The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 08-36

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://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

Second Session

FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2008

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
TIR: Hwy. 206 (Martinique to Arichat) - Repave, Mr. M. Samson 3783
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3401, Agric. - Growing Opportunities Conf.: Organizers/Presenters/
Participants - Congrats., Hon. B. Taylor 3784
Vote - Affirmative 3785
Res. 3402, Gilby, Connor/Kenton/Jacob: Heroic Acts - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Parent 3785
Vote - Affirmative 3786
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 179, Halifax Regional Municipality Charter Act, Hon. J. Muir 3787
No. 180, Condominium Act, Ms. D. Whalen 3787
No. 181, Halifax Regional Municipality Act, Hon. J. Muir 3787
No. 182, Heritage Property Act, Hon. W. Dooks 3787
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3403, MacNeil, Kylie: RCL Remembrance Contest - Poetry Award,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3787
Vote - Affirmative 3788
Res. 3404, Schizophrenia Awareness Wk. (05/18-05/24/08) - Recognize,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 3788
Vote - Affirmative 3789
Res. 3405, MacDonell, Hillary - Lt. Gov's. Award (2008),
Mr. P. Paris 3789
Vote - Affirmative 3789
Res. 3406, C.B. Silver Stars Girls Basketball Team/Coaches - Championship,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 3789
Vote - Affirmative 3790
Res. 3407, Heide, Chris/Kirkpatrick, Murray/Vols.: Liverpool
Intl. Theatre Fest. - Congrats., Ms. V. Conrad 3790
Vote - Affirmative 3791
Res. 3408, Gidney, Paul - Powerlifting/Bench-Press Championship,
Mr. H. Theriault 3791
Vote - Affirmative 3792
Res. 3409, CKEC, 94.1 East Coast FM - Serv. (55 Yrs.),
Mr. C. MacKinnon 3792
Vote - Affirmative 3792
Res. 3410, Dal. Med. Sch.: Med. Humanities Prog. - Commend,
Ms. M. Raymond 3793
Vote - Affirmative 3793
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 156, Land Registration Act,
Hon. J. Muir 3794
Ms. B. Kent 3794
Ms. D. Whalen 3795
Hon. J. Muir 3795
Vote - Affirmative 3795
No. 178, Children and Family Services Act,
Hon. C. Clarke 3796
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3796
Ms. D. Whalen 3797
Hon. C. Clarke 3797
Vote - Affirmative 3797
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 3412, Herbin, Josh - Agri-Food Innovation Award,
Hon. B. Taylor 3798
Vote - Affirmative 3799
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 163, Personal Directives Act,
Hon. C. Clarke 3799
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3800
Mr. M. Samson 3803
Hon. C. Clarke 3805
Vote - Affirmative 3806
No. 79, Elections Act,
Hon. M. Baker 3806
Mr. D. Dexter 3807
Mr. M. Samson 3808
Hon. M. Baker 3813
Vote - Affirmative 3814
No. 167, Technical Safety Act,
Hon. M. Parent 3814
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3815
Mr. K. Colwell 3815
Debate adjourned 3818
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Mon., May 26th at 2:00 p.m. 3818
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 3411, O'Hearon, Michael - Celebration of School Sport Award,
Hon. M. Baker 3819^^

[Page 3783]

HALIFAX, FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2008

Sixtieth General Assembly

First Session

9:00 A.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Alfie MacLeod

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. We'll commence the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I beg leave to table a petition on behalf of residents of Isle Madame, and all of Richmond County, the operative clause which reads:

"WE, THE UNDERSIGNED, PETITION THE PROVINCE OF NOVA SCOTIA TO GIVE TOP PRIORITY TO THE ELIMINATION OF THE TWO DANGEROUS TURNS ON THE 'MARTINIQUE ROAD' AND TO THE COMPLETE RE-SURFACING WITH NEW ASPHALT OF HIGHWAY 206 FROM THE INTERSECTION OF THE SAID HIGHWAY WITH HIGHWAY 320 IN MARTINIQUE, RICHMOND COUNTY TO THE INTERSECTION OF THE SAID HIGHWAY WITH GODFREY'S LANE IN ARICHAT, RICHMOND COUNTY, NOVA SCOTIA AND THAT ALLOWANCE BE MADE WHEN REPAVING AND LINE-PAINTING FOR THE CREATION OF A CYCLING LANE :"

[Page 3784]

3783

Mr. Speaker, this petition is signed by 1,306 residents of Richmond County, and I have affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3401

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

Whereas in March 2008, the Department of Agriculture hosted the inaugural Growing Opportunities Conference in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas over 150 Nova Scotia agri-producers, retailers, and restaurant owners came together to explore and discuss opportunities that exist within the agri-food industry here in the province; and

Whereas one of the challenges presented at the conference was for producers to make the connection between themselves and restaurant owners, and address the demands producers face selling their goods to the local markets;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House congratulate the organizers, presenters and participants of the Growing Opportunities Conference for recognizing the importance of connecting our local agri-food producers with Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3785]

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 Labour and Workforce Development.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, before I do my resolution I'd like permission to introduce some guests in the gallery.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. PARENT: Thank you. We're joined by some very, very important guests this morning, and I was going to do this jointly with my colleague, Karen Casey, because we had the privilege of being . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Who?

MR. PARENT: My colleague, the Minister of Education - sorry, thank you - the MLA for Colchester North, because we had the opportunity to be at the Enfield school together, but she couldn't be here today and she wants me to pass on her greetings to our guests. So I recognize the guests on behalf of both myself and the Minister of Education.

I'd like to draw the attention of the members to the east gallery and I'd like to recognize several people who have each played a role in ensuring the safety of an Enfield family last December. First, I'd like to introduce Kenton and Connor Gilby, they're both age 11. These boys, together with their cousin, helped alert their family members and allowed them to escape to safety from a fire on Sunday, December 2nd of last year. So if Connor and Kenton could stand. (Applause)

Also joining them today are Sonja Isenor and Angela Beaton from the Enfield District Elementary School. As a result of their dedication to their students and their efforts to increase awareness about the importance of fire safety through the Learn Not to Burn program, their students were prepared and able to make life-saving decisions in an emergency. Joining them in the east gallery are Wayne Barchard and Cecil Dixon representing the Enfield Fire Department - both have worked with teachers and staff of this school to implement the Learn Not to Burn curriculum since the program started in 1992. Finally, they're joined by the province's deputy fire marshal, Frank Savage. I'd ask them to rise and be recognized by the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour and Workforce Development.

[Page 3786]

RESOLUTION NO. 3402

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

Whereas as a result of the dedication of teachers Sonja Isenor and Angela Beaton and their efforts to increase awareness about the importance of fire safety, three young boys were prepared and able to make life-saving decisions when their Enfield home caught on fire in December 2007; and

Whereas through the fire safety lessons they obtained at Enfield District Elementary School, Connor, Kenton and Jacob Gilby had both the knowledge and confidence to act in an emergency situation; and

Whereas teaching young people about fire safety and injury prevention is a joint effort between families, schools, volunteer fire departments and communities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Connor, Kenton and Jacob Gilby for their heroic acts and thank teachers Sonja Isenor and Angela Beaton, the Enfield Volunteer Fire Department, and the staff of the Enfield District Elementary School for working together effectively to implement the Learn Not to Burn curriculum since 1992.

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 Chebucto on an introduction.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of members of the House to a group seated in the west gallery, the Halifax Regional School Board offers programs for adults in English as a second language. We have with us today a group of 11 adult students who are taking this course, along with their teacher, Daniel MacIntyre. I'd ask the group to rise and receive the warm welcome from the House. (Applause)

[Page 3787]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East on an introduction.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to just make an additional introduction - the honourable Minister of Environment and of Labour and Workforce Development - Connor and Kenton's mom, Lisa, was in the gallery, so I would like to have her acknowledged. Thank you. (Applause)

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

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to make an introduction, in advance of introducing a bill. In the east gallery, we have the solicitor for HRM, Mary Ellen Donovan, and she is here on behalf of the city to see a couple of bills introduced this morning. I would ask her to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 179 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Halifax Regional Municipality. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 180 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 85 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Condominium Act. (Ms. Diana Whalen)

Bill No. 181 - Entitled an Act to Implement HRM by Design. (Hon. James Muir)

Bill No. 182 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 199 of the Revised Statutes of 1989. The Heritage Property Act. (Hon. William Dooks)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3403

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

Whereas remembering the sacrifices of our soldiers, sailors, Air Force personnel, and civilians in times of past armed conflicts is important for our young people to learn and understand; and

[Page 3788]

Whereas for many years the Royal Canadian Legion has sponsored a national literary, essay and poster contest for elementary school students to encourage them to learn about the significance of remembrance; and

Whereas Kylie MacNeil of Enfield District School won first place in the poetry division of the Royal Canadian Legion literary contest and will be honoured on May 26, 2008;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Kylie MacNeil for placing first in the poetry division of this remembrance initiative and extend our best wishes to Kylie on future writing 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 Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 3404

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

Whereas one in every 100 persons throughout Canada is diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia, an extremely complex medical disorder; and

Whereas the Schizophrenia Association of Nova Scotia works to bring support to these individuals, as well as inform the public through activities such as presentations to schools, hosting supportive groups, and public awareness and fundraising events; and

Whereas May 18th to May 24th is recognized as Schizophrenia Awareness Week;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize Schizophrenia Awareness Week and offer their continued support to both those suffering from this mental disorder and those who are working to bring awareness.

[Page 3789]

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. 3405

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

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Education Award is presented annually to one female and one male Grade 11 student nominated in each school who maintains a high academic standing and is dedicated to the betterment of school and community life; and

Whereas the 2008 female Lieutenant Governor's Education Award recipient for Hants East Rural High School is student Hillary MacDonell, the daughter of NDP MLA for Hants East John MacDonell, and Leslie MacDonell; and

Whereas active in the sports of rugby and soccer as player and coach, Hillary MacDonell is actively involved in her community as a member of the 4-H Club;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House of Assembly congratulate Hillary MacDonell for receiving the 2008 Lieutenant Governor's Award and wish her much success as she pursues future educational 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.

[Page 3790]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 3406

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 the Cape Breton Silver Stars girls basketball team competed in the Nova Scotia Division 2 Championship held in Dartmouth; and

Whereas under the direction of coaches Kim Reynolds and Sue Gill, the team defeated the Valley East Basketball Association by a score of 61 to 44, to capture the championship; and

Whereas teammates Kiley MacAdam, Charlotte MacDonald, Fiona Wong, Brianna MacKeigan, Jessie Gill, Charley Savoy, Ashley McInnis, Candice Reynolds, Sarah Cameron, Alison Keough and Brianna Smith trained very hard for their championship;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate both coaches and members of the Cape Breton Silver Stars girls basketball team on a job well done and wish them success in future competitions.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Queens.

RESOLUTION NO. 3407

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

[Page 3791]

Whereas the Astor Theatre in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, has hosted a biennial Amateur Theatre Festival on eight previous occasions and just recently hosted the ninth festival; and

Whereas theatre troupes from all over the world presented plays and workshops throughout the five-day festival; and

Whereas hosting of actors and their production units from Wales, Nepal, Algeria, Germany, Slovakia, Israel, United States, Syria and a number of theatre troupes from around Nova Scotia requires a very large contingent of volunteers;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize Artistic Director Chris Heide, Liverpool International Theatre Festival President Murray Kirkpatrick and all of the volunteers for their endeavours and commend them for their dedication and commitment while presenting the 2008 Liverpool International Theatre Festival.

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. 3408

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

Whereas Paul Gidney of Digby is a world-class weight lifter who recently participated in the Canadian Power Lifting and Bench Press Championships in St. Catherines, Ontario; and

Whereas Mr. Gidney competed in the 110-kilogram Masters 1 division for men over 40 and won gold in both the power lifting and bench press events; and

Whereas by winning the national title Mr. Gidney has now qualified to participate in the world championships in Palm Springs, California, this September;

[Page 3792]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Paul Gidney on winning the Canadian Power Lifting and Bench Press Championship and wish him every success in the future as he prepares for the upcoming world competition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou East.

RESOLUTION NO. 3409

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

Whereas Pictou County's radio station, CKEC, was founded in December 1953 by James M. Cameron; and

Whereas December 2007 marked the biggest change in CKEC's broadcast history as the frequency flipped to FM; and

Whereas East Coast FM is an avid supporter of community activities and has been an integral part of information disbursement in Pictou County since December 1953;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate CKEC, 94.1 East Coast FM, for 55 years of outstanding service to Pictou County and commend owner Douglas Freeman and his son, Michael Freeman, general manager, and the staff for their commitment to keeping northern Nova Scotia informed and entertained.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3793]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

RESOLUTION NO. 3410

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

Whereas the practice of medicine is an arduous and emotionally draining task and many physicians, young and old, turn to the arts to enrich and interpret their own lives and those of their families and patients; and

Whereas the Dalhousie Medical School was one of the first medical schools in Canada to initiate a medical humanities program under the direction of Dr. Jock Murray, the program being one of the most distinctive aspects of the training at Dalhousie; and

Whereas the medical humanities program, now under the direction of Dr. Ron Stewart, began its annual festival last night with the Quill 'n Stethoscope Oration Dinner at Pier 21, featuring the moving harmonies of the medical school's male voice ensemble, the Testostertones; an aria by soprano Dr. Jayani Abeysekera; and readings by Dr. Arthur Motyer, the author of The Staircase Letters, a narrative of friendship at the end of life;

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend the Dalhousie Medical School, recognizing the importance of the medical humanities program, and congratulate Dean Harold Cook, Dr. Ron Stewart, Dr. Judy Guernsey, Dr. Arthur Motyer, Dr. Margaret Casey, and the Testostertones.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3794]

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

The motion is carried.

[GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 156.]

Bill No. 156 - Land Registration Act.

MR. SPEAKER: At the adjournment last night, we were at Bill No. 156.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, at the end of last night I did adjourn debate and I did move second reading of that bill. I believe it was the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage who was on her feet.

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

MS. BECKY KENT: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak briefly on Bill No. 156, the Land Registration Act amendments. The honourable minister has mentioned certainly in his releases that this is an intention to correct some difficulties that this system has had over the past three years. The feedback that we're getting certainly is not all positive and unfortunately, all too often, the concerns that are coming forward from the residents that I represent are often complaints talking about, certainly when you're purchasing a new home and the migration and all of that, but also equally important to long-standing (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. It's very hard to hear the speaker.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has the floor.

[Page 3795]

MS. KENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The concerns that are coming forward from long-standing community members, property owners, landowners who suddenly are in the position of having lost what they feel is a parcel or a portion of a property that they've known their family to have had an interest in for so many years. So it's good to see legislation that will come forward that the intent is to clean it up a bit and make it more effective.

It's interesting to note though, Mr. Speaker, that in the minister's releases they have referenced it will make it easier for lawyers, and in particular for surveyors. I should note that the Nova Scotia Land Surveyors Association have consulted with our caucus and they're not entirely in favour of this bill, but I think the biggest concern is that they feel there was not enough consultation regarding this. They feel they have not had the opportunity to have their input.

[9:45 a.m.]

With that, at this point, we're prepared to move it on to Law Amendments Committee, support this going through and I look forward to hearing from associations like that, from property owners possibly who have had these negative experiences and see what comes out of it at the presentations at Law Amendments Committee and then we'll go from there. So, on that, we are prepared to support this. Thank you.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I just want to echo some of the comments that we've heard from the other members about this bill. I think the move towards putting the property information on-line was a good one. I know it has helped not only the legal profession but also people in properties, that are buying and selling properties, and that sort of thing. It has been good, but obviously it's a very new change and there were things that needed to be amended.

With three years' experience, I think now is a good time to have done the consultation and I understand the legal community in particular was consulted. This is something we look forward to seeing going to Law Amendments Committee and we would expect these kinds of changes will be seen as necessary and important.

Again, we look forward to seeing it going to Law Amendments and are happy to support the bill. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

[Page 3796]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleagues for their helpful interventions and I look forward to this bill going on to Law Amendments. When I introduced the bill, I moved second reading and now I would like to close debate on second reading of Bill No. 156.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 156. Would all those in favour of the motion, please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 178.

Bill No. 178 - Children and Family Services Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and to move Bill No. 178, the Children and Family Services Act. This bill is before the House as a result of - one might call a housekeeping item, but in fact, it's not a housekeeping item. It is the result of the outcome of the establishment of the secure treatment facility in Truro with regard to the unfortunate reality of a need for transfers to the court facilities and in working with the administrators and the judiciary, the need to formalize that.

When the Act was put in place, there was no enabling legislation for those transfers between the secure treatment facility and the court. There were at times ambiguity but more importantly, what has happened for the judiciary and court procedures. Court hearings have been delayed, youth have not attended at times and we want to make sure that there is an efficient movement. This allows for peace officers to have the actual legal authority to transfer those youth in custody to the facility without difficulty to make sure that their attendance at court is in place. Often, court orders are about further treatment and not just about disciplinary action.

With that, that's the intent of this bill and I'm pleased to move second reading and to hear comments from the House.

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

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments to compliment the minister on this enabling piece of legislation. It's important that when we

[Page 3797]

have youth at risk, when we have youth in care, particularly in the situation with the facility in Truro, that they are able to be moved to court appointments and other important commitments as they are requested by either the judiciary or other important people as we help them out in making some tough decisions in their young lives.

From my understanding, this is the result of some consultation from the judiciary in particular, from Correctional Services. We are listening to the people who are on the front lines who have concerns about this matter and I think this is an example of how, when we have a piece of legislation and we need further enabling legislation to make it work, this sort of legislation has to be brought forward.

Young people, under the Secure Treatment Certificate, have to make sure that they are properly treated in a fair and open manner. This piece of legislation is going to enable that. I look forward to hearing from speakers at the Law Amendments Committee and it is something that this caucus, at this stage of debate in the Legislature, is certainly willing to support. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

HON. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, with the congruence of the House, I wonder if we could revert back to the order of business, Notices of Motion.

MR. SPEAKER: I think we have to wait until the bill is finished, my apologies.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, with this bill, again, we do believe it is important to have this enabling clause added to the Children and Family Services Act, that it will make a difference in terms of the management of these processes. Again, if there are concerns, we know we will hear about them at the Law Amendments Committee but at this point we do believe it is the right thing to do. Thank you.

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, before I close the debate, I just want to thank all our honourable colleagues for being understanding of this request that has come forward and helping us work with the judiciary and those within Correctional Services, and also within Community Services, who are trying to have an effective delivery for the Youth Treatment Centre, the secure facility in Truro. With that, I move second reading of Bill No. 178.

[Page 3798]

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 178. 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 Minister of Agriculture.

HON. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an introduction, followed by a resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: We first need to ask for permission to revert back to the order of business.

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, with the permission of the House, I would like to revert back to the order of business, Notices of Motion. I should add I did speak to the Leader of the Official Opposition and the House Leader of the Liberal Party and received their approbation earlier on.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Minister of Agriculture on an introduction and a resolution.

HON. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, this is a very co-operative group here this morning, I do thank them for their help.

Mr. Speaker, in your Gallery I am pleased to welcome to the Legislature today, Josh Herbin, a young farmer from the Annapolis Valley who recently won a major award sponsored by the Department of Agriculture. With Josh are Sean MacInnes and Mike Devaney, who work for the Department of Agriculture in Truro. Shawn was a key organizer of the Growing Opportunities Conference that was held in March and I hope our guests will stand in their places and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

[NOTICES OF MOTION]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Agriculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 3412

[Page 3799]

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

Whereas the Department of Agriculture established the Agri-Food Innovation Award to promote and celebrate the agriculture industry; and

Whereas Josh Herbin, a young Wolfville farmer, was chosen to receive the first award because of his idea to grow organic hops based on a solid business plan and a $2 million market for specialty hops; and

Whereas Nova Scotia is very fortunate to have innovative visionaries in our agricultural industry, like Mr. Herbin, who are able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the Legislature congratulate Josh on winning this award and recognize that he is an asset to the agricultural sector and a role model for young people who are considering agriculture as a career choice.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

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

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 163.

Bill No. 163 - Personal Directives Act.

[Page 3800]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Yes thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm very pleased to rise to move Bill No. 153, the Personal Directives Act. Just briefly, for some preamble in terms of the intent of this, it's a legislation that specifically allows individuals to give instructions and express their wishes about how their personal care decisions are to be made in the event they become incapacitated.

In addition, the legislation will allow individuals to appoint a delegate to make decisions on matters involving their personal care. The legislation will also provide instructions surrounding the choice of a substitute decision maker if a personal directive has not been created.

So it is a sad reality that, in fact, at times people's personal care choices are put in the hands of others but with this bill, it allows individuals to be very specific, to have their wishes known, to have them under the effect of the law. Also, Mr. Speaker, to recognize that previously people would have looked at power of attorney and often thought that that would, under a provision of the Medical Consent Act, allow for a clear delineation when, in fact, that's not the case with regard to someone's financial management matters, versus those of their personal care.

This will allow all Nova Scotians to have access. As we move this forward it is the intent of the Department of Justice that through our Web base, that people will have information on it, be able to download the actual form that they themselves can do. Then, for third party verification, there will be a requirement for a witness to that, so there is integrity of the decisions in the directive that is made.

Most important, Mr. Speaker, it enhances, in fact, the power of attorney and allows individuals, in terms of those who would assign that, it allows individuals to have on the record their personal care choices.

This is a very important thing. This will supercede the Medical Consent Act and now allow Nova Scotians indeed the ability to provide that clarity, to work with their family. It provides a hierarchy of who would be involved with regard to decision making. Mr. Speaker, we think this is an important step forward in Nova Scotia. It is also providing compliance, in terms of other jurisdictions, and I am very pleased to move second reading.

I look forward to interventions with my colleagues, discussion hopefully in Law Amendments Committee and back on third reading. So with that, I move second reading, Mr. Speaker.

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

[Page 3801]

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to make a few comments on this particular piece of legislation because, of course, there are always unfortunate circumstances in various stages of our lives and this piece of legislation is addressing something that we can never take for granted.

I'm pleased to discuss this new legislation which will give Nova Scotians greater control over their personal care decisions. The Personal Directives Bill will allow for people in our province to plan in advance for certain personal care decisions, including, of course, those all-important health care decisions. Specifically, the legislation will allow individuals to give instructions and express their wishes about how their personal care decisions are to be made in the event that they become incapacitated. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The chatter is getting very high and it is very difficult to hear the speaker.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect has the floor.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's an important issue which, hopefully, members will never have to face themselves or their family members, but having been involved in one of these decisions personally myself, before, incapacitation of a parent and personal directives is something that we have to address.

This legislation will allow individuals to appoint a delegate to make decisions on matters involving personal care. It will also provide instructions surrounding the choice of substitute decision makers if the personal directive has not been created. That's an important factor; note please, that there will be a choice of a substitute decision maker if the personal directive has not been created.

It's a sad fact of life that sometimes illness or injuries occur suddenly and without warning. Mr. Speaker, having had the situation in my family in that particular circumstance, it's something that we have to address and each of us in our own way should be prepared for these unfortunate circumstances. Families are sometimes left in the position of having to make difficult decisions with no clear instructions surrounding the wishes for their loved ones. The creation of a personal directive and the appointment of a substitute decision maker will help to remove any ambiguity that may be existing. That ambiguity at times can be stressful, let me assure you.

[10:00 a.m.]

Mr. Speaker, that ambiguity has to be clarified well in advance when it comes to these personal circumstances. It will give an individual the power to legally set out his or her wishes and instructions before the crisis actually emerges. The legislation will also, in the absence of a personal directive, establish a hierarchy - a hierarchy of people who are legally

[Page 3802]

permitted to make personal care decisions, all in advance, all in writing, all clearly defined. It's important to note that the legislation does not only simply allow the creation of what some may call a living will, and I know we've heard that terminology before - I think it's important for members here today and the public to understand the fact, the difference between a living will and what is going to happen.

It's actually much broader than that, although that type of instruction certainly could be included. Under this Personal Directives Bill, the definition of personal care can include a number of things such as health care, nutrition, residence, clothing, safety, recreation, and support services. In my particular circumstances I want to assure members the safety of the parent involved was a major concern for me, as I was of course living in Nova Scotia and my parent, at the time was living in Sackville, New Brunswick - that concern about security was something that had to be addressed and it had to be addressed very clearly without ambiguity.

Mr. Speaker, this power, this legislation is very different from the power of attorney. A power of attorney is a document which allows an individual, called a donor, to appoint a person called an attorney, who can act in place of the donor with respect to property, including financial matters - not personal care matters. That's an important distinction which I want to bring to the attention of the House. The power of attorney can deal with financial matters, but not personal care matters. An enduring power of attorney is one which remains effective following the incapacity of the donor.

It endures, Mr. Speaker, because it includes wording that states it is to remain effective if the donor becomes incapable. Again, it can only pertain to property and financial matters. A power of attorney or enduring power of attorney cannot legally be made to appoint someone to make personal care decisions, hence the need for this particular piece of legislation. There must be a statutory authority to allow for the appointment of someone to make personal care decisions, including health decisions which takes us, of course, to the Medical Consent Act.

If I may, Mr. Speaker, the Medical Consent Act authorizes an individual to appoint someone to make medical consent decisions, it does not provide that a person can set out instructions or statements of values, beliefs or wishes. It's quite a coincidence as we discuss this bill today, I had a constituent of mine whose partner is going in for a very serious operation - I wish them both the best as it takes place today - but they, of course, came to me because they were concerned about some of the forms that they had to fill out when it comes to statements of beliefs, wishes or values. The Personal Directives Bill allows for such statements clearly laid out without ambiguity in advance of the circumstances that some of us have to unfortunately face at various times in our lives. This legislation allows Nova Scotians a greater control over their own lives; it allows for certainty and direction for those providing the services; and it allows for less conflict and uncertainty for loved ones in dealing with very difficult and emotionally charged circumstances.

[Page 3803]

The Medical Consent Act will be repealed and it will be replaced by a more comprehensive Act, as we'll see here over the next few days as we go through the Law Amendments Committee hopefully. Appointments previously made under the Medical Consent Act will still be valid though - a personal directive can speak for itself or it can authorize a person to speak for the incapacitated person. The bill also further provides that if there is no personal directive, specified people can make certain decisions for a person who is incapable, that's an important distinction, and if there's nothing in place then we have to make sure the provision is made. My family was wise enough, my mom and dad were wise enough in their knowledge at the time to make sure that these things were clearly laid out in case of incapacitation and, Heaven forbid, it happens to anyone else in this House, for your family, or for yourself personally.

These decisions are health care decisions, Mr. Speaker, placement in continuing care homes and home care decisions. These provisions provide for certainty and proper authority to those providing these types of services to those who have been incapacitated. They'll allow needed services and placement in homes to occur. The bill also includes consequential amendments, important amendments to health legislation to provide consistency in the provision of health care.

As you can tell, Mr. Speaker, this is a piece of legislation that I needed the assistance of members of my caucus and members of the staff of the NDP caucus. As they took me through this legislation, based upon my personal experience, I began to see some of the important amendments, the need for them and the importance of this legislation.

In March and in April of this year the Departments of Health, Justice and Community Services engaged in public and stakeholder consultation, which helped shape this legislation. That consultation certainly has paid off in spades, if I may say, Mr. Speaker, with this piece of legislation. I'd like to thank the individuals and organizations that took the time to read the discussion paper, to respond to the ideas, I'd especially like to make sure that we thank the Nova Scotia Barristers Society for their input and Doctors Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, as you can tell, I'm not used to speaking from a prepared text but I appreciate the big print, I appreciate the larger font but, more importantly, because of the emotional nature of this particular issue, I thought it was important that I stick to the text, that I made very clearly based upon my personal circumstances and the advice that I've been given. I'm proud to say that the NDP is willing to support this legislation as it goes through Law Amendments Committee. I compliment the minister and I thank you for your time today.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's a pleasure to rise and speak briefly on Bill No. 163, which provides a more formal process for Nova Scotians to be able

[Page 3804]

to specifically appoint an individual and to specifically set out what their wishes are, should they become incapacitated, as far as medical treatment.

We often hear people saying that if they should become incapacitated - some say I don't want to be kept alive artificially, others indicate they want to be kept alive by all means. It's a very difficult situation, as I believe my colleague from Timberlea-Prospect - it's a very difficult situation and many times it leaves family members in the awkward position of having to make decisions where it may not be clear to them what the wishes of their loved one would be. Not only that, Mr. Speaker, it makes it very difficult for medical professionals because sometimes you're going to receive different opinions from family members. Then the medical professionals are left in the situation of having to decide who to listen to when it does come to making decisions for their loved one as to what medical treatments should be provided.

Mr. Speaker, I understand that my good colleague from Kings West would like to do an introduction at this time and I'd be more than happy to pass the floor over to him for that.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to rise in my place and introduce a group from the Annapolis Valley, from the riding of Kings West. I think also some from Kings North, the Mennonite Community and their school, Apple Blossom School - how appropriate for this time of the year. So we're welcoming teachers, parents and students to the proceedings here this morning, so I'd like for them to rise and receive a warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Well thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I thank my colleague from Kings West for introducing our guests to the members in the gallery. What we're doing here today is, we're actually debating a piece of government legislation which the Minister of Justice has introduced. It is called the Personal Directives Act and what this piece of legislation is meant to do is to allow individuals - whether it be your parents or your grandparents - to be able to specifically name someone who will be responsible for making decisions for them, medically, should they become incapacitated.

Now incapacitated could mean they are in a coma, they are in a state where they are unable to communicate and unable to make decisions. What this now allows them, and it's not something obligatory, but they will now be able to appoint someone - usually a family member or it could be a friend - and specifically state what their wishes are when it comes to medical treatment. For example, if someone is in a coma and requires medical devices to be kept alive, do they wish that to happen or do they not? Whatever specific wishes, this will allow them to be able to set that out.

[Page 3805]

Many Nova Scotians thought the power of attorney was something that was going to allow them to be able to make medical decisions on their part and there was a great deal of confusion around that. Certainly the Personal Directives Act will remove that confusion and it'll be important that the government, should this piece of legislation go through the House, undertake a campaign to inform Nova Scotians of exactly what the Personal Directives Act is, how they can access these forms and that they be made aware of how it's going to work.

Again, I've done this many times and I'll do it again in my place, it's important that Nova Scotians make sure they don't fall into the trap of these will kits and these other legal kits that are made available to Nova Scotians. We see them advertised on TV, they're available at large discount stores and I've seen a number of individuals come to my office and when I look at what they have down, the chances of it being upheld in court if it's contested are not very strong.

The basic rules of writing wills in Nova Scotia are not followed - from the witnessing of them to the structure of them, it's just not there. Unfortunately, Nova Scotians believe rather than paying a lawyer, if I pay $25 or $30 or $50, I can go and do it myself. At the end of the day, saving a few dollars by not going to see a lawyer could end up leaving great confusion for the loved ones who are left behind. I don't think that's anything that Nova Scotians want. If they're responsible enough to set out a will and to state what their wishes are, I think the last thing they want to see is their family in court fighting over whether the will was in its proper format, all the rules were followed and as to whether it will be upheld in court. The last thing we need is for judges to have to make decisions on estates because the will is not clear or is not in the proper format.

Again, I voice my concern and my caution to Nova Scotians that they should make sure they have competent legal advice when they are seeking to make such decisions - whether it is their will, their power of attorney that they are looking for. Now, with the Personal Directives Act, hopefully that will be a very user-friendly format that Nova Scotians will probably not need legal advice for. But I have no doubt that most law firms from here forward will make sure the Personal Directives Act is being made available to their clients as well, especially when they are coming in to do both their will, their power of attorney and now the personal directives.

I'm sure the Barristers' Society will play an important role in the education it will take around this. I do look forward to the Law Amendments Committee to hopefully receive some presentations from the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society and any concerns there might be from practising attorneys regarding this legislation so that we can make sure it's the best possible legislation. If there are any changes that need to be made to strengthen it, then certainly we will be prepared to look at it at that point.

Again, we're pleased to see this bill come forward. We do believe it is a step in the right direction - something that will, hopefully, make it easier for Nova Scotia families when

[Page 3806]

dealing with very difficult circumstances of making medical decisions for loved ones. With that, we'll certainly be supporting this bill on second reading and seeing it move on to the Law Amendments Committee. Thank you.

[10:15 a.m.]

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

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, indeed, I want to thank my honourable colleagues in the House for their consideration of this bill, the Personal Directives Act. I do want to concur with my colleagues and recognize that this is a very important piece of legislation and one that allows for the individual to provide that clarity and, indeed, direction.

I do want to note the member for Richmond, a couple of items, he was very insightful and he continues to repeat it in this House, and it bears repeating, when he talks about these will kits. That is not what we advocate for, but this indeed does become a legally binding directive which allows for that clarity. As he indicates, I'm sure lawyers will provide that as part of their personal counselling, but this is not something that requires a lawyer, that individuals can use. As was indicated, and I'll reiterate, there will be a public education campaign. This is to be accessible to Nova Scotians, it will be available on-line with a resource kit and a downloadable form that will allow people to have that clarity when they fill it out, to allow for a third party to witness the signatures so that it can be seen as legally binding.

So with those comments from my colleagues and as we go forward with this bill, I want to thank them and look forward to any interventions. With that, Mr. Speaker, I will close debate on Bill No. 163.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading on Bill No. 163. Is the House ready for the question? 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 member for Halifax Atlantic on an introduction.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I beg leave to make an introduction to the House, at this moment. The students of Rockingstone Heights School have made the long trip downtown to observe the proceedings of the House of Assembly,

[Page 3807]

with their teacher Calvin McInnis. I would invite them to rise and receive the very warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 79.

Bill No. 79 - Elections Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's my honour to rise and initially move second reading of this bill. This is a bill in which most of the provisions have come out of experience that the Election Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer gained in the last general election, and also a number of what I guess would be called housekeeping, in some ways, but relationship issues just to clarify the relationship of the Chief Electoral Officer to the Election Commission.

So the bill, in fact, deals with clarification around the relationship of the Chief Electoral Officer and how her responsibilities relate to the Election Commission and how those obvious responsibilities are very important to our democratic process and to the impartial delivery of elections in Nova Scotia.

The other provision that I wanted to refer to, Mr. Speaker, deals with the so-called deposit rule. The government wishes to indicate that it will be proposing, if the bill receives second reading, deleting any provision that would have a retroactive effect. On the other hand, we wish to change the rules in Nova Scotia to match the federal rule with respect to deposits and the so-called return of deposits, which obviously has a larger implication because it also feeds directly into the provision that allows for the reimbursement of election expenses to candidates, and will, in fact, aid our democratic process by making sure that all supporters of all political Parties and all electors have a real, viable opportunity to maintain a candidate from all political Parties in general elections. Part of that obviously is allowing people to be competitive and to communicate and that's why this change is so important, to reduce the amount from 15 per cent to 10 per cent.

This is really done in aid of democracy, quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, so I wanted to confirm to the House the intention of the government to introduce at the Law Amendments Committee the change required to do that, from 15 per cent to 10 per cent, and to eliminate any retroactivity, as well, at committee.

The other provisions in here are dealing with things, for example, around recounts. These are not recounts that are conducted for the purpose of determining who won the election, these are recounts that are done for the purpose of determining whether or not

[Page 3808]

you've met that 10 per cent - soon to be 10 per cent, hopefully - threshold, because there's no point in holding up and having a judicial process necessary to determine what is fundamentally a question of where you rank as a candidate, or where a candidate is ranked relative to other candidates. This allows the chief electoral officer, again an impartial election official, to conduct that kind of account for the purpose of determining whether a candidate is or is not entitled to the return of their deposit and the reimbursement of expenses.

Other than that, Mr. Speaker, there are as I said a number of sections, Clause 7 is the primary provision that is affected by this change I referred to earlier but there are a number of other provisions which are of a technical nature. This, I might add, is one of the important functions of our Election Commission which is to, in conjunction with the chief electoral officer, review the outcome of both general and by-elections and to learn by that experience in a way so that it perfects to a greater degree the way elections are conducted. So with that, I would move second reading of Bill No. 79.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it's my pleasure to rise this morning to speak in relation to the Elections Act and the provisions therein. I have just a few brief remarks. I don't mean that in the John Holm brief remark sense, I mean actual brief remarks. As I think others in this Chamber knew, one of the issues that our caucus had with the Elections Act was the whole question around retroactivity. The reason why we were concerned about it is because the notion that you conduct an election on a basic set of rules that everybody knows, at the front end of an election, it's fundamental to democratic principles. To be able to go back after an election and to readjust the rules on which that election is held seems, to me, to violate the notion of democracy that we have all come to hold as appropriate and proper in a free and democratic society.

The reason why I say that is because if you look at that precedent, and you can imagine the scenario where if you can go back and adjust those kinds of things, then you can go back and adjust, for example, what a valid ballot might be. (Interruption) The minister jokes, of course, that that's a good idea. So, you know, those are the kinds of concerns that you would have if you allow for someone to bring forward a piece of legislation that retroactively affects a prior campaign.

It also affects the relationship that the government and the Legislature has with the chief electoral officer. You can imagine the chief electoral officer trying to give instructions to returning officers around the province and having to say, well, these are the rules as they exist at this time. So we're going to ask you to enforce these rules but, at some point in time in the future, maybe even after the election, there will be a separate set of rules that the returning officers will be expected to administer. So those were the kinds of concerns that we had. They were pretty fundamental.

[Page 3809]

I want to thank the minister for his indication that the government will move towards making sure that our legislation now mirrors what exists with the federal House of Commons. I think that was entirely an appropriate suggestion. I would also like to thank the members of the Liberal caucus and the members of the Liberal Party. I believe that they also would have had to have indicated that this was an appropriate change as far as they were concerned. I think that should be acknowledged, it's certainly appropriate. I realize that, you know, in all of these things we're essentially trying to make sure that the election process is fair, is equitable to people, that it provides a sense of security and fairness to the electorate of the province.

I know that all of us who come here, we see a piece of legislation before us and you always essentially have two opinions of it. You have the initial opinion that you form reading and then you have a considered opinion, an opinion that you arrive at more fully as you have the opportunity to reflect. I think that what the minister has indicated is the product of considered opinion, and I'm pleased to see that the government is moving in this direction.

I look forward to the bill moving to Law Amendments so we can see the actual nature of those amendments. Mr. Speaker, that will conclude my remarks on the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise and speak on Bill No. 79, the amendments to the Elections Act. As not only the member for Richmond and the Justice Critic, I also have the privilege of being the chairman of the Select Committee on the Renewal of the Democratic Process, and the mandate is to find out why Nova Scotians have been resisting voting in the last number of elections and the fact that we see voter turnout declining with each election that is going by.

I have no doubt that hopefully these changes here being made to the Elections Act will assist in trying to encourage more participation in our democracy here in Nova Scotia. I have no doubt that once our select committee is done, there will probably be more recommendations for changes to the Elections Act as to what we can do, as legislators, to make sure the rules that are put in place are meant to encourage many Nova Scotians to vote.

When one looks at the Elections Act and one looks at the means by which it was put together, I believe it's safe to say that it was initially not only meant to ensure that elections were fair and transparent, but it was also based on the principle that you have to put rules in place to prevent people from being fraudulent in elections. More importantly, it was meant to put barriers to prevent people from voting twice or voting multiple times.

I remember when I grew up, at a very young age, the motto was very simple - " vote Liberal, vote often" (Interruptions) it's still the same motto in Richmond County from when I grew up and hopefully it will remain that motto for many years to come in Richmond

[Page 3810]

County. It was a joke, basically, Mr. Speaker, because Nova Scotians know they can only legally vote once, but in many ways the barriers have been put up. We've been changing some of the residency requirements, especially the way it impacted on students, the way it impacted new Nova Scotians, the way it impacted individuals who were moving into our province who suddenly were being told you haven't been here long enough to be able to vote - or if you moved from a rural area to the city, you haven't been in the city long enough to be able to vote there.

To me, very ridiculous rules in many ways because when one looks at how many Nova Scotians have not been voting, we really need to find ways of removing these barriers to allow as many Nova Scotians to vote as possible. So clearly, defining the role of the Chief Electoral Officer with the Electoral Commission is certainly an important step.

I do believe as well, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for those who serve on the Election Commission representing all political Parties, but when one looks at the numbers and the turnout in the last number of elections - I'm sure the Leader of the Official Opposition, when he sees the turnout for the member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage, it's nothing short of deplorable. That's not a reflection on the member - it's a reflection on that we've got a problem here, not only in Nova Scotia but I believe in Canada and so many other jurisdictions.

When you're seeing less than half of eligible voters turning out to vote; when one looks at the fact that the 52 members in this House decide how we're going to spend over $8 billion of taxpayers' money - and less than half of eligible voters take the time to go out and make a choice? We've got a serious problem.

So anything that we can do to speed up changes to the Elections Act. We've come a long way. The write-in ballot replacing the old proxy form has been a good move, but I can tell you, in rural areas it's still extremely difficult. I have one returning officer for all of Richmond County, and you, Mr. Speaker, know that if you're down in Gabarus or down in Fourchu and you want to drive to D'Escousse to see the returning officer to pick up the form, take it back home, have someone sign it, fill it in and bring it back to the returning officer- it's not practical and it's not happening.

[10:30 a.m.]

I know the Chief Electoral Officer in some ridings has tried to put in two returning officers or two returning officers or two sites, because of the large nature of those ridings, and that's an important step.

Mr. Speaker, when I look back a number of years ago, when I was in university and there was a federal election, I believe it might have been, it would have been the 1993 election, I voted in Halifax - I shouldn't say I voted here, but I wanted to vote in my riding

[Page 3811]

of Cape Breton-Canso at the time, and it simply took a phone call and through the Internet - I'm trying to remember which one it was, but basically within days, the ballot arrived at residence, I filled it in, sent it back and that was it. It was very user-friendly, it was very easy to do and I don't know why we don't have that system here in Nova Scotia right now and why we're not moving towards that system, that a simple phone call will get you a ballot in the mail.

That's what I think we need to move towards that system here, because of the rural nature of our riding, because of the busy lives people have, even though we've been making polling hours longer, more days when you can go and vote, there are still people who are not finding the time to be able to go and vote. I think we need to fast-forward changes to the Elections Act, and that's not a criticism of the Election Commission, but I would encourage them to move as quickly as possible to find new, innovative ways of getting Nova Scotians out to vote.

Mr. Speaker, one of the main elements of Bill No. 79 is dealing with what is commonly known as the rebates. The system we use in Nova Scotia, like in so many other jurisdictions, is that if you are a recognized candidate in a riding and you receive more than 15 per cent of the vote on election day, you are entitled to a rebate, which is based on a financial set amount of money per eligible voter in your riding. So, it's on all of your eligible voters, not just the ones who actually went out to vote.

Now, Mr. Speaker, that amount has been increasing over the last number of years and when you look at certain ridings, that can be a significant amount of money. In some ridings it's just under $20,000 that comes back to the candidates and in many ways to the riding associations, to be able to help cover the costs of the elections. Each candidate does it differently and each area does it differently. Some ridings actually rely upon that rebate to finance their campaign. They take out loans or they have some sort of guarantee or line of credit which they use, knowing that that rebate is coming at the end of the day. In my own case, we've never used a rebate in that sense, we've been fortunate enough to raise enough money and have the funds going into an election and have never put ourselves in that situation. In many cases candidates have no choice, their association may not be overly strong, it may not have the financial means and therefore they do rely on that rebate.

Mr. Speaker, once upon a time in this province, as I am sure the Leader of the Opposition knows well and I'm sure many of the members here in this House may long for that time and many Nova Scotians, we were a two-Party system and it was pretty much guaranteed that candidates would get their rebates. But we've now moved not only to a three-Party system, but we now have the introduction of a fourth recognized Party in our province. The effect of that has been that it is becoming more and more difficult for qualified candidates, recognized candidates, to be able to achieve that 15 per cent threshold. What happens today, in the last election, is that if you did not have 15 per cent plus one, you got nothing, not a cent.

[Page 3812]

Now, Mr. Speaker, let me tell you, when I look at our candidates in the last election, when I look at the candidates from other Parties, who found themselves between that 10 per cent and 15 per cent and were told - who worked so hard, who were on legitimate campaigns, were serious candidates - you'll receive nothing, I thought it was deplorable. I felt, and many in my Party felt, that we had to do something to try to find some way of providing some financial support for those legitimate candidates who had run serious campaigns and yet were receiving absolutely nothing for their efforts.

Mr. Speaker, this has placed a number of those candidates in those ridings in serious financial jeopardy. This is not a new issue, because I'm sure the Leader of the Opposition will recall not that many elections ago where we had situations of losing candidates, going public to say I've been left to personally cover my election debts because my riding association doesn't have the money, my Party is not prepared to put money in, and so I'm left to personally cover my election debts.

Mr. Speaker, what message does that send to that candidate about potentially running again? What message did it send to other perspective Nova Scotians, who said, maybe I would like to run for a Party, when they heard that story. It sent a chilling effect, that people said, wait a minute, do you mean to tell me that if I run in an election and I'm not successful and I don't reach the 15 per cent threshold, I'm going to be left personally responsible for the election debts.

Well, we know, Mr. Speaker, that most riding associations don't operate on that basis and most political Parties don't operate on that basis. I don't recall how that specific incident did get resolved. Maybe the Leader of the Official Opposition can tell me later how it was resolved but, needless to say, we don't want a situation like that to occur in this province where candidates are left with a sour taste in their mouth and even being held personally responsible for campaign debts that they incurred running on behalf of a recognized political Party here in this province. So it was our belief that it would have been responsible and reasonable to offer and to make changes that would have allowed the number of candidates, from all political Parties, that fell between that 10 per cent and 15 per cent threshold.

Mr. Speaker, I've listened to the comments from the Leader of the Official Opposition where he said it would be an affront to democracy to change the rules, to have retroactivity for the last election. If we change the rules, would it change the outcome? No. Would it change the standings here in the House of Assembly? No. Would there be an extra cost to taxpayers? There would. Would it enhance our democracy? I think it would and I'm not sure how you can put a price tag on that.

Maybe the Leader of the Official Opposition believes there's a price tag on that, but I don't think so and I have to say - you know the member for Dartmouth North thinks it's an affront to taxpayers. Maybe he can say that to his candidate from his Party, who fell within that 10 per cent and 15 per cent range, who got absolutely nothing in return. With all due

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respect to the Leader of the Official Opposition, to compare retroactivity of rebate in the last election to changing the rules on ballots, come on, there is stretching, and then there is really stretching, to try to use that sense of logic. Needless to say, Mr. Speaker, I'm personally disappointed that we are not going forward with the retroactivity.

We do support that we are moving down to 10 per cent. I do believe with four recognized political Parties in this province and with a number of ridings where we see independents offer, I think moving down to 10 per cent is a reasonable move. It reflects what the federal government does and at the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, anything that we can do, through the Elections Act, to recognize and to support legitimate candidates who come forward - and again the reason that there was a threshold to start off with, of 15 percent, I believe was to try to discourage frivolous candidates from being able to receive taxpayer-funded money for what might have been frivolous type campaigns. Today, I think it's time to recognize that we do have a three-Party system, four-Party system in some cases, and as a result, it makes it that much more difficult for candidates to reach the 15 per cent threshold.

I do believe 10 per cent is a reasonable approach and, Mr. Speaker, again, this may be an issue this House will have to revisit again in the future, of whether it's time to move to an even lower per cent, because as we continue to see more Parties, as we continue to see a minority government situation here in our province, I believe it's something that needs to be looked at and something that needs to be changed. So with those comments, again, we certainly do support the changes. Moving from 15 per cent limit for the rebates down to 10 per cent is a most reasonable approach. Our Party felt that making it retroactive to the last election would have been a reasonable approach as well, to assist those candidates and those riding associations financially so that, once again, they will be in a position to be able to put forward candidates and run reasonable campaigns next time.

At the end of the day, Mr. Speaker, part of our job, I believe, is to make sure that we give the support necessary to political organizations in our province, because it is they who guarantee that when you go vote, there's more than one name on that ballot. If we forget about these riding associations and if the member for Dartmouth North doesn't believe that we should be giving financial assistance to these riding associations, he is feeding in, I believe, to a theory that one day we may find ourselves with only one name on the ballot.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that would be an absolute shame and it is our job to support these electoral associations, of all political Parties, so that Nova Scotians continue to have a choice, they continue to be able to choose who they wish to represent them. This year we're celebrating the 250th year of our democracy. I do believe this bill is a symbol of strengthening that democracy. We feel we could have strengthened it even more by allowing and keeping that retroactivity provision in there. Certainly we will be supporting the bill as it goes and maybe in the future we will see additional changes as well.

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With that, Mr. Speaker, we will be voting in favour of Bill No. 79 moving forward to second reading and to Law Amendments Committee.

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

The honourable Minister of Finance.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's my honour to rise and close debate on second reading of the bill. First of all, I'd like to thank members of both Opposition Parties for their comments with respect to the bill. I appreciate the support of both caucuses for the bill moving on to Law Amendments Committee.

I would like to briefly address something that the honourable member for Richmond addressed, which was the issue of turnout in elections. This is an issue that we're all struggling with, as people who are obviously intimately interested in democracy and who want to support the democratic process. It was very interesting while they were here, there was a school group on an exchange visit from Holland who were actually visiting Lunenburg and attended the Legislature here in Halifax and had the opportunity to receive Democracy 250 - or as they were shown on the bags, D250 - backpacks, through the kind offices of the Speaker.

They asked me what Democracy 250 was and I explained that it was an initiative by all Parties represented in the Legislative Assembly to increase the level of participation in elections, but that particularly it was identifying younger voters as the most under-represented group of electors in elections. It was interesting to see how positive their reaction was to this kind of initiative and how they believed it was an important initiative to do because they recognized that the right to vote was so important. Particularly in a place like Holland, that had a period of occupation during the Second World War and so forth, you truly get an appreciation.

We have 250 years of unbroken democracy in Nova Scotia, indeed in Canada, and only when you see through the eyes of people who at least live in a country where that unbroken democratic tradition is not so long, that you truly appreciate how much you appreciate it. I think that obviously the committee that the honourable member for Richmond chairs, the select committee, and other initiatives, both from the Election Commission and otherwise, which improve our democratic processes, give people real choices. They feel they have real choices in elections, very fundamental to that democratic process.

So thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and with that I move second reading of Bill No. 79.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 79. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

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The motion is carried.

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

The honourable member for Pictou East on an introduction.

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's a pleasure for me to rise in the House and recognize some special people that we have with us today. No stranger to this House is Tim Olive, a former MLA, who is here as the spokesperson for the Motorcycle Ride for Dad in aid of prostate cancer. I understand that's taking place on June 14th but we're going to get all the details downstairs in just a few moments at 11:00 a.m., it's my understanding. I know in an introduction I can't make too many comments but also in the gallery, in your gallery, is Paul MacNeil, who is involved with corporate fundraising for the Ride For Dad; also my daughter Jyl MacKinnon, who is with the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation; and they've also been joined by another gentleman. I would like all four to stand and receive the war welcome of this House and we look forward to the 11:00 a.m. announcement. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 167.

Bill No. 167 - Technical Safety Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Labour and Workforce Development.

HON. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, I had an opportunity to elaborate when I introduced the bill. What the bill does is it modernizes and helps clarify three other Acts as well as two other, the Fire Safety and Steam Boiler Act. It has had extensive discussion with stakeholders and I would be very interested now to hear comments from the critics of the other Parties. With that, I move second reading of Bill No. 167.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, certainly this is a piece of legislation that will hopefully improve and enhance the technical safety in a variety of settings. We've seen an incident of a boiler, in one of our regional health authorities, erupt not so long ago and thankfully nobody was injured in that particular incident. We have constantly concerns I think on many work sites, crane operators. We have workmen every day working around dangerous chemicals and in conditions where they're dealing with electricity, wiring, refrigeration. All kinds of components in industrial and other forms of workplaces. This is a piece of legislation that is designed to educate and improve the technical safety of members of our workforce.

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Certainly, Mr. Speaker, in a way, this is kind of an amalgamation of previous pieces of legislation to attempt to streamline, but make more effective, occupational health and safety in various settings. This is a piece of legislation that this caucus certainly supports going forward and we look forward to hear any representations at the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, it's with great pleasure I speak on this bill. This is a subject very dear to my heart after running a manufacturing business for 18 years in this province. I'm pleased with the bill. I think the bill is a positive step forward. However, there are many, many issues around trades training in this province that I think have gone amiss over the last several years. I believe that our technical schools are not up to the challenge any more. They've watered down the programs so badly in some of the cases that when you get an apprentice in your business, you have to completely retrain them and that's an awful statement to have to make but I can tell you from experience it's a fact.

Once in awhile you're very fortunate to get a very bright young individual, either a young man or a young woman, to come to your business and despite the watering down of the training, you've indeed got an excellent employee. Not that all the students who come out of there aren't excellent employees, but it takes some people a little bit longer to learn a trade and some of the trades are very complex and very difficult to learn, so you have to have a process in place that indeed makes it possible for these young people to get the best start they possibly can in industry.

Industry is very competitive. I was reading in the paper today that in Canada we used to be 85 per cent as productive as the American manufacturing and processing industry was and recently we fell down to 75 per cent. Well, that's not acceptable in today's economy when we have to have young people come forward and make our industries grow.

For so long, this province has pushed young people into university - there's nothing wrong with that, I think that's excellent and I think we have the best universities in the world here in Nova Scotia and some of the best professionals that there are, teaching in those universities. However, on the other hand, I feel that the technical training in the province has, in a lot of cases, really slipped. I think that the province really has to look at this, when you get someone from high school, and you can even start at the high school, and you find that you get young people coming out who can't read or write, how can you ever expect them to go to a technical training institution or to university and proceed through the programs and, indeed, excel at what they do?

We've got very bright young people in this province and they really need a solid start. So many times, I've seen people come into my business who really shouldn't have been trained in the positions they were trained for, they should have been sorted out sooner. I

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remember one year, we always used to take co-operative students in the training program from the local schools, community colleges, and my shop foreman, who was a graduate of the Dartmouth Community College, came to me one time and said, we've got a student, I just simply don't have the time to waste with this student.

Now this student was in the second year of a two-year program. I said, well, call the instructor and tell him to come and get him. So he did just that. The instructor said, this has never happened before. Well, you sent us a student who was incapable of doing any kind of work. He is in the second year of your program and you expect him to come to an industry such as ours - we are very competitive, we're competing on the international market - and work in our shop? We don't have time to babysit people. We will do some training, but we don't have time to train somebody from zero, and that's where this young individual is at. As far as we're concerned, you should probably fail him out of the second year and do him a favour, or take him back a third year, which there was no provision for whatsoever, and give him an opportunity to make a living for himself and his family, as time goes on.

So he did that and at the end of it the student came back to us and said, without your endorsement, I can't graduate. Well, we didn't give the endorsement. At the time he thought we were pretty miserable people, but I can tell you, we couldn't give an endorsement because another business would have hired that individual and they would have been no good at that job either. Really, it did more harm to the individual in the short term, and long term, if we had said okay, here's a letter that you did okay, we would have, in fact, been lying.

After that, they did send us better quality students. I don't know if they hand-picked the students out of the program or what they did, but they did send us better students after that. In fairness to the program, I hired a lot of students from the different community colleges and we did receive a tremendous number of excellent students and excellent employees who worked in our company.

The technology today is so intense and there is so much to learn. For instance, in my business, we're training machinists and a machinist takes eight years to train - eight years. If you short-circuit that by giving a student a six-month course, or a two-year course with all summer off, Christmas off, March break off and everything else off, not really preparing them for industry when you go there and you work with two weeks vacation - if you're lucky you get five statutory holidays, which pretty well everyone gets - and then you have to work overtime in the meantime to get the work done and make sure it's done and done accurately, you've got a big problem on your hands.

That has not been happening in this province. Until that changes in this province, we won't grow our manufacturing industry, we won't grow our economy and real export sales, and that has to change. I've spoken with the president of the community colleges here, a very wonderful and intelligent lady, who I believe is doing an excellent job and a job trying to train young people in this province to ensure they have a career in Nova Scotia, have a career

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that will help the economy grow and have a career that will help them earn enough money so they can raise a family and do all the things we as Nova Scotians want to do.

Unfortunately, if you don't give the young people the skills and the ability to learn and the excitement of being able to produce things that come with being a tradesperson, that will never happen. That's a crime for all of us, that's a crime for everyone in the province. We have seniors who need to be looked after and we have individuals who have to make a living as they get older. You take a young person and you don't give them the right opportunity and the right training, they can't do anything to help their family now or down the road.

As we move into the computer age, everyone says to go into computers. Well, today in manufacturing, probably 50, 60, 75 per cent of what you do today are computers, so you have to have computer technology. You also have to have all types of other technology and ability when you go to work in the workforce. You get a good tradesperson and they can get a job anywhere. Absolutely anywhere.

The policy I used to have in my business was, if someone walked in my door and said I'm a machinist, I'd hire them on the spot with no references, no resumé, nothing. Because for the last, probably 50 years, there has been a shortage of machinists in this province. Anyone who doesn't know what a machinist is, everything you touch that's manufactured or made, someplace, somewhere a machinist has either made the tooling for it, made the part itself, or made something to make that part. That's a fact. It's the only trade in this world that can say that.

They build the equipment the carpenters use to build houses with. They build the tooling to build parts for computers - they do all those things. Without highly skilled people in our community, those jobs won't come to Nova Scotia and they're not coming to Nova Scotia right now. As the government said the other day, I think it's $1.86 for every dollar they invested in industry.

Well, if you can export, it used to be $1 to $7 benefit to Nova Scotia. That's a huge change. The less and less we export, less and less money comes into Nova Scotia, the less our economy grows. When we look at 90 per cent - I don't know the exact number, I shouldn't say 90 per cent, the exact number, people in Nova Scotia now are in the service industry. The service industry is badly needed. We need professionals in that industry, but unfortunately, it doesn't grow our economy.

The only one of the service industry that grows our economy is tourism. We've seen tourism shrinking in Nova Scotia, for all different reasons, but it's shrinking.

We really have to look at the basic things like manufacturing. With technology today, we can be as competitive in Nova Scotia as you can anyplace in the world. But you need to

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have the highly-skilled, motivated young people coming out of the technical universities and colleges who can make that happen. If you don't do that, our economy is going to die.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to adjourn the debate and take my place until the next time this bill is called. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is to adjourn the debate.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Deputy Government House Leader.

MR. CHUCK PORTER: Mr. Speaker, that concludes the government's business for today. I would move the House do now rise to meet again on Monday where the hours will be from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. After the daily routine, Public Bills for Second Reading, Bill Nos. 126, 133,148, 151, 168, 176, 179, 181 and 182. Following that and given time, Private Members' Bills for Second Reading, Bill Nos. 29, 100, 150, 162 and 170.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House do now rise to meet again on Monday at the hour of 2:00 p.m.

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 House rose at 10:59 a.m.]

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NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 3411

By: Hon. Michael Baker (Finance)

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

Whereas participation by students in school sport programs has been shown to increase a student's likelihood of graduation, improve their school attendance and increase their success after graduation, as well as reduce discipline problems; and

Whereas the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation annually provides awards to one male athlete, one female athlete and a coach from each school in Nova Scotia who have demonstrated excellence in both sport and education; and

Whereas Michael O'Hearon, a coach from New Germany Rural High School in New Germany, Nova Scotia, has been selected to receive the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Celebration of School Sport Award for 2007-2008;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Michael O'Hearon on receiving the 2007-2008 Celebration of Sport Award.