The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 07-6

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

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2007

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS:
Hum. Res.: PSC - Healthy Workplace Achievements,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 490
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 426, OTANS - Anniv. (25th), The Premier 494
Vote - Affirmative 494
Res. 427, Heart & Stroke Fdn.: Work - Recognize,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 495
Vote - Affirmative 495
Res. 428, Yorke, Jake: Rhodes Scholarship - Congrats.,
Hon. K. Casey 496
Vote - Affirmative 497
Res. 429, Pett, Dr. Bob/TIR Environ. Section: Transport Assoc.
Can. Award - Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 497
Vote - Affirmative 498
Res. 430, Environ. & Lbr. - Environmental Home Assessment Prog.:
Partners - Congrats., Hon. M. Parent 498
Vote - Affirmed 498
Res. 431, Buchanan, Amber - Gaelic Language Event: Organization -
Congrats., Hon. A. MacIsaac 499
Vote - Affirmative 499
Res. 432, Hamilton, Christopher & Lisa - Boston Christmas Tree
Donation, Thank, Hon. D. Morse 499
Vote - Affirmative 500
Res. 433, Frank H. MacDonald Elem. Sch. - Students/Staff: Gas
Emission Reduction - Congrats., Hon. R. Hurlburt 500
Vote - Affirmative 501
Res. 434, Status of Women Advisory Coun. - Anniv. (30th),
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 501
Vote - Affirmative 502
Res. 435, Agric. - Open Farm Day: Participants - Thank,
Hon. B. Taylor 502
Vote - Affirmative 502
Res. 436, McNaughton, Wayne/Commun. Action on Homelessness:
Appreciation - Show, Hon. J. Streatch 503
Vote - Affirmative 503
Res. 437, Yarmouth Reg. Hosp. Lab: Work - Recognize,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 503
Vote - Affirmative 504
Res. 438, Cdn. Prog. Club (Hfx.-Cornwallis) - Women of Excellence
Awards: Recipients - Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 504
Vote - Affirmative 505
Res. 439, Giles, Michael, et al: Pengrowth - N.S. Petroleum
Innovation Grant - Congrats., Hon. K. Casey 505
Vote - Affirmative 506
Res. 440, N.S./Extreme Group - Drunk Driving Reduction: Award -
Congrats., Hon. M. Scott 506
Vote - Affirmative 506
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 39, Rental Property Conversion Act., Hon. J. Muir 506
No. 40, Public Service Act, Mr. D. Dexter 507
No. 41, Municipal Government Act, Hon. J. Muir 507
No. 42, Municipal Government Act, Mr. H. Epstein 507
No. 43, Municipal Elections Act, Hon. J. Muir 507
No. 44, Intercountry Adoption Act, Mr. T. Zinck 507
No. 45, Companies Act, Hon. J. Muir 507
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 441, Reservists - Job/Benefits Protection Legislation: N.B. -
Introduction Congrats., Mr. D. Dexter 507
Vote - Affirmative 508
Res. 442, Yorke, Jake: Rhodes Scholarship - Congrats.,
Ms. D. Whalen 508
Vote - Affirmative 509
Res. 443, Theriault, Joseph Raymond: N.S. House of Assembly
Page (1945-46) - Congrats., Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 509
Vote - Affirmative 510
Res. 444, Chapman, Harry/Dart. Hist. Assoc.: Book Launch - Congrats.,
Ms. M. More 510
Vote - Affirmative 510
Res. 445, Louisiana Pacific East River Plant - Anniv. (40th),
Mr. Manning MacDonald 511
Vote - Affirmative 511
Res. 446, Dr. T.L. Sullivan Jr. HS Anti-Bullying Wk.: Events - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 511
Vote - Affirmative 512
Res. 447, Champagne, Julie: Literacy Award - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Parker 512
Vote Affirmative 513
Res. 448, C.B. Dist. Health Authority - ER Closures: Problem - Remedy,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 513
Res. 449, Riverview Adult Residential Ctr. - Residents/Staff:
Pet Therapy Prog., Mr. P. Dunn 514
Vote - Affirmative 515
Res. 450, NSCAD - Staff/Students: Visual Arts - Promotion Congrats.,
Ms. M. Raymond 515
Vote - Affirmative 515
Res. 451, Educ. - Sch. Nutrition: Policies - Lead, Mr. L. Glavine 515
Vote - Affirmative 516
Res. 452, Murray, Dr. Ken: Fam. Practitioner Award - Congrats.,
Mr. K. Bain 516
Vote - Affirmative 517
Res. 453, Kikuchi, David: Athletic Awards - Congrats., Mr. P. Paris 517
Vote - Affirmative 517
Res. 454, Robicheau, Richard/Belliveau Motors - Anniv. (75th),
Mr. W. Gaudet 518
Vote - Affirmative 518
Res. 455, Wice, Lyn-Sue: Cultural Preservation - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 519
Vote - Affirmative 519
Res. 456, St. Martha's Reg. Hosp. - Diabetes Education Ctr.: Staff -
Thank, Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 519
Vote - Affirmative 520
Res. 457, Lockyer, Norman - CGA Can.: Fellowship Designation -
Congrats., Mr. H. Theriault 520
Vote - Affirmative 521
Res. 458, Wall, Brad/Gov't - Sask. Prem.: Election - Congrats.,
Hon. B. Taylor 521
Vote - Affirmative 522
Res. 459, Marguerite Ctr. - Anniv. (5th), Mr. W. Estabrooks 522
Vote - Affirmative 522
Res. 460, Huntington's Disease Awareness Mo. (11/07) - Recognize,
Mr. K. Colwell 522
Vote - Affirmative 523
Res. 461, Thammachack, Ampai - Girl Guides Prog.: Achievement -
Congrats., Hon. L. Goucher 523
Vote - Affirmative 524
Res. 462, Walter Duggan Cons. Sch.: Mavericks Female Basketball Team -
Prov. Championship, Mr. C. MacKinnon 524
Vote - Affirmative 524
Res. 463, 4-H Prog.: Impact - Recognize, Mr. L. Glavine 525
Vote - Affirmative 525
Res. 464, Clarke, Peter - Agric. Ind.: Commitment - Recognize,
Hon. M. Parent 525
Vote - Affirmative 526
Res. 465, CBU Capers Women's Soccer Team: Bean Mem. Trophy -
Congrats., Mr. G. Gosse 526
Vote - Affirmative 527
Res. 466, Immigration - Bus. Mentorship Prog.: Participants - Refund,
Ms. D. Whalen 527
Res. 467, Swim, Laurie: Book Release - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 528
Vote - Affirmative 528
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 37, Joseph Howe Bldg. Lease: Repair Costs - Details,
Mr. D. Dexter 529
No. 38, Gov't. (N.S.): Untendered Contracts - Policy,
Ms. D. Whalen 530
No. 39, Health - QE II ER: Ambulance Bottleneck - Fix,
Mr. D. Dexter 531
No. 40, Health: Nursing Home Beds - Wait Times,
Mr. D. Dexter 532
No. 41, TIR: Crosswalk Safety - Address,
Mr. W. Gaudet 534
No. 42, Health: Collaborative Practices - Details,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 535
No. 43, Econ. Dev. - Cornwallis Fin.: Untendered Contract - Explain,
Mr. G. Steele 536
No. 44, Health: Corpus Sanchez Rept. - Status,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 537
No. 45, Seniors - Senior Abuse Line: Staffing - Details,
Ms. M. More 538
No. 46, Justice: Mental Illness Emergency Response Training Prog. - Offer,
No. 47, Com. Serv.: Child Care Strategy: Omissions,
Mr. T. Zinck 541
No. 48, Educ. - Lunch Progs.: Extra Fees - Explain,
Mr. P. Paris 543
No. 49, Educ. - Special Ed. Review: Tuition Support Prog. Removal -
Stance, Mr. L. Glavine 544^
No. 50, Fin. - Gaming Corp.: Lottery Reporting Requirement - Response,
Mr. H. Epstein 545
No. 51, Educ.: Needs-Based Grants Prog. - Establish,
Mr. L. Preyra 546
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 7, Motor Vehicle Act [Debate resumed] 548
Mr. J. MacDonell 548
Mr. H. Theriault 552
Mr. W. Estabrooks 555
Mr. K. Colwell 563
Ms. J. Massey 566
Hon. M. Scott 568
Vote - Affirmative 571
Bill No. 10, Gunshot and Stab Wounds Mandatory Reporting Act,
Hon. C. Clarke 571
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 572
Adjourned debate 575^^
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Serv. N.S. & Mun. Relations: Home Heating Prog. - Implement,
Ms. B. Kent 575
Hon. D. Morse 576
Mr. K. Colwell 579
Mr. L. Glavine 581
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
Bill No. 10, Gunshot and Stab Wounds Mandatory
Reporting Act [Debate resumed] 582
Mr. M. Samson 582
Hon. A. MacIsaac 587
Vote - Affirmative 587
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Fri., Nov. 30th, at 9:00 a.m. 588
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 468, MacNeill, Marion: Birthday (100th), The Premier 589

[Page 489]

HALIFAX, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2007

Sixtieth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Alfie MacLeod

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There has been a draw for the late debate and the successful individual was the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto:

Therefore be it resolved that in light of record high prices on home heating fuel as winter is upon us, it is urgent that this government implement an immediate and appropriate program to specifically address the plight of Nova Scotia individuals and families who are continually forced to balance their need for groceries and other essentials with their need to heat their homes.

We will commence with the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

[Page 490]

489

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, if I could, I'd like to make an introduction and I see they are just joining us now in the east gallery. I'd like to welcome guests to the House today. They are among the many people who are doing tremendous work to advance the Provincial Public Service's Healthy Workplace Initiatives.

From the Public Service Commission - and I would ask you to stand after I've introduced everyone - Joan Parks-Hubley, Rima Thomeh, Marriam Nauman, Maria Tendencia; there are also public service employees who participate on Healthy Workplace Committees throughout government: Adele Poirier, Dee Ryan-Meister, Suzy Farmer, Marilyn Robinson, Iona Stoddard, Linda Higgins, Michelle Thomason, Shirley Stoodley, Anna Babbin, Debbie Sampson, Patricia Harrington, Lisa MacDonald, Darlene Griffin, Deborah Barbour, Frank Reinhardt, Sheri Woodland, Susan Deveau, David Ervin, Tracey Williams, Janet Briggs, Rob Douglass, Heather Clarke, Janet Resk, Eileen Collette, David Sharpe, Ernie MacRae, Angela Birch, Rebecca Humphreys, Angela Smith, Jaqueline Estey; and some of our partners have also joined us today from the Atlantic Health & Wellness Institute - who is one of our partners in the Department of Justice research project - Jean Petrie; and the local representative of the National Quality Institute, Mary-Lou MacDonald.

If I've missed someone, please stand up, I apologize and I'd like to welcome you all to the House and thank you. (Standing Ovation)

Mr. Speaker, there are many strategies needed to achieve a healthier Nova Scotia. I'd like to recognize one particular strategy where the Nova Scotia Government has been leading the way: workplace health. One of our government's five human resource goals is to provide a safe and supportive workplace for employees through a comprehensive healthy workplace approach.

As one of the largest employers in Nova Scotia, promoting and supporting government employees through healthy workplace initiatives can have a number of positive results, not the least of which is a domino effect on employees' families and communities in which they live.

Over the past few years a significant amount of work has taken place to advance the healthy workplace agenda across the Public Service. In recognition of the province's work, last March we attained level one certification from the National Quality Institute's Healthy Workplace Progressive Excellence Program, and I am proud to say that no other provincial government has ever achieved this certification.(Applause)

[Page 491]

Mr. Speaker, for the next few moments I will try to provide an overview of the healthy workplace initiative.

The Public Service Commission's Healthy Workplace coordination office has implemented several initiatives in the past few years, including:

This past Spring the Nova Scotia Government implemented a corporate healthy workplace policy with accountabilities for senior leaders to engage their employees in finding ways to improve their unique work environment. From that policy comes one of the greatest strengths and a sign of long-term sustainability - each department and many agencies now have employee-driven, leadership-sponsored healthy workplace committees that help advance the programs and issues important to their co-workers.

Just some examples of committee work include: health risk assessments; wellness fairs and exhibits; departmental healthy workplace plans; walking clubs and fitness challenges; weight management programs; and healthy catering guidelines.

As well, the Nova Scotia Department of Justice is involved in the largest research project in Canada on implementing sustainable healthy workplace programs. This project is sponsored by private and public partners and led by the Atlantic Health and Wellness Institute. The research project is in the third of its four years.

There are several other programs that complement the healthy workplace approach but are not new at all. Things like: an Employee Assistance Program, which is available to all employees and their families 24/7; a well-established Occupational Health and Safety Program; our focus on diversity, which received special mention from the National Quality Institute; a corporate emphasis on employee recognition; access to ongoing training and career development; regular employee surveys; and a Department of Health pilot project on mental health in the workplace. These are just a few of them.

Mr. Speaker, these examples illustrate that workplace health goes beyond health and safety programs, and it's not just about one's personal health. We want to ensure that our employees feel safe and supported in the workplace so that they can focus on what's really important, which is providing high-quality service to all Nova Scotians.

[Page 492]

Employees who are well trained, supported and recognized for their successes, want to contribute at the highest potential. They want to stay longer, and many stay longer because they are healthier and more satisfied at work. We hope that a healthier workplace will help establish the provincial government as a preferred employer, which would be a payoff when recruiting new employees to our Public Service.

All said, Mr. Speaker, a message we would like to share with employees, employers, other Public Service providers, members of the House, and all Nova Scotians is that workplace health is worth the effort and the right thing to do. (Applause)

As great as it is to be recognized for having reached level one of the National Quality Institute award, we won't stop here. There are four levels, and I have no doubt that with the commitment of the Public Service employees involved, and this government, levels two, three and four will be within our reach within the next few years.

[2:15 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, we want government's example to be an inspiration to other employers around the province, both large and small. In future, we will work more closely to build partnerships between the private and public sectors so that we can build on each other's successes, which will truly make a difference in the health of Nova Scotians.

Again, Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate and thank all the speakers in the east gallery, and across government, who have worked so hard to make sure we were recognized by the National Quality Institute. Thank you. (Applause)

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

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to join the minister in welcoming members to this House today from the Public Service Commission, the Atlantic Health and Wellness Institute, and the National Quality Institute. I think it's important that we have government employees here today because the history of workplace safety and workplace health in this province has always been that - it's the employees themselves who bring issues of workplace health and safety to the attention of government employers, it is the employees themselves who have worked often, with great resistence, to improve their workplace environment and make it a safer place for them to work.

I welcome the fact there is a growing recognition of importance of healthy workplaces to the overall health of Nova Scotians. I recognize that there are many facets to healthy workplaces, but the physical environment in which people work remains very important.

[Page 493]

Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased that the minister has raised this very topical issue here in the House today. As I speak here today, there are Nova Scotia Government workers who are without a collective agreement. They are protected by the Labour Standards Code. It often comes as a shock to people to learn that in the Labour Standards Code, there is no requirement in the Labour Standards Code that workers get a paid lunch break. I would like to make that point here today.

So, Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased that the minister has brought this topic forward and I'm very pleased with the award that the employees have initiated to win in this province. Again, I trust that in addition to accepting the awards that the minister go up in the gallery and across the street and listen to the workplace health concerns of employees in our excellent Civil Service and I thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I would certainly like to welcome to the House today the members of the Public Service Commission, and recognize those workers who have made a difference to their workplace and also to the work of the ministry, to recognize these people and to point out the programs that have been brought forward.

Wellness and well-being are a critical part of our workplaces and to see the Public Service leading Nova Scotia with this award and with stated goals that they want for their workplaces is, indeed, admirable and one that hopefully again we can stay as a leader in the country. Anytime that workplace health is avoided, absenteeism and stressors really do show forth. So some of the initiatives that the minister has pointed out today, I think, are great measures to improve the workplace so that stress and chronic absenteeism can be eliminated.

There is no question that in future contracts that our public employees will be negotiating, will have workplace health and what is required, I think, getting close to the top of their list. We are going to see people in the Public Service, now that mandatory retirement is being eliminated, are going to stay in the workplace longer and they will only stay there if they are healthy. So the work being done on the part of the ministry and the workers themselves is indeed to be complimented, and I thank the minister for bringing this statement to the floor of the Legislature. Thank you. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD (The Premier): If I might make an introduction. In your gallery, Mr. Speaker, in the Speaker's Gallery we have an individual with us here - a number of individuals. It's not the Deputy Speaker I'm pointing to up there, it's another individual and certainly someone who keeps our Minister of Finance in line each and every day, I know, in the good community of Lunenburg. We're joined here today by his wife,

[Page 494]

Cindy Baker. I'd like to welcome Cindy and ask her to rise and receive a warm welcome. (Applause)

[Page 495]

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 426

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

Whereas a quarter century ago Hector Jacques, Fred Smithers and the late Jim Ritcy founded the Offshore Technology Association of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas not only did these three entrepreneurs do this to help promote their businesses, they knew an industry organization would also help Nova Scotia and so many other Nova Scotia companies in what was their young offshore sector; and

Whereas the initiative of these talented and proud Nova Scotians grew to a membership in OTANS of over 350;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and salute OTANS, which now also includes onshore in its name to reflect an expanded East Coast petroleum business on its 25th Anniversary and, especially thank the founding members for their vision which has helped promote and grow this sector in our province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, if I may do an introduction as well. Sitting in the east gallery are a number of members of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. Jane Farquharson, she's the CEO; Claire O'Connor, she's the Director of Public Affairs; Allan McEvoy, Government Relations Manager; Jolene Titus, Communications Manager; and Judy

[Page 496]

Black, Resuscitation Coordinator. I'd like you to welcome them to the House today. (Applause)

They will be presenting the Minister of Health Promotion and Protection and myself with some CPR Anytime Kits.

AN HON. MEMBER: You need all the help you can get.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Well, I think you do too, sir.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 427

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 the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia celebrates CPR Awareness Month every November as a way to encourage Nova Scotians to learn CPR, so they can increase a person's chances of surviving a cardiac arrest by 30 per cent or more; and

Whereas CPR training teaches individuals to recognize the signals of a heart attack and the signs of a stroke and the procedures to follow until emergency medical services arrive; and

Whereas the CPR Anytime Kit is available through the Heart and Stroke Foundation and while not providing certification in CPR, is a self-directed learning program that can teach Nova Scotians how to give CPR to a child or adult through the use of a mini learning mannequin, a CPR skills DVD and an information kit;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the Heart and Stroke Foundation for its work and encourage Nova Scotians to learn CPR.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 497]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Information Renewal on an introduction.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct the attention of the members to the east gallery to a very special young man who is from Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. His name is Jake Yorke. Jake is a four-year science student receiving honours at Mount Saint Vincent University. I would like to say that Jake is the first student who has ever attended the Mount who has been offered a Rhodes Scholarship. Accompanying Jake today is Robin MacIsaac who is the Director of Public Affairs at Mount Saint Vincent University, as well as Suzanne Fougere, Communications Advisor. I would ask these three individuals to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House, please. (Standing Ovation)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 428

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I could ask Jake to stand while I'm reading the resolution.

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

Whereas the world-renowned Rhodes Scholarship has been offered since 1902 by the Rhodes Trust in Oxford on the basis of superior academics, leadership and strength of character; and

Whereas Jake Yorke of Parrsboro, a fourth-year chemistry student, currently studying for his honours degree, has been involved in research on the efficiency and cost effectiveness of pharmaceutical production timelines, thus resulting in lower drug costs; and

Whereas Jake Yorke recently made history at Mount Saint Vincent University by becoming its first student to be offered the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Jake Yorke on the tremendous achievement of becoming Nova Scotia's newest Rhodes Scholar and in bringing honour and acclaim to Mount Saint Vincent University and to his province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 498]

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 Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction first, if I could.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce Dr. Bob Pett who is an employee of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Bob is an environmental analyst from Dartmouth and the main reason the department has received the award and about to receive the resolution of. I would ask Bob to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

RESOLUTION NO. 429

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

Whereas the environmental section of Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has developed a habitat banking system that saves time and money while restoring the environment; and

Whereas this system simplifies environmental permitting needs and maximizes the environmental, economic and community benefits; and

Whereas the department has restored several complex marsh environments and helped wildlife thrive in areas it once had abandoned;

Therefore be it resolved all members of this House congratulate Dr. Bob Pett and the Environmental Section of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal for earning the 2007 Environmental Achievement Award from the Transportation Association of Canada.

[Page 499]

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.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 430

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

Whereas ACAP Cape Breton, Clean Annapolis River Project, Clean Nova Scotia and Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation are successfully delivering Nova Scotia's Environmental Home Assessment Program; and

Whereas their talented and dedicated staff are working with Nova Scotians who rely on wells and septic systems to teach them best practices for maintaining those systems; and

Whereas their work is helping Nova Scotians protect the health of their families, save money and protect the environment;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the people of Nova Scotia in congratulating the staff of ACAP Cape Breton, Clean Annapolis River Project, Clean Nova Scotia and Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation for their hard work in making Nova Scotian's Environmental Home Assessment Program a great 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.

[Page 500]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister for Gaelic Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 431

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

Whereas Amber Buchanan of Sydney organized a two week Gaelic language instructor and student training course held in Baddeck November 12 - 23, 2007; and

Whereas a total Gaelic language immersion environment was created to help increase the Gaelic language competency and culture store of the 41 individuals who participated in this two week program; and

Whereas this individual provided further Gaelic language learning and development opportunities that impact the 13 communities across the province where ongoing Gaelic language immersion programs are taking place;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend and congratulate Amber Buchanan for her hard work and dedication and all those who participated in this event as part of the growing Gaelic language renewal process that is occurring in this province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 432

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

[Page 501]

Whereas the Department of Natural Resources searched the entire province to find a tree deserving of the honour to become Nova Scotia's 2007 token of appreciation to the City of Boston for its help after the Halifax Explosion in 1917; and

Whereas an appropriate and breathtaking 14 metre white spruce was found on the property of Christopher and Lisa Hamilton in Granville Centre, Annapolis County; and

Whereas the Hamiltons gladly donated their tree and hundreds of school children joined to watch on Tuesday, November 14th as that tree became a part of a tradition which has been ongoing since 1971;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House show the province's gratitude to Christopher and Lisa Hamilton for donating this priceless gift and that all Nova Scotians take pride when the City of Boston lights its Christmas tree tonight, Thursday, November 29th on the Boston Common.

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.

I would remind all members of the House that the chatter is getting a little high and I'm having difficulty hearing the speaker.

The honourable Minister Responsible for Conserve Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 433

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

Whereas the students at the Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School in Thorburn participated in Conserve Nova Scotia's It Starts With Me school fundraising project this year; and

[Page 502]

Whereas the students went door-to-door in the community to sell energy-efficient household items which can help local residents cut their energy costs and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions; and

Whereas Conserve Nova Scotia is pleased that the students at the Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School achieved record sales of $8,200;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the students and staff of Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School for playing a direct role in the reduction of more than 2,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions in Thorburn.

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.

I will remind the members one more time that the chatter is getting very high and it is very difficult to hear the speaker.

The honourable Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act.

RESOLUTION NO. 434

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 Advisory Council on the Status of Women has been working since 1977 to advance equality, fairness and dignity for women in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Nova Scotia women have made great gains in 30 years, contributing to our province's prosperity and all aspects of life; and

Whereas the Advisory Council's successes are due to hundreds of dedicated individuals, in all their diversity: council members and members of the council's committees, and working groups who represent Nova Scotia women;

[Page 503]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House thank and recognize the women who have made a difference through the Advisory Council on the Status of Women as it celebrates its 30th Anniversary.

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. 435

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

Whereas farmers feed us all, and Open Farm Day is an annual event held at locations throughout the province and gives Nova Scotians an opportunity to experience and learn about local agriculture and the role it plays in providing foods and products every day; and

Whereas Nova Scotia farms generate more than $450 million in revenue each year, and the largest farm sectors in the province are dairy, horticulture, poultry, eggs, and livestock; and

Whereas almost 10,000 visits were made to 40 farms that participated in Open Farm Day this past September;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature thank participating farms for opening their gates to visitors and letting them experience life on the farm, and congratulate the Agricultural Awareness Committee and sponsors for putting together another successful Open Farm Day.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 504]

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. 436

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

Whereas Mr. Wayne McNaughton and the Community Action on Homelessness tirelessly raise awareness around the need for affordable, supportive housing for Nova Scotians; and

Whereas our government and our federal partners are dedicated to working with advocates like Mr. McNaughton to find solutions to a difficult and complex problem; and

Whereas November 22nd marked National Housing Day, a day to reassert our commitment to improving the well-being of the people of this province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House show their appreciation for Mr. McNaughton and the Community Action on Homelessness, and support all levels of government, organizations and communities, as we work together to ensure all Nova Scotians have the security and comfort of quality of life they so truly deserve.

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.

[Page 505]

RESOLUTION NO. 437

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 the week of April 22nd to 28th was celebrated as National Medical Laboratory Week to recognize the important work done in laboratories to help diagnose illness and find treatments; and

Whereas the theme of Laboratory Week was "Your Results Matter", urging people to take an active role in making sure their lab results are accurate; and

Whereas the team of 23 at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital laboratory is an integral part of the health care system, contributing to the quality of care patients receive;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in recognizing the valuable behind-the-scenes work done at the Yarmouth Regional Hospital laboratory and laboratories across the province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women Act.

RESOLUTION NO. 438

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 Canadian Progress Club, Halifax-Cornwallis, held its annual Women of Excellence Awards Dinner on November 22nd; and

[Page 506]

Whereas the awards celebrate the contribution of extraordinary women and their achievements in six business sectors; and

Whereas Susan Gibson Garvey, Donna Hiebert and Mary Anne Lamond won under Arts and Culture; Donnalee Moulton, Heather Tulk and Pernille Fischer Boulter won in Communication and Public Relations; Delvina Bernard, Dr. Ingrid Sketris and Dr. Gita Sinha won for Education and Research; Holly Bonn won as Entrepreneur and Innovator; Anne Dodge, Donna Pino and Glenda Anne Carson won in Health, Sport and Wellness; and Captain Mary Cameron-Kelly, Chris Power and Valerie White of Lunenburg won in Management and the Professions;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the commitment and contributions made by these 16 women of excellence and the efforts of the Canadian Progress Club, Halifax-Cornwallis.

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. 439

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

Whereas we encourage and support our brightest students in their research and development projects; and

Whereas the $15,000 Pengrowth-Nova Scotia Petroleum Innovation Grant is one of the elite research grants in our province; and

Whereas this grant is awarded to Nova Scotia students pursuing energy-related studies at the master's level;

[Page 507]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Michael Giles, Clarke Campbell, Jonathan Cribb and Cody MacDonald, students at Dalhousie University, for winning this grant and bringing recognition to their university and the province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

RESOLUTION NO. 440

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

Whereas drunk driving is one of the most serious road safety problems in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the province launched a social marketing campaign this year aimed at changing attitudes and behaviours toward drinking and driving; and

Whereas at this year's annual ICE Awards, which honour the region's best advertisements, the province and Extreme Group received a Silver Award for its Alcohol is Alcohol television and theatre ad;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the award-winning efforts of the province and Extreme Group in endeavouring to reduce the number of Nova Scotians fatally or seriously injured by drunk drivers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 508]

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. 39 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 399 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Rental Property Conversion Act. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 40 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 376 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Public Service Act, to Establish the Small Business Service Agency. (Mr. Darrell Dexter)

Bill No. 41 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998. The Municipal Government Act. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 42 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 18 of the Acts of 1998. The Municipal Government Act. (Mr. Howard Epstein)

Bill No. 43 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 300 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Municipal Elections Act. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 44 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 15 of the Acts of 1998. The Intercountry Adoption Act. (Mr. Trevor Zinck)

Bill No. 45 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 81 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Companies Act. (Hon. James Muir)

[2:45 p.m.]

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 441

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

[Page 509]

Whereas yesterday, November 28, 2007, New Brunswick became the fifth province to introduce legislation protecting the jobs of the men and women who serve in the Reserves of the Canadian Forces; and

Whereas the first such legislation was adopted by this House and it serves as an example of how positive ideas can gain approval in a minority situation when the Parties work for the common good; and

Whereas the laws supporting reservists are now in effect in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly welcome New Brunswick's introduction of legislation to protect the jobs and benefits of reservists while they are on duty, and commend all Canadians who provide much-appreciated support for the men and women who serve our country in the Canadian Forces.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice and passage without debate.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried. (Applause)

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 442

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

Whereas Jake Yorke, a fourth-year chemistry student at Mount Saint Vincent University has achieved the high distinction of selection as a Rhodes Scholar; and

Whereas this recognition brings honour to Jake's hometown of Parrsboro and to his proud university in Halifax; and

Whereas the selection criteria for a Rhodes Scholarship are intense and those selected exhibit the highest level of community commitment and academic achievement;

[Page 510]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly offer sincere congratulations to Jake Yorke on the awarding of this prestigious honour and wish him continued success in his future studies.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, if I could, I would like to do an introduction. Seated in the Speaker's Gallery is Joseph Raymond Theriault who is originally from Comeauville, Clare. He served as a Page in the Nova Scotia Legislature in 1945 and 1946. Mr. Theriault currently lives in Bridgewater and his wife, Linda, has joined him as well his son, Brian, and his wife, Patricia. So if you would please rise and receive a warm welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 443

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 legislative Pages hold a time-honoured position in the British parliamentary system while providing a variety of services to MLAs, legislative and government officials and the public; and

Whereas legislative Pages prepare for the daily sittings and assist MLAs in doing their jobs properly while facilitating the smooth functioning of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly; and

Whereas Mr. Joseph Raymond Theriault of Bridgewater served as a legislative Page in this House of Assembly during the 1945 and 1946 sessions;

[Page 511]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly today recognize, in the gallery, Mr. Joseph Raymond Theriault for his contributions to the proceedings of the House as a 16-year-old Page during the 1945-46 sessions and warmly welcome him and his wife, Linda, back to the House today.

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 Hants East on an introduction.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of members to the west gallery. In the gallery is a constituent of mine and a good friend of mine from Rawdon Gold Mines, Mr. Bernard Meehan. I would like him to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 444

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

Whereas the Dartmouth Historical Association researches and publishes heritage highlights of our community; and

Whereas this association has recently launched its 13th publication entitled Dartmouth's Day of Sorrow which examines the Halifax Harbour explosion and its impact on the families and community of Dartmouth; and

Whereas its author, Harry Chapman, continues to delight Dartmouthians, young and old, near and far, by recognizing how the labours and events of our past have shaped who and what our community is today;

[Page 512]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Harry Chapman and the Dartmouth Historical Association on the launch of Dartmouth's Day of Sorrow: the Halifax Explosion and thank them for preserving our rich heritage and priceless memories.

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. 445

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

Whereas Louisiana Pacific East River Plant is a hardboard plant located near Chester, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this plant processes more than 300 million square feet of product each year, products such as exterior siding, door panels and industrial panels; and

Whereas recently, the plant manager, Phil Ellwood, and his staff celebrated the plant's 40th Anniversary by hosting a tour of the facility, showing interested participants the various stages of production;

Therefore be it resolved the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Louisiana Pacific on 40 years in Nova Scotia and wish them every 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.

[Page 513]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, a very quick introduction but I want to welcome a member of my constituency, Mr. Burt MacIntyre, here today and I would ask him to stand and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 446

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

Whereas Bullying Awareness Week concluded on Saturday, November 24th; and

Whereas bullying happens in many different ways whether it is doing, saying or acting in some way that hurts or makes someone feel terrible on purpose; and

Whereas Dr. T.L. Sullivan Junior High School under the principal, Bruce MacDonald, and strong leadership from the student council participated in Bullying Awareness Week with the declared support of a strong anti-bullying resolution;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs applaud the school administration and student council initiatives undertaken by those at Dr. T.L. Sullivan Junior High School during Anti-Bullying Week 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 Pictou West.

[Page 514]

RESOLUTION NO. 447

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

Whereas Julie Champagne of Pictou received this year's Council of the Federation Literacy Award for Nova Scotia at the September 7th , 17th Annual International Literacy Day celebrations held in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the Council of the Federation Literacy Award recognizes an adult learner who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in literacy and for making significant contributions to school, workplace or the community; and

Whereas Julie graduated with her high school diploma in June 2007, being named the class valedictorian, with future plans of pursuing a career in nursing;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Julie Champagne on winning the 2007 Council of the Federation Literacy Award and wish Julie every success in her future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 448

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 it is a well known fact that emergency rooms throughout Nova Scotia are suffering due to staffing shortages; and

[Page 515]

Whereas hospitals throughout the Cape Breton District Health Authority have been among the hardest hit, including Glace Bay, with New Waterford Consolidated being closed 1,092 hours so far this year compared to 114 for all of last year; and

Whereas this is unacceptable and action needs to be taken immediately to remedy this growing crisis;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier and his new Progressive Conservative Government act quickly to remedy this problem which they have let go on far too long.

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 Pictou Centre.

MR. PATRICK DUNN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to make an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. DUNN: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to introduce two people very close to me, in the east gallery - my wife Patricia, recently retired from 32 years of teaching middle school children, and my sister Thelma. I would ask both to stand and that the members give them a round of applause. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 449

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

Whereas clients of the Riverview Adult Residential Centre are benefiting from the addition of some new and unique residents; and

Whereas the centre has acquired two dogs, two cats, and a pair of lovebirds over the last couple of years for the benefit of all who live and work there; and

[Page 516]

Whereas the animals provide a progressive form of therapy for stress management and teach clients about responsibility, in addition to supporting self-esteem, staff and residents alike maintain that the new friends help brighten up life a bit;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their warm wishes and congratulations to the residents and staff of the Riverview Adult Residential Centre on their forward- thinking and compassionate approach to making life better for people and animals.

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.

[3:00 p.m.]

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 450

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

Whereas 2007 is the Year of Craft; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design celebrated the Year of Craft with a three-day conference, known as Neocraft, at its spectacular new waterfront campus; and

Whereas this event brought together some of the finest experts in crafts from around the world;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the staff, students and practitioners from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design for their ongoing work promoting all forms of visual arts and crafts in the province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 517]

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. 451

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

Whereas a review of provincial school food policies, as detailed in a new report, Are Schools Making the Grade, gives schools a respectable C grade; and

Whereas too many children consume too many calories, too much saturated and trans fats, salt and added sugar and not enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes; and

Whereas the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has noted schools are an ideal setting to establish and promote healthy eating among our children;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House encourage the minister and the Department of Education to become the national leader on school nutrition and nutrition policies.

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.

[Page 518]

RESOLUTION NO. 452

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

Whereas the Dalhousie Medical Alumni Association, at their annual Emphasizing Excellence Awards Luncheon held in October, presented their first Family Practitioner Award to Victoria County's own Dr. Ken Murray; and

Whereas the medical alumni recognized that Dr. Ken Murray for the past 35 years has organized and provided medical care for the northern Victoria County region with untiring enthusiasm and competence; and

Whereas the Rural Physicians of Canada also recognized Dr. Murray for his 35 years of excellent service in a rural community at a conference held last Spring in Regina;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs recognize Dr. Ken Murray for his commitment and desire in serving the medical needs of residents of northern Victoria County and for being recognized by his peers for the outstanding job he is doing.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 453

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

Whereas Fall River athlete, David Kikuchi, is a world class gymnast; and

[Page 519]

Whereas 28 year old Kikuchi received an individual Athlete of the Month Award for his performance at the 2007 World Gymnastic Championships, as well as the 2007 IKON Male Individual Athlete of the Year Award from Gymnastics Nova Scotia; and

Whereas David's determination and excellence helped lead the Canadian Team to the upcoming 2008 Olympics in Bejing;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate David Kikuchi on being the recipient of the Individual Athlete of the Month Award and the 2007 IKON Male Individual Male Individual Athlete of the Year Award from Gymnastics Nova Scotia and recognize David's talent and skill as a world class athlete.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, may I make an introduction?

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, to you and through you to all members of the House, sitting in the east gallery is Bernice Doucet. She's a friend, my next door neighbour, a past president of the Nova Scotia Dental Hygienists Association and she's here to watch today's proceeding. I would ask all members to give our usual welcome. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 454

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

[Page 520]

Whereas this year marks the 75th Anniversary of Belliveau Motors Limited in Clare; and

Whereas Belliveau Motors Limited has been in the automobile industry as a Ford dealership since 1932; and

Whereas Belliveau Motors Limited has been serving the people in the Tri-County while being a supporter to various community organizations for the last 75 years;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House congratulate Belliveau Motors Limited owner, Richard Robichaud, and his many employees for helping to build a true Nova Scotian success story and wish them 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 member for Pictou Centre.RESOLUTION NO. 455

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 artist and art teacher Lyn-Sue Wice was recently interviewed by the New Glasgow Evening News about what inspires her; and

Whereas the watercolour artist spends much of her time concentrating on works that highlight Nova Scotia's past, with images of abandoned buildings and quiet landscapes; and

Whereas Ms. Wice enjoys her work, not only because she is fond of the past, but feels as though she is preserving an element of the province's history with thoughtful portrayals of abandoned farm buildings and homes;

[Page 521]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send their best wishes to New Glasgow artist and teacher Lyn-Sue Wice as she, through her talent, helps to preserve Nova Scotia's cultural past and inspires her students to capture what moves 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 Premier on an introduction.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if I might take the opportunity to welcome back to the Legislature, here once again, our good friend, former Deputy Premier, the honourable Ron Russell. I would ask him to ask him to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

RESOLUTION NO. 456

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

Whereas our health care professionals across Nova Scotia deliver quality care under often challenging circumstances; and

Whereas the staff of the Diabetes Education Centre at St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish are no exception; and

Whereas these dedicated staff work hard every day to help people with diabetes manage their disease and reduce their risk of serious complications down the road;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate and thank the health professionals who work at the Diabetes Education Centre at St. Martha's Regional Hospital and all health care providers for their devotion to health care in our province.

[Page 522]

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. 457

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

Whereas the fellowship designation is the highest national award granted by Certified General Accountants Canada; and

Whereas each year CGA-Canada bestows this honour on only a select few in appreciation of the dedication they show to the accounting profession, their community, and their dedication to advancing of the CGA designation; and

Whereas Norman Lockyer, Director of Finance and Administration for O'Neil Fisheries Limited in Digby, was a recipient of this prestigious designation for 2007, rewarding his years of hard work in the accounting profession and acknowledging the dedication he has to his community;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Norman Lockyer on receiving his esteemed designation and may he continue to thrive in the field of accounting.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 523]

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. 458

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

Whereas this month the good people of Saskatchewan voted in a general election and chose the Saskatchewan Party and Brad Wall as their new premier; and

Whereas the Swift Current native operated several businesses, started his own seasonal tourism operation, and worked both on Parliament Hill and in provincial government prior to serving as an MLA in 1999; and

Whereas this varied experience will serve him well as he embarks on his new and challenging role as Saskatchewan's new premier;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the newly-elected government and wish Premier Brad Wall and his colleagues well in the days and years ahead.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 459

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

[Page 524]

Whereas on Sunday, October 21st, the Marguerite Centre celebrated its 5th Anniversary at the Sacred Heart Church Hall in Timberlea; and

Whereas the Marguerite Centre has achieved much success because of the dedication of their staff and numerous volunteers; and

Whereas the Marguerite Centre provides a valuable service to our community and to our province;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Marguerite Centre on its 5th Anniversary with best wishes in its future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 460

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

Whereas approximately one in every 10,000 Canadians has Huntington's Disease and approximately five in every 10,000 are at risk of developing this disease; and

Whereas there is still no cure for Huntington's Disease and there are no known treatments to prevent Huntington's Disease or slow it down; and

Whereas the acceleration pace of research for Huntington's Disease is offering more hope than ever before that a cure will be discovered one day;

[Page 525]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly recognize November as Huntington's Disease Awareness Month and acknowledge the dedication provided by those who work to eliminate this illness.

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. 461

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

Whereas the Girl Guides of Canada have a badge system where Brownies receive various badges for community work and self-disciplined learning; and

Whereas Ampai Thammachack has earned all 82 of the possible badges in the Brownie program; and

Whereas Ampai is the second Brownie in Canadian history to obtain all 82 badges in the Brownie program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Ampai's achievement in the Girl Guides of Canada program.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 526]

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. 462

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

Whereas Westville's Walter Duggan Consolidated School Mavericks female basketball team was started by volunteer coach Don Dooley two years ago and is supported by a group of dedicated parents; and

Whereas this year the Mavericks competed for the first time in the provincial tournament against seven other teams, and won the Division 5 Championship; and

Whereas Veronica Deno was named tournament MVP, Jessica Dooley was named tournament all-star and Jenelle Walsh and Vicki Oliver received game star honours;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the 2006-2007 Mavericks female basketball team: Michahela Pellerine, Kelsey Chislett, Tiana Murray, Vicki Oliver, Veronica Deno, Jessica Dooley, Tanner Hughes, Candace Morrison, Jenelle Walsh, Carlee Bourque, Emily Wood, and Coach Don Dooley for the Provincial Basketball Championship win, and the team members on their individual honours.

[3:15 p.m.]

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.

[Page 527]

RESOLUTION NO. 463

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

Whereas 4-H is a nationwide program dedicated to the development of young people, to help them become responsible members of society; and

Whereas 4-H is a great opportunity for young people to learn new skills, make new friends, and become a leader in their community; and

Whereas November has been designated 4-H Month in the Province of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the impact that 4-H has on our young Nova Scotians, and continue to support the program in years to come.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 464

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

Whereas Mr. Peter Clarke of Woodville, Nova Scotia, was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia on October 3, 2007, by Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis and Premier Rodney MacDonald at a ceremony at Province House; and

Whereas Mr. Clarke is known locally and nationally for his contributions to excellence in agri-food and agriculture industries, significantly in the Canadian egg and poultry sector for setting high-quality standards for food safety, sits on several provincial,

[Page 528]

national and international committees, has served his community as a volunteer firefighter and as a member of the Kentville Rotary Club; and

Whereas Mr. Clarke is chairman of ACA Co-operative's board of directors which employs 675 people and has achieved consolidated sales in excess of $100 million under his leadership;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize not only Mr. Clarke's outstanding efforts towards championing business in the province but his continued commitment to help develop the agricultural industry in beautiful Kings County, 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 Cape Breton Centre on an introduction.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, in the west gallery today, we have members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, members of the Nova Scotia Government & General Employees Union and members of the Canadian Auto Workers - all health care workers here today to watch the proceedings of the House. We wish to give them the appreciation of the House, please. (Applause)

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

RESOLUTION NO. 465

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

Whereas on November 11, 2007, the Cape Breton University Capers Women's Soccer Team defeated the OUAA champion York Lions 2-1; and

[Page 529]

Whereas in doing so, the Capers captured their first Gladys Bean Memorial Trophy, symbolic of the CIS women's soccer supremacy; and

Whereas Kiley Snow garnered tournament MVP honours and as the Capers received the RW Pugh Fair Play Award;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate the Cape Breton University Capers Women's Soccer Team on capturing their first Gladys Bean Memorial Trophy and recognize their outstanding athletic achievement which will be sure to put Cape Breton Island on the soccer map for many years to come.

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. 466

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

Whereas through testimony and documents provided to the Public Accounts Committee by the Department of Immigration officials, it has become obvious that government knew of problems facing the business mentorship program; and

Whereas the government sat idle, forcing immigrants to pay $130,000 to work at a position often not related to what the individual was qualified to do and in some cases the immigrant did not even step foot into their place of mentorship; and

Whereas it is actions like these that are tarnishing our reputation on a local, national and international level;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier do the right thing by refunding the money paid by immigrants who went through the program and stayed here in Nova Scotia.

[Page 530]

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 Minister of Human Resources.

RESOLUTION NO. 467

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

Whereas Laurie Swim of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia has been creating magnificent artwork quilts for many years; and

Whereas much of the inspiration for her quilting creations comes from the beautiful surroundings of the South Shore of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Laurie has written her third book, entitled Rags to Riches: The Quilt as Art, which was inspired largely by the natural beauty of our province;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize Laurie Swim for her tremendous quilting talent and congratulate her on writing her third book, Rags to Riches: The Quilt as Art.

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 531]

[Page 532]

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 3:22 p.m. and we will proceed until 4:22 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

JOSEPH HOWE BLDG. LEASE: REPAIR COSTS - DETAILS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question this afternoon will be for the Premier. Yesterday the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal helpfully tabled the province's lease with Centennial Properties for the Joseph Howe Building. Quite a set of facts is revealed in the lease, so I'm sure the Premier has taken the opportunity to review it and I'm sure he will agree that it is particularly shocking to discover that not only is the province required to pay for the capital repairs and major retrofits, it must also pay the landlord a fee of 10 per cent of the value of that work. My question to the Premier is, does the $25 million to $30 million price tag for fixing up the Joseph Howe Building include the 10 per cent fee to Centennial Properties, or will the 10 per cent fee be added onto the cost?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Oppostion is asking a question specific to the duties of the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal and I will refer that question to him.

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the honourable Leader of the Opposition for the question. I did table that and I made a commitment on behalf of the Premier that we would table any information we have with regard to that issue. Right now the department is reviewing that lease and the information that the honourable member brings before the House.

I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, that was an arrangement made, as we know, back in the 1980s. That's certainly not the lease that we would enter into today, but we are ascertaining now at this point exactly what the government's decision will be with regard to that building and whether we'll proceed with those repairs or other options that may be available to government.

MR. DEXTER: Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, it is a lease that the people of Nova Scotia are still paying today and I think they have the right to know just exactly what they're on the hook for. Under the lease tabled yesterday, the province is required to pay about $2.5 million a year in rent for the Joseph Howe Building, but the lease also requires taxpayers to pay all of the maintenance costs, all of the property taxes, all of the insurance costs, a 5 per cent management fee of all of those previous costs, and a 10 per cent fee on improvements

[Page 533]

or retrofit. So my question for the Premier is, how much have the exorbitant costs of this lease/purchase deal deterred the province from making the upgrades that are needed to maintain a safe and healthy environment for the people who work in the Joe Howe Building?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has been very clear. We are reviewing the lease. We are reviewing the relevant information. It was a contract signed in the 1980s and, again, once the decision to review is done and the decision is made, all members of the House will be informed at that time.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, these questions are about the accountability of the government to the taxpayers of this province. This lease is a disaster for the taxpayers and so my question is this. More recently we have been learning about the pitfalls of the alternative procurement process used for the Cornwallis project. So my question to the Premier is, will he guarantee that all new office space requirements will be fulfilled through an open and public tendering?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm not at all thrilled about the lease that was signed in the 1980s, but the reality is today we have to live with that. We have to deal with that and we are going to do that. The proper review will be done and we'll make a determination at that time. What the Opposition Leader is really trying to get at is how they are against the private sector and the government entering negotiations and discussions with the private sector. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, they want to nationalize jobs. (Interruptions) On one hand the Leader of the Opposition speaks against the private sector. His member, the member for Queens, is saying we should be doing more partnerships like that. Which is it from the other side of the House?

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

GOV'T. (N.S.): UNTENDERED CONTRACTS - POLICY

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Nova Scotians have many, many concerns about this government's ability to manage effectively and fairly. My question to the Premier is that in light of these very legitimate concerns, is it the normal practice of your government to issue multi-million dollar untendered contracts?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we always ensure that we follow due process and I outlined those processes yesterday.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, that was a bit - what shall I say? - it wasn't a direct answer. (Interruption) In fact, it was flippant, yes, but I'm going to assume that the Premier means that they do not as a practice give away multi-million dollar contracts untendered. If

[Page 534]

that's the case, I would assume that members of the Cabinet as well are fully aware that due process should be followed and it's not normal practice to do such contracting. My question then to the Premier is, given this fact, wouldn't the Premier expect a minister, when issuing an unusual, untendered, multi-million dollar contract, to check first to see if any Cabinet directives had been issued before signing the contract?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member is suggesting something, then say it.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, as we have learned recently in the paper, there were three public servants disciplined for not following a Cabinet directive in this case. This government is more than happy to punish and blame public servants. Maybe the Premier is not familiar with the concept of ministerial responsibility. My question to the Premier is, what actions have you taken now to hold your minister responsible for signing a contract that completely disregarded a Cabinet directive?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will outline again what steps I have been taking, following with working with our Public Service. The staff are regularly told the importance of following the government's procurement policy. Authority to use the alternative procurement policy rests exclusively with the deputy minister. The department now consults with the procurement office on all procurement matters and must have the approval of that office for anything using the alternative procurement process and there are a number of other steps, which I already outlined. The government will continue to follow a fair procurement process, no differently than the previous government followed in the 1990s.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH - QE II ER: AMBULANCE BOTTLENECK - FIX

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the honourable Minister of Health. At any given time, you can see ambulances lined up at the QE II Health Sciences Centre. The best ambulance service in the world is reduced to an idling, mobile hospital room because paramedics can't abandon their patients at an already full emergency room. Nearly 44 per cent of the ambulances at the QE II took more than an hour to get back on the job between May and October this year, and 279 times ambulances were delayed for more than three hours. So my question to the minister is, what is the minister going to do to fix this bottleneck in the system?

[3:30 p.m.]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite is fully aware, we are building a $17 million new emergency room.

[Page 535]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the $17 million expansion that the minister speaks of doesn't hold a transition area for paramedics to move their patients into the ER and a few more beds are not going to solve the problem. The head of Dal Surgery, Dr. Bonjer, said recently that the hospital is running at nearly 100 per cent capacity, so there is literally no room in the inn until the hospital can discharge patients. Adding a few more beds, as I said, won't get patients admitted to the hospital any faster. So my question to the minister is, what is the minister's plan to allow more patients to be seen once the new ER is operational?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, also the member opposite is fully aware we are in the middle of construction. We are adding the RFPs and adding beds in the HRM area, in all the province, for long-term care, making sure that we have the senior population that is in our hospitals, including the Infirmary site, to get them to move on to more appropriate housing, freeing up beds on the floors, making people flow better through the hospital at the QE II.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, what the minister is speaking about is a plan that is inadequate and in many cases years away. The EMC recently added four ambulances to its fleet because so many of its vehicles are sitting idle waiting at the emergency room, but the option for transporting waiting patients to another ER is not an ideal situation either. Nearly 40 per cent of the ambulances at the Dartmouth General Hospital take an hour to get back on the road and in the past six months, 79 took more than three hours. So why does this government not recognize that growing wait times are costly and unsafe?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, this government is fully aware of the issues in the health care system, which is why we are fixing them.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Opposition.

HEALTH: NURSING HOME BEDS - WAIT TIMES

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, they're doing nothing to remedy them and the long-term care issue is just the case in point. My question is, this time for the Premier. The Department of Health says that at least 1,500 Nova Scotians are waiting for a nursing home bed. These seniors are not receiving the care they need. The government has decided to use hospital beds, beds that are needed for surgery and other acute care, for hundreds of the women and men on that waiting list for long-term care. When things get too critical in the hospital, the government cuts off community access to nursing homes. My question to the Premier is, why did this government fail to take action to meet the well known need for long-term care that is putting our health care system in crisis?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as part of the continuing care strategy, the government announced over 800 new beds which is coming online over the course of the next 24 months.

[Page 536]

In addition to that, there will be a second round of beds which will be announced further to that. We recognize there are challenges. We have too many people in acute care beds today and we are going to make sure we provide the long-term care beds necessary to ensure we free up those beds.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, 1,500 people waiting, 800 between now and 2010. Hospitals have warned this government that patient care is in jeopardy due to the terrible backlogs created by decisions made around the Cabinet table. I will table a letter from the Pictou District Health Authority dated last June stating, "Our ability to provide appropriate and safe care throughout the system is in jeopardy. The solution has been no solution at all. They make further cuts in access to long-term care, although one senior official told me that people waiting in his community are just a single fall away from the emergency room. This is putting incalculable stress on family care givers and seniors who are waiting for care."

My question to the Premier is, when will his government take the urgent action required to keep community access open and unblock these hospital beds?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we also - I wanted to add, in addition to the additional beds I mentioned earlier, additional beds here in Capital District to help free up some of those acute care beds. We recognize that there is a problem and that is why we are moving forward with it, but you have to build the beds first and that's the reality of it. Again, we'll see many partnerships, no doubt, with many private sector individuals. We often deal with the private sector in long-term care because they do a fine job on our behalf.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm very glad the Premier mentioned Capital District Health. I will table a letter from Capital Health dated June of this year, "We have been consistently unable to place all admitted patients from the Dartmouth Emergency Department with an average of 10 - 12 patients each morning. This has impacted surgical volumes as well as having four surgeries being cancelled in the past two weeks. Since June, 2006, in addition to the crisis situation in hospitals, community access to nursing homes has been cut for weeks at a time in the Capital District, Cape Breton and in the Colchester region." My question for the Premier is, how much longer will seniors, their care givers, and surgical patients have to wait because of this government's failure to make sure that care is there when they need it?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I will refer that to the Minister of Health to update the Leader of the Opposition with respect to the beds.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, knowing that it does take time to build these facilities and knowing that we are building the first round, making sure all regions in this province have equal access to long-term care. We have added an additional - will be adding an additional 162 interim nursing beds; 21 have already opened; 89 will be

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opened later this Fall or somewhere before Christmas; and another 40 will be added in the Spring of 2008.

We are continuing to work with the district health authorities to make sure we have equitable answers. We have a plan we have a place for these individuals so they have the right kind of care. Mr. Speaker, they are misleading Nova Scotians into believing that we can make these things overnight. We have a good plan and we'll be sticking to it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

TIR: CROSSWALK SAFETY - ADDRESS

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation Infrastructure and Renewal. Earlier this year, government released their Interim Report on Crosswalk Safety and Awareness. From the recommendations in this report, government says they are going to increase the fines, they say they are going to clarify the rules for pedestrians and motorists at crosswalks.

Well, Mr. Speaker, these are just minor changes to a serious issue that affects all Nova Scotians. Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, another small child was struck at a crosswalk on the corner of South and Robie Streets. The Progressive Conservative Government has delayed this process with committees and reports, but Nova Scotians are looking for actions and not definitions.

My first question to the minister is, when will your government take actions on this important safety issue and address this matter with action and not words?

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Tonight, Mr. Speaker, they support my bill.

MR. GAUDET: Well obviously the minister is worried about his bill. Mr. Speaker. The fact is this: Advisory committees and task forces make suggestions and recommendations, but government must put them into action, so why are they making changes to definitions and fines for crosswalk safety while the real concerns stay unresolved? Awareness for both drivers and pedestrians is the key. This Progressive Conservative Government is clearly not prepared to take action, so again to the minister, what is your government's plan to increase awareness and to increase crosswalk safety for pedestrians and motorists at marked crosswalks in Nova Scotia?

MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I really think the honourable member brings a very good issue before this House. To me, there are two steps to this issue. Step one is legislation - I know we can't discuss it right now but it is before this House; that does give enforcement. They have spoken loud and clear - they need these measures in place that will actually address the issue that the very member was talking about.

[Page 538]

Mr. Speaker, there will be a second step that will come forward afterwards, that will deal with issues around education, enforcement particularly, Mr. Speaker, and as well possibly engineering aspects of the issue.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, earlier this Fall, the Halifax Regional Municipality prepared a detailed and informative booklet on crosswalk safety that has been sent to all households in the municipality. We have seen countless injuries and several fatalities at crosswalks and yet government has not taken the appropriate measures to address crosswalk safety.

Meanwhile, the municipalities such as HRM have taken leadership on an issue of provincial concern while the government continues to bury its head. So my question again to the minister, when will government finally step up and take the lead on this issue and produce a firm strategy on this critical safety concern?

MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I find the question very ironic. We have strong support, particularly from the policing community enforcement. They've addressed what the needs are, they've told me what they are. I put those in legislation before this House and with the support of the Opposition, we'll move on to doing exactly what he's asked me here today to do.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

HEALTH: COLLABORATIVE PRACTICES - DETAILS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question today is for the Minister of Health. This summer I attended the grand opening of a collaborative care clinic in Middleton. The staff at Soldiers' Memorial Hospital were excited about the news because they knew the clinic would take some of the pressure off their emergency room. The doctors at the clinic praised the concept of collaborative clinics and told me that the team approach just feels right.

My question to the minister is why does it take up to five years to negotiate a contract with doctors who are eager to work with nurse practitioners in our province?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I can say that our department, the Department of Health in Nova Scotia and this government supports collaborative practices, making sure that we have the right type of professionals servicing different parts of our province. Mr. Speaker, I will continue to move forward in making sure that we have more of these types of practices around our great province.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): The Middleton experience isn't the only roadblock to expanding team approach in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker. In Hantsport, an

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overworked doctor and a nurse practitioner wanted to work together to treat the more than 4,000 people on that doctor's patients' list. Although they worked well together and were eager to move forward, they received little cooperation from the Department of Health until we inquired about the status of their file. So I would like to ask the minister, why do health teams have to talk to six different bureaucrats, over a course of four months, just to get someone to listen to their idea?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I know that in order to negotiate some of these contracts they, of course, have to go through Doctors Nova Scotia, in the physicians case; the nurse practitioner has to go through the district health authority, as that is who pays those individuals. So I know it might be a little bit of work, but my department is dedicated to making sure that this happens in all areas of the province.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): The Department of Health funds just 27 nurse practitioner positions in the province, and not all those positions are filled currently, Mr. Speaker. District health authorities have recruited and hired nurse practitioners to work with doctors without the direction or input from the Department of Health. Physicians in Nova Scotia have been told by health authorities that there is no template for a funding agreement for collaborative practices here in Nova Scotia. So I would like to ask the Minister of Health, how can the minister claim to have a strategic plan for health care when it's painfully obvious that no one is in charge of expanding the role of nurse practitioners here in Nova Scotia?

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, we have talked about a public health renewal and making sure that we have a primary health care system that makes sense and works in this province. I know there's been a phenomenal amount of work done by my staff in the department, as well as collaborations and input from the district health authorities and, of course, those professionals across this province, and we'll continue to work along that path.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

ECON. DEV. - CORNWALLIS FIN.:UNTENDERED

CONTRACT - EXPLAIN

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. We know that in 2002 the Minister of Economic Development signed an untendered contract for Cornwallis Financial to run the Provincial Nominee Program. This untendered contract was signed by a Cabinet Minister despite specific direction from Cabinet that the contract should be tendered. Yesterday, the Premier's defense was, staff made mistakes. My question to the Premier, when did this Premier abandon the principle of ministerial responsibility?

[Page 540]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, any decision that comes across government, any policies, it always comes down to the Executive Council. It comes down to the president of the Executive Council, which is me. We take full responsibility for any decisions on policy and such that we make, or members of our government make.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, that answer leads very neatly into my second question. In December 2005, the Auditor General pointed out that other consultants were awarded untendered contracts and that other times the government attempted to skirt around the tendering policy. There was no review of consultant's work following project completion in 96 per cent of the cases. The Cornwallis contract was not an isolated mistake - it fits in with a pattern of mistakes, but the Premier says three staff members were disciplined. My question to the Premier, which ministers were disciplined and what was their punishment?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I was going to be a bit facetious and say, to sit here and listen to the honourable member for awhile, but I wouldn't do that, I wouldn't do that. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, in all seriousness, in all seriousness - again, the minister acknowledged the issue yesterday, and if the honourable member has assertions about other items he wants to raise, feel free to raise them.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, that Premier was at the Cabinet Table when the directive was issued. That Premier was at the Cabinet Table when it was ignored. That Premier was at the Cabinet Table when the untendered contract was signed. That Premier was the Immigration Minister when the whole scheme descended into chaos and, yesterday, that Premier had the nerve to say that staff made mistakes. My question to the Premier is why should staff take the blame for your mistakes?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would encourage that honourable member to read the statements on the opening comments of the deputy minister with respect to the issue.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH: CORPUS SANCHEZ REPORT - STATUS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In March 2006, the Department of Health awarded a contract to Corpus Sanchez to conduct a provincial health services operational review. The report was due to be released some time in July of this year, according to the minister's own admission during last Spring's budget debate. Now, five months later and no report but Corpus Sanchez has been paid in full to the tune of over $1.1 million. So my question to the Minister of Health is, is the Corpus Sanchez report complete and if so, why haven't you released it?

[Page 541]

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that the report is just about to be complete. We are looking at a release date of sometime in January. We are also working very diligently and hard within the department to have an implementation plan for the recommendations held therein.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the original contract called for an operational review of acute care services and the Department of Health amended their request and they asked Corpus Sanchez to conduct a review of emergency room services concentrating on rural areas. The request was made in response to a big increase in ER closures. A very timely review, considering that there have been ER closures, so far this year, of over 5,800 hours. However, when asked for the report, department officials tell us that it won't be released, as the minister has said, until later. They say until 2008. So my question for the minister is, with the current crisis in ER closures in this province, why is the minister stalling on the release of that report?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, we are definitely making sure that we are having the report in a complete manner, making sure that the recommendations are sound and solid and making sure that we have an action plan that truly Nova Scotians can buy into.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, Corpus Sanchez was asked to review a struggling acute care system in response to an outrageous number of ER closures this year. A review of ER services was added to the contract. They have been paid $1.1 million, paid in full. We are assuming the work is done. In fact, the minister has admitted that the report is ready but over four months later, I don't even know if he has read it, but according to him it is on the back burner. On the back burner while ER closures take place in Glace Bay and New Waterford and North Sydney and Digby and Middleton and Tatamagouche. The minister is more concerned about taking away the right to strike from health care workers than he is about releasing this report. My final question for the minister is, what does that report say that he is so afraid to release it?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the report is still in draft. We have not received a final copy of that. We are working on an implementation plan so that we can enaction all the items in the recommendations that are held therein immediately. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

SENIORS - SENIOR ABUSE LINE: STAFFING - DETAILS

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Seniors. This Fall two very important initiatives geared at protecting seniors were launched. The first is the Protection of Persons in Care Act introduced by my colleague, the member for Halifax

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Needham. The second is a seniors' abuse line. Now I am sure everyone in this Assembly agrees that it is critical that seniors and the people who care about them have access to people who can help them if they abused, afraid or neglected. My question to the Minister of Seniors is how many staff are working the abuse line?

HON. CAROLYN BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, I am glad that the honourable member brought up about our Elder Abuse Awareness Strategy that we launched earlier this year because it's a very important strategy. Part of this strategy is that we put in place a line, a toll-free number for seniors to call in through. This information is brought in and then dispersed out to the necessary departments to act on at that particular point. We have received numerous calls to this line.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, the reason I asked that first question is because the seniors' abuse line is only staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the Adult Protection Line automatically leads to a voice mail system even during office hours. Now in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario, those provinces have put into place a 24-hour Elder Abuse Line which offers emergency response, counselling and information. Many of these provinces also have emergency shelters devoted to elderly victims of abuse in crisis. My question to the Minister of Seniors is what plans does she have to advocate for similar services in Nova Scotia?

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, again, I just want to say that the creation of the Department of Seniors definitely has allowed us to look at all the programs that we currently host within the secretariat. We are currently doing that. We are looking at all the ways to enhance them and that is definitely one of the aspects as far as the hours associated with the Elder Abuse Line that we are looking at.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, we all know that seniors in abusive situations often must wait until an opportune moment to seek help and counselling. They can't just pick up the phone when the situation arises. They have to wait until they feel safe enough to be able to call. They don't want to call 911 but they need to talk to someone, when they get a moment, to ask for help. So my question to the Minister of Seniors is when will she lobby for the abuse line to be staffed around the clock so that no senior in crisis gets a voice mail.

MS. BOLIVAR-GETSON: Mr. Speaker, I hope that we are referring to the same toll-free number here when we are referring to this. The Elder Abuse Awareness Line is the number that I am talking about and not the Persons in Care. If it's the Persons in Care, that would be the Minister of Health's responsibility. I will continue with it being the Elder Abuse Awareness Line and, again, this is something that we are evaluating. All the services that are being hosted right now within the secretariat, we are looking at this. It is definitely something that we are going to look at expanding in the province. It is something that I fully support and when you look across the province, elder abuse of any nature is unacceptable in this province and we will do everything in our power to make sure it is eliminated.

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MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

JUSTICE: MENTAL ILLNESS EMERGENCY RESPONSE

TRAINING PROG. - OFFER

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, about 80 per cent of police officers across the country admit that they need special training when responding to emergency situations involving persons with mental illnesses. These same police officers acknowledge that because of this lack of training, more and more people suffering from mental illness are ending up in jail rather than receiving the medical help that they need. A training program does exist that would help educate police and corrections officers on how to deal with mental illness when responding to emergency calls. The Canadian Mental Health Association is advocating for such a training program for emergency responders who come into contact with mentally ill persons. Newfoundland and Labrador has answered the call already and has implemented such a training course for all emergency responders.

My question to the Minister of Justice is, will this government respond to the concerns expressed by police forces and join Newfoundland and Labrador in offering such a training program here in Nova Scotia?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the honourable member for bringing that very serious matter forward, one the government, too, shares in terms of wanting to try to make further strides and advancements with helping those with mental health issues. That is why it was indicated we would be proceeding with a Mental Health Court, through the Speech from the Throne, here in Nova Scotia. That is why we are working across departments right now to make sure there is the collaboration and the integration, as well as the special policing services, and providing additional policing supports and ability for regionalized policing services to be able to provide those supports and I will work, as we move forward other reviews we are doing right now, Mr. Speaker, to make sure that those types of concerns are fully incorporated.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, in response to recommendations made last March, following the inquiry into the Taser death of Kevin Geldart of New Brunswick, we are currently in discussions with the Canadian Mental Health Association for such a similar training program in our province. Instructors have already been retained and classes could start as early as March, if the Province of New Brunswick signs on.

Nova Scotia has seen two Taser-related deaths in the last two years, the victims of which, in both cases, were persons with mental illness. The case of Howard Hyde here in Nova Scotia is equally troubling. The Executive Director of Correctional Services has indicated that police failed to inform correctional services that Mr. Hyde suffered from a mental illness and had been the victim of a Taser. Apparently, it was determined that this was not relevant information.

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My question is, will the Minister of Justice inform this House whether the review of Tasers he has ordered will also review communication between police and correctional officers in this province?

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. CLARKE: Again, Mr. Speaker, I agree with the honourable member in terms of the severity in making sure that we address these issues. That's why again, Mr. Speaker, we'll be bringing forward our crime prevention strategy that not only deals with enforcement but intervention and prevention initiatives.

Mr. Speaker, as we do our review as indicated, the ministerial review, we will have the framework of that out very shortly, you will see that those types of things will be within the scope and the mandate of that review.

MR. SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, mental health consumers are growing increasingly afraid of the justice system in this province and who can blame them. Time after time they hear that their illnesses are being misunderstood or completely ignored. This misunderstanding about mental health illness sometimes results in unnecessary and violent force being used to subdue a person suffering from a mental illness, in an emergency situation. Lately, as we've seen with Mr. Hyde, possibly resulting in his untimely death.

It is time for this government to protect the most vulnerable of its citizens and educate our police and justice officials to better understand and relate to persons with mental illness.

My final supplementary, will the Minister of Justice commit to implementing a mandatory training program for all police and corrections officers, educating them on how to respond to emergency calls involving persons with mental illness in our province?

MR. CLARKE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I guess the honourable member and I share a common concern around this. The government is incorporating measures and will continue to do that in the coming days. I would be happy to discuss this further with the member.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

COM. SERV.: CHILD CARE STRATEGY - OMISSIONS

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Affordable, accessible, quality child care is one of the pillars of a successful poverty reduction strategy, yet this department continues with policies that fragment our child care system and put centres at risk of closing. The operational funding needs a dramatic

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overhaul and stabilization grants are not bringing long-term wage increases to workers, making recruitment difficult.

My question to the minister is, why have so many critical measures been left out of her government's child care strategy?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank my honourable colleague for allowing me to rise and speak to our plan, one of the most aggressive and one of the most successful plans indeed across the country, when it comes to early learning and child care. This government, under the leadership of the Premier, has invested and committed over $140 million to quality, affordable child care across Nova Scotia. That is proof of our commitment to families and children here in the province.

MR. ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, Bill C-303 is before Parliament as we speak. It would fund national child care and offer protection against corporate child care. The minister's federal Conservative colleagues are opposing this bill. My question to the minister is, why won't she encourage her colleagues to support the federal child care bill to take measures here to strengthen our system and stop big box daycare in its tracks?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, of course, the concern of all legislators in this province is, Nova Scotia, indeed, we have an interest in what goes on across the country, but I'll let the federal government worry about their bills and what they do with those bills. I travelled to Ottawa and I spoke against Bill C-303 as the Minister of Community Services responsible for child care, because this province, this government, this Premier, believe in quality choice child care for families in Nova Scotia. We do not believe that it is the job of government to dictate to commercial or non-profit centres where they can provide that quality child care. That is not what this government is about. This government is about providing choice in child care, providing stable workplaces for those child care educators, and we'll continue to do that.

MR. ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, ABC Learning has a history of buying private centres, squeezing out the competition with artificially low rates, and then charging what it wants when there are no other options. It has already started buying Canadian centres and no doubt Nova Scotia is next on the menu. In Australia, where they own more than half of the child care centres, fees have increased 123 per cent since 1990. I ask the Minister of Community Services, what measures will her department take to stop corporate child care from coming to Nova Scotia?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again I thank my honourable colleague for allowing me to speak to the extremely important issue of quality choice child care for Nova Scotian families, children and, indeed, those educators in the workforce. There is no more concern any greater to families than quality child care. That's what this government believes in and that's what we will continue to promote.

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Mr. Speaker, I'm a little bit confused. Is the honourable member suggesting that I should take the money back that we provided to those child care centres across this province, in many areas of the province represented by that Party, or perhaps that Party is simply against the private sector.

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

EDUC. - LUNCH PROGS.: EXTRA FEES - EXPLAIN

MR. PERCY PARIS: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. At many schools in the Halifax Regional School Board, eating in the lunch room is no longer free. In my own riding it is a huge problem. At Ash-Lee Jefferson Elementary School parents of many non-bused and French immersion students must pay $200 per child up to a maximum of $400 each year just so their kids can eat lunch at school.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister, through you, why do parents in the Halifax region have to pay extra fees for their children to remain at school for lunch?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite and to all members of the House, it's a timely question and, as the member opposite would know, there is a review in the Halifax board with respect to the Excel Program. There was a decision made at the board meeting - I believe the member was there at that time - and that review will be reported back to the superintendent in January.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, we live in the 21st Century. Most parents have to go to work these days to make ends meet. Even if they are working in the home, it is simply not realistic to expect five or six year olds to walk home for lunch and back in the short time that has been allocated. In fact, I would go so far as to say it's a safety nightmare. So my second question to the minister is, when are you going to fund the Halifax Regional School Board properly so that it doesn't have to charge parents when their children eat at school?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I would certainly want to respond in two ways to this question. One is that the report that goes to the superintendent will give direction to the Halifax School Board. Secondly, I'd like to draw attention to the safety of students walking to school and, as this House knows, we have a review in place right now, a report coming in December, which looks at walking distances all across this province - and safety is the number one concern and I await that report. Thank you.

MR. PARIS: Mr. Speaker, I have another concern regarding these fees. There are many people who can't afford to pay $400 a year. As I mentioned, there are tremendous safety implications involved in forcing children to leave school at lunchtime. This creeping

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commercialization of public education has to stop before someone gets hurt. My final question to the minister is, when are you going to ensure that our taxpayer-funded education system will remain public and free?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, to the member opposite, the policies and procedures that we currently have in our boards do provide for supervision for the students who are bused to the schools, and those students who are within walking distance are responsible for going home at lunchtime or going to a daycare or a sitter. Those students who stay at school for lunch are the subject of this discussion and this review, and I welcome the report and will be glad to share that with the member opposite.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

EDUC.: SPECIAL ED. REVIEW: TUITION SUPPORT PROG. -

REMOVAL - STANCE

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. On August 22nd a three-person panel, appointed by this government to review special education, presented its findings to the Minister of Education. Much to the dismay of parents with children who have learning disabilities, one of the report's recommendations proved to be a step in the wrong direction. The panel's third recommendation, which calls for the elimination of the Tuition Support Program by June 2010, is both short-sighted and unrealistic. My question for the minister is, does the minister accept the recommendations made by the panel to eliminate the Tuition Support Program by 2010?

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is accurate in his dates and the number of people who were on that panel, and in particular Recommendation 3 appears to have attracted more attention than the other 26 recommendations. We are doing an analysis of all of those recommendations and will be providing my response to that report in the next two weeks.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, the students enlisted in the Tuition Support Program have correctable learning disabilities. They are frustrated that they can't achieve their maximum learning potential in the public school setting. Through the Tuition Support Program, many students have found the classroom enjoyable again, have made friends, and are gaining the essential skills for them to re-enter the public education system. The Tuition Support Program works; however, it is not offered to all regions of the province. The minister has a responsibility to provide the Tuition Support Program to all regions of the province and look beyond a three-year cap.

When I made a motion at the Human Resources Committee on October 30th, the Minister of Natural Resources supported the motion , ". . . consistent with my own personal beliefs in this program and whatever role I may have had in changing the department's policy

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toward tuition support, now several years ago and the almost unanimous support of my Party at the recent provincial AGM, I will be voting in favour of this motion.", to extend support beyond three years. And I'll table that, Mr. Speaker.

My question to the minister is, will the minister commit to permanently funding the Tuition Support Program beyond the three-year limit and provide tuition support to all regions of the province?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite knows, my response will be to the full report, which includes Recommendation 3, but I would want to say publicly - I said it yesterday with the media and I will say it here - it was our government that put in the Tuition Support Program and we are not prepared to take that support away from those students until we have an alternative that is just as good or better.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West on a shorter final supplementary.

MR. GLAVINE: Well, I'll get right to the point, Mr. Speaker. Most troublesome of all is that in order for students to qualify for the program in the first place, students must first fall behind a few grade levels; this is unacceptable. Parents and grandparents who attended the Human Resources Committee meeting on October 30, 2007, were extremely critical of the process. My question to the minister is, will the minister commit not only to permanently funding the Tuition Support Program, but also ensure the application process actually works and helps those students most in need?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I'm not sure if it's second or third supplementary, but I will respond. The criteria that was set at the time of the Tuition Support Program was set with the expectation that students would have been involved with supports at the school prior to their application. At this point in time that is still a criteria, but I would suggest that last year we had 53 students apply and 51 of those were approved - I think that's a fairly good record.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

FIN. - GAMING CORP.: LOTTERY REPORTING

REQUIREMENT - RESPONSE

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, this question will be for the Minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation. In April 2000, this government signed an agreement that gave the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation the responsibility to oversee gaming operations of the Atlantic Lotto Corporation. That agreement required that ALC report forthwith any real or suspected defect abuse, illegality or criminal activity in relation

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to lottery activities. My question to the minister is, how has ALC responded to that requirement to report?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I hope that they have responded appropriately.

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, it's interesting that the minister can't put it any higher than he hopes because we do know, in fact, from the recent Public Accounts Committee session in which ALC answered questions about retailer lottery ticket wins, that there were at least 58 serious retailer lottery win complaints over the last six years. We also know that the complaints were reported to the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation in real time. Now that means that the government here knew immediately when the problem with retailer lottery ticket wins surfaced at least six years ago. I ask the minister, how did his department protect the public interest in the face of this breach of trust?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member brings forward a topic that is very significant. This government is very concerned that the people of Nova Scotia have confidence in the operations of ALC. That is why, when I was made aware and saw some of the reporting of the evidence that was provided before the Public Accounts Committee, that I asked the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation and our members on the board of ALC to request a review of the president and CEO of ALC, to ensure that the interests of Nova Scotia are being addressed by the operators of ALC from the president and CEO on downward.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, doing it recently isn't good enough. We heard this week when the Premier was commenting on the Cornwallis immigration fiasco that he said that the buck stops in the Premier's Office. I would like to ask the minister, where does the buck stop in this other fiasco?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member and members of the House would know that the Atlantic Lotto Corporation is, in fact, a company that has shareholders involving all four provinces and therefore there is a board of directors that is charged with the responsibility of operating that corporation. We have members on that board of directors and I have asked our members on the board of directors to pursue the interests of Nova Scotia, especially around the issue of confidence on the part of Nova Scotians with respect to the operation of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation. We will continue to pursue that because we believe that the issue of confidence is extremely important for the future of the Gaming Corporation and for our continued involvement in that corporation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

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EDUC.: NEEDS-BASED GRANTS PROG. - ESTABLISH

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. Despite her department's attempt to fudge the figures, Nova Scotia university students still pay over $2,000 above the national average in compulsory tuition fees. Nova Scotia is one of only two provinces without a needs-based grants program. As a result, according to Paris Meyer of the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations, we place the highest financial burden on our students than any other jurisdiction in North America. My question for the minister is, when will this government establish a targeted, needs-based grants program to ease this financial burden which is being carried by Nova Scotian students?

MR. SPEAKER: I would like to ask the member for Halifax Citadel if he would like to reconsider his language in that question.

MR. PREYRA: I will withdraw fudge if it is unparliamentary, Mr. Speaker.

HON. KAREN CASEY: Mr. Speaker, I can tell you that if there has been one issue that has been a priority for me since I came in as minister, it is tuition for students at universities. I have developed a very good working relationship with the student unions and together they understand and appreciate the efforts that this government is taking to bring our tuition to the nation average in 2010.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, the minister clearly does not care about the growing number of students dropping out of our higher education system, of going down the road to get an affordable education. According to Caley Kennedy of the Canadian Federation of Students, undergraduate students in Nova Scotia carry an average of $28,000 in government debt and that doesn't take into account private debt and credit card debt. Last year, the government promised us that they would establish direct lending so that Nova Scotian students would at least pay less interest on their mortgage-sized debt. My question for the minister is, why has this government failed to keep that promise to Nova Scotian students?

MS. CASEY: Mr. Speaker, since we are talking statistics, there are some I would like to share with the House. In 2007, all of the provinces in Canada were surveyed, and Stats Canada gave us this information. There were six provinces where university tuition was higher than the national average, so we were 1 of 6. We are not alone, but the important part is that only two of those lowered the tuition for the following year and we were one of those.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, this government is great at recycling and reusing, especially old promises. We are more interested in reducing student debt. My question for the minister is, why hasn't (Interruptions)

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

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. During Question Period today, the Premier, in reply to a question that I raised, denied having said that staff made mistakes. For the sake of completeness, I would like to table Hansard from yesterday where the Premier said, "We saw mistakes made by staff."

MR. SPEAKER: It appears that the member has a point. (Interruptions)

THE PREMIER: A point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

THE PREMIER: A point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I would encourage you to read Hansard and take a look at my responses with regard to the assertion that the honourable member is making.

MR. SPEAKER: We're going to take that under advisement and I will get back to you at a later date, Mr. Premier.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. While you take that under advisement, and I know will report studiously back to the House as always, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call The Motor Vehicle Act for continued debate.

Bill No. 7 - Motor Vehicle Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The last time we debated this the honourable member for Hants East had the floor.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm glad to return to Bill No. 7. As members may remember, the other evening when I started to speak on this bill, I indicated that I had been a teacher for 15 years and how confident I was in the young people of this province and that people should not really worry about the next generation taking

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control of the affairs of the province. I think that my experience has indicated to me that most young people are fine people and that they are intelligent and articulate and that you only need to listen to a few on radio now and then, as I do, to just wonder at their ability to respond and to be aware of issues around them.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I'm a little puzzled or worried about the section in this bill that really is written to address the issue of squeegee kids in this city, in particular. I'm not regularly in all towns and cities in the province but certainly in this city I know that there are kids who carry out that activity and I don't really think there's a large outcry from the public about this issue. When I think about issues that the government may want to address when it comes to young people, it may be the availability of drugs to young people, it may be the cost of those drugs to society, break and enter by young people who look for money to pay for a drug habit. Those types of things I think have a real cost to society, families and if the province wanted to write better legislation to that effect, that would be something I would really look forward to.

I mentioned the other day about a section of this bill that addresses handheld cellphones. I think that's an appropriate thing for government to do in legislation, Mr. Speaker. While not entirely because it was a former member of our caucus who actually introduced legislation some year ago, Jerry Pye, who unfortunately is no longer in this House but certainly had raised this issue in the Legislature that the statistics show that inattention by using cellphones while driving is a cause of accidents and certainly this is one that government is appropriate in their move to try to discourage and I would be supportive of their approach to this.

I mentioned the other day that the government on occasion has indicated that they base their legislation on evidence, Mr. Speaker. We hear, I guess probably to this stage now, the term evidence-based may be cliche but certainly it is one that government on occasion likes to use liberally, if I can use that term.

Accidents caused by driver inattention by cellphone use is certainly one that's evidence-based, the numbers are there to indicate this is a problem. I guess the reason I raised this issue of evidence-based is because I don't really see there's a lot of evidence to clamp down on kids who are offering a service to drivers that the province seems to think is inappropriate.

The issue of photo radar, I have to say I'm not really sure that I'm on board as far as that goes. Photo radar has been tried in many jurisdictions. I think the question of excessive speed is probably one we don't want to encourage anywhere in the province. The statistics are there. As far as evidence-based, this is one that's evidence-based, we know speed kills.

The concern that I have is that there is evidence of accidents, locations, geography, or road conditions - blind hills, twisty roads, poor visibility, maybe not poor visibility as

[Page 553]

much as poor sight distances that would indicate that maybe photo radar would be an appropriate deterrent to speeding. Something I would like to see if the government is going to go down this road, that there's definitely a warning for motorists that might say, you are now entering, or in a kilometre you will be entering - I see the minister nodding - entering an area that has photo radar so that the driver has a warning that they're being watched, basically.

But, you know, I have to say that depending on where the government would place photo radar, on the Trans Canada Highway you really have to wonder what the effectiveness would be, based on what's the history of accidents based on speed. I think this is something I'd like the government to take into consideration. I think photo radar could be an appropriate tool, perhaps a very good one for those areas of the province that have been identified where speed kills or that speed has maimed people, caused accidents. That for whatever reason - geography, the lay of the land, the shape of the road, but in those areas sight distances are poor and here is a place that people have to really slow down because it has a history of accidents and speed has been the culprit.

I think that would be very appropriate for the government to do that in those locations, but broad based, in places where there doesn't seem to be any history of accidents because of speed, I think that would be regarded as a tax grab on the part of the province.

Something I want to relay to the minister for his consideration, he's probably not going to run back to his office and change the bill because the member for Hants East made this request, but the issue that kind of bothers me about what is actually possible to do is around the safety of crosswalks. In my constituency - I've been trying to think over the past few days where there's an actual crosswalk in my constituency. I would say the main drag through the most populated part of my constituency is Highway No. 2 and I can't think of one crosswalk on that road and that's the most populated part so, I think in the more rural parts there definitely isn't one.

I hear the Minister of Agriculture saying there used to be one in Lantz, but that's gone. I know there's an issue, or I think if I understand it right, there's an issue jurisdictionally around the enforcement. Whenever I have made a request for a crosswalk, and I have, it had to go to the municipality and the municipality somehow, I guess, sent it to the province. I'm not just sure what the mechanism is after that, but I couldn't write the government for a crosswalk. I had to go to the municipality and I assume they had to endorse it, because they had to enforce it.

I'm taking the long route, I think, to get to my point which is the idea that, number one, at crosswalks, there should be a speed reduction. If there's a crosswalk, make the speed 30 kilometres an hour if you're approaching a crosswalk. If this issue is as serious as we identify it, then there should be some real action, because when I look at the bill, the message I'm getting is be careful, somebody is going to be blamed, like it's going to be the driver or

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the pedestrian, one or the other. I think, in the battle between a person and an automobile, I know who's going to lose.

So, Mr. Speaker, because of the very definition of accidents, they are not premeditated. They happen because of inattention, whatever. There are reasons for whatever it is, you had a fight when you left the house in the morning, you know, it could be anything, worry about a child when you leave. The same with the person who's the pedestrian. They have a million things on their mind. They step out into a crosswalk with that bit of inattention but, to me, if you wanted to use photo radar at a location, that actually might have an impact; it would be to put a warning before a crosswalk that there's photo radar and you have a speed reduction to 30 kilometres until you get through it. I would think that at least that would kind of give a heads-up to drivers to pay attention here.

Number one, you're entering an area that could be relatively dangerous for a pedestrian, where you should be paying attention anyway, but the other thing is there's somebody watching to ensure that you do that because, to me, it's all that trauma around if you were to hit somebody, or you were to be hit, the impact of that is on the two people, on the families, et cetera, and then we're going to say to them, oh, we're going to fine you. On top of all that, the damage, the guilt, you know, everything that they have to live with, for something they didn't plan and nobody would want, then we're going to start to accord blame.

Well, we can still do that, if that's so necessary, but I think these other mechanisms would actually - what we want to do is try to ensure as much as possible that these things don't happen. If we could prevent that from happening, that's worth far more than the fine. So I would say that if crosswalks, and the accidents that happen at crosswalks, are as significant as we think they are, and I think it's important, I agree with the minister on this.

When I leave the House and head for Enfield, usually I take the Macdonald Bridge and then go up Victoria Road and on out to Highway No. 118, but one of the parts of the world that drives me crazy is when you leave the bridge and head up to Victoria Road, there are two crosswalks. Here you have a situation where the light changes green and you've got two rows of traffic taking off and the first thing you're putting your brakes on because you hit a crosswalk, well, not hit a crosswalk, but you come to a crosswalk and then you barely get started and you come to another crosswalk.

I guess it was yesterday morning, when I came to the House, I was kind of thinking about this because of the bill and the discussions and whatever and as I approached the first crosswalk going down the hill, heading for the bridge, I noticed some students walking up on my right-hand side and I assumed, you know, heading for that crosswalk, just as I went through the crosswalk I looked in my mirror and they entered the crosswalk, they never touched the light, there was no flashing light. There were about four of them. They stepped into that crosswalk, I would say just as my bumper went by the white line, and I thought, you

[Page 555]

know, here is a case, hard to know how many million things were on their minds, but I said this is not a particularly safe place, in the sense that all of what has been done to try to ensure that drivers can see that there's a crosswalk there, you press a button, the light flashes and pedestrians would let you know, look, here's what I'm thinking, I'm going to step out in front of you and that just wasn't even on the radar screen for those young people, probably I would say 15-year olds.

I was thinking about it only because I have been thinking about this piece of legislation, not that I don't try to pay attention every day when I go there. What I want to say is that if it was incumbent on me to reduce my speed to 30 kilometres an hour on the approach of that crosswalk, knowing that there was photo radar that is going to catch me if I don't, then I would think that all drivers would be better prepared when they come to those crosswalks.

The minister has people who could advise him better on this because it does raise some questions for me. Certainly in the metropolitan area this is a much bigger question. If I say I can't think of a crosswalk in my constituency, then it is not going to be a big issue in Hants East but certainly for some constituencies and for some areas it's obviously going to play a bigger role in the movement of traffic, in the movement of people.

The only other thing I can think of there is you've either got to put a tunnel under the road so that the people can walk under and come up the other side, so that they're not stepping out in front of traffic, or - I hear you, Mr. Speaker, I've wondered about that, about a pedway or whatever, that people could walk over the road and I've even tried to design it as a location. It hasn't come really too quickly to me because I think you need an elevator on each end to get people over it. There's no easy access if you were to build a pedway.

I leave those comments with the minister but I think there definitely has to be a speed reduction at crosswalks in order to ensure safety for people. When cars and pedestrians meet, we pretty well know who is going to lose. So there's a lot in this bill, I think a lot of different issues in this bill. I see that maybe the minister was hoping that if you don't like something, you'll like enough of the rest that you'll pass it all.

I would say the section that would deal with what I term to be squeegee kids I have a problem with in the biggest way but the other parts of the bill I don't have a significant problem. I think that they may help. But the photo radar as a blanket enforcement tool across the province, I do have a problem with that. I think there are locations for which it actually might prove helpful and it would reduce accidents and I think save some lives, as long as drivers had a warning, I think that's the important part, you would want to know that you are entering an area where there is photo radar.

[Page 556]

So with those comments, Mr. Speaker, I look forward to the bill moving on to Law Amendments Committee to see what the public might have to say and I'll allow the floor for other members. Thank you.

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

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to stand here today in my place and speak on Bill No. 7, the Motor Vehicle Act. I agree, I won't take much of your time, I know there's probably better things to do than this. There's a lot in this bill, I know there is, and I just want to touch on a few things, maybe get a little personal, a little more than the distraction of a cellphone in your hand while driving a car.

I believe there are a lot of laws that maybe should be put forward to stop distractions in a car but at the end of this I'll come to the point where I already thought there was a law to stop all this. (Interruption) Oh yes. When it comes to talking on a cellphone in a car, that is probably the least distracting thing that I do in a car.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tell us.

MR. THERIAULT: Okay, I will tell you. I have a list.

AN HON. MEMBER: Okay. You have our attention now, Junior.

MR. THERIAULT: To find the number on that phone is my biggest distraction. (Interruption) To get hold of somebody on that telephone, your eyes leave the road. They will always leave the road when you are trying to get your number or get your contact on that phone. So once you get it, you can talk. It even keeps me awake sometime, when I am trying to go down through the Valley falling asleep with the sun in my face. If I can get somebody on that phone, it will keep me awake. So, I believe we all experience this.

[4:45 p.m.]

I will give you another experience we have all experienced. (Interruption) Let's talk about Tim Hortons for a minute because Tim Hortons - maybe I won't go there- all coffee cups, let's go with all coffee cups. You go into a coffee drive-through to get a cup of coffee and you get out on the highway. You take your coffee out of your thing, you hook your little finger on the wheel. You put your cup in this hand and then you take that little tab and flip it back and try to hook it down in. You go to take a drink of your coffee with this hand and that little tab will flip up and hit you in the nose. You have all experienced it. Then you will take your little finger on the wheel again with this little cup of coffee, we have all experienced it, every one of us, I know we have. If anyone hasn't (Interruption) Sure you have. Yes, you use your knee to drive. You will frig with that and you can't get that little tab to stay down. I am saying this today, because I think every operator selling coffee through

[Page 557]

a drive-through should correct this mistake, of these coffee cups. I end up trying to tear it off, steering the car with my little finger or my knee, like the minister across the way said.

AN HON. MEMBER: Now that's a distraction!

MR. THERIAULT: I guess it is a distraction. So that is your cup of coffee. You aren't even on the phone yet. You are going two miles, three miles, or three or four kilometres getting that little tab torn off, spilling half your coffee down over you. Distractions!

Another distraction, along the road, you are driving along the roads, and I have seen this happen, especially when there are alders growing up around them (Interruptions) of people trying to read these signs through the alders. The signs, some of them - there is a whole chapter on these signs you have to read, so you know what you are doing, not an eye on the road, here you are trying to read these signs through the alders. Distraction, a lot of distraction.

You have read newspapers, left them open on your seat. I have watched people do that all the time, trying to read the newspaper and driving on the road. (Interruption) You are writing, I have seen people writing with a pad on their wheel, writing notes of some kind. Have you done it? I have done it. I have done that. You are looking for channels on your radio, distractions, lighting a cigarette.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Awwww.

MR. THERIAULT: Well, 20 per cent of drivers still smoke, put a cigarette in your mouth and crossed eyes trying to light the end of that cigarette. Distraction, distraction. Bumble bees get in your car. You are driving 100 kilometres an hour trying to get this bumble bee from you. It's just distraction after distraction. We aren't even on the phone yet.

Mr. Speaker, how will you ever enforce not using a hand-held cellphone? Some day, if I meet the police and I'm scratching my head, and I do a lot at this job, I scratch my head a lot. Have I got a phone in my hand? Will I be pulled over and say, look, you were talking on your cellphone. I saw your hand up to your head. Oh, no, sir, I was just scratching my head. (Laughter) Truth. How will you enforce that?

Listen, when I was 16 years old (Interruptions) a long time ago, 38 years ago, I took a driver's course and when I took a driver's course that day, I will never forget it. The first thing he told me was put your hands on 10 and 2 and keep them there. I took my hand off. I remember taking my hand off and he scolded me. He said if you take your hand off that wheel again, you will not get your licence. So I, for all my life, 38 years of driving - well, maybe not 38, I won't go there - I always thought that that was the law, that that is the law of this province, that you have your hands on that wheel two and 10. If your hands are not on that wheel, Mr. Minister, you are breaking the law.

[Page 558]

AN HON. MEMBER: How do you light your cigarette?

MR. THERIAULT: Right, you're not supposed to smoke. You're not supposed to chase bees. You're not supposed to drink coffee. You're not supposed to read newspapers. You do that when you stop, you stop, you go home. You come in here and read your newspapers, a lot of you. Anyway, that is the law. Is that not the law? I'm not sure, but I was told, when I received my driver's licence, that that was the law of this province.

I believe radars to be a great thing for this province and the example I'm going to give you is where I live on Digby Neck and the Islands. Down on Digby Neck where I live, if I stop at the store up the head of the Neck coming home, Mr. Speaker, and they're in there chatting, and everybody watches every car goes by, there's only one road out and one road in there. They'll say, the RCMP is down the Neck today with their radar up. You won't see any speeders that day. On the Islands, the cars will go onto the Islands, every one, board the ferry boats, everybody chats, the RCMP is on the island today with their radar out. Nobody speeds that day. (Interruption) That's where they hide, in the alders with their radar, but nobody speeds.

If we had radars around this province, and I don't think they've got to be known where they are, but if you know they're out there, I think you're going to think twice before you speed. They do down on that Neck and Islands when they know they're down on that island that day. So I believe radars in this province would be a good thing. I won't get into how they'll be enforced or whatever.

Squeegee kids, should the province - I mean I've talked to a lot of people down the western end of this province, the eastern end, south and north, and the only place there seems to be a problem, Mr. Speaker, with squeegee kids, is in the city. There are no squeegee kids down where I live. I've never encountered one. I've never encountered one in Yarmouth or anywhere else. There seems to be a few around the city. Should we be legislating, in this House, a law to stop a handful of squeegee kids in this city? I'm not sure and I think that's maybe something the city should be dealing with, I believe.

Mr. Speaker, I believe people put too much faith into lights at crosswalks, too much faith in them. Down home, we don't have any lights where I live. I don't even think we have any crosswalks. I don't believe we have any crosswalks. When we want to cross the road down home, we go out to the edge of the road and we watch the car coming. If that person in that car coming at me doesn't look at me to make the eye contact that I want to cross that road, I don't cross that road. Here in this city, for the past four years I've been in it and watched these people, they watch that light across the road. When that light turns, they're straight out, some of them with Ipods in their ears, not looking one bit. I've encountered it. (Interruption) Whatever, they do not look at the cars that are coming to their left or their right and that's a dangerous situation.

[Page 559]

I know, Mr. Speaker, you encounter it. You encounter it, not that kind. You saw it coming. You were lucky because you're from down home and you know cars will run you down. That person didn't see you, that person didn't see you because they were distracted by something else they were doing in the car. That is where the problem is with the crosswalks. People put too much faith in those lights saving them and getting them across that highway safely and that's not something people should do. I think the government should be telling people this: Don't depend on that light to save your life. Depend on your eyes contacting that driver coming at you and you'll get across safely.

I look forward to this bill going to the Law Amendments Committee and seeing the response from people. I hope people come in and respond to this bill. I believe it's a good bill, but I think there's already a law in place to take distraction out of driving a vehicle. I'm not a lawyer, but I believe that 38 years ago when that driving instructor told me if I took my two hands, or one of my hands off the wheel from the 10 and 2 position, that I was breaking the law and I would not get a license. After that I figured if I took my hand off the wheel and I was caught, I would lose that license. With that, thank you, Mr. Speaker. (Applause)

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I thank my learned friend - that's what we need more of. Some good common sense, good tales from Digby Neck, and less lawyers. Congratulations.

I want to take on the responsibility of the Justice Critic and I want the member opposite to know - no reflection on the current Minister of Justice - I was looking forward to as the new Justice Critic, working with his predecessor. Now I have an opportunity to make some comments directly to the new Minister of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal on an important piece of legislation.

It's an important piece of legislation and during the last few days of debate, members of my caucus have stood in their place and brought some important, salient points to the floor of this Legislature. We're going to have a few more comments from members of this caucus and they are going to continue to bring some concerns forward.

In particular, I would like to thank and congratulate the MLA for Halifax Needham. The member for Halifax Needham, in her comments the other day, gave us an important history lesson. She, of course, represents the North End of Halifax and during her comments, she very clearly pointed out - I know the member for Digby-Annapolis will be aware of this - that her particular constituency includes a number of these destinations where there is solicitation by young people coming out, offering to clean your vehicle. The comments the member for Halifax-Needham made at that time were perceptive. They dealt with the reality of the issue, they dealt with the fact they were criminalizing the marginalized in many ways.

[Page 560]

I want to begin with complimenting the MLA for Halifax Needham for so eloquently making the points that are going to be brought up as we discuss this bill as it moves onto Law Amendments.

The member for Digby-Annapolis and I are on the same wavelength, although not with the same driving habits, I want you to know. That's the reason I never learned to smoke while driving a car, I had to keep my hands at 10 and 2. I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, I'm concerned about the fact that we have to deal with squeegee kids with such heavy-handed legislation, when, in all reality, this is a municipal, HRM issue here within the city. That's the issue that is in many ways - we're criminalizing the marginalized.

I also want to congratulate and thank the member for Cole Harbour, the Leader of the Official Opposition who very clearly laid out his concerns when it came to street racing. In certain parts of this province and in certain parts of my constituency, it remains a huge problem. Where there is an arranged race track, be there at a certain time on a Friday night, basically on a quiet road. I'm not talking the back roads where the gravel flies, I'm talking a suburban street where they conveniently block off the streets and they have a street race at a pre-arranged time. The member for Cole Harbour brought the concerns forward because he had introduced earlier a street racing bill.

I also want to compliment the MLA for Queens, the new critic for Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal as she went through the bill and brought out some of the concerns - as our critic on this particular piece of legislation - that she has with the process of how this piece of legislation was coming forward.

So, I said at the outset I was looking forward to working with the predecessor of the Minister of Justice. The current Minister of Justice consults with me, as a new critic, as did the Minister of Education when I was the Education Critic. On many occasions, we had the opportunity to be able to sit down and say in advance, this is a piece of legislation that we are bringing forth, this is something that we want to have your support on. You might have concerns about a certain clause in it, but in advance we were made aware of legislation that was proverbially coming down the pipe. The Minister of Education, to her credit, should be there when it looks at an example of how to do things when consulting with critics in a minority government. The Minister of Justice and his staff recently did that with myself and the young member for Richmond where we sat down with staff and we were made aware of the pieces of legislation that were coming forward.

When we received the word that this particular bill was going to be announced in the Red Room and in comes Superintendent Burnett along with Chief Beazley, who was by complete surprise that when I said to our critic, were you aware of this piece of legislation coming in and the answer was no. Now we are dealing with an omnibus bill here, Mr. Speaker. You know of what we speak. We are dealing with an omnibus bill that includes various contentious clauses, some clauses that I can live with and members of our caucus can

[Page 561]

live with and others that we cannot. So when we are dealing with an omnibus piece of legislation, do we want to proverbially throw the baby out with the bath water?

This is minority government. This isn't how you do business. You do business by consulting with the Parties opposite, you make them aware of the concerns that you have and in advance you begin to say, these are some things in the bill that you proposed, Mr. Minister or Madam Minister, that we cannot deal with. The Minister of Education has done that for years with her staff, the new Minister of Justice has done it recently, but this minister has not taken the time, it seems to be able to consult with the critics in the Opposition Parties. That is not the way to do business in a minority government. (Applause)

[5:00 p.m.]

In the constituency of Timberlea-Prospect, we have some serious crime concerns and when I see this particular . . .

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, just on a point of order. First of all, I am not sure when another member stands in the House to interpret what did or did not happen on behalf of another member. Anyway, excepting that, I think if the honourable member would check with his colleague, he would find that several attempts were made to contact that member and they weren't returned. So I think the honourable member should get his facts straight before he makes an accusation in this House that is not substantial.

MR. SPEAKER: That is an interpretation between members. It is not a point of order.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Thank you Mr. Speaker. When we are talking, whether the minister is the current Minister of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal or the Minister of Justice, when we are looking a serious crime issues, we have serious issues to be dealt with. For example, Paula Gallant's murder. Paula Gallant's murder. That is a serious event in my community and I invite all members present, next Wednesday, if you have not received an invitation, there is a special evening next Wednesday, December 5th, there is going to be a ceremony at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay. There is going to be an event at BLT Elementary School, in Paula's Place as a young art teacher, and I know that the member for Cape Breton Centre is going to join me when we go to that particular area and recognize, of course, Paula's unfortunate death. We are soon coming up to a terrible anniversary of the Boxing Day death of this young teacher. That is dealing with serious crime, that is dealing with serious issues.

When we are dealing with serious issues, we deal with them in a manner that is going to be appropriate but it would seem to me that there are some things included in this particular bill that I don't know if they are as serious as this government made them out to be. So I would like to have a look at a few of them, if I could, and point out to you . . .

[Page 562]

AN. HON. MEMBER: Well, vote against it.

MR. ESTABROOKS: I heard the minister opposite, well, vote against it. That's the way you work in minority government? That is not a way to work in minority government. Our role in Opposition - and he should remember his days when he sat here next to me on certain occasions when we tried to change legislation - is you work with the particular department, you work with the minister to improve the legislation. We are not going to march this bill over the Law Amendments Committee and then march it back. We are going to try to make it a better piece of legislation.

So if the member opposite could take the time to consider the fact that I have a couple of concerns that I am going to bring to his attention now and let's look at these particular suggestions. There is a pilot project involved in the photo radar section of the bill, a pilot project.

Now as a teacher in a previous career, I am aware what pilot projects in the education business are. It is a pilot project that you're going to try photo radar in a number of places. We're going to see how it works. I heard Chief Beazley speak on the fact that he identified, as a chief of the HPD here within the HRM, a number of locations that he's thinking of where it would be appropriate to have a pilot project, but there is no mechanism within this legislation that, after the pilot project, the minister reports back to this Legislature to consider whether the pilot project has had these results or those results.

Instead, that's not the pilot project that we're hearing of. They are going to decide, they are going to decide within the government, how this is going to be done - it's going to be expanded or it's not going to be expanded. We have an 18-month pilot project. At the end of 18 months, we have no assurance that the pilot projects results will be brought back to this House and the results will be looked closely at, whether it should be expanded or not, has it reached success?

We heard the young member for Richmond who brought up some examples from Calgary. We heard him bring up some other examples from other jurisdictions. We're going to bring forth certain examples during the Law Amendments Committee, but a pilot project, it has a time frame. You then look at the results, you report back to the House and, based upon the results of the experts of how this project went in these various locations, we would then proceed with this particular piece of legislation.

That's not included in this particular piece of legislation, that's not a pilot project. that's a concern for this particular caucus. Is that the sort of thing, well, we're going to vote against all of it? That's not how we do business in a minority government. That's not how I think we've been doing business in a minority government. Hopefully there will be an opportunity, when we go through the Law Amendments Committee or, of course, when we bring it back to Committee of the Whole House here, we look at certain amendments that we

[Page 563]

want to bring forward. So we are bringing that to the attention of the minister and his staff so they can be aware of the fact that we have some concerns and, on behalf of the NDP caucus, I'm pointing out the fact that it's not a true pilot project.

If photo radar is going to be successful in certain areas, I trust the judgment of the RCMP officers, I trust the judgment of the police forces across this province, but I would like to see the report, I would like to see the results. As a legislator, I would like to see whether this should be installed across this province as the law, based upon an 18-month pilot project, not just carte blanche, we're going to go with it, a pilot project has been included. It's a good idea, a pilot project, 18-month timeline, a good idea, but the reporting-back mechanism is not included here, it's not included.

Now we hear all the time that it will be in the regulations, it will be in the regulations. Look, we're not reinventing the wheel here, Mr. Speaker, this legislation is in place in other areas. I think in good faith that we should have from this minister, if we're looking at this sort of legislation when it comes to photo radar, if it comes to cellphone legislation, we should see what's in the regs, what's in the details.

On a couple of occasions in the past, when regulations are not included, the intent of the bill can be changed. Now I'm looking at the fact that it comes back to that word consultation. If there's further consultation, we can work together to make this piece of legislation which essentially, in principle, has some very strong points in it. We can make it better, we can make it stronger, we can make it something Nova Scotians will look at and say that's why, in this province, we prefer to have a minority government. It's not confrontation, it's not black and white, it's not yes or no, it's trying to make this legislation better, and that particular recommendation on the pilot project has been mentioned a number of times.

Cellphone legislation, the time has come in this province when we go to hands-free; the time has come, however, when we look at what is going to be described under distractions. Now my good friend, the member for Digby-Annapolis, in his own unique way, brought forward a number of distractions. Distractions will be defined in the regulations.

That word "distractions" causes us concern. When you're in your vehicle and the hands are at 10 and 2, there are a number of distractions that have really nothing to do with a cellphone. Sometimes, some people have said - and I have been aware of the fact that we have all been contacted, for one reason or another, that the hands-free set with the earphone at times can be more of a distraction because people talk even longer on them.

I heard the member for Digby-Annapolis, in his very perceptive comments, say that sometimes he likes to get a call on his cellphone because it keeps him awake on some of those long rides that he has to take up and down the highway as he makes his way back to and from his constituency in Digby. Those are concerns which we have to look carefully at,

[Page 564]

but I think we are at the stage of knowing, that based upon some of our personal experiences, and some of us are probably the biggest offenders when it comes to cellphone legislation, but when the distractions are not included there, what specifically are the distractions?

One of my friends joked before, if a policeman stops you and you have a coffee in one hand and cellphone in your ear, you have given a new charge of the double double. How many times are you going to be fined for a particular distraction? But that's a piece of legislation and it should also be pointed out, as other members of my caucus have done, the member for Dartmouth North, Jerry Pye - this is an important concern for Mr. Pye. He has brought it to the floor of this House on how many occasions. Jerry brought it forward as a separate bill, so if we have these concerns about cellphone legislation, and it's such an important piece of legislation, why wasn't it brought in separately? Why is it part of this omnibus bill? You either vote for it or against it. That attitude is not how we believe minority government in this province works.

On the topic of crosswalk safety, I think the member who is sitting in the Chair today is aware of some recent examples of his own. I can tell you that because of where my office is located on the St. Margaret's Bay Road, I live in fear of the fact of hearing the sirens, because there are a number of children who come to my office - not actually to my office but to the recreation centre for a bus stop. There is that belief in fallibility. Once they push the button, if they take the time to push the button, once they walk out there on that crosswalk, they do not, as young people, make eye contact with the vehicles that are approaching them. They do not make eye contact because, as my learned friend from Whitney Pier says, they believe they are invincible. They walk out there, they are safe, they are in a crosswalk. How many near misses have we been involved in?

This piece of crosswalk legislation should proceed and it's the sort of incidence that we should be dealing with not just in HRM, of course, but across this province. Crosswalks are important for the safety of people of all ages using them and it is a part of this bill that we are looking forward to supporting.

You know, I recall so well, when I heard from a member of my constituency recently, he said this is a piece of legislation - there should be no politics in it. There should be no politics in this. You should be supporting these things, Bill, and I want you to go ahead with them. I brought that to the attention of the lady who called me, we had some concerns about the pilot project aspect and we had some concerns about the fact that accidents actually might increase if we don't do something with this particular issue called street racing. Now, no politics in this one, or was there? When the member for Cole Harbour, and the Leader of the Official Opposition, introduced the street racing bill and brought forward the issue that this is a huge concern in his particular part of HRM, I want to remind the members opposite, the response was that piece of legislation was not necessary. It wasn't necessary. Street racing, looking at fines and encouraging the fact that we have to make sure that these people who are out there doing this illegal activity, it's not necessary. Now was it dismissed because the

[Page 565]

Leader of the Opposition brought it forward? Or now that it is included, is it not important enough to say if it was a good enough idea for the member for Cole Harbour to introduce separately, as a separate piece of legislation that we have to look at and look at carefully, but no, again, it is included in the omnibus bill. It is included as another one of the factors that we have to consider.

I want to turn to the issue of solicitation at intersections. I am and you are well aware of this, Mr. Speaker, I am a big fan of teenagers these days. There is no doubt that there are certain out-of-control young people in this community that I represent and there are certain out of control teenagers, probably in parts around this province. These young people who are involved in this squeegee kid activity, it's unfortunate. It is truly unfortunate. They are annoying and I want the member for Shelburne to know - he has emptied his pockets and emptied his coffee tray a number of times by giving money to them - I want it on the record that I do not give money to the squeegee kids. I say to them in return, when they make conversation or eye contact with me, I'm sorry, I'm not going to help you today. I think it would be more important, especially when they say there are no jobs in the HRM - you can't get into a debate with them, but I consider that an opportunity to interact with somebody at a crosswalk, or interact with somebody at an intersection. I make it very clear to them that I'm not going to support the fact that they are, in some ways, not just a nuisance to me, but they're putting themselves in the way of danger by going up and down the streets.

However, I want you to know that recently, through a campaign of learning to read, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald had a wonderful opportunity for us, along with police officers, and I had the corner of Robie and Quinpool. I was on the corner of Robie and Quinpool with a young police officer from my community and we were giving out newspapers as the cars came along, rolling down the window, walking up between the vehicles. This was between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. It was a busy time of the day and you have to have your wits about you at the time, but during that opportunity when we did that, I began to realize that I was offering these people a service, but when they saw us as adults, they saw me standing there with my Boston Bruins hat, no one slammed their door in my face. When they saw us as adults and said, oh, there's a police officer with this guy, I know that's the guy who perhaps might be an MLA, or perhaps might be a local businessman - because we were all adults doing it, we got a much different response.

We were soliciting in return for the fact that people stopped and are rolling down their window and saying this is Learning to Read Week, this is from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald. Thank you for supporting us. No money, we're not taking any dollars from you, thank you very much, and keeping them going. That's a form of solicitation.

[5:15 p.m.]

Now, my Lions Club is concerned because they are now aware of the fact that they will have to go get a permit if this legislation proceeds because - of course, each and every

[Page 566]

June, the first weekend in June - they have a Seeing Eye dog road toll in my community. A Seeing Eye dog where people reach into their coffee change, reach into their pockets and in many cases empty their money to be able to help us to reach a Seeing Eye dog. Do you know that between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. last year, in the community that I represent, the St. Margaret's Bay Lions Club raised almost $5,000 - $5,000 from 9:00 a.m. until about 4:45 p.m., if I remember correctly; $5,000, but we were soliciting. You know, we had our Lions Club vests on, we had our hats on, we were out there interrupting traffic and I think it's of real consequence that people have to clearly look at this piece of legislation to saying the solicitation by a teenager, solicitation by a young person, as opposed to a solicitation by an MLA at a street corner when it's Learn to Read Week, or by a St. Margaret's Bay Lions Club member at an intersection. Those are things that are all taken very differently.

Now, there's no doubt that squeegee kids are - as I said to the member for Shelburne, I consider them a nuisance but we're not solving the problem by the fine of $250. That's not solving the problem. How are they going to afford $250? I mean the point is after all - I mean it's like, if I can use the expression, swatting a mosquito with a sledge hammer. I mean if we're going to deal with the issue, let's deal with it in a reasonable manner. These young people are out there on the street for all kinds of different reasons. They're not out there, if they had their choice, many of them, they would have other ways of making an income.

Now, I know I've heard the horror stories and I want you to know that I'm a regular listener to the phone-in shows here in the HRM. We're talking a small group of young people who have caused problems at certain intersections in the HRM. My friend, the member for Cape Breton Nova, was explaining what squeegee kids were to a gentleman whom he was at the Cape Breton Eagles hockey game with and as he said to the member for Cape Breton Nova, we don't have any squeegee kids in Sydney, we don't have squeegee kids in Cape Breton. Here in the HRM somebody has got the ear of this minister. This is going to be the government that's tough on crime and we're going to take care of the squeegee kids. So we look at the results that they're going to have when they go to the people next time, we got rid of squeegee kids. We now fine them $250 and that will take care of the problem. We'll drive them somewhere else. There could be further problems involved.

Finally, I want members opposite to know that from the experience that I've had when it comes to legislation in this province, there's always the concern when it comes to regulations. I mean there are parts of this bill, the intent and the principle is fine, but what

will the regulations actually include? What will be the regulations when it comes to street racing? What will be the regulations when it comes to photo radar? What will be distractions according to the definitions when one looks at cellphone regulation? What are those regulations going to be?

I'm not expecting the government to consider they should be able to consult with all members of the Opposition on every regulation. But there's a better way to introduce legislation than this particular piece of legislation. It's a better way to do business in this

[Page 567]

House than that particular way it's being done. We have some concerns, the minister and the members opposite, when they go to Law Amendments, they're going to hear some of those concerns, so we don't want this attitude, it's my way or the highway, vote against the legislation.

What is the good of having legislation that's going to be that divisive. We have concerns when it comes to street racing, we have concerns when it comes to cellphone use, we have concerns when it comes to speeding, we have concerns - as a Party - about criminal activity in this province and in our constituencies. Some of these issues are being dealt with in this piece of legislation. I think it would have been a more appropriate way to deal with them with separate pieces of legislation. That isn't the case, the bill will proceed through to Law Amendments and hopefully at that time, after the minister and his staff hear and are aware of some of the concerns that will be brought through at that time, hopefully they will listen to these concerns and not just say we're not going to be accepting amendments - it's the highway or my way, it's yea or nay.

That isn't how we do business in a minority government. That's not how a responsible Opposition is going to continue to do business. We are going to make this legislation better with amendments, better by listening to Nova Scotians and when it's brought back to this House and voted on, we'll have a clear definition of what this bill actually includes. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I'm not going to take much time this afternoon, but I wanted to speak on Bill No. 7 as it has a major impact on many people in the Province of Nova Scotia. I think there are some very good points in the bill, very good things that I think will help Nova Scotians long term, but there are also some things in the bill that I think are going to be very controversial as time moves forward.

The first thing I want to talk about is cellphones. I believe everyone in this room are great users of cellphones in order to utilize their time, to ensure they get back to their constituents and look after their responsibilities as MLAs or ministers, whatever the case may be. But, indeed, you see people going all the time and swerving all over the road. At one time you thought it was a drunk driver and oftentimes it's somebody with a cellphone held in their hand and driving along. Unfortunately, that does end up in several accidents and in many cases, deaths. I can recall one that was very, very tragic in the area around Montague and the Port Wallace area where a garbage truck actually flattened a car. The young lady in the car was actually using a cellphone and of course passed away at the scene. The garbage truck did everything they could, the car was coming towards him, it was on his side of the road, a young lady was speaking on a cellphone and didn't even see him coming. She was on the wrong side of the road, he tried to swerve and avoid her, but it ended up in her death. That's a direct cause from cellphone use. I'm sure there are a lot more tragic stories like that, stories

[Page 568]

that could be resolved. The unfortunate part - and it's always unfortunate when someone dies, this was a very young lady and her whole life ended there that day. She was probably talking to a friend on a cellphone for something that really didn't matter that day. That is the unfortunate part of cellphones when used in that context.

I'm pleased to see that you're going to still be able to use the hands-free system, if the legislation isn't changed, it will allow people to use the headsets - they're very inexpensive, most cellphones come with them - and pay a bit more attention.

There is some controversy about that and they do say, indeed, that does cause some problems, but again, it's a matter of time and balance with all these things. Hopefully, there will be less accidents with cellphone use.

You talk about photo radar and I can remember years ago with photo radar situations, particularly in Ontario where there were some unfortunate incidents that happened with photo radar. I have some areas in my riding that sure could use photo radar right now. I'm not a supporter of photo radar, I don't think it's appropriate. I think the solution would be, and I've jokingly said in our caucus that I'm going to register all vehicles in my wife's name so I'll never get a ticket and she'll probably get a few - not that I speed but she would undoubtedly get some tickets to go with the ones she already has. That is one problem with the system and, indeed, if it is just a cash grab for the municipalities or the province, whatever the case may be, this is not appropriate.

On the other hand, there are other areas where this could be used. I have one area in my riding, on the Montague Road, we have a tremendous amount of shortcutting during rush hour. That could be resolved, by the way, if the government would put the money forward to build a Highway No. 107 bypass, and finish that and that problem would be gone and we wouldn't have the enforcement problem. Unfortunately, they have not seen fit to do that so far, so I am hopeful in the upcoming budget they may consider that.

That area is really prone to a lot of traffic in a 50- kilometre per hour zone, and when you talk to somebody from the area the first thing they do is talk about the speeding. Some of the people who talk about the speeding say upfront, the younger people say I used to speed but I don't speed anymore because I see how dangerous it is right in front of my own home - and that is pretty scary when you think about it. I have walked along the streets there and talked to people, and if it's not rush hour it's a really quiet street, even though it's a long street that connects Highway No. 7 along through to the Port Wallace area - but when rush hour comes, either in the morning or evening, it's not safe to walk on that side of that road. There are no sidewalks and there are narrow, narrow shoulders.

So photo radar may work in a location like that; it may slow down traffic. It may help the situation but, really, the answer is to put the proper traffic controls in place to ensure there is no shortcutting through that area - resolve the problem that way. As time goes on,

[Page 569]

hopefully the government will see the wisdom in that and indeed put that bypass in and alleviate that long-standing problem, and as the traffic volumes increase in HRM and as things get more and more difficult to travel with, I think that it is important that we do upgrade the highway infrastructure to make traffic flow easier, and also put more public transportation in so we don't have these problems and we don't have so much need for things such as photo radar.

On the issue of crosswalks, I have a few crosswalks in my riding - not very many, but there are a few. My area, some of it is serviced by the city and some of it is serviced by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. There is one intersection, actually it is the corner where my office is now, that came to my attention many years ago before my office was even there, that goes across Highway No. 7 between Upper and Lower Partridge River Road. There is a bus stop on the corner, so anybody who crosses the road there to get to the Upper Partridge River Road where the bus stops and turns back on to Highway No. 7 is in real danger in the area.

I want to thank the department for fixing the blind spot on the road there, which they did two years ago after I sent several letters to them and identified it in the past. Indeed, they did fix the problem and you can see a car coming now, and it would also be really good if we could put a crosswalk across that - now this is not the main road any more, this is a secondary road, Highway No. 107 is the main road through the area now - it would make it safer. There are a lot of seniors in the area, there are a lot of children in the area and to get to the local church, a lot of people, if they walk, they have to cross Highway No. 107 in that area. If they want to go on the school bus, the school bus stop is right there and it is important to have these crosswalks put in place.

When you talk about crosswalks, existing crosswalks where the high-volume traffic is, the honourable Speaker has brought this forward many, many times about how crosswalk safety has been really neglected in the past and so many people have been injured or killed in crosswalks and I think it is time we took some real positive action, some visible things we can see that are going to happen and work with them. I am pleased to see that the government has put this in their bill, that they are going to look at this. I don't think it is strong enough. I think there should be some changes made in it and I believe that we should have red flashing lights at crosswalks instead of the lights that are there now. I believe that would help - if it only saved one life in a year, it would be worth every penny we spend on it.

So when you look at these different things and the things that they are talking about changing in the bill, I think there is a lot of merit in some of these items and some of the items I think really should be reviewed in more detail.

I am going to close with those few remarks and wait to see what kind of response we get at the Law Amendments Committee, and hopefully some good amendments will be made at that point and ensure that whatever bill is passed - I'm assuming this bill, hopefully will

[Page 570]

pass with amendments - will make it better for Nova Scotians, make Nova Scotia safer and a much safer place to live and to move around in. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the chance to speak on this bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to rise this afternoon and talk about Bill No. 7. I really want to talk about the crosswalk portion of it, even though the bill does appear to be a total buffet of items that we get to pick and choose from, which is kind of a shame. I would have preferred to see the pieces broken out, because sometimes it is like my mother used to say to me, some people will cut off their nose to spite their face.

If we're all supposed to be in here working together to get things done for the people of this province, which is what - when I talk to people- they always wonder why we're in here seemingly arguing all the time and what appears to be fighting with each other, when they just want to get the good things done.

Mr. Speaker, talk about a good example of crosswalk, or a bad example of what happens in our crosswalks or in places where indeed there isn't a crosswalk to start with, on the way here today, at the MacKay Bridge, the entrance coming down the highway to the MacKay Bridge, there was a young person literally standing, trying to cross over, he was standing by the big cement median and he was trying to cross. He had come from Highfield Park, one of the pizza establishments, and he was in the middle of the highway trying to cross over to Burnside. Maybe he worked at a call centre or something there. He was literally eating a slice of pizza and talking on a cellphone at the same time, getting ready to cross the next four lanes of traffic.

[5:30 p.m.]

As a lot of our speakers have said today and the previous days, you can't always prepare for everything that everybody is going to do. There is common sense that has to come in here, too, and we all have to do our part to take part in crosswalk safety issues.

The good parts of this bill, the seven day driver's licence suspension for drivers who fail to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, I think we can all agree with that, or the losing of the licence for seven days, if you overtake a stopped car, coming up behind it and overtaking it while one of the cars is stopped at a crosswalk. I think we can all agree that that is something we can all live with.

Also, the increased penalties for a crosswalk violation, basically doubling the penalties for a first, second and third offence from $250 to $500 and so on. The doubling of fines in a school zone and in temporary work areas is self-explanatory. There's not much that

[Page 571]

we really need to say there, we've all see people speed through those areas and maybe this will help people slow down a bit.

The photo radar - the Leader of the Official Opposition and myself sort of share a bit of roadway there. It is close to my area and his, where we've had some terrible tragedies happen there and I do have a couple of questions around the photo radar but I know other people have delved into that in a lot of detail. One of the questions I have is, if photo radar would be, for example, set up there, will people know it is there so that it's going to be an incentive not to race in certain areas. I'm not sure just how we're going to be aware that this is set up or not.

The cellphone, banning the use of hand-held cellphones in a car, is long overdue. Our previous member for Dartmouth North, Jerry Pye, was quite vocal on that issue and I guess, as other members have discussed, the distraction part of it - we're not sure, we're all wondering what those other distractions might be. So I guess that's going to be in the regulations.

The issue of crosswalk safety is always, every day, in a lot of people's minds, especially in Dartmouth East and Dartmouth South-Portland Valley because the street that one of our young people was killed in a crosswalk. There is a daily reminder at that intersection because there's always a memorial set up there. The students of Prince Andrew High School - many of those who have now moved on to post-secondary education and still live in the neighbourhood continue to take flowers and items to that memorial. We drive by that every day, and I think we need to do things in this province that makes us all safe in crosswalks so that we don't have to see things like that on our way to work or on our way home. As the previous Minister of Transportation and Public Works has said before, when I've asked him questions in here, you can't account for everything, and accidents will always continue to happen.

One of the things I'm wondering about why they weren't - actually, I'm not sure if they were addressed or looked at and then decided against, but the use of red lights at crosswalks, because right now the amber lights on a school bus, watch out, slow down, and proceed with caution, but everybody knows that a red light is stop. I know they had been saying that they were going to look at that but I'm not sure if it was looked at and decided against, or if they're going to leave it up to the municipality and the funding that's available to the municipality, and the municipality will decide where or if they'll put the different types of lighting in to have a better effect on making people stop.

Mr. Speaker, the things that I have mentioned I think are things that everybody seems to agree with, again wish they had been separated out. So why do we have to go through this? It's senseless, really.

[Page 572]

So, Mr. Speaker, the part of the bill there are some questions on, we've heard people talk about it and, of course, the squeegee kid part of the bill is something that - why it's stuck in there I have to wonder, and I think other people are wondering the same thing. We're really talking about probably eight youth. Some of them even don't always reside here in Nova Scotia, I believe - they travel according to the weather, sometimes. Of course, they have issues of their own that they're trying to face and deal with, and the government should be helping them deal with and face those issues in a more appropriate way other than to criminalize them. It's obvious to anybody, that even if that part of the bill went through and those people were fined, they're not going to pay those fines. If they're out in the street raising money to live on and to fed themselves because for whatever reason that's the only recourse they have, they're not going to have $250 or whatever to pay that fine.

Mr. Speaker, I'm going to end on that comment and just remind people that we're here to try to do the best for all the people who live in Nova Scotia and that doesn't matter if you're at the higher end of a pay scale or at the lower end. I guess to sum it all up, I'll just have to wait and see what happens at the Law Amendments Committee and we'll hear from the people. I look forward to that.

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

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I just want to begin by saying that I want to thank the honourable members who took the time to address issues that are in the bill specifically, and talk about it. There were many comments made, too many to directly respond to here, but I'll tell you that we are taking note and have taken note and we will take note from Hansard of what suggestions came from the Opposition members. I look forward to further discussion.

There are a few, Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about. One is, several members talked about failure of photo safety. It was not photo radar, it's photo safety. Many talked about the failure of photo safety in Ontario, and they're absolutely right, it was a failure, a total failure, because the Ontario Government, at that time, actually placed photo safety along many parts of the major highways. People were opposed to it. It was a money grab and it was the wrong thing to do.

I think, Mr. Speaker, most would agree that we are taking an approach here that's reasonable and it has been requested by the police in response to tragedies that have happened in the province, particularly in the HRM area. So I think that in the legislation it talks about only allowing this pilot project in areas of less than 70 kilometres so there's no opportunity of it being expanded upon unless this House would agree to a change to that.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, was an issue raised where there was a cost to the province and who would absorb that cost when actually the municipality or the police will have to submit a proposal and a request based on certain criteria which will include areas of

[Page 573]

high accidents with tragic results, high speed areas, complaints from the public and so on by my department and then, Mr. Speaker, that cost be borne by the actual person who is applying for that, whether it is the police of the jurisdiction or the service provider they chose. It would not be the Province of Nova Scotia that would be determining that.

The other thing, Mr. Speaker, it was mentioned that other police associations or organizations across the country oppose this. I can only go by the police supported by the Chiefs of Police Association, the chief and the police force of HRM which I think are the people we should listen to, not a police department in some other part of the country or another province.

I noted as well, Mr. Speaker, someone said here that they didn't believe that speed was an issue in this province. Well, they're either not watching the news or not reading the papers. Tuesday morning, in fact, as a result of multiple deaths in the Valley, Constable Joe Taplin of the RCMP said that while impaired driving and those who don't use seatbelts is a huge issue, he said speed is a huge problem and they are seeing tragic results, deaths as a result of speed. I don't know if maybe those individuals want to tune in because I don't think they're paying attention to the professionals.

You know, Mr. Speaker, it's ironic that when government wants to study an issue, we get pounded on by the Opposition to act instead of study. So, I'm saying time is over for studies, I'm saying time is up for talking. Now is the chance for an opportunity for us and all members of this House to take some action in regard to tragedies that are happening in this province.

It was mentioned earlier here today, Mr. Speaker, in Oral Question Period, you may remember who asked that question, what are we doing? Well, we are doing this in two stages. There is an opportunity here for this Legislature to take some action now in regards to these serious injuries that we've seen in Nova Scotia, particularly in the HRM area, as a result of what we're putting before the House tonight.

I know, Mr. Speaker, some of these issues, with some members are very controversial but I do believe that it's the answer to a lot of the issues that we talked about in regard to road safety. The issue around panhandling, or whatever you want to call it, I heard mentioned here earlier tonight, it is only eight individuals, only eight. In my mind, Mr. Speaker, if it is only one, it is a road safety issue. The legislation clearly states that you would not be allowed to perform that type of activity on the roadway - not on the median, not on the lawn, not on the sidewalk, on the roadway.

We teach our children not to go on the streets and play all types of activities. What we are saying here, Mr. Speaker, and like I say, someone mentioned that it is only eight individuals, if we save one individual's life it is well worth it. It is only a matter of time before someone who is running between trucks and cars and traffic, against green lights, it's

[Page 574]

only a matter of time before one of those individuals is either seriously hurt or, God forbid, he is killed. If that ever does happen, how many of us are going to look back and say we had the opportunity to pass legislation - no one else in this province but us - that possibly could have saved someone's life. That's what it means to me.

I know I've heard all kinds of members stand and say it's about politics, it's about money, it's about all kinds of things. I can promise you, Mr. Speaker, as a former police officer, I met with about 100 police officers last night and I can tell you, police in this province want this type of legislation passed here. One gentleman said this morning, I'm tired of delivering news and picking up bodies on the highways and delivering news to people who have had their children or their mother or father killed.

We have a chance here, Mr. Speaker - I know it's controversial and I know I've heard about jamming all this stuff into legislation. Well, I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, it is all put in the legislation because it has to do with road safety, period.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to close by - there's a lady in the Department of Justice. her name is Sharon Mitchell, and she came to me with a story. You'll recall, I don't want to say the victim's name because I don't think it is appropriate, but I will tell you this; Sharon Mitchell works for the Department of Justice. She came to me within the last year and said there was a tragedy in HRM where someone was killed in a crosswalk and a family member of this person was killed, whose12-year old sibling came to her and was at a hockey rink and she asked Sharon, she said she knew from her friends that Sharon worked for the government. Her question for Sharon was, you work for the government, my sister was killed, can you tell me what you're doing with regard to that issue and what are you going to do to try to prevent it from happening again? No, what we're doing is what's before this House tonight.

Although I accept the criticism from some members about some of the issues - I do, Mr. Speaker - we'll take that into consideration and I hope it will go to the Law Amendments Committee. I hope we'll have the public come forward. This legislation is about road safety, about protecting the lives of people and if no one in this province is going to do it, it has to be us. If we're not going to do it, it's not going to get done.

Again, if this legislation does not pass, and God forbid, down the road something does happen, there will be a tragedy somewhere along the line, will we actually wonder, could we have prevented that from happening? My answer to that is, the government's put forward a bill that we believe should be supported, that it will create safer streets for us in this province, for motorists and pedestrians. I think the legislation deserves to be passed as introduced. With that, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading of Bill No. 7. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 7. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 575]

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 10.

Bill No. 10 - Gunshot and Stab Wounds Mandatory Reporting Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

[5:45 p.m.]

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise today on second reading of Bill No. 10, the Gunshot and Stab Wounds Mandatory Reporting Act. Incidents involving crime and violence in our province are extremely troubling. There can be no doubt that Nova Scotians have become increasingly concerned about the impact of crime on our communities.

This legislation will help combat crime by requiring hospitals and health care service providers to report gunshots and stab wounds to police. It goes without saying that any individual who is a victim of a gunshot or knife wound has suffered a horrific attack on their right to live in peace in our society. Violent crimes, like gun and knife attacks, must be responded to swiftly and aggressively. We're very fortunate in Nova Scotia to have tremendously dedicated and hard-working law enforcement officials.

Police have told us that the first hours after a crime occurs are the most important in terms of gathering information. Indeed, yesterday, Chris McNeil, Deputy Chief of the Halifax Regional Police stated in an interview that we have a fundamental matter, a matter of pressing public concern around violence and one of those issues that we need to address is in the early moments of a criminal investigation is the fact that a victim, or suspect, is in the hospital, that needs to be known.

So as you can see, in many cases, these critical first hours are lost if these injuries are not reported when the victim first seeks medical attention. As is indicated in the quotation by Deputy Chief McNeil, police have told us that the lack of a legislative duty to report gunshot and stab wounds can ultimately impede an investigation. Add to this the fact that public safety is jeopardized when, in the hours following a crime, police are unaware that there is a dangerous individual at large in the community.

This legislation was developed in consultation with both police and health care workers. In addition, the Department of Justice is committed to working with both of these groups to support its implementation.

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Yesterday, Dr. John Gillis, an emergency room physician at the Dartmouth General Hospital, indicated his support of this legislation. Dr. Gillis stated, "I think this legislation is good. I think the principle is right. I think that as long as we talk about some of these discretionary things, make sure that patients' rights are respected and make sure that staff are trained in managing to deal with this so that they remain safe and they're not threatened in their home environment in any way, work with police and I think it will work."

Mr. Speaker, I also want to emphasize that health care workers who report incidents to police in compliance with this legislation will be protected from any liability for doing so. This legislation is not about infringing on privacy rights. Instead, it's about the protection of the innocent and law-abiding members of our society. The great majority of Nova Scotians are honest, kind, hardworking individuals who care deeply about their fellow citizens. They deserve the best protection that we can provide.

As stated by Deputy Chief McNeil, again, "People are allowed to engage in whatever personal behaviour they want, that's our society, but when that behaviour starts to affect others and then starts to cause a risk to the public, then that behaviour has to be somewhat controlled and that's what this law does."

Hopefully, Mr. Speaker, this legislation will enhance public safety and enable the police to do their jobs better. I look forward to support of other Parties and their intervention in regard to this bill. I look forward to the debate and I move second reading. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Sackville-Cobequid.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure for me to rise to speak on Bill No. 10. I want to thank our Critic for Justice for allowing me to make a few comments on this piece of legislation because I think it's important to bring up some concerns and some questions around this bill. Definitely, when I first heard of it, I thought the principle of the bill is a good one, just as the Minister of Justice stated a quote from Dr. Gillis, is that the principle is good. I think it's important all Nova Scotians play a role in ensuring criminals who do acts in this province are caught and that the police have all the tools available to investigate those illegal acts but I hope- and I heard it from the minister- but I hope that we have looked at this piece of legislation not only just through the eyes of law enforcement, because this bill, if it becomes law in the province, will have to deal with health care providers and their responsibility.

So we need to ensure that we look at this piece of legislation through the eyes of those health care providers, the physicians, the nurses and those other individuals who will have to be responsible and take action, Mr. Speaker, when they are treating someone who may arrive at an emergency room or a hospital here in the province from a stabbing or a gunshot wound.

[Page 577]

With that, I will mention a few of my concerns, a few of my questions, and not only my concerns, Mr. Speaker, but concerns of individuals within our community. In a recent report, or a news release in The Daily News, or a story, there is a professor from Dal Law, a Jocelyn Downey, who stated after hearing about this legislation, "that it's very dangerous and when you're evoking the coercive arm of the state, you have to be extremely careful." That's was a quote from Jocelyn Downie who actually wrote a paper on this very subject for the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2004. So I hope that the minister and the government recognize that we need to make sure that individuals like Jocelyn Downie, who I think are somewhat of an expert in health law, and that's her title at Dal Medical, that her concerns and questions are answered and are taken into consultation when we go through this process.

I would also like to bring some questions and some concerns around the safety of our health care workers. Just as the minister said, I hope, that if this piece of legislation goes through, that those health care workers feel safe when they have a duty, or a responsibility, or a law, to come forward with such information around stabbings and gunshot wounds. The minister stated that the first hour is so important to an investigation for law enforcement individuals, but I can also tell you the first hour of a patient's treatment is most important for a good outcome from their injuries. I hope the minister understands that the care of an individual has to take precedence over the reporting of a stabbing or an assault or gunshot.

We have, today, a system in Nova Scotia that I think does have some checks and balances that will permit law enforcement to be alerted when we have the case of a stabbing or a shooting across our province. I'll speak to my experience as a paramedic and the member for Hants West would agree that currently when there's a call to 911, dispatchers have a job to do. One is to find out where the emergency is, what the emergency entails and who are the most appropriate responders to that emergency.

So if a dispatcher gets a call from an individual stating that someone has been stabbed or shot, which I've attended to over the years, the dispatcher will ask questions; that's their job. They'll ask questions: where the patient is, what their status is, what their vital signs are, and the location, but most importantly they do that to ensure the safety of those responding - the safety of the firefighters that might be responding, the paramedics and the safety of an officer. Far too often we hear the sad stories of our law enforcement members responding to calls, usually by themselves, and they end up in a tragedy. We just had the past incident in the Northwest Territories, or Nunavut, and that's a sad thing.

I hope the government realizes that now when we do have those dispatchers taking that information, they make that decision, they transmit that to the paramedics, ambulances, the first responders. Potentially, there's a safety issue, a scene safety issue that when you respond to those emergencies - often, as a paramedic, they're told to stage at a certain distance from a scene to allow law enforcement to get there and to make sure that scene is

[Page 578]

safe for not only the law enforcement individual, but for the paramedics that might be going to treat someone who was assaulted or who was stabbed or shot.

Part of the concern we have is definitely around the duties of individuals. The duties of professionals here in our province - the police, law enforcement agencies across this province have a duty to uphold the law here in the province. We have clergy, people in parishes, in religious organizations who have a duty to their congregation and a duty to people who might come to them. There's always a clergy confidentiality type of agreement that through confession - I grew up as a Catholic and was told that I could go into confession and that the priest would keep that confidence between himself and me. Not that I had a lot to confess to the priest.

Also, lawyers in our province have a duty to their clients and they have a confidentiality agreement. We also have health care workers and physicians - physicians have a duty to have patient-doctor confidentiality. When we talk about this piece of legislation, we have to talk about the ethical reasoning behind why we will ask physicians, for example, who have taken an oath of office, that they may have to go against that order.

I hope that we, the government, and this process will ensure that those ethical guidelines and those oaths of office that physicians, for example, take are upheld. That's why I say we need to ensure that we look at this not only through the eyes of law enforcement - I understand the intent to this piece of legislation, I truly do - but we have to respect those other professions that have oaths of office, like physician and patient relationships. That was one of the concerns that Jocelyn Downie had when she heard about this legislation going forward, Mr. Speaker, and she said it was very dangerous.

She also said that requiring hospitals to report such injuries to police won't solve the problem of accidental shootings and suicide attempts, which make up the majority of gunshot wounds. I think she is quite right with that, Mr. Speaker.

My question to the Minister of Justice, and the question here in Nova Scotia is, do we know how many gunshots or stabbings go unreported here in this province? I believe the Minister of Justice didn't have that answer when asked, and that's an important one. Is it a problem here in this province? That's why I say we need to ensure that we have all Parties involved in this decision making. I don't think this piece of legislation should be, like many of the pieces of legislation that go through the process here, rushed. I want to make sure that if this piece of legislation goes forward - and we'll support this going to Law Amendments Committee - and goes through the full process that those health care workers are protected, and especially that oath of office that physicians take here in the province and in the country, to protect the relationship with their patients.

With those few words, Mr. Speaker, I hope that in this process we see an involvement from not only law enforcement, but from the medical field and those physicians that are

[Page 579]

going to be affected by this and those health care workers who are going to be affected by this. But also I hope that the government sought legal advice on this on those parameters around the ethical nature of this and what we're asking our health care providers to do.

So we will support this to go to the Law Amendments Committee. I hope that we get some reassurance that those interest groups have been talked to and that they will have input through the process of this legislation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

[6:00 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. We have arrived at the moment of interruption. We'll return to Bill No. 10 after the late show this evening. The adjournment debate has been chosen, as announced earlier, and won by the honourable member for Halifax Chebucto. The resolution for debate this evening:

"Therefore be it resolved that in light of record high prices on home heating fuel as winter is upon us, it is urgent that this government implement an immediate and appropriate program to specifically address the plight of Nova Scotia individuals and families who are continually forced to balance their need for groceries and other essentials with the need to heat their homes."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

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

SERV. N.S. & MUN. RELATIONS: HOME HEATING PROG. - IMPLEMENT

MS. BECKY KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I look forward to constructive debate on this issue that I bring forward tonight. The question that needs to be asked is whether this government is going to help lower income Nova Scotians make ends meet this winter. We are approaching $100 in oil - record prices for home heating fuel will not be far behind.

The NDP long fought the HST being charged on home heating fuel as an unfair tax on what is an absolute essential for many families during our cold winter months. The NDP did not support or suggest that the Keep the Heat program be cut.

Now the government will try to confuse the issue by stating that they're helping lower income Nova Scotians by removing the HST. However, in doing so, they just got rid of a tax that was wrong and got rid of the Keep the Heat program, a vital program that our most vulnerable Nova Scotians had come to rely on. We all have constituents who need help. They

[Page 580]

are already worried about how they will make ends meet. A targeted program to help our most vulnerable constituents is needed.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations suggested yesterday in these Chambers that the HST rebate, he thinks, that on an average the rebates were higher than the present program. This, I would suggest, that many of our most vulnerable are not among the average. They are still in need, Mr. Speaker, and they are still struggling.

Under the cut program, the Keep the Heat program, eligible people who heated with electricity, coal, natural gas and wood pellets received a $100 rebate; those who used propane or oil were eligible for a $250 rebate. The rebates were open to families, including single-parent families with incomes under $25,000, and single people with incomes under $15,000. There's no doubt that an assistance program would go a long way to help these families.

Mr. Speaker, in addition to this economic support, there needs to be a program that will help lower income Nova Scotians and seniors save money by helping them insulate their homes. We need to help seniors and others on fixed incomes save energy costs by helping to install insulation in aging homes both for economical and environmental reasons. Some older homes don't even have insulation, or, if they do, they have inferior products between the walls such as newsprint, burlap and seaweed, and much of that sits at the bottom of the wall. We all know that it just dries up and falls.

By providing assistance with insulation, Mr. Speaker, homeowners reap savings that will help them and the environment for years to come. It will also help to keep them healthy both financially and physically. The cost per home for insulation could range from $1,000 to $2,500, but this type of measure would help homeowners save hundreds of dollars annually, as well as help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Again, this province needs to send a clear message to the citizens of this province that this government will no longer ignore the very real needs that our seniors, and our most vulnerable, face every day - a message that they will be reinstating the Keep the Heat program.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Natural Resources.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the member opposite for her comments and bringing this very important subject to the floor. There is no question that the cost of heating our homes is something that is challenging for all Nova Scotians, and particularly as the cost of energy - as represented by the price of crude - hovers around $100. We're very pleased with the initiatives that the government has underway to assist Nova Scotians to deal with this very serious matter. No doubt the rising oil prices are placing a burden on everyone; unfortunately, it's a global trend that doesn't seem to be ending soon and that's why government chose to put Your Energy Rebate Program in place.

[Page 581]

Mr. Speaker, Your Energy Rebate Program helps over 400,000 Nova Scotians with their home-heating costs and it does so automatically. The rising cost of heating one's home affects all Nova Scotians. Your Energy Rebate Program is available to almost everyone who is responsible for paying a household energy bill.

Mr. Speaker, we have chosen to provide this rebate at the point of sale. We have learned that Nova Scotians prefer a point-of-sale rebate over the more traditional application-based program. We wanted the rebate to be instant right at the point of sale where it had the most immediate impact on all. We have worked hard with stakeholders to allow Nova Scotians to see they are saving right at the point of sale for the majority of the fuels they use to heat their homes.

In 2006-07, the province invested $39 million to get this program up and running for Nova Scotians, more than double what we paid out under the Keep the Heat program. This year we expect to provide Nova Scotians with more than $60 million in rebates - four times the Keep the Heat program.

Mr. Speaker, prior to Your Energy Rebate Program, the province was offering another more-income-targeted program, the Keep the Heat program, as the member opposite has already referenced in her comments. In 2005-06, that was the last year for that program. To be eligible for Keep the Heat, individuals and families had to have incomes below $15,000 and $25,000 respectively, or anyone on income assistance or who received the Guaranteed Income Supplement. They also had to show that they paid their own heating costs. Therefore, renters were excluded from this program unless they paid directly for their own heat.

Mr. Speaker, Keep the Heat had the following components: a $250 rebate on the cost of heating fuel or propane; a $100 rebate for other fuel sources like electricity, wood, wood pellets, natural gas, and coal; furnace maintenance service - a very proactive part of that program - in the form of a voucher for a furnace tune-up, costing approximately $90; energy efficiency initiatives consisting of an energy efficiency kit for all rebate recipients; a thermostat replacement initiative for those heating with electricity; a furnace repair/replacement program administered by the Department of Community Services; and industry discounts.

Mr. Speaker, when Keep the Heat was last developed in October 2006, it was estimated that up to 74,000 households could be eligible for the program; in actual fact only 43,000 applications were received in 2005-20006 under the program, of which approximately 40,000 received financial aid. So just a little over half actually applied for the rebate. After 2005-2006 the reality of the day made us re-evaluate the Keep the Heat program and broaden it to help all Nova Scotians - this includes those with low incomes facing the rising cost of oil, which is being felt across the globe, and that help came in the form of theYour Energy Rebate Program.

[Page 582]

However, Mr. Speaker, we cannot look at the Your Energy Rebate Program in isolation. Of all the government initiatives in place and being undertaken by government to help our most vulnerable, initiatives from Conserve Nova Scotia include the Nova Scotia EnerGuide for Houses Program. Under this program, low- to modest- income Nova Scotians may apply to have the full cost of an EnerGuide assessment rebated. They are eligible for this program if they have a single income of less than $25,000 per year or a family income of less than $40,000 per year.

All participants in the Nova Scotia EnerGuide for Houses Program, Mr. Speaker, get an energy savings kit. These kits include items like the CFLs - those are the lights - weatherstripping; and the LED night lights. When installed, these items save homeowners almost $100 in energy costs - very significant.

Mr. Speaker, these were, in fact, many of the elements included in the Keep the Heat Program. There is also an additional $400 top-up grant for those who complete their energy assessments. In total, the province is investing $300,000 in this program.

Another program being offered, Mr. Speaker, is the Residential Energy Affordability Program. This is a pilot program that installs energy efficiency upgrades in low-income homes at no charge. More than 100 homes spread over the four regions of the province are being retrofitted. The province is investing $650,000 in this program - a very enlightened approach to help those who participate.

Mr. Speaker, these are just some of the measures we have taken to reduce the financial burden on consumers, as well as the harmful effects the greenhouse gas emissions have on our environment and our economy. As well, the Department of Community Services has programs to help low-income Nova Scotians replace furnaces. The $4 million expanded Home Repair Adaptation Program is designed to help senior citizens with home safety and health issues - this includes the repair and maintenance of furnaces.

Mr. Speaker, Community Services also offers furnace repairs through programs such as the Senior Citizens Assistance Program and the provincial Home Energy Repair Program - two programs very much appreciated by low- income Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, while there is no doubt that the higher cost of home fuel does make it tough for everyone, especially those with low incomes, we are faced with the reality that government does have finite resources and many competing priorities and, first and foremost, we must invest wisely and make sure that we get the maximum benefits of those investments for Nova Scotians.

That's why, Mr. Speaker, any measures that we put in place must be done in a fiscally responsible manner. As I've said earlier, across government there are many initiatives in place that are targeted to help Nova Scotians to help cope with the rising cost of oil and,

[Page 583]

indeed, all forms of heating their homes. Through Conserve Nova Scotia we're trying to help those consumers. All Nova Scotians learn how to make better use of their energy, how they heat their home, how they can save money, and how they can also help the environment while they're making sure that they stay warm in the winter.

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, we must always be mindful to balance our priorities and investments in ways that make sense. We must be responsible. We must implement initiatives in a balanced and a coordinated way, being mindful of the programs and services already in place and, of course, the dollars that are available for additional investments.

Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that this government is now directly, through the new program, Your Energy Rebate Program, putting $60 million directly into the hands of Nova Scotians, in fact, four times what was distributed through the Keep the Heat program and that it is an automatic point of sale program where there is no application, I think that Nova Scotians have spoken loudly and clearly on this and they endorse the government's program.

[6:15 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Kings West. As I saw this debate come up this evening, I had no intention of speaking in late debate this evening, but when I saw the topic of today's discussion, I had to speak on this.

I've had individuals come to see me with tears in their eyes. Last year, or the previous years, when they had the Keep the Heat program, that money that came in for that program meant they could heat their home for a good part of the winter. Somebody who's very thrifty and keeps the heat turned down, it was a major, major impact on their household. Those same individuals, the small amount they saved directly on the GST, which was touted by both the Conservative Party and the NDP Party as being the savior of everything, it didn't really help those people and will never help those people. Just simply put, it will not. I think that they are starting to realize that now, the other Parties have started to realize that.

The real thing is the Keep the Heat program was a good program. It did give funds to people to buy heat and in some cases to even buy groceries that month and that was very, very important. The program now is against everything in energy conservation you could imagine. The more oil you burn, the better break you get on the taxes. So it just doesn't make sense. The government hasn't done anything to promote wind energy. They put a regressive tax bill through here on property taxes. They don't make the lines available for windmills, for instance, or other sources of alternate energy to use the power lines or be able to sell the power at very reasonable rates so you can get a return on your investment.

[Page 584]

The key in this province is low cost energy. If we had low cost energy, we wouldn't be having this discussion about Keep the Heat program. We wouldn't be having a discussion about taking GST off the fuel. If we had low enough energy costs in this province, which we can produce here, which is possible to do, it just takes a lot of investment, a lot of initiative, and a lot of forward thinking. Unfortunately, this government or the NDP, neither one has that ability, it doesn't appear, but we have to move forward in this regard. It's incumbent on us. If we can get alternate energy sources that are cost effective, it helps our environment through greenhouse gas reduction; it helps our people; it helps our industries and it makes the province a cleaner, safer and stronger economy - all the things that we all strive to do, and it is so simple. It is so simple to do some of these things, but there's no initiative to do them. It's always give a tax rebate on this, give a tax rebate on that, or whatever the case may be. Short term, some of those things work well, the Keep the Heat program was one example, it worked quite well, but, in the long term it doesn't cure the problem. The price of fuel goes up, and as my honourable colleague from the government indicated, we have no control over the price of oil in this country. There's nothing we can do about it, we just simply have to hope that we get the best deal we possibly can from the oil companies, if you're heating with oil.

There need to be more aggressive processes put in place for alternate types of heat and fuel, but energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly things. So, when I go back and see the people who have come to see me about this and ask about where the Keep the Heat program goes, it just breaks my heart to see that happen. You take something from somebody, it's like giving them a meal and saying tomorrow, you're not going to have a meal again, or maybe never again and they haven't made provision, or don't have the ability to make provision, to have that meal. That's really what has happened here and it's very unfortunate that's the case.

We have a lot of people in this province, through no fault of their own, over the years, they haven't been able to - particularly seniors, with a very low income and a pension situation, when pensions in this province weren't important in this province, or didn't appear to be. At one time you didn't need a good pension because you were pretty well self-sufficient, but that's not the case any more. That generation and the generation that's coming- a lot of people don't have good pensions.

So, as these costs go up, people lose their homes, they don't eat properly, they get ill and they can't heat their homes properly and all those things. We have to come up with a long-term solution to this. The solution has to be lower cost of energy. There are ways to do it, there are all kinds of ideas out there and some of those things are proceeding now, but not nearly fast enough.

In this country, we have tremendous resources and we have to use those resources to help the people in this country, and also to give our economy a real boost. You get low cost energy, everybody benefits.

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I'm very disappointed that the government eliminated the Keep the Heat program. The GST helps the people who have the most money and everyone appreciates getting a tax break, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the people in this province who can't afford to pay for it - the working poor, the seniors that are retired who can't afford to pay for it.

With that, I'll give the rest of my time to my colleague for Kings West.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West. You have approximately four minutes left.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, I'm certainly pleased today to rise and speak for a few moments on the topic of the Keep the Heat program. What I felt was strong about this program is that it is a targeted program. While the member opposite, the Minister of Natural Resources spoke, in terms of 74,000 were available, 43,000 applied, 40,000 received. Of that 40,000 who received it, this in many ways was a lifeline. That's why I say a targeted audience received that $200.

I feel that at a time when we have very volatile prices of heating oil, this is a great transition support during our Nova Scotia winters. I agree with my colleague that we have to look at long-term solutions, we have to look at ways where we can stabilize our heat cost. If we could move wholesale to an electrical system supported by renewable energy, like our neighbour province, Prince Edward Island, who, by 2020, will have 100 per cent renewable energy, which will mean they'll be able to stabilize their prices and incomes and heating costs will come a little bit closer together.

The real benefit of the Keep the Heat program is that it was, and should be, an annual program. The Salvation Army program, the Good Neighbour Energy Fund is only available once every five years. This is what made the Keep the Heat Program so valuable - there year after year for the fixed income, the low income and the seniors of this province.

I also feel that government and perhaps all of us, as MLAs, should be encouraging Nova Scotia Power to implement a program in Nova Scotia similar to the one that Emera has with Bangor Hydro where they have a lower electrical rate for low-income citizens through Maine and for those using that means of heat, it again provides a benefit to them.

One of the things that has happened in this particular year and what makes some type of support very needed is the fact that home heating oil has gone up by 16 cents a litre just since last year. Just today from my constituency office, the following have called this office requesting help with oil. Social Services will do nothing to help these people, it is an epidemic right now in this area. Just in today's calls, to add to an already growing list, I received 10 names of people who need.

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We have a crisis on our hands this winter with support to low-income Nova Scotians and with that, Mr. Speaker, I will take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: I want to thank all the honourable members for having taken part in tonight's late debate. The House will recess for approximately five minutes; we will continue afterwards with debate on Bill No. 10.

The House stands recessed for five minutes.

[6:25 p.m. The House recessed.]

[6:30 p.m. The House reconvened.]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I will call the House back to order.

We will resume second reading on Bill No. 10.

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

Bill No. 10 - Gunshot and Stab Wounds Mandatory Reporting Act. [Debate resumed.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, as the Justice Critic for the Liberal caucus, it gives me great pleasure to stand in my place and make a few remarks on Bill No. 10, the Gunshot and Stab Wounds Mandatory Reporting Act.

Mr. Speaker, before I get into the exact details of this bill, I remarked on the closing statements by the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, referring to Bill No. 7. I think it's important to remind this government that the role of the Opposition is to make sure to provide a different perspective where available and to allow Nova Scotians, and allow this House, to consider pieces of legislation and the statistics surrounding some of the ideas being put forward.

Mr. Speaker, when I spoke earlier on that specific piece of legislation, I provided statistics, I provided research, and I provided a different perspective than what had been provided by the Minister of Justice. Now, when a member of the Opposition raises such concerns about government legislation, to suggest that those members of the Opposition are somehow soft on crime, or that they're not pro our police, I think is completely irresponsible

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for a Minister of the Crown to make any sort of suggestion of that at members of the Opposition.

Mr. Speaker, the members who stood up here spoke freely, as they should be able to do in a free and democratic society, and they gave different perspectives. At the end of the day, passage was given on second reading, but it was made clear by members of the Opposition that there are different sides to the proposals being put forward in government legislation. To suggest that somehow that is anti-crime, or that it is soft on crime, I think was irresponsible for those comments to be made by a minister and I would strongly suggest that if that's the approach that's going to be taken by this government, or by these ministers on their legislation, we are going to be here for a long time during this session, if that's the attitude that is going to be taken.

Mr. Speaker, photo radar, for example, is a concept that is backed by many people, but statistics show it does not reduce accidents. That is the reality. Police officers have spoken clearly that they believe photo radar is only effective if a police officer is there with that photo radar. That is just one of the other examples that I've given. We have research that has been done, in Alberta for example, which clearly shows that photo radar has not decreased fatalities there.

Well, Mr. Speaker, on this bill, I'm going to give you examples as well, that there is another perspective to what is being brought forward, and that is the role of the Opposition. Shame on the minister to suggest that we should not be giving a different perspective and that somehow we are soft on crime by giving a different perspective.

Mr. Speaker, this bill, once again, is a reactionary bill, it's an after-the-fact bill. The crime has taken place and they want it to be reported. Time and time again, we have spoken in this House about the need for this government to look at preventing crime, yet we do not see crime prevention strategies, we see reactionary strategies. It is too late when someone shows up at a hospital with a gunshot or a stab wound from a criminal activity - the crime has taken place. So that's not prevention, and it is important to point that out, that this is once again the government trying to react to situations rather than taking positive action.

Mr. Speaker, the bill that is being presented here is similar to Ontario legislation, but where it significantly differs is that Ontario legislation simply deals with gunshots, it does not deal with stab wounds.

Mr. Speaker, the other important thing to point out, it seems that the Ontario government used the same approach as the government is using here - they introduced legislation and then they go out and do the consultation afterwards. Ontario, for example, received royal assent on this bill on June 13, 2005, and yet the regulations still haven't been finalized. So over two years later, the bill is still not in effect because the regulations have not been finalized.

[Page 588]

Mr. Speaker, in this case it's my understanding that, in fact, during the debate on the Ontario legislation, there was even an attempt to amend it by including stab wounds, and it was defeated. So we have to ask ourselves why was it defeated and why was it not included in Ontario, and what were the concerns around not including stab wounds in that specific province?

Our bill, though, is actually identical to the Saskatchewan legislation which does include stab wounds and which did come into effect in September of this year with regulations, ironically. Mr. Speaker, the bill that has been presented to us in Bill No. 10 would require every hospital, clinic or facility that treats someone for a gunshot or a stab wound shall disclose that fact, and the person's name and location of the hospital, clinic or facility.

Mr. Speaker, it is expected that disclosure would be made orally, as reasonably possible, without interfering with treatment or disrupting regular hospital activities. I do note the comments that were made by the member for Sackville-Cobequid who, having a career in the medical profession, certainly raised concerns as well of the importance of treating the patient first, rather than feeling a duty to have to pick up the phone to report suspicious activity.

The bill in itself says that no action lies against the person making disclosure if done in good faith. That is a protection, but I will speak a bit more about my concerns over a lack of protection in this bill.

The bill itself provides extensive regulatory powers for the minister, similar to what was done in Ontario and, which again, Mr. Speaker, goes to the concerns that I have raised not only with this bill, I have raised with Bill No. 7 and I have raised with other pieces of legislation. There's too much regulatory power being left in the hands of the Cabinet to be decided in the backrooms, outside of the Legislature and outside of the supervision and approval of the House of Assembly and the elected members of this province.

As has been mentioned by the minister in his opening comments, there has been support in calling for this type of legislation. When we asked the question during the bill briefing of who had been consulted, we were led to believe there had been a significant amount of consultation which had taken place. Yet, Mr. Speaker, after it was introduced, we had the head of the NSGEU say they had never even been made aware that this legislation was coming forward. How could there have been consultation for the bill coming to this House if the head of one of the province's largest unions which would be impacted by this was never even been made aware of this type of bill coming forward.

Mr. Speaker, once again we, as members of the Liberal caucus, want to do our part to make sure that criminal activity is reported and is being addressed. On the flip side, one has to look at the very important concerns over the privacy of innocent victims who are the

[Page 589]

victims of an innocent accident that has nothing to do with criminal activity, and who may suddenly be reported and become suspects of criminal activity through no fault of their own.

We need to make sure that this legislation provides those necessary safeguards, and unfortunately the legislation is silent on that issue.

Mr. Speaker, as well, the other large concern on this is that we have no specific indication of what protection is going to be there for the health care workers who are expected to report this to police.

Our health care workers are there to help save lives and to help individuals who show up and need medical attention. We, as legislators, must make sure we are not putting our health care workers at risk by asking them to become involved in reporting potential criminal activity. The bill does not provide the safeguards in its current form that I feel are necessary to make sure that in no way, shape or form will this put any of our health care workers, our administrators, or our hospitals or any medical facility, at risk by being required to report these kinds of activities.

I realize the minister has indicated there was a request that came from the Halifax Regional Police Department for this legislation. The point was made that there are crimes that sometimes go unreported because the hospitals aren't necessarily required to report gunshot or stab wound victims. I'd be curious if the minister had given us some numbers - how many crimes do the Halifax Regional Police Department or any other police department feel have not been properly investigated because of the fact you had an injured party that was never reported to the police? Is it one? Is it two? Is it 50? Is it 100?

How much of an issue is this that we are being asked to force health care workers to identify individuals whom they have concluded may have been the victims of gunshot wounds or stab wounds as a result of criminal activity? Unfortunately those numbers have not been provided and I would hope that as the debate continues on this bill that the minister would stand in his place and tell us exactly what kind of statistics are involved here.

Let's keep in mind as well, Mr. Speaker, we cannot forget that under our justice system, even though you are reported to have been the victim of a gunshot wound or a stab wound, there is nothing compelling you to speak to the police when they arrive. We have seen cases, not that long ago, where we had a stabbing victim at a hospital here in the HRM who refused to speak to the police. This was an apparent victim of a stabbing who refused to talk - and my understanding is, to this day, has still refused to talk. So this in no way is going to force people to have to disclose to the police that they have been the victim of a criminal activity.

This legislation, as I've mentioned, is not new legislation and it's been done in other areas. It's my understanding that 45 American states have this legislation, and apparently

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Manitoba is considering this legislation, but there are already some who are saying it is not the right way to go.

As I mentioned, our focus, and this government's focus, needs to be on crime prevention and we're still not hearing anything on crime prevention. We hear reactionary tales, and reactionary tales are too late. Again, this bill, I fear, is going to leave Nova Scotians with the impression that somehow what we are doing with this legislation will prevent crime. It does not appear that it will do that, but it is reacting after the crime has already taken place. There are already statistics coming from the U.S. which show there are different institutions which are refusing to report these types of activities to the authorities - and the question becomes what action will this legislation or this government take against health care workers or facilities which refuse to report these kinds of incidents to the proper authorities?

There are different statistics, and sometimes confusing statistics, about the rate of crime here in Nova Scotia, in Canada, and in other provinces. We know there are problems here in this province and it's important that we put the necessary measures in place to be able to address crime as much as possible. Again, as I said in my opening remarks, when legislation is brought forward to this House it is our duty as Opposition members to present as much information as possible, not only to the members of this House but to Nova Scotians so they can take in all of the facts and determine whether it is a proper approach to take.

Mr. Speaker, when we've talked about other legislation, when we've provided statistics, when we've provided published reports about whether a certain incentive is going to work or not, Ministers of the Crown should not be taking offence at that. They should be considering the statistics which are out there. It is one thing to be told by the police that they believe this is the answer. It is something else when statistics are shown from other jurisdictions which conclude it wasn't the answer. If we're going to move forward on these types of changes as a province, let's do so with an open mind. Let's do so by looking at the experience of what has been done in other jurisdictions. Let's look at the statistics of what the outcome has been and let's learn from that. But to simply stand here and say, I'm right, you're wrong, and by you disagreeing with me, you're anti-crime, or you're anti-police, is irresponsible for anyone to make that suggestion.

We are here as an Opposition to make sure to hold the government accountable, but to make sure that Nova Scotians can give us the input about whether they feel the government's approach is the right approach for Nova Scotia and if it's the right approach to deal with crime here in this province. Again let us be realistic.

In this province, for example, Mr. Speaker, we have seen a number of fatalities which have taken place on 100-Series Highways. Photo radar on highways of 70 kilometres maximum speed is not going to address those fatalities. So let's be realistic about what we are talking about and not confuse the matter.

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This bill, I would like to see the Minister of Justice give us exactly the names of which organizations he has consulted with. This is the type of legislation which I believe we need to see the protections in the regulations that will be there for our health care workers and for innocent patients who show up at a hospital who are suddenly being accused of being the victim of a crime, which may have been an accidental injury which occurred to them to start off with. Unfortunately, without seeing those regulations, it is very difficult for us to have the confidence necessary that those concerns will be addressed.

[6:45 p.m.]

The other option, Mr. Speaker, is to seek amendments to the legislation as it currently exists to make sure those protections are in there rather than wait for regulations. That will be up to the government as to whether they are prepared to look at those types of amendments now or risk there being further concerns with the passage of the legislation as it currently stands.

With those comments, I look forward to the comments that we are going to receive on second reading. I certainly hope that we hear from health care workers, because at the end of the day they are going to play an important role in this, and I want to make sure, as a legislator, that they feel they are properly protected and they are not being put in harm's way as part of their duties because of the new requirements that are being imposed upon them here in this legislation. So with those remarks, I will be finishing and I look forward to seeing this bill in front of the Law Amendments Committee for further discussion and possible amendments.

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

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased on behalf of the Minister of Justice to rise and close the debate on this bill. We want to express our thanks and appreciation to members opposite for their comments and look forward to the bill proceeding to the next stage of debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 10. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

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MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government business for the day. I move that we do rise until tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. and the government will call Bill Nos. 11, 14, 15 and 19 for second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

The House stands adjourned.

[The House rose at 6:47 p.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 468

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (The Premier)

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

Whereas Inverness resident Marion MacNeill was born on November 1st, one century ago, in Ainslie Glen; and

Whereas Ms. MacNeill spent her career teaching in many Inverness County schools, eventually retiring from service as an educator with the Whycocomagh Consolidated School in 1969; and

Whereas after so many years of sharing her knowledge with her many students, Ms. MacNeill is enjoying her retirement years at the Inverary Manor in Inverness;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ms. MacNeill on her 100th birthday and wish her continued health and happiness in the years to come.