The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House adjourned:
October 26, 2017.

HANSARD 08-46

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

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2008

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 5045, Van der Horden, Diane/Salvation Army: Work - Congrats.,
The Premier 5148
Vote - Affirmative 5149
Res. 5046, Macdonald, Mickey & Colin/Yorke, Brendan -
Cdn. Red Cross Award, The Premier 5149
Vote - Affirmative 5149
Res. 5047, Acker, Randy - Coun. for Fam. (N.S.) Award,
Hon. J. Streatch 5149
Vote - Affirmative 5150
Res. 5048, Operation Red Nose: Insurance Bureau of Can./Vols./Police -
Recognize, Hon. M. Scott 5150
Vote - Affirmative 5151
Res. 5049, Libby, Freeman: Pub./Commun. Serv. - Congrats.,
Hon. R. Chisholm 5151
Vote - Affirmative 5152
Res. 5050, Joggins Fossil Ctr.: Environmental Sustainability - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Parent 5152
Vote - Affirmative 5152
Res. 5051, HPP/DHAs: Breastfeeding - Support Applaud,
Hon. B. Barnet 5153
Vote - Affirmative 5154
Res. 5052, C-Vision: Energy-Efficient Street Lights - Congrats.,
Hon. M. Parent 5154
Vote - Affirmative 5154
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 217, Utility and Review Board Act, Hon. M. Baker 5155
No. 218, Employment Support and Income Assistance Act,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 5155
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 5053, Justice: Court Security - Improve,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5155
Res. 5054, MacDonald, Colin & Mickey - Cdn. Red Cross Award,
Mr. S. McNeil 5156
Vote - Affirmative 5156
Res. 5055, Hashem, Peter, Sr.: Crime Stoppers - Vol. Work,
Mr. C. Porter 5156
Vote - Affirmative 5157
Res. 5056, Noble, Bruce & Sandy - E. Hants & Dist. CC Award,
Mr. J. MacDonell 5157
Vote - Affirmative 5158
Res. 5057, Lung Assoc.: Christmas Seals Campaign - Anniv. (100th),
Mr. Manning MacDonald 5158
Vote - Affirmative 5159
Res. 5058, Mid. River Hist. Soc.: Spirit - Compliment,
Mr. K. Bain 5159
Vote - Affirmative 5159
Res. 5059, Pictou Lobster Carnival: Organizing Comm. Vols. - Congrats.,
Mr. C. Parker 5159
Vote - Affirmative 5160
Res. 5060, Prem.: Econ. Update - Request,
Mr. M. Samson 5160
Res. 5061, Loane, Cindy/Matthew 25: Kindness - Applaud,
Mr. C. Porter 5161
Vote - Affirmative 5162
Res. 5062, Educ.: Sch. Bd. Communications Strategy - Develop,
Mr. P. Paris 5162
Res. 5063, Simmons, Barbara Ann: Work - Recognize,
Mr. K. Colwell 5162
Vote - Affirmative 5163
Res. 5064, Mid. River Highlands Sr. Club: Work - Recognize,
Mr. K. Bain 5163
Vote - Affirmative 5164
Res. 5065, Nickerson, Aaron - Golf Trophy,
Mr. S. Belliveau 5164
Vote - Affirmative 5165
Res. 5066, Cdn. Diabetes Assoc. - Recognize,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 5165
Vote - Affirmative 5165
Res. 5067, N.S. Music Week (New Glasgow) - Congrats.,
Mr. P. Dunn 5165
Vote - Affirmative 5166
Res. 5068, Burke, Larry/Cdn. Lyme Disease Fdn.: Efforts - Congrats.,
Mr. C. MacKinnon 5166
Vote - Affirmative 5167
Res. 5069, Prem./Fin. Min.: Econ. Update - Present,
Ms. D. Whalen 5167
Res. 5070, Grant, Alex: Pittsburgh Penguins - Signing Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 5168
Vote - Affirmative 5168
Res. 5071, Hammonds Plans Baseball Assoc.: Assoc. of Yr. - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5169
Vote - Affirmative 5169
Res. 5072, SMU Huskies Football: Mitchell Bowl - Best Wishes,
Mr. W. Gaudet 5169
Vote - Affirmative 5170
Res. 5073, LeBlanc, Cyrille - Légere-Comeau Cert. of Merit,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 5170
Vote - Affirmative 5171
Res. 5074, Remembrance Day: Veterans/Fallen Soldiers - Honour,
Mr. E. Fage 5172
Vote - Affirmative 5172
Res. 5075, McNally, Russell & Margaree - Woodlot Owners of Yr.,
Mr. L. Glavine 5172
Vote - Affirmative 5173
Res. 5076, Wolter, Mattias: Athletic Accomplishments - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 5173
Vote - Affirmative 5174
Res. 5077, Bishop, Murray Herron - Chief Scout Award,
Mr. H. Theriault 5174
Vote - Affirmative 5174
Res. 5078, Dhir, Prem - Remarkable Sr. Award,
Hon. J. Muir 5175
Vote - Affirmative 5175
Res. 5079, Hallee, Mayor Jerry: Retirement - Congrats.,
Mr. E. Fage 5175
Vote - Affirmative 5176
Res. 5080, Prem.: Econ. Update - Provide,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 5176
Res. 5081, Lantz, Kathy - Apprenticeship Award of Excellence,
Hon. C. Clarke 5177
Vote - Affirmative 5177
Res. 5082, Carvery, Irvine: Hfx. Reg. Sch. Bd. Chair - Election Congrats.,
Mr. K. Colwell 5178
Vote - Affirmative 5178
Res. 5083, Valley Bulldogs Men's Rugby Team - Prov. Champions,
Hon. D. Morse 5178
Vote - Affirmative 5179
Res. 5084, Healthcare Facility: Glace Bay Hosp. Fdn. -
Generosity Congrats., Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 5179
Vote - Affirmative 5180
Res. 5085, MacDonald, Claudine: Anne of Green Gables Quilt Comp -
2nd Place, Hon. M. Parent 5180
Vote - Affirmative 5180
Res. 5086, Price, Travis/Shepherd, David: Commitment - Recognize,
Mr. L. Glavine 5181
Vote - Affirmative 5181
Res. 5087, Digby Neck Sea Scouts - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Theriault 5181
Vote - Affirmative 5182
Res. 5088, Wile, Councillor Mary/Allen, Don: Remembrance Day Ceremony -
Clayton Park West, Ms. D. Whalen 5182
Vote - Affirmative 5183
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 443, Health - ERs: RNs - Turnover Rates, Mr. D. Dexter 5183
No. 444, Justice: Correctional Services - Safety, Mr. S. McNeil 5184
No. 445, TIR - Cobequid Pass (Hwy. No. 104): CIT Financial - Problems,
Mr. D. Dexter 5185
No. 446, TIR - Cobequid Pass Toll Section: Deal - Address,
Mr. D. Dexter 5187
No. 447, Prem. - Econ. Downturn: Time Frame - Confirm,
Mr. S. McNeil 5189
No. 448, Health: Renal Strategy - Dev. Details,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 5190
No. 449, Nat. Res.: Roadkill - Removal, Mr. W. Estabrooks 5191
No. 450, Econ. Dev.: Precision Finish Components - Layoffs,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 5193
No. 451, Environ. - North Preston: Illegal Dump - Remove,
Mr. G. Steele 5194
No. 452, Health: Wait Times Reduction Fund - Details,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 5196
No. 453, Justice: Correctional Officers - Stab-Proof Vests,
^^Mr. D. Dexter 5198
No. 454, Educ. - Univ. Dropout Rate - Explain, Mr. L. Preyra 5199
No. 455, TIR: Crosswalk Safety & Awareness - Actions,
Mr. W. Gaudet 5200
No. 456, Prem.: Arts Funding (Gov't. Can.) - Reinstatement,
Ms. M. Raymond 5202
No. 457, Nat. Res.: Hardwood - Availability, Mr. C. Parker 5203
No. 458, Econ. Dev.: pomegranatephone.ca - Marketing Campaign,
Mr. Manning MacDonald 5205
No. 459, Health: Roseway Hosp. - ER Closures, Mr. S. Belliveau 5206
No. 460, Com. Serv.: Soc. Assistance - Basic Allowance Raises,
Mr. T. Zinck 5208
No. 461, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Relations: Energy Rebate Form - Details,
Mr. W. Gaudet 5209
No. 462, Health: Scotia Surgery - Profit Margin,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 5211
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. No. 3019, Energy: Budget (N.S. 2008-09) -
Electricity Tax Hike (Mr. D. Dexter) 5212
Mr. D. Dexter 5212
Hon. W. Dooks 5214
Mr. M. Samson 5217
Mr. F. Corbett 5220
Res. No. 4511, Fish. & Aquaculture: Lobster Licensing - Fed. Min. Contact,
(Mr. S. Belliveau) 5222
Mr. S. Belliveau 5222
Hon. R. Chisholm 5225
Mr. H. Theriault 5229
Mr. C. MacKinnon 5232
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Educ.: Mi'kmaq Agreement - Significance:
Hon. J. Muir 5236
Mr. J. MacDonell 5238
Mr. L. Glavine 5241
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to rise again on Thur., Nov. 13th at 12:00 noon 5243
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 5089, Rowe, Andrew: N.S. HS Football League - Defensive MVP,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5244
Res. 5090, Backman, Brett: N.S. HS Football League - Special Team Player,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5244
Res. 5091, Naugler, Dave: N.S. HS Football League - Top Lineman,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5244
Res. 5092, Deleon, Andrew: N.S. HS Football League - Offensive MVP,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5245
Res. 5093, Ivory, Kelsey - Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5245
Res. 5094, Shea, Ashley - Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5246
Res. 5095, Pothier, Amy - Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5246
Res. 5096, Cohoon, Natasha - Duke of Edinburgh's Award,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 5247
Res. 5097, Weir, Jason: Afghanistan - Best Regards,
Mr. P. Dunn 5247
Res. 5098, Seacoast Physiotherapy: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5248
Res. 5099, Beauty Queen Salon Spa & Tanning: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5248
Res. 5100, Bellwether Healthcare Solutions Inc.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5248
Res. 5101, DeMone Monuments & Granite Products Ltd.: Contributions -
Applaud, Hon. W. Dooks 5249
Res. 5102, Dog Luv - Dog Wash Serv. & Supplies: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5249
Res. 5103, DKs Concrete Serv.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5250
Res. 5104, John Burgoyne Drum Lessons: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5250
Res. 5105, Eastern Shore Optical: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5251
Res. 5106, East. Shore Vet. Hosp.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5251
Res. 5107, Faulkner Insurance Agency: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5251
Res. 5108, Fine Line Silkscreening Ltd.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5252
Res. 5109, Hbr. Health Clinic: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5252
Res. 5110, Judy's Footcare: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5253
Res. 5111, KTL Accounting Serv.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5253
Res. 5112, M & E Legal Services: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5254
Res. 5113, Karen Belanger Massage Therapy: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5254
Res. 5114, Myra Jerome East. Shore Law Ctr.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5254
Res. 5115, Nancy Lobban Certified General Accountant:
Contributions - Applaud, Hon. W. Dooks 5255
Res. 5116, Mann Baker Carpentry: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5255
Res. 5117, Mainly Maintenance Inc.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5256
Res. 5118, OceanVu Records Ltd.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5256
Res. 5119, Porter's Lake Chiropractic Health Ctr.: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5257
Res. 5120, Painter for Hire Trent Exley: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5257
Res. 5121, Robie's Auto Body Repair & Refinishing: Contributions -
Applaud, Hon. W. Dooks 5257
Res. 5122, Reid's Sewing & Fabric Solutions: Contributions -
Applaud, Hon. W. Dooks 5258
Res. 5123, R. Keizer's Auto Clinic: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5258
Res. 5124, Rawlings Funeral Home: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5259
Res. 5125, ScotiaCare Home and Caregivers: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5259
Res. 5126, Seameadow: Contributions - Applaud,
Hon. W. Dooks 5260

[Page 5147]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2008

Sixtieth General Assembly

Second Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Alfie MacLeod

DEPUTY SPEAKER

Mr. Wayne Gaudet

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The draw for the late debate has been submitted by the honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations:

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the significance of the signing this past Friday of an historic agreement that will improve educational opportunities for Nova Scotia's Mi'kmaq students.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

[Page 5148]

5147

[Page 5149]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD (The Premier): Mr. Speaker, if you might permit me to do an introduction prior to my resolution.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, in your gallery I would like to draw the attention of members of the House to a very special guest, Diane van der Horden. Diane is Public Relations and Development Manager for the Salvation Army's Maritime Division. I would ask her, as well as Deborah Bayer from Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, to rise in their place and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 5045

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

Whereas the Salvation Army has been active in Nova Scotia communities from Yarmouth to North Sydney for over 123 years, and for all those years has demonstrated compassion and commitment to helping families and communities during times of need; and

Whereas the Salvation Army continues to be the lynchpin for the Good Neighbour Program that will help more than 2,000 families this winter deal with the high costs of home heating and to stay warm; and

Whereas the Salvation Army has joined with Nova Scotia Power, the Canadian Oil Heat Association and the provincial government, to expand help to those in need;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate and extend our thanks to the Salvation Army and, in particular, Diane van der Horden, for the hard work and dedication to the health and well-being of Nova Scotians in need.

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 5150]

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 5046

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

Whereas tonight the Canadian Red Cross, Atlantic Region, will again honour outstanding citizens through its Humanitarian Award; and

Whereas the 2008 award will go to brothers Mickey and Colin MacDonald, who have not only worked hard to become successful businessmen but have always remembered to reinvest back into their communities in countless ways; and

Whereas the society's Young Humanitarian Award will go to Brendan Yorke, whose list of accomplishments in terms of helping others here and around the globe belies his young age of 18;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House thank the Canadian Red Cross for continuing to highlight the achievements of caring Nova Scotians and applaud the 2008 recipients, Mickey and Colin MacDonald and Brendan Yorke.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Community Services.

RESOLUTION NO. 5047

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

[Page 5151]

Whereas Randy Acker, District Manager of the Lunenburg District Office with the Department of Community Services, was recognized by the Nova Scotia Council for the Family with the Achievement of Excellence Award, at a ceremony in October; and

Whereas this award was presented in recognition of the outstanding contribution Randy has made to improving the lives of vulnerable children, youth and families in the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Randy's commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable children and families provides a superb model for Community Services staff to follow;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Randy Acker and recognize his contribution on behalf of children, youth and families 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 Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.

RESOLUTION NO. 5048

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

Whereas alcohol was the leading contributing factor to fatal collisions in our province last year; and

Whereas the Insurance Bureau of Canada is launching the 2008 Operation Red Nose Campaign; and

Whereas the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has taken a number of proactive steps over the last few years, through legislation, education and enforcement, to get impaired drivers off our roads;

[Page 5152]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize Bill Adams and the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Operation Red Nose volunteers and the police agencies for their commitment to ensuring our communities are safe by keeping impaired drivers off our roads at Christmas time of the year.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

RESOLUTION NO. 5049

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

Whereas Mr. Freeman Libby, a former Regional Director with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, is retiring afer 35 years of federal public service; and

Whereas Mr. Libby contributed significantly to the health and safety of seafood consumers in Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada and nationally, through the implementation of inspection programs, fostering partnerships and promoting team work throughout his career; and

Whereas Mr. Libby has actively supported his community in various organizations over the years, including minor hockey, the Rotary Club and SKATE Yarmouth, by serving in a number of roles and positions with those organizations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mr. Libby on his years of public and community service to the Province of Nova Scotia and offer him best wishes in his retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 5153]

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

[Page 5154]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 5050

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

Whereas the volunteers and staff of the Joggins Fossil Centre worked to build one of the most sustainable buildings in Atlantic Canada; and

Whereas staff at the Joggins Fossil Centre presented at the Green Power Hour in Joggins about their desire to create a building that is sustainable, cost effective to operate, and reduces the environmental footprint; and

Whereas their presentation inspired those in attendance to be better environmental stewards and to consider the environment in their decision making;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the people of Nova Scotia in congratulating Joggins Fossil Centre for their leadership and innovation in environmental sustainability.

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 Promotion and Protection.

[Page 5155]

[2:15 p.m.]

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I'd like to make an introduction.

MR. SPEAKER: Please do.

MR. BARNET: Before reading my resolution, I'd like to draw to members' attention, in the east gallery, we have with us some staff from Health Promotion and Protection: Tina Swinamer is HPP's coordinator of Early Childhood Nutrition, and Kathy Inkpen is the coordinator of Family Health. Along with Tina and Kathy is Heather Christian, the director of Healthy Development, and Andrew Preeper, one of our communications staff. If they could rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause) They are the subject of the resolution that I'm about to read.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Health Promotion and Protection.

RESOLUTION NO. 5051

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

Whereas Nova Scotia was the only province invited to share information with over 100 health care professionals representing health units, associations and organizations across Ontario; and

Whereas Nova Scotia was recognized for the development of a provincial breast-feeding policy and policy support, including peer support programs, the development of a social marketing campaign, and working at the local level with district health authorities; and

Whereas breast-feeding has proven benefits for babies and mothers, and encouraging women to breast-feed and supporting their decision will ultimately improve the health of Nova Scotians;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the House applaud the work of my department and the district health authorities to promote, protect and support breast-feeding in the province.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 5156]

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 5052

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

Whereas the staff at C-Vision in Amherst are building an LED street light that performs better than the traditional street light and that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and

Whereas this street light uses 50 per cent less energy than conventional street lights, lasts longer, is free of hazardous substances, and is recyclable; and

Whereas their presentation at Green Power Hour in Joggins, in August, is proof that Nova Scotia companies can be international leaders in the global green economy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join the people of Nova Scotia in congratulating C-Vision for their innovation, foresight and determination to produce one of the most energy-efficient street lights of its kind in the world.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley.

[Page 5157]

MS. MARILYN MORE: Thank you. I draw my colleagues' attention to the west gallery where we've been joined by members of the paralegal program from the Waterfront Campus of Nova Scotia Community College and their instructor, Kevin MacLean. I ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome from members. (Applause)

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 217 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 11 of the Acts of 1992. The Utility and Review Board Act. (Hon. Michael Baker)

Bill No. 218 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 27 of the Acts of 2000. The Employment Support and Income Assistance Act. (Mr. Manning MacDonald)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 5053

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

Whereas it is essential that our courts are safe and secure at all times for all involved; and

Whereas sheriff's deputies, during recent temporary use of metal detectors at the Halifax Provincial Courthouse, confiscated weapons ranging from knives, to an imitation gun; and

Whereas Crown Attorneys want metal detectors to be installed permanently;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature support the request of Crown Attorneys to improve court security with the installation of necessary metal detectors.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

[Page 5158]

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 5054

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

Whereas the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Awards are presented annually to individuals who have gone above and beyond in their support of the Canadian Red Cross; and

Whereas this year's Nova Scotia co-recipients are eminent businessmen Colin and Mickey MacDonald; and

Whereas tonight they will be recognized for their continuous support of the Canadian Red Cross and their many charitable contributions at the Canadian Red Cross Humanitarian Awards Dinner;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Colin and Mickey MacDonald on receiving this prestigious award, and thank them for their continuous efforts in supporting the Canadian Red Cross.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 5055

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

[Page 5159]

Whereas Peter Hashem, Sr. of Windsor was recently recognized by the Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers Association for his active work in wanting to prevent crime; and

Whereas Peter joined Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers two years ago, and travels approximately 200 kilometres a day on his 1800 Gold Wing motorcycle with a sole purpose in mind - the prevention of crime; and

Whereas Peter can be spotted almost anywhere in a large section of the Annapolis Valley on his motorcycle, in a strictly volunteer position, as he takes no money or donations;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the significant importance of volunteer work undertaken by individuals such as Peter Hashem of Windsor, and wish him every future 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 Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 5056

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

Whereas new businesses require from their owners vision, dedication, smarts and much hard work; and

Whereas Noble Music has established itself as a significant player on the local music scene in Hants East; and

Whereas on October 21, 2008, Mr. and Mrs. Bruce and Sandy Noble were awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Hants East and District Chamber of Commerce;

[Page 5160]

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Bruce and Sandy Noble on their Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Hants East and District Chamber of Commerce, and wish them success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

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. 5057

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

Whereas the Lung Association is celebrating the 100th Anniversary of its Christmas Seals program; and

Whereas the Christmas Seals campaign began in 1908 as a grassroots fundraiser to help people suffering from tuberculosis; and

Whereas to this day, the Christmas Seals campaign brings in much needed funding for researchers who are looking for better treatment and cures for lung diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate the Lung Association for 100 years of successful fundraising through their annual Christmas Seals campaign.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 5161]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 5058

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 Middle River Historical Society has been playing an integral role within the community for more than two decades; and

Whereas the Middle River Historical Society was involved in the development of the bicentennial logo during celebrations in 2006; and

Whereas the Middle River Historical Society presently uses the community school and local CAP site for their monthly meetings;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly compliment the spirit of the Middle River Historical Society for their appreciation of the history of their local area, and congratulate Chairman Donald Nicholson, Vice-Chairman Mabel E. Nicholson, Treasurer Peggy MacLeod, and all the directors of the society for their outstanding work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 5059

[Page 5162]

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

Whereas the Pictou Lobster Carnival was very successful during July 2008 with great weather, large crowds, and many new family events; and

Whereas some of the lobster carnival highlights included the Great Pictou Treasure Hunt, musical entertainment, boat races, the Children's Parade, Mardi Gras Parade, and the "Glutton for Punishment" TV crew for the Food Network on-site; and

Whereas 2009 will be a banner year for the Pictou Lobster Carnival as we will be celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the carnival;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate the volunteers of the organizing committee of the Pictou Lobster Carnival for a successful year, and wish all involved the very best as they plan for the 75th Anniversary in 2009.

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 Richmond.

RESOLUTION NO. 5060

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

Whereas in recent months, financial institutions throughout the country have expressed concern as to where our economy is heading; and

Whereas just this week the economic forecasting firm, Global Insight, suggested that the looming recession could result in as many as 100,000 lost jobs; and

[Page 5163]

Whereas despite incoming information to the contrary, the Premier still believes that we are six to eight months away from economic trouble in this province;

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier request that an economic update be tabled to provide Nova Scotians with a clear idea of what is happening in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The motion is tabled.

The honourable member for Hants West.

RESOLUTION NO. 5061

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

Whereas earlier this summer in the month of July, Matthew 25, in conjunction with the Windsor Food Bank, recognized thirty years of assisting the Windsor-West Hants area in times of need; and

Whereas Matthew 25 assists approximately 400 individuals every month with various forms of assistance, whether it be clothes and furniture following a sudden fire or helping those less fortunate at Christmas; and

Whereas Matthew 25 Chair Cindy Loane, is one who recognizes the importance of Matthew 25 first-hand after her mother and father and family members lost everything in a fire;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this historic Chamber of Province House applaud the kindness shown by residents of Hants West, along with individuals such as Cindy Loane for her work and organizational efforts with Matthew 25.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 5164]

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. 5062

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

Whereas municipal elections held in October, 2008, had a low voter turnout with just 37 per cent of eligible voters in Halifax Regional Municipality casting a ballot; and

Whereas voter participation in school board elections was even lower than voter participation in municipal elections; and

Whereas locally elected, locally accountable school board members play an important role in shaping school governance and giving citizens a direct voice in public education;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly call on the provincial government to help develop a sustained communications strategy to assist school board members and candidates to more effectively publicize their platforms and priorities to the electorate.

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.

[2:30 p.m.]

The honourable member for Preston.

[Page 5165]

RESOLUTION NO. 5063

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

Whereas for 13 years Barbara Ann Simmons has been a leader in her community of North Preston, serving the RCMP as the first African -Nova Scotian female civilian diversity consultant in Canada; and

Whereas throughout her career, Ms. Simmons helped be a link between the RCMP and the African Nova Scotian community, helping establish a Community Constable program in North Preston, East Preston and Cherry Brook; and

Whereas recently the community held a farewell party to say thank you to Ms. Simmons who's moving to Baltimore with her new husband;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly recognize the work of Barbara Ann Simmons and wish her the very best as she starts her new life in Baltimore.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 5064

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 Middle River Highlands Seniors Club is an exuberant group of active individuals; and

Whereas the Middle River Highlands Seniors Club was honoured in 2004 by Florence Burke being named as an outstanding volunteer by the Municipality of Victoria; and

[Page 5166]

Whereas the Middle River Highlands Seniors Club has a strong executive under President Lawrence (Lonnie) Dowe, Vice-President Don Morrison, Treasurer Shirley Hart, Secretary and Recognized Agent Florence Maccuspic and Directors Maynard Burke, Allison MacLeod, Elmer Gale and Wayne Hart;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly recognize the tremendous work of the Middle River Highlands Seniors Club 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 Shelburne.

RESOLUTION NO. 5065

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

Whereas Clark's Harbour resident, Aaron Nickerson, won the Nova Scotia Golf Association mid-Amateur trophy in the provincial competition held at Clare Golf and Country Club on June 22, 2008; and

Whereas Aaron spent countless hours at the River Hills Golf and Country Club in Clyde perfecting his game; and

Whereas he showed consistency in his game, reaching the play-off round at the Canadian Men's Amateur Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in 2007;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate Aaron Nickerson on winning the Nova Scotia Golf Association mid-Amateur trophy on June 22, 2008.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 5167]

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. 5066

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 2.4 million Canadians are affected by diabetes, a number that will rise to more than 3 million by the year 2010; and

Whereas the Canadian Diabetes Association works across the country promoting the health of Canadians and eliminating diabetes through a strong nationwide network of volunteers, employees, health care professionals, researchers, partners and supporters; and

Whereas November is designated Diabetes Awareness Month;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the efforts of the Canadian Diabetes Association in its battle against this serious disease.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Pictou Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 5067

[Page 5168]

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

Whereas Nova Scotia's finest musicians gathered in one of its finest counties this month for the Nova Scotia Music Week gala performance; and

Whereas Pictou County musicians George Canyon, Dave Gunning and Fleur Mainville joined together for the final number at the John Brother MacDonald Stadium performance and award presentation; and

Whereas country music star George Canyon hosted the event and he agreed that Pictou County was an appropriate location for the three-day event that filled New Glasgow's streets with music and the generous local hospitality lived up to its reputation;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send congratulations to everyone involved with Nova Scotia Music Week in New Glasgow, showcasing the best of Nova Scotia music and more.

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. 5068

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

Whereas the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation has been lobbying governments and the medical profession to undertake more research and development testing methods to diagnose this disease acquired from deer ticks; and

Whereas many Lyme disease patients were first misdiagnosed with multiple sclerosis or a long list of other ailments; and

[Page 5169]

Whereas Larry Burke, the Nova Scotia board member on the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation, continues to be focused on educating the medical profession and the public on Lyme disease;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly congratulate Larry Burke and the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation for its diligent efforts in bringing knowledge of the disease to all Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

RESOLUTION NO. 5069

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

Whereas in an economic downturn it's incumbent on the Premier to keep Nova Scotians well informed on the state of the province's finances; and

Whereas in recent weeks, the Governments of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec have brought forward economic updates and action plans to deal with the coming storm; and

Whereas in order to prepare for this period of economic turmoil, Nova Scotians are entitled to a similar level of accountability from their government;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House call upon the Premier and the Minister of Finance to immediately present an economic update, as other, more prepared provincial governments have recently done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 5170]

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

Is it agreed?

I hear several Noes.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 5070

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

Whereas Antigonish native Alex Grant's dream of playing in the National Hockey League became closer to reality when he recently signed a contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins; and

Whereas for the past three seasons, Alex Grant has played defence for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Grant will focus on his final year of play with the Sea Dogs, where he is the captain of the team for the second year; and

Whereas Alex Grant currently has four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 13 games and for the second consecutive season Grant will suit up for the Quebec league as they compete in the Canada-Russia Challenge later this month;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Alex Grant on signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins and wish him success as he finishes his final year with the Saint John Sea Dogs.

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 5171]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

[Page 5172]

RESOLUTION NO. 5071

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

Whereas the Hammonds Plains Baseball Association works hard to facilitate and organize community baseball leagues for youth of all ages; and

Whereas physical activity is becoming even more important to our Nova Scotia youth; and

Whereas without the firm commitment of community volunteers working with and for the youth of Hammonds Plains;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Hammonds Plains Baseball Association on their award as the 2008 Association of the Year as deemed by Baseball 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 Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 5072

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

Whereas the Saint Mary's Huskies football team finished the regular season with seven wins and one loss; and

Whereas this past weekend, the Huskies won the conference banner with a win over the St. F.X. X-Men; and

[Page 5173]

Whereas this Sunday the Huskies will face off against the University of Western Ontario Mustangs for the Mitchell Bowl and a chance to play in the Vanier Cup;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly send their best wishes to the Saint Mary's Huskies football team as they represent our province and region on a national stage.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 5073

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Monsieur le Président, à une date ultéieure, je demanderai l'adoption de la résoluton suivante:

Attendu que les 17, 18 et 19 octobre, la Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse a tenu son assemblée générale annuelle au Ramada Inn, à Dartmouth, célèbre 40 ans de promotion de la culture et du patrimoine acadiens à l'échelle de la province grâce à la création de nombreuses nouvelles entreprises et d'un counseil scolaire acadien, ainsi que l'adoption de la Loi sur les services en français, et rend hommage chaque année à un membre pour sa contribution à la communauté acadienne et francophone en lui remettant le certificat de mérite Léger-Comeau; et

Attendu que le récipiendaire du certificat cette année était Cyrille LeBlanc, qui est originaire de Wedgeport et qui a été le premier directeur de la Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse; et

Attendu que pendant sa carrièr de 40 ans comme journaliste, Cyrille a travaillé sans relâche à la promotion des services en français dans son village, dans sa communauté et dans sa province en occupant différents postes au sein de différents organismes;

[Page 5174]

Par conséquent, qu'il soit résolu que tous les membres de cette Assemblée se joignent à moi pour féliciter la Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse dans le cadre de son 40 anniversaire, et spécialement pour applaudir et féliciter Cyrille LeBlanc pour sa vision et son dévouement envers tous les Acadiens et francophones de cette province.

Monsieur le Président, je demande l'adoption de cette résolution sans préavis et sans débat.

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

Whereas on October 17th, 18th and 19th, the Acadian Federation of Nova Scotia held their annual general meeting at the Ramada Inn in Dartmouth and celebrated 40 years promoting French Acadian heritage and culture throughout the province and honoured a member for their contribution to the French Acadian community with the Léger-Comeau Certificate of Merit awarded by the federation each year; and

Whereas the recipient of the award this year was Cyrille LeBlanc, a native of Wedgeport, having been the first director of the Acadian Federation; and

Whereas throughout his 40-year career as a journalist, Cyrille has worked tirelessly among French language services in his village, community, province and his people in many different organizations and capacities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the Acadian Federation of Nova Scotia on their 40th Anniversary, and more especially applaud and salute Cyrille LeBlanc for his vision, dedication and devotion to all French Acadians and francophones 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 member for Cumberland North.

[Page 5175]

RESOLUTION NO. 5074

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

Whereas on November 11, 2008, hundreds of people, young and old, lined Victoria Street in Amherst to remember the men and women who fought for our freedom and who are presently serving in the Armed Forces; and

Whereas those lining the streets broke into applause as the veterans marched to the cenotaph decorated with wreaths and poppies; and

Whereas Remembrance Day in Amherst, like many other towns, is growing each year, showing that we are indebted to our fallen soldiers and veterans, and will not forget them;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in honouring those who made the supreme sacrifice, and thanking all veterans and their families for their sacrifice.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 5075

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

Whereas this year's Woodlot Owners of the Year are Russell and Margaree McNally of Greenfield; and

[Page 5176]

Whereas the purpose of this award is to encourage woodlot owners to practice sustainable woodlot management and to raise public awareness of the value of this important industry; and

Whereas the McNallys have always considered wood production, wildlife and recreation vital to their approach to woodlot management;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate Russell and Margaree McNally on being named this year's Woodlot Owners of the Year, and wish them many more years of success in this important Nova Scotia industry.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 5076

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 a successful athletic competition is the result of hard work and endurance; and

Whereas Mattias Wolter of Hebbs Cross, Lunenburg County, currently holds the Nova Scotian juvenile & junior records in the steeplechase and is ranked second in Canada in his age group; and

Whereas Mattias is also the defending Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation cross-country champion;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Mattias Wolter of Hebbs Cross, Lunenburg County and wish him well in his future competitions.

[Page 5177]

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. 5077

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

Whereas Murray Bishop, on Digby Neck, has been named a Chief Scout; and

Whereas the Chief Scout designation is one of scouting's highest awards; and

Whereas Murray was the only scout from southwestern Nova Scotia to receive this award, which was presented by Her Honour, the Honourable Mayann Francis, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, at a ceremony in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate Murray Bishop on receiving this prestigious award.

Mr. Speaker, I ask for 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 5178]

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 5078

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

Whereas Prem Dhir, of Truro, received a Remarkable Senior Award during the 2008 50-plus Expo: and

Whereas the Remarkable Senior Award recognizes people over 50 who maintain an active involvement in their community; and

Whereas Prem Dhir has given countless hours of time to organizations in Colchester County and across the province such as Community Links, the Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia, the Human Rights Commission and is a teacher of computer skills to adults;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Prem Dhir on receiving a Remarkable Senior Award, thank him for his service to others, and wish him and Shanta, his wife, continued health and happiness.

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 Cumberland North.

RESOLUTION NO. 5079

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

[Page 5179]

Whereas Jerry Hallee retired this year after serving the Town of Amherst as Mayor for 11 years; and

Whereas Jerry and Council can be proud of their success in growing the economy and the infrastructure of Amherst, making this town a great place to live and do business; and

Whereas Mayor Hallee will be remembered kindly for his leadership and faithful service to the citizens of Amherst during the past 11 years;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations and thanks to retiring Mayor Jerry Hallee and wish him many years of healthy retirement.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton South.

RESOLUTION NO. 5080

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

Whereas financial institutions such as the Bank of Nova Scotia, Merrill Lynch and Toronto Dominion Bank have all projected that Canada has crossed the line into recession; and

Whereas during a recession, provinces must be well equipped to deal with the financial stresses placed upon its businesses and its citizens; and

Whereas with the Premier saying an economic downturn is six to eight months away, it is safe to say he is not equipped at all;

[Page 5180]

Therefore be it resolved that the Premier act immediately to prepare this province for the uncertainty a recession brings and provide an economic update as soon as possible.

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 Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 5081

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

Whereas Kathy Lantz of North Sydney has a passion for cars, which led her to the Nova Scotia apprenticeship system; and

Whereas after four years of classroom and on-the-job training, she is now a journey person in the male-dominated automotive trade; Kathy and 340 newly certified journey persons were awarded certificates by the Department of Labour and Workforce Development; and

Whereas Kathy was the recipient of this year's Apprenticeship Award of Excellence for outstanding contributions to her employer and community throughout her apprenticeship training;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Kathy for her dedication and success and the impact she will have on the workplace and the economy.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 5181]

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. 5082

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

Whereas for the first time in its history, the Halifax Regional School Board has elected an African Nova Scotian as Chair; and

Whereas this honour was bestowed on Mr. Irvine Carvery, who is well known in his community as an activist for Africville and as President of the Africville Genealogical Society; and

Whereas with his experience at community-level issues, Mr. Carvery should be a natural for his newly-elected position;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Irvine Carvery on his election as Chair of the Halifax Regional School Board.

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. 5083

[Page 5182]

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

Whereas the Valley Bulldogs senior men's rugby team defeated Cole Harbour Rugby Football Club in five overtimes to win the McCurdy Cup, becoming provincial champions in the Men's Premier Elite Rugby League;

Whereas in October, the Valley Bulldogs faced off against the Fredericton Loyalists to determine which club would become Maritime champions; and

Whereas the Bulldogs were able to secure the title of Maritime Champions in front of a home crowd of about 150 fans in the Annapolis Valley;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the Valley Bulldogs for securing both the Nova Scotia title and the Maritime Championship title.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Glace Bay.

RESOLUTION NO. 5084

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 Glace Bay Hospital Foundation donated an ultrasound machine to the Emergency Department at the Glace Bay Healthcare Facility; and

Whereas emergency room physician Dr. Neil MacVicar and Nina MacDonald, unit manager, agreed that having their own ultrasound machine will enable the department to provide effective primary care; and

[Page 5183]

Whereas Mr. David Price, Chairperson and Mr. Glen Roach, a member of the Glace Bay Hospital Foundation, met with staff and hospital officials to celebrate the donation;

Therefore be it resolved that members of the House of Assembly congratulate the Chair and members of the Glace Bay Hospital Foundation for their generosity to the Glace Bay Healthcare Facility.

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 Labour and Workforce Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 5085

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

Whereas the Annapolis Valley Regional Library organized a quilted wall hanging competition this summer as part of the celebration recognizing the 100th Anniversary of Anne of Green Gables; and

Whereas participants in the actual competition had their work recognized during the month of August; and

Whereas Claudine MacDonald of Port Williams placed second in the competition with Doris Benedict of Windsor being chosen the overall winner with their colourful wall hangings;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House commend Claudine MacDonald of Port Williams for her wonderful artistic work, while wishing her every future success.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 5184]

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. 5086

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

Whereas over a year ago, two young men changed the way we think about bullying and the effect it has on our youth and our communities; and

Whereas despite graduating from high school this past Spring, Travis Price and David Shepherd have continued their anti-bullying message through the Web site www.forceinpink.com ; and

Whereas their Web site provides information on bullying and is a discussion forum for people who have been the victims of bullying to tell their story;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly recognize the ongoing commitment of Travis Price and David Shepherd in their battle to end bullying.

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.

[Page 5185]

RESOLUTION NO. 5087

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

Whereas for the first time in many years, there's a Sea Scout troop in our region; and

Whereas these young people from Digby Neck will learn about the parts of a ship, safety, and spend time learning hands-on out on the water; and

Whereas in honour of their Digby heritage, the Sea Scout troop has taken the name of Canadian Sea Scout Ship Jerome, after the legless mystery man found marooned at Sandy Cove on Digby Neck in 1863;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly congratulate this group of Digby Neck Sea Scouts on bringing back a valued program, and encourage other communities to follow suit.

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. 5088

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

Whereas on November 11, 2008, Clayton Park residents were able to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies in their own community at the Korean War Memorial Garden in Stratford Way Park; and

[Page 5186]

Whereas this war memorial has been developed through the partnership of the HRM, the Korean Canadian Society, and the Korean War Veterans Association; and

Whereas approximately 300 people attended the ceremony, which was organized by HRM Councillor Mary Wile;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House congratulate Councillor Wile and Mr. Don Allen, president of the Korean War Veterans Association, on the third Remembrance Day ceremony in Clayton Park West.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: The time is now 2:58 p.m., and we will go until 4:28 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

HEALTH - ERs: RNs - TURNOVER RATES

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to table a document obtained through freedom of information outlining RN turnover rates from 2005 to 2008. In the last four years we have lost 163 nurses from emergency rooms in the CDHA alone, not including retirements. The crisis has grown most severe this year - there's a 35 per cent increase in the number of RNs leaving emergency rooms this year alone. So my question through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Health is, how did his department allow the situation in our emergency departments to get so out of control?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, what the member opposite fails to underline, as well, is that we have more nurses going through our system, we're

[Page 5187]

training more nurses, we've committed to well over 170 new nurses, whether that be RNs, whether that be almost 200 new LPNs, we're maintaining and keeping over 80 per cent of the nurses who are graduating out of those programs. We're making tremendous investments and tremendous gains for nursing and RNs in this province.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, apparently that's the problem, they are going through the system, right through the system and out the other door. I'm going to table another document and it shows that ER nurses at the CDHA work by far the most overtime of any department. Because of the high number of nurses leaving our ERs, the remaining nurses were forced to work 28,615 overtime hours between 2004 and 2007. Working such excessive overtime hours is burning out the ER nurses.

My question, again, through you, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Health is, can he explain why his department does not have a recruitment and retention strategy targeted at emergency room nurses?

[3:00 p.m.]

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, of course, our nursing strategy is aimed at all nursing professions within this province, whether it be a critical care nurse, whether it be a ward nurse, whether it be a nurse in a long-term care facility. This province, this government, has made tremendous gains when it comes to the nursing profession in this province.

MR. DEXTER: The evidence is to the contrary. The overtime hours, the turnover rates at CDHA emergency rooms are shocking. ERs are short-staffed, nurses are overworked and the morale is sinking, as you might expect. This province needs a plan to address that crisis now, so my question, again, Mr. Speaker, through you to the Minister of Health is, why is your department refusing to show the leadership necessary to keep nurses in our emergency departments?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, maybe I'm going to return that with a question. Why did that government - that NDP Party (Interruptions) Why did they vote against the budget? This is why they'll never be government. They voted against $851,000 to expand nursing seats at St. F.X., to expand seats at Dalhousie, to expand nursing seats at the Nova Scotia Community College. That is the NDP, that's what they're about, they are about saying no, not yes to Nova Scotians.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

JUSTICE: CORRECTIONAL SERVICES - SAFETY

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Today my office received word that a major incident at the Burnside correctional facility had occurred

[Page 5188]

yesterday. Reports indicate that an inmate brutally stabbed another inmate in the day room. When staff attempted to help the victim the attacker proceeded to stab another individual multiple times. Nova Scotia corrections officers are becoming increasingly concerned about the state of the correctional services in this province. My question to the Premier is, this has all happened under your watch, why are you allowing correctional services to be in this bad a state?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the member raises a good question here in the House of Assembly. Indeed, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, my colleague, has been working with his staff and outside sources in taking a look at our entire correctional services, to ensure that we can provide not only a safe environment for them to work in, but a safe environment for the public at large. We will continue to do so with their best interests, but also the safety of our citizens. Certainly, this issue which, of course, is under investigation will have to go through the following proceedings.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, despite repeated requests, correctional officers have been denied stab-proof safety vests. This government has continued to put our correctional officers in harm's way without the proper equipment. My question to the Premier is, will you immediately provide the correctional officers in this province with the equipment they need to do their jobs safely?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, to the honourable member who raises what is a concern with regard to an incident that did occur at the Burnside facility, indeed a device had been basically made from a CD cover, the way that I know it, and was used against another prisoner of which aid was provided for the persons affected. There is a police investigation underway at this time. Unfortunately, in these facilities, people do find ways to create a situation, but never is the intention to put workers in harm's way. There is a safety process for that - the joint Occupational Health and Safety process that's there - and we respond appropriately to those concerns as they are raised.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the situation in our province's correctional facilities, specifically in Burnside, is becoming desperate. Understaffed, overcrowded and unsafe double bunking, correctional officers no longer feel safe in their place of work and this must be addressed immediately. My final question to the Premier is, how many serious injuries is it going to take before you instruct your Minister of Justice to act immediately?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, to the Liberal Leader's question, it is very direct. We have been responding and taking appropriate action, thus the reason for the Deloitte report that has just come in. It's to deal with a full review and not just of one facility, as I'm sure the honourable member would want, is that all facilities in the province, for the integrity of the system, be fully reviewed, which has been done. We will be responding to that and once we have that response, that report will be made public and I will be pleased to respond to the

[Page 5189]

Liberal Leader, and all Nova Scotians, on our accountability in making sure we have the safest, best-run system in the country.

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

TIR - COBEQUID PASS (HWY. NO. 104): CIT FINANCIAL -

PROBLEMS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question will be for the Premier. A former government borrowed $66 million as part of the deal for the private operation of the Cobequid Pass on Highway No. 104. Those Highway No. 104 bonds are now held by CIT Financial, a U.S. company that has suffered a severe cash crunch because it lost billions of dollars on sub-prime mortgages. In fact, CIT Financial lost $2.1 billion in July, and hundreds of millions more last month. Their stock price dropped from $61 last year to $4 yesterday.

Financial analysts have raised serious concerns about CIT's problems and it is CIT which stands behind the toll section of Highway No. 104. My question through you to the Premier is this - if the Premier is aware of the serious problem at CIT, what steps did he take to protect Nova Scotia's interest in the Cobequid Pass section of Highway No. 104?

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank the member opposite for the question, but, unfortunately, this government did not sign that contract.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, whether they signed the contract or not, this has to do with the solvency of a company that holds bonds on behalf of this province. People living in Northern Nova Scotia, truckers and tourists are on the hook to keep paying millions in tolls on that stretch of highway for the next 10 years, mainly at a high rate of interest to CIT. It is widely reported that CIT needs cash and quite probably needs a buyer for its remaining assets. As early as May, it was reported that CIT might have to engage in a fire sale of its viable loans and bonds. My question, really Mr. Speaker, to the Premier is very simple, why has he been asleep at the switch while the province has had an excellent opportunity to renegotiate a deal that has been very expensive for Nova Scotia?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, an interesting question and the Cobequid Pass, of course, is an integral part of the infrastructure here in the province. I will have to get details from the acting Minister of Finance and we'll report back.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, it's shocking that the members on the government side know so little about an essential issue for the people of this province. The province should be combing its books for opportunities to save money and to improve the economy. In particular, the Premier should do everything he can to have Highway No. 104 loans paid off and those tolls removed sooner than 2018. (Applause) Voters in Cumberland County know well how hard the Progressive Conservatives campaigned against the toll highway. CIT's troubles represent an opportunity to refinance Highway No. 104 debt on much better terms

[Page 5190]

for Nova Scotia. My final question in this set to the Premier is, will he instruct his officials to see whether CIT would be willing to renegotiate the high-priced deal and get the tolls off the highways sooner than 2018?

MR. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the member opposite for the question. I want to say as well, I really appreciate that the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition has all of a sudden renewed interest in Cumberland County. I never heard much of in the last ten years and all of a sudden he's interested in Cumberland, which is great - we certainly welcome his interest in Cumberland County at any time. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order please.

MR. SCOTT: I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the honourable member is right. There was an agreement signed - I believe a 30-year agreement - and the tolls were to be paid off. I can tell you with the amount of traffic, the updates we get annually, the reports - I attended the annual meeting with those folks and we're way ahead of schedule. Those tolls will be paid off ahead of time, but as the honourable Acting Minister of Finance, to the honourable Leader of the Official Opposition, we'll certainly endeavour to get that information he's asking about today and bring it back to the House. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, no one has any more interest in this House than myself to have those tolls removed.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition on a new question.

TIR - COBEQUID PASS TOLL SECTION: DEAL - ADDRESS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I suspect that the Premier is also unaware of just how bad the toll highway deal is. Since the toll section opened 10 years ago, Nova Scotians and our visitors have paid more than $147 million in tolls. Tolls that were mainly used to pay for a loan of only $66 million. My question to the Premier is, how urgently will he act to address a deal which is so bad that the toll payments already total more than twice the original loan?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I'm actually surprised by the Leader of the Opposition's question. The ministers were very clear. The Minister of Finance indicated he would get more information with respect to the file, but also the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal has indicated that we are, in fact, ahead of schedule with respect to what the original deal was, signed under a previous Liberal Government. Mr. Speaker, again the government takes this issue very seriously and wants to ensure that we get all the relevant information, as was already indicated in previous answers.

[Page 5191]

MR. DEXTER: Well, Mr. Speaker, it's no good to blame a former Liberal Government that hasn't been in power for 11 years. I remember the Minister of Finance saying very directly that when they got elected, it became their responsibility, assuming no future toll increases and assuming traffic remains the same, travelers from Cumberland County, Colchester County and all the others who use that stretch of highway can expect to pay tolls totaling more than $300 million before this sad deal is finally done. The reason is, we are paying CIT Financial interest rates of more than 10 per cent, almost twice the current borrowing rate, so the government has addressed other issues with respect to excessive debt burdens but not this one. My question is, why have they taken such hands-off approach to toll highway loans when the cost of those loans mean higher tolls for a longer period of time?

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, and thank the member opposite again. You know, I don't think I have to stand in this House and remind the honourable member who is a lawyer - there's a contract in place, and we are abiding by that contract. Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, to break that contact would cost this province millions and millions of dollars.

So, Mr. Speaker, I'm sure the honourable member understands that we have a contractual agreement that we're not about to break unless the province is prepared to ante up millions of dollars which it presently doesn't have. It's either that or abide by the contract and, as I said earlier, there's no one in this House who wants to see those tolls removed any more than I do.

I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, if we had the ability today to do that, we would do it. We already said that the honourable member has brought a very important issue to the House, particularly around the finances of that company or those interests. We will look at that and see if there's any opportunity for this province but the province is not prepared to put our millions of dollars that we don't have to remove those tolls, as we would like to do.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I am shocked at the government's lack of basic knowledge when it comes to these matters and the ability, in these markets, to be able to renegotiate that debt. I doubt the Premier and Nova Scotians know how CIT spends money and makes off these and other loans, so what I'm going to do is table a letter that CIT filed in August with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It's an offer of employment to a fellow named Alex Mason - this is not the CBC radio personality - the letter offers Mr. Mason a salary of $650,000, guaranteed cash bonuses and stocks of more than $3 million and among other incentives, Mr. Mason got $35,000 just to have a lawyer look over the letter.

The average annual income in Cumberland County is less than the money CIT paid to have Mr. Mason's lawyer read the letter. My question to the Premier is this -what options will the Premier explore to ensure that the trucking industry and the people of Colchester and Cumberland Counties won't have to pay $300 million to Fifth Avenue financiers like CIT?

[3:15 p.m.]

[Page 5192]

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely hypocritical . . . (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Premier has the floor.

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, it is hypocritical for the NDP to stand in their place when just this past Spring they voted against a debt management plan for this province, which would see the debt going down in this province for the senior citizens of our province and citizens. They voted against a valid budget here in our province. They voted against more money for working families, with respect to more heating assistance. They voted against more money for our fishermen and for our farmers. They voted against rural Nova Scotia and they voted against downtown development. We know what they're against, but we certainly don't know what they're for. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

PREM. - ECON. DOWNTURN: TIME FRAME - CONFIRM

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Late last week, the Office of Superintendent of Bankruptcies reported more disturbing figures for Nova Scotians. In September alone, 371 bankruptcies were filed in Nova Scotia. This was a 27.5 per cent increase from the same month one year ago, yet the Premier believes that the economic crisis won't hit Nova Scotia for six to eight months. So my question to the Premier is, do you still stand by your statement that we will not see a downturn for six to eight months?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I stand by my statements that as a result of the good work and planning by the government, we find ourselves in a much better fiscal position than many other of our provinces across our country. That is not to say that we are not averse to what is happening in the global market and that is the discussion that we had this very week with the First Ministers. I spoke of the need to take a look at specific issues around accelerating infrastructure spending in our province - money that has already been booked at the federal level - about taking a look at the issue of EI and make sure that we're prepared for the future with respect to training and helping our workers and other small businesses in the province, as well as taking a look at the issue of your RRSPs and the age limit going to the RIFFs.

Mr. Speaker, we continue to work with the federal government; we continue to work with businesses across Nova Scotia and taking a look at this issue because there are issues -

[Page 5193]

we all know there are issues. I met with groups such as the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, as well the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and others, to talk about the issues they're facing to make sure that we are addressing those first and foremost.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the Premier is still refusing to update this Assembly on the finances of our province and also refuses to provide an economic plan where he believes this province is headed. The Governments of British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan have all given their citizens a financial update and in most cases have presented a detailed economic plan on how they are going to move their provinces through this economic downturn. So my question to the Premier is, why are you still refusing to provide the people of Nova Scotia with a fiscal update?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, we're not refusing at all. I already indicated last week in Question Period that the government will do so as per the timelines set out by the end of December. I've already indicated that that will be the case, and the Minister of Finance has also indicated that will be the case.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, this is not a time to do business as usual. As the Premier knows, we've had the slowest-growing economy in our entire country for the last five years. He has gone to Ottawa to ask Ottawa to do things. What is his government prepared to do? In order for this House, in order for Nova Scotians to understand, we need to know where we stand today in the finances of this province. My question to the Premier is, will you ask your Minister of Finance to give this House an update on the financial situation of this province immediately, not a month from now?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The Leader of the Liberal Party is pretty free with numbers this afternoon and has been last week. He speaks about the performance of the Nova Scotia economy. The unemployment numbers were released last week and the unemployment rate in the Province of Nova Scotia decreased last month, the only province in Atlantic Canada to have experienced a decrease in unemployment. That is not what the honourable Leader of the Liberal Party is saying to the people of Nova Scotia. In fact, the bankruptcy rate in 2007 was down 15 per cent over 2006 and 25 per cent over 2005. Again, he plays loose with the figures.

The fundamentals of the Nova Scotia economy are strong. We are definitely in a situation that requires very careful monitoring, that is why the Premier is working hand in hand with the federal Minister of Finance, with the Prime Minister. Another First Minister's meeting is going to occur in January and we are gathering further financial information from the government of Canada, which will enable us to give an accurate picture of Nova Scotia's finances, not selected figures that the Liberal Leader would like to share with Nova Scotians.

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

HEALTH: RENAL STRATEGY - DEV. DETAILS

[Page 5194]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. Last week, the Minister of Health tabled the Nova Scotia Renal Program Strategic Plan 2008-2011. It is a three-year plan with no specific date or achievable goals, in fact, the first priority is to develop a five-year renal service delivery plan. Part of the three-year plan is to develop a five-year plan for people who need improved access to services today. So I'd like to ask the Minister of Health, can he explain why the renal strategy needs three years to develop a five-year plan to help people who need lifesaving treatments now?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, because there are two parts to this. One is, we have a current issue today of making sure people are receiving renal services that they require, and we need to look forward into the future to see what the requirements are going to be. It's called strategizing on where our services are going to be. So, Mr. Speaker, there are two pieces of that strategy that are in place and we'll be working very diligently on that to have a true renal program right across this province within five years.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, that doesn't address the needs of Nova Scotians today. Despite not having achievable goals with target dates, the renal strategy does outline its values. One of these values is patient-family centredness; however, there are 33 strategic planning participants and none of them are patients. I would like to ask the Minister of Health, why does this patient-centred program exclude patients from being strategic planning participants?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I fail to understand where that member is coming from on that question. Everything that we do at the Department of Health is for patients.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, it means asking those individuals in Nova Scotia, who know the answers, what we can do to improve the programs and the delivery service here in Nova Scotia, that's what that means. Nova Scotians with kidney disease need changes to happen now, not in five years, today. They do not need a three-year strategy that will produce a five-year plan and exclude patients from that planning, they need to be part of it. I'd like to ask the Minister of Health, what are you doing to improve access and quality of dialysis services in Nova Scotia right now?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, we continually improve the equipment that's available to our District Health Authorities. If you look at the demonstration project that came online two years ago, I believe, in Antigonish, which has proven to be a wonderful model for patients and their families, we're talking about real time, learning on the ground. We've done that and we're going to move that forward so there's a benefit to all patients, from one end of this province to the other.

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

[Page 5195]

NAT. RES.: ROADKILL - REMOVAL

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question through you is to the Minister of Natural Resources. Mr. Minister, I want to bring to your attention a saga of misinformation and buck-passing. Just thank God a buck wasn't hurt this time. Recently I was contacted by a constituent, a retired police officer from the HPD, about the need to remove an animal carcass across from his home on the Terence Bay Road in Whites Lake. This well-intentioned citizen contacted various departments and received various excuses - basically, he just received the runaround. Mr. Minister, just who is responsible for removing road kill from the roadsides of this province? (Interruptions)

HON. DAVID MORSE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm sure if you called DNR, if you encounter a dead animal, they will either address the problem or they will send you to the appropriate department.

MR. ESTABROOKS: The optics of the House couldn't be captured on Legislative Television as we saw those two ministers basically pass the buck. They'll tell you where to go but they won't tell you who solves the problem. An area MLA had to finally place the call, so I called Waverley and Waverley gave the excuses. These are some of the questions I was asked, the size of the animal, how long it has been on the road, the condition of the carcass and various other details. Mr. Minister, this was a diseased coyote - I personally stopped and was given the advice that I should have a shovel in my truck to get it off the road. This carcass was on the side of the road in a residential community with young families nearby, for four long days - four long days, Mr. Minister. All this information was brought to my attention by the officials . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker - four long days. Should not the carcass of a diseased coyote receive prompter attention from your department - not the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal - your department?

MR. MORSE: Yes, and thank you, Mr. Speaker. I would encourage anybody who encounters that situation to make the call promptly. I am not aware when they made the telephone call, I'm not sure if the member is inferring that the call was made four days ago and then finally got service or whether the department was just made aware and the coyote had been there for four days. But I agree with the member that once the department is made aware, there should be a response.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, I know that members opposite and members on this side of the House have dealt with that issue. In fact, the member for Dartmouth East took the initiative on her own to make sure that she removed a dead carcass from the side of the

[Page 5196]

road. Perhaps we all should carry shovels with us, but here are some of the excuses, count on the crows to clean up the mess . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect has the floor.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Here are some of the excuses that I received from various government departments, count on the crows to clean up the mess, Bill - that's the quote, "count on the crows". Surely somebody in your constituency has a shovel to push it into the ditch; perhaps it will just eventually be taken away by somebody else. Those are not the sorts of excuses that we need. This is a problem that, as MLAs, we deal with and I would like some assurances from whatever minister wants to be responsible - tell us who to call? Maybe I should just tell them to call the Minister of Natural Resources in Downtown Halifax and he'll take care of it.

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite has indicated, we all want to serve our constituents when they have a concern and as I mentioned in my first answer, it would be totally appropriate to call the Department of Natural Resources and get guidance. In the case of large animals, I understand we deal with the carcasses.

I think that what the member is pointing out is that for smaller animals, sometimes they are taken care of by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. I know in the case of my family the Department of Transportation buried one of our cats at the side of the road about 20 years ago and we certainly appreciate their taking care of her carcass. But, in the case of larger animals, the member should make the Department of Natural Resources aware.

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

ECON. DEV.: PRECISION FINISH COMPONENTS - LAYOFFS

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Last week, several families in Industrial Cape Breton were given horrible news leading into the holiday season. Precision Finish Components announced it will be laying off 17 jobs at their auto plant's manufacturing facility in North Sydney. While these families are struggling with a plan to make ends meet, they see their Premier shrugging off the downturn saying that we shouldn't worry, the downturn won't hit for six or eight months. My question to the Premier is, how are you going to justify your lack of a plan, the lack of an update, and your six to eight months comment to these 17 families?

[3:30 p.m.]

[Page 5197]

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member raises an issue which is of concern to all of us whenever people receive notice that their jobs have been interrupted. The honourable member knows and all members of the House know that these jobs are related to the automotive industry and all you have to do is watch anything that's going on in the news and you'll know that industry is in a very difficult situation. There is discussion in the United States about billions of dollars being infused into that industry to try and resolve it, similar discussions in Canada. With an industry that's as hard hit as it is, we're going to feel the effects when we have related industries here in this province.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, the minister interprets that as jobs that are being interrupted. I would describe it as people who are being laid off and devastated with those layoffs in Cape Breton. Several of these families are going to be faced with tough times if they cannot get back into the workforce immediately. The jobs at Precision were high-end, well-paying jobs that will devastate many of these families if they cannot transition into the workforce quickly. My question, again, to the Premier is, will the Premier direct his Minister of Economic Development to meet with the employer and the workforce to find a solution to help transition these individuals back into the workforce?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, we're a little bit ahead of the Premier. There are meetings taking place between my department and the company involved.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I would hope that when the minister or the Premier answer my final supplementary, he will give me the dates of when those meetings have taken place and who they're with. I would like to have that assurance from the minister that those meetings are indeed taking place and who they're with.

Mr. Speaker, we have had significant job losses in many communities throughout Nova Scotia in the past while - TrentonWorks, Moirs, Maple Leaf, Shaw Wood and now Precision. The status quo in this province is getting us nowhere and yet our Premier continues to run away from the problems saying tough times are months away. Tough times are here now. Nova Scotians want and deserve leadership. Mr. Premier, again I ask, will you immediately release a comprehensive fiscal update and immediately table a plan for Nova Scotia to help make our province competitive during the global economic downturn?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, as I already indicated in the previous answer, the fiscal update will come by the end of December. We started planning a long time ago with respect to the economy of Nova Scotia. It's why we ensured that we lowered taxes in the Spring budget, it's why we invested in infrastructure such as roads, highways and other business initiatives. Because of those decisions, we have seen over 10,000 new jobs created in Nova Scotia during the past year. That, to me, is good planning and it doesn't come on the heels of what is currently happening, it comes much more in front of that. The government has made wise and prudent decisions, we will continue to work with our business community to

[Page 5198]

ensure that we continue down that road and we will address these situations with each individual employer.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

ENVIRON. - NORTH PRESTON: ILLEGAL DUMP - REMOVE

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Environment. I would like to table a set of photographs taken in September of this year of a private property in North Preston, close to Willis Lane. As the minister will be able to see, there are enormous piles of debris on the property containing, among other things, rotting drywall, fibreglass insulation, and tires. This illegal dump has been there for over eight years.

I have been advised that this problem has been brought to the attention of the Department of Environment more than once over the years, and most recently was brought to the attention of the minister's office several weeks ago. His staff said the concerns would be brought to the minister's attention but still this material sits on the property, an eyesore and environmental hazard. My question to the minister is, when will the Department of Environment remove, or cause to be removed, this enormous illegal dump?

HON. MARK PARENT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the member for the question. Illegal dumping is a problem in certain jurisdictions, certain areas within the province, and we have been working diligently to mitigate the problem and encourage people not to do it, and to charge those who are caught doing it.

In the Preston area, we have already fined and charged one person and we're looking at options to have the site remediated. We're working in that area diligently, Mr. Speaker, with one person being fined already and more work to come.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, the residents near this illegal dump said they have gotten nowhere with any level of government. This illegal dump is clearly within the jurisdiction of the Minister of Environment; all it takes is a cleanup order from the minister. We understand that such an order has been issued in the past, but ignored. My question to the minister is, when will the residents of Willis Lane in North Preston be able to look forward to real enforcement action from this minister?

MR. PARENT: Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned already, one fine has been laid. We are willing to do more. If the honourable member knows of any particular sites where we have not enforced the legislation, please bring it to my attention and we will make sure that we do enforce it.

We're going to be starting, Mr. Speaker, an $80,000 anti-litter campaign. We have been working on it and it's going to be unveiled fairly soon in order to help encourage - because the problem is that basically we don't have enough enforcement officers and we

[Page 5199]

don't have the finances to monitor, through closed-circuit camera or whatever it takes, because you have to be able to bring something through to full judicial approval, as the honourable member would know.

That's what we're faced with. So we have been working in specific areas where we know illegal dumping has been going on. We've put cameras up in those areas to help bring about appropriate charges. We have one fine in this area and we're looking at other options in trying to force remediation of the area for the residents' sake.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, in the most recent audit of the Department of Environment, the Auditor General wrote that the division does not have adequate systems to track and monitor public complaints. The Auditor General also raised questions about the department's ability and willingness to take tough enforcement action, particularly in the face of property owners who can't, or won't, comply with orders. This is not a situation of littering - there is an enormous illegal dump on one owner's private property. My question to the minister is, what steps will the minister personally take to ensure that this complaint is investigated and that this dump site is cleaned up once and for all?

[Page 5200]

MR. PARENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. As I mentioned, we already fined someone to the tune of $14,000 - we have shown our willingness to fine individuals. There are four illegal dumps that we are monitoring. We are looking at the options that we can enforce as a department. In regard to the Auditor General's Report, he mentioned that what we needed to get in place was an activity tracking system, which we now have in place thanks to the budget that the NDP voted against.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH: WAIT TIMES REDUCTION FUND - DETAILS

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. During the Public Accounts Committee meeting today, department officials were questioned as to where and how this government has spent the wait times reduction fund. There was no response provided because no financial officials were available. On August 14th of this year, I wrote the Minister of Health asking for a detailed accounting of this same fund and to date I have not received a response. I will table a copy of that letter. It would appear that the presence of financial officials has nothing to do with obtaining the information at all and everything to do with the fact this government is either unable to account for the expenditures or unwilling to tell us where it has been spent.

Mr. Speaker, the minister has one more chance, here it is today - will the minister, by the end of Question Period today, table how much we have received to date in the form of the wait times reduction fund and where this money has been spent?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, in 2004-05, investments were made on such initiatives like: reduce both emergency room and orthopedic wait times; continue our efforts to train, recruit and retain nurses; add additional physician seats. In 2005 investments were made in initiatives such as: add additional beds; expand emergency rooms at Valley Regional. I could go on and list many things. (Interruptions) I think that's my phone ringing there, I apologize, maybe that's my mom calling. (Interruptions)

Mr. Speaker, what I can say to the member opposite is that we have a good listing of the initiatives that we invested in that went towards wait time reductions in this province. I can say that many of these projects have been very successful.

MR. SPEAKER: I would just like to remind all members that electronic devices are to be shut off during Question Period.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: It wasn't mine.

MR. SPEAKER: It doesn't matter whose it was, it should be shut off.

[Page 5201]

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the people of Nova Scotia are looking for accountability from this government. I'm not sure what that was - I don't know if it would qualify as accountability. Anyway, as much as $51 million was sitting in that fund unspent in 2007; this year, $17 million was left remaining in the fund. Somewhere along the line between 2007 and 2008, $34 million was spent on addressing wait times and this minister and the government can't really tell people where. Mr. Speaker, that's unacceptable. Surely at the very least, the minister's federal counterpart has required an update and an accounting of the expenditure. So my question to the minister is, will he table all accountability updates he would have provided to the federal government when it comes to the spending of the wait times reduction fund?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite would have seen a press release come from my office later on today - and if he didn't get a copy, I will provide him with one - that talks about the wait time strategies paying off in this province. I can talk about provincially, wait times for long-term care have fallen by 9 per cent, or two weeks, since January. Wait times for residential care facilities have dropped 13 per cent since January and the number of Nova Scotians waiting for home support has dropped 33 per cent in one year.

Mr. Speaker, that's just in long-term care. Why don't we look at diagnostic tests and the investments that we've done in MRIs? (Interruption) Exactly, the highest ratio of MRIs for population of any other province, talk about our breast screening rates. We can talk about many other initiatives that these dollars have gone into - the CAT scans. I know my members here are trying to provide me with a whole bunch of answers but I can say that all those dollars have gone into wait time reduction in this province.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, I wasn't looking for a whole bunch of answers - just one correct one would do. When pressed this morning, a departmental official indicated some of the wait times reduction fund money was spent on the continuing care strategy, a bit on the chronic care strategy, some on addictions, some on the stroke strategy, some on home care. So it sounds like the minister is going to war with wait times but he's using a paintball marker and he just shoots and aims and he hopes for the best. The biggest wait time problem in this province is waiting for the minister to give us a plan. Mr. Speaker, my final question for the minister is, where is that minister's comprehensive plan to deal with wait times in this province?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I'm going to take from the question or comment that the member just gave me that there are some things within our health care system that are not important and so, therefore, we shouldn't be focusing on them and that there are other things that maybe he should tell me what they are, that I can try to take all those dollars and focus in on them.

Mr. Speaker, we're saying that all health care is important to Nova Scotians. We're saying that all patients are important, whether they're from Sydney or Yarmouth, whether

[Page 5202]

they're waiting for long-term care or whether they're waiting to get a hip replaced. Mr. Speaker, this government is here for all Nova Scotians and we will continue to be.

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

JUSTICE: CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS - STAB-PROOF VESTS

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a serious issue which was discussed earlier in the House. A violent federal offender was transferred from the Renous facility to the Burnside facility for a court appearance. That violent federal offender assaulted another federal offender; correctional staff entered the day room to deal with the situation, to check and see if the first offender was okay and get the day room locked down. The same violent federal offender then proceeded to go over and stab another offender 10 times while staff were in the day room.

[3:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, that description actually comes from a correctional officer who was at the jail. So my question is simple, what more is it going to take for the Minister of Justice to recognize that correctional officers need stab-proof vests and better staffing?

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I can understand why the Leader of the Opposition would not listen during Question Period but the Leader of the Liberal Party asked that very same question, of which we've said there is an occupational health and safety process in place, one that we abide by and respect. As well, there's a reporting system that is in place that deals with any incidents, especially major incidents, that we take very seriously, and we act on them in a serious manner as well.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the problem wasn't with the question, it was with the answer. I still didn't get an answer to that question and neither did the Liberal Leader earlier.

This is the third stabbing since September; there have been numerous assaults during that same time frame. Correctional officers say there is a direct connection between double-bunking and inadequate staffing, and meanwhile the minister wants to read reports. So my question is, will the Premier instruct his minister to put down the studies, take off the reading glasses, and order stab-proof vests and increase staffing before the end of the day?

MR. CLARKE: Well, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians can count on one thing, and that is the unreliability of the NDP and the socialists in this province to act in a responsible manner in dealing with serious issues. We have dealt with those matters that have come forward, in the prescribed structures and functions that are in place, and if he doesn't want to honour that, it explains why he is on the other side of the House.

[Page 5203]

MR. DEXTER: It never fails to amaze me, Mr. Speaker, when a minister doesn't have an answer, the answer they do have is to attack us instead of simply telling the people of Nova Scotia a simple answer to a simple question. (Applause) I don't know why this government continually ignores the correctional officers of this province; I don't know why they ignore the terrible dangers facing inmates and staff. There aren't enough staff and staff don't have the right equipment. The Minister of Justice ordered the drastic increase in the number of inmates so my question is, will the minister confirm to this House that he is responsible for the fact that the staff and prisoners in this province are working and living in a system where stabbings are becoming part of the routine?

MR. CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the New Democratic Party wants to get up and make allegations, whether it's in this Chamber or outside, this government is more than prepared to defend our actions, but most important, we abide by the prescribed procedures and functions and systems in place. I understand the socialists will go around any system to get to the convenient answer they will tell people, but what they don't want to be is responsible and responsive to the issues, as we are.

There is a process in place for those concerns to be heard; there is an audit process that we've undertaken to deal with comprehensive, overall operations and the security of our system. That's what we adhere to, that's what we will abide by and we will not be sidetracked by the foolishness from the New Democrats. (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island.

EDUC. - UNIV. DROPOUT RATE - EXPLAIN

MR. LEONARD PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, through you to the Acting Minister of Education, why do so many university students in Nova Scotia drop out?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'm surprised that (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable Acting Minister of Education has the floor.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, all members of this House know that the highest level of post-secondary education in Canada is in Nova Scotia.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, I'm sorry to see the members on that side see this as a laughing matter. I know the minister is a graduate from Saint Mary's, it's a great university and they would like very much to keep their students there, but this week a new Statistics Canada study on participation and drop-out rates in universities showed conclusively that Nova Scotia students are among the most likely in Canada to drop out of school. I'll table

[Page 5204]

that report. The department boasts of how many students attend our universities, but it's been mysteriously silent since that study appeared. My question to the acting minister is, what is his response to the Statistics Canada figures?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I did see last week was that in the Maclean's survey there were two of the Nova Scotia institutions listed in the top five. I saw that there were others, the government has put tremendous amounts of resources into our community college system. I would have to see those numbers because, to be quite frank, I still hold my initial response that we have the highest level of post-secondary preparation in Canada.

MR. PREYRA: Mr. Speaker, the question wasn't about preparation, it was about retention and why so many university students drop out in Nova Scotia. My question for the Acting Minister of Education is, how long is this government going to remain silent and pretend that all is well in our university system? We have crumbling infrastructure, massive student debt loads, declining enrolments and high drop-out rates, and the minister and the department have very little to say about it.

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not point out that member and his colleagues did vote against all that extra money that went into post-secondary education in the last budget. (Applause) The honourable member would also remember that under the Crown share, there was an infrastructure trust fund set up. Also remember it was this government, and indeed the present Minister of Education and her predecessor, that also met with the federal government, along with other Education Ministers in Canada, to talk about the infrastructure deficit. As a matter of fact, as a result of those conversations, I believe that you're finding the federal government is putting more resources in infrastructure in this country.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

TIR: CROSSWALK SAFETY & AWARENESS - ACTIONS

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. In less than a week we've seen two collisions at the same crosswalk in Antigonish - one resulting with injuries to the pedestrian and the other resulting in tragedy. While responsibility at intersections is placed on both drivers and pedestrians, this government's role is to protect and educate its citizens as best as possible. We can ill afford more instances like we have seen in the last week. My first question to the minister is, what is the government doing to promote safety and awareness at crosswalks in Nova Scotia?

HON. MURRAY SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for bringing a very important issue to this House, and certainly condolences from the House to

[Page 5205]

the families involved. This is a very serious thing happening here in Nova Scotia. The honourable member would remember and recall, I know, because we've had discussions about this in the past in the House, that we embarked upon a joint study with HRM - my predecessor did - with Transportation, in regard to crosswalk safety here in HRM. There were many recommendations that came back that we accepted, many having much impact, I believe, on crosswalks - everything from determining responsibility in crosswalks to increased penalties, up to a $50,000 campaign that we brought in place this Fall with educating the public and warning pedestrians and drivers across this province.

Mr. Speaker, it is a shared responsibility and we have to ensure that both pedestrians and drivers are aware of who has the right-of-way and that we not only understand who has the right-of-way, but also respect each other's position.

Again, we will continue to work with the municipalities. There is an opportunity for increased lighting in crosswalks and I think we have to collectively do everything we possibly can, as Nova Scotians, whether we are a driver or pedestrians, in the government, and all of us here in this House, through legislation, enforcement, and especially education, to make sure all are safe on the highways in Nova Scotia.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, back in April the government announced funding totaling $300,000 for crosswalk safety and awareness, over three years. This simply is not enough money. The accidents in Antigonish are the most recent, but are certainly not the only incidents as of late. So my question to the minister is, will the government commit more funding to promote crosswalk safety and awareness to Nova Scotians?

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, I think that commitment on behalf of this government is quite obvious with all those things I just talked about. The honourable member is right, we did commit $100,000 in each year of three years. I believe I'm correct, I can make sure that what I am going to say is a correct statement, but I know some monies have been allocated here in HRM. I think there has been interest from other municipalities but, in regard to taking advantage of the opportunity to partner with us, I don't think it has all been used yet. But certainly, if there's need next year, we'll look at it, but I believe there are still funds available this year for any municipalities that wish to take advantage of that opportunity.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, education is the key to safety in all its forms. Crosswalk safety is an important matter, and while government has made initial steps by increasing fines and installing new, eye-level lights, the fact is more steps need to be taken to properly educate both motorists and pedestrians on crosswalk safety. My final question to the minister is, what educational components can we expect from government to increase crosswalk safety in Nova Scotia?

[Page 5206]

MR. SCOTT: Mr. Speaker, again I'd like to thank the member opposite for the question. Again, it's a very good question and something that we all take very seriously here in this House and the in the government, particularly my department.

I can tell the honourable member that we are presently working on educational component in regards to not only crosswalk safety, but particularly road safety strategy in general, Mr. Speaker, and we hope to have that rolled out very early in the new year, possibly around January.

Mr. Speaker, it will talk about road safety issues all over the province, in regards to all issues around road safety, not just crosswalks, but certainly that's a very important part of it and I want to assure the folks in my department and Communications - we've already talked about it, ensuring that the very things the honourable member is asking for in the House today will actually be done in this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

PREM.: ARTS FUNDING (GOV'T. CAN.) - REINSTATEMENT

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It was this summer that the Harper Conservatives cut $45 million from the arts and culture budget of the country and everyone is dismayed at the Prime Minister's profound lack of understanding of what the arts contribute to Nova Scotia, and to all of the country for that matter.

I will table a letter written from the Premier to the Prime Minister at that time in which the Premier said he had a grave concerns over cuts in a sector he pointed out would adversely affect 28,000 people, contributing $1.2 billion a year to the provincial economy.

To the Premier, have his Conservative counterparts in Ottawa responded yet to this letter? If so, will they be reinstating arts funding they have cut solely because of this political ideology opposed to the arts?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the fact that as a government we stood up against that decision, because I disagreed with that decision made at that time, both publicly and in written form. The fact that this government recognizes the importance of arts and culture here in Nova Scotia, not only what it contributes to the economy, but what it contributes to the social life of Nova Scotians and many facets, and that is why the government is doubling the funding for arts and culture in Nova Scotia.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I'm not actually sure yet whether the Prime Minister did respond to the Premier but at least the Premier wasn't the only one to ask the Conservatives to rescind this decision. The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage also wrote to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Josée Verner, expressing his deep concern the

[Page 5207]

decision would result in a severe competitive disadvantage for Nova Scotians. I will table the minister's letter as well. My question to the minister is, has he received a reply from his federal counterpart and, if so, what was her response to the plea for continued funding for arts and culture in this province?

[4:00 p.m.]

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, to the member across the way, as minister over that portfolio I'm also very concerned about the cuts of the federal government. I would like to inform the member across the way that that is not an issue which we have forgotten about. You know very well that there has been a recent election federally and the Conservatives have returned to power and I'm moving forward to contact the new minister to make sure that they understand the position of this minister, this Premier and this government in regard to the importance of culture and heritage in the Province of Nova Scotia.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I can't really tell whether the continued federal government has, in fact, responded yet to the provincial government from this summer. However, I would like to also table a briefing note submitted to the minister on August 20th outlining the province's reaction to federal arts and cultural cuts. It was obvious he understood that this would be significant but sections under the headings, impact on Nova Scotia, and largest impact on Nova Scotia's culture section, had been fully and completely obliterated and I table this note. My question to the minister, what is so disturbing in this briefing note that the rest of Nova Scotia should not be made aware of it?

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, recently I just had the pleasure to meet with the arts community and over the weekend, two weekends ago, Creative Nova Scotia where we had artists and people from that industry meet. We had long talks and we took part in a very successful education process.

Mr. Speaker, what I do know is that this government (Interruptions) Listen to me, please. This government has doubled the funding to the arts community by 2011 and I'm sure if you were to (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage has the floor.

MR. DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, what I do know for sure is this government has doubled the funding to the arts community by 2011, over an increase of $8 million to make sure that the funding is there for them to advance their work and their profession.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

[Page 5208]

NAT. RES.: HARDWOOD - AVAILABILITY

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Natural Resources. Many Nova Scotians are facing a tough winter. The cost of everyday essentials are making it hard to make ends meet. In fact, with the Nova Scotia Power increase announced recently and the government's 8 per cent tax increase, things are looking even tougher. Families that use wood are also facing a shortage of firewood. On the eastern mainland most wood contractors are shipping hardwood to the chipping plant at Sheet Harbour and more than 300 cords a day go through that facility.

So, Mr. Speaker, my question through you, you know, it's great to have an export industry but when it comes to hardwood availability, what assurances can the minister give that Nova Scotians won't be left out in the cold?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I'm a little surprised to get a question like that from the NDP because it seems to me that they were the ones who voted against the budget and have voted against the heating assistance rebate plan which is something which was targeted for low-income Nova Scotians. We're very concerned that nobody freezes in the dark in this province and we have taken decisive action with that $92 million plan. In fact, families with incomes under $42,000, or individuals with incomes under $27,000, can apply. In the case of wood, they can get $150 rebate. It's very important to make sure we do all we can to make sure all Nova Scotians are able to stay warm this winter.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, the reality of the situation is, what good is a rebate if you can't get the firewood to begin with? (Applause) Firewood is scarce. I've talked to a firewood processor in Pictou County who needs 1,000 cords right away to supply his customers through this winter and he can't find a contractor to supply it. There are homeowners down on the Eastern Shore who can no longer get cutting permits to cut firewood on Crown land. Why are Nova Scotians being denied access to their traditional source of winter heat, firewood from Nova Scotia's forests?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite would know, hardwood is the source for firewood and that's the one area, even in boom times, where we have a surplus of low grade wood that is absolutely suitable for firewood.

MR. PARKER: Mr. Speaker, there's no surplus out there right now. This government has been encouraging Nova Scotians to put in wood stoves and wood furnaces, but firewood is scarce, it's a scarce commodity, and people are being left out in the cold. My question is, how does this minister plan to ensure adequate access to hardwood for homeowners who require it this very winter?

[Page 5209]

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, as the member opposite would know, in Nova Scotia, the vast majority of wood fibre comes off of private woodlots. That is why we have an exemption with the softwood lumber agreement or access to the United States. Of course, those private woodlot owners are the source of a lot of the firewood and it would be their decision as to whether they want to harvest their forests. Clearly, the wood is out there, we know there is surplus hardwood available, and I would encourage people to go to the private woodlot owners to make sure they get their winter's supply.

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

ECON. DEV.: pomegranatephone.ca - MARKETING CAMPAIGN

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Economic Development. Recently the government launched pomegranatephone.ca. This Web site is an ad for a phone that doesn't exist. The phone is falsely billed as a device that has everything from an electric razor to a coffee maker. This non-existent phone is actually the government's attempt to come up with an advertising campaign to promote economic development. My question to the minister is, as this province faces difficult economic times, why isn't the government taking Nova Scotia's economic development more seriously?

MS. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, to my honourable colleague across the way, I want to thank him for bringing the pomegranate campaign to the floor of the Legislature. I can tell you that as recently as this weekend, after a Canadian Press article ran regarding the success of that campaign, we've had over 220,000 hits on that site from all across the world, who have been very intrigued by our very innovative, creative marketing campaign to incite those very businesses who are looking for cutting edge, challenging, creative marketing campaigns for their companies, indeed, they've been very intrigued that Nova Scotia has offered such a challenging, creative marketing campaign.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can see why that minister is in charge of Communications Nova Scotia. All of that which she just told the House is on a phone that doesn't exist. That's a very good marketing campaign. A spokesperson for the campaign said that the government wanted to sell the province as a perfect place to invest, work, live and do business. This Web site is a $300,000 advertising ploy that focuses on a non-existent phone and does nothing to promote economic development. This government has to use false marketing tactics to promote economic development. The government should be focussing on investing in economic developments rather than costly advertising campaigns. Mr. Speaker, my question again to the Minister of Economic Development is, why isn't the government focusing its efforts on an economic development strategy rather than a marketing scheme?

MS. STREATCH: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. It's very intriguing when one looks at the hits that we've received on this pomegranate campaign, which was very creative,

[Page 5210]

which caught the attention of those individuals who are in the marketplace, who are in a position to influence investments. They actually went on the site, were so intrigued once they realized that it was a marketing campaign, that they have, indeed, made contact with various individuals here in Nova Scotia. In fact, one of the countries we are experiencing tremendous success in is in Italy, through some of our charter members who have continued to work their connections, their networks through the companies abroad, as well as in the United States.

Just as a point of note, Mr. Speaker, it's interesting, a half page ad perhaps in one of the larger newspapers in the United States could run hundreds of thousands of dollars and you would have potential hits of perhaps a dozen or two who may be interested. Over 220,000 hits has been a tremendous advantage to marketing the marketing divisions here in Nova Scotia.

MR. MANNING MACDONALD: I'll say one thing, Mr. Speaker, that minister has been well programmed on this particular issue. I'd like to know, how does one get a contract like this to promote a phone that doesn't exist and pick up $300,000? Most of the hits were probably people looking for coffee makers or electric razors and wanted to know where they could get them in Nova Scotia.

This Web site is indicative of what is wrong with this government; instead of focusing on the task of improving economic development, this government is content with developing a scheme to take attention away from the real issue. Nova Scotians are proud of their province and don't feel that the government should use false advertising to attract people and business to this province. My final question to the minister is - whichever minister wants to answer it - when will the government come up with a real plan to promote economic development in this province?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my honourable colleague for the tremendous recognition that I am well programmed. I like to think that I'm finely-tuned, and in tune with the challenges and some of the creative technologies around the province. Certainly those individuals who have been intrigued by this extremely exciting marketing campaign and we have received tremendous support from across the sectors.

They are, indeed, those individuals who are up-to-date on the latest technology and therefore, the more we can intrigue those individuals, the better job we've done with our marketing campaign.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

HEALTH: ROSEWAY HOSP. - ER CLOSURES

[Page 5211]

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health. In May I asked the Minister of Health to address the upcoming closures of the Emergency Department at Roseway Hospital. He told me to get the wax out of my ears.

Well, I've had my ears checked and they seem fine but maybe I need to get my math skills checked, too, because it looks to me like the number of closures is getting worse, not better. My question, can the Minister of Health explain how his plan to keep ERs open has led to more closures at Roseway Hospital?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I remember on the floor of this House apologizing for my comment and I really don't appreciate it when the member brings up something that I did apologize for.

I will answer the question as best I can . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: You're not going to sit down yet and not answer the question.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: No, I'm going to answer the question because I respect it - I do respect the member opposite for asking the question.

MR. SPEAKER: I would remind the honourable minister to direct his responses through the Speaker.

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very much but the comment was I did apologize for that comment last sitting. As the member opposite knows, ER closures are very specific to that local area, depending on the availability of doctors, on the availability of nurses. I know with conversations that I've had with the district health authority, that they are doing their best to make sure that that ER is open 24/7.

MR. BELLIVEAU: Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm not going to apologize for tabling this particular document outlining every single ER closure at Roseway Hospital in the last year. The number of ER closures is increasing and not decreasing, despite the minister's so-called plan. My question is, will the minister admit that there is a growing problem and that his plan to keep ERs open is not working?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, this government is the government that brought forward a nursing strategy which is working. This is the government that brought forward recruitment and retention efforts that are working. This is the government that is bringing forward health transformation efficiencies that are keeping our local ERs open longer. That is the Party that voted against all of these initiatives.

[4:15 p.m.]

[Page 5212]

MR. BELLIVEAU: Mr. Speaker, the Municipality of Barrington has developed their own incentive package to attract local doctors and health care professionals. My question again to the minister is, isn't that supposed to be his job?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite sat as warden of the Municipality of Barrington for quite some time and the member opposite knows full well that municipalities do have a part to play when it comes to the recruitment of doctors and nurses to their local area.

Mr. Speaker, we try to be fair to all communities across the province and because of that we have the highest per capita of doctors per population of any other province in Canada. (Applause) We will continue to be fair to all districts in this province. We will be consistent across the province. If local areas want to step up and help out a little bit to provide other incentives, like other areas have done and have been very successful with it, I urge them to continue that hard work.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth North.

COM. SERV.: SOC. ASSISTANCE - BASIC ALLOWANCE RAISES

MR. TREVOR ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, over 81,000 individuals in Nova Scotia, including 19,000 children, are living in poverty, 30,000 of whom collect social assistance. The Minister of Community Services announced this year that she's going to help those individuals on social assistance by raising the basic allowance by $4 per month. Well, as noted by a number of poverty activist organizations, $4 doesn't go a long way to put food on the table in these hard economic times. So my question, Mr. Speaker, through you to the minister is, how far does she think $4 will actually go in helping those 30,000 people on social assistance?

HON. JUDY STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, thank you to my honourable colleague for raising the issue. He and I have discussed this issue on many occasions and I know he asks the question out of sincerity. I know that he understands for five consecutive years, this government has consistently raised the income assistance personal allowance and though we would always like to do more, that is the equivalent of $19 million and that is a significant investment.

MR. ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, Feed Nova Scotia announced last month that the cupboards are bare and they expect it's going to be a long, hard winter for those people who have to come to depend on their services. This government is out of touch with the reality facing many people living in poverty and a $4 increase in the basic allowance for social assistance has been largely seen as an insult. So my next question for the minister would be, when will the minister announce an appropriate increase in the basic allowance so that those living in poverty can purchase the basic necessities of life?

[Page 5213]

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again, aside from the income assistance increase and the previous two-year increase in the shelter allowance, we as well, of course, have the $92 million Heat Smart Program introduced this winter. As well, we have the $200 million Early Learning and Child Care Plan to assist Nova Scotian families with choice in child care. As well we saw, just today, the $800,000 contribution to the Salvation Army, who are great partners with us, to help those Nova Scotians who are most vulnerable and, of course, the worthy, very important partnerships that we have across the province. I know my honourable colleague works in his own community to ensure that all of those partnerships continue to be healthy to assist those who need us the most.

MR. ZINCK: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the September issue of Nova Scotia Policy Review. It states that while provincial spending has grown by half since 1999, the total amount spent on social assistance has been reduced by $5 million. My question is, why is this government reducing support for those in our society who need it most?

MS. STREATCH: Mr. Speaker, again, my honourable colleague understands there is a multitude of programs available. I indicated in my first response, $19 million is what that 15.5 per cent increase over five years represents. While I know that's difficult when you break it down to the individual amounts, a $19 million investment is certainly very significant and a serious one. On top of that, we recognize there are a multitude of programs which must be in place and they include housing, child care, Pharmacare, Family Pharmacare, Low Income Pharmacare for Children - all of those investments which this government has made and will continue to make for those most needy.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Clare.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. RELATIONS: ENERGY REBATE FORM -

DETAILS

MR. WAYNE GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. My colleagues and I continue to receive calls from Nova Scotians trying to wade through your new, very difficult energy rebate form for individuals with large residential and resource properties. I asked the minister last week whether people would be forced to reapply time and time again for this rebate after it was determined they would qualify. The minister gave me an answer full of "maybes", "probablys" and "I don't knows." The minister had time to go back and check with his staff, so my first question to the minister - can the minister tell us here today whether people have to reapply multiple times for this rebate?

[Page 5214]

HON. JAMES MUIR: Yes, Mr. Speaker, they do, and I say the properties designated resource of course were not eligible for the point-of-sale rebate. What happened, as I explained in the House - and, by the way, there was a meeting with the Canadian Oil Heat Association today and I think that particular problem with the distributors is now going to go away - no, they have to reapply each time because you're aware if it's a resource or commercial property then they would be eligible for an HST rebate on the income taxes as part of the tax thing.

What has happened, the form has been redesigned - redesigning helped - but the other thing is if it is strictly residential use, if they have residential use, then there is a certain part of the form which would be standard, and basically what they have to do is submit the numbers of litres to get the rebate.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, this form and this program has been confusing from the very first day the government announced it. The most recent changes were not even communicated to those affected - 40,000 Nova Scotians. These individuals had to find out when the oil company came to the door. Many of the seniors and low-income individuals are completely frustrated that no one told them earlier that they are being forced to fill out a form that they simply cannot negotiate through. My question to the minister is, why are you creating such a large deterrent for low-income and fixed-income seniors to receive this energy rebate?

MR. MUIR: I indicated in my response to his first question that the form has been redesigned, but he has to remember if these folks are now dealing with the form, they probably should have been dealing with one last year. Once the error was picked up - and indeed the auditors picked it up because one of the oil companies told us that they were providing point-of-sale rebates to a property where the tank actually fed a barn, and that was actually not the intent of the program. Mr. Speaker, once they fill the form out once, if it is not mixed use, it's straight residential, then the biographical information on that form will be retained and it can be copied or anything else, what they have to do is they are clearly applying for a rebate on a certain amount of fuel oil, or wood, or whatever it happens to be, and there's no way that can be automatically done unless they report the amount they use.

MR. GAUDET: Mr. Speaker, the form this government is asking our seniors to fill out is long and convoluted and in a font so small that most people in this province can't read it. I tabled a copy of that form the last time I rose on this question. I'm amazed that this government would create such a complicated form for this energy rebate. Many seniors are becoming so frustrated with the form, they simply will not fill it out and not receive this rebate. Many seniors will face tough choices this winter and this rebate could provide some much-needed help. So my final question to the minister is, will you go back with your staff

[Page 5215]

and drastically alter the form to make it as friendly as possible so that seniors in this province can receive the rebate they deserve?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, the form was redesigned and there is a new form out there now. Access Nova Scotia offices, among others, have been told until the new hard copies are available, they're to download the on-line version and distribute that. I can find out for the honourable member if the hard copies are now available. I don't know whether they are but clearly staff went back and reviewed this and they did redesign the form, and hopefully it is now a little bit easier for those people who had difficulty filling out the initial version. However, I should say that he is making in some ways, and I know not deliberately, but one of his colleagues on that other side of the House would classify as a senior and I'm not sure he, just because he has reached a magic age, would have difficulty, you know, simply because of his age.

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

[Page 5216]

HEALTH: SCOTIA SURGERY - PROFIT MARGIN

MR. DAVID WILSON (Sackville-Cobequid): Mr. Speaker, Scotia Surgery charges this province $500 an hour for their services plus the hourly rate for their doctors, anesthesiologists and other specialists. This province has paid a significant amount of money to this private company. Today, I asked senior staff in the Department of Health at the Public Accounts Committee what the profit margin was for Scotia Surgery but he couldn't tell us. So I would like to ask the Minister of Health, how can the government not know what the profit margin is for a private company that Nova Scotia taxpayers fund?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, it would also show that the NDP don't understand private business. The member opposite is underlining an issue that we are going to provide over 500 surgeries to Nova Scotians. Right now they've seen over 250 people who have gone through that site and received wonderful service. The satisfaction is phenomenal - 99 per cent of people going through there have classed that as being excellent service.

Mr. Speaker, in our comparisons with other services that are happening in this province when it comes to orthopaedics, we're seeing that we're getting a good deal for Nova Scotians. So I can say that we will continue to provide a good service. Look at the wait times in the province. The wait times in orthopaedic surgeries have gone down. Orthopaedic surgeries, whether it be knees, whether it be shoulders, whether it be hips, have gone down because Scotia Surgery is providing a service that is allowing the larger system to provide more service. So I can say that we, as a government, are very happy and very proud of what Scotia Surgery represents - another option for Nova Scotians when it comes to orthopaedic surgery.

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

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. Earlier the member for Glace Bay asked me a couple of questions in regard to the wait time fund. I'm going to table a couple of documents, one is a letter from the member opposite that is dated, I believe, August 14th. There's a reply from my office on September 18th and it reads pretty much like this:

"Tabled below shows the amount of funding that the province has received from the federal government for wait times reduction which accounts for 2.886 % of the $4.25 billion . . ."

MR. SPEAKER: It's not really a point of order.

[Page 5217]

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 3019.

Res. No. 3019, Energy: Budget (N.S. 2008-09) - Electricity Tax Hike - notice given May 15/08 - (Mr. D. Dexter)

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. It's not bad enough he rags the puck during his time, he wants to rag it during mine too. I am pleased to rise today to deal with debate on Resolution No. 3019. As you know, Mr. Speaker, this resolution deals with the fact that the government, during the Spring budget, decided that they were going to introduce measures that were to reintroduce the 8 per cent tax on home electricity, on the basic cost of home electricity, and therefore take out of the pockets of every family in this province some $28 million, which was essentially part of their response to the previous budget, which was in surplus. So the odd thing about this measure is you have a Progressive Conservative Government that, in response to a surplus, seeks to have a tax increase.

[4:30 p.m.]

Now, Mr. Speaker, I don't know about you, but that seems to me to be a contradiction in the basic notion of how you go about financing the supply of services to your province. I've heard members of the opposite side, many, many times, talk about taxation, about the evils of taxation, about wanting to give money back to the people and keep it in the pockets of the people who earned it. Instead, what this government does is, in response to a surplus when the government is taking in more money than it needs to provide its services, what they do is find a new way to tax every single family in the province.

What makes it most difficult for most people to understand, Mr. Speaker, is during the last election - I'm going to table this. This comes from the platform documents of the Premier and of the government, and I'll table it as soon as I get a chance, when I'm finished referring to it. On the front of this document is a message from the Premier in which he says, "Our province's families work hard, play by the rules, pay their taxes . . .", and I think that's something we all agree with.

Inside there is a letter signed by the Premier in which he makes the following commitment, he says that they will give ". . . working families a break through lower taxes on household essentials, like energy." So that's in the letter, Mr. Speaker.

[Page 5218]

Then in the document, the fleshed-out document, the Premier reiterates, "A new Rodney MacDonald government will take the following actions to protect our families and secure the future of not only our children, but society as a whole . . .", by removing ". . . the provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax on all household energy costs by January 1, 2007.

Then finally, Mr. Speaker, at the end of their plan, A Realistic Plan Taxpayers Can Afford, it says in support of these commitments that the "Government's estimated surpluses over the next four years, with debt repayment, remain intact." So in other words, they have calculated that they can fully afford to fund the commitment that they made to the people of the province.

As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Speaker, the Premier, the members opposite and the candidates in the other ridings, including all of the ridings which we represent, went around door to door. They stood on people's doorsteps, they gave them literature and they made that commitment to every single one of them. They told them that they would remove the 8 per cent from the basic cost of electricity right across the province.

Now, Mr. Speaker, in case you think, well, that was one pamphlet, perhaps it was an error in printing, I have here, which I am going to table - this is dated Tuesday, May 16, 2006. In 2006, in Dartmouth East - I remember that day, and I'm sure the member for Dartmouth East remembers it, because the Premier travelled to Dartmouth East to be with his candidate there and here's what he said - this is the text of his speech:

"I'm with you today because we're all coping with high energy bills. Keeping the lights and thermostat on has become more expensive. Families must keep warm and keep safe. It's just costing families more and more.

Whether we're talking about electricity, furnace oil, natural gas, wood or any other fuel, families are struggling to cope."

And this is what he said:

"My new Progressive Conservative team, new PC government will help. We will rebate a large part of the tax families are now paying to heat their homes and run basic necessities like the fridge.

We will remove the province's portion of the harmonized sales tax. That's eight per cent - gone!"

[Page 5219]

That's the commitment that the Premier made in his speech on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 and I will table that in case the Premier or the members of government have forgotten the words and the commitment that they made to the people.

I will also table the press release which was issued on that same day when he specifically refers to running basic necessities like the fridge, not heat, basic necessities like being able to keep the lights on and run the fridge. There can be no mistake about what the government and the members of the government caucus said to the people of Nova Scotia. They made a commitment that they were going to remove 8 per cent on all electricity, all energy usage in the home. That is the problem with the actions the government took in the last budget. They decided that what they told people on their doorsteps, in their homes, on their literature - they decided that they were not going to keep that commitment. They made the decision, they made the conscious decision to break their word to the people of Nova Scotia.

That is what they did in the last budget and they wonder why it is that members of our caucus voted against that. We were part of the caucus that voted to support the withdrawal of that tax from people in order to make lives more affordable. The members on this side of the aisle have voted to lower taxes on ordinary families in the province and the members of the government caucus on that side of the House are the people who have voted to raise taxes on families from one end of the province to the other.

The Premier has said that he stands by his government's tax measures and that the two increases to Nova Scotians are two different issues. What he's talking about in this story in the Chronicle-Herald is the difference between the taxation - the 8 per cent - and the proposed increase of Nova Scotia Power. You know something? When ordinary families get their electricity bill, they don't notice the difference between the Nova Scotia Power increase and the 8 per cent increase in taxation. All they see is the number at the bottom of the bill and what they will know is that the number at the bottom of the bill, the amount they have to pay, is significantly more - 8 per cent more - because the members of the government caucus and the Premier decided they were going to break their word to the people of Nova Scotia. Thank you.

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

HON. WILLIAM DOOKS: Mr. Speaker, it's a privilege to be able to stand in my place and speak with regard to the Heat Smart program which our government has put in place.

I've just listened to the Leader of the Opposition with great interest. I guess the simple truth is what is said is always open for interpretation. But, the true fact is - I have information here that I would like to share with Nova Scotians, if they do not already know - this government, our Premier, different departments are allocating over $92 million to help

[Page 5220]

Nova Scotians pay their heating bills this winter and save energy and money in years to come. That in itself, spells success - $92 million, an increase from last year alone.

[Page 5221]

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations plays a part and Conserve Nova Scotia also plays a part - two different amounts, two different jobs. For the listening public, I would just like to share this information in case some particular MLAs have not shared these programs with their constituents.

First of all I would like to speak a little bit about the Heating Assistance Rebate Program. Increasing the rebate to $450 from $200 of last year on oil, propane or natural gas, Mr. Speaker, an increase of $450 from $200 last year. Increased income levels - this means that more people are eligible this year than last year -increased income levels to $27,000 for individuals and $42,000 for families. Today we had some attention with the good work of the Salvation Army. This government has also increased over $400,000 new money to give to the Salvation Army so that they can help people in a time of need, up to 2,000 families will benefit from this donation this year.

We talk about Your Energy Rebate, $47 million, 8 per cent rebate on home heating; 300,000 people will take part in this. Basically, it would be a saving of $240 on your oil and over $190 in your electrical bill. Mr. Speaker, I'm trying to share with the people that these programs are in place now and that they can contact the department, or their local MLA's office, and get the applications necessary for these rebates. This government understands that the cost of energy is high and we put programs in place to help constituents in Nova Scotia.

Also, I'd like to talk now a little bit about Conserve Nova Scotia. Things have changed over the years, and I can remember as a young lad living on the Eastern Shore in the rural communities, that when winter approached people started to get ready for winter. They were concerned about their heating, their energy costs, and they would do things to help insulate their house. I can remember driving up the road and watching some of the older chaps with their wheelbarrows, or maybe even a horse and wagon, putting saw dust or eel grass around the foundations of their houses. Can you imagine, for an insulation factor?

I also remember the folks putting up wooden windows, or storm windows as we would call them, the people would climb up on their house with a window and actually put on wooden frames, I'm bringing back a lot of memories to some of the folks who can remember that. They would remove those exterior windows in the Spring time. Also I can remember people using plastic to cover maybe one entrance that wasn't necessarily going to be used that year. Mr. Speaker, if you were to look at the insulation of houses years ago, sometimes people would use birch bark and cover the cracks of their boards to help insulate their houses.

Mr. Speaker, I don't think there are a lot of people today who use sawdust, or eel grass, or birch bark, or storm windows, and I know some people still use plastic. But the government has made a change. The government has created Conserve Nova Scotia and in a new age, in a modern time, it's basically the same thing. This organization and this arm of government have implemented success stories in helping people cut down the cost of their

[Page 5222]

energy and also save dollars. You know, Conserve Nova Scotia has touched the lives of more than 300,000 people through 50 programs. So basically, if you want to call Conserve Nova Scotia or your MLA, they will be able to direct and give you the appropriate information on how to save energy, how to cut costs for not only a monetary benefit, but to save our environment.

This is a program which the government started, I remember, in 2006, because I happened to be the Minister of Energy at that time. I was very pleased to be the Minister of Conserve Nova Scotia, so Conserve Nova Scotia with their programs, with the educational programs, over 50 of them, they have touched 300,000 people. That's a lot of people. As I said earlier, we mustn't forget the figure that this government has implemented a $92 million program to help Nova Scotians and today I'm sharing some of the good news with our people.

Mr. Speaker, as a government we are here helping people get through this winter but we also know that short-term assistance and rebate isn't the long-term answer to rising energy prices. We must be informed, we must be able to take part in the government programs. We must be able to change our light bulbs. We must be able to know to buy energy-efficient appliances. We must know how to properly insulate our houses. We must use the proper R-factors when building.

[4:45 p.m.]

One thing I'm very proud of, as understanding and having a bit of a background in building, I was the minister who worked with the department to implement new building codes for our people so that when we construct new houses that we make sure through, municipal bylaw, that people are building in an energy-efficient way. There are so many things that we can do to help save dollars and help to save our environment. Through Conserve Nova Scotia we can buy CDs, we can get pamphlets, and also many times there are promotional aids that can help us become more aware.

Mr. Speaker, I have to talk about the zero interest loan program which is offered. This program allows up to $5,000 to people who wish to take part in this program - zero interest; $5,000 from this government to help buy new windows, to help increase their insulation, to maybe put some insulation around their foundation. So many programs are available and I ask the people who are listening to me tonight to make sure they contact the appropriate people to take part in a $92 million program in which this government takes great pride and is offering to the people of Nova Scotia and encouraging them to take part in that program.

Mr. Speaker, I've heard in this House a number of times that this government was not acting properly in dealing with the high energy costs but I'm telling you that we are sensitive to the cost of energy and this is not something that has just happening in Nova Scotia. The whole world has experienced an increase in the cost of energy but I want to let you know that

[Page 5223]

we're working in the appropriate manner to help Nova Scotians get through this winter, but not only to get through this winter but to make long-term changes in their lives and their lifestyles that will help them save money in regards to energy costs.

Mr. Speaker, we don't have to put birch bark on the cracks of the boards any more, we don't have to put sawdust around our foundation because this government is moving in a responsible way and has put programs in place to help our seniors, to help people who are experiencing high costs in energy. So I thank you for the opportunity and I hope tonight I've been successful to share this $92 million program that this government has put in place to help Nova Scotians. Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Monsieur le président, ça me fait plaisir de faire quelques remarques sur la résolution 3019 qui a était présenté à l'assemblée par le chef du parti NPD. Je peux vous dire que quand j'ai premier reçu les nouvelles qu'il aura un débat ce soir sur la question d'énergie j'était content d'avoir l'occasion de faire quelques remarques au nom du peuple du comté de Richmond. Je peux aussi partagé avec vous que maintenant que je vois la résolution je suis un peu déçu du fait que la résolution parle seulement de la question d'électricité.

Monsieur le président vous savez vous même le peuple à Richmond, le peuple à Clare et les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse partout à travers la province ce n'est pas juste une question d'électricité c'est une question de chauffage avec l'huile, avec le gaz naturel, avec le bois. Ca c'est les vraies questions qui face à nos citoyens et quand ont parlent de l'énergie il faut toucher sur tous ces sujets là. Malheureusement la résolution nous donnons pas de dédication sur ce qui fait face aux gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse sur tous les autres question d'énergie.

Monsieur le président, nous savons bien que sa fais juste quelques mois maintenant que le prix de l'huile à chauffage içi à Nouvelle-Écosse est rendue au-dessous de un dollar. Le fait est que je connais même des gens qui ont acheté de huile à 1,25$. Mais il est en train de dire que le prix va être augmenter 1,40$ ou 1,50$ alors 1,25$ pour le moment est un bon prix. Aujourd'hui ce n'est pas un bon prix parce-que nous savons que le prix de l'huile à chauffage est tombé maintenant comme le prix de l'essence a tombé aussi. Nous attendons que sa va tomber même plus parce-que ça va être un hiver qui va être très triste pour les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse si il n'y a pas de change.

Monsieur le président, je peux vous dire que chez nous, et je pense la même chose chez vous, nous entendons des familles qui disent qu'ils vont laisser leur maison à l'hiver et aller rester sois avec leur enfants, avec leur soeurs, ou avec un autre membre de familles parce-que c'est impossible pour eux a demeurer dans leur maison tout seul cet hiver avec le prix de chauffage, n'importe de quelles façons qu'ils vont chauffer leur maison. Je n'ai pas de questions quand nous sommes content de voir qu'il a eu une augmentation au rabais qui

[Page 5224]

est disponible au gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse qui chauffent avec le huile, avec le gaz naturel qui est maintenant augmenter à 450$. Mais nous entendons aussi des gens qui chauffent avec le bois qui nous disent oublions pas comme parlementaires le fait que le prix pour acheter des cordons de bois a augmenté aussi mais malheureusement le rabais qui est disponible pour ses citoyens içi est 150$. Nous savons bien que 150$ pour acheter du bois de chauffage aujourd'hui ne va pas aller loin.

J'ai eu un appel aujourd'hui juste pour me rappeler just de ce fait là. J'espère que le gouvernement va prendre ça et puis réfléchir si c'est le temps de faire certain que les rabais reflétent le vraie coût pour les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse. Les gens sont entrain de dire pourquoi si je chauffe avec de l'huile j'aurais l'occasion de 450$ de rabais mais à cause du fait que je chauffe avec du bois je peux seulement recevoir 150$? Peut-être des années passés 150$ pour du bois était un montant qui était correct mais aujourd'hui c'est très claire, en particulier pour le bois de feuillu içi à la Nouvelle-Écosse, c'est l'augmentation de la demande pour le bois, l'effet est que le prix pour le bois augmente à le mème temps. Malheureusement le rabais qui est disponible pour les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse demeure le même montant.

Monsieur le président c'est aussi la question que les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse doivent faire l'application pour ce rabais. Nous savons, il fait dix ans que je suis içi maintenant, mais nous savons que quand le gouvernement à offert des programmes comme se programme dans le passé, que dans des cas seulement 40 pourcent des gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse qui avaient le droit a reçevoir ont appliqué. Alors il faut pauser la question est-ce que le gouvernement mit ses programmes en place en sachant que les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse, ce qui ont le droit à ce rabais, ne vont pas faire application? Un des gens chez nous m'a posé la question est-ce que ça serait possible pour le gouvernement à nous envoyer le rabais directement et que nous aurions pas à faire l'application? Je lui a dis vous pose un très bon question parce-que je sais que le gouvernment dirait tout de suite non, c'est pas possible, il faut que les gens font l'application, c'est impossible pour nous à faire ça. Mais avec la bonne mémoire politique vous rappelez vous même que durant le temps du Premier ministre John Hamm, juste avant l'élection, le gouvernement a envoyé les chèques aux gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse pour 155$. Peut-être que vous pouvez rappelé parce-que de ma mémoire il ne faut pas appliquer pour cet argent là.

Le gouvernement a trouvé un moyen d'identifier qui à la Nouvelle-Écosse avaient le droit au 155$. Encore c'était juste avant une élection mais à ce point là ils ont pu les identifier. Maintenant ils disent non, il faut faire l'application premier. Si le ministre pourrait nous répondre la question quel pourcentage des gens à la Nouvelle-Écosse avaient le droit au rabais dans les dernières quelques années, quel pourcentage on fait l'application? Nous verrons que les nombres sont beaucoup trop bas. Alors il y a trop de familles pour quelque raison qui ne sont pas au courant qu'ils ont le droit de recevoir ce rabais. Au même temps vous même avez soulevé les problèmes avec l'application pour certains gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse. La réponse qui a venu du ministre et les formulaires qui avaient était mit disponible,

[Page 5225]

vous savez vous même vous recevé des appels tous les jours à votres bureaux avec les problèmes qu'il continue.

Alors il faut se poser la question quand on regarde la situation, est-ce que le gouvernement est sincère pour vouloir assister aux gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse ou est-ce que c'est plus une façon de dire voiçi le bon programme que nous avons et une fois que des problèmes sont soulevé il font leur mieux de ne pas les addressés. Est-ce que c'est à cause qu'il veut moins de personnes qualifier pour le programme parce-que le plus qui qualifie le plus chère que le programme va être. Pendant que le gouvernement nous disent nous avons déjà budget une certaine montant d'argent si on regarde dans le passé les autres fois ses programmes ont étaient offerts c'était certain pour gouvernement que certaine montant qui a déjà était budget ne serait jamais dépasser. Alors est-ce que c'est ça qui est l'intention? Je ne sais pas.

Moi je peux partagé avec toi Monsieur le président mes efforts chez nous pour faire certain aussi bien que je peux que tous les gens du comté de Richmond qui qualifie pour ce rabais va faire l'application. Je l'ai posté au journal, aux deux stations de cable chez nous que les formulaires étaient disponible à mon bureau. Au même temps comme vous savez bien je fais le rapport chaque mois à la télévision et sur ce rapport là j'explique le programme et chaque fois que je fais mon rapport je continue à rappeler les gens que c'est absolument nécessaire qu'ils font l'application si ils qualifient. Au même temps je les encourage de partager cette information avec leur parents, avec leur frères, avec leur soeurs, avec leur voisins, avec leur amis de la communauté parce-qu'ils ont l'occasion maintenant de faire l'application à ceçi. Est-ce que c'est un montant qui va addresser tous les problèmes d'énergie qui fait face notre province? Il n'y a pas de question de ça. C'est clair que nous avons beaucoup plus à faire.

J'ai eu un appel d'une madame aujourd'hui qui m'a dit quelle chauffe avec l'électricité. Elle habite dans une appartement mais elle a dit que elle n'utilise pas assez de l'électricité pour qualifier pour le rabais qui est offert par la province. Alors elle m'a posé la question à cause du fait que je fais le mieux d'utiliser le moins d'électricité possible d'un essence je suis puni par le gouvernement en place d'être féliciter pour ceçi. Elle pose la question si quelqu'un a toujours la chaleur il reçoit le rabais mais moi, à cause du fait que j'ai coupé et voulais être responsable, je ne reçoit pas. Alors c'est très clair qu'on a beaucoup à faire comme parlementaires pour addresser les problèmes d'énergie déjà dans la Nouvelle-Écosse. Comme je l'ai dit cette résolution, au moins de donner l'occasion d'avoir le débat, j'espère que cette résolution ne va pas seulement faire face la question d'électricité mais va regarder à tous formes d'énergie qui est utilisé par les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse pour addresser le fait que nos familles à travers de la Nouvelle-Écosse et les gens de la Nouvelle-Écosse peuvent passé cet hiver en chaleur, en sécurité et en paix. Merçi.

MR. SPEAKER: Merci.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

[Page 5226]

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Health wanted me to do it en français - all I'll say to you is I'm going to have a hard enough time doing most debates in English . . .

AN HON. MEMBER: Agreed.

MR. CORBETT: It's agreed, Mr. Speaker, I finally get some support in this House. I get no support in this House, I get no support in the house in Lingan, so bear with me (Interruption) (Laughter) and I'm getting no support from my colleagues.

You know, Mr. Speaker, (Interruption) I know you guys do - what was interesting when I heard the Minister of Tourism and Culture respond to this resolution today was he didn't. He talked about programs - and for anybody in this House to stand up and talk about energy conservation from that side is pretty ridiculous, but it gets into the bizarre realm when that minister gets up and he's the guy who, if you remember, was waxing poetically about wind turbines and that the wind doesn't always blow in Nova Scotia. He's the same guy, when he was in Energy, who cut a deal with the large, multi-national hardware outfit so you could go and get one lightbulb. It was only here in metro that you could get it. If you were down in Yarmouth or if you were in Pictou County, Mr. Speaker, it would cost you 20 times that much in wasted fuel to go and buy this one lightbulb from under the leadership of that minister. Then he comes up and tells us how proud he is of his government and under his tutelage how that department worked so well. Well, Mr. Speaker, it didn't work well.

[5:00 p.m.]

Really we're digressing here because the real debate here tonight is about taxation. Did the government raise taxes when they said in their literature when they were running for office that this was not in the cards? Not once, but twice, as my Leader pointed out, yet the government wants to push that aside and talk about some of their programs that really haven't worked. Yet the one thing we do know out of the government's budget was that Nova Scotians, for sure, are going to be paying more taxes on their electricity.

You know, Mr. Speaker, we've just come out of Remembrance Day yesterday and we've seen many of our seniors who are spectacular at going out and supporting these various rallies for Remembrance Day and many of them were there in the very cold weather. These are the same people who are returning to their homes after those observances and they're the ones on fixed incomes who are being asked to pay higher electricity rates.

I don't blame the government member for not hitting that point because that is not a nice point to say - my government raised taxes. They raised taxes on some of the most vulnerable people in this province - our seniors and other people on fixed incomes. Now these same people are the ones who couldn't drive to Dartmouth or to Sydney to get a

[Page 5227]

lightbulb. Mr. Speaker, these people have a hard enough time getting to the grocery store for milk, butter and bread, but yet they see this foisted on them by a government that told them no, we're not going to do this - vote for us, we're not going to raise taxes.

You know, we remember there was a government not so long ago in the United States when the presidential candidate said "read my lips, no new taxes", and we see what happened to that government, Mr. Speaker, and we see the same thing happening to this government when they say, no new taxes.

This is not something that the NDP have brought forward, this is not something that we're making up. This is something that the Executive Council got together and said, how are we going to get more money in the coffers? What did they do? They said look, let's take a utility, let's take something that every man, woman and child in this province needs and let's put more taxes on it. What do we see? We see that, plus then we see the 9.3 per cent increase in that cost of getting that. Then we looked at 8 per cent on top of it, Mr. Speaker.

So you know it's nice to talk about the fact that government would like to see Nova Scotians conserve. To that, Mr. Speaker - nobody really disagrees with the perspective of conserving energy. But you know when you have people on fixed income who, just by their age, are living in older stock housing and they just, you know the R value of some of those homes is probably below 6 per cent, and how do they save energy? Well, you know, Mr. Speaker, we know how they save energy, they put another sweater on, they put an extra blanket on the bed. Is that the real dignity we want to see Nova Scotians are left to deal with?

It's often said that we're judged as the civilization by how we treat the most vulnerable. This 8 per cent increase on home electricity is one of the most outrageous taxes that have been levied on Nova Scotia consumers in quite some time. We're at a point here that many of our citizens are wondering what we're going to do, because earlier in Question Period today, the member for Pictou West, when questioning the Minister of Natural Resources, asked a very direct question. There's a resource that we often took for granted that many Nova Scotians could sometimes get off their own land, that was hardwood.

The minister, to my estimation, didn't answer that question. This is a fuel that many Nova Scotians could use but as we know - this is, again, not an NDP line, but from the producers who say we just don't have enough to supply that end of the consumer chain. We're sending it off to other sources.

Many of our people who may have had wood pellet stoves - actually, people are waiting in line ups right up to probably Christmas to get wood pellets for their stoves. So, many Nova Scotians are miles ahead of this government when it comes to conservation and looking at alternative sources for fuel, but the reality is that most people, I would dare say 99 per cent of Nova Scotians, live on the grid.

[Page 5228]

With that many living on the grid, how are we going to conserve when government says, here's an 8 per cent tax? The cost of that energy goes up by almost 10 per cent, but we're going to do this. We know that by recent CPI - Consumer Price Index - one of the largest factors for an increase in CPI, in this province, is energy costs. Energy costs are moving up at a very, very accelerated rate and it's harder hit here than most other provinces.

What we have for Nova Scotians is a perfect storm of not very nice consequences. We see energy costs going up on CPI and then we have our own government trying to tax it - it's a double whammy. Why would government tell Nova Scotians, when they're going door-to-door on election day and through that whole period, that they're not going to touch your taxes and yet, within a year, they break their promise.

They knew back in May, 2006, that this was wrong then, and it's wrong now. Why, today, didn't the minister stand up and give an explanation of why they did it? Why didn't they do it instead of talking about programs that failed - to the nth degree, the failure was so great - but they wanted to talk about that, yet they will not stand in their place and say this was a reasonable approach we took to taxation. They know that's wrong. They know that during an election period they told people, as the old George Bush regime said, no new taxes, read my lips.

There are new taxes. This is not to help Nova Scotians, this is hurting Nova Scotians. This is a basic pocketbook issue that Nova Scotians will not accept. We're on the eve of winter and we need some reaction from this government and I say, do the right thing and rescind this 8 per cent. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: Time has expired for debate on Resolution No. 3019.

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. FRANK CORBETT: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 4511.

Res. No. 4511, Fish. & Aquaculture: Lobster Licensing - Fed. Min. Contact - notice given Nov. 3/08 - (Mr. S. Belliveau)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Shelburne.

MR. STERLING BELLIVEAU: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to stand here today in my place and present this particular Resolution No. 4511. I would like to read a paragraph or two of this just to get it on the record:

[Page 5229]

"Whereas on October 29, 2008, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans presented changes entitled, Instructions to Area Licensing Staff for the Maritime Regions, to the LFA 34 Advisory Committee; and

[Whereas according to DFO these new instructions outline three options that may be used for lobster fishermen in the upcoming season as a mechanism to allow fishermen to reduce costs; and]

Whereas the fishermen and their representatives in LFA 34 are appalled that this decision, which has the potential of damaging the independence of the inshore lobster fishery, was made without any consultation with the LFA 34 Advisory Committee;

Therefore be it resolved that the House request the provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to immediately write his federal counterpart, calling for a meeting including all stakeholders, to ensure that any changes made to licensing reflect the best interests of our lobster industry in Nova Scotia."

Mr. Speaker, I want to get that on record because I think this is very important. The basic premise of this whole discussion tonight here is the lack of consultation. We're standing here this particular year in the birthplace of democracy. It is in this very simple House which marks the birthplace of democracy in Canada on the occasion of our 250th Anniversary of representative government in Nova Scotia. We ask the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to write a simple letter to support the request of coastal communities across Nova Scotia to protect fishing grounds, to protect the fishing communities, the survival, and to protect the independence of all, and all we get is no, no, no.

Mr. Speaker, I'm sure that many of us remember the fictional character from the mid-1970s - Henry Winkler who played the Fonz. I think we all remember him. Fonz had a very difficult time in saying the word wrong. I think he tried different times, he would say w-r-ong - as close as you could get to it. The provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture has been wrong on several resolutions dealing with the fisheries in the last several weeks and I would like to take the time to point out a few of them.

First, he is willing to ignore the opinions and the advice not to continue a moratorium on Georges Bank. Second, requests for funding to research a project for the use of an underwater camera to gather valuable information while lobsters are in their molting process, that's wrong; and, third, in support of holding a public inquiry into the Atlantic fisheries. This one here we have to spend a little time on. The last session, the fourth issue, the first resolution dealing with having cusk not put on the species at risk list, after a late debate, after redrafting the new regulations, it was finally passed by the government. Fifth, just lately a request for the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture to write a simple letter to the federal counterpart to ensure that any changes in the licences reflect the best interests of our lobster industry in Nova Scotia - a simple letter.

[Page 5230]

A few days ago fishermen met with the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Yarmouth. They had a meeting and they were appalled at the way that this particular condition was parachuted in the conditions of this upcoming season which is only literally days away. I would like to read a portion of the local paper - and I'm going to table this after I do it, Mr. Speaker. Don't get too nervous about me using a prop, but I want to read into the record the local paper, the Yarmouth County Vanguard, the voice of southwest Nova Scotia and was dated November 11th - and this is the front page, this is not on the back page somewhere tucked in where we have to thoroughly read the paper and hopefully get the message. This is the front page where the people want to know what the story is about, the importance of the story. The editor put it in bold letters and I'll read the headlines, "DFO policy infuriates lobster fishermen."

I'll read a quote from the first paragraph, "Lobster fishermen in southwestern Nova Scotia were infuriated as they recently listened to DFO officials explain the policy that allows for stacking of two licences on one boat." I take the opportunity to table that.

[5:15 p.m.]

In the interim, when that was all taking place, we asked this minister, in this House, to write a letter, and he said no. The interesting part is that the editor in southwestern Nova Scotia, in Yarmouth, felt that it was a major news item and put it in bold letters. There is a disconnect there. I would strongly suggest that there is a very big disconnect between the fishing communities, this government and the provincial Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The importance of the above topic clearly shows that the provincial fisheries department and this government is simply out of touch, or they simply do not understand the issues, or they are asleep at the wheel. Public policies are killing our coastal communities and in the early 1970s our fishing communities thrived because the decisions were made at the local level. Pardon the pun here, but if we want to turn to happy days, we better start having some of those local decisions made at the local level and we should start sending some letters to Ottawa.

Mr. Speaker, in April 2007, DFO announced measures to preserve the independence of the inshore fleet in Canada's Atlantic fisheries. Fishermen across the Atlantic Provinces had demanded this review be concentrating on licences and not to curtail the concentration of licences in the hands of a few. Today, these conditions, fishermen have been blind sided and have no input or no consultation. This provincial government does not have the courage to even write a single letter.

Mr. Speaker, this government, in regard to the fisheries policy on the above topics, has simply no direction, no voice, and no leadership. Even our federal MPs - from the

[Page 5231]

Liberals and the Tories - have remained silent and I suggest to you, on the above topics, the silence is deafening. My recommendation to our provincial minister and his government is to follow the advice of the LFA 34 Management Board and request a meeting with the new federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and show some leadership.

There is a simple saying, you can either lead, or you can follow, or just simply get out of the way. That is what I'm asking tonight. We need, collectively here, to send a letter that we want an emergency meeting with the federal minister. We need to shelve these conditions until people are consulted in our communities and let's get back to the glory days of the 1960s. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

HON. RONALD CHISHOLM: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I want to thank the honourable member for Shelburne for bringing this resolution forward, No. 4511, DFO lobster licence policy. As well, he mentioned a number of things there that I really should comment on, that we had taken no action on, issues like the Georges Bank. I can assure that honourable member, we have taken a stand on Georges Bank as it is described in the legislation. The underwater camera, to look at lobster that may or may not be damaged, we in the fishery have absolutely no mechanism in place to be able to do a project like that. If they want to go to DFO, DFO would be the one.

The issue on the cusk, we have taken a position on. We have spoken for a long time. The previous minister had spoken about that. So we've taken a lot of issues on. As far as the resolution that was defeated here last week I guess it was, on the letter. Mr. Speaker, I can tell you and all members of this House, and all fishermen out there, that I have a letter that is going to the federal minister to deal with this issue. Not because they asked but because I - as Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture - have a responsibility to do that and that is what is being done and it will be done immediately.

What I'm asking for is a meeting with that minister to relay the concerns of the fishing community and the industry in the Province of Nova Scotia. So having said that, Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be here tonight, to speak about the opportunities, to talk about the lobster fishery in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, the lobster fishery is the most important fishery in the province, having a landed value of $350 million to $400 million on a yearly basis. As well, we have 3400 lobster licences. When you add crew members to this, the number of people employed in the fishery alone is around 10,000. The commercial fishery drives the economy of our coastal communities and the lobster is the economic engine for that. As well, the lobster industry is important in all regions of the province but our biggest and most important lobster area is area 34 in southwestern Nova Scotia, which will open very soon. There are 970 enterprises in southwestern Nova Scotia that fish lobster. So the lobster industry has

[Page 5232]

faced a number of challenges over the past few years, we all know that. The resource has been very strong in most areas, with the Northumberland Strait as an exception.

Mr. Speaker, economic factors have created pressures. Over the past year, exchange rates and the fuel costs have been big problems; we all know that. When our dollar was about 70 cents U.S., a 100-pound crate of lobster sold into the U.S. market at $6.00 a pound and would bring approximately $8.57 home to Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, that same crate of lobster sold last Spring, when our dollar was at par, would fetch about $600 a crate. So the loss of $1.57 per crate was due to the exchange rate.

Things were also different last Spring; on top of the price problems, there were also increased costs, particularly in fuel, with prices hitting all-time highs. The exchange rate and the fuel prices have recently improved for the lobster fishermen but there are new challenges. The global economic troubles have had an impact on luxury food items, such as lobster. People are very cautious with their spending and they are not eating out as much at high-end restaurants.

This Fall U.S. fishermen were selling their lobsters for as low as $2.00 a pound. If the NDP had any interest in the fishery, they would be looking for solutions to the price problem that we could see this Fall.

Mr. Speaker, I believe that our lobster in Nova Scotia is of a much better quality until it is in the U.S. While we target the lucrative Christmas market in the U.S., there are concerns about pricing as we head toward our important Fall season that opens later this month.

Mr. Speaker, given the uncertainties in the lobster markets in the United States, my staff is looking at a number of marketing opportunities for our lobster products. Presently we are working on the Canadian Holiday Lobster Promotion in major cities in our western provinces and it is my intention to be part of that delegation as well.

While we don't expect to replace our major U.S. markets, we do hope to expand our domestic consumption and establish more market offices for our live lobster.

Mr. Speaker, another concern we have with our Japanese market - which consumes probably 8 per cent of our export market in Nova Scotia - is with the issue with the PSP in tomalley, where the Japanese are not buying our lobster because of that. Just last week, I met with the ambassador for Japan concerning that issue. That was at the top on the agenda for that meeting. He realized the concerns and when we indicated to him that the CFIA and the food safety programs that we have in place - he sure had a better understanding of where we were with our export market of lobster to that country. He had indicated he would try to do what he could to help us with that issue.

[Page 5233]

The big issue has been with the owner/operator policy and the so-called trust agreements. I know that the member for Shelburne and probably the member for Digby, they know exactly all about trust agreements. They've been in the fishery for a long time, they have lobster licences as well as other licences - maybe they have trust agreements, I don't know, but that has been an issue for a long time.

Owner/operator means what it says - the lobster licence can only be owned by fishermen who actually do the fishing on their boats. The goal behind this policy is to have the wealth from the fishery stay with the fishermen in our coastal communities and not have to go to any investor who may not even live in the province. This government has supported that owner/operator policy right from day one - they've been fighting it for the last five years under different ministers.

There were concerns that some investors were getting around the policy through trust agreements. The licence would be held in a fisherman's name, but the real owner was the investor who had a trust agreement with the fisherman. A little over a year ago, DFO strengthened their owner/operator policy by requiring fishermen to declare whether or not they were truly independent, and we, as a government, supported that.

Those who were not truly independent and their investment partners were given seven years to get out of controlling trust agreements - this was a very controversial issue with strong feelings on both sides. I believe the majority of fishermen in virtually all regions of the province supported the stronger owner/operator policy; however, it did create a new problem - where would the money come from for young fishermen to buy lobster licences? Last Spring, my government took steps to address this issue by introducing a loans for licences program which, I am sorry to say, the NDP Opposition voted against. Unbelievable, Mr. Speaker.

One of the things that I heard from the member for Shelburne - the first day I became Minister of Fisheries - was, we have to come up with a loans for licences program, and what does he do when we do? He votes against it. He voted against it. The member for Pictou East voted against it; fisheries is a big issue in Pictou East. The member for Pictou West voted against it; the member for Hants East voted against it as well. Fisheries is very important. What about the member for Halifax Citadel-Sable Island? Sable Island, a very, very important part of the fisheries in the Province of Nova Scotia. I can't believe they would vote against it. The member for Halifax Atlantic, which includes Sambro, voted against it. One of the biggest fishing communities in the Province of Nova Scotia is Sambro. The Leader of the Opposition, Eastern Passage, how many fishermen fish out of Eastern Passage? They voted against it. (Interruptions)

Well, I have to give the Liberal Party full marks for voting for this policy (Applause). Mr. Speaker, it's a program that the fishing communities of this province asked us to put in place, and we did. The Official Opposition decided they didn't want to be part of that, so

[Page 5234]

they voted against it - for whatever reasons, I don't know, Mr. Speaker - but congratulations to the Liberal Party for doing the right thing and voting for the fishermen in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Staff right now are currently working on the lending rules and the process for this new program. Our target date to have this program up and running is April, 2009. We're on target and we're very confident we will have money going out the door to lobster fishermen. I'm not sure we're going to give any money to the lobster fishermen in the areas that the NDP represent, but anyway. (Interruptions) Well, maybe a little bit, maybe a little bit. Yes, that's good.

Anyway, Mr. Speaker, the lobster fishery is not a static industry and it is impacted by currency trends, oil pricing trends, global economic trends, policy changes, and our changing demographics. A lobster fisher must be an astute business person to succeed in such a dynamic environment. The recent change that was brought up by the member for Shelburne, by DFO, relating to the combination of licences, before the change two fishermen could form a partnership and fish on the same boat. This would cut back on fuel costs and boat costs. They were not allowed to fish twice the trap limit but only 1.5 times the trap limit.

[5:30 p.m.]

So if a single licence could fish 400 traps, two licences fishing together on the same boat could fish 600 traps. This flexibility gave fishers an option to work together to save on expenses. The trust agreement issue often played into these partnerships. The second licence on a boat was sometimes placed in the name of a crew member, while the real owner of the licence was the skipper. So the DFO change basically legalized this form of a partnership agreement and the licence holder would be allowed to hold a second licence on his boat and fish 1.5 times the trap limit.

Again, Mr. Speaker, this was a very controversial issue. Many believed that all should be equal and there should be no flexibility in the partnership option. This new development is different than the trust agreement controversy. The owner/operator is still respected and the change in the partnership rules. The only ones who can get a second licence to put on the boats are the independent fishermen themselves and they must be on their boat fishing the licence. This change is intended to give some fishermen the flexibility to reduce expenses, but I do have some concerns as well about the consultation process leading up to this policy change. The industry talked with DFO about owner/operator for years and DFO officials say that some of the fleet rationalization was part of those discussions. I understand that many fishermen do not see it this way, and are not happy with this change that was made by DFO.

So, Mr. Speaker, it is my intention to talk to the new Fisheries Minister about this policy. A letter is being prepared from myself to the federal minister on this very topic to raise my concerns about the consultation process and what the fishermen have told me. As

[Page 5235]

we move forward, there are a number of key issues surrounding this new policy that must be made clear. One is the owner/operator must continue to be respected and our government has committed to that. DFO says that independent fishermen can only combine two licences, not many licences, and I want to make sure that there's a guarantee to that effect.

As well, fishermen have the option of decoupling these licences. In other words, if economic circumstances improve, or if a son or daughter wants to get into the industry, they can split the double licence to form two licences again. I want to know how DFO plans to ensure that this option will continue into the future. This change in partnership policy has contributed to the fear that many fishermen have about the possible accumulation of many licences by one individual or a corporation. DFO tells us that this will not happen and the owner/operator policy will be respected. Even fishermen who want economic flexibility are concerned that this policy could be a slippery slope that will lead to excessive consolidation. The policy as stated will not allow excessive consolidation, but what about the future? We need to ensure the future steps, the next steps.

Mr. Speaker, I strongly believe that DFO addressed the owner/operator issue in good faith. I want to be sure they are approaching this partnership change with the same outlook for independent inshore fishermen. As I said earlier, the lobster fishery is the most important fishery in the Province of Nova Scotia. It drives our coastal economy, so every issue and every change is of interest to me and interest to our government. I intend to address this matter with DFO. Their policies must address our economic interest and licencing policies must also allow our independent fishermen flexibility to deal with economic realities that are faced in our province, and in the global marketplace. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The Chair recognizes the honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

MR. HAROLD THERIAULT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'm pleased to stand in my place tonight and speak on Resolution No. 4511. This resolution was brought forth by the member for Shelburne and I agreed with it. I agreed, and the resolution stated that he was asking the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture of Nova Scotia to write a letter to the federal minister stating the concerns of the fishermen.

I want to speak a little about this concern that the fishermen have about this. I've been a fisherman all my life, I've been a fisherman for 15 generations in this province and I know the concerns in it. I know the ups and downs in it. I know what is happening and if you know the history of the fishery, you can kind of predict the future and it's good to know. It's good to know history, because you don't want to make the same mistakes twice, and if you know that, you shouldn't make them twice.

It's all about stacking licenses, stacking the licenses in the lobster fishery of Nova Scotia, all of Atlantic Canada, but I'm just going to stick to Nova Scotia here around this

[Page 5236]

coast. It's about elimination of people if this takes place, Mr. Speaker, it's all about elimination of people. We've seen it and we're just saying, like the minister said earlier, it's only two licenses we're going to put together. In five years, if the fleet is cut, is sold, 10 per cent each year, in five years we've got the lobster fishing fleet of Nova Scotia cut in half. That's eliminating a lot of a thousand jobs in the coastal communities in Nova Scotia.

You know there's really no need of that because the DFO said in 1996, in the groundfishery, there are too many people chasing too few fish. Those was the words, they still echo in my head, I go to sleep at night and they echo there - too many people chasing too few fish.

Okay, we accepted that because we annihilated the groundfishery. They brought in quotas, similar - I mean the lobster fishery we have now has quota. You have a quota of time, you have a quota of traps and that's what we fish by. We put all of our small ones back and some day, hopefully, maybe even put some big ones back, but we're looking at that. It's called effort control. We've had an effort control fishery in the lobster fishery for many years and you control the effort. Somehow DFO thinks you're going to slow the effort up by doubling up licenses, by two right now, but what about two years down the road? Do we go to three licenses per boat? Once you open that door, you open another one, shit, let's go to four, let's go to five, let's go to six.

MR. SPEAKER: I apologize, not this time. (Interruptions) The honourable member knows that word is certainly not parliamentary language and I would ask the honourable member to withdraw that word, please.

MR. THERIAULT: I apologize, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you.

MR. THERIAULT: Sometimes I get carried away and I think I'm on the end of the wharf down in Digby Neck, I'm sorry.

AN HON. MEMBER: Go take a long walk.

MR. THERIAULT: Another five years here, I'm sure I'll get over that - maybe. Hopefully I will, I'm sorry, I apologize again, Mr. Speaker.

Anyway, back to the groundfishery, 1996, too many people chasing too few fish. So we put the quotas onto the boats so the only way the boats could operate - they had to pull the quotas together. They kept buying up and buying up, so let's take a fleet of 400 boats down in sou'west Nova, it has gone to 40 boats today, in the groundfishery, give or take a few, it's gone to 40 boats. This is a matter since 1996 - what, 12 years? I was only talking

[Page 5237]

half in the lobstering, but it'll go farther than that, I believe. Fishermen believe it will go farther than that.

I can see down the road in the lobster fishery, if that door is open, I can see those 40 boats that are fishing groundfish right now, fishing all the lobster traps, too. I can see that, I can envision it because it's happened to us. Here in Digby Neck and the island, we used to have 20 fish plants there. They're gone, we have two left and we have to import our fish to that area. Thank God now we're looking at growing fish, we got to grow some there to sustain our community.

The groundfishery was gone because the money bought it out. Everybody has their price when it comes to money, when it comes to business. The groundfishery was taken out of that area, completely gone in 12 years - just amazing - so here we are, we're looking at the same thing in the lobster fishery, same idea. You won't be buying quota this time, you'll be buying licences. You'll go from two, to three, to four, and DFO says it's for economic reasons. We can catch the lobsters a little more economically.

But, how does that work economically? We can catch them a little more economically, but we're going to cut the workforce out of our coastal communities maybe by 90 per cent. That's quite economical. The only fishery we have left in our coastal waters and we're going to cut that down maybe 90 per cent, just like the groundfishery.

I can see it and the fishermen can see that coming. All they want to do is talk to DFO about it and that's what the resolution was about. The resolution was for the minister to call and talk to the minister in Ottawa so we could get together and talk this over - you know, do you know what you're doing there? Sure they know what they're doing, too many people chasing too few fish work in the quota, for the groundfishery. Now it's too many people chasing too many lobsters. That's what they're using this time, it's for economics though. It would be better for the economics - instead of grossing $300,000 a year, you can gross $600,000 per boat. If that isn't enough, let's go to $1.2 million, make four licenses per boat with three men instead of 12 being hired. Yeah, it'll come down to one boat, after all, fish 'em all up.

I can see it, I can feel it. DFO's worrying about the markets. If DFO is worrying about the markets, why don't they work on the market? I remember when I was a child before we had any market, everybody was lobster fishing, everybody in the community. We couldn't even sell them. What we couldn't eat, or give away, we threw on the fields as fertilizer. Nobody then was coming to tell us to get out of the fishery, do it more economically. There wasn't any of that, DFO didn't even exist. We survived. We had salt fish in the basement, potatoes, a barn full of wood and lobsters, some on the field growing, we're getting back to the manure pile. (Interruptions)

[Page 5238]

Everything is going to the heap, everything needs to be heaped up and the Department of Fisheries is doing this because they don't want to manage the fishery anymore. They want two, three or four people in the country to manage the fishery for them, to own the fishery, to manage it for them. That's the belief of the fishermen who I represent. It sounds like common sense to me. It sounds like good common sense.

Let's get back to the markets. If they're worrying about the markets, get out and work and get some more markets. We know the United States is in trouble, big trouble, and that's 80 per cent - we sell 80 per cent of our lobsters to the U.S. market - too much dependence on it. We have a little going to Japan. We could sell lobsters right here in Western Nova Scotia, there's more money in Alberta than there is in the United States right now, call someone in Alberta and ask them if they can buy a lobster out there.

Why aren't these buyers looking for the markets? Europe - I have friends in Europe - when they can find one over there, they're high in Sweden, $42 a pound. You watch another thing, I want to speak about another thing, about our own markets around Halifax here. Go to the market Christmas time when we're getting $3 a pound down at the wharf, go over here to a store and see what the price is. If they're not $11.99, I'll eat my shirt. You watch it, I've watched it for years, the fishermen have too.

That's what's going on, so DFO wants to do something, maybe they could talk to the markets. If they're going to be $3 a pound out of the boat, sell them to the people here in the city for $5. They'd still make $2 and it would only cost them fifty cents to get them there. If it's going to be hard times, give the people a feed of lobsters this Fall and leave the fishermen alone with doubling up the licenses, because what you do, you're going to eliminate - I don't know where the people are all going to go out of the coastal communities. It's only going to be one in Digby and one in Shelburne, fishing what's fair.

I can see it coming, Mr. Speaker. I can see it coming. I mean, all the fishermen want to do, all the fishermen want right now is to sit down with the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and speak about this. They can see where this is going to go. They can see that the only fishery we've got, that the only viable fishery - keep it spread out. Romeo LeBlanc in 1977 saw it - he had to buy licences back. The lobster went down, so we bought enough back out of the system to level it off to where it is today and ever since 1977 to today, the lobster fishery has grown.

[5:45 p.m.]

It's a good fishery. It's one of the success fisheries in Canada and they're going to look at starting to put this in the pile, the manure pile? Keep it spread out, keep it spread out and we will survive in the coastal communities of this province. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou East.

[Page 5239]

MR. CLARRIE MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure for me to rise in the discussion on Resolution No. 4511, because this was a resolution that was put forward by the member for Shelburne - and the member for Shelburne, I have a tremendous respect for. I also have a similar respect for the minister from Digby-Annapolis. (Interruptions) Well there have been quite a few faux pas in the House today - I think the Minister of Health made a good one this afternoon.

So certainly these two members, Mr. Speaker, know more about the fishery than all the rest of those in this House combined. These two members have wrung more saltwater out of their mittens than most of us have seen. So I have a tremendous respect for what they have said here today because I've known them for a long time.

What I want to say here today is that I started out working with the Department of Fisheries as a public relations officer, and consultation was one of the things that was of paramount importance - when there is no consultation, it is a problem from the very beginning. And this is what happened with this issue - there was absolutely no consultation. This issue is about consultation, consultation, consultation. It is a situation of communications.

Mr. Speaker, as a former employee of the Department of Fisheries, having had four jobs there - first as a public relations officer, then as manager of field services, then as aquaculture administrator, and then as marine advisor - I feel I know something about the fishery, but certainly not as much or nearly as much, and I will never know what the two honourable members know who have spoken before me.

The situation is that when I was involved as manager of field services, for 13 years I was the boss of the uncle of the Minister of Health, a man whom I respect, Arnold Muise, an outstanding person in southwestern Nova Scotia - and I ask the Minister of Health to go and talk to Uncle Arnold and he will look at two sides in this issue and he would have supported sending a letter to the federal minister. I know that he would have done that.

When I was involved as manager of field services, every dumping day in every area of this province, every lobster fishing area of this province, I tried to be aboard the vessels that were going out either on dumping day or first haul. I have gone out on vessels from Baie St. Lawrence, Glace Bay, on that side of the province in Cape Breton, down to southwestern Nova Scotia; I've gone out of Woods Harbour, Shag Harbour, Clark's Harbour, I've gone out of Yarmouth and Westport. I've spent a lot of time on the water and I know the lobster industry and there are some severe problems. People are talking economy of scale and they are talking a number of issues but we are concerned about the numbers of fishers who are going to be displaced and the eventual move to a corporate fishery. That is what this issue is about.

[Page 5240]

We are, in fact, looking at stacking, which is - you know there was an issue of combining licences, combining licences, they were easily separated again. One of the concerns that we have about this stacking is that we're not exactly sure how easy the separation is going to be of those licences and that is a key here.

What I'm saying is that we should stop this implementation until there has been consultation; stop the implementation until there has been consultation. Now there was, from the opposite side, from the government there was a refusal to send a letter to the minister. This thing came about, in fact, when there was no minister really in place.

The Honourable Gail Shea is, in fact, the new Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, and I think she needs a little bit of information from Nova Scotia on this issue. Now I have a great respect for Gail Shea, I've heard of her over the years. She was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island for a number of years, she was the Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs, she was involved with the Status of Women, the Workers' Compensation Board, the Island Waste Management Corporation and she was the Minister of Transportation and Public Works - no mention whatsoever about fisheries.

Now I think we should be getting information off to that new minister to inform her about the concerns of southwestern Nova Scotia and that's not too much to ask, Mr. Speaker.

You know I just ran this off a moment ago; her background includes being vice-president and treasurer of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch No. 6 and she was a school trustee and she did a lot of good things. She was the former president of the local home and school association. She doesn't understand the implications that are involved with the implementation of this stacking issue. The department has done this without any consultation with the industry.

Now I understand there are two sides to this story. In fact, I talked to the executive director of one of the fish harvester organizations and the executive director said that that organization had mixed views on this. But even if there are mixed views out there among fish harvesters, there should have been the opportunity for input. If you don't have input on an issue, you feel that you've had no say in the matter whatsoever and this is something that is arbitrarily put on you, as a person earning a living from this industry.

Now consultation is so important. Very quickly, in my area I've been dealing with a company that is involved with 30 wind turbines and certainly has been dealing with the Department of Environment on that issue. At first the communications were very poor. The company itself admits that there was not proper communication involved in the process. So this company was sharp enough to send a person to meet with all of the local people, to set up a liaison committee for proper input into the placement of these turbines. They are in the process of establishing a newsletter to get the information out. Here is a situation where poor communication has turned into something that is very positive, and DFO has the same

[Page 5241]

opportunity here. DFO should stop the implementation of this policy until there has been consultation and communication with fish harvesters in this province.

Mr. Speaker, there's a Member of Parliament in this province that I have a lot of respect for - Peter Stoffer. Peter Stoffer recently said, talking about stacking: If it is just a temporary measure to help mitigate the cost of fishermen, then it is something we could support, but if it is something that leads to long-term stacking of licences, eventually half the fleet gets eliminated by this process.

Instead of having two licences on the boat, then eventually you could have three or four licences on the boat. That boat now has to be much bigger and all of a sudden you realize, why do we have to have all these people on the boat. So we're talking economy of scale on one hand, and we have loss of jobs on the other hand, but there should at least be an opportunity for input.

As aquaculture administrator in this province, I found that the companies that went out trying to promote an aquaculture site, when they went out, consulted with the people, they made progress. DFO, with the arbitrary approach that has been taken here, is not doing the right thing. This new minister and our minister should be sitting down to discuss this issue. They should be sitting down and letters should be exchanged.

My golly, to ask for a letter to be exchanged, is that much of a commitment? For that to be voted down is an insult to all the fish harvesters. It's an insult to the member for Shelburne. It's an insult to the member for Digby-Annapolis. These fish harvesters have, in fact, put forward sound arguments, and they will continue to put forward until that government acts on this issue. I say to you, go home and talk to Uncle Arnold. Uncle Arnold will advise you and advise the minister to consult (Interruptions)

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Order, please.

The time allotted for debate on Resolution No. 4511 has now expired.

The time allotted for Opposition Members'Business has expired.

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. CECIL CLARKE: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow from the hour of 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. Following the daily routine and orders of the day, we'll go to Government Business, Public Bills for Second Reading, including possible consideration of Bill Nos. 187, 196, 199, 200, 201, 203 and 204.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion for adjournment has been made. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

[Page 5242]

The motion is carried.

The House will rise to sit again tomorrow between the hours of 12:00 noon and 4:00 p.m.

We have reached the moment of interruption.

The adjournment motion was submitted by the honourable Acting Minister of Education:

"Therefore be it resolved that members of this House recognize the significance of the signing this past Friday of an historic agreement that will improve educational opportunities for Nova Scotia's Mi'kmaq students."

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Acting Minister of Education.

EDUC.: MI'KMAQ AGREEMENT - SIGNIFICANCE

HON. JAMES MUIR: Thank you very much. I'm really pleased to be able to stand tonight in this House to talk for a few moments about what was a very proud time for all in this province. On Friday, Mr. Speaker, I was honoured to fill in for the Minister of Education to put my name on an historic education agreement on behalf of the province.

[6:00 p.m.]

On behalf of the Minister of Education and her team, I'd like to salute the efforts of people such as Chief Deborah Robinson, Chief Terry Paul, members of the Mi'kmaq Kina'matnewey, especially John Donnelly who was the lead negotiator for MK and Eleanor Bernard who was the executive director of MK and, of course, the hard-working people in the Department of Education. These people are all dedicated to making a difference for future generations by committing themselves to improving educational opportunities for all Mi'kmaq students who attend public schools in Nova Scotia.

As I said on Friday, providing quality education to all children is a sacred trust. This agreement will open a new era of co-operation and collaboration between the Department of Education, the school boards in the province, and the Mi'kmaq people to help us collectively work more effectively to meet the educational needs of Mi'kmaq students. I'm proud to say that thanks to the spirit of co-operation, an agreement, which is unique within

[Page 5243]

Canada, has been forged. It will take Nova Scotia further than any other province to address the needs of on-reserve students who attend our public schools, notably through the opportunity of providing more services in consultation with all of our partners.

These enhancements will also benefit hundreds of off-reserve students too. This agreement, which was two years in the making - actually, the seeds of this agreement were sown back in the time when I was Education Minister, although the actual negotiations and how it was put into place occurred when my colleague, the present Minister of Education, made it work in conjunction with those who were representing the school boards and the MK. What it does, it establishes a formal reporting structure between our regional school boards and MK on student achievement, attendance, discipline and a range of other valuable education measures.

It's extremely important that families and communities know how their students are performing in school, and this mechanism will help enable that. This agreement also helps to better involve and engage parents and the entire Mi'kmaq communities in the public school system. It creates a framework so that bands and families can hold the public school system more accountable for the services they have contracted from the department and our boards.

Just like all other Nova Scotians, the Mi'kmaq people want to increase the educational achievement of their children. They want to know how well their children are doing in school and they also want their children to have an increased knowledge and understanding of Mi'kmaq culture, language and history.

Now, our Minister of Education cares deeply about all of our students and I know that she will, along with all government, make sure that we meet our obligations as outlined in this agreement. I also know just how much she wishes that she were there for that groundbreaking moment and we, I know in this House, send our condolences to her.

Mr. Speaker, it's essential that we close the educational gap for the Mi'kmaq people in this province. This agreement will help put us squarely on that path. It sets the tone and direction of a new relationship. For those who were in attendance at the ceremony, I'm sorry to have repeated myself, but I think it's very important to make note of the significance of this signing and it's also important to note the efforts made on this issue to date.

We have already worked to improve outcomes and increase engagement through a number of initiatives, including collaboration on a new Grade 8 Mi'kmaq language curriculum. There is also a Grade 11 on-line Mi'kmaq language course. There is an interactive dictionary project, and through the tripartite form a longitudinal study on Mi'kmaq language which is being led by MK and McGill University.

There have been steps taken to develop a framework for joint curriculum work that will not only benefit Mi'kmaq students but all students who will be exposed to Mi'kmaq

[Page 5244]

culture. A new Grade 6 science textbook is another example of that collaborative curriculum work - as there is at the end of each unit in the book, a section entitled A Conversation with an Elder, which brings the scientific knowledge of the Mi'kmaq to all Nova Scotian learners.

Mr. Speaker, this agreement also establishes a fair and stable funding mechanism that will cover the cost of providing quality education programs. Prior to this agreement, each of the bands in the province who had children enrolled in the public schools negotiated their own agreements and they negotiated the amount of tuition for each student who would enrol.

This new agreement is a blanket agreement for the province. There has been a rate established, negotiated by MK, which will apply to all bands in the province, so you don't have a situation where one band has a $6,000-per-child education system and another one has a $5,000-per-child education system or an $8,000-per-child education system. There is now an established tuition fee for all students that is paid for by the bands.

Mr. Speaker, the signing Friday was also highlighted with some exceptional performances from Eastern Eagle, which is known around the world. It's a group of Native drummers actually from the Indian Brook Reserve, who are known around the world and with two wonderful Fancy Shawl dancers. To have these amazing traditional performers take centre stage in the Red Room of this House on this historic occasion was, I want to tell you, very moving to say the least.

I might add that one of these dancers, Ashley Julian, is from Indian Brook and she is studying at Dalhousie University. In her junior high years, this strong young woman took it upon herself to ask to have a Mi'kmaq instructor come into her junior high to aid in her educational experience. She's also the youth coordinator for the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs. The second dancer was Samantha Lewis who comes from Lennox Island First Nation in P.E.I. and she is studying at the community college in Halifax. Both of these young women are part of the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet Atlantic Youth Group. They serve as wonderful role models for others, by not only helping to keep important traditions alive but by going forward with their post-secondary education and helping to effect change. They are obviously leaders in the making.

Mr. Speaker, as I said at the outset, this announcement is not only good for Mi'kmaq learners in this province but the improvements will benefit all Nova Scotians. It's a positive step forward and on behalf of our entire government, I say thank you to all who made it happen.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I want to thank the minister for his comments. I have to say that it's a pleasure to be able to applaud the government on this initiative. I have the Indian Brook First Nation community in my

[Page 5245]

constituency and I'm in that community a fair bit. I want to say that when I'm at Indian Brook, I recognize that the people there want the same things for their children that the people in any other community want. I think it's important for them that education is an important issue that they see to help their children and their families into the future and along with that they want some connection to tradition and the past that has brought their people to where they are. They like to have that recognized in the education of their children.

I want to let the minister know that as much as he got to be the person on the day to sign the agreement, he does deserve some credit I think even though he was acting minister but he was the minister at the time I think when most of this initiative was instituted. I kind of would say that I'm thinking that the Mi'kmaq Education Act actually was a way to enter into this agreement, that piece of legislation, and if I have the date right, it was 1998. So there may have been I think some work by the previous Liberal Government, I would assume, considering the date of that bill but the minister may want to stand and correct me if I'm wrong.

AN HON. MEMBER: 1997.

MR. MACDONELL: If I'm wrong on that, so, yes, I agree with the comment I just heard that in what I had read it looked like it was, you know, the initial work was 1997. So I think there are some congratulations that can go around on all sides of the House. Well, I shouldn't say all sides of the House. I guess the New Democrats weren't involved in that if the Liberals and the Conservatives were since they were the governments.

I really would have appreciated I think a little more information prior to Friday on this initiative but I am very pleased to see where it has gone. I'm pleased and certainly for me it's important that the First Nations community is pleased. A lot of direction that I get is from them because I really rely on them to tell me what they deem to be the impacts on their community. So if they're happy with the direction that something is going, then I'm happy with that.

I think probably one of the most telling and maybe best comments of the day, and I'll quote Chief Deborah Robinson who was the vice-chair of the Mi'kmaq Kina'matnewey "This is an innovative education agreement between two governments that focuses on improving performance and accountability, co-operation, and increasing respect for language and culture." I think that goes a long way to saying what they expect to get for their community out of this agreement. At some point in the future, it doesn't have to be today, I'm understanding this to be a memorandum of understanding and so I'd like to know if I have that right. The minister can correct me on that at some point, just to know whether this is just a framework to work with or if there are actually nailed-down standards that are in place, based on this agreement.

[6:15 p.m.]

[Page 5246]

I certainly know how it impacts tuition, that there's a standardized tuition and that when it comes to financing, the bands no longer have to deal individually with the school boards and the minister has made that clear. This agreement replaces all existing tuition agreements between school boards and the 10 native bands that make up the Kina'matnewey and which acts as the voice of the Mi'kmaq education in the province. It secures a common tuition cost for 1,000 on-reserve Mi'kmaq students attending public schools and previous to this agreement not all bands paid the same rate - which I thought was kind of an interesting point. School boards will receive $6,100 in funding for every student during the first three years of this deal and that is indexed to CPI.

I'm not sure the final two years will be determined, I guess that's based on whatever changes in costs may occur over that three year period. They may want to have a re-look at that and establish perhaps a different, more appropriate cost at that time.

It allows school boards and bands to repair and foster relationships as financial negotiations will be left to the government and the Mi'kmaq Kina'matnewey. So, that's a sector those First Nation bands don't have to worry about negotiating with school boards. Chief Robinson also said that it's not just about money, but it's about student performance.

I think the emphasis on performance in education is paramount and I know, Mr. [Deputy] Speaker, you were an educator and I know that in my experience as a schoolteacher, you really hated to see decisions made that we thought were - at least, I thought - based purely on finances and that the educational outcomes of that decision were not so heavily weighed. I know all boards, certainly when we're using taxpayers' money, trying to get consumers and parents the best bang for their tax dollar in relation to the educational outcomes of their students is important. Whatever you're going to do, you have to have a way to pay for that.

Certainly it's important to know and see that performance outcomes will be paramount and it won't just be a dollar value that we look at. In this case, those student performances, hopefully, will be enhanced by an expanded group of support workers for learners, new curriculum, such as the Grade 8 Mi'kmaq language material, Grade 11 online courses and Grade 6 science, which includes a conversation with an elder at the end of each unit. I think the minister stated that as well.

The agreement also provides for a formal reporting structure that will track achievement and attendance and discipline and more, which is important to both communities. I guess I had indicated earlier that this agreement didn't just start the other day and I want to tell the acting minister and the minister that this is a very good step. I think I would encourage them to continue along similar paths, to keep an open dialogue with the First Nations community. I know from my experience teaching at Hants East Rural High School, a significant part of our population there was First Nations from the Indian Brook First Nations community, a very talented, intelligent group of students. I think their

[Page 5247]

observations and their dedication to their work was well seen in our school. As a matter of fact, the minister may not have known, but Eastern Eagles, the drumming group that was present - and he actually mentioned Julian as well being from Indian Brook. There were three gentlemen there; Greg Marr, Brian Knockwood and Gary Knockwood who were the drummers.

Eastern Eagles is very well known throughout the First Nations community and Greg Marr has the distinction of being a former student of mine. I'm not sure if that improves his drumming, and actually he's a councillor on the band council.

So with those comments, I congratulate the minister. I encourage them to continue the good work with the First Nations community. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The honourable member for Kings West.

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I am very pleased today to add some comments to the late debate on what was an historic document and signing by government, and I certainly applaud the minister and the acting minister on that particular day.

I was pleased to offer a public comment, through the ChronicleHerald, about the need for this direction, but I would have loved to have been in attendance for the event. However, a neighbour, a good friend, Manager of the Annapolis County Exhibition, John Longley's funeral was on Friday afternoon, so it prevented me from being here.

I do want to say that this formal agreement, a MOU, is indeed, a signed, full working document that has to be adhered to. So I'm sure that will be the case, and this five-year agreement replaces the existing tuition agreements, which was, in fact, an enlightening aspect that these were all individual agreements and there were different amounts of money that were provided to the ten member bands and school boards across Nova Scotia.

So this landmark document, then, will deal with student achievement, attendance, discipline and a range of other cultural measures. When we have a population group in our province that is growing substantially, in fact, it is one of the fastest growing groups - perhaps as the acting minister said, the only one, if we take a look across the 12 years of public education, and 50 per cent of the Mi'kmaq community in Nova Scotia are under 25 years of age. So it is time that we give much greater attention, much greater resources and acknowledgment in the public school education to the Mi'kmaq community.

As has already been alluded to, the off-reserve community will be beneficiaries of this agreement. There are a number of schools, for example, in the Annapolis Valley, Horton, Central Kings in particular - a few students sometimes at West Kings High School- that have Mi'kmaq students. For some time, outside of one high school course of Mi'kmaq studies,

[Page 5248]

there has been really insufficient curriculum materials and even perhaps cultural sensitivity to celebrate significant days in which their language, culture and heritage could be acknowledged in the larger school community.

So I think this agreement that will, in fact, hold schools accountable for money spent on educating their children will move, perhaps - one of the comments that was made on Friday by a young lady, one of the dancers actually, Ashley Julian, who was, in fact, in her school of East Hants, a real leader in asking that she have Mi'kmaq education and language available to her. So we need to move beyond the individual who is strong enough to ask the school system to support their place in the public school system. So this agreement now will make greater accountability and, in fact, can move down to a small group and individual accommodation within the Primary to Grade 12 system.

So each student now will have a determined starting point of $6,100 that will be put in place with this agreement and, of course, it will be updated as we go along in terms of the Consumer Price Index. But this agreement, you know, really needs to go beyond funding and hopefully while that supports the fundamental pieces of having teachers' curriculae and programs in place, hopefully it will bring about an attitudinal shift as well, that these children have every rightful place to get a full education, because one of the staggering statistics when it was alluded to here today about the gap in high school graduation rates for aboriginals and non-aboriginals has actually grown in recent years. So I think the minister and the former minister who worked on this document going back to 1997 when, in fact, the Mi'kmaq Services Division was established in response to the recommendation of the Task Force on Mi'kmaq Education, so since that point we've been making some progress and I think this is the achievement of two governments and I'm sure the Official Opposition, as they said today, supported this document.

One of the people, when I came to the House and as late as last year, made me very much aware of the needs was a school board member from the South Shore, a lady by the name of Marg Forbes, who spoke passionately about the need for greater Mi'kmaq education and so she certainly challenged me. I remember writing the minister last year and I had excellent support in our caucus because one of our education researchers, Ryan Francis, was a Mi'kmaq from New Brunswick, so I was able to point out some of the deficiencies that we had in public education around this particular area. So a number of people and a number of stakeholders, but none is more important than the Mi'kmaq community themselves who have challenged us to respond to more favourable opportunity.

We all know that a high school diploma is pretty well a given point for education in Canadian society. Without a high school education, opportunities become so narrow and so limited and the statistics around the aboriginal community are staggeringly gripping for us all because barely 60 per cent complete high school compared to 90 per cent of the general population. So when we talk about other societal problems and issues with the aboriginal community, without a sound education, they are indeed off to a very, very poor start. So we

[Page 5249]

need to make sure that the funding put forward improves high school graduation rates among aboriginal students and if that comes down to much greater individual support through EAs, through having Mi'kmaq elders and mentors come into the school system, well, I think that open-door approach needs to be established.

As well, people from the Mi'kmaq community who we know in Nova Scotia are having very, very successful careers, they need to be brought into the public school education system as models, and that will inspire these people and hopefully cause the public school education to respond, as fully as possible, to making sure that this document becomes a living, real way of moving Mi'kmaq education forward.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I take my place.

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. The time allotted for the debate this evening has now expired. I would like to thank all of the honourable members for having taken part in tonight's late debate.

The motion for adjournment was made earlier.

The House will rise to sit again tomorrow at 12:00 noon.

[The House rose at 6:30 p.m.]

[Page 5250]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 5089

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas high school football in Nova Scotia continues to grow in popularity; and

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald High School's football Flames had a successful season; and

Whereas Andrew Rowe was selected as the league's defensive MVP;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Andrew Rowe of the Sir John A. Flames on his selection as Nova Scotia's High School Football League's Defensive MVP.

RESOLUTION NO. 5090

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas high school football in Nova Scotia continues to grow in popularity; and

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald High School's football Flames had a successful season; and

Whereas Brett Backman was selected as the league's top special team player;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Brett Backman of the Sir John A. Flames on his selection as Nova Scotia's High School Football League's Special Team Player.

RESOLUTION NO. 5091

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

[Page 5251]

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

Whereas high school football in Nova Scotia continues to grow in popularity; and

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald High School's football Flames had a successful season; and

Whereas Dave Naugler was selected as the league's top lineman;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Dave Naugler of the Sir John A. Flames on his selection as Nova Scotia's High School Football League's Top Lineman.

RESOLUTION NO. 5092

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas high school football in Nova Scotia continues to grow in popularity; and

Whereas Sir John A. Macdonald High School's football Flames had a successful season; and

Whereas Andrew Deleon was selected as the league's offensive MVP;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Andrew Deleon of the Sir John A. Flames on his selection as Nova Scotia's High School Football League's Offensive MVP.

RESOLUTION NO. 5093

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh's Young Canadian Challenge is a tremendous program that recognizes the achievements of young people; and

[Page 5252]

Whereas Kelsey Ivory, a student attending Sir John A. Macdonald High School and a resident of Tantallon, has earned the Duke of Edinburgh's Bronze Award; and

Whereas Kelsey Ivory's community service and personal commitments are exemplary;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Kelsey Ivory on her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award with best wishes in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 5094

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh's Young Canadian Challenge is a tremendous program that recognizes the achievements of young people; and

Whereas Ashley Shea who is continuing her education at the university level has earned the Duke of Edinburgh's Bronze Award; and

Whereas Ashley Shea's community service and personal commitments are exemplary;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Ashley Shea on her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award with best wishes in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 5095

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh's Award recognizes the accomplishments of young Canadians; and

Whereas Amy Pothier of Stillwater Lake has attained the Bronze Standard of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award; and

Whereas through hard work and dedication Amy demonstrated exemplary commitment in her activities;

[Page 5253]

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Amy Pothier on her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award with best wishes in her future endeavours.

[Page 5254]

RESOLUTION NO. 5096

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas the Duke of Edinburgh's Young Canadian Challenge is a tremendous program that recognizes the achievements of young people in our community; and

Whereas Natasha Cohoon who is attending Nova Scotia Agriculture College earned the Duke of Edinburgh's Bronze Award; and

Whereas Natasha Cohoon's community service and personal commitments are exemplary;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Natasha Cohoon on her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award with best wishes in her future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 5097

By: Mr. Patrick Dunn (Pictou Centre)

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

Whereas Pictou County native Jason Weir will be making a quick homecoming later this month; and

Whereas the soldier with the Royal Canadian Dragoons has been in Afghanistan for less than two months and will return to the war-torn country before Christmas; and

Whereas Weir looks forward to seeing his young family but would not consider doing anything else for a living and feels confident in the training he received and his grandfather fought in Korea and Weir has continued the family tradition even as a young cadet in New Glasgow;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House send best regards to New Glasgow native and Canadian soldier Jason Weir for a safe journey home and safety while serving his country in Afghanistan.

[Page 5255]

RESOLUTION NO. 5098

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Seacoast Physiotherapy provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Seacoast Physiotherapy and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5099

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Beauty Queen Salon Spa & Tanning provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Beauty Queen Salon Spa & Tanning and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5100

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

[Page 5256]

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

Whereas small businesses like Bellwether Healthcare Solutions Inc. provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Bellwether Healthcare Solutions Inc. and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5101

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like DeMone Monuments & Granite Products Limited provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of DeMone Monuments & Granite Products Limited and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5102

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Dog Luv-Dog Wash Service & Supplies provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

[Page 5257]

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Dog Luv-Dog Wash Service & Supplies and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5103

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like DK's Concrete Services provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of DK's Concrete Services and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5104

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like John Burgoyne Drum Lessons provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

[Page 5258]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of John Burgoyne Drum Lessons and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5105

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Eastern Shore Optical provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Eastern Shore Optical and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5106

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Eastern Shore Veterinary Hospital provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Eastern Shore Veterinary Hospital and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5107

[Page 5259]

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Faulkner Insurance Agency provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Faulkner Insurance Agency and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5108

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Fine Line Silkscreening Limited provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Fine Line Silkscreening Limited and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5109

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

[Page 5260]

Whereas small businesses like Harbour Health Clinic provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Harbour Health Clinic and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5110

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Judy's Footcare provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Judy's Footcare and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5111

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like KTL Accounting Services provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

[Page 5261]

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of KTL Accounting Services and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5112

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like M & E Legal Services Incorporated provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of M & E Legal Services Incorporated and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5113

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Karen Belanger Massage Therapy provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Karen Belanger Massage Therapy and wish them continued success.

[Page 5262]

RESOLUTION NO. 5114

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Myra Jerome Eastern Shore Law Centre provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Myra Jerome Eastern Shore Law Centre and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5115

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Nancy Lobban Certified General Accountant provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Nancy Lobban Certified General Accountant and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5116

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

[Page 5263]

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

Whereas small businesses like Mann Baker Carpentry provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Mann Baker Carpentry and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5117

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Mainly Maintenance Inc. provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Mainly Maintenance Inc. and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5118

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like OceanVu Records Limited provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

[Page 5264]

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Ocean Vu Records Limited and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5119

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Porter's Lake Chiropractic Health Centre provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Porter's Lake Chiropractic Health Centre and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5120

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Painter for Hire Trent Exley provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

[Page 5265]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Painter for Hire Trent Exley and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5121

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Relic's Auto Body Repair & Refinishing provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Relic's Auto Body Repair & Refinishing and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5122

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Reid's Sewing & Fabric Solutions provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Reid's Sewing & Fabric Solutions and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5123

[Page 5266]

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like R. Keizer's Auto Clinic provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of R. Keizer's Auto Clinic and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5124

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Rowlings Funeral Home provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Rowlings Funeral Home and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5125

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

[Page 5267]

Whereas small businesses like ScotiaCare Homecare & Caregivers provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of ScotiaCare Homecare & Caregivers and wish them continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 5126

By: Hon. William Dooks (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas small businesses like Seameadow provide a valuable service to small rural communities; and

Whereas without these services community members would be forced to travel long distances for these services; and

Whereas through training and selfless dedication businesses like these are able to persevere;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House applaud the contributions of Seameadow and wish them continued success.