The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 03/04-42

DEBATES AND PROCEEDINGS

Speaker: Honourable Murray Scott

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

Available on INTERNET at http://nslegislature.ca/index.php/proceedings/hansard/

Annual subscriptions available from the Office of the Speaker.

First Session

MONDAY, MAY 10, 2004

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1517, Fitch, Sheree: Hon. Deg. - Acadia Univ.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3373
Vote - Affirmative 3374
Res. 1518, Environ. & Lbr. - Westray Mine Disaster: Victims -
Memory Respect/Honour, Hon. K. Morash 3374
Vote - Affirmative 3375
Res. 1519, Mt. A. Spring Convocation: Award Winners - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 3375
Vote - Affirmative 3376
Res. 1520, Rebels With A Cause Awards: Recipients - Congrats.,
Hon. C. Bolivar-Getson 3376
Vote - Affirmative 3377
Res. 1521, Nat'l. Police Wk. (05/09-05/15/04): Peace Officers -
Respect Show, Hon. M. Baker 3377
Vote - Affirmative 3378
TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS:
FOIPOP Advisory Committee Report, Government Response,
Hon. M. Baker 3378
Routine Access Policy Audit Report, Hon. M. Baker 3378
FOIPOP Advisory Committee Report, Summary, Hon. M. Baker 3378
N.S. FOIPOP Act, 2003 Annual Report, Hon. M. Baker 3378
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 75, University Governance Act, Mr. L. Glavine 3378
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 1522, Walsh, Martin: E. Hants Mun. - Volunteerism,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3378
Vote - Affirmative 3379
Res. 1523, Sampson, Gordie: Accomplishments - Recognize,
Mr. R. MacKinnon 3379
Vote - Affirmative 3380
Res. 1524, ATV Run: Col. ATV Club/Mid. Stewiacke Rec. Assoc. -
Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 3380
Vote - Affirmative 3381
Res. 1525, Environ. & Lbr.: Bio-Solids - Regs. Introduce, Ms. J. Massey 3381
Res. 1526, EcoKids Environ. Club (Grosvenor Wentworth Sch.) -
Fundraisers, Ms. D. Whalen 3382
Vote - Affirmative 3382
Res. 1527, Patriquin, Darrell - Snowmobile Assoc. (N.S.) Award,
Mr. G. Hines 3382
Vote - Affirmative 3383
Res. 1528, Theriault, Alexander/Lines, Katherine: Concours d'Art
Oratoire - Medals, Mr. H. Epstein 3383
Vote - Affirmative 3384
Res. 1529, Lawrencetown (HRM) - Anniv. (250th), Mr. K. Colwell 3384
Vote - Affirmative 3384
Res. 1530, Rafuse, Brittany - TD Can. Trust Scholarship,
Mr. J. Chataway 3385
Vote - Affirmative 3385
Res. 1531, Dart. Choral Soc. - Anniv. (50th), Ms. M. More 3385
Vote - Affirmative 3386
Res. 1532, Acadia Univ. - RRB Award, Mr. L. Glavine 3386
Vote - Affirmative 3387
Res. 1533, Lucas, Mrs. Alma - Birthday (100th), Hon. B. Barnet 3387
Vote - Affirmative 3387
Res. 1534, Sports - Soccer: UCCB Women's Team - Championship,
Mr. G. Gosse 3388
Vote - Affirmative 3388
Res. 1535, Sports: White, Andre - Boxing Medal, Mr. Gerald Sampson 3388
Vote - Affirmative 3389
Res. 1536, Muise, Michael/MacNeil, Colin: Bravery Award -
Nomination, Hon. K. Morash 3389
Vote - Affirmative 3390
Res. 1537, Munden, Justin: Mooseheads Rookie Yr. - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 3390
Vote - Affirmative 3391
Res. 1538, Chiasson, Rev. Anselme: Acadian History - Contributions,
Mr. M. Samson 3391
Vote - Affirmative 3392
Res. 1539, Clyke, Denny: Truro Sport Her. Soc. - Honour Roll,
Hon. J. Muir 3392
Vote - Affirmative 3393
Res. 1540, MacMillian, Maria - Cadet Exchange Prog.,
Mr. J. MacDonell 3393
Vote - Affirmative 3393
Res. 1541, Nwatarali, Father Christian - St. FX Graduation - Congrats.,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 3394
Vote - Affirmative 3395
Res. 1542, VanSnick, Duane - Doubleday Award, Mr. W. Estabrooks 3395
Vote - Affirmative 3395
Res. 1543, Health - Para-Medicine Prog.: Cert. Recipients - Congrats.,
Mr. H. Theriault 3396
Vote - Affirmative 3396
Res. 1544, Hfx. Reg. Fire & Emerg. Serv. - Anniv. (250th),
(by Mr. K. Deveaux), Mr. D. Dexter 3396
Vote - Affirmative 3397
Res. 1545, Howe, Joseph: CBC's Greatest Cdn. Comp. - Nominate,
Mr. D. Graham 3397
Vote - Affirmative 3398
Res. 1546, Sports - Curling: Martin Rink - Congrats., Mr. M. Parent 3398
Vote - Affirmative 3399
Res. 1547, Nat'l. Nursing Wk. (05/10-05/16/04) - Acknowledge,
Mr. W. Gaudet 3399
Vote - Affirmative 3399
Res. 1548, Steele, Capt. Dick: Recreating Eden TV Show -
Appearance, Hon. M. Baker 3399
Vote - Affirmative 3400
GOVERNMENT BUSINESS:
GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
ON MOTION FOR SUPPLY:
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 3401
Mr. D. Graham 3404
Mr. B. Taylor 3407
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON SUPPLY AT 3:24 P.M. 3411
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 7:25 P.M. 3411
PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:
No. 70, Municipal Law Amendment (2004) Act 3412
Hon. B. Barnet 3412
Ms. M. Raymond 3412
Mr. Gerald Sampson 3412
Mr. R. MacKinnon 3413
Mr. C. Parker 3417
Mr. K. Colwell 3418
Ms. D. Whalen 3420
Hon. B. Barnet 3422
Vote - Affirmative 3422
No. 67, House of Assembly Act 3422
No. 74, Oil Refineries and L.N.G. Plants Municipal Taxation Act 3423
Hon. B. Barnet 3423
Ms. M. Raymond 3424
Mr. Gerald Sampson 3427
Ms. D. Whalen 3428
Hon. B. Barnet 3430
Vote - Affirmative 3431
No. 72, Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act 3431
Hon. M. Baker 3431
Mr. K. Deveaux 3432
Mr. M. Samson 3433
Hon. M. Baker 3434
Vote - Affirmative 3434
No. 73, Justice Administration Amendment (2004) Act 3434
Hon. M. Baker 3434
Mr. K. Deveaux 3436
Mr. M. Samson 3437
Hon. M. Baker 3438
Vote - Affirmative 3438
HOUSE RESOLVED INTO CWH ON BILLS AT 8:54 P.M. 3439
HOUSE RECONVENED AT 8:57 P.M. 3439
CWH REPORTS 3439
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Tue., May 11th at 12:00 noon 3440
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 1549, Windsor FD: Service - Commend, Hon. R. Russell 3441
Res. 1550, Sports - Curling: Winklear Rink - Congrats., Hon. R. Russell 3441
Res. 1551, Sports - Tennis: Peter Gibson - Congrats., Hon. R. Russell 3442
Res. 1552, Windsor Library - New Bldg.: Contributions - Recognize,
Hon. R. Russell 3442
Res. 1553, Siggie & Tammy's Hairstyling: Contributions - Recognize,
Mr. W. Dooks 3443
Res. 1554, Rose's Esthetics: Contributions - Recognize, Mr. W. Dooks 3443
Res. 1555, East. Shore Self Storage: Contributions - Recognize,
Mr. W. Dooks 3444
Res. 1556, Mike Cox Real Estate: Contributions - Recognize,
Mr. W. Dooks 3444
Res. 1557, Precision Small Engine Repair: Contributions - Recognize,
Mr. W. Dooks 3445
Res. 1558, Zollner, Nick: Basketball Award - Congrats., The Speaker 3445
Res. 1559, Dickson, Jean - Springhill Rep. Vol. of 2004, The Speaker 3446
Res. 1560, Eason, Amber - Springhill Youth Vol. of Yr., The Speaker 3446
Res. 1561, Mosher Family/GJDE Ent. - Anniv. (30th), The Speaker 3447
Res. 1562, Junction Rd. Elem. Sch. (Gr. 6): Peace Garden -
Establishment, The Speaker 3447
Res. 1563, Ship's Company Theatre - Merritt Award, The Speaker 3448
Res. 1564, Siddall, Calvin - Youth Vol. of Yr., The Speaker 3448
Res. 1565, Spicer, Kate: Achievements - Congrats., The Speaker 3449
Res. 1566, Springhill Fencebusters: Dedication - Congrats., The Speaker 3449
Res. 1567, Touch on Wood: RRFB Mobius Award - Congrats.,
The Speaker 3450

[Page 3373]

HALIFAX, MONDAY, MAY 10, 2004

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

First Session

2:00 P.M.

SPEAKER

Hon. Murray Scott

DEPUTY SPEAKERS

Mr. James DeWolfe, Ms. Joan Massey, Mr. Russell MacKinnon

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

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1517

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

3373

[Page 3374]

Whereas Sheree Fitch has contributed significantly to literacy and literature as an author of poetry and stories for children and adults, as a promoter of reading to children and as the spokesperson for the Read to Me! Nova Scotia Family Literacy Program, which provides books for newborn babies and literacy information to new parents; and

Whereas she has made Nova Scotia proud as she has travelled across Canada, to the United States, Mexico, Belize, Bhutan, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, sharing with all the fun of reading and the importance of accepting differences; and

Whereas she was honoured yesterday by Acadia University with a Doctor of Letters degree and delivered the Convocation Address;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend their thanks and congratulations to Sheree Fitch, award-winning author, educator, literacy activist and daughter of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1518

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

Whereas May 9th is the 12th Anniversary of the tragic Westray Mine explosion in which 26 miners were killed and the lives of their families were changed forever; and

Whereas this tragedy and the ensuing inquiry into its cause dramatically underscored the necessity for government, industry and all Nova Scotians to put safety in the workplace above all other considerations; and

[Page 3375]

Whereas the legacy of Westray will be remembered and appreciated every day a worker returns home safely from their workplace; and

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House respect and honour the memory of those who died at Westray and ensure that their memory continues to be an inspiration to remain vigilant in the cause of safety in Nova Scotia workplaces;

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.

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I now ask that the members of this House rise and observe one minute of silence in memory of those who died in the Westray explosion.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1519

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

Whereas David Byrne, Matthew Stanley and Chester Weatherby of Truro were among the major award winners at Mount Allison University's 2004 Spring Convocation; and

Whereas among the awards earned were that for the highest average in a four-year commerce course; that for excelling in commerce and being involved in university and community activities; and that for the highest standing in mathematics; and

Whereas David Byrne, Matthew Stanley and Chester Weatherby shared the major awards platform with 10 other students from Nova Scotia;

[Page 3376]

Therefore be it resolved that all members congratulate David Byrne, Matthew Stanley and Chester Weatherby, and the other Nova Scotians who won major awards at the 2004 Mount Allison University Spring Convocation and wish them well in all of their future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1520

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

Whereas the Elizabeth Fry Society helps women by developing programs and services in communities for women who have been charged with offences or are at risk of coming into conflict with the law;by improving the quality of life for the children of these women; by encouraging public awareness and understanding of issues related to women in conflict with the law; and by lobbying for the improvement of conditions for women in local penal institutions and for changes in the criminal justice system; and

Whereas the society honoured five women this weekend for their leadership in various organizations and on many issues, which earned them the title of, "Rebel with a Cause"; and

Whereas the tireless efforts of community activists Rose Brooks and Philippa Pictou; women's rights activist Cathy Love; Member of the Legislative Assembly Maureen MacDonald; and Sister Mary Morris, Executive Director of the Marguerite Centre, have contributed to the betterment of Nova Scotia;

[Page 3377]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Elizabeth Fry Society and rebels Rose Brooks, Philippa Pictou, Cathy Love, Maureen MacDonald and Sister Mary Morris.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 1521

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

Whereas this week, May 9th to May 15th, is National Police Week across North America; and

Whereas this annual event helps forge strong partnerships between police agencies and the communities they serve; and

Whereas Nova Scotian men and women in law enforcement contribute to our safety and well-being;

Therefore be it resolved that this House show its respect and admiration for peace officers who serve our communities throughout Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice. I would also mention that I think it's appropriate to point out that we have two former police officers here in the House, yourself and the member for Colchester North.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3378]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

There's a request to revert to the order of business, Tabling Reports, Regulations and Other Papers.

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the following documents: first of all is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Advisory Committee Report, Government Response; the Routine Access Policy Audit Report; the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Advisory Committee Report, Summary; and, finally, the Nova Scotia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2003 Annual Report, including 1994 to 2003 statistics.

MR. SPEAKER: The reports are tabled.

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 75 - Entitled an Act Respecting the Representation of Students in the Governance of Universities. (Mr. Leo Glavine)

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

[2:15 p.m.]

NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1522

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

[Page 3379]

Whereas volunteerism moves people to step to where needed and get the job done; and

Whereas the scourge of fire in rural areas can only be countered by volunteer fire departments; and

Whereas on Volunteer Awards Night, April 21, 2004, Mr. Martin Walsh was honoured by the Municipality of East Hants for his time and work spent as a volunteer fireman with the Kennetcook Volunteer Fire Department;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Mr. Martin Walsh for putting his valuable time towards such an important and needy community service.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

RESOLUTION NO. 1523

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

Whereas Big Pond native, Gordie Sampson, will be releasing his second CD entitled, Sunburn in June 2004; and

Whereas at the age of 33, Gordie Sampson is an accomplished songwriter, singer, guitarist and producer; and

Whereas Gordie Sampson and his co-owned recording company, Lakewind Sound, have won more than 12 awards that includes ECMA awards for singing and songwriting - most notably his song, Sorry, the Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia award for producer of the year for the production of Natalie MacMaster's album, In My Hands, JUNO awards, Canadian Country Music awards, Canadian Radio Music awards and so on;

[Page 3380]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize and congratulate Big Pond, Cape Breton, native, Gordie Sampson, for his many accomplishments and for making all Nova Scotians proud of his rich contribution to music, entertainment and culture.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 1524

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

Whereas the South Colchester ATV Club and the Middle Stewiacke Recreation Association held an immensely successful all-terrain vehicle run on Saturday; and

Whereas a total of 276 all-terrain vehicles registered and participated in this event from all over Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the run began Saturday morning with a breakfast and participants being reminded of the importance of preserving land, water and wildlife in their ATV runs;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly applaud the efforts of the South Colchester All-Terrain Vehicle Club and the Middle Stewiacke Recreation Association for a tremendous day of fun and leisure and wish them every success in all future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3381]

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 East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1525

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

Whereas in this government's own FAQs on bio-solids, they state, "Once treated to acceptable limits the liquid is returned to the environment. The solid portions, also referred to as 'sludge', are further treated and stabilized, reducing the potential for pathogens (disease causing organisms and odour"; and

Whereas in their glossary of terms, pathogens are organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, viruses and parasites causing disease in humans and animals; and

Whereas some examples of pathogens that can be present in bio-solids are salmonella, coliform, hepatitis A and polio viruses;

Therefore be it resolved that the Department of Environment and Labour throw out their unenforceable guidelines and after much more public input, bring forward regulations that will protect our environment and the health of our families.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park.

[Page 3382]

RESOLUTION NO. 1526

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

Whereas Hemlock Ravine, one of the oldest tree stands in Halifax, is a cornerstone in the community and has been extensively damaged by Hurricane Juan; and

Whereas Ecole Grosvenor Wentworth borders Hemlock Ravine and has been used by the students and staff as a recreational and educational tool since the school was opened; and

Whereas the EcoKids Environment Club held fundraising after school dances and has presented a cheque for $200 to the city to help in the restoration of this community park;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the EcoKids Environment Club of Grosvenor Wentworth School for their successful fundraisers and their commitment to improving the community.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask for waiver.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1527

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

Whereas the Snowmobile Association of Nova Scotia is a vibrant and excellent run association which honours some members for particular awards on an annual basis; and

[Page 3383]

Whereas Darrell Patriquin was honored as the Groomer Operator of the Year for 2004 and is a member of the Fall River-based Driftclimbers Snowmobile Club which is the oldest snowmobile club in existence in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Darrell is a stickler for detail having groomed trails for the Driftclimbers for the past five years but has gone above and beyond the call of duty by also maintaining and storing the groomer on his property as well as providing necessary training to others while also ensuring the groomer is painted in bright red every year;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs commend Darrell Patriquin for winning the Snowmobile Association of Nova Scotia award this year for top groomer and wish him nothing but 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 Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 1528

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

Whereas the French Immersion Program in the Halifax Regional school system has had record success over the years; and

Whereas many students and their families work hard to meet the challenges of this valuable and important program; and

Whereas one of the French Immersion schools that has been particularly successful in the constituency of Halifax Chebucto has been Oxford School;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Alexander Theriault and Katherine Lines, two students enrolled in French Immersion at Oxford School who on May

[Page 3384]

1, 2004 won gold and silver medals respectively at the Concours d'art Oratoire provincial (Provincial French Public Speaking Competition) held at Mount Saint Vincent University.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Preston.

RESOLUTION NO. 1529

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

Whereas the community of Lawrencetown, Halifax Regional Municipality will mark its 250th Anniversary in 2004; and

Whereas Lawrencetown was the first proprietary township in the Province of Nova Scotia after Halifax was established as a fishing and farming community and has a long and proud military history; and

Whereas Lawrencetown will celebrate this anniversary with a grand opening on June 10, 2004 which includes many activities and displays and with a parade on June 12, 2004;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate the community of Lawrencetown and all its residents on their 250th Anniversary.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 3385]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Chester-St. Margaret's.

RESOLUTION NO. 1530

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

Whereas one of Canada's most prestigious scholarships has been awarded to a Chester Basin student; and

Whereas Brittany Rafuse has been awarded a $60,000 TD Canada Trust Scholarship for her community leadership; and

Whereas Brittany's decisive leadership resulted in the establishment of a youth auxiliary for the Royal Canadian Legion, the first ever established here in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly commend Chester Basin student Brittany Rafuse on winning the prestigious TD Canada Trust Scholarship award for community leadership and wish her every success in the future.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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.

RESOLUTION NO. 1531

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

[Page 3386]

Whereas the Dartmouth Choral Society is celebrating its 50th year of music; and

Whereas more than 75 choir members under the direction of conductor, Shawn Whynot, accompanied by musicians Pamela Burton and Damien Moynihan, performed "Sing Your Peace - A Global Celebration of Song," including an African Mass, May 7 and May 8, 2004; and

Whereas another beautiful number was "Sing Your Peace Around the World" composed by Gary Ewer and commissioned by the Dartmouth Choral Society to recognize this special anniversary;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate and thank the Dartmouth Choral Society for its continuing contribution to the cultural life of Dartmouth and wish the society members similar success in all its 50th Anniversary activities.

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. 1532

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

Whereas Acadia University has a solid reputation for innovative ideas that have put them ahead of the class; and

Whereas Acadia University has implemented a campus-wide waste-resource management program to lessen the effects on the environment, with a 53 per cent reduction in the amount of waste, with a strict waste disposal system throughout the campus, as well as the annual Dump and Run program where students have a giant yard sale to dispose of household items they no longer need; and

[Page 3387]

Whereas the Resource Recovery Fund Board has awarded Acadia University the Institute of the Year Award in recognition of the waste-management program;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Acadia University for this award from the Resource Recovery Fund Board and recognize the contributions made by Acadia University to improve the environment.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

RESOLUTION NO. 1533

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

Whereas on May 8, 2004, the community of Lucasville held a centennial birthday celebration at the Wallace Lucas Community Centre for Mrs. Alma Lucas, who was born 100 years ago today, May 10, 1904; and

Whereas Mrs. Lucas has always been a source to the people of Lucasville for their rich and significant history; and

Whereas Mrs. Lucas, affectionately known as Billy, has made a century's worth of contributions to her community, friends and family;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join Mrs. Lucas and the community of Lucasville in celebrating the amazing life that will continue for many years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

[Page 3388]

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 Nova.

RESOLUTION NO. 1534

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

Whereas the UCCB Capers women's soccer team captured their first Atlantic University Sport Championship, defeating their arch rivals, the Dalhousie Tigers; and

Whereas this capped off a highly successful season for the Capers, who finished the regular season with a sparkling record of 10 wins, 0 losses and 3 ties, earning them the distinction of being the number four ranked team in Canada; and

Whereas this earned the team a trip to Montreal, where they participated in the CIS National Championship;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this Legislative Assembly congratulate the UCCB women's soccer team on a most gratifying season and establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in university soccer.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

[Page 3389]

RESOLUTION NO. 1535

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

Whereas the Canadian Cadet Boxing Championships were held in St. Catherines, Ontario, from April 29 until May 1, 2004; and

Whereas Andre White of Millville, a member of the Tommy Gordon Boxing Club and the only Cape Bretoner among the Nova Scotia competitors, represented his province with pride and skill; and

Whereas Andre White won the gold medal in the heavyweight division, with Nova Scotia winning a total of three gold, three silver and three bronze;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Andre White and all the Nova Scotia competitors on a job well done.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour.

RESOLUTION NO. 1536

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

Whereas on January 9, 2004, lobster boat Captain Michael Muise, crewman Adam Clattenburg and passenger Colin MacNeil were working aboard the Miss Rebecca, 45 minutes away from Port Medway wharf; and

[Page 3390]

Whereas Adam Clattenburg was hauled overboard into the frigid water by a rope attached to lobster pots, and was heroically rescued by Muise and MacNeil, who put Adam's well-being ahead of their own safety; and

Whereas the Clattenburg family is nominating Michael Muise and Colin MacNeil for the Decoration for Bravery Award from the Governor General for saving their son's life;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Mr. Muise and Mr. MacNeil for their courage in a life and death situation, and wish them well as their names are submitted for the Decoration for Bravery Award.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1537

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

Whereas Justin Munden of the Halifax Mooseheads had an outstanding rookie year with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team; and

Whereas Justin plays every shift and every game to the best of his ability; and

Whereas this Brookside resident serves as a positive role model of hard work and determination to young people in our community;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Justin Munden on his rookie year with the Mooseheads, with best wishes on and off the ice in his future endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3391]

[2:30 p.m.]

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. 1538

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: M. le Président, par la présente, j'avise que je proposerai à une date ultériere, l'adoption de la résolution suivante:

Attendu que le père Anselme Chiasson un grand folkloriste et historien acadien né à Chéticamp est décédé le 25 avril 2004; et

Attendu que le père Anselme est reconnu de prés et de loin pour sa contribution dans la promotion de patrimoine acadien; et

Attendu que nous fêtons cette année le 400e anniversaire de l'installation des français en Acadie que le père Anselme a promu avec ses recherches et ses livres;

Qui'il soit résolu que cette assemblée reconnaît le Révérend père Anselme Chiasson comme l'un des Acadiens qui ont le plus largement contribuer à la promotion des acadiens de cette province.

M. le Président, je propose l'adoption de cette résolution sand préavis et sans débats.

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

Whereas Reverend Anselme Chiasson, a great Acadian historian and folklorist died April 25, 2004; and

Whereas Reverend Chiasson was recognized by various regional, national and international organizations; and

[Page 3392]

Whereas this being the 400th Anniversary of the French settlement in the early Acadie that Reverend Chiasson promoted through his research and his books;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the contributions of Reverend Chiasson, a native of Nova Scotia, to the promotion of a distinctive fabric of this province, the Acadians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3393]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 1539

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

Whereas Denny Clyke, a Truro native, was placed on the Honour Roll of the Truro Sport Heritage Society for his outstanding performances in softball, fastball, baseball and hockey; and

Whereas Denny Clyke was named Nova Scotia Softball Player of the Year in 1969; was a member of the 1969 Maritime Senior A hockey champion, the new Glasgow Rangers; played pro-hockey with the Columbus Checkers and Toledo Bladers; and was a member of at least three Maritime champion baseball teams; and

Whereas Denny Clyke was a member of the legendary Dairy Queen fastball team, won two batting titles, three home-run titles, two MVP awards, and earned All-Canadian honours three times;

Therefore be it resolved that this House congratulate Denny Clyke on being named to the Honour Roll of the Truro Sport Heritage Society, and recognize his outstanding achievement in four sports.

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 3394]

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Hants East.

RESOLUTION NO. 1540

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

Whereas exchange students are ambassadors representing their local area as well as their country; and

Whereas the Air Cadets are a proud and important wing of our military traditions; and

Whereas on May 20, 2004, Cadet Maria MacMillian of South Rawdon will represent the 652 Milford and District Air Cadets, her province and her country for two weeks as an exchange student in Singapore;

Therefore be it resolved that this House of Assembly congratulate Maria MacMillian on being chosen to represent the 652 Milford and District Air Cadets in Singapore, and wish her well as she carries our flags abroad.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

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

Whereas Joseph Howe was a visionary, a poet, an astute politician, a superb newspaper editor and publisher, and a great orator; and

[Page 3395]

Whereas Joseph Howe was called in his time, the greatest man in British North America and the father of freedom of the press in Canada; and

Whereas Joseph Howe is widely considered to be Nova Scotia's most accomplished citizen, having contributed substantially to government, journalism and education; and

Whereas Joseph Howe became a member of the provincial government in 1836, and for the next 12 years fought for responsible government in Nova Scotia; and largely owing to his statesmanship, Nova Scotia was the first province in British North America to win responsible government; and

Whereas Joseph Howe dedicated his entire adult life to this province and this country, serving as Premier, federal minister and Lieutenant Governor; and

Whereas this is the 200th Anniversary . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There are only three whereases allowed in the resolution. That is out order, sorry.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 1541

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

Whereas Nigerian native Father Christian Nwatarali was one of 950 students who graduated on May 2nd from St. Francis Xavier University; and

Whereas during his time at St. F.X. Father Nwatarali also served the people of Heatherton as their parish priest for Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church; and

Whereas Father Nwatarali will use what he has learned during his years at St. F.X., to continue his work to improve the economy in his home community of Enugu, Nigeria;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House thank Father Christian Nwatarali for the many contributions he has made to the community of Heatherton, congratulate him on receiving his degree from St. Francis Xavier University and wish him success as he returns home to Nigeria to continue his work.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 3396]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Timberlea-Prospect.

RESOLUTION NO. 1542

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

Whereas annually the St. Margaret's Masters Hockey League recognizes a player for dedication or effort in memory of legendary local hockey player, Richard Doubleday; and

Whereas this hockey season Duane van Snick has been named as the winner of the Doubleday award; and

Whereas Duane van Snick has made a valuable contribution to the game of hockey for many years;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Duane van Snick on receiving the Richard Doubleday Memorial Award.

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 3397]

RESOLUTION NO. 1543

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

Whereas the 18 Emergency Health Services workers who last week got purple tags for certification in community paramedicine are breaking ground in a new field called para-medicine; and

Whereas they are the only ones in Canada and North America; and

Whereas the 18 paramedics all work on Brier and Long Islands, Digby County, performing tasks that are far beyond what the normal paramedics do for their communities;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate these 18 paramedics upon the successful completion of their training and wish them well in the service of their community.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage.

RESOLUTION NO. 1544

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition, I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service is dedicated to enhancing and preserving the quality of life, property and environment for citizens throughout Halifax Regional Municipality; and

[Page 3398]

Whereas the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service was formed in 1754, making it Canada's oldest organized fire service; and

Whereas the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service will celebrate it's 250th Anniversary with an official ceremony on Monday, May 31st at the Grand Parade Square in Halifax;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend our appreciation and our congratulations to Chief Michael E. Eddy and all members of the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service for their commitment and dedication to duty and public service over the years.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

RESOLUTION NO. 1545

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker - I'll try this again, if I can - I hereby give notice that on a future day I shall move the adoption of the following resolution:

Whereas this is the 200th Anniversary of Joseph Howe's birth and Joseph Howe was a visionary, a poet, an astute politician, a superb newspaper editor and publisher and a great orator; and

Whereas this former Premier and Lieutenant Governor was called in his time the greatest man in British North America and the father of the freedom of the press in Canada; and

Whereas Joseph Howe is widely considered to be Nova Scotia's most accomplished citizen having contributed substantially to government, journalism and education and fighting successfully to ensure Nova Scotia became the first province in British North America to win responsible government;

[Page 3399]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House nominate Joseph Howe in the CBCs Greatest Canadian competition.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 1546

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

Whereas Glooscap Curling Club's Yvonne Martin has successfully defended her Nova Scotia Ladies' Masters Curling Championship; and

Whereas Ms. Martin and her teammates, Carol Hampsey, Gwen Merriam and Ruth Marsman, came from behind in the provincial finals to beat the Mayflower Rink's Adine Boutilier; and

Whereas with this win, Ms. Martin and her teammates advance to the Canadian championships;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in congratulating Yvonne Martin, Carol Hampsey, Gwen Merriam and Ruth Marsman on their win at the Nova Scotia Masters Ladies' Curling Championship, and wish them much success in their future curling endeavours.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

[Page 3400]

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Leader of the Liberal Party.

RESOLUTION NO. 1547

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

Whereas May 10 to May 16, 2004 is National Nursing Week; and

Whereas this year's theme, Nursing: Knowledge and Commitment at Work, describes the true character and strength of nurses in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas innovation, teamwork and leadership are among a few of the stellar qualities shown by our nursing workforce from one end of the province to the other;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Legislature acknowledge May 10th to May 16th as National Nursing Week, and extend our appreciation to all nurses throughout our province who, day in and day out, serve as the backbone of our health care system.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 1548

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

[Page 3401]

Whereas gardening is a hobby that is enjoyed by many, and which beautifies communities across Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Bayport, Lunenburg County resident, Captain Dick Steele has been growing beautiful rhododendrons, which have been appreciated by many people over the years, and is recognized as one of the top breeders in North America; and

Whereas Captain Steele's impressive gardening abilities will be featured on an upcoming episode of the Home and Garden television show, Recreating Eden, an international gardening biography series;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly thank Captain Dick Steele for his ability to enrich our lives with the beauty of plants, and congratulate him on his upcoming appearance on Recreating Eden.

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

GOVERNMENT BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

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

GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Supply.

[Page 3402]

[Page 3403]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to have an opportunity to stand here and bring forward some of the issues from my constituency here today. Fifteen minutes really doesn't give me an opportunity to do justice to the range of things that I could talk about on behalf of the residents of Halifax Needham. I want to start first by letting the members know some of the highlights of the positive things that are going on in my constituency that I think need to be spoken of and supported.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. There's too much noise in the Chamber, and I would ask the honourable members to take their conversations outside, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Needham has the floor.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. When I got up this morning and got in my car to come here, as I drive out the end of the lane where I live, I see the Isleville playground. Currently, under construction is quite a large extension to that playground, which will result in a wading, spray kind of area for kids in the summertime, to be able to go and cool off. In that general area, there are a number of daycare centres that will certainly take full advantage of this new facility, as well, of course, all of the families in the neighbourhood.

Mr. Speaker, this playground is being expanded, thanks to the hard work of residents of Halifax Needham. I think of Jane Hawes and the Nausses, and families in the area who have worked really hard raising money and looking to find a way to financially support an expansion and an upgrading of that playground.

[2:45 p.m.]

I think it would appropriate at this time, Mr. Speaker, to thank them for their efforts but also to thank the regional councillor for the area, Councillor Jerry Blumenthal, who after 10 years of being the councillor for our area has essentially announced that he won't be reoffering in the Fall and I know that residents of my constituency would wish Mr. B. all the best as he goes forward into retirement.

Not too far from the Isleville playground, Mr. Speaker, is the North End rink which is the only outdoor rink of its kind in the HRM and a few years ago this was the dream of a young man with a young family in my constituency whose name is Brian MacDonald who had this idea that the tennis courts could be used for outdoor skating facilities and he set about to do some research. Then he organized other people in our neighbourhood and the North End rink has become a very successful recreational community-based program. It has expanded now so that there are essentially three excellent skating areas enjoyed by young and old alike throughout the municipality. People come from all over to participate and take part

[Page 3404]

in this rink which essentially is maintained, for the most part, by a very strong and active and committed group of volunteers from Halifax Needham.

Both of these groups, the Isleville playground association and the North End rink are to be congratulated for their strong commitment to community and to healthy living and recreation. In the not too distant future, on the first weekend of June, Mr. Speaker, there is going to be a festival in Halifax Needham called the Northern Lights Festival. It will be the first of its kind here in Nova Scotia, although it is quite common, I think, light and lantern festivals on the West Coast. This is being organized again by community organizations - Veith House, Ward 5; some of the local churches - and it will be held the first weekend in June.

Mr. Speaker, recently I learned about a young entrepreneur in my community whose name is Michelle Strum who, along with her partner, David Eisnor, own the Halifax Backpackers Café on Gottingen Street. They have just been awarded a Canadian Youth Business Foundation Award as young entrepreneurs for their work in terms of community leadership. I think they are to be congratulated for their initiatives. They are the folks who are behind the regeneration in the Gottingen Street area, the organizing of a merchants association, the initiation of the Sunday street market in that area and they are very active in the community, creating employment opportunities in the community, having a lot of involvement with children and youth activities in the community and I can't think of any young people who would be more deserving of this national award.

There are so many positive things that are going on in my community, it's hard to focus on just a few. The North End clinic on Gottingen Street is a very active place. The primary health project has been going very well and quite soon Dr. Margaret Casey, who was a physician at the North End clinic for many years, will be receiving an honorary doctorate from Dalhousie in recognition of her work both here and elsewhere. I can't think of anybody else who would be more deserving of that recognition which will be bestowed, I think, at the university convocation for the medical school students.

Mr. Speaker, the Central Halifax Community Association and the North End Action Group for a Non-Violent Community are initiating a new award for a junior high school student at St. Patrick's-Alexandra School, a bursary, this year. This, I think, is a very positive development and those folks are to be congratulated for the initiative that they are showing with respect to that endeavour.

St. Joseph's-Alexander MacKay School is about to embark on a school exchange trip with students from Ontario. The Grade 6 class at St. Joseph A. MacKay will be visiting a community in Ontario and then the children from that community will come back here and the teachers and the principal, the parents and the students of St. Joseph A. MacKay have been working very hard doing fundraising and preparing for what is a substantial undertaking. I'm sure the children will remember this experience for many, many years to

[Page 3405]

come. This kind of activity is all done outside of the hours of work in the school and requires a great deal of love, dedication and commitment on the part of the teachers and parents. They are to be commended for this initiative.

St. George's Round Church, their YouthNet Program - which is an after-school program for children - are in the process of developing an Outward Bound Program for children from the inner-city community in the North End of Halifax in Halifax Needham. I'm very pleased to say that I've had an opportunity to meet with the coordinator of YouthNet, Barbara, along with two young women from the North End of Halifax, Natasha Jeffries and Lorine Clayton. Together we're in the process of developing a mentoring program for young girls from the inner-city. We felt this was a really important thing to undertake. There are quite a few programs in the community for young boys - particularly sports programs like basketball and baseball - yet it seems there's an absence of programs for young girls. We hope to rectify that by developing a mentoring program and really taking advantage of many of the great recreational and educational opportunities that we have available to us in this province.

Not so long ago, Tracey Jones, who was the branch manager at the North Branch Library in Halifax, left to take up a new position within the library system here in HRM. Although we miss Tracey from the North Branch Library, we all wish her very well. She was at the library for many, many years and provided very strong programming, leadership and other kinds of leadership. She is a real mentor to the young men and women from that community. She has been replaced now by Patricia Sutherland as the Head Librarian at the North Branch Library. I know people in our community wish Patricia well in her new position.

The last thing I'm going to mention before I talk about some of the needs that need resolving and attention to is the development of a new theatre company in Halifax - One Light Theatre. I did a resolution here not so long ago on One Light Theatre, it's a wonderful new theatre on Gottingen Street in a space called the crib. I would highly recommend the productions that are done by this small theatre company. The artistic director of the theatre is also the proprietor of the Persian Bazaar on Gottingen Street and he comes from a very strong tradition in the arts and in classical theatre. He's a graduate of the Dalhousie Theatre School and I believe his father was a very well known director and actor from Iran, so Shahin is a very strong artist in his own right. His influence on the theater company is very obvious and his wife, his partner, was a Page here, Maggie Stewart, and she herself has many talents in the arts, but is currently in her, I think, second-last year of Law School. I think that members of this House would wish them both well in their business, the Persian Bazaar, which I would highly recommend. If people like really fresh produce, nuts and things like this, their produce is fantastic.

Mr. Speaker, I often like to stand here in my place and talk about my constituency. I love my constituency. I say I think I'm the only member here in the Legislature who can

[Page 3406]

stand and say that we make ships and beer in my riding. We have the shipyards and we also not only have Olands, but we have Garrison and Propellor, the small micro breweries in Halifax Needham. It's a diverse riding with a lot of outstanding initiatives as you can see from what I've had to say so far.

There are also some unresolved issues in Halifax Needham. I would like to in the time that I have left mention Africville. The first speech I had an opportunity to give on the floor of this Legislature, back in 1998 in response to the Throne Speech, I asked the government to consider making a formal apology to the former residents of Africville. Here, six years later, I stand in my place and I ask once again that we acknowledge the wrong that occurred in that community, that we look at the report of the United Nations and do the right thing.

I'm looking forward to the day, Mr. Speaker, when I can stand in my place and respond to a government minister who will stand up and take this necessary step of recognizing the wrong that has occurred there, apologizing and moving forward with the kind of reparation that will bring closure to this very important issue. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great honour to stand in this Legislature and speak about an issue that is, I think, one of the most pressing issues that faces Nova Scotia today. It's the issue of democratic reform.

I'd like to say at the outset, Mr. Speaker, that many times when I raise the issue of democratic reform with others it's difficult to tell you just how often people tell me that it's not the stuff that gets us elected, it's not the stuff that paves our road, it's not the stuff that addresses the pressing problem of wait times in our province. I believe that this is the stuff that puts bread on the table of Nova Scotians, that ultimately will pave our roads and will over time address issues like wait times. I would argue that this is the most important issue over the long-term that faces our province, because through renewing the institutions and the inspirations of political leadership in this province, I think that we will do better and we will make better decisions.

Each year thousands of people come into this beautiful Legislature and they listen to the history that exists in Nova Scotia. The greatest part of the history of Nova Scotia began in this very room, in this Chamber by the gentleman who sits at the end of the room, Joseph Howe. People hear about our wonderful history, how this was the seat of responsible government, outside of Britain, in the British Empire, and they hear about how Joseph Howe passionately and successfully just down the hall argued for freedom of the press.

On February 2nd, Mr. Speaker, you will recall the day when many people gathered in this room and were inspired by Michael Bawtree, who joins us in the gallery today - the

[Page 3407]

Executive Director of the Joseph Howe Initiative. When we spoke so proudly about being a Nova Scotian, the government that Joseph Howe envisioned was one that ensured that the government served the will of its citizens. Joseph Howe's passion was to ensure that the decision makers in this province ultimately reflected, in their decisions, the values, the choices, the ideas, the will of the people, whether that's in law, whether that's in business, whether that is, most importantly, in this Legislature.

[3:00 p.m.]

I was interested to note, recently, in reading about Joseph Howe that he said in his own words, in the book Joseph Howe, Voice of Nova Scotia, that without the Novascotian's Reports - and that was his newspaper, you will recall, Mr. Speaker - of the Legislature debates, The country would have been left in almost total ignorance of the measures urged and the sentiments avowed in the Assembly, and have been about as incapable of judging of the conduct of their Representatives, as if they had assembled on the moon." I'm sure there are times when many of we honourable members wonder whether or not we, in this Chamber, are on the moon.

To whom are we speaking, and who is listening to what it is that we have to say? How often do our constituents ask us questions like whether the House is sitting, what our positions are on subjects that we've taken strong positions on, and how often are we asked about our behaviour, about the way that we treat each other, about the respect that we show each other, about the relevance of the issues that we raise on a day-to-day basis?

There is a growing public disillusionment and cynicism about the way that politics is done generally, and this is reflected in the voter turnout that we see at the polls every time we have an election, this is reflected in polls that continuously suggest that people feel that politicians are corrupt. I'm here to say that that's not so. Last Thursday morning, I was at a breakfast where a woman was talking about a new vision for Halifax, and she spoke about the need for young people to be involved in this, and she conducted an experiment where she asked young people to describe for them what the tenets of leadership were. After some deliberation, these young people came back and they said, Ms. Brown, we don't like the word leadership because we believe that leaders are people who break their promises.

It is essential that we, as political leaders, ask ourselves questions about why people are losing faith in the very institutions that are intended to serve them. Addressing these problems is our responsibility. It is the responsibility of the men and women who are in this Chamber. I was pleased to see, just last week, when the honourable member for Kings South provided each member of the House with a report on some work that's happening at a national level.

What I found most interesting, Mr. Speaker, is that this reported on work that was being done by our neighbours in Prince Edward Island and our neighbours in New

[Page 3408]

Brunswick and Quebec and Ontario and British Columbia, the Government of Canada, the City of Vancouver, and so many other places. What they are recognizing is that the institutions that were put in place a long time ago don't, as effectively as they can, serve the needs of everyday people here in Canada. I know there is support for reform, and government reform in this House. I've spoke to the Leader of the Official Opposition about this. Clearly, there is interest, in fact the Leader of the Official Opposition has some background and understanding of the challenges that face the institutions of politics in government today.

Mr. Speaker, what I suggest is that we stop whispering about this very important issue, that we speak out loudly about the interests of government reform, because at the end of the day those are the issues, I would argue, that are going to improve the roads, the wait times, the education system, and the fiscal situation in our province. The word democrat Mr. Bawtree recently pointed out to me was a hot potato, back in Joseph Howe's time. It's interesting to note, in our time, that the word idealism is, today, associated with a notion of naiveté, and that to say that we're speaking about vision is to suggest that we're somehow being unpragmatic.

Too little do we hear words in this House like hope, dreams, heart and love. But that is the stuff that rests with the people of Nova Scotia. How much of our energy is spent in the tribal partisanship, pointing fingers, pounding our chests, pointing fingers, I often hear, toward our Party. If anyone wants a list of Liberal mistakes, I can make a list and it will be a long one. If anyone wants a list of mistakes that are made by all of these Parties, we can all make a long list.

We have, at the bottom line, serious challenges in our province, and the challenge comes down to political leadership. We have, in our province, the second-highest debt of any province in this country, we have the second-lowest level of scholastic education scores in public education. We have, perhaps, the worst state of health amongst all of the citizens in Canada. We have perhaps the worst roads in the entire country. Most importantly, most distressingly, too many of our young people are losing their hope in a viable future, if that doesn't wake us up in the morning, nothing will.

I believe that the honourable men and women who are in this Legislature are optimistic, hopeful people, Mr. Speaker. They believe in the best of human nature. Over the long term, democratic renewal, the stuff that members of each of these three Parties believe in is fundamentally what we are about, it is the thing that will take us to where we belong. It involves instilling hope, especially in our young people, inspiring men and women to get involved in politics and opening the doors of this incredible institution. Over the long term, this will address the problems of our debt, our health, our wait time, our roads, our farmers. I believe this starts with ensuring that we are better connected to the concerns of everyday Nova Scotians. That begins with political democratic renewal.

[Page 3409]

Renewal, as difficult as it may be for us to hear in this Legislature, renewal begins with an acceptance that the problems that we face in Nova Scotia are ultimately political failures. A failure of leadership, of one kind or another, that can't be attributed to one Party or another. If we are to address the problems that exist in this province we must examine the responsiveness of our institutions - elections, the workings of this House, the workings of Cabinet, the workings of civil servants; in short, our connections to the people.

In the 200th year of Joseph Howe's birth, surely, it is the time that we invoke the spirit of Canada's most important visionary, a Nova Scotian who reported from this gallery, who sat in Opposition, who sat in government and who sat as our Premier. There would be plenty for Howe to talk about 200 years after his birth, because a report just two years ago by a professor at UBC, after assessing the electoral democracy in Canada, determined that Nova Scotia, unfortunately, was the least democratic. In a Legislature that is so grossly under-represented by women and visible minorities, surely we owe it to ourselves to do better, to ask better questions and step out, from time to time, of the tribal partisanship that goes with our Party allegiances. A belief that we, together, can do better, to make a lasting impact on the functioning of government is what we're paid to do.

One thing is absolutely clear, Mr. Speaker, and that is that I don't have all the answers. But like many of the people in this Chamber and many Nova Scotians, I have many questions. One and a half years ago our Party presented a package of ideas under the heading of Citizens-Centered Democracy. It spoke about the need for us to reduce manipulation by government, about engaging citizens, about keeping in touch with citizens, about effectively opening this House of Assembly, of making a more open and accessible government, but most importantly, it set out many issues of great importance for further study and consultation. Study and consultation is what we can do, with an all-Party committee that could be spearheaded by a member of this Legislature to explore the issues that are being explored in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.

We have a proud history in this province, Mr. Speaker. This beautiful little part of the world has been in the past a beacon for democratic renewal and it can be that again. But it has to start here, in this Legislature, in this Chamber, as it did with Joseph Howe many years ago, with enough of us admitting that we can do better and getting down to the business of making it better. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to very much say that I enjoyed the comments of the previous speaker. There certainly is, without question, a democratic deficit that exists, possibly at all levels of government. But today, if I could, I would like to speak firstly about the federal Senate in Ottawa. As you know, there has been some debate about the Senate and whether or not it should be elected. Myself, I have over the years, favoured the abolition of the Senate and just recently I said to one of our Nova Scotia

[Page 3410]

senators, Senator, you know I think that if we were to abolish the Senate we would be doing Canadians a favour. I said I would go a step further and suggest that we direct the nearly $70 million that is spent annually on the Senate to homelessness and child poverty in this country. We would be, in fact, doing Canadians - especially the homeless and the impoverished children in this country - a big, big favour.

The Senator said, you know, I used to think that the Senate wasn't of any value until I became a senator. I won't reference the honourable senator's name, but he was of the same opinion that many, many Nova Scotians are. Simplistically, you can justify the Senate, I suppose, by claiming that it should be elected, but the fact of the matter is, presently there's such an imbalance that if for the next eight years you were to appoint non-Liberals to the Senate, there still would be a democratic deficit until the year 2020 because presently two-thirds of the senators are Liberals. I have to ask, what kind of debate is that? There's no other democracy in this country and on this planet, probably, that puts up with that type of imbalance.

So, the point I was trying to make is that besides the mandatory retirement policy of 75 years of age, which most Canadians - I would suggest - have difficulty with, there are also some other problems that I see. For example, since 1996, the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources dealt with, examined and scrutinized 23 bills and since 1996, that Senate Committee, according to Aaron Freeman - Aaron Freeman is a writer for the Democracy Watch publication - the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources made one measly, innocuous amendment to an obscure bill.

Mr. Speaker, although it isn't a priority, I suppose, of Nova Scotians to be debating the Senate when we have so many concerns with health care, education, transportation, gas prices and things of that nature, I just wanted to point out that it would be extremely difficult to have the larger provinces of Ontario and Quebec concede some of the representation, or at least yield some of that representation to the Atlantic Provinces and especially Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I was wondering if the honourable member would entertain a short question.

MR. SPEAKER: Would the honourable member for Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley entertain a question?

MR. TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, it's always dangerous to entertain a question from the honourable member for Cape Breton West, but knowing that he has a very intelligent question, I will receive a question from the honourable member.

[Page 3411]

[Page 3412]

MR. MACKINNON: Thank you. At the risk of being a little over-curious, I'm wondering, his colleague introduced a resolution the other day asking for all-Party support for an elected Senate. I hear the honourable member today suggesting we should abolish the Senate. Have they caucused that particular position or is this his own individual position?

MR. TAYLOR: Yes, perhaps, I could have and should have prefaced my comments by saying, yes, that is my personal position. But I have been decreed over the years, I suppose you could call it, directed by my riding association to speak out against redundancy and waste. I feel that I'm on good, solid ground because the people in my constituency have taken a position on this particular issue. I will stand behind my constituents.

So I do thank the honourable member for Cape Breton West for giving me the opportunity to speak against the Senate, per se. Most Nova Scotians can tell you the name of their councillor, the name of their MLA, the name of their MP and in some cases I bet you Nova Scotians can tell you the name of their elected school board member. How many Nova Scotians, Mr. Speaker, do you know who can tell you the name of their senator and what they represent and what they stand for?

[3:15 p.m.]

I just share those views with you because those are the types of views that my riding association over the years has brought to my attention. I respect all honourable members in this House and we are entitled to form our own opinions, especially when we're talking about the chamber of sober second thought and with all respect to those individuals I don't feel that it would be appropriate for me to support anything that would give that illustrious chamber any more credibility.

Mr. Speaker, how about senatorial reform by way of abolition and directing the funds to the homeless in this country and to child poverty, if it's largesse - and we shouldn't be intimated against acknowledging that it may be largesse. Some of my honourable colleagues probably feel similar. Anyway, I did want to speak about that and I just want to conclude my talks on this topic by saying you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, and I'll leave it at that. (Interruption) Or any other part of the pig.

Moving along to something that is near and dear to Nova Scotian motorists and truckers is the considerable discussion, and to be straightforward, Mr. Speaker, the considerable anger, at increases in gasoline prices in recent days. The honourable member for Cape Breton South, through the media at least, I guess suggested that a provincial tax reduction of two cents per litre, should be implemented by my government, and two cents a litre would certainly be a start, but the honourable member forgot to mention that by way of the federal fuel excise tax on each and every single litre of gasoline and fuel oil that Canadians buy, the federal government swipes away - I perhaps shouldn't say swipes away - takes, confiscates, whatever you want to call it, 10 cents of every litre, goes to the federal fuel

[Page 3413]

excise tax. I think the honourable Minister of Transportation could tell us that collectively coming from the province, it equates to approximately $140 million to $145 million on an annual basis.

Here we have that level of government, Ottawa, sitting up there with a huge surplus, billions and billions of dollars, much of it generated by the money they take away from employed Nova Scotians and Canadians through the UI program, they generated much of that surplus through unemployment insurance, but if they are taking away $145 million on an annual basis from the Province of Nova Scotia, then wouldn't it be more appropriate for the member for Cape Breton South to stand in his place and challenge his federal cousins in Ottawa to put back some of that money into the hands of Nova Scotians? (Interruptions)

We know that it's just a fraction that goes back to Nova Scotia. I think it was in 1996, the federal fuel excise tax went from eight cents to 10 cents and they claim that two cents - I think that two cents was implemented by then Finance Minister Paul Martin - yes, the Prime Minister of the country today - and the justification, the way of legitimizing the two cents was by telling Canadians that the two cents per litre was to help them eliminate the annual deficit. As you know, the annual federal deficit has been eliminated for some time now, but has the two cents per litre come off? No, the two cents per litre hasn't come off. Has more money come to Nova Scotia as a consequence of the 10 cents per litre? No, it hasn't.

Have there been cutbacks to the Canada Health and Social Transfers? Probably over the last decade Nova Scotia has received $1 billion less than it should, by way of social transfers. (Interruption) Well, honourable member, would you like to take time and tell the audience just what exactly we have been cut back? I would certainly yield the floor to him. (Interruptions) Thank you.

The honourable Agriculture Critic with the Liberal caucus should know pretty soon that in this Legislature many members will stand in their place and admit that we have infirmities and I think even the previous speaker pointed out that there are challenges, people engaged in tomfoolery, some people have made mistakes, but I would challenge any member to stand in his place to say that he or she is perfect, because they don't make such a beast, if I can say that, with respect, just metaphorically, I throw that out. (Interruption) The honourable member for Dartmouth North might be; I think all members would agree that the member for Dartmouth North is an exception to the rule.

I want to point out that this business regarding the increase in gasoline prices has been very, very difficult, not only for Nova Scotians but for legislators. I do know that my colleague, the honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, and the Premier and appropriate bureaucrats have worked very, very hard. They have gone out, personnel from the minister's department, met with stakeholders, and are trying to come up with an approach that will help and at the very least give Nova Scotians confidence that the

[Page 3414]

price they are paying at the pumps actually reflects a price that is justified because of all the combinations of necessary factors.

Now, I have never said or even suggested that the oil companies are in collusion but, Mr. Speaker, some folks are wondering if, in fact, the big major oil companies are somehow doing an end run and sticking it to Nova Scotia consumers and motorists and truckers. But I'm confident that this Premier and the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations and my government will, in fact, bring forward measures that will help Nova Scotians receive the confidence and comfort that they need when they're filling up at the pumps.

Moving along from the Senate and gas prices and things of that nature, I would like to speak about my constituency, the beautiful Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. Mr. Speaker, Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley is made up of some 63 communities. The traditional resource-based industries of farming, agriculture and mining are very, very prominent in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley. We're blessed to have so much employment in our riding. But as you know and like all honourable members in this House can say, we always could use more. If there are opportunities for more employment, we would certainly welcome that. But we do have seven sawmills, four of them which are some of the largest in eastern Canada, are functioning, are operating and employing hundreds of Nova Scotians and constituents of mine and we're very, very grateful to the forestry industry and sectors in this province. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is carried.

[3:24 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Supply with Deputy Speaker Mr. James DeWolfe in the Chair.]

[7:25 p.m. CWH on Supply rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

THE CLERK: That the committee has met, made progress and begs leave to sit again.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

The honourable Government House Leader.

[Page 3415]

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Public Bills for Second Reading.

PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 70.

Bill No. 70 - Municipal Law Amendment (2004) Act.

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to move Bill No. 70 for second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to see this bill coming forward. We'll look forward, certainly, to seeing what happens in the Law Amendments Committee. I think that it's welcome in that it gives latitude to the municipalities to do a number of things that they have been hoping to get done for a considerable length of time, particularly the ability to levy area rates for establishing private roads and so on, this is very much needed, and authorizing them to borrow money for the demolition of former school buildings.

My only questions around all of these things, and I think that they are questions which will probably be answered as this proceeds further, surround the actual protocol about the appropriation of funds, the levying. I would want to be very sure in giving the municipalities a greater authority to collect taxes or rates for specific purposes to ensure that the residents are fully apprised, and those who will be paying the area rates are clearly defined, and that there is something closely resembling consensus before there is an increase. I would wonder whether there will, in fact, be provisions surrounding accountability for extra rates levied, whether there will be any form of ceiling amount. I certainly hope that there will be a visible and separate levy recorded in addition to any assessment for these roads.

Apart from that, however, certainly there is very interesting recognition in allowing municipalities to go ahead and exempt commercial daycares from commercial taxation rates. That's certainly catching up with the times. The rest of it, really, is just much-needed housekeeping changes, as far as I can see. I look forward to seeing this move forward.

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

[Page 3416]

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, I took advantage, today, of the opportunity, with a couple of the workers or employees from Municipal Relations, to walk through the bill, step by step and questioned each and every article that was brought forward. I was satisfied to say that most of it was basically what I refer to as common sense articles that should have and could have been added a long time ago, and it's good to see that they were added today.

There was basically no surprise. It appeared to me to be beneficial to the municipalities, Mr. Speaker. With that, I don't think I'm going to debate it very much, because what I heard this afternoon was satisfactory to myself, and, like I said, housekeeping things were all that were added, with a lot of common sense put into it. With that, I did question something, we even got into the Municipal Elections Act a little bit, and I was satisfied with what I heard there. Having 12 years in municipal relations as a local councillor and warden, there were things that we could have used back then, and I'm sure that all the municipalities could use now.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I'll be looking forward to it going into debate in the Law Amendments Committee. With that, I'll turn the time over to my colleague, Mr. MacKinnon.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. I would just remind all members to refer to other members by their constituency, please.

The honourable member for Cape Breton West.

[7:30 p.m.]

MR. RUSSELL MACKINNON: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to rise and say a few words on this particular piece of legislation as it pertains to the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

It's a good piece of legislation on a number of issues. Number one, as it relates to the issue of private roads. Having been involved with the issue of land development, professionally, since 1978 I can assure you this piece of legislation is long overdue. It's long overdue for a number of reasons because of the number of changes that have occurred throughout the province and in particular, the former Municipality of the County of Cape Breton which I always felt had some of the best development plans, strategies and bylaws anywhere in the province, I would have to say, with the exception of the former City of Halifax. It was almost to the point of being an integrated survey area and some of the best development plans and strategies, and I suppose I have to compliment all former municipal colleagues, whether they be in Bedford or Dartmouth or Halifax.

But this particular issue went through a considerable number of forms of osmosis. At one time you could develop land in this province up to a maximum of four lots before it was

[Page 3417]

required you kick in under the municipal Planning Act which was, by the way, an Act that was introduced and approved, I think, under the former Minister of Municipal Affairs, the honourable Tom McInnis. That will show you how far back this evolutionary process really started. It was in the mid-80s, around 1984, 1985.

But the darnedest thing is there was a private roads policy that was in place. You could have a private road in width of 20 feet or greater that would allow development. That created a considerable amount of problems for the municipal units as time went by because of servicing costs, because it became a question of costs versus revenue generated as to whether there was a real cost benefit. Then the subdivision regulations started to change and it went down to two subdivision lots and eventually the one subdivision lot.

What it did, it allowed, in time, a considerable number of changes. One year you would allow for a 20-foot ribbon development along the existing highways. Or it could possibly allow for a 20-foot lane - not attached to the lot, but it would allow for several lots to be built. Eventually it got to 50 feet and then 66 feet, which was the standard in the province. Then it started to change even more, requiring that the road be built up to highway standard before they would allow it, which basically killed a lot of development in rural Nova Scotia and particularly the rural part of the Municipality of the County of Cape Breton. Then it went back to allowing just the right-of-way without the actual development of the road. So there was quite a variance.

Since 1995, I've been arguing that what should be done is municipalities have the right to levy back this charge to individual landowners or developers who would want to develop land in localized situations. Let's say, a 20-acre piece of land developed into two-acre or five-acre lots so we know it would be only limited development. But the municipality at the time refused to allow that, suggesting that what would happen is preferential, political treatment would start to be the order of the day. That precluded this legislation from coming forth. I'm pleased to see that the minister has challenged that local view by including that initiative in here. As well the issue that was mentioned by the member for Halifax Atlantic with regard to the tearing down and disposal of schools that are no longer in use.

Mr. Speaker, I have to confess I'm somewhat humbled by what I saw transpire over the last few months between the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the Province of Nova Scotia. The Cape Breton Regional Municipality appeared before our Economic Development Committee suggesting we were not getting our fair share of money and they may have a very strong basis in fact for that. I haven't been able to ascertain the facts and the figures from them despite requests for that information. That is not to say that they are wrong.

I have seen, Mr. Speaker, the figures that were put out by the Minister of Energy and whether they are factual, accurate, or not, I don't know. I have to assume that they are because, as a Minister of the Crown, he has an obligation to tell the truth and provide the

[Page 3418]

facts as they are. Now, that having been said, I was a little disappointed. I was born and raised in a small rural community called Grand Mira South and there was a school - I started school when consolidation started in the Province of Nova Scotia - and that school closed. It first opened in 1959 and it closed just in the Fall of 2003.

I was really, really disappointed to see what happened after that, Mr. Speaker, for the disposal of the assets. There was no public tender. There was no call for proposal. There was simply a policy in place that if you, Mr. Speaker, or Joe Public, wanted to buy that school and you knew that that school was surplus property, if you were lucky enough to know that, you could go in, make an offer with somebody giving you an appraisal, your own private appraisal, individual or company, and you could purchase that. Well, that property on the market was appraised at $157,000. It sold for $29,000 plus and I'm saying to myself maybe there's good reason for that, but could we not have achieved better value for dollar if that was put out for public tender? Could we not have achieved better value for dollar if at least there was a call for public proposal or at least if the people in the community knew about it? That's just one example of the type of disposal of policy that exists for public assets.

I can give you another example, Mr. Speaker, where a piece of commercial property in the heart of Sydney River was sold in a similar context and there was great disappointment because many people felt that there was a loss of derived benefit for the taxpayers of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Now, fair is fair. If this amendment in legislation addresses some of these inequities, then I think that's good, but I find it a little embarrassing to come up here and defend a position saying that we're not getting our fair share when we're not managing public assets to the best advantage of the taxpayers of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and, indeed, the people of Nova Scotia and I felt morally obligated to get that on the record because it's easy to come up here - and we all have our political vest - and say, well, no, it's political posturing by the Minister of Energy or, no, it's political posturing by the Mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality; it's much deeper.

Mr. Speaker, I raised some of my concerns with the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations during estimates. I would suggest that there are excellent opportunities to get greater value for our tax dollars than what's being derived. Every day I see problems, such as the water problem in Sydney River with fecal contamination. Not even an application for a central water system.

I see 450 children walking in Floral Heights with no sidewalk to an elementary school. A regional plan being developed that would preclude any further development. I see day in and day out that type of planning policy that is so contradictory to the good value for the taxpayers of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and the people of Nova Scotia. I would hope that those two amendments that are included in this bill will speak in some way to correcting some of those injustices.

[Page 3419]

I could go on but I think my point is well made. (Interruption) If it's not clear to the member for Halifax Fairview, it never will be. He holds himself up as a financial guru, but when all these things are happening, because there may be some loyalties to a particular political philosophy, they won't touch it. I'm speaking to this issue, yes it does take issue with some of my friends in the Liberal Party at the municipal level. Yes, it takes issue with some of my friends who are also members of the Progressive Conservative Party, and yes members of that council who are members of the NDP.

This, Mr. Speaker, is an issue of responsibilities and due diligence. Not petty politics which has been going on for far too long. I would hope these two sections of this bill will not be just another paper tiger; we need help, we need direction. I was pleased to hear the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations say that he is going to provide an undertaking to CBRM officials and ask why we have the single largest mobile home park on Cape Breton Island, nearly 300 mobile homes, and there's not one regulation in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality to deal with it. Despite the fact that my colleague, the Leader of the Liberal Party, when he was minister, introduced legislation making provision for them to get that done. They wanted it and they got it, and they won't do it because of petty politics. I thank the minister for at least having the intestinal fortitude to take that issue and deal with it.

These two amendments can do so much if they are properly applied. Yes, I do believe that there are lines of authority and responsibility and protocols that have to be adhered to and respected between the various levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal. But this is not what was contemplated when this Act was approved in 1994, or the subsequent legislation in the Spring of 1995. I can go on, I can give you numerous examples of the waste and the poor management. When you have senior officials - I'll give you an example if for no other reason than the amusement of the member for Timberlea-Prospect - you have a senior member on that council saying that they should include in their development plan a restriction that there be no nude beaches because the foreigners, the Europeans are bringing foreign beaches to Cape Breton. Now what in the name of heavens kind of mindset is going on when they are contemplating that in a regional development plan. It begs you to wonder why there is so much polarization.

In the last six months the requests for economic development by outside interests for Cape Breton, has dropped off by nearly 50 per cent because of all this negativity. It has to stop, and we all have a responsibility, Mr. Speaker. So yes, I'll support this legislation going on to the Committee on Law Amendments and hopefully there's an opportunity for some improvements. Maybe I digress just slightly, but it's all embodied in planning and development; these two issues speak very loudly and very clearly to some real problems that have to be addressed. Thank you.

[Page 3420]

[7:45 p.m.]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Pictou West.

MR. CHARLES PARKER: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to rise and speak for a couple of minutes on this particular bill in support of the amendments that are suggested around private roads. I think any mechanism is going to allow some conclusion to the problems that we have with private roads. The need to have them taken over by the municipality is good, because we have a real problem in this province right now with a number of private subdivisions that are sort of at their wits' end to knowing how they can move forward with getting the municipality to take them over. They are private roads right now and they'd like to get them up to the next level, which is J-class roads, so that the municipality would have the right to maintain them and look after them.

Under the present legislation there's really no incentive for a municipality to want to take over a J-class road because then there's going to be a cost. I think the cost-shared agreement with the province right now is somewhere around $4,400 a kilometre, per year. Again, that's an extra cost for a municipality, so they probably in some respects are balking or finding some way not to take over a road, or make sure it's not up to standards in order to save that $4,400 per kilometre. So there's really no great incentive for a municipality to want to take over a private road.

That puts the private home owners at a disadvantage as the municipality really doesn't want to deal with them - even though the road might be up to standard - so they're stuck in limbo because they need their road gravelled and ditched and snowplowed in the Winter and so on. All that regular maintenance that goes on all our roads throughout the province, or on J-class roads that are under the jurisdiction of the municipality, cannot occur on these private roads.

I see in the proposed Act, Mr. Speaker, that there is a mechanism here that private roads can be taken over under a bylaw with the municipality and some mechanism for payment - I assume it would be like an area rate, where everybody would pay a share or based upon their assessment, so there would be monies available then to help maintain that particular private road.

In the constituency which I represent, there are a number of subdivisions that are sort of in that limbo situation right now. I'll just mention the ones that are of most concern. In the community of Sylvester, Pictou County, we have what's known as Green Acres Subdivision. There are about 30 families who live there. Most of them are in what you would call mini-homes. It's a mini-home subdivision. They have been struggling and fighting for probably 12 years now to get their road turned over to the municipality. There's just not a mechanism to make that happen. The developer has spent money trying to upgrade the road, the municipality says, well no you have to do more, so the developer does some work and the

[Page 3421]

municipality says, no it's still not up to standard. It creates an ongoing problem. In the end the private homeowners still don't have their road up to standard, and they're not getting the maintenance that they require.

Just down the road a little bit is another subdivision, MacIntosh Drive is the main street through there. I think it's called Spruce Grove Subdivision. There's about 12 families who are in the same situation. They want their road taken over by the municipality, but again, because there's no mechanism to allow that to happen, it's just not appearing.

Another road in the same situation, just back of the Town of Westville, for many years was maintained by the Town of Westville. It's actually in the municipality, and it's called the Pump Road. It's so named, because the Town of Westville got their water from the Middle River Road, and the road was accessed to that pumping station. There are about eight good-quality homes along that street. But, again, about three or four years ago, the Town of Westville abandoned that water system, after almost 100 years, and they found another source of water with the Town of New Glasgow. Now the residents are left in the lurch, with nobody to maintain or look after their road. They, too, would like to have it turned over to the municipality but, again, it's not wide enough, it's not up to standards, and there's no incentive for the municipality to take it over.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, there's a road very near where I live in Loch Broom that has four homeowners living on it, who share, to some extent, the maintenance. Neighbours being neighbours, not everybody always agrees with what needs to be done. Some are willing to pay the cost for gravel or for ditching or snow clearing, and some of them are not. So there's a dispute, sometimes, over what maintenance should be done.

Again, I think this bill is good and there is a mechanism here that will allow a municipality to take over private roads and bring them up to standard, and everybody will be better off in the end and the roads will be looked after. From that aspect, Mr. Speaker, I support this bill, and I look forward to having it go on to the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I want to rise and speak on this bill, being a former councillor in HRM, and I want to commend the minister for addressing some of the issues we had at that time as councillors, especially when it comes to private roads. In my district, at that time, we had many private roads for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes the roads were put there because people wanted to live on a private road by choice, and they wanted to keep it a private road. But in one particular case, for almost four years, we tried to get an area rate put on the road, so the money could be reinvested in the road to keep up with the maintenance and repairs. Unfortunately, under the old Municipal Government Act, that wasn't possible.

[Page 3422]

It appears that in this amended copy that that will be possible, and I think that's very positive. Typically what happens, you may have 20 people on a street, and 10 or 12 of them will faithfully give their $100 a year, or whatever it is, to grade the road and remove the snow from it, and everything else, and the rest of the people will refuse to pay. So if you set a system in place where everybody pays equally, the money is put in a fund and administered by the community, right on-site, so you get the best price for the service on the road possible. Everybody wins and everybody pays an equal share, as it should be.

The other extreme on that is a developer who went in years ago, built the road to a certain point, not up to standard by any stretch of the imagination, sold as many properties on it as he could, and then walked away. Now here's a road that, number one, the developer probably has some property left on it and is not interested in bringing it up to standard because it would cost him too much, the owners of the properties on the street simply can't afford to upgrade the road, which may be a $200,000 or more, just to bring it up to minimum gravel road standards, and if you have to pave it, it's even more. So it just doesn't make sense for anyone to pay for it. But in the meantime, you don't have garbage service, you don't have other service in the community, maybe in the wintertime you don't get fire trucks that are able to go up the road because the road isn't plowed or it's too icy, and, the situation goes on and on.

I'm pleased to see that this bill will address that issue, too, providing the residents on the street really want to do something about it and make sure the road is brought up to standard over time, or whatever the case may be, or at least maintained to a level where they can get the essential services that are needed on the road.

The last thing I'm going to talk about - I'm going to make this very brief - is vacant buildings. I was on the committee in the municipality, Dangerous and Unsightly Premises Committee. So many times we had vacant buildings, we would place an order on it, then we'd find out we couldn't place the order, couldn't get anything done with the building. It was an eyesore, plus it was very dangerous in the community where children or other people may get into the buildings. You've seen many stories on the news about buildings that were derelict and left, and there's really no way that the municipalities could get in there and repair those buildings.

So I think the intent of the law is good, there may be some amendments as we go through the process and we see from Law Amendments what the municipalities feel about this and what the general population feels about it. But it appears on the surface to be a reasonably good bill and I look forward to Law Amendments and the amendments come forward and further debating this bill to make it the best we possibly can to protect the citizens of the municipalities all over the province.

[Page 3423]

Also, it would make it easier for the municipalities to do their business on a regular basis. That's very, very important as far as I'm concerned as a former councillor and for the residents that I used to represent. It's very important that the municipality has the ability to do these things. I stress the ability because I don't think as lawmakers we should force the municipality to do things - we should simply give them the tools to do it.

With that, I'll conclude. I look forward to the Law Amendments Committee.

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, there were a few points that I would like to make about this bill. I think that it's got many, many positive things about it. It seems to address a lot of the issues that municipalities have been bringing forth for a period of time. There's a few things I thought were particularly relevant in my area or certainly from my experience, again, as a city councillor.

One of them was the one mentioned by the member for Preston who pointed out dangerous and unsightly premises. The point was often raised about boarded up and unsightly buildings, particularly the ones that were boarded up and there was no length of time in which you could force the owners to do something, as long as the building was deemed to be safe. The fact is, in any community where you have a boarded up building, it's extremely demoralizing and it affects property values around it. The people who live in that community feel the impact of having a building that's just boarded up and useless. It is a target for vandals at the same time. We wanted to be able to say that there would be a certain length of time after which we could take some action against those property owners and it wasn't available to us so I think it's great to see that come forward.

On the development agreements which are mentioned in there, this bill seems to give more power to the municipalities to move if there are breaches in development agreements or the developers don't measure up to what they had promised in site plans and in the development agreements. As you know, that's a very long and drawn out process to come up with a site-specific plan for development. That's actually how all the area of Clayton Park West has been developed and Glenburn Subdivision and the new subdivisions of Royal Hemlocks and Bedford South and Bedford West that's coming. These are huge tracts of land - 500 and 600 acres at a stretch - that are done by development agreement.

If the developers don't do everything they had promised the public in the first place, we had very little recourse in terms of insisting. There were a great many examples where the public had pointed out where they had been let down by what was in a development agreement, that it hadn't come to pass and we didn't have very much power to insist or change what was being done. I know there were examples in Bedford as well, similar to that, which had come up a number of times at council. So to increase the power of the

[Page 3424]

municipality to have the power of the Supreme Court to be able to make some improvement on that, I think is much, much better.

Another one, Clause 18, gives the municipalities the right to demand underground wiring for power sources. It could be telecommunications like telephones - but it could also be for natural gas and that's a real issue for many of the new subdivisions. We discussed that in HRM about having the new subdivisions begin to lay down the right pipes and whatnot for natural gas, but we didn't have the power to insist on that. I think that the only way we're going to see a distribution network in place after a period of time is by being proactive and putting it into the newer subdivisions as they come on stream. Especially here in HRM where there's so much rock, it's a lot of blasting, so the time to do it is when you're laying out the streets and putting in the essential services. I think it's good to give the municipality the option, at least, of going that route.

Also, I'd like to talk briefly about the daycare centres. Clause 7 refers to changes in the assessment, or at least giving the municipalities the power to change the assessments for daycare centres. I really hope the municipalities will look at this. I realize it now becomes something in their power to consider whether or not they can afford to do this. But daycare centres are fully taxed as commercial properties and they also are charged business occupancy tax. I think that makes it very difficult in a service industry, an industry that's there to serve young families-to look after children. Whether they're for profit or not, there's very little margin of profit in daycare centres. They're very vulnerable to going out of business because of the costs and there is a maximum to what you can charge parents. Even if you are a for-profit daycare centre, there's only so much you can charge and, therefore, they can't recoup that extra money. I think many of them would much rather see that go into higher salaries because they have difficulty retaining staff who are qualified because they pay very low wages for qualified, trained people.

[8:00 p.m.]

So by taking some of that burden of taxation off daycare centres, I think it would be definitely a mark of confidence in the work that those daycare centres are doing and recognizing the importance of their work and recognizing that they compete head-on with at-home daycares, people who have up to 14 children in their own homes and they often are done without the acknowledgement that they are, in fact, operating daycare centres. So that's where very many children are looked after and it's not a level playing field.

I think the fact that that's now in the bill, if this does go forward and pass, that that will give municipalities an opportunity to help the daycare centres which I might add are also charged HST for all of their purchases and the public daycare centres are entitled to get a portion of that HST back, but the private daycare centres are not and that can cost them literally thousands of dollars a year too. So they're in a very unique situation and I think the

[Page 3425]

service that they provide to the young families in our province needs to be recognized and I think that's a very positive improvement as well in.

There's one thing I would like to mention that I think would be very good to have in here, which is not, and that would be a strengthening of the municipalities' right, and this is really an HRM issue I should say, but it's for tree retention and it affects private property rights. With development in HRM, there has been an awful lot of denuding of entire lots whether it be large subdivisions or even large lots that are being redeveloped. The trees are taken down completely and then there's a little bit of landscaping done at the end of the agreement, maybe by development agreement, if they follow through on it. There's a lot of sensitivity in HRM about the loss of trees.

It had come up at HRM Council and I know one of the councillors, in particular, Linda Mosher, had organized and asked - I believe, I'm hoping she has asked - the government to include that at some point in time about private property rights related to tree retention and I would like the government to think about that. Maybe that could be an amendment that could be added after we hear about it at the Law Amendments Committee, but I think it's a really good package of changes based on what the municipalities have been asking for and we do look forward to hearing the people who may come to speak at the Law Amendments Committee on that.

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

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I thank the members opposite for their helpful interventions and their support of this bill. I'm pleased to close debate and move second reading of Bill No. 70.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 70. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 67.

Bill No. 67 - House of Assembly Act.

[Page 3426]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Justice, I move second reading of Bill No. 67.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 67. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 74.

Bill No. 74 - Oil Refineries and L.N.G. Plants Municipal Taxation Act.

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to open debate on Bill No. 74, An Act Respecting Municipal Taxation of Oil Refineries and Liquified Natural Gas Plants. I will take a few moments to speak briefly to Bill No. 74. This bill enables the government to establish a tax bill for Imperial Oil's refinery in Dartmouth and it enables the government through regulation to establish the tax bill for a future liquified natural gas plant somewhere in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, the intent of this piece of legislation is to provide first of all an opportunity for Nova Scotia to compete on a level playing field with it abutters with respect to a liquified natural gas plant. We want to ensure that Nova Scotia is seen as a good place to locate such a facility and that Nova Scotia is at least at a competitive level playing field or possibly even at an advantage to attract a new liquified natural gas facility.

As well, Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Imperial Oil taxation, as members would know, Imperial Oil was facing a significant increase in their municipal tax bill that would see them pay a tax increase of nearly fourfold. They had indicated to government that this put them at a significant disadvantage and that it jeopardized future plans with respect to that facility. There are 220 good paying jobs at that facility with an average payroll of over $23 million. If you do that math, it averages out at about $100,000 per paycheque. This plant in the local economy is critically important to Halifax Regional Municipality.

[Page 3427]

Mr. Speaker, the one thing that we are first and foremost concerned about, is protecting Nova Scotia's only refinery for diesel fuel and gasoline. This plant is the lone remaining refinery for Nova Scotia. At one point in our history we had three refineries, one in the Port Hawkesbury area and two in Dartmouth. However, the business climate over the past number of decades has seen two of those refineries close and it leaves Nova Scotia in a position where we have one refinery, refining fuel for our entire market.

Mr. Speaker, our government fully understood the impact that would have on consumers in the event we had to import every bit of that fuel for our local market. We believe that it's absolutely critical that government support this refinery to the point where we enable the municipality to grow its tax base, in this case, they're receiving $1.4 million more, but we as well maintain this particular piece of infrastructure so that Nova Scotians don't see a dramatic impact as a result of not having fuel produced here at home.

Mr. Speaker, with that I would wait for the interventions of the members opposite and I encourage members to support this piece of legislation.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to this bill. This, I think, is one of those bills that I heard about that leaves everybody firmly stuck on the horns of a dilemma, and I would hope that in the Committee on Law Amendments we will find our way off at least one of the horns of that dilemma.

There are a lot of things to be said for and against this bill, but having said that, it's certainly a bold move in a direction which the province has been taking baby steps for some length of time. In support of it, I think that one of the most important things to recognize is that the bill is an important way of protecting Nova Scotia jobs. As we know, there have been stringent efforts made to protect and even to create Nova Scotia jobs, some of which are of considerably less monetary value to the people who hold those jobs, to the families supported by those jobs, and to the economy surrounding the families supported by the people who hold those jobs. One cannot say that these are marginal jobs. In the case of some of the payroll rebates which have been given by the province more recently, they are most certainly marginal jobs.

It's also worth noting that this particular refinery has been in place for quite a length of time, therefore there is some reliance within the community, on the jobs created by the refinery as well as on the tax base created by the refinery. Most importantly, however, I think one should be aware that the taxes which were expected in the coming year by the Halifax Regional Municipality, had not yet materialized. This is not a removal of taxes from the HRM tax base. It's a case of a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush, or perhaps a municipality counting eggs that have not yet hatched, and we are seeing more and more of that happening in municipalities throughout this province. I think that is because,

[Page 3428]

philosophically we have a long-standing habit, it would appear, of taxing static property value. It's related, I believe, very closely to the taxation of residential properties on their estimated fair market value, even though there may be no income realized from the current use of a given property. We are talking about a similar shift, and I must point out here that I'm talking at the moment of those points which are in favour of this bill and which merit further consideration. We are talking about a shift from taxing static property and equipment value to taxation on the basis of production capacity.

We have been told, and I would like to find out more about this, that preventing the property tax from rising, as it would have by $6 million, will, in fact, serve to reduce the cost, the per barrel cost of the Imperial Oil Refinery's oil down by almost $30 a barrel. It's hard not to imagine that that does have an impact on the competitiveness of the refinery, as well as potentially on the price paid by Nova Scotians for this product. It is true that there were three refineries in Nova Scotia not that very long ago. There is only one refinery remaining now. Again, I would like to get confirmation of the figures about the barrel price, but I do think that we should be aware that two refineries have left. We are left with one and the point is made that we should protect in-province reliance as much as possible.

Most importantly what has been done here in terms of improvements to the refinery and its equipment are environmental compliance measures; $80 million was put into this plant to ensure that lower sulphur emissions would be resulting. Does that $80 million in fact add to the taxable value of the refinery? Perhaps if it is sold as a refinery, it does add to the taxable value, but we are talking at the moment purely about property, the old machinery and equipment taxes are no longer here. I think it would be unwise for the province to permit a continually escalating rate of property tax to, in effect, penalize companies, of no matter what sort, for improving their environmental performance.

The fact of the matter is that a structure like a refinery has an impact on the environment of all of us, not only on the citizens of the municipality where it is located. By the same token, the prices which are charged, the jobs which are created have an impact which spreads far beyond the boundaries of the municipality in which this particular piece of, I would say, infrastructure is located.

It is important that the province maintains some aspect of involvement with this. Having said this, however, we should look at what other kinds of tax incentives and rebates may have been made available to the refinery already for its compliance. It is not a question of the environmental improvements adding to the property value but adding to the quality of life value. What we need to do is to see whether that has already been rewarded at the federal level before we decide whether or not it should be rewarded at the municipal level or at least whether there should be a brake put on further taxation because of that.

[Page 3429]

[8:15 p.m.]

Having said that, I would like to note as well, as I referred to earlier, that this really is the tip of a philosophical iceberg which is about whether or not we should be taxing the static value, the unchanged value of property, and property within the province - whether it's commercial, whether it's residential. We have been looking at the possibility of amendments to residential property taxation because escalating property values are penalizing those who choose to stay in places they have had for a considerable length of time and yet have not changed the use or the resale value even of their property.

To me, it seems on the face of it a progressive move that we should look at the productivity of land - the uses to which it is put rather than simply its square footage and its proximity to land which someone else may be putting to a very different and very much more enriching use. We have been pressing individuals out of their homes by virtue of this fact or forcing them to exploit the property which they have in their hands to a far, far higher degree than would otherwise be necessary simply in order to maintain their place, to tread water. We should, perhaps, think twice before we begin doing this as well to commercial industries of long standing. This is not the same as saying it adds to the productive capacity. Where a plant expands, where a plant begins generating more income then there should be a firm look at higher taxation.

However, we need, as I say, to know more about this. I am glad to see that this bill looks at future increases being pegged to the consumer price index. This is something that we suggested last Fall in connection with residential property assessments and as you may have noticed, sometimes there is an economic driver which takes the front seat and goes pulling everything else along with it. I think perhaps of the experience of the cost of new cars which has escalated far beyond any CPI and began doing so some 20 years ago and has taken everything along with it. Almost throughout the North American economy.

We do not want property assessments to become a force of their own, to become a ravening monster which eats the people and the industries which already exist here. The CPI is a reasonable way of putting a brake, but not a complete brake, on the rising value of tax base. It's predictable and predictability is also a good thing for the economic climate of the province as well. Taking the long view, I think that companies which may be established or perhaps may in the future establish themselves, would be reassured to feel there is a recognition of their commercial venture, their commercial capacity, but that perhaps their property taxation as well is not subject to the vagaries of the local real estate market or to a required compliance with environmental amelioration. Is it fair that Imperial Oil should receive a break of either kind - break or brake - when assessment rates for homeowners' taxes continue to climb? No, of course it's not. We should be fixing the whole problem.

[Page 3430]

Having said this, HRM has argued that this is a clawback, but is this a clawback or is this a denial of an increase in taxation income? Is this an economic development initiative? Is this an economic rescue strategy? I am not sure.

We will need to consult further with the Halifax Regional Municipality on the impact of this $600,000 decrease in their anticipated revenue for the coming year. We will need to know more about other tax rebates or credits which the refinery may have received at the federal level. I think one of the most important messages is that whatever the decision may be on this, whatever the mechanism may be, we should not be seen as punishing Nova Scotian initiatives for environmental responsibility. With that, I would say that I look forward to this bill arriving at the Law Amendments Committee because I have absolutely no doubt there will be many people trying to pull us off one of the horns of this dilemma. Thank you very much.

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

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, Bill No. 74, the Oil Refineries and L.N.G. Plants Municipal Taxation Act. The bill is an attempt by the government to protect the jobs at the Imperial Oil Refinery in Eastern Passage. The government feels that Imperial Oil may not be willing to pay the increased assessment levied upon them by the province.

Mr. Speaker, our Party has advocated for years that Nova Scotia must maintain a competitive advantage over other jurisdictions in order to attract and maintain investment. One advantage in this case, however, is a significant investment in physical infrastructure which Imperial has made in the facility and in Eastern Passage. A decision to walk away from hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure would not and should not be made lightly. The government has to analyze the risk of Imperial Oil leaving Nova Scotia and act if the risk is real. I'm sure the government has done the evaluation and has spoken to the employer and the employees before bringing the bill forward.

I'd love to hear what the minister has to say on this issue and I heard some of what he previously said on the introduction. I wonder what the mayor's reaction to this idea was during the government consultation and I am wondering if the province considered consultation with Mayor Kelly. Why has the government found it necessary to reach into the pockets of HRM to protect the jobs? Why has the government not considered using one of the many other business incentives which are at their disposal? If you want to protect jobs, why not offer the company a payroll reduction? Why not offer Imperial a corporate tax holiday of some kind as an incentive to remain in Nova Scotia?

Mr. Speaker, again I say, why dip into the pockets of HRM? The provincial government has stood in this House day in and day out and touted their track record on employment. When it's time to stand up and take action and protect jobs, their idea is to make the HRM pay for it. Don't think for one moment that the minister would not be going

[Page 3431]

door to door or be at the door of the refinery the next day if this bill passes taking credit for protecting the jobs. Since they have introduced the bill, we can assume that the government feels the risk is real, and steps must be taken to protect these jobs. I have to wonder why the government didn't find it necessary to step in and protect the jobs at Britex, or Avon Foods.

Mr. Speaker, it makes you wonder if their support for rural economic development is real, or if, in fact, they are concentrating all their efforts on the urban centres. We understand the government's concern in this particular situation and their desire to take action. Is the government taking the right steps? We know the contentious item is the assessment of the refinery and the recent increases in assessed value. The provincial government is not the government that collects the taxes. It's the municipal government. It's the government of HRM. So, in effect, what the provincial government is doing with this bill is saying - we increased the assessment, we are now worried about protecting the jobs at the refinery, so we will introduce a law that will affect the municipal government.

Mr. Speaker, in fact, all this government has done is brought in a law that requires the municipality to pay to keep Imperial Oil in the province. I believe we are going to hear quite a bit of testimony from Mayor Kelly and the management of Imperial Oil at the Law Amendments Committee. I look forward to hearing from them in a timely fashion, so that if changes need to be made to this bill, as I suspect there may be, they will be done during this session.

Mr. Speaker, I want to express my concerns on this bill and make people aware that other tools are available to the government, outside of downloading on HRM. The province hasn't taken any of the provincial economic tools that they have at their disposal, you are rewarded through payroll rebates and tax incentives. What about even sharing the cost? No, download it on the municipalities. I've felt that for years, and this is another example of it.

Mr. Speaker, I understand that Imperial's profit in Canada last year was $60 million, and I'm looking forward to supporting the bill to go to the Law Amendments Committee, because I can't wait to see what's going to happen in the Law Amendments Committee. I would be very interested to see what other people are affected by this bill and what they will have to say. With that, as I said, I'm looking forward to the bill going to the Law Amendments Committee, and I will conclude my remarks. (Applause)

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

MS. DIANA WHALEN: I think it's important just to say a few words on this, because of the impact to the HRM and to the tax rate here in the HRM. The fact is that because the improvements were made to the refinery, there was every intention and every reason for the municipality to expect that their taxes would be higher and that they could therefore budget for that. They're very careful and cautious in what they put in their budgets. So the fact that it's rolled back, it may still be new and additional revenue to the HRM, but

[Page 3432]

there will be projects that were planned for the municipality. We get very few in the way of recreation or new playgrounds or new streets that are paved, those kinds of projects, and maybe it will be the new sports field for Dartmouth, that, in fact, may be threatened, because the money isn't there in this year's budget.

I think it's really important that we look at that, and that we say very clearly that the provincial government hasn't used the tools that are available and really within the mandate of the provincial government in taxation. You have stepped into the municipal arena and affected the revenues to the municipality here. There are other and more appropriate avenues or mechanisms that you could have used to spur economic development. I'm not criticizing, at all, the aim of the bill, the bill aims to keep an active refinery in our province and it aims to protect jobs.

Again I would say that if the risk is real, I'm sure that is the reason why it is before us today, that we are looking at a bill like this. None of us wants to see either the loss of the refinery or the loss of jobs, and, from the economic development point of view, we also don't want to see that the refinery in Nova Scotia is operating at a very uncompetitive level of taxation, as was indicated in the press release from the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, indicating in his press release that the taxes paid on this particular Imperial Oil Refinery is quadruple the amount paid by a much-larger Irving Refinery in St. John.

Certainly, that's not good for our competitiveness, and that is one of the important tenets that we've been working towards, to make Nova Scotia competitive always, for business and corporations. I think the main thing is that there are other ways to do that, whether it's through the payroll rebates, through corporate tax changes that are made directly. The kind of taxation, the revenue that we rely on as a province, those are the revenues that should be looked at, rather than the municipality.

I noticed in the press release, as well, that there's discussion at the end. The minister says that there will be a review, that the province will undertake a review of the province's assessment and taxation policies of heavy industrial properties. I think that is more than called for, if in fact this bill goes forward. This bill basically opens Pandora's box, because it's specific to one property and one potential future property on the liquified natural gas. It opens that Pandora's box because every large industrial operation in the province will feel that they have, probably, a good case, as well, to come before the government and ask for a special bill that would outline what they require and, you know, we will find ourselves inundated with those kind of requests provincially.

I think that it's the wrong way to go, that we have to at least have a plan, and so the suggestion by the minister that his department will conduct that review I think is important, but I think it needs to be done in a very timely fashion if this bill goes forward because really

[Page 3433]

we can't leave a situation like this not properly addressed. We have to be able to identify what criteria we're going to use in order to support some industries and not others.

[8:30 p.m.]

As my colleague has mentioned, what did we do about Britex or Avon Foods, there were jobs at stake there as well and maybe a change in the municipal taxation might have made a difference. It might have just tipped the scales enough for those operations to stay in business. So it's important to know what criteria we would use to apply any such favourable status in terms of municipal taxation and I also think it's really important that when this comes to the Law Amendments Committee, we hear from many municipalities. It shouldn't just be the HRM because the other municipalities stand to be treated in the same way and they should be very alert to the fact that this opens up a new chapter in municipal and provincial relations. So I think that we need to be aware of what it might mean to that future taxation. With that, I will sit down and look forward to hearing more at the Law Amendments Committee.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, it will be to close the debate on Bill No. 74.

The honourable Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations.

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, before I close debate, I just want to point out a couple of points to the members opposite. First of all, this bill is not simply about protecting the jobs of those 220 people who work at Imperial Oil. This bill is about providing Nova Scotia with a competitive advantage, or at least a level playing field, with respect to liquified natural gas and it's also about protecting Nova Scotia's economy.

Mr. Speaker, I believe, and this government believes, that if we were to lose this refinery and hope that the refinery would be able to stand a fourfold tax increase in their municipal tax bill, that it would have a devastating impact on Nova Scotia's economy and we weren't prepared, as a government, to sit by and watch that happen. This is not a bill that takes any tax revenue from a municipality. This is a bill that moderates an increase. That's what it's about. It's about moderating the increase to $1.4 million, not about taking tax money away.

As a former municipal councillor, I fully understand the impact that these types of decisions have on those municipalities. That's why I took the time, three and a half hours, to explain the impact of this and what we were proposing to Halifax Regional Council and I'm pleased that a number of the members of council understood clearly what the impact was. Although they weren't completely satisfied or pleased, they understood exactly why government had to move in that direction.

[Page 3434]

Mr. Speaker, as I've indicated in my opening remarks, just two decades ago we had three oil refineries producing fuel for the Nova Scotia market here in Nova Scotia. Now we have one refinery. In fact, if this refinery were to close, we would be forced into a situation where we would be importing all of our fuel and my speculation is that the current sticker price and the shock that we see of the fuel prices at the pumps today, without a source of fuel here at home, would be substantial. I think Nova Scotians would be pointing the finger of blame squarely at legislators and members of this House and saying you could have done something, you should have done something, and we would have been derelict in our duty not to stand up and protect Nova Scotia's interests.

This bill is all about protecting the interests of the jobs and the economy of Nova Scotia. It's about protecting those 220 jobs and it's about looking to a bright and prosperous future with an LNG plant located somewhere in Nova Scotia and, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to close debate on second reading of Bill No. 74.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 74. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 72.

Bill No. 72 - Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise and speak briefly on this bill. However, before I do so, I wonder if you would permit me an introduction. We have visitors this evening in the gallery, in fact, ironically a municipal unit, in this case the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, Warden Jack Wentzell and Deputy Warden Elmer Garber. They're here watching today's proceedings and I would ask them to rise and receive the warm welcome of the House. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: I'd like to welcome the guests in the gallery today and hope they enjoy the proceedings.

MR. BAKER: Mr. Speaker, this bill is quite simple. This is a bill to implement one of the recommendations of the Review Committee that was created under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. I am hoping that this bill will receive the quick

[Page 3435]

approbation of members of the House, so that we can implement the reduction in fees as is anticipated by this bill.

Quite simply, Mr. Speaker, we are committed to implementing that portion of the committee's recommendation as it reflects the reduction of fees and we hope that this bill will move through the House and will indeed go to third reading.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would encourage all members to support the bill so that we can move it on to the Committee on Law Amendments this evening and with that I move second reading of the bill.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm glad to speak for a few moments on Bill No. 72.

This bill is again, much like Bill No. 68 that we talked about on Friday. Another example of the difference between last Spring and this Spring, when we had an election which resulted in a minority government. It was only last Spring that this government would not allow any changes to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, even though our Party and the Liberal Party introduced amendments to deal with the fees.

There is concrete evidence from the review officer, Mr. Speaker, that this Act as it now is, with the fees that have been put in place and the two here obviously, one involving two hours free, which is going to be brought back in and the appeal application fee, which will be reduced or eliminated, but there's a third one and that is the fee for actually applying, it has gone up to $25. As far as we're concerned we'll be more than glad to support this in second reading, but I can assure you it's our caucus's intent when we get this to the Committee on Law Amendments or the Committee of the Whole House on Bills, given this is a minority government, we're keen on ensuring that we move amendments to make sure we roll back everything that needs to be done.

We've heard from the Review Officer, Mr. Fardy about the number of applications, how they've plummeted because this government was considered last year one of the most secret governments in Canada, if not the most secret government, Mr. Speaker. This government after minority is now coming forward with changes, something that I know they would not have done if they had won a majority in that election last Summer.

What we have is a situation where in a minority government we're more than glad to see this bill, but we would also encourage the Minister of Justice and the Government House Leader to recognize the fact that in a minority House when you bring a bill forward it's our understanding and our trust that this will be brought to third reading based on amendments that we may make, Mr. Speaker. (Interruption)

[Page 3436]

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The honourable member for Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage has the floor.

MR. DEVEAUX: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I'm not going to speak much longer. Just to reiterate the point that we would like to see an amendment to this bill to ensure that all the fees are rolled back, to reopen the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which this minister from time to time likes to brag is so excellent. Well, it hasn't been since we introduced these fee increases; two down, one to go. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, my predecessor who just spoke, the House Leader for the Official Opposition said that it was since the election that brought this bill forward. I had a different take, I figured this government has been embarrassed enough by both the media and by outside provinces and outside observers who have criticized this government repeatedly for its secrecy, in fact, I believe they won the distinction, the dubious distinction of the most secretive government in the nation. What a thing to be proud of. Ironically they were talking about having a few more sites designated as World Heritage Sites, this coming from a province that was deemed to be the most secretive government in all of the country.

I would like to think that there is finally a bit of humility from this government after having been embarrassed as to what it has done, especially on the heels of the most recent annual report from the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy officer, which clearly showed once again that the applications have gone down dramatically last year as a result of the regressive fees which were put in place by the government.

Allow me submit to you again, Mr. Speaker, this government must have known that by putting up the fees to where they put them, applications would go down dramatically. For the government to suggest that it would only be frivolous applications that would be done away with, it is clear that that is not the case. Nova Scotians who have a legitimate right to seek government information were turned away due to the high cost of doing so. We have various experiences and it is not only coming from the partisan members here, we've heard it from the review officer himself, who has shown in his report that the fees were directly to blame for the decrease in applications and for the lack of government information that was getting out.

Mr. Speaker, we've been very clear, our Party, on the record here, we've tabled legislation which would roll back the fees, take the application back to $5, which is reasonable, not only for the Opposition Parties, interest groups, organizations and Nova Scotians in general who are seeking information from this government. The government has taken some steps to make information available, but they have not come nearly close enough. We hear the Premier repeatedly saying don't bother filing freedom of information requests,

[Page 3437]

they are too expensive, they take too much time, just pick up the phone and call. More and more our staff keeps calling and keeps being told - file a freedom of information request.

So, Mr. Speaker, this is an important first step. We do look forward to it going to the Law Amendments Committee, but I can also signal to the minister, as my good friend, the House Leader for the Official Opposition has, that our Party will also be looking for added amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act so that we can once again be known - I believe we're the first province to have brought in a freedom of information Act in the country and I think it's time we go back to being known - as the province with the most accessible freedom of information Act rather than the province known as the most secretive in this country. I think all Nova Scotians would be proud and I think this is the bill where we can achieve that and we can show how well a minority government can work for Nova Scotians. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Justice it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the support that my colleagues have given for moving this bill forward to the Law Amendments Committee. It's a good bill as written and I look forward to their support. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 72. Is the House ready for the question? Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 73.

Bill No. 73 - Justice Administration Amendment (2004) Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, it's my great pleasure to rise to briefly speak to this bill. This is actually one of a long line of justice administration amendment bills that have been introduced into this House by the government. These are a series of omnibus

[Page 3438]

bills designed to deal with matters that have arisen typically over the last six months to a year that require the attention of the House.

This bill is no different in the sense that it deals with a number of different pieces of legislation, sometimes dealing with minor changes in terminology, as for example in the Crane Operators and Power Engineers Act there has been a change in terminology from the term "stationary" engineer to "power" engineer and that this legislation would be proposed to be amended to do that.

There are other provisions in the Education Act, for example, which make it clear that municipal units can go together in order to support community facilities in other municipal units and that kind of co-operation between municipal units is something, Mr. Speaker, that members of this House can encourage as a very important initiative.

There are, obviously, the provisions dealing with the Elections Act, dealing with the issue of the qualifications for the Chief Electoral Officer and also, Mr. Speaker, provisions in the Elections Act dealing with exigent circumstances around vacancies with returning officers. As we all know, it takes a long time to implement the appropriate hiring practices to fill a job permanently and this is designed to cover a situation so that the Chief Electoral Officer can make sure that elections operate in the way that they are supposed to.

[8:45 p.m.]

Then of course there's the Flea Markets Regulation Act. That provision is quite simply to iron out - if you'll excuse the metaphor - the bugs that some enforcement officials, both police and Public Prosecution Service had found in the previous legislation so that we can move towards eliminating stolen goods being fenced at flea markets. That's really the purpose of this legislation, nothing more than that.

There's the Interior Designers Act. That is a minor change requested by that professional organization.

There are the Labour Standards Code and that is simply to ensure a consistent application of the Act - fundamentally to full- and part-time workers so that those workers who choose to take time in lieu can receive the 6 per cent that they would be entitled to in vacation. It's simply a matter of allowing workers, particularly part-time workers who tend to take advantage of that provision to receive the 6 per cent vacation pay after eight years the same way that they could receive the three weeks vacation.

The Motor Vehicle Act, as was indicated during the press briefing earlier today, those provisions are to implement some recommendations arising out of the Johnson inquiry so that the law is clear in Nova Scotia and, again, that's a practical thing.

[Page 3439]

The Occupational Health and Safety Act is to, I guess, confirm the practice of paying people who sit on that board who dedicate an awful lot of time. Obviously members of the House value that work and I'm sure will support that provision.

The Ombudsman Act, again, is to implement those protections to extend the protections of the Ombudsman's office to other government organizations - again consistent.

The Provincial Court Act is to raise the retirement age from 65 to 70 for our provincial and family court judges.

The Public Service Act is to deal with a very technical requirement, generally with respect to ministers being out of province.

The Special Places Protection Act, again, is an environmental piece of legislation to ensure that land, when it passes to a subsequent owner, whether by tax deed or otherwise, maintains that protection that the original owner had intended for the protection of the environment.

So that's a very, very brief summary of the provisions of that bill. Again, I would obviously like the support of honourable members to move this bill through second reading into committee in hopes that these beneficial changes would be made law. With that, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading.

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

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm not going to speak for very long. I think it's important to put on the record that when you look at Bill No. 73, substantively some of these are technical changes, some of them are a little more substantive. None of them is earth shattering. I think it's the principle that I would like to speak to, which is the use of these omnibus Acts. It's called a Justice Administration Act when, in fact, we have Labour Standards Code, the Education Act, the Ombudsman Act, the Public Service Act. These Acts, I would suggest, as a form of democratic principle, to as great an extent as possible, should be brought into this House on an individual basis so we have an opportunity to debate the merit of them and on top of that, the people out there who may hear about it will also have a chance to debate it.

The minister read off 10, 12 Acts that are being amended and I would suggest that is too much probably for most of the members in this House to have time to review, let alone people in the electorate.

As a principle, we're concerned about this. I would have hoped that in a minority government, the government would have changed. We only meet nine weeks a year, Mr. Speaker. If they had introduced these bills separately, maybe it would take a little more time

[Page 3440]

to be able to debate these so we'd have a chance to debate them on their merits. I'm disappointed in that, but we're prepared to see it go to the Law Amendments Committee to hear from the stakeholders.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Richmond.

MR. MICHEL SAMSON: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise as Justice Critic for the Liberal caucus on Bill No. 73. We were speaking earlier - myself and the House Leader for the NDP and it's an issue which I have been raising since 1999 when this government first came into power. If one goes back through Hansard, every time a Justice Administration Act was brought in, I gave the same speech. It is not appropriate to be bringing in a bill that's going to change, in this case, I believe 13 provincial Statutes in one bill.

Mr. Speaker, that is something that is done by a majority government, when it's trying to ram through changes to a lot of legislation, rather than going through it one piece at a time. I remember in the early days of 1999, there was stuff buried in the Justice Administration Act, and we went through, pulled out the other Acts, and saw some of the changes taking place, they were not administrative or clerical-type changes, they were significant types of changes.

Mr. Speaker, there are options here for us as an Opposition in this minority situation. It is possible to block this bill, if for nothing else than to send a message to this minister, and to this government, that he needs to start doing things differently in a minority situation. As was said from the House Leader of the NPD, we are not here for months at a time, we are here for weeks. There's no reason why these changes could not have been broken down into separate bills.

At the end of the day, for the government, one would even think they would want to do so to be able to claim at the end of the session, that they've passed that many more bills, rather than just one. In this case, they could claim to have passed 13 bills, in this one. In this case, as was said, they are, for the most part, administrative and smaller-type changes, but the past, if one wants to look at 1999, 2000, 2001, forward, the Justice Administration Acts were much longer, the changes that they brought forward were much more comprehensive, and had a much greater impact on the legislation it sought to change.

It is time, and I hope, through this, the minister will hear the message we are sending to him, get rid of the Justice Administration Acts, and let's not see another one coming in in 2005 or in the Fall of 2004. In this case, I think it's fair to say, barring something at the Law Amendments Committee, this bill will, more than likely, go forward. But under minority government, we expect better. It's not asking for too much, but as parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to deal with all changes to legislation in a prudent fashion, in a timely fashion, but to also be able to take our time and not have them rushed through, having one bill here changing 13 provincial Statutes.

[Page 3441]

With that, Mr. Speaker, I hope the message is clear, I hope we do not have to forcefully send a message the next time this happens, and I hope the minister will be more respectful of the concerns raised by the Opposition Parties in this case.

MR. SPEAKER: If I recognize the honourable Minister of Justice it will be to close the debate.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

HON. MICHAEL BAKER: Mr. Speaker, I do appreciate the comments of my colleagues across the House. The difficult situation is that sometimes if I bring in 13 bills, the cynical side of me would have thought there might have been those who would have stood up and said ha ha, he's trying to pad the payroll, so to speak, by doing that. In any event, there was no such intent. I think the matters dealt with in this bill would be not exactly housekeeping, because there are some matters of substance in here, but they're matters of what I would describe as largely of, I hoped, an uncontroversial nature. It was that spirit in which the bill was brought forward, in an attempt to deal with matters that were largely uncontroversial, which would have, I hoped and expected, the support of members on both sides of the House. It was in that spirit that the bill was brought in.

I've heard the honourable member's comments, and we will see if we can try to tailor the future to more of that. There may be a necessity, of course, to deal with more than one Statute in a bill, oftentimes, for example, bills do that by principle. We will see if we can make sure that we work with our members on both sides of the House, in the legislative process. With that, Mr. Speaker, I would close debate and move this bill for second reading.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is for second reading of Bill No. 73. Would all those in favour of the motion please say Aye. Contrary minded, Nay.

The motion is carried.

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that you do now leave the Chair and the House resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole House on Bills.

MR. SPEAKER: Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

[Page 3442]

The motion is carried.

[8:54 p.m. The House resolved itself into a CWH on Bills with Deputy Speaker Mr. James DeWolfe in the Chair.]

[8:57 p.m. CWH on Bills rose and the House reconvened. Mr. Speaker, Hon. Murray Scott, resumed the Chair.]

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

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

Bill No. 49 - Mi'kmaq Education Act.

Bill No. 50 - Credit Union Act.

Bill No. 51 - Provincial Acadian Day Act.

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

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

The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, I move that the House do now rise to meet again tomorrow at the hour of 12:00 noon. The House will sit from 12:00 noon until 8:00 p.m. The order of business will be Question Period followed by four hours of estimates, and then there will be Public Bills for Third Reading and Public Bills for Second Reading.

Mr. Speaker, I move the House do now rise.

MR. SPEAKER: The motion is that the House adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

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 3443]

[Page 3444]

The House is adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 8:58 p.m.]

[Page 3445]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 1549

By: Hon. Ronald Russell (Transportation and Public Works)

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

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

Whereas the Windsor Fire Department answers hundreds of alarms annually while always being ready to assist fellow fire departments with mutual aid assistance and in recent months have adjusted their complement of apparatus, purchasing a new ultra modern pumper/tanker enabling the department to become even more efficient when battling blazes; and

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

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

RESOLUTION NO. 1550

By: Hon. Ronald Russell (Transportation and Public Works)

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

Whereas Nova Scotia was represented at the Canadian Men's Master Curling Championship in Kelowna, B.C., in March by a team from the Windsor Curling Club skipped by Rae Winklear; and

Whereas Windsor advanced to the nationals by finishing with a 6 to 1 record at the provincials held in February; and

Whereas joining Rae as part of his team were long-time Windsor curlers Don Baker, Colin Purdy and Bill McConnell;

[Page 3446]

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs of this House applaud Skip Rae Winklear and Don, Colin and Bill for a valiant effort at the nationals and for taking a team from the Windsor Curling Club to a national championship for the first time since 1948.

RESOLUTION NO. 1551

By: Hon. Ronald Russell (Transportation and Public Works)

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

Whereas Windsor student Peter Gibson won the Atlantic Junior Tennis 12-year-old championship last summer and recently competed in the Canadian Junior National Under 14 Indoor Championship in Edmonton, Alberta; and

Whereas Peter is a versatile and exceptional tennis player despite running into stiff competition in the Alberta capital; and

Whereas Peter lost twice in Edmonton but gained immeasurable experience as he returns for play at the Windsor Tennis Club this summer;

Therefore be it resolved that all MLAs in this House of Assembly commend the efforts of Peter Gibson, son of Reverend Bill and Elizabeth Gibson of Windsor, for his outstanding talent and efforts, while wishing him continued success.

RESOLUTION NO. 1552

By: Hon. Ronald Russell (Transportation and Public Works)

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

Whereas the sod has been turned for the new library in Windsor; and

Whereas diligent work and long hours of work were turned in by numerous individuals including Friends of the Library Shelley Neider and Peggy Hamilton, Fundraising Chairman Bill Spurr, Building Committee Chairman Keith Hare and last but not least, well-respected businessman Hugh Roddis who contributed $300,000 toward the cost of the new library; and

Whereas the new library being constructed at the corner of Victoria and Albert Streets in Windsor will replace an outdated facility still in operation at the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre;

[Page 3447]

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs recognize the significant contributions put forth by so many people to ensure new and updated library facilities now being constructed in Windsor.

RESOLUTION NO. 1553

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Siggie and Tammy's Hairstyling in Head of Jeddore is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing Siggie and Tammy's Hairstyling in Head of Jeddore for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 1554

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Rose's Esthetics in Seaforth is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing Rose's Esthetics in Seaforth for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

[Page 3448]

RESOLUTION NO. 1555

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Eastern Shore Self Storage in Musquodoboit Harbour is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing Eastern Shore Self Storage in Musquodoboit Harbour for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 1556

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Mike Cox Real Estate Ltd. in Musquodoboit Harbour is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing Mike Cox Real Estate Ltd. in Musquodoboit Harbour for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

[Page 3449]

RESOLUTION NO. 1557

By: Mr. William Dooks (Eastern Shore)

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

Whereas small businesses account for more than 70 per cent of jobs in this province; and

Whereas small businesses are the lifeblood of our rural communities and play a significant role in growing the economy here in Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Precision Small Engine Repair in East Lawrencetown is one such company that is making a positive contribution to the economy on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House join me in recognizing Precision Small Engine Repair in East Lawrencetown for all the contributions it makes to Nova Scotia, particularly the Eastern Shore.

RESOLUTION NO. 1558

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Nick Zollner of Springhill, Nova Scotia, member of the Springhill Junior Boys basketball team was honoured at the Basketball Association's award night in April 2004; and

Whereas Nick was honoured with the award for the most dedicated player for his team this year; and

Whereas Nick has made a strong contribution to the Springhill Junior Boys basketball team and has worked hard to help make his team a strong force;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Nick Zollner on this outstanding award and wish him all the best and continued success in the future.

[Page 3450]

RESOLUTION NO. 1559

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Jean Dickson, one of Springhill's finest, was among the 65 people province-wide who were honoured with volunteer awards at the Provincial Volunteer Awards Day Ceremony held on April 13, 2004; and

Whereas Jean Dickson was recognized as the Representative Volunteer for the Town of Springhill for 2004, has been an active member of the IODE for nine years, holds the position of Education Officer and recently has been appointed as the Assistant Provincial Education Officer; and

Whereas Jean has also been involved with Meals on Wheels, Winter Carnival, the Access Program, Springhill Music Festival, she was also the Commanding Officer with the cadets and was commissioned as a Lt.-Col. with the Maritime Command in Halifax for 12 years and has also been a member of Springhill Leisure Services Committee and many more organizations;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Jean Dickson on receiving this outstanding award and thank her for her years of dedication and enthusiasm in her volunteer work on behalf of Springhill and the province.

RESOLUTION NO. 1560

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Amber Eason, a student of Springhill High School, was chosen from among the many local youth who serve as volunteers in various facets of their community as Springhill's Youth Volunteer of the Year; and

Whereas Amber has been chosen as a two-time winner of student of the year at Springhill High School in the past, as well, Amber currently holds down two jobs, has worked as a lifeguard, leader and counsellor at Camp Pagweak; and

[Page 3451]

Whereas Amber is a member of the School Spirit Committee at SHS, has participated in the Mount Allison Music Festival in the voice division, she has helped organize high school film festivals and worked on the yearbook and dance committees, is a member of the student police, prom committee and created the artistic expression component for the Grassroots school Web page, and Amber is also involved in the sound system committee, photo club, Junior Achiever's Program, student council and far more;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Amber Eason on this outstanding award and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1561

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas George Mosher and his family opened a Stedman's dealership on Water Street in Oxford, Nova Scotia, 30 years ago where a lot has changed within the town and their store since then; and

Whereas today, GJDE (George, Joan, Debbie, Eric) has grown from that initial general store to an upscale emporium, filled with unique items; and

Whereas GJDE celebrates its 30th year in business this year and has stayed in business by bringing in better merchandise at good prices with their unique brands of gifts and merchandise as well as their excellent customer service such as wrapping your purchases in tissue paper and boxing them as special touches that you don't get in bigger areas;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Mosher family and GJDE Enterprises on celebrating its 30th year in business and wish them many more prosperous years ahead.

RESOLUTION NO. 1562

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Grade 6 class of the Junction Road Elementary School in Springhill took time to enjoy the sun and plant spring bulbs in a peach garden that the class is establishing; and

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Whereas the garden will remain after the class leaves as a lasting reminder of the students who have demonstrated peaceful and kind attitudes throughout their time at the school; and

Whereas the Grade 6 students have set a wonderful example for future students and have given them the gift of a lasting reminder to treat each other with peace and dignity and the importance of a kind attitude towards your fellow students;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the Grade 6 class of the Junction Road Elementary School in Springhill on establishing such a unique and lasting reminder of peace for all students who will follow behind them and wish them all the best in all future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1563

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Ship's Company Theatre netted five awards for the play Jacob's Wake at the 5th Annual Merritt Awards for the sombre tale including best production; and

Whereas the Merritts celebrate and award excellence in Nova Scotia theatre; and

Whereas this is the second year in a row that the Ship's Company Theatre was honoured by winning the best production award, Ship's Company Theatre is celebrating its 20th year of theatre;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Ship's Company Theatre on these outstanding achievements and wish them the best of luck in all of their future endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1564

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Calvin Siddall was honoured with an award for Volunteer Youth of the Year for District 8 by the Municipality of Cumberland County at the Truemanville Fire Department on April 7, 2004; and

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Whereas at 18 years of age, Calvin has been volunteering half of his life since joining 4-H where he feels that more young people should get involved in volunteering and would like to get that message out; and

Whereas Cumberland County submitted Calvin's name to the province to be considered for youth volunteer of the year for the province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Calvin Siddall on this outstanding award and thank him for the years of dedicated volunteer work to his community and the Province of Nova Scotia.

RESOLUTION NO. 1565

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Spencer's Island native Kate Spicer will once again be travelling to a national soccer event; and

Whereas Spicer, who is now a member of the Capers, was the former scoring phenomenon with the Advocate District High Lady Coyotes; and

Whereas Kate will join her new teammates as they travel to Montreal for the Canadian Inter-university Sport women's nationals;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Kate Spicer on these outstanding achievements and wish her continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 1566

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas the Springhill Fencebusters will be participating in the Relay for Life that will be held in Amherst on June 11 and 12, 2004, where the relay will raise money for cancer research and promote awareness of the disease and it also honours cancer survivors and those who lost their battle to the disease; and

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Whereas the Springhill Fencebusters raised the most money of any team at the event in Bible Hill last year, a total of $3,290.51 and they plan on surpassing this total this year; and

Whereas the Springhill Fencebusters team members are Eleanor Cormier, Marion MacDonald, Carol Maddison, Nonie Brown, Marilyn Mitchell, Linda Scott, Essie Rushton, Anne Rushton, Marilyn Fraser, Gloria Thompson, Berry Adams, Nellie Gilroy and Rob MacDonald;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the members of the Springhill Fencebusters on their dedication and hard work that they put into this relay that helps raise money for such a devastating disease, as well as creating awareness and honouring those dealing with the disease, and wish the Springhill Fencebusters much success in this relay and all other endeavours.

RESOLUTION NO. 1567

By: Mr. Keith Colwell (Preston)

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

Whereas the Resource Recovery Fund Board's aim is to promote responsible solid waste management by industry, as well as residents, through numerous stewardship programs and promotions; and

Whereas on April 27, 2004, the RRFB handed out their annual Mobius Environmental Awards; and

Whereas Touch on Wood of Sydney received the award for Innovation in Waste Reduction;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Touch on Wood and all recipients of these awards.