, too. I'm not really always positive on regulations because you never know what they're going to be. So when you look at these things, I think it's a chance to adapt to whatever situation the refinery might find themselves in and we, indeed, want to keep that capability here. We want to keep those jobs here and the fact that a lot of expansion work went on here is fantastic, too, even a larger expansion would be nice in that facility, if we could set the structure to make that happen. Hopefully the government will work with the refinery to see if we can't make that happen, especially as the price of fuel goes up and all the problems that we've had with refineries in the U.S. puts our value of fuel us as we've seen by the high gas prices we pay. I won't go into that today but that's actually a problem that we have here, that we pay higher taxes here and higher gas prices than in New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island but that's a discussion for another day.

[Page 1246]

All in all, I think this is a compromise. It's a bill that I think should have been here probably at a previous time rather than this time. A negotiated settlement is always better than a forced settlement. It seems to do what you need to do. Again, the only concerns I have with it, when you take away tax revenue from the municipality, you've either got to cut costs or someone else pays the bill. So that's what's going to happen here, I think, someone else is going to pay this bill. We'll pay it either way if they don't make an arrangement with Imperial Oil and if they decide to leave our area, as the Texaco refinery did, then we lose that tax revenue. So it's always a balance. It's a difficult balance to achieve and I commend the people who worked toward that balance and hopefully we'll see more economic growth in our area and a more sensible tax system that will allow people to live and stay in Nova Scotia.

With the recent meeting we had with the Homebuilder's Association, they indicated that it costs more to live in Nova Scotia now than it does in Alberta. So that's a bit of a worry and that's an advantage we had for awhile. So that's going to make it even more attractive for people to leave here and again our economy will suffer. It's unfortunate but these things happen. We have to take aggressive steps to get this resolved and I don't see those steps being taken now either by the government or by the regional municipality. With those few words, I'll take my seat.

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

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the members on the opposite side of the House for their helpful interventions. They have emphasized a couple of things that were very important to government. This legislation was initially introduced back in 2004, I think all members know that in the Woodside refinery, the workers there don't just live in Dartmouth South-Portland Valley or Eastern Passage. They live all over the place and probably even go into East Hants and there could be some in my area who travel down there on a daily basis.

The other thing I can remember, Mr. Speaker, the debate that we had back in 2004 was the security of supply for our province and, you know, we lost two other refineries. We do have one and I guess if we look at that thing really in the total picture, it is a small refinery compared to the accepted standard these days. So keeping it here is very important.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I now hope that this bill will move on to the Law Amendments Committee and receive rapid passage there.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 63. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 1247]

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government business for today. I move that the House do now rise to meet again on Monday. The hours are from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The business of the day, we will be calling Public Bills for Second Reading - Bill No. 38, the Consumer Protection Act (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. PORTER: Bill No. 38, the Consumer Protection Act; Bill No. 54, the Maintenance Enforcement Act; and Bill No. 72, the Retail Business Holiday Closing Act. As well, Mr. Speaker, we will be calling Public Bills for Third Reading - Bill Nos. 11, 12, 13, 15, 27, 39, 41, 43, 49 and 52.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again Monday at 7:00 p.m. Would all those in favour of the motion please Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The House stands adjourned.

[The House rose at 10:39 a.m.]

[Page 1248]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1001

By: Hon. Leonard Goucher (Immigration)

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

Whereas Bedford South School is participating in Project China, which is a program to allow students from Suzhou, China, to learn and experience Nova Scotian and Canadian culture with a host family; and

Whereas by providing a home and relationship for these students, the host families have the greatest impact of teaching the Nova Scotian culture and language; and

Whereas these visiting students, upon their return home, will have vastly improved their English language skills and be able to attest to their family and friends in China what a remarkable culture we have in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their thanks to the Bedford South School host families for being teachers of our culture and sending these children back with a truly Nova Scotian experience.

RESOLUTION NO. 1002

By: Ms. Joan Massey (Dartmouth East)

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

Whereas on March 30, 2007, I had the pleasure of attending the Halifax Sci-Tech Expo held at Akerley Campus, Nova Scotia Community College; and

Whereas more than 90 students competed in the Expo with 64 projects; and

Whereas Ian Morrison, from Ellenvale Junior High School, was one of six students who won during the competition and will be able to compete at the National Science Fair;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Ian Morrison on his success at the Halifax Sci-Tech Expo in March 2007, and extend best wishes to Ian on his competition at the National Science Fair.

[Page 1249]

RESOLUTION NO. 1003

By: Hon. Brooke Taylor (Agriculture)

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

Whereas 2008 marks the 95th Anniversary of the first Women's Institute in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas February 19th marks the founding, by Adelaide Hoodless, of the first Women's Institute in Canada in 1897; and

Whereas the Women's Institutes continue to provide Nova Scotia women with opportunities to enhance the quality of life through education and personal development, allowing them to meet the changing needs of their local and global communities, just as it did 95 years ago;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House wish the Women's Institutes all the best during the week of February 18th to 24th, 2008, also known as Women's Institutes Week in the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1004

By: Ms. Maureen MacDonald (Halifax Needham)

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

Whereas Ellen Page received Breakthrough Awards this Fall both at the Hollywood Film Festival and at the Gotham Awards in New York for her role in the film Juno; and

Whereas Ellen Page is a 20-year-old Nova Scotian who has already been acting professionally in television and film for ten years; and

Whereas in 2007 alone, Ellen has been featured in critically acclaimed roles in no fewer than four films;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Ellen Page on receiving Breakthrough Awards at both the Hollywood Film Festival and the Gotham Awards in New York, and wish Ellen every success in her professional acting career.

[Page 1250]

RESOLUTION NO. 1005

By: Mr. Michel Samson (Richmond)

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

Whereas once again, the CTV Christmas Daddies Telethon was a success, raising $874,370 throughout the Maritimes; and

Whereas in Cape Breton's contribution to the program, an afternoon of entertainment was provided by artists such as Jimmy Rankin, Slowcoaster, Gordie Sampson, and Patricia Conroy; and

Whereas in Cape Breton alone, $218,591 was raised for needy families, to be distributed through the Salvation Army;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate CTV on yet another successful Christmas Daddies Telethon, and thank everyone who contributed to this worthwhile cause.