The Nova Scotia Legislature

The House resumed on:
September 21, 2017.

HANSARD 03/04-55

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

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2004

TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE
PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS:
Transport. & Pub. Wks. - Anna. Co.: Middle Rd. - Pave, Mr. S. McNeil 4681
Environ. & Lbr. - Rothsay Rendering: Waste Disposal - Cease,
Mr. K. Colwell 4682
GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2406, Hurricane Juan: Devastation - Remember, The Premier 4682
Vote - Affirmative 4683
Res. 2407, MacDonald, John Brother: Contributions - Acknowledge,
The Premier 4683
Vote - Affirmative 4684
Res. 2408, Hfx. Reg. FD: African Nova Scotian Recruits - Congrats.,
Hon. B. Barnet 4684
Vote - Affirmative 4684
Res. 2409, Avon View HS: Opening - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 4685
Vote - Affirmative 4685
Res. 2410, Law Enforcement Agencies/Justice Partners: Efforts -
Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 4685
Vote - Affirmative 4686
Res. 2411, MedMira - HIV Test: Kenyan Donation - Commend,
Hon. A. MacIsaac 4686
Vote - Affirmative 4687
Res. 2412, Smith, Algeron/Downey, Larissa: Morton Simmonds
Scholarship - Congrats., Hon. B. Barnet 4687
Vote - Affirmative 4688
Res. 2413, Continuing Care Mo. (09/04) - Recognize, Hon. A. MacIsaac 4688
Vote - Affirmative 4688
Res. 2414, NSCC - Strait Area Campus: Trade Ctr. - Congrats.,
Hon. J. Muir 4688
Vote - Affirmative 4689
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS:
No. 108, Chester Yacht Club Act, Mr. J. Chataway 4690
No. 109, Mental Health Act, Hon. A. MacIsaac 4690
No. 110, Protection for Persons in Care Act, Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4690
NOTICES OF MOTION:
Res. 2415, Emergency Personnel: Service - Thank,
Mr. David Wilson (Sackville-Cobequid) 4690
Vote - Affirmative 4691
Res. 2416, Peace/Police Officers: Memories - Honour, Mr. W. Gaudet 4691
Vote - Affirmative 4692
Res. 2417, Grand View Manor: Long-Term Care Beds - Opening,
Mr. M. Parent 4692
Vote - Affirmative 4693
Res. 2418, Ward, Amy/Worth, Jeff - Son: Birth - Congrats.,
Mr. D. Dexter 4693
Vote - Affirmative 4694
Res. 2419, Harris, David: CAHPERD Award - Congrats.,
Mr. L. Glavine 4694
Vote - Affirmative 4694
Res. 2420, Beaver Bank-Kinsac Commun. Ctr.: Opening - Congrats.,
Mr. G. Hines 4695
Vote - Affirmative 4695
Res. 2421, Hfx. Reg. Prof. Firefighters Assoc.: Service - Thank,
Mr. F. Corbett 4695
Vote - Affirmative 4696
Res. 2422, Treaty Day (10/01/04): Significance - Recognize,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 4696
Vote - Affirmative 4697
Res. 2423, Salsman, Murray: Anna. Valley Navigator Prog. -
Fundraising, Mr. M. Parent 4697
Vote - Affirmative 4697
Res. 2424, Energy - Oil Prices: Assistance - Plans, Mr. H. Epstein 4698
Res. 2425, Sports: Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls -
Championship, Mr. S. McNeil 4698
Vote - Affirmative 4699
Res. 2426, Hfx. Reg. Fire Serv.: Dedication - Congrats., Mr. B. Taylor 4699
Vote - Affirmative 4700
Res. 2427, MacMaster, Anne/McKenna, Sharon: Book Launch -
Congrats., Mr. C. Parker 4700
Vote - Affirmative 4701
Res. 2428, Hurricane Juan: Victims - Remember, Mr. H. Theriault 4701
Vote - Affirmative 4701
Res. 2429, MacLeod, Brian: Blind Golf Title - Congrats., Hon. J. Muir 4702
Vote - Affirmative 4703
Res. 2430, Langille, Craig: MLB Career - Congrats., Hon. B. Barnet 4703
Vote - Affirmative 4703
Res. 2431, Zwicker, John (Deceased) & Frances:
Gov.-Gen.'s Award - Congrats., Hon. M. Baker 4704
Vote - Affirmative 4704
Res. 2432, "Read to Me" Prog.: Cumb. Reg. Health Care Ctr. -
Congrats., Hon. E. Fage 4704
Vote - Affirmative 4705
ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS:
No. 556, Nat. Res.: Woodlot Owners - Hurricane Juan Assistance,
Mr. D. Dexter 4705
No. 557, Nat. Res. - Min.: Conflict of Interest - Info Disclose,
Mr. D. Graham 4707
No. 558, Com. Serv. - Transition Houses: Operation - Continue,
Mr. D. Dexter 4708
No. 559, Environ. & Lbr. - Biosolids: Spreading - Prem. Stance,
Mr. K. Colwell 4709
No. 560, EMO - Woodlot Owners: Hurricane Damage - Harvesting,
Mr. J. MacDonell 4711
No. 561, Health - Biosolid Usage: Environ. & Lbr. - Info. Sharing,
Mr. David Wilson (Glace Bay) 4712
No. 562, EMO: Emergency Preparedness - Municipal Update,
Mr. H. Epstein 4714
No. 563, Nat. Res. - Aerial Spraying: Adjacent Props. - Protection,
Mr. Gerald Sampson 4715
No. 564, Educ. - Schools: Corporate Advertising - Policy,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4717
No. 565, Educ.: Math Strategy - Release, Mr. W. Estabrooks 4718
No. 566, Environ. & Lbr. - Greenwood: PERC Test - Details,
Mr. L. Glavine 4719
No. 567, EMO: Disaster Response Prog. - Efficacy, Ms. M. More 4721
No. 568, Fin. - Gaming: Consultation - Publicize, Ms. D. Whalen 4722
No. 569, Nat. Res. - Long Lake Prov. Pk.: Reopening - Time Frame,
Mr. G. Steele 4723
No. 570, Health Prom. - Gaming: Consultation - Allow, Mr. D. Graham 4724
No. 571, Environ. & Lbr. - Gully Lake-Eigg Mtn.: Protected Area -
Designate, Ms. J. Massey 4726
No. 572, Agric. & Fish. - BSE: Loan Prog. - Int. Charges,
Mr. S. McNeil 4727
No. 573, Health - N.S. Hosp.: Changes - Plans,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4728
No. 574, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel. - Herring Cove: Wells - Concerns,
Ms. M. Raymond 4729
No. 575, Prem. - Gaming: VLTs - Purpose, Mr. D. Graham 4730
No. 576, Environ. & Lbr. - Whitney Pier: Coal Dust Problem - Fix,
Mr. G. Gosse 4731
No. 577, Environ. & Lbr.: Grow-In Pension Benefits - Address,
Ms. D. Whalen 4733
OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS:
PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING:^
No. 104, Emergency Measures Act 4735
Mr. H. Epstein 4735
Hon. E. Fage 4738
Mr. D. Graham 4742
Mr. D. Dexter 4744
Hon. J. Muir 4748
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS:
Res. 2247, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Residential Tenancies Act,
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4748
Ms. Maureen MacDonald 4748
Hon. B. Barnet 4751
Mr. Gerald Sampson 4754
Ms. M. Raymond 4756
Hon. D. Morse 4758
ADJOURNMENT:
MOTION UNDER RULE 5(5):
Senate - Elected: N.S. - Benefit:
Mr. M. Parent 4760
Mr. H. Epstein 4763
Mr. B. Taylor 4766
ADJOURNMENT, House rose to meet again on Thur., Sept. 30th at 12:00 noon 4768
NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3):
Res. 2433, Landry, Dave: Acadian Culture - Promotion,
Hon. C. d'Entremont 4769
Res. 2434, Sherbrooke Show & Shine: St. Mary's Tourism Assoc./
Sherbrooke Village - Congrats., Mr. R. Chisholm 4769
Res. 2435, MacFarlane, Heather: Lt-Gov.'s Award - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4770
Res. 2436, McCarther, Michael: Lt.-Gov.'s Award - Congrats.,
Mr. W. Estabrooks 4770
Res. 2437, Crosby, Charles - UNSM Pres.: Appt. - Congrats.,
Mr. R. Hurlburt 4771
Res. 2438, Sports - Yarmouth Gateways: Baseball Championship -
Congrats., Mr. R. Hurlburt 4771
Res. 2439, Port Hawkesbury Town Council: Efforts - Commend,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 4772
Res. 2440, Federal Gypsum - Bus. Operation: Strait Location - Congrats.,
Hon. Rodney MacDonald 4772
Res. 2441, Advance (Queens Co.) - Publication: Work - Recognize,
Hon. K. Morash 4773
Res. 2442, Sports: Windsor Bluefins - Swimming Championship,
Hon. R. Russell 4773
Res. 2443, Jamie Braham: Business Acumen - Recognize, Hon. R. Russell 4774
Res. 2444, Ullock, S/Sgt. Harry: Law Enforcement Contributions -
Congrats., Hon. R. Russell 4774
Res. 2445, Three Mile Plains Commun. Hall - Renovations: Participants -
Commend, Hon. R. Russell 4775
Res. 2446, O'Toole, Joseph - Acting Career: Success - Wish,
Hon. C. Clarke 4775
Res. 2447, White, Frank Joseph: Lt.-Gov.'s Award - Congrats.,
The Speaker 4776
Res. 2448, West End Elem. Sch. (Springhill): Film Fest. Award -
Congrats., The Speaker 4776
Res. 2449, Caulfield, John: Tennis Championship - Congrats.,
The Speaker 4777
Res. 2450, Caulfield, John/Fundy Area Soccer Club: Championship -
Congrats., The Speaker 4777
Res. 2451, Clarke, Susan: Parrsboro Shore Hist. Soc. Award - Congrats.,
The Speaker 4778
Res. 2452, Grandy, Danielle/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4778
Res. 2453, O'Regan, Sacha/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4779
Res. 2454, Castilloux, Nicole/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4779
Res. 2455, Charlton, Sarah/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4780
Res. 2456, Dean, Julia/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4780
Res. 2457, Hennigar, Alyssa/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4781
Res. 2458, Hoar, Kaila/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4781
Res. 2459, Johnson, Ashley/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4782
Res. 2460, Keen, Lauren/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4782
Res. 2461, Pilgrim, Amanda/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4783
Res. 2462, Shrum, Rachael/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4783
Res. 2463, Smith, Ali/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4784
Res. 2464, Stevens, Amie/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4784
Res. 2465, Westhaver, Ashley/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4785
Res. 2466, White, Kim/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4785
Res. 2467, Withrow, Kayla/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4786
Res. 2468, Wright, Nicole/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4786
Res. 2469, Stevens, Courtney/Scotia Soccer U-16 Tier 2A Girls:
Championship - Congrats., Mr. S. McNeil 4787

[Page 4681]

HALIFAX, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 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. Before we begin the daily routine, the subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Kings North:

Therefore be it resolved that an elected Senate will better be able to advance the interests of the Province of Nova Scotia.

This will be debated this evening at 6:00 p.m.

We will begin the daily routine.

PRESENTING AND READING PETITIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to table a petition from the residents of Middle Road of Annapolis County. The petition is asking for a realistic timeline when they can expect to have their 4.2 kilometre road paved and, until such time, they are asking for the government to commit to a regular maintenance program on the Middle Road. There are 455 signatures and I have affixed mine.

4681

[Page 4682]

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

The honourable member for Preston.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, "We, the undersigned respectfully request that Rothsay Rendering, a division of Maple Leaf Foods Inc, stop disposing of their industrial waste products on farmland in Lower Truro. The putrid odour emanating from this material has taken away our quality of life in the nearby residential area where we live, and prevents us from enjoying our properties. Many of us have experienced symptoms including sore eyes, sore throats, sore tongues, and have experienced difficulty in breathing. These symptoms have been identified in other jurisdictions, and have unknown long-term health effects." This is signed by 639 residents, and I have also affixed my signature.

MR. SPEAKER: The petition is tabled.

PRESENTING REPORTS OF COMMITTEES

TABLING REPORTS, REGULATIONS AND OTHER PAPERS

STATEMENTS BY MINISTERS

GOVERNMENT NOTICES OF MOTION

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 2406

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

Whereas when Nova Scotians awoke on September 29, 2003, there was incredible devastation as inflicted by Hurricane Juan, damage of what was one of the most powerful and damaging hurricanes to ever affect Canada; and

Whereas caught in the carnage of the hurricane was one of Nova Scotia's own paramedics, John Rossiter, who was on duty when a tree, toppled by the force of the winds, fell on the ambulance in which he was travelling; and

Whereas out of the loss of life and property came an outpouring of support, both financial and volunteer, from near and far, which enriched our province and proved that ours is a community of people who turn tragedy into triumph;

[Page 4683]

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House remember, one year later, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Juan, the loss of one of our health system's team, and the rebirth since Juan, thanks to the efforts of so many.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Premier.

RESOLUTION NO. 2407

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

Whereas John Brother MacDonald, athlete, teacher, coach and broadcaster, passed away last December, leaving behind a legacy which will continue to live in our community for decades to come; and

Whereas MacDonald, a member of the Nova Scotia, Pictou County and St. F.X. Sports Halls of Fame, as well as the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame, helped develop minor hockey and baseball, and coached many area high school and community teams; and

Whereas as a tribute to the Sydney Mines native, who was originally recruited to the New Glasgow senior hockey league in 1947, the public rink for the Town of New Glasgow was recently renamed the John Brother MacDonald Stadium;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House acknowledge the many contributions of John Brother MacDonald, perhaps the most important being his outlook, as framed by his closing statement read after his every sports report for over 40 years on CKEC: "We can't all be good athletes, but we can all be good sports."

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4684]

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 African Nova Scotian Affairs.

RESOLUTION NO. 2408

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

Whereas the Halifax Regional Municipality recognized a need to hire more firefighters of African descent to better reflect the communities they serve; and

Whereas out of the 11 men who applied to become full-time firefighters through the HRM's minority-hiring program, supporting the applicants with their education, all were successful; and

Whereas on July 19, 2004, a special ceremony was held to officially welcome the new firefighters to the Halifax Regional Fire Department - the new recruits double the previous number of African Nova Scotian firefighters on the force;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating the HRM for further diversifying the Halifax Regional Fire Department, and send our best wishes to the new members of the force.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4685]

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2409

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

Whereas the students and staff of Avon View celebrated the official opening of their high school in Windsor today; and

Whereas in one year, staff and students from two separate schools have created a new identity, traditions and built a positive and healthy school community; and

Whereas students now have access to 20 additional programs including a career access program, teen health care, and sport and recreation options;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House acknowledge the great work of students and staff in building a strong supportive school community and wish them ongoing success in their educational pursuits.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Justice.

RESOLUTION NO. 2410

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

Whereas Statistics Canada compiles annual data on the homicide rates in each province; and

[Page 4686]

Whereas it has been announced that Nova Scotia and Quebec have recorded their lowest homicide rates since the 1960s; and

Whereas one homicide is too many, yet all Nova Scotians can be rightly proud of this accomplishment;

Therefore be it resolved that the House of Assembly congratulate our law enforcement agencies and other justice partners who work on our behalf to keep our streets and communities as safe as possible.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

[2:15 p.m.]

RESOLUTION NO. 2411

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

Whereas MedMira Inc., a Nova Scotia-based company in the business of marketing HIV rapid diagnostic tests, recently donated 700 of the units for use in a Kenyan orphanage; and

Whereas the test kits were delivered to the African country in mid-July by an non-profit group called the Hopes and Dream Team; and

Whereas MedMira's test kits can detect the presence of HIV within three minutes of being administered, compared to more than a day for conventional HIV testing, recently winning approval to sell its test kits in the United States and China;

[Page 4687]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature commend this Nova Scotian company for providing some relief to the Kenyan orphanage through its donation of 700 rapid HIV tests.

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. 2412

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

Whereas Algeron Smith of North Preston and Larissa Downey of Cherry Brook are the first African Nova Scotian recipients of the Morton Simmonds Scholarship; and

Whereas upon graduating from the Nova Scotia Community College, both will be offered positions with Correctional Services; and

Whereas like the man for whom the scholarship was named, both Algeron and Larissa are people of high moral character and a strong work ethic;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in congratulating Algeron Smith and Larissa Downey on their recent accomplishments and wish them all the best in their future careers.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4688]

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Health.

RESOLUTION NO. 2413

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

Whereas the month of September has been designated Continuing Care Month by the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations; and

Whereas the NSAHO is celebrating the contributions of organizations, staff and volunteers who enrich the lives of so many people in the continuing care sector; and

Whereas this is an opportunity to pay tribute to the dedicated and compassionate workers in continuing care, as well as the many Nova Scotians who are recipients of their care;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize September 2004 as Continuing Care Month and acknowledge the people in Nova Scotia's continuing care sector and their role in providing quality health care to Nova Scotians.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2414

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

[Page 4689]

Whereas just over a year ago, the Province of Nova Scotia made the single largest investment to expand Nova Scotia's Community College system and create state-of-the-art facilities; and

Whereas on September 27, 2004, the construction to the new 18,000 square foot trade centre at the Strait Area Campus was completed, enabling 80 more students access to education and training; and

Whereas the benefits of the development are already being felt by the students and the local economy;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the Nova Scotia Community College system and congratulate and extend best wishes to the staff and students of Strait Area Campus.

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 PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. As you are aware, as a result of discussions and debate that occurred recently in the House of Assembly, the Minister of Natural Resources referred himself to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. He did receive a decision from the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and I will read two paragraphs before tabling the report for the information of the House. The letter reads in part, "As a result I am of the opinion that you are not in breach of Section 18 of the House of Assembly Act."

Bearing in mind, Mr. Speaker, this letter is addressed to the minister himself, "The second consideration is whether there has been a breach of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. Again, I have considered the facts as they may apply to the various provisions of the Ministerial Code of Conduct and am quite satisfied that no conflict of interest or breach of the code exists." I would table this document for the information of the House.

[Page 4690]

INTRODUCTION OF BILLS

Bill No. 108 - Entitled an Act to Amend Chapter 122 of the Acts of 1926, An Act to Incorporate the Chester Yacht Club. (Mr. John Chataway)

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

The honourable Minister of Health.

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, before I introduce the legislation I have, with the indulgence of the House, I would like to draw to your attention in the gallery to members of the mental health legislation development committee, who have worked on the legislation I am about to introduce. They are Bill Twaddle, Dr. John Campbell, Linda Smith, Dennis Holland, and Dr. Michael Teehan. In addition, there are those who are interested in the legislation who are with us today. I mentioned Dr. Teehan, who is an Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, and a senior psychiatrist in Capital Health; Mr. Hugh Bennett, Executive Director of the Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia; Ms. Louise Bradley, Director of Mental Health and Forensic Programs in Capital Health; and Kathy Osborne, President of the Schizophrenia Society of the Nova Scotia Aboriginal Programs.

This legislation represents a considerable amount of effort on behalf of those individuals, and I would like the House to acknowledge that effort before I introduce the legislation. (Applause)

Bill No. 109 - Entitled an Act Respecting Mental Health. (Hon. Angus MacIsaac)

Bill No. 110 - Entitled an Act for the Protection of Persons in Care. (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

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

NOTICES OF MOTION

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2415

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

Whereas today marks the anniversary of Hurricane Juan's destruction of our land, homes and lives; and

[Page 4691]

Whereas police, firefighters and paramedics are ready to serve, protect and treat all Nova Scotians in any emergency situation, often placing themselves in harm's way in order to perform their duty; and

Whereas paramedic John Rossiter paid the ultimate price when Hurricane Juan hit the shores of Nova Scotia on September 29, 2003;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of the Nova Scotia Legislature thank all emergency personnel who often place themselves in danger when answering the call of duty, and remember the sacrifice made by paramedic John Rossiter who lost his life while on duty serving the people of Nova Scotia during Hurricane Juan.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Clare.

RESOLUTION NO. 2416

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

Whereas September 28th is a national day set aside to commemorate National Peace and Police Officers' Memorial Day to show respect for peace and police officers; and

Whereas this day of recognition is a fitting way to remember the brave men and women who have lost their lives while helping to keep our country, province, cities, towns and communities safe; and

Whereas this national day draws to the attention of all Nova Scotians the significant personal risks that all peace officers encounter daily as they selflessly contribute to preserve law and order in our society;

[Page 4692]

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House pause for a moment of silence to remember those men and women who have lost their lives while protecting ours and express appreciation for the dedication of all peace and police officers who help keep us safe in our communities.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

I would ask all member to rise for a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated.

The honourable member for Kings North.

RESOLUTION NO. 2417

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

Whereas at a previous session of this House I had the opportunity to mention the funding of 30 new long-term care beds at the Grandview Manor in Berwick; and

Whereas as a result of good co-operation between the Department of Health, Annapolis Valley Health and the Grandview Manor, these beds were officially opened at a ceremony last night; and

Whereas the facilities in which these beds are located are named the Rainforth Wing and the Wagner Wing after a long-time resident and a former administrator;

[Page 4693]

Therefore be it resolved that this House commend officials at the Department of Health; the Board of Grandview Manor, and its Chairman, Mr. Bert Greene; Mr. Graham Hardy, Administrator and his staff; and Mr. David Logie and the AVH Board members for this welcome addition to health care in the Annapolis Valley.

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 Leader of the Official Opposition.

RESOLUTION NO. 2418

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

Whereas Marilyn More, MLA for Dartmouth South-Portland Valley, recently welcomed her first grandchild on August 11, 2004; and

Whereas Garrett Frederick Ward Worth is the much loved baby son of Amy Ward and Jeff Worth of Timberlea; and

Whereas Marilyn's fellow NDP colleagues recognize her delight and joy over this recent addition to her family;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Amy Ward and Jeff Worth on the birth of their son, Garrett.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4694]

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

The motion is carried.

Congratulations to Grandma. (Laughter)

The honourable member for Kings West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2419

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

Whereas Mr. David Harris is committed to offering the highest quality physical education programs to the students of Evangeline Middle School in New Minas; and

Whereas said dedication to upholding the highest Canadian standards of school physical education has been recognized by the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) a national organization which seeks to identify, recognize and encourage excellence in school physical education; and

Whereas Mr. Harris' endeavours to integrate daily physical activity into life of Nova Scotia's youth will no doubt positively impact on the future health of his students and our province;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House acknowledge and congratulate Mr. David Harris on receiving CAHPERD's highest school recognition award, the 2003-04 Diamond School Recognition Award for Quality Daily Physical Education.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

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

[Page 4695]

RESOLUTION NO. 2420

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

Whereas local residents celebrated the grand opening of the Beaver Bank-Kinsac Community Centre this past Saturday; and

[2:30 p.m.]

Whereas the steering committee heading up this project and the community of Beaver Bank-Kinsac worked diligently over the past four years to bring this project to completion; and

Whereas the recreation committee and local fire department members are committed to fulfilling the needs of the residents involved in community life in Beaver Bank-Kinsac;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending congratulations to the residents of Beaver Bank-Kinsac, and to the steering committee for their direction and assistance, in making the Beaver Bank-Kinsac Community Centre project a reality.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Cape Breton Centre.

RESOLUTION NO. 2421

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

Whereas the Halifax Regional Professional Firefighters Associations, IAFF Local 268 is celebrating 250 years of service; and

[Page 4696]

Whereas this length of service makes their department the longest-standing department in Canada; and

Whereas all Nova Scotians value the dedication of firefighters and their families;

Therefore be it resolved that this House recognize and thank the Halifax Regional Professional Firefighters Association for their many years of service and professional dedication to ensuring the safety of HRM's many citizens.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

RESOLUTION NO. 2422

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

Whereas in 1985, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed the validity of the Treaty of 1752 between the Mi'kmaq and the Crown; and

Whereas this ruling not only validated the Aboriginal Treaty rights but also confirmed the unique relationship which exists between the Mi'kmaq and the Crown; and

Whereas Friday, October 1st is Treaty Day in Nova Scotia, which is a celebration of peace and goodwill;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House recognize the celebration and extension of peace and understanding between the Mi'kmaq and the Province of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4697]

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. 2423

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

Whereas Murray Salsman of Kentville raised over $3,000 for the Annapolis Valley cancer patients navigator program by growing and giving out gladiolas in exchange for a cash donation; and

Whereas Murray Salsman established the Margaret Salsman Memorial Cancer Patient Navigator Fund in memory of his late wife, Margaret; and

Whereas Murray Salsman grew 3,000 gladioli in his backyard as a tribute to his wife's memory and to raise money for the health program that was indispensable to him and his wife during her long battle with lung cancer;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Murray Salsman on his courageous efforts, and wish him continued success in his volunteer work for cancer patients.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

[Page 4698]

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

RESOLUTION NO. 2424

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

Whereas high prices for petroleum products in the Spring of 2004 led the Legislature to create a Select Committee on Petroleum Products Pricing; and

Whereas the select committee reported its findings and recommendations on August 31, 2004; and

Whereas the international price of crude oil has again reached $50 U.S. per barrel, giving the prospect of high prices for home heating oil this coming Winter, as well as high prices for gasoline, but this government has not taken any steps to deal with the issues;

Therefore be it resolved that the government announce forthwith its plans to help Nova Scotians deal with the price of petroleum products.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

I hear a No.

The notice is tabled.

The honourable member for Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2425

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

Whereas on September 4-5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season, winning Gold at the Gunn Baldursson Tournament, Gold in the Challenge Cup, and Gold in their league championship; and

[Page 4699]

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skilful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Coach Jane Clark and all the members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their provincial championship victory.

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 Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley.

RESOLUTION NO. 2426

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 Halifax Regional Fire Service is celebrating 250 historic years of service this year; and

Whereas 23 Halifax Regional firefighters have perished in the line of duty or while doing a service requested of them by the Halifax Fire Administration, with nine of those fatalities coming during the 1917 Halifax Explosion; and

Whereas today's Halifax Regional Fire Service has 64 female firefighters, eight career and 56 volunteers, with one female career firefighter calling her job, "the best kept secret from women";

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly congratulate all members of the Halifax Regional Fire Service for their perseverance and dedication in working for the safety of all residents of Halifax County, and pause today for a moment of silence in memory of the 23 firefighters who have died in the line of duty while serving for the HRM Fire Service.

[Page 4700]

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.

We will rise for a moment of silence.

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated.

The honourable member for Pictou West.

RESOLUTION NO. 2427

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

Whereas Hurricane Juan left many lasting impressions on Nova Scotians; and

Whereas Anne MacMaster, author of "Caribou", and Sharon McKenna, illustrator of "Tatamagouche" have combined their talents in producing a children's book, entitled "Ross and the Big Happening", based on the true events involving Hurricane Juan, the Ship Hector and a young boy; and

Whereas the story centres around three-year-old Ross MacLeod of Pictou, who was anticipating Hurricane Juan, along with specific accounts of the destruction of the storm;

Therefore be it resolved that this Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Anne MacMaster and Sharon McKenna on the official launch of "Ross and the Big Happening" on September 26, 2004, this being the first illustrated book about Hurricane Juan.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

[Page 4701]

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

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

The motion is carried.

The honourable member for Digby-Annapolis.

RESOLUTION NO. 2428

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

Whereas on September 29, 2003, Nova Scotia experienced one of the most severe natural disasters in our province's history; and

Whereas there were seven lives lost as a result of this disaster, including paramedic John Rossiter; and

Whereas paramedics and emergency response workers will gather today to remember Mr. Rossiter at St. Agnes Catholic Church;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House extend our thoughts and prayers to the families and friends of all those who died during this disaster, and I ask that we observe a moment of silence in their memory.

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 House will rise for a moment of silence.

[Page 4702]

[One minute of silence was observed.]

MR. SPEAKER: Thank you. Please be seated.

The honourable member for Preston on an introduction.

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce, in the west gallery, a group of concerned citizens from Lower Truro and Old Barns: Mr. Fred Blois, Mrs. Katherine Hanna, Mr. and Mrs. George Rockwell, Mrs. Fitzgerald, Mr. and Mrs. Davidson and Mr. Kenneth Yuill, Mr. Doug Crawford and Mr. Jim Rockwell along with other prominent members of the community. I'd ask them to stand and receive the warm welcome from the House. (Applause).

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today.

The honourable Minister of Education.

RESOLUTION NO. 2429

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

Whereas Brian MacLeod, a blind golfer from Truro, recently won the Canadian Open Blind Golf title in Kelowna, B.C.; and

Whereas Brian MacLeod has already won provincial and national titles this past Summer; and

Whereas Brian MacLeod placed third at the 2004 World Blind Golf Championship in Australia and his awards are a testimony to the true champion he is;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House extend congratulations to Brian MacLeod on his individual awards and to his coach, James Wallace, for their demonstrated excellence on the golf course as well as in their daily lives.

Mr. Speaker, I request waiver of notice.

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

Is it agreed?

It is agreed.

[Page 4703]

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. 2430

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

Whereas this June, 18 year old right-hand pitcher, Craig Langille of Hammonds Plains was drafted in the seventh round by Major League Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers; and

Whereas Craig played briefly for the Swift Current Indians of the Western Major Baseball League during which time Swift Current posted its best record in the 10 team league, 23-10; and

Whereas Craig is currently attending the six-team Arizona Fall League and will then be pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Craig Langille of Hammonds Plains for showing the world what Nova Scotia's athletes are made of and wish him luck with his major league baseball career.

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.

[Page 4704]

RESOLUTION NO. 2431

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

Whereas the late John Zwicker and his wife, Frances Zwicker, of Walden, Nova Scotia have volunteered their time generously for many years; and

Whereas in addition to raising their family, Mr. and Mrs. Zwicker gave their time to support the church and fire department in their community and opened their home on many occasions to others; and

Whereas John and Frances Zwicker were recently recognized for their outstanding volunteer contributions and were awarded the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of the House of Assembly recognize the late John Zwicker and Frances Zwicker for their exemplary volunteer efforts and for being awarded the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award and extend our deepest sympathies to the Zwicker family on the recent passing of John Zwicker.

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.

[2:45 p.m.]

The honourable Minister of Economic Development.

RESOLUTION NO. 2432

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

[Page 4705]

Whereas children will get a head start on literacy thanks to "Read to Me", a new program that was launched at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre on August 12, 2004 by Premier John Hamm and representatives of the new program; and

Whereas "Read to Me" is part of a provincial initiative to increase literacy in the province, something the Hamm Government has made a high priority and believe the best opportunities come with education, and reading is the cornerstone of learning; and

Whereas Amherst was the 10th hospital to offer the program that has been offered across the province to over 10,000 new parents;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending our congratulations to the Cumberland Regional Health Authority and Cumberland Regional Library, for being part of this exciting and valuable program and investment in our 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.

ORDERS OF THE DAY

ORAL QUESTIONS PUT BY MEMBERS

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period will begin at 2:46 p.m. and will end at 4:16 p.m.

The honourable Leader of the Official Opposition.

NAT. RES.: WOODLOT OWNERS -

HURRICANE JUAN ASSISTANCE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the government's relief plan for the victims of Hurricane Juan has been a disaster. Just ask Bill Casavechia, an 87-year-old World War II veteran who owns a 20-acre woodlot in Cole Harbour in a residential area that also happens to be in the spruce beetle quarantine zone. Estimates for the cleanup of his lot run as high as $100,000, he's been offered $2,200. This is a significant public safety hazard for

[Page 4706]

hundreds of people, but Mr. Casavechia says when he contacted EMO, no one came out to even see him about it. My question for the Minister of Natural Resources is simple, are you going to wait until there is a fire and another disaster before you help woodlot owners deal with the legacy of Hurricane Juan?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. We had a national minister's meeting in the Yukon approximately a week and a half ago and I brought this to the floor of a national meeting of how important this is to the Province of Nova Scotia and the people in the disaster area and that we need clarity in this province from CFIA on the quarantine zone. The federal Minister of Natural Resources committed to me that he would get back to me ASAP when he got back to Ottawa and talked to his colleagues on this issue.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, this has absolutely nothing to do with the federal government at all and the minister knows it. Bill Casavechia has served his country running torpedo boats up and down the coast of England in World War II and now, at age 87, he feels he needs some help. With Juan, the beetles and the bungling bureaucracy, Mr. Casavechia worries that thousands of trees on his property that have been downed will catch fire and potentially hurt many of his neighbours. He has already caught young people lighting fires next to the lake, not because they're malicious but because on warm Summer evenings that's what they do. Guess what? Even if he could afford to cut the wood he can't, he can't harvest it because there's no mill designated to take it. So my question for the Minister of Natural Resources is, where is the mill, where is the help, and where is the minister's response to people like Mr. Casavechia and his neighbours in Cole Harbour?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I would like to set the record straight for all Nova Scotians and all members of the House, we have been working with the landowners, we have been working with the federal agency to get clarity. We have three companies right now that want to provide services to this community and we cannot get clarity from the CFIA.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, either the minister just isn't getting it, or he's deliberately trying to mislead people into thinking that he's doing something when he's not. I'm not sure that the minister gets this, Mr. Casavechia has 20 acres in the middle of a residential community, a match and a bit of wind could lead to a lot of damage to communities in HRM. So I'm going to tell you, Mr. Speaker, he shouldn't be pointing his finger at Ottawa. What he should be doing is understanding that woodlot owners need some help, they don't need to be strangled by government bureaucracy. My question is, therefore, for the Premier, how can you justify the inaction on this very important issue?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, the minister did give the Leader of the Opposition Party an answer as to what we're doing to make the disaster relief program better. But if the member opposite has information that there is a fire hazard, if he would provide the

[Page 4707]

information to the government, we will have that lot inspected immediately. I hope that the member opposite hasn't sat on this information for weeks so he could bring it forward in the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

NAT. RES. - MIN.: CONFLICT OF INTEREST - INFO DISCLOSE

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. Earlier today the Premier provided and tabled in this House the disclosure of a letter from the Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner in relation to the alleged conflict of interest of the Minister of Natural Resources. His efforts in this regard are certainly welcome, it's the first time that we have seen the Premier actually become engaged on this particular question and apparently, from his perspective, it's good news today. My simple question to the Premier is whether or not he will direct the Minister of Natural Resources to disclose to this House all of the information that the minister disclosed to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased, first of all, that we have a Conflict of Interest Commissioner. We have a Code of Conduct, in government we do expect our ministers to adhere to the Code of Conduct. I will confer with my colleague; my initial reaction is that's probably a very reasonable question. But it does involve a minister sharing personal information and I would not want to make the commitment that that would necessarily be made public until I have conferred with the minister. What I can assure the member opposite is, as the letter states, he has, obviously, received the blessing of the commissioner that he acted appropriately.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, the minister wanted a public airing of this particular matter. He sought it and he released the letter himself, it provides us with part of the information and the public requires all of the information to be tabled. There is a clear difference between one being a shareholder, as indicated in this document that was tabled by the Premier today, and being the president of a tightly-held company. Being a shareholder, one could be the shareholder of Aliant or Emera, to be a director and president of a tightly-held company is something rather separate. My question to the Premier is whether or not he, himself, sees the distinction between being the president of a company and being simply a shareholder?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I can say to the learned member opposite, yes, I do see the difference between being a president and a shareholder but I also see the difference between referring yourself to a judicial body, which in fact the Conflict of Interest Commissioner represents, and having a kind of kangaroo court. I am not going to subject my ministers to a kangaroo court. We have a Conflict of Interest Commissioner who at arm's length deals with these kinds of issues and deals with them very effectively.

[Page 4708]

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, full disclosure is something that needs to be applied when it's in your interest or potentially when it's against your interest. The simple question that is being asked in these circumstances is whether or not the Premier will ask the minister to provide this House with the information that he provided to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner because it's interesting to note that in the disclosure statement that has been provided for this House, previously, the only indication with respect to this minister's interest in this company is that he is a shareholder. What is clear in the circumstances is that he is the president of that company.

The question that I have for the Premier, again, is whether or not he will ask the Minister of Natural Resources to provide this House with an indication, given his acceptance of the difference between being a president of a company and a shareholder, to provide this House with full disclosure?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I go back, I will not subject my ministers to a kangaroo court. My minister has referred himself to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. He has invited anyone with information on this subject beyond himself to provide information to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner. So if the member opposite has information, he should share it with the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

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

COM. SERV. - TRANSITION HOUSES: OPERATION - CONTINUE

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community Services. Yesterday it became clear that the government's plan was to close transition houses in Amherst, Bridgewater, Yarmouth, Port Hawkesbury and Truro. This plan was derailed when the then minister couldn't face the furor raised by the public in response to the targeting of these services for women and children. Since then, the government has tried to starve transition houses of funding. Transition houses are struggling to survive in order to provide safety and support for abused women and children. So my question for the minister is, you can clear this up right now, will you simply promise that no transition house in this province will be allowed to close?

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, that commitment was made by the previous minister as we went through the process, that there would be no closures during that time. We're still in the process. I'm not anticipating that there's going to be any closures, but we're out there working with them and, again, what I have to distinguish between the Progressive Conservative Government's position on this and perhaps the NDP is that we're focused on the people transition houses are trying to help, that's our focus, those parents and the children who need those services.

[Page 4709]

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, the documents tabled yesterday clearly identified the five transition houses that would have their beds closed. The intention of the government was to close down these emergency shelters in rural communities across the province. The minister's predecessor knew that when he stood in the House and he said no shelters would close and the government knew that they were not improving services, that they were intending to cut them. We know this is the case and now we know how close many communities came to losing those shelters. So my question again to the minister is, will you promise that no transition houses will close - yes or no?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite once again for bringing up this very important question. The question is how can we best provide those services and the promise that I make, not only to the Leader of the Opposition but to all Nova Scotians, is that we will work with the transition houses to make sure that the system is better after we're done.

MR. DEXTER: Mr. Speaker, what the minister is trying to tell people is after they're done closing the transition houses, they'll then decide how they're going to go about providing the services. That's what they're telling people. The treatment of transition houses and women's centres are just two examples of the way that this government is failing women in this province. So my final question to the minister is this, why won't you stop the stalling tactics and the secret plans and start making transition houses a priority in this province?

MR. MORSE: Mr. Speaker, once again, I make reference to some of the claims that the Leader of the Opposition made yesterday in terms of funding for transition houses. He made some claims that there had been no increase in funding and as long as we're going to go on on this topic, I will be a little bit more precise. I told him yesterday that we increased the funding by 9 per cent to the transition houses to increase the salaries of the staff. It was actually $400,000, it was 9.3 per cent. We are there to work with the transition houses for the benefit of the affected women and children we serve.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Preston.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - BIOSOLIDS: SPREADING - PREM. STANCE

MR. KEITH COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. The spreading of biosolids at Inglewood Farms in Truro has many of the residents concerned and frustrated. There's a deep distrust of the Department of Environment and Labour and this government. Repeatedly, concerned citizens have brought this issue to the department's minister and even the Premier. Time and again concerns of the community have been ignored. In fact, the Premier himself stated to one of the concerned citizens, Mrs. Barbara Rockwell, this will not happen. My question to the Premier is, why has the Premier told concerned citizens that spreading biosolids in Inglewood Farms will not happen and then stand by and do nothing while this project is underway?

[Page 4710]

[3:00 p.m.]

THE PREMIER: First of all, the statement that the member opposite is reporting that I had made, I had not made. People were there and can verify that.

Secondly, I am concerned about the issue surrounding the spreading of biosolids. On a number of occasions, the Minister of Environment and Labour has fielded questions on this. It is something that the government is continuing to observe and monitor very carefully.

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, there have been extensive studies on the short- and long-term effects of biosolids on the environment and people. I have, which I will table here, a report from Cornell Waste Management Institute citing 277 cases of death, infection, pneumonia and all other types of respiratory problems as well as others. The Department of Environment and Labour said that biosolids are being spread. Is this becoming a pilot project of sorts, when we have people who are doing extensive testing and doing additional testing to build up a database so that they have more information to be able to answer the questions put forward? If this is a pilot project, are of the citizens mere guinea pigs and are the potential health problems part of the test? Will the symptoms they have be part of the database?

Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is, why have the concerns of citizens been ignored for so long and when will the minister put an end to the spreading of this potentially dangerous substance?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I certainly appreciate the question. I think we do need to straighten some things out though with regard to what's been done. There's been a moratorium that was put in place so that we could study the issue, take a look at what was going on and make sure that we had best practices - look at the science in North America and worldwide, something that we did. We put guidelines in place after that process took place. We certainly have been working with the community and with the people who are involved to try to make this as good a process as possible.

The one point I should clarify is with regard to the pilot. The pilot was the amount of testing that has taken place. This farm has been scrutinized and scrutinized with regard to tests that are taking place and it's that information that we've been collecting.

MR. COLWELL: Mr. Speaker, the minister states there's a moratorium, yet they continue to spread the biosolids in Inglewood Farms. So, are you telling the truth or not? I want to know. I'm really upset about this. (Interruption)

MR. SPEAKER: Order. Order, please. Order, please. I just want to remind the honourable member about the way he would question the minister or a member of this House to challenge their credibility or whether the fact they're telling the truth or not, which would

[Page 4711]

be out of order. But I ask the honourable member to put his question, the question is getting lengthy so please put your final supplementary.

MR. COLWELL: This government and the Minister of Environment have repeatedly ignored the concerns even brought up by their own members of caucus. I was at a meeting when that transpired and the caucus member repeatedly tried to blame . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MR. COLWELL: . . . the Department of Environment. Why has the minister in his office ignored over 50 phone calls from residents and refused to meet? My question to the minister is, will the minister agree to meet with the concerned citizens of Truro gathered in the gallery here today after Question Period to hear their concerns first-hand?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I think one thing worth mentioning is just the moratorium. Perhaps the honourable member opposite should go back and take a look at the chronology of events and he would realize that there was a moratorium that was in place, there were guidelines that were developed. The moratorium was lifted, the guidelines were followed and we moved forward from there. Certainly there has been a great deal of correspondence from individuals in that area, and the department and myself have taken those very seriously. We've tried to field all those issues and tried to deal with the community fairly and equitably.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Hants East.

EMO - WOODLOT OWNERS:

HURRICANE DAMAGE - HARVESTING

MR. JOHN MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, my question will be directed to the Minister responsible for EMO. I don't think I need to go over the case of the hurricane and the damage that its inflicted upon Nova Scotians, but I want to bring the attention of the minister to issues of constituents in my area. The forestry industry has figured the extra cost of harvesting wood to be 25 per cent more in stands that have a mixture of downed and standing wood. The cost is thought to be about 40 per cent more in those stands that are purely downed wood. The aid offered in the wood salvage assistance program is just not enough. So I want to ask the minister, will this government provide relief that covers the extra harvesting cost being sustained by woodlot owners?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member asks a good question. I think it's important to review a little bit of the circumstances pertaining to this issue, though. Under the federal disaster relief policy, there was no support that could be handled for woodlot producers, farmers or people in the fishing industry. This government, seeing the great need after Hurricane Juan, established the enhanced DFAA policy, which is a 100

[Page 4712]

per cent provincially-funded policy that tried to address those concerns. The issue of the extra cost incurred with harvesting a piece of property that has been hurricane damaged was going to be reasonably significant. In consultation with the forest industry, harvesters and woodlot owners, we developed a policy whereby we would pay a portion of that extra cost that would be incurred for harvesting those particular downed sites in the hurricane zone. That's the policy and the dollars that are being supplied to those individuals.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, he said I had a good question, but he didn't have much of an answer to match it. (Interruptions) I have two constituents, Richard and Shirley Russell, who maintain a 15-acre woodlot in Shubenacadie. When they awoke one year ago today, they found their timber in a state comparable to that of Point Pleasant Park. The wood salvage assistance program was created to offset the cost differences between harvesting a standing woodlot and one that was blown down. I'll table Russell's assessment, outlining that they stood to lose $2,000, yet your government offered them $128. With the increased cost of harvesting a blown-down stand of timber, how can this minister justify giving the Russells $128 compared to the estimate by Irving of $2,000?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, again, I think it's important. This assistance that's being provided by the provincial government to assist with the extra cost of harvesting downed timber caused by the hurricane's destructive force is designed to help offset that extra cost. It's not designed to pay for the original harvesting cost.

MR. MACDONELL: Mr. Speaker, I understood and they understood it wasn't to pay the harvesting cost, it was to pay the difference in the harvesting cost. The Russells' woodlot was an investment for their retirement years, and Mr. Russell was self-employed, no RRSPs or pension and needed this supplemental income for his retirement. I want to ask the minister, will he have his staff re-evaluate Mr. and Mrs. Russell's application and give them a more realistic value to their loss?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, certainly, if the honourable member wants to have the Russells contact me, there's no question we would have a look at their particular file to see if it conforms and if anything can be done.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Glace Bay.

HEALTH - BIOSOLID USAGE:

ENVIRON. & LBR. - INFO. SHARING

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, let's continue along the issue of biosolids and the spreading of biosolids in the Truro area. It's an issue that has been outstanding for some time, and with the approval of the spreading of those biosolids, yet another issue where the Cabinet and the backbenchers have different opinions. We all know

[Page 4713]

what happens when that happens, very little information is shared, especially with those most directly affected, the residents of the area.

The residents of Truro are concerned about the government's approval and about the negative health impacts that have developed since the spreading has started. They've exhibited symptoms ranging from worsened asthma attacks, headaches, rashes, upper respiratory tightness in young adults, burning skin and eyes, as well as dehydration.

My question for the Minister of Health is, could the minister please outline whether he has played a role in relaying information to the Department of Environment and Labour

about the health impact of the spreading of biosolids?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, this is a matter which the Department of Environment and Labour have, in fact, the lead responsibility. In that capacity they, of course, will interact with other departments as it is appropriate. I can indicate to you that the medical officers of health of the province have not raised any alarms with respect to me concerning this particular matter at this time.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, about two months ago, Barb Rockwell contacted Dr. Richard Gould with respect to her concerns. She has not heard from anyone since with respect to those concerns that she has with respect to her symptoms. She has burning eyes, skin and throat. When people start experiencing those real symptoms, I think this government has an obligation to listen and respond. According to the Health Protection Act, a health hazard is defined as a solid, liquid or gas that presents or may present a threat to public health.

My question to the minister, could the minister please confirm whether or not his department has ruled that the spreading of biosolids does not present a threat to public health and, if so, could he table the evidence that he has gathered?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, this is a matter which the Department of Environment and Labour have the lead responsibility. I can again indicate to the honourable member that I have not received any reports from people in the Health Department with responsibility for this of any undue concerns that they have. The honourable member has specific questions about individuals. We would certainly be quite prepared to follow up on those privately.

MR. DAVID WILSON (Glace Bay): Mr. Speaker, the minister should be very concerned when the health of the general public is at stake. The minister should be concerned when the health of the Truro residents is at stake, in particular, in this case. The residents in this gallery today are concerned Mr. Minister, and they should be given every assurance by you and your department that what's happening in their community is not going to negatively impact on their health. They deserve to be listened to, Mr. Speaker, and they

[Page 4714]

deserve some answers from this government. I will ask the minister again, will he please table any specific health evidence as it relates to the residents of Truro so that all concerns in this issue may finally be addressed.

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the honourable member and the House, as the Minister of Health, I am extremely concerned about the health of all Nova Scotians and all circumstances respecting their health. I can also assure the House that the officials of the Department of Health are equally concerned. I can let the honourable member know that any concerns that have been identified within the department that I would certainly be quite happy to share that information. Again, I want to indicate to the honourable member that if he has queries about particular individuals or concerns and would like those to be followed up, I would do that. I can say that this is the first time that the honourable member has brought this to my attention.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

EMO: EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS - MUNICIPAL UPDATE

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: This will be to the minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Organization. Mr. Speaker, under the scheme of the province's mandate for dealing with states of emergency, much of the responsibility for direct action rests with individual municipalities. As an approach, this makes sense, but it only makes sense if the municipalities have the resources to prepare for emergencies and have, in fact, done so. In the last survey of municipal preparedness, 16 municipalities had scores that were poor or fair. My question to the minister responsible for emergency preparedness is, does the minister have any updated information on the preparedness of municipalities and, if so, will he table it?

[3:15 p.m.]

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member asks a very good question. I think it's important to point out to the honourable member the review of the initial survey that was conducted a year or a year and a half previous to that, the scores were somewhat lower. This one shows a marked improvement over previous assessments and we continue to work with each of those individual municipalities to strengthen their emergency preparedness programs and to ensure that the level of emergency preparedness continues to rise, not only at the municipal level but at the public awareness level, with all our partners.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, in fact, the Town of Canso, as an example, scored a very low mark on the last provincial survey. Since then they've been working hard on an emergency plan, but the mayor tells us they have been getting little help from the province. Just recently the province very reluctantly gave Canso one portable generator, intended to serve the three seniors' housing units in the area. The province proposes that this generator

[Page 4715]

in an emergency be driven to and from the two seniors' complexes in Canso and the one in Little Dover. So I would like to hear from the minister, is this how he and his department are proposing to help the municipalities prepare for a disaster?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, again, it's important to note that progress and cooperation is occurring. Under an arrangement with the federal program, there were funds that were available through federal programs and with provincial dollars included as well, where we were able to supply some of the needs, such as generators, to individual municipalities.

Planning for emergency circumstances though, Mr. Speaker, as you well know, goes much beyond that and that's sharing resources with the entire community and private companies. One of the things that is important in a situation like that is an inventory of private generators through agreements with EMO, search and rescue, local fire departments, that would ensure a generator, if an emergency happens, is supplied on-site and that there are qualified people there to run it and that's what planning is about.

MR. EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, not one of our municipalities should have a preparedness score of anything less than good or excellent which are the two other categories. Our municipalities should not have to be fighting with the province for backup generators to protect seniors or those who are especially vulnerable in the event of a disaster. So I would like to hear from the minister, what happens to seniors if the power goes out in Canso during an ice storm or some other form of disaster and there's only one generator to go around?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, part of dealing with municipalities on emergency preparedness is that they are the level of government closest to the individual residents to, identify the needs, and then we work with them co-operatively to find the resources to solve those problems and certainly if the honourable member is aware, and possibly is, the Senate committee last year evaluated emergency preparedness throughout the province. Nova Scotia received the designation as the national leader and the actual model they recommended for other provinces and jurisdictions to follow. The key here, is as we identify deficiencies, we cooperatively work with other levels of government, organizations, pooling our resources collectively to make sure if a disaster does occur, we can protect our vulnerable Nova Scotians and all Nova Scotians.

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

NAT. RES. - AERIAL SPRAYING:

ADJACENT PROPS. - PROTECTION

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. The Department of Natural Resources has decided to aerial spray the herbicide Vision over areas in Colchester, Cumberland and Kings Counties despite strong concerns

[Page 4716]

from the public, municipal governments, as well as being brought up by members of their own caucus on behalf of their constituents. There have been several complaints about the overspraying and drift of Vision to adjacent properties of those that were to be sprayed, as well as environmental concerns. Can the minister tell this House what steps have been taken to protect and stop the accidental drift onto adjacent areas, as well as steps taken to protect the environment?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I thought I cleared the air on the aerial spraying program last week in the House, but I will reiterate what I said last week. We have confirmation from the World Health Organization, we have confirmation from Health Canada, and we have confirmation from the local Department of Health that this is a safe product that we are using and the spraying has been completed.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Ironically, Mr. Speaker, the gentleman whose property and crops were oversprayed is forbidden from selling his crop - I wonder why. There is public concern about aerial application of Vision in the fact that perfect conditions for aerial application cannot always be achieved and because of this potential for drift is very high, and the government has been asked several times to impose a moratorium on aerial spraying. My question to the minister is, is the minister willing to impose an immediate moratorium on the aerial spraying of the herbicide Vision until it can guarantee safe application with concerns to adjacent properties and the environment?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I can say that on Crown land, the Department of Natural Resources takes its responsibilities very sincerely and they make sure that every guideline is followed. In addition to the guidelines set by DEL for the aerial spraying program, we ensure we have inspectors from DNR at the sites when the aerial spraying program is going on.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, this is a serious environmental issue. My final question to the minister is an easy one. As there are reports that the Department of Natural Resources has cancelled plans to spray the herbicide Vision in the Lake Paul area, will the minister please tell this House if he has reconsidered the decision to spray Vision on these areas of the province?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, I will tell all members of the House that the spraying program was very successful. We did it in the early morning hours and the evening hours when there were no winds and we exceeded the regulations that were set forth by DEL.

[Page 4717]

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

EDUC. - SCHOOLS: CORPORATE ADVERTISING - POLICY

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Education. Two weeks ago, StatsCan reported that Nova Scotia came an embarrassing last in education funding. In response to this situation, the deputy minister said the quality of education had nothing to do with funding and now the Hamm Cabinet has decided to open our schools to advertising. My question to the minister is, do you find it acceptable that our schools have to turn to corporate advertising because they have been so starved for funding?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I did give a response to the Leader of the Official Opposition on the comment about money and education and, for your benefit, I will repeat it.

MR. ESTABROOKS: It wasn't very good, so I asked it again. (Laughter)

MR. MUIR: Yes, okay. As I said, Mr. Speaker, at that time, you cannot have good quality education without money, but money does not guarantee good quality education.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, there has been no public debate on whether or not we are going to allow advertising in our school. Here's the province's policy - and I will table it for you - a one page Order In Council. One page that is going to be directed toward how school administrators are going to handle advertising in this province. Bev Mullins, the President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations, wonders what can of worms has been opened with a one-page Order In Council direction. My question to the Minister of Education is, now that you have opened up that can of worms, you can be sure that there will be more corporate advertising on the way, will you present a comprehensive policy that can be debated in this House, by the members present, on advertising in our schools?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, advertising in schools has been going on for a long period of time, including the period of time when that honourable member was a school administrator, and very likely in buildings in which he was an administrator. These guidelines are intended to keep undesirable advertising from schools. As I explained in the House when we introduced that policy, or I was questioned about that policy, the types of advertisements that are going to appear in the washrooms in the public schools, that are now legally to appear in the washrooms in the public schools, I want to tell you that there were 47 agreements out there in existence, before that Order in Council was passed, are basically of the public service-type announcement, for example, Stay in School, Don't Smoke, Don't Drink and Drive, and all of those things. These are good information.

[Page 4718]

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, fundraising is now essential to running schools across this province. Parents at Bev Mullins' school on the Hammonds Plains Road already have raised $50,000 with every possible kind of sale. Principals rely on revenues from vending machines, advertising on scoreboards, perhaps advertising on the public address system and now posters. My question to the minister is, does your department keep track of the advertising and the fundraising totals going into Nova Scotia schools and, if so, will you provide that information?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I'll have to check. I don't think that information is kept, because normally fundraising is done within individual schools. They may be submitting reports to the boards, I don't know. I know in the schools in which I've been involved, there was fundraising and the money was always used inside the school and accounted for inside the school.

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

EDUC.: MATH STRATEGY - RELEASE

MR. WILLIAM ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, again, I'd like to talk to the Minister of Education, through you, if I may. Last Thursday the minister said he'd release a math strategy in this province. Later that day Communications staff told us it would be on Monday. Now we're being told it's being delayed again. Fewer issues are of more interest to parents in this province right now than how the province is going to address our math problems in schools across this province. In a previous career, I've dealt with many students who've handed in late homework assignments. So I want to ask the minister the same question I used to ask them, what happened, did the dog eat your homework, math strategy?

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I am surprised at that honourable member. The way math is sometimes viewed by students, I'm not sure, they might want to go to the dogs. But I want to tell you, the press release to which I referred, and if he was on the ball he would have gotten it at 2:00 o'clock today.

MR. ESTABROOKS: Mr. Speaker, teachers, parents and students have lost faith in the Education Department, have lost faith in the Deputy Minister of Education, and with glib comments like that have lost faith in the Minister of Education when it comes to a math strategy in this province. A math strategy announced today and a math strategy announced tomorrow reminds me of being the Monday morning quarterback after you've lost the game on the Sunday afternoon. That says to me, where was the strategy, where was the plan, where is the explanation but, more importantly, as we look at it, would you not agree that based upon the comments that the deputy minister has made in the past that perhaps the deputy minister should be looking at another career and in another province?

[Page 4719]

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, there were a variety of remarks in there to which I could provide lengthy responses. Let me simply say, again, that what we have done in the press release is talk about the things that have been done to improve mathematics teaching and learning in the school over the past two or three years, but more importantly to talk about the steps that were implemented last Summer to see that students will learn math, perhaps, better this year than they did last year. It's not a plan that has just come out, Mr. Speaker, this plan has been in effect for two or three years, the press release talks about what has been done.

[3:30 p.m.]

MR. ESTABROOKS: Two o'clock is too late. Because I can tell you in February when I corresponded with Vince Warner of your department I asked a simple question, could you please tell us the questions on that Grade 12 math exam that were deleted? For members present and those watching, we didn't have a provincial math exam, each teacher could go in and say, you don't have to do Question 28, you don't have to do Question 40, you don't have to do Question 50 - you didn't know that, did you, some of you members opposite. There was no standard provincial exam. So tell me the information that's going to be connected to the math teachers that I've heard from. They still don't know, across this province, what questions were deleted and for what reasons. Perhaps, Mr. Warner, under your direction or under Mr. Cochrane's direction, could provide that information to Nova Scotians, to this MLA and to school teachers?

MR. MUIR: Mr. Speaker, that question I think was answered in full on a number of occasions the last time this House sat. The questions that were deleted from the provincial math exams were those which the people who did the teaching thought their students could not answer.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - GREENWOOD: PERC TESTING - DETAILS

MR. LEO GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Environment and Labour. Tetrachloroethylene, more commonly called PERC is a dry cleaning degreasing agent that has been found contaminating wells in the Greenwood area. Twenty homes out of 67 tested for PERC have tested 14 or higher than the 13 parts per billion that the Canadian health standard recommends. It covers a significant area, Bowlby Park Road, Mayhew Drive, Sampson Drive, Bridge Street and Faculty Drive. Three sources for the contamination are being investigated. My question to the minister is, what can the minister tell this House about the investigation into PERC being in the water of 20 homes in the Greenwood area?

[Page 4720]

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member opposite for the question. The one thing that I can tell him is that the investigation is still underway, has not been completed yet and as he has pointed out, there are options where the contaminate has come from. So it's not an easy thing to determine at this point in time, but the investigation will continue until the source is found.

MR. GLAVINE: Mr. Speaker, it was accidentally discovered, it could have been in the water for some time with the history of the area. This will remain in the water for 20 to 30 years, move to water supplies already tested negative in this area or locations further along the Valley floor. Will the minister or his government assist residents of this area with bottled water, the purchase of activated charcoal filters and testing in perimeter areas after the charcoal filters are installed?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, the department has been involved in this since it was found and has been working very closely with the residents who are affected, the homeowners and households ensuring that they know what the hazards are, they know what they need to do, they know what they have to do to protect themselves. So the department has been very active in that area to make sure that people are protected.

MR. GLAVINE: Obviously, not much commitment made there. Well, Mr. Speaker, this is a serious environmental issue, as Dr. Richard Gould outlined in Greenwood on Monday evening. Will the minister provide immediate assistance to help the Village of Greenwood and the Municipality of Kings provide a central water supply which is obviously the only solution?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to hand that question over to my colleague, the minister responsible.

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, over the past number of years, the province, with the support of the federal government, has invested $150 million in the provision of sewer and water. Primarily we do this with the assistance of municipalities. I would encourage the member opposite to speak to the municipality so that they can provide us with any appropriate information, so we can evaluate it as funds become available, as the infrastructure works program is extended into the future, so that projects like this are considered in a reasonable fashion.

[Page 4721]

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

EMO: DISASTER RESPONSE PROG. - EFFICACY

MS. MARILYN MORE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act. If frustration over the lack of government aid following Hurricane Juan could be measured like hurricanes, Richard Bonner's situation would be a Category 5. Mr. Bonner was forced to give up his disaster insurance when it became far too costly to sustain payments. Hurricane Juan tore the roof off his store. At first, he couldn't even get information on how to apply for assistance. He put a tarp on the open roof and hoped for the best. My question to the Minister responsible for EMO, when will you finally admit the disaster response program let many Nova Scotians down?

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as all members of the House know, and certainly anybody affected by the hurricane knows, there is a federal disaster relief program that the province is a partner in. There are specific guidelines and rules in regard to what that type of assistance would cover and what the individual would be responsible for covering, and clearly any time that an individual is concerned, if they were involved in an EMO situation, there is a toll-free number. We have the ads in the paper and there is a Web site detailing those guidelines.

MS. MORE: Mr. Speaker, Richard Bonner needed several thousand dollars to fix his roof. He was even willing to pay the money back, but he got nothing. As the weather grew colder, his pipes froze and burst. Mould developed. Snow and ice poured in. His tenant moved out and much of his equipment was destroyed. If Richard Bonner loses his business, with it will go the tax revenue he once generated. My question to the minister, how does it make sense to let a long-established business go under when a little help would have saved it?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as I outlined earlier, there are rules and guidelines for what qualifies for disaster assistance and certainly there are programs through the provincial government, like the Nova Scotia Credit Union loan program that I'm proud to say this government put in place a year ago, to support small businesses that qualify, up to $150,000, to borrow money for various purposes, and we guarantee 75 per cent of those funds. The credit union does the full approval and will guarantee the other 25 per cent. So certainly, you know, anybody who is in small business and needs to avail themselves of a program to borrow money and meet the guidelines, those programs are in place.

MS. MORE: Unlike the provincial government, Mr. Bonner's friends tried to help. They recently held a fundraiser, but it may be impossible for him to recover what he has lost. I've met with Mr. Bonner and the experience has been devastating for him personally and professionally. Mr. Speaker, my final question to the minister, his government found millions

[Page 4722]

for Sobeys and Michelin, why couldn't it manage to find a few thousand dollars to save Richard Bonner's business?

MR. FAGE: Mr. Speaker, as I outlined earlier, this government was responsible for signing an agreement with the federal government to have disaster relief programs in place for the first time ever in this province and we're very proud of that. We work closely and lobby the federal government very hard to provide more flexibility for those guidelines when an unfortunate circumstance such as flooding or Hurricane Juan affects businesses and residents in this province. Certainly each individual has their responsibilities to avail themselves of insurance if it's available and when those regulations are not met, we have the hurricane relief program if they can qualify for those guidelines, as well as various loan and support programs.

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

FIN. - GAMING: CONSULTATION - PUBLICIZE

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister Responsible for Part 1 of the Gaming Control Act. In August, when many Nova Scotians were on vacation, the Gaming Corporation and Office of Health Promotion chose that time to launch a document called, New Directions for Gaming in Nova Scotia. It paints gaming in an absurdly positive light, outlines a future vision for gaming and asks Nova Scotians to send in their comments - to comment on this explosive issue. Mr. Minister, my question for you is, what steps are being taken to promote this public input and ensure that Nova Scotians even know that this consultation is taking place?

HON. PETER CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member will know that the Leader of the Opposition asked questions about letters that were coming in. What we have been doing has been advertising that this is available, it's been on the Web site, we've had an opportunity through a release of the prevalent study and through the gaming strategy to make people aware. There have been some consultations. Mr. Speaker, we're making it as easy as we can for people to submit their comments to us.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that some efforts have been taken, but I would say they've made very little impact on the public of Nova Scotia. I've seen very little anyway of advertising and certainly no big campaign. It's true the minister wears two hats - on the one hand, he's responsible for gaming and on the other hand, Finance. These opposing aims may make it uncomfortable for the government themselves to hear widely from Nova Scotians on gambling. My question through you to the minister is, in the interests of the public, will the minister extend new directions to include province-wide public hearings so that all concerned citizens may participate?

[Page 4723]

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, when we set down on this path that we're going to allow people to make comments, we looked at what would provide the best opportunity to allow more people to be able to input. We feel, along with the Office of Health Promotion that we are moving in that direction, that we have information available to people and that we are providing them with the best opportunity to provide input.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, I'm afraid many Nova Scotians are very concerned about the minister's position on this. It is a serious issue and it's causing hardship for Nova Scotians - thousands of Nova Scotians - and they need their voices to be heard. My question for the minister is, would the minister care to explain to the families from Sydney to Yarmouth why he feels their input, their direct input in this issue, is not important in the process?

MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Speaker, to the contrary, what the member raises, we feel it's very important. That's why we've opened up the process so all Nova Scotians can respond to our study, that's why we have the Web sites available, that's why we're making the strategy available, that's why we've made the prevalent study. We have tried to put that issue in front of people so they can consider it and respond with their comments. We welcome those comments and that's what we're doing.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Fairview.

NAT. RES. - LONG LAKE PROV. PK.:

REOPENING - TIME FRAME

MR. GRAHAM STEELE: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Natural Resources. Long Lake Provincial Park is shared between three constituencies, the most travelled part is in Halifax Fairview. It's a beautiful, large wilderness park used and loved by many people from the wide surrounding area. But, Long Lake Provincial Park was closed in the wake of Hurricane Juan one year ago and to the chagrin of park users, the park has remained closed ever since. My first question to the minister is a simple one, when will Long Lake Provincial Park reopen?

HON. RICHARD HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, all of our parks in the HRM that were impacted by Hurricane Juan, our department's been working very diligently to get the clean up ongoing to all the parks. There are some parks still that all the clean up has not been done, i.e., McNab's Island. We've done the nature walk paths there, but there's still real, real serious blow down in the area and we're working on that as we are Long Lake.

MR. STEELE: Mr. Speaker, park users are confused and they have every right to be. There are signs at the entrances to the park saying park closed and that's enough to discourage some people from entering, yet a spokesperson for the department is quoted in a June 3rd media report as saying about entry into the park, "I don't know if it's illegal, but

[Page 4724]

you are in there at your own risk" Any user of a wilderness park knows the risks inherent in being in the wilderness. So many people, including me, have continued to use the park throughout the year. Will the minister confirm his spokesperson's comment that the closed signs at Long Lake Provincial Park are not intended by the department to prohibit entry, but only to warn users that they enter the park at their own risk?

[3:45 p.m.]

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, the safety of the users of all of our parks is always high on our radar screen. We want to make sure that the parks are safe for visitors. That is why it is posted, for the safety of the general public.

MR. STEELE: Someday, Mr. Speaker, the minister will actually answer the question that I ask. It's apparent, even to casual users of the park like me, that hurricane damage is relatively mild, and park users, much more knowledgeable and experienced than I, confirm that observation. The real reason, the true reason that Long Lake Provincial Park is not reopened is simply that the Department of Natural Resources lacks the human resources even to assess the damage. They won't allow highly knowledgeable and experienced individuals outside the department to help them.

So let's be clear. The problem is not the park. The problem is the department and its lack of resources. My question to the minister, when will the department tap into the knowledge and commitment of park users and get on with the job of reopening Long Lake Provincial Park?

MR. HURLBURT: Mr. Speaker, again all of our parks are very important to our department and we take the safety of the people very high. I am sure the member wouldn't break the law. He was not in the park when the park was closed. I'm sure that's not what he's telling the members of the House. I will tell that member and all members of this House that we will assess that park, as we have all of our parks, and we will be putting tenders out for the cleanup of all of our parks but we will not open those parks until they are safe for the general public.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

HEALTH PROM. - GAMING: CONSULTATION - ALLOW

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister responsible for the Office of Health Promotion. Nova Scotians have reason to question the sincerity of a government when it comes to the issues of gaming and in particular with respect to VLTs when they provide bonuses to the head of the Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation for increased revenue from VLT use. Clearly they found substantially more insight on the perspective of this government when it read the letter that was provided by the directors of

[Page 4725]

addiction services for District Health Authorities 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8 for the Province of Nova Scotia.

In that very damning letter they outline how the process of consulting with Nova Scotians is hollow. It is a sham. It is not sincere. It is designed to increase revenue. In particular, with respect to muzzling the people who know most about this question, they say on the last page that they don't understand how and why the stakeholders, the people who know the most, are not able to participate in the consultations. My question for the minister is, will you direct the people responsible for this so-called consultation process to open the doors and allow the people with the most information to participate in the discussions?

HON. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I can let that member know, as well as all other members, that in fact those individuals that he referred to do have the opportunity to make presentation for the discussion paper.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, they have clearly laid out in a letter that they are required not to speak, they can attend these meetings. I would ask that the minister provide written confirmation to them that they will have the opportunity to speak. More fundamentally, if this is a real consultation process, my question to the minister is, why is there not a travelling group for every region of the province seeking the input of Nova Scotians in the lead up to this final conclusion with respect to gaming in Nova Scotia?

MR. RODNEY MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, indeed there is opportunity as my colleague, the Minister of Finance has already indicated. The fact of the matter is there are numerous opportunities, whether it be through stakeholder input, as well as the Web site, as well as through numerous other opportunities to gain that feedback. The fact of the matter is what really upsets the Liberal Party is the fact that we're moving forward on a partnership initiative, which they were afraid to do when they were in government.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, the partnership that is talked about by that government has resulted in an increase in the number of VLTs, of 500 VLTs in the last several years, under the direction of this government supporting this initiative. Clearly, they're saying one thing about their concern for VLTs and not doing anything about it. As recently as September 23rd, this month, the Premier of this province said that he saw no prospect of reducing the number of VLTs because it would become an unregulated industry, when the Province of Ontario and other provinces in Canada provide for no VLTs and there isn't a problem. My question to the Premier is whether or not he will look at the example in other jurisdictions where there are no VLTs that are provided in bars and restaurants and ensure that the families of Nova Scotians are not jeopardized?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that I attended a meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake and they were touting, in Niagara-on-the-Lake or actually in Niagara Falls, I should correct myself, a multi-billion dollar casino in that city. So the

[Page 4726]

member's observation that that province does not have regulated gambling is inaccurate. But the member brings a very important issue to the attention of the House, the government believes that regulated gambling is better than unregulated gambling. What the discussion paper is attempting to do, and I think will do very effectively, is to provide the information to government that we can have a regulated gambling environment that is not intrusive into the lives of those who are susceptible to gambling addiction in Nova Scotia.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Dartmouth East.

ENVIRON. & LBR. - GULLY LAKE-EIGG MTN.:

PROTECTED AREA - DESIGNATE

MS. JOAN MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, in 1992, a network was to be established to represent 80 distinct natural regions in Nova Scotia. Today only a small fraction is currently represented in the province's protected areas system, and nothing new has been added in recent years. In June 2003, this government announced they would designate two new candidate wilderness areas within the Crown land blocks at Gully Lake and Eigg Mountain. It is obvious to anyone that we have to move forward and protect the best of what is left before it's too late. My question to the Minister of Environment and Labour is, when will you commit to designating the Gully Lake-Eigg Mountain area as a protected area?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for the question. As the member knows, we've been working with a management plan for the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, and we've also gone out and had a socio-economic study done on Gully Lake and Eigg Mountain. We've gone out for public consultation at this point in time. We're looking at additional information, and we are moving forward with protecting those two areas.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, let's go back to September 25, 2003, to the Speech from the Throne. Even though the environment was an afterthought in the speech, there were a few lines mentioned in regard to Eigg Mountain and Gully Lake. I would like to table the quote here, "My government will proceed with the process of designating these two sites as new candidate Wilderness Areas." Well, it's been a year and four days since that speech, so I think it is fair to ask this government to live up to its promise. So again I ask, will this minister commit today to designate Eigg Mountain and Gully Lake as protected wilderness areas?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we certainly are proceeding with the designation process.

MS. MASSEY: Mr. Speaker, the Throne Speech also stated that this government would continue to work to protect more of Nova Scotia's coastal lands and wilderness areas from development. The Ship Harbour-Long Lake area is running out of time. Forestry

[Page 4727]

companies are chomping at the bit to come in and clear-cut this area. Protecting this site would help retain and restore native forests on the Eastern Shore and would link existing protected forests by keeping the wilderness corridor between them intact. My question to the minister is, will you make a commitment today to place a moratorium on this area and proceed with a study to protect this important wilderness area before it is too late?

MR. MORASH: No, I won't make that commitment today, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis.

AGRIC. & FISH. - BSE: LOAN PROG. - INT. CHARGES

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. Yesterday in this House the minister announced a loan program for farmers who are being devastated by the BSE crisis. My understanding is that the $10 million loan program will be charged 7 per cent interest. Banks are charging much less than that. My question to the minister is, why would beef producers sign onto this loan program, they can do better at a bank?

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I don't know where the 7 per cent number comes from, the number is simply prime plus 1.25 per cent.

MR. MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, the documentation that I see is 6.5 per cent to 7 per cent, and the minister has just highlighted what is wrong with this program. If farmers can borrow from a bank at a better rate then surely that is an indication that this program is inadequate, and those who can't are already drowning by their debt. Instead of throwing the industry a life preserver, you've thrown them an anchor. So my question to the minister is, instead of a glowing ministerial statement, when can we expect concrete action and a real plan to save the beef industry in Nova Scotia?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the question. The Atlantic Provinces, the Maritimes, are sort of all in one boat and we can't do one thing in one province without affecting the things that happen in the other provinces. Which is exactly why I have two members in the House today, one who is from P.E.I. and one who is from New Brunswick, the Honourable David Alward is up there, the Honourable Kevin MacAdam is also in the House, as we discuss these things. (Applause) We are trying to come up with concrete answers that will help all Atlantic Canada farmers.

MR. MCNEIL: I want to welcome the honourable members to the House and I hope they have brought some answers. On September 10th, the federal government announced a program to deal with the national issue surrounding the BSE crisis which could increase slaughter capacity in this province, a loan loss reserve program, and expand an international market share. To my knowledge, we have not signed that program. My question to the

[Page 4728]

minister is, when can we expect this minister to act and sign this program so that our farmers can access those federal dollars?

MR. D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, number one, we've already given one part of that which is the case advance program. We've also already given them assurance that we will be doing that part of it. We are currently looking at what's going on and we'll be coming back to this House in very short order.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

HEALTH - N.S. HOSP.: CHANGES - PLANS

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Health. Concerns are being expressed about the future of the Nova Scotia Hospital. A June 2004 QE II bed map report to the Department of Health makes reference to plans for decommissioning the Nova Scotia Hospital. I will table that report. Yet, in response to a freedom of information request, both Capital Health and the Department of Health deny that there are any documents relating to closing the Nova Scotia Hospital. So my question to the minister is this, are you aware of any plan changes for the Nova Scotia Hospital in terms of in-patient care or land use?

HON. ANGUS MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, I'm not aware of any plans with respect to the future of that facility. I'm sure if they are developed at some point, they may be brought forward for my consideration, but they have not at this time.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Well, Mr. Speaker, mental health specialists are saying that two aging buildings at that site, both Purdy and Simpson, will surely close fairly shortly and services will be moved off-site and others will be shut down. These two buildings provide valuable services, well over 50 acute care mental health beds. Doctor Ross, the head of the QE II Emergency Department, has told us that they often have to send psychiatric patients to other health districts because there simply aren't enough beds in this region. So shutting down services and beds doesn't make sense. My question to the Minister of Health is, when the Purdy and Simpson buildings are torn down, decommissioned, as the Capital Health District has confirmed will be done, where are the patients and services and staff presently housed in those buildings going to go?

[4:00 p.m.]

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, what I will undertake to do for the honourable member is provide the details with respect to that matter, but I can say that the issue of delivery of care is one that is centred around not just facilities but the individuals and everyone who is involved in the delivery of that care. The business planning process is one

[Page 4729]

which will ensure that that care is carried forward and continues to be given to the citizens of this province.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I couldn't agree more with the minister with respect to the need for better planning and better programs for mental health consumers. But the Nova Scotia Hospital location as we know on the Dartmouth side of the harbour, with expansive grounds is a very beautiful location and, in fact, that location was chosen 150 years ago for the therapeutic value of the expansive grounds on the harbour. Mr. Speaker, I want to ask the minister if his department will consider establishing smaller, residential treatment programs, like exist in other jurisdictions, in that location as they look at replacing those older buildings?

MR. MACISAAC: Mr. Speaker, the Department of Health is, of course, open to discussions with the District Health Authority relative to the provision of services. We would work with them relative to any plans that they bring forward and I'm sure that they are aware of the suggestions made by the honourable member.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

SERV. N.S. & MUN. REL. -

HERRING COVE: WELLS - CONCERNS

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. Herring Cove is a fishing village in my constituency, like others settled more than 200 years ago, and many of the older houses there still draw their water from wells in this rocky soil. In the last 30 years, however, hundreds of new homes have been built in the Herring Cove area and many of them are served by community wells that don't yield enough water for their needs. Those new wells have failed but so have the old ones. The residents of the older houses now have to buy bottled water for themselves, and during the same 30 years they have been paying wastewater charges as if they had city water - Mr. Minister, how is this fair?

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I would say that's a question probably more directly put towards the Halifax Regional Municipality. But I will say this - the Province of Nova Scotia has contributed over $150 million towards sewer and water projects over the past number of years and we will continue to do through the Canada/Nova Scotia Infrastructure Works Program and all other programs that come forward.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, when the Province of Nova Scotia deeded the sewer to the then City of Halifax it was on condition that only a limited number of houses should be hooked into it, and that limit has been long, long exceeded. The water table is in deep trouble there and the province has washed its hands of it. The kind of water that the province has washed its hands in is nothing you would want to drink. A lot of people who bought new

[Page 4730]

houses in Herring Cove in the 1980s, were told that they had city water. They were shocked to discover that actually their water came from a group of community wells with dangerously high levels of lead - one might argue, and it is a very good argument, even lethal. These wells, though, often have so little water - and that's lucky - that they have to be filled by tanker trucks sent by the Halifax Water Commission . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Question, please.

MS. RAYMOND: Why has your department allowed this community to fall through the cracks between the city and the province?

MR. BARNET: Again, as I indicated earlier, the municipality is responsible for the provision of water and sewer. We will work with municipalities as they bring forward projects under the Canada-Nova Scotia Infrastructure Program. I'll indicate to the member opposite there are many communities that are in similar circumstances that require safe sewer and water provided to their front door and we will do whatever we can with the resources that we have.

MS. RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, this whole province is rocky and Herring Cove is not the only community this is happening in; Fall River and Marion Bridge and Hammonds Plains and Beaver Bank and probably some others are losing their wells. It's the people who lived there before who bear the huge cost of replacing their water as new development encroaches on them. Mr. Minister, when will your government empower municipalities to require full hydrogeological assessments before approving substantial new development?

MR. BARNET: Mr. Speaker, that's a very good question. It's one that Halifax Regional Municipality has brought to our attention over the past number of months. It's something that we're taking into consideration and we'll examine the impact of that. One of the things that we want to make sure we do, however, is not provide some false hope for people who expect that a hydrogeological study will provide them water for the rest of their days. We also want to ensure that we don't raise the value of lots so much that it becomes unaffordable for people who want to build a home.

So, we're considering all of these things as we move forward and work with our analysis. We'll bring forward legislation if it's appropriate.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

PREM. - GAMING: VLTs - PURPOSE

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question is again for the Premier. The Premier is responsible for the financial health and social well-being of the people of this province. In a letter that was tabled by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday, I'd like to

[Page 4731]

quote from Page 5, ". . . the number of men, women and children, who suffer moderate to severe financial, health and social problems - as a direct result of problem gambling in Nova Scotia - is 120,000." My question for the Premier is, why do we need VLTs?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, that question has been asked for a long time. It was certainly asked in this province long before the government made the decision to regulate gambling. We had VLTs in our province well before we had regulated gambling. But I think it is a very serious issue, it is an issue that I fully appreciate why the member opposite would have a concern, but that's why there's a discussion paper. I believe that gambling should be regulated and I believe that as a result of the discussion paper, we'll regulate it better.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, my question was not whether or not we can regulate it better - it is, what is the purpose of VLTs, Mr. Premier?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, I wish I had an answer for the question because I don't. The point is, we have VLTs and we had VLTs before we ever had regulated gambling. If we stop regulated gambling, we'll still have VLTs. Those are the simple facts, I wish it were otherwise.

MR. GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, his last words were, I wish it were otherwise. This is the Premier of Nova Scotia saying he wishes it was otherwise. There are tens of thousands of Nova Scotians who share that view. Will you convey to Nova Scotians a real sign of leadership, the kind of leadership you showed six years ago, and ban VLTs in Nova Scotia?

THE PREMIER: Mr. Speaker, obviously we have a fundamental difference of opinion on policy. There will be VLTs whether we ban them or not. History has certainly proven that and I guess I have a fundamental difference of opinion here with the member opposite. I believe if we are to have VLTs they must be regulated. I believe that government has a responsibility to regulate well, that's why we have the discussion paper.

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

ENVIRON. & LBR. - WHITNEY PIER:

COAL DUST PROBLEM - FIX

MR. GORDON GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, my question, through you, is for the Minister of Environment and Labour. During Question Period last Spring I raised the issue of coal dust continuing to blanket my community. Having met with the Minister of Environment and Labour along with members of my community, we were assured that this coal dust problem would be brought under control. We were told that the proper mechanisms were in place to deal with this. Well, today, nothing has happened. The coal dust problem is still out of control and, in fact, is as bad as ever. Over the past several weeks I've been in contact with

[Page 4732]

residents who have this black dust everywhere they turn. I would like to ask the minister why is he not living up to his word to fix the problem?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is perfectly correct, that did come up before. I did make a trip down, and we toured the sites. We took a look at the provisions that were in place to prevent the coal dust from blowing over the residents and the houses, because it's certainly something that we wanted to avoid and something we thought should be controlled. Unfortunately, there has been another mishap, and that is being investigated at this point in time. I'm very hopeful that the investigation will come up with a solution to the problem.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, swimming pools, homes, backyards, children's swing sets are covered with coal dust, yet no one wants to take responsibility for this ongoing problem. For the minister's information I will table copies of photographs taken earlier this month which clearly show clouds of dust blowing across my community. The problem is not restricted to the outdoors. I would like to table a cloth coated with coal dust from inside one of my constituents' homes. How much of this environmental abuse does my community have to take?

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, we certainly do know the source of this problem. We are carrying on with our investigation. We will look to find a solution.

MR. GOSSE: Mr. Speaker, well, we all know how bad the economic situation is in Cape Breton. Despite this, people in my community were starting to reinvest, and they don't need this. The community is finally turning the corner to better times and this will blanket their enthusiasm, the same way coal dust blankets their community. What will it take for your government to treat the residents of my community with respect and deal with this ongoing nightmare?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. Just before I allow the honourable minister to answer, I just want to remind members about bringing props into the House but, even more than that, about ones that may be environmentally questionable. (Interruptions)

MR. MORASH: Table the cloth, I guess. Mr. Speaker, we certainly do respect those residents. I appreciate what they're going through. I have made a visit down there. We certainly want to do everything we can to ensure that this doesn't happen again, and we will take the appropriate measures.

[Page 4733]

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

ENVIRON. & LBR.: GROW-IN PENSION BENEFITS - ADDRESS

MS. DIANA WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Environment and Labour in his role as the Minister responsible for the Pension Benefits Act. At present, the Pension Benefits Act provides for what is known as grow-in benefits. Grow-in benefits are extremely costly for employers and employees. Even though they are rarely, if ever, paid, these provisions create tremendous cost to pension plans. Grow-in pension benefits are causing real and financial hardship for public sector organizations that are being forced to provide for these benefits, which means, in fact, they have to put money aside to protect against a non-existent risk that they will cease to exist. The UNSM and the HRM have both expressed concerns about this, as have universities in the province. My question to the minister is, is the minister aware of the pressing need to address this issue?

HON. KERRY MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I certainly have had a great deal of correspondence since the last sitting of the House on this issue, and we have staff investigating, reviewing the information and looking at what our future plans might be.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, the HRM, as a case in point, is facing a financial crisis as a result of these provisions. If the grow-in benefits requirement is not eliminated now, they will have to find $14 million in the coming year to cover this unnecessary cost. That is, the municipality will have to take as much as they budget for the roads of this municipality in a single year and set it aside to cover a risk that does not exist. If government does not respond, this will cost HRM taxpayers dearly through either higher property taxes or lower services. My question for the minister is, will the minister commit to address this issue in the current session of the House in order to respond to the serious financial concerns of HRM and others?

[4:15 p.m.]

MR. MORASH: Mr. Speaker, I think it's pertinent to point out that in the Financial Measures (2004) Act in the Spring, we had this provision in and because we didn't have co-operation within the House, it didn't go through at that point in time.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Clayton Park, you have about 15 seconds.

MS. WHALEN: Mr. Speaker, we like to look forward in this instance and I believe the issue is better understood and should be addressed. Will the minister address it this session? (Interruptions)

[Page 4734]

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Environment and Labour, you have about two seconds, actually one - too late. (Interruptions)

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

The honourable Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries on an introduction.

HON. CHRISTOPHER D'ENTREMONT: Mr. Speaker, I think I've got to do this properly instead of in Question Period. I would like to introduce, and ask them to rise, the Honourable David Alward from New Brunswick, who is the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture; and also the Honourable Kevin MacAdam who is from Prince Edward Island, also the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Forestry. (Applause)

MR. SPEAKER: We certainly welcome our special guests to the gallery today and hope they enjoy the proceedings.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order and I guess really an apology. In response to a question from the member for Timberlea-Prospect, I indicated that a piece of paper had been circulated at 2:00 p.m. It was not, I knew better. It was at 3:00 p.m. I apologize.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Annapolis on an introduction.

MR. STEPHEN MCNEIL: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the west gallery. I can't trump two ministers, but I would like to introduce my constituency assistant, Pam Van Roestel. Pam and her husband, Jim, own a dairy farm and I'm sure if the minister needs any help solving the BSE crisis, I will loan her to you for the afternoon - how's that? - but I would ask the House to give Pam a warm welcome. (Applause)

OPPOSITION MEMBERS' BUSINESS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call the order of business, Private Members' Public Bills for Second Reading.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS FOR SECOND READING.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

[Page 4735]

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm just looking at the time, maybe we can adjust everything one minute down. So everything will start at 4:17 p.m., just one minute down.

Mr. Speaker, would you please call Bill No. 104.

Bill No. 104 - Emergency Measures Act.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, the motion will be for second reading of Bill No. 104. Let me begin by setting the context for the introduction of this bill. You will know that it deals, of course, with matters having to do with the Emergency Measures Organization. Bill No. 104 is a proposal to amend the existing Emergency Measures Act. Today being the anniversary of the damage to Nova Scotia in last year's Hurricane Juan, everyone in this Chamber is, of course, today particularly acutely aware of what it is that this province suffered through that hurricane last year. All of us, I think, were present in the province at the time and, indeed, all of us were personally affected or certainly are aware of the extent of the effects on people in our differing constituencies.

The hurricane hit Nova Scotia overnight and passed in a fairly wide path across the central part of the province. The damage was extensive. It has been estimated to have been in the order of about $100 million of damage in Nova Scotia. Now, of course, this is not the only extreme weather event that Nova Scotians have suffered in the last year. We had a particularly severe winter storm which was quickly dubbed White Juan this past winter. The hard fact is that there is the prospect of very similar severe weather events coming to Nova Scotia in the future. So we have to be prepared and we have to turn our minds to it.

One of the effects of global climate change will simply be this kind of change in weather affecting us here in the Maritimes. We are not used to having hurricanes here. It's not unknown in the past, we have had them, but they have often been separated by very many years, sometimes by decades, before they've hit Nova Scotia with any severe force, that is before they've actually hit the land with any severe force. Mariners will be much more familiar with the effects of hurricanes on our offshore, but onshore we have to turn our minds to this and, therefore, we have to be prepared to deal with this in an organized way. The EMO, a provincial organization is the lead organization and yet of course it works with many of the municipalities. We know that many of the municipalities are looked to to deliver the services on the ground during an emergency or to be part of the coordinated efforts, to be an important part of the coordination of efforts.

We also know that unfortunately a number of our municipalities, some 16 of them the last time a survey was done by the Emergency Measures Organization, can only be rated fair or poor in their overall preparedness to deal with a major emergency. The minister has

[Page 4736]

told us that some improvements have been accomplished since that last survey was done, and that's fine. It's good, of course, that there be advances, and yet there are two other categories of preparedness, excellent and good, and it is certainly the case, given the pressure of our experience in what we have found in the extreme weather events in this last year, that we should move as rapidly as possible to the situation when every one of our municipalities can be characterized in their preparedness as excellent or good. To continue to have some municipalities in the category of poor or fair simply is not acceptable.

There is one other fact that I think we have to turn our minds to in understanding the context for this legislation, and this is that there has never been any full public review of how it is that this province encountered and dealt with Hurricane Juan. Calling for a public review is something we did early and we've said it regularly since that time, and the idea of a public review is that it should look at all aspects of how it is that we dealt with the hurricane. It should look at the advance warnings that were given and when they were given; it should look at interaction with Environment Canada's weather forecasting system and personnel by EMO; it should look at our general preparedness prior to Juan; it should look at the extent of the damage; it should look at how it was that cleanup efforts were undertaken; it should look at Nova Scotia Power and the provision of electrical services; and it should look at compensation.

Now I am not saying that there's never been any kind of a look, after Hurricane Juan, at different aspects of this; indeed, as we know, the matter of the preparedness of Nova Scotia Power Inc. was referred to the Utility and Review Board and they did a focused examination with some criticism, I have to say, in their findings of how Nova Scotia Power dealt with its aspect of Hurricane Juan. I know that internally, in the minister's own department, they did an examination of some parts of how they dealt with the hurricane.

What I'm saying is that from start to finish there is a whole array of questions that have not yet been publicly looked at. I know that since I've been the one making the suggestion for full public examination of all aspects of this, that the minister has been resistant to it, for whatever reason. Unfortunately perhaps the situation is that this will never take place - perhaps I have to accept that, but I still think it is desirable.

All of this, Mr. Speaker, is part of the context for the introduction of our bill. Before I get to the content of it, I want to remind members in this House of what the effects actually were. We have to remember what exactly it is that this actually meant on the ground to people in their day-to-day lives. What it meant is that a huge number of trees were knocked down and part of the consequences of that was damage to housing, damage to power lines, damage to vehicles and, indeed, loss of life.

[Page 4737]

That was really one of the major things that struck everyone when we woke up the next morning. Thank heavens it was a beautiful sunny day. I hope everyone remembers this. Nova Scotians were out in the thousands to look, with a feeling of awe, at the damage that had been done overnight.

People were amazed. People were amazed to see enormous trees toppled. People were amazed to see the extent of the damage. But how fortunate we were that it was good weather, how fortunate we were that there weren't continuing rainstorms, how fortunate we were that it occurred in the beauty of our Autumn rather than in the depths of Winter. How different it might have been, how much worse it would have been.

Let's remember that those downed power lines, whether they came down through being toppled by trees or their branches or simply came down on their own, resulted in thousands of Nova Scotians being without electrical power, and it took weeks for that power to be fully restored to people around the province. We have to remind ourselves what that means, to be without electricity. We have built our lives around having access to energy in that form. Without electricity, no lights; without electricity, no elevators; without electricity, no refrigerators. For many people without electricity, no stoves, no kettles.

So, this, indeed, makes an important impact on people's lives, and it did make an important impact on people's lives. It wasn't a question of being inconvenienced, it was a question, for some people, of really being put at risk. As I say, we were fortunate that it occurred during the time of year that the snow and ice were not on the ground. It was beautiful weather that followed the time after the arrival of Hurricane Juan and its damage. So cleanup efforts could proceed a pace. Even then it took weeks.

The ones who were, of course, worst affected were our seniors and those who, for other reasons, because of physical difficulties, primarily, were the most vulnerable. What that meant was, typically for people who are in situations of physical difficulty, many of them were stranded in their homes. Even where that was the case, they were probably more fortunate than those who were stranded in apartment buildings. In those apartment buildings, in many of them, the elevators had ceased to work. They were stuck. Unless they had a network of neighbours or friends who were checking in on them, then they were exposed, they were in danger.

I have to say that the arrival of Hurricane Juan was the occasion for many individuals and for many service organizations and for many spontaneous groupings of people to come forward and do wonderful things in their communities. I know in my own constituency there were examples of people reaching out, reaching out to their neighbours, to people they might not necessarily have known, even, and making food available, checking in on them, looking after them. This is terrific.

[Page 4738]

For the most part, many elderly people and many people who are in positions of physical disabilities will have a network of connections, family or friends or some service organization, where people were going to look after them, check in on them, see how they are. This is as it should be. Yet, there are some people who simply don't have that. There are some people who are in need of a support but may not necessarily be aware of it or have necessarily been able to organize their lives in a way that would allow those supports to come forward in time of emergency. Indeed, sometimes informal supports cannot operate in times of emergency, sometimes relatives live quite some distance away.

What is needed is some kind of organized form of preparedness, so that if people are in that position, they can voluntarily put themselves on a list with EMO, so that EMO will know who is out there in an emergency and judge whether they have to be checked in on.

[4:30 p.m.]

That's what Bill No. 104 is all about. Bill No. 104 says, this is a little bit of a gap in our legislation, it's a little bit of a gap in our procedures. You know what? It might not even have been necessary to bring forward a bill to do this if this had been part of what it is the government had said it was prepared to do. Our bill actually goes a little bit further and it talks about how appropriate it would be for EMO - in fact, it requires EMO - to have available not just this list of vulnerable or elderly persons who might require assistance during an emergency, but to then go on and require that all senior citizens' buildings must either have a generator available as a backup to generate electricity or some form of adequate plan in order to make sure that something is available for people.

It wouldn't have to be that the whole electricity in that building had to be made to work. One room would be adequate. Solar panels might be adequate. But, something has to be put in place in order to do that and there have to be plans made by EMO. That's the context, that was the effects we should remember and that's what this bill is all about. I look forward to hearing the comments of other members in this debate. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act.

HON. ERNEST FAGE: Mr. Speaker, it's a pleasure to rise this afternoon to speak about the Emergency Measures Organization here in Nova Scotia and all its partners. There are a couple of things I really do want to note. Certainly, this being the anniversary of Hurricane Juan, the day after the hurricane when Nova Scotians awoke to see the devastation in our capital city and the destruction throughout Hants, Colchester and Pictou County, particularly in Truro and into Pictou before it left the province.

[Page 4739]

It certainly was an eye-opener for all Nova Scotians and it reminded everyone involved in emergency preparedness as well as all citizens that we have to be prepared for natural disasters of any kind. It highlighted also the general awareness of the public to being prepared. The events of that morning - there were certainly kilometres of downed power lines, utility poles, communications were disrupted, massive outages of power. When you looked at the number of trees coming down in the force of the hurricane, the storm surge damage around the entire basin here and the waterfront, it gave everyone pause to think about the power of Mother Nature.

I think it also is an ideal opportunity to highlight three things. The first thing that it highlights is adequate warning and adequate preparedness by the citizens of the Province of Nova Scotia and it gives us a benchmark to analyze that. The second thing is the actual occurrence itself - how emergency organizations and individual citizens responded and third, the ensuing cleanup and trying to get life back to normal.

It was certainly gratifying as minister responsible as we moved toward that fateful Monday and at 1:30 a.m. when the centre of the storm hit, that Thursday, Friday and Saturday I was dealing with directors of EMO. They were talking to area coordinators, municipalities to ensure the core of EMO response at the municipal and provincial levels was ready, that volunteer organizations such as Search and Rescue, local fire departments as well as the Red Cross were online and that the media was being advised to warn Nova Scotians. It also highlights individual Nova Scotians as we did in a press release with the Red Cross with their new awareness initiative yesterday I participated in, along with Honourable David Morse, the need to keep citizens aware of their individual responsibilities in regard to a safe place, in regard to potable water and being able to have enough food and critical supplies, blankets, candles, all those things, to last for 48 to 72 hours.

When we move into the actual occurrence of the event, it's the general public being aware that the events are happening and in progress, and to be in the safest place possible for themselves and their family. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, one thing I would really like to note is how fortunate we were, indeed, with Hurricane Juan. Sadly, there was loss of life but in the main - when you looked at when the storm came ashore at 1:30 a.m. in the morning, if you were designing a more fortunate time when people would be in the safest place in their homes, they were resting up from the weekend and preparing for work Monday morning. It was certainly an unfortunate circumstance because many people were in the right place. They were home, they were safe when the hurricane struck.

The response afterwards, Mr. Speaker, was a phenomenal response. When you look at the kilometres of downed power lines, the massive amount of trees and material that had to be moved to restore transportation, power and communications, the army's response from the federal government was certainly appreciated. Certainly, the response from power crews and our international and interprovincial agreements that brought power crews into Nova

[Page 4740]

Scotia to the affected quarters, enough cannot be said about the dedication of those professionals to ensure that power was restored as quickly as possible.

Mr. Speaker, in many cases, in our large urban centres like Halifax and Truro, you were replacing, street after street, brand-new utility wire, pole, the whole infrastructure. One thing I would like to note is why it is important that municipalities, when they are putting in new subdivisions in areas, should look at underground utilities. The central core of downtown Halifax here was underground utilities and they were up and running on Monday. It shows the benefit of those utilities when the opportunity rises that they can be renewed and put in, in an urban setting, that you can protect them that much easier. Those ones in the core were able to be hooked up quickly and respond.

The department, certainly, was one with EMO in our coordination. It was wonderful to observe professionals going about their job, organizing, solving problems as they arose. Just to give you a little example, for that initial week, I personally attended their operational centre's meeting each morning; 52 agencies, Mr. Speaker, were represented there. They were represented - the federal government, the military, their disaster relief program. It represented all government departments in Nova Scotia; Natural Resources protecting and keeping the trunk mobile radio system operating for emergency services, for our work relief efforts, for our law enforcement and for contact between fire departments and emergency people, as well as outside agencies and private businesses such as Aliant, such as Nova Scotia Power, Emera, as well as major volunteer organizations like the Red Cross.

Once you move after the initial phase into the clean-up and the assessment of major centres, then it is restoring services and making sure people receive the supplies from food to potable water, to blankets, to other essentials of life. Certainly, I do want to note that the Department of Community Services, and especially their contracted partner in emergencies, the Canadian Red Cross - when you look at them being able to address the major needs of 30,000 people, the agency alone provided 5,000 meals and conducted 70 food drops in 45 different locations - just as an indication of how well-coordinated that operation centre and why the Senate Committee of Canada uses Nova Scotia as the number-one province in emergency preparedness in how prepared they are, how good their system is set up, and recommended as the model for any province or jurisdiction in Canada.

The other thing I would like to highlight is how Nova Scotians, individually, and businesses respond to a disaster. Whether it was the Homebuilders Association or many other corporate entities, they were there with cash, with supplies, with food stuffs, to support agencies like the food bank here run by Dianne Swinemar - her efficiency - support the Red Cross, right through to individual Nova Scotians from Boy Scout troops helping to remove trees from houses in their neighbourhoods. That's how coordinated it was and that's how important it was - neighbours supporting neighbours, and the greater sense of community that does arise from that, that citizens rise individually to the occasion and so does business.

[Page 4741]

The other thing when you analyze the system, I think a good benchmark for EMO and for us was that we had another occurrence in February known as White Juan. It was an extremely intense storm system that was closing or blocking roads in as short as 20 minutes in this province, Mr. Speaker. With the use of the meteorology service - which is critical - and modelling as well as what was starting to happen in the southern end of the province with officials, in discussion, I invoked a state of emergency so that we could use our transportation officials, our law enforcement people to get the main arterial roads in this province closed before the storm came. Not only was it important as a safety factor for individuals' safety during the event so they would not be stranded and thus protect their health or run the risk of having an accident before they were stuck in those snow drifts, but it aided in the cleanup instead of having to remove thousands of cars from snow drifts.

The plowing crews, when it cleared, were able to move forward and clean out the streets and the roads and the main arterial centres and here, in Halifax, it was important to aid the city and other urban areas. Halifax doesn't normally get a lot of snow and they have not maintained heavy equipment over the last number of years. Extra equipment that we could bring in from other jurisdictions under agreement and divert Transportation and Public Works' snow plows and equipment but, more importantly, in the effort to clean the city out and get it moving, a state of emergency allows the suspension of private contracts. So we had major construction or industrial suppliers here in the metro industry providing hundreds of pieces of equipment so that we could get that snow moved quickly as possible within the city, get a hole through so that fire, ambulance, essential services could be restored to neighbourhoods in case there was a medical emergency.

Again, the citizens responded, looking out for their neighbours, making sure that people were contacted on their streets, or in apartment buildings, and the system performed well. In a matter of three or four days we were well on our way back to a state of normalcy, even though we had to wade through some pretty major drifts at some spots until the snow could be completely cleared in major urban centres.

The core, Mr. Speaker and fellow members of the House, for emergency preparedness is ensuring that we continually upgrade and work on the system through co-operation. The system of EMO is a coordinated office. It's not an office that is designed to employ large numbers of people. It's a system that's designed to work closely with every municipal unit in this province, and with the federal government and with voluntary organizations.

[4:45 p.m.]

Mr. Speaker, the goal of all that co-operation is to ensure that the people closest, whether it's a seniors' home, an emergency shelter, an apartment building, are the ones who have a detailed plan that we help them with, we help them to find the resources for equipment such as generators or other things that would be deemed essential in a time of

[Page 4742]

emergency, so that there are people in every community who can respond if the unfortunate circumstances of a natural disaster or a man-made disaster occur. Certainly, I believe those issues of heightened awareness of what you need as an individual to help protect yourself and your family, the response to White Juan was very elevated in the general public. They knew what they had to do. They were prepared.

No one likes to put up with the inconvenience of losing their power, communication or transportation system, but when you have a true emergency, Mr. Speaker, what happens in those situations is that every one of those systems are partially or totally disrupted. We saw that in Hurricane Juan, right here in the city and in other areas like Truro, as well as the countryside. We've seen it with White Juan. The important thing is we had the people in place to respond quickly and to satisfy the essential needs of Nova Scotians during that time of distress. And I want to thank all Nova Scotians for their response and help to the people of this province.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Citadel.

MR. DANIEL GRAHAM: Mr. Speaker, my comments, through you, will be to the honourable minister in relation to this matter, in many respects, because I think that if the minister were to read the legislation he would see that there is some real value in what's being proposed by the NDP in these circumstances. I run the risk of raising the memory of me hollering about the need for us to have the Tasty Treat truck going around to alert seniors and vulnerable Nova Scotians in the time of Juan to tell people that there is a problem out there, but in the spirit of this, I think that the NDP is advancing an idea that requires some support.

My opportunity to advance these ideas or at least to comment on this will relate to changes that might happen to potentially improve this piece of legislation. You'll recall, Mr. Speaker, back when Hurricane Juan happened, the problems of the seniors in the Sir John Thompson Senior Centre. At that time, for three days, seniors in that building were without power, without the kinds of resources that they need to function on a day-to-day basis. Fortunately, as a result of the efforts of many folks, and this matter was raised in the House by our caucus, ultimately, some satisfaction was brought to that troubling situation.

We learned great lessons from the experience of Hurricane Juan, and the greatest is that we need to be better prepared. In a minority government, good ideas deserve and should receive the support that all sensible people can apply to those. In this situation, I would urge upon the government consideration of the NDP proposals. They are ones that we support the spirit of, and with some changes to the legislation, I think we can find ourselves in a situation where legislation that's being put forward by one of the Parties in Opposition ultimately is accepted and it moves forward, and in some circumstances, given the potential gravity of this piece of legislation, could save lives.

[Page 4743]

Specifically, I would say that the matter of providing adequate resources for this piece of legislation is a matter that the government should turn its mind to. This obviously has significant cost implications, in terms of first developing the list and then providing for the implementation of it, if the worst happened and we had to go forward with that.

If I could refer to some of the specific clauses that are contained in this legislation.

First, with respect to Section 8A(a), if I could in these circumstances just comment briefly. The list that is being created, it should be clear it should be a confidential list and not one that would be distributed widely. Obviously, it should be available to those who are affected by the implementation of its principle, but the list itself should be kept confidential.

In the first subsection where there is the mention of making a list of vulnerable or elderly persons, I'm not sure whether that is in the legal drafting terms conjunctive or disjunctive. I think some attention should be given to whether or not the "or" should be an "and" in those circumstances.

With respect to subsection (b) that requires ". . . all senior citizens' buildings must either have a generator or an adequate plan to guarantee the provision of power . . .", I would suggest that if this were properly phrased it could go beyond just seniors' residences and include homes with vulnerable people more generally. There clearly are homes that have people in them who would have some difficulty managing for themselves but who are not seniors. If that amendment was provided to this piece of legislation, I would suggest that again it would be strengthened.

With respect to subsection (c) which provides for the making of plans for distribution of meals during an emergency, when one looks at making plans for distributing meals, I think it's important to recognize that making meals costs money. If this is to be a serious piece of legislation that would be effectively implemented by the government down the road, then there needs to be a fund set aside or an identified source of income to ensure that the meals could be fed. We don't want the seniors receiving empty plates as a result of this. All the best-laid plans will be for naught if there's no food on the table.

Secondly, with respect to this subsection, I think that the plan should extend not just to the provision of meals, but to the provision of meals and shelter. That's contemplated in subsection (d) and I appreciate that if the only problem is power, then presumably it won't be a power problem because there are generators that will provide power independently, but there is the possibility in the event of an emergency that power cannot be put back into a home as a result of structural damage or something more significant happening at a later date. So the provision for shelter would be, I think, an enhancement to subsection (c).

Finally, with respect to subsection (d), it's important to remember that one's participation in this type of an exercise as a senior or vulnerable person is entirely discretionary. We can't oblige people unless they are in need of protection in the classic

[Page 4744]

sense of it that's written into our legislation. We can't compel people to eat one's meals or to come to a shelter place that they choose not to be part of. Again, I think it's important to set that out in that subsection.

With respect to the definitions, I'm not aware of elderly and vulnerable persons being defined terms under the Emergency Measures Act. Those are fairly broad terms and if this legislation were to be enhanced, again, I think that providing some parameters around what those terms exactly mean. Who is affected by this would again strengthen the legislation in general.

I know that it's the practice of members of this House to speak for their allotted 15 minutes when it comes to these opportunities, but when positive ideas come forward - subject to the suggested amendments that I have made - there's really very little to add.

We're onto something that requires the attention of the government and the Minister responsible for EMO. I would urge the government to pay close attention to this as a step forward. I would invite the New Democrats to perhaps comment on some of the suggestions that have been made, and certainly I would be willing to join with any all-Party exercise to find a piece of legislation that ultimately provides the kind of protection to seniors and the elderly that Nova Scotians deserve. This would be the best example of how these three Parties make minority government work ultimately in the best interest of all Nova Scotians. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, those are my comments.

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

MR. DARRELL DEXTER: Mr. Speaker it certainly is a pleasure to have the opportunity to respond on Bill No. 104. Of course this is a bill that I introduced earlier. The Speaker may know, in addition to introducing it, I was joined by representative of the seniors and pensioners organization along with an individual from the League for Equal Opportunities. Both groups were very much interested in the content of the bill because they had lived through the experiences associated with Juan and White Juan. What really amazed me in the course of the questioning that took place during that press conference was the fact that although we, as individuals, identify those two events because they had a profound effect on our particular constituents or our area of the province, these people had all kinds of other events in mind that they knew about because, of course, there have been other significant events that have closed down sections of the province or communities for a particular period of time. In fact they might well be very local, very confined, I suppose we could call it a micro clime, or just the fact that it is a particular geographic part of the province.

[Page 4745]

The one that Mary Fleck was referring to when she was there, happened in Inverness County, in the area where she was from. She talked about the ice storm back in 1999 and happened to talk about the effect that that had on seniors in her area. I think they called her and said at one point in time that they had been without power for a considerable amount of time, that they had no heat and they had not been checked on. I understood one person had MS, her husband had Parkinson's, and here they were huddled under a blanket trying to keep warm.

I heard the former Leader of the Third Party, the member for Halifax Citadel talking about the definition of vulnerable people. Well, obviously I think in most people's minds those people would fall into that category. More importantly, Mr. Speaker, is the fact that there would be opportunity for individuals to self-identify themselves to the EMO. To say, here I am, here are my circumstances, here are the difficulties that I have that make it important for me to be on this list. Not only should I be on the list, but the EMO should know that these are the kinds of things that the EMO must be ready to deal with.

In my particular case for example, if I were adding my name to the list - I'm not talking about me in particular - a senior would say, I need to be able to have power in order to have oxygen. In fact I might even need an oxygen supply, that if I'm not in an area where I can have easy access to that that, in itself, might become a problem. This bill is designed to allow the government to undertake a centralized list. I think when most people think of a list they simply think of a numbered list of people with name, address and phone number and an e-mail address or something. It's not just that simple, Mr. Speaker.

Obviously the infrastructure in compiling that list is something that the government is going to consider, because first of all, the list is going to have to be accessed from a distributed network. It's no good if a list is in Halifax, and part of the organization that needs to know about it is in Cape Breton or in Yarmouth or wherever. The very power that creates the problem for the vulnerable person is the problem for those people who need access to the distributed list. Thinking through that whole piece is part of it, the other part of it. The other part of it is over and above being a list, it would also be a database that would list the particulars for the individuals involved and the things that they needed in order to be able to have some semblance of security in what would be an emergent situation. This is the point of the bill.

[5:00 p.m.]

I'm not sure what view the minister takes of this but I would hope that the view that the minister and the government members would take of this is as a bill that is designed to assist them because I believe - and I think, quite legitimately - that the government is involved in the administration of this province in order to be able to provide the best possible service to its citizenry. If it's not, then what the heck are they doing here, Mr. Speaker? I assume that that's the case. I hope that they assume that the reason why we would introduce

[Page 4746]

this kind of a bill is to provide them with the opportunity to see that this is essentially a good program.

On the way home the other night, listening to CBC, I was quite surprised to hear this debate being widened beyond the boundaries of this House. Certainly, the host of the evening program was talking with a woman who I understand identified herself as being from East Dalhousie. Does that sound right? I think that's where she had identified herself being from.

She talked about being trapped in her house during a snowstorm, she and her husband. She told a very interesting story where she talked about the fact that as soon as the snowstorm took place, they said, well, the first thing they have to do is go out and start shovelling the snow, which the husband, I understand, did. But, unfortunately, the first thing that happened to him was the winds that were whipping the snow around at the time happened to catch the shovel which came back and hit him in the face, and broke his nose and, I understood, his eye sockets. He then was, of course, back in the house. Here they were trapped in the house and now, one of the individuals who was going to be involved in extricating them from that situation, in addition, was injured. So they found themselves in a heck of a predicament at that point. I understand that the individual essentially suffered through, went back out and still, after a number of days, managed to shovel them out so they could get out.

You listen to that story and you think, wow, what an exceptional set of circumstances. Well, you know something, Mr. Speaker? I was surprised because it was not an exceptional set of circumstances. In fact, I had a very similar story with respect to a person who, although not in my riding, lived in very close proximity to my riding, who said, look, I live out in Cherry Brook. I have a house that is set well back from the road. I have hired a person who is supposed to come out and do the driveway clearing for me, but in Hurricane Juan, there was so much snow down that the equipment that this person owned couldn't deal with it. So they literally couldn't get assistance in plowing them out, so here they were, trapped in their house for an extended period of time, for many days, and at some point in time, the water, the food and the fuel just runs out.

As self-sufficient and as hardy as these people are, they're seniors. They simply need attention and assistance. Fortunately, for these people, through my office and through some of their friends, there was some assistance rendered but that's not - you know, that's relying on the vagaries of friendship, charity and all of those things, rather than having a plan from a government that says that we recognize that these particular people are vulnerable and, therefore, need to have the assistance of an organization that is specialized in identifying those risks.

[Page 4747]

The interesting thing, I think, on this is that in many cases it will be a phone call. EMO will make the call and the individual at the other side of the line will say no, I'm fine, I have no problem - or I've been assisted by my grandson or something. Many of those people will be fine, so it is really a list that is designed to make sure that the worst doesn't happen, that people don't fall through the cracks, and in the event that for whatever reason somebody is not able to access help that there will be a government agency there to supply a minimum level of service to these individuals.

I couldn't help but be surprised to hear the Minister responsible for the Emergency Measures Act say well, you know, there are already lists, the Department of Health has a list and the Department of Community Services has a list. The reality is there are various lists around, but that's the problem, that underlines the very problem, which is that it's not a centralized list. Instead, you have this kind of haphazard combination of lists that some people may be on or may not be on. For example, I brought to the attention of the House one individual who in fact was on the Nova Scotia Power vulnerable persons' list and throughout the Hurricane Juan situation never got a call, was never checked on, despite the fact that she had taken the opportunity to put herself on the list.

So that's the kind of thing that we're trying to deal with. Obviously there are very significant special situations where you have seniors' residences that have elevators. Some of those elevators are in very large buildings - the majority of those, of course, are in the HRM - and if you are in a wheelchair and you are on the eighth floor and there's no power, you're going to have a heck of a hard time getting out of that building. Ensuring that there are reasonable backup generators that provide power to the elevator system is, I don't think, an unreasonable expectation that the seniors of this province would have. I don't think it's unreasonable for them to say if we live in a seniors' housing complex, why shouldn't there be at least a large enough generator to provide some emergency lighting, that at least one room, a common area, would have some heat, there would be a place to be able to make a cup of tea, perhaps a hot cup of soup? They're not asking that the power supply to the entire residence be supplied by a generator, they're simply asking that it be acknowledged that in extreme circumstances there has to be a minimum level of service provided.

And that's what this bill is about. As I said, these are vulnerable people, they're in circumstances not because of choice but because of the infirmity of age, or health problems or whatever, they have a special level of need that has to be filled. It is not good enough for the government to simply say phone your family - as Mary Fleck pointed out, in many cases the family simply can't respond. They don't have the wherewithal, they may not even live in the same community, in fact the very event that puts these people at risk would be the same kind of event that would put the family members at risk if they were asked to attempt to reach their loved ones. They simply don't have the equipment to be able to do that.

[Page 4748]

Mr. Speaker, this is a very common-sense piece of legislation. It simply asks that those who identify themselves as vulnerable - and if there is concern from the Third Party with respect to the definition of "vulnerable", bring forward some kind of suggestion and we would be happy to have a look at it. I think the most important thing is that this legislation get passed, so I'll take my seat so we can have a vote on it.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Education. You have about 15 seconds.

HON. JAMES MUIR: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few minutes to speak to the NDP amendments to the Emergency Measures Act. As members of the House know, for some number of years I had the responsibility . . .

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The time allotted for the debate on this bill has expired.

The honourable Opposition House Leader on the next order of business.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, I'm sorry I had to interrupt such a scintillating debate on behalf of the Minister of Education.

Would you please call the order of business, Motions Other Than Government Motions?

MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, would you please call Resolution No. 2247.

Res. No. 2247, Serv. N.S. & Mun. Rel.: Residential Tenancies Act - Amend - notice given Sept.23/04 - (Ms. Maureen MacDonald)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Needham.

MS. MAUREEN MACDONALD: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to have an opportunity to rise in my place and speak to a resolution actually that I brought into the House on September 23rd. I will just read the "Therefore be it resolved" part of this resolution:

"Therefore be it resolved that this Legislature show some leadership and act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act so that any landlord whose failure to maintain a rental property to minimum standards, resulting in its closing, will be required by law to assume financial responsibility for housing displaced tenants for the duration of the month in which a residential premises is ordered vacated and for an additional 30 days."

[Page 4749]

Mr. Speaker, this resolution arose out of a specific problem, but I want to speak to the broader issue of the problem that frequently occurs in some of our constituencies where there is substandard housing. If there was any issue I think that I could address here in the Legislature on behalf of my constituents, it would be this issue of substandard housing or, to take the gloss off it, the problem of slum housing.

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, the vast majority of landlords in our province are responsible property owners who provide good quality residential housing for their tenants and they fully meet the requirements of the law but, sadly, not all landlords are like this and there are a few bad apples. I think in most constituencies we can actually name some of the slum landlords who own properties in a given area and certainly in my constituency, in Halifax Needham, which includes the inner-city community, there are certainly some slum landlords who have operated there for many years and this has been a source of great frustration and irritation for many of us who have been working and living in that community.

Mr. Speaker, if there's one thing we need to make clear here in this debate, these landlords are not providing a social service as some of them like to claim when they talk about their situations. I see the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Affairs nodding his head in agreement with me. They are not providing a social service and they are not good Samaritans who are out there doing what nobody else will do. They make a ton of money off people who are living in poverty, people who are very vulnerable, generally people with mental illnesses, addictions, perhaps people with disabilities, people with criminal records who have come out of the jails and the prisons, and it is long, long overdue that political representatives at all levels of government take some initiative to deal with this problem.

Mr. Speaker, this Legislature empowered the regional municipality to create bylaws to license rooming houses in this province. This is something that still essentially has not happened and there is a real reluctance to take on this issue for a variety of reasons. One of the reasons that this issue does not get taken on in terms of enforcement of bylaws is that when you shut rooming houses down, where do those people go? Those people go to the streets, is generally where they go, and they go to the streets because the Minister of Community Services has been dragging his feet in terms of adequately providing the kind of affordable, accessible housing that we need, like a wet shelter in this area, and really housing that will meet the needs of people. So HRM becomes reluctant to enforce their own bylaws. In some cases, HRM have very limited resources to go out and inspect these places so that, in fact, the bylaws can be enforced.

[Page 4750]

[5:15 p.m.]

Nevertheless, Mr. Speaker, we just had a situation in my constituency where a rooming house on Cogswell Street was, in fact, shut down and members here will be aware of that situation. Where did the people go? What should have happened in that situation? You know, as soon as I heard that that rooming house had been shut down, I called the local councillor for the area who told me that the Department of Community Services had been brought in to look at where these residents would be housed. Some of these folks have been sent to the emergency shelters of the Salvation Army and the YMCA but only for a very limited period of time.

You have to wonder, Mr. Speaker, why that was the case. I mean, here you had residents who had paid their rent for the month to the landlord. There were still some days left in the month when the rooming house got shut down. If we were to amend the Residential Tenancies Act as this resolution suggests, the obligation would be placed, the responsibility would be placed with the landlord to house tenants in this situation for the duration of the month in which their rent had been paid, and in addition to that, for another 30 days.

At the end of that time - because, generally, landlords are told to live up to their obligations under the bylaws within 30 days, and sometimes if they are able to show progress but not complete the renovations, they are given another extension. So, Mr. Speaker, this would allow for tenants to be housed in alternate accommodation. The landlord would have the responsibility to provide for alternative accommodation. We wouldn't have the situation that we have with these folks, where they have been shuffled off to shelters and the kinds of arrangements that many of these residents don't really want to be gotten into, and perhaps they displace other people who need a bed in the shelter. We would have an additional incentive to a landlord to adequately maintain their buildings and live up to the requirements that are placed on them under various fire and health and safety provisions at both a municipal and provincial level. This really is what I am hoping to create some discussion and debate around.

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased after I tabled this resolution to hear the Minister of Justice interviewed on CBC one afternoon, where I believe he talked about - that this was an idea with some merit. He indicated that he would have some concern about a landlord or a situation where the building was closed as the result of a fire, let's say, outside the landlord's control. Let's say there was a grease fire that occurred in the unit of one of the tenants. Should the landlord be required in that case? This clearly is not what this resolution speaks to. This resolution is talking about when a building is closed because, specifically, the landlord has failed to maintain the property to minimum standards - this isn't rocket science. The standards are there. Everybody knows what those standards are.

[Page 4751]

We have many officials who can assist the owners of residential properties. They know when they have to have smoke detectors, they know when they have to have entrances and exits and fire escapes and how they need to keep these things in good repair. They know about having windows that are fixed and not covered with plastic or some form of a tarp, they know these things. So I think that if we really had the political will, we could do something to assist the Municipality of Halifax in terms of giving them more teeth and more resolve in terms of enforcing their bylaws to deal with the small number of slum landlords who are out there realizing a profit off the backs of vulnerable people who are living in poverty in our community. Thank you.

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

HON. BARRY BARNET: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member opposite for her comments and for bringing this resolution forward. Before I get into my formal remarks, I want to provide a couple of opening remarks specifically as it relates to HRM.

Currently, HRM bylaw officers and building inspectors go out on a routine basis through the auspices of the Dangerous & Unsightly Premises Committee. They receive complaints, investigate complaints and bring them to that committee for council to deliberate over. As the first chairman of the Halifax Regional Dangerous & Unsightly Premises Committee and a former chairman, I want to say that the job of the bylaw officers and the building inspectors is a particularly difficult one. My experience has been, in many cases, the bylaw officers are very compassionate and reluctant to take action because they often know that the action they recommend to council is an action that would see that person or group of persons or individuals left in a difficult situation.

In my experience, I've had the opportunity to work with many of these bylaw officers who take their job very seriously and have a great deal of compassion in the work they do. I can point to individuals like Dave Bradshaw, who's been a bylaw officer and a building inspector with the City of Halifax, now HRM, for a number of years.

He is a very hard-working, dedicated civil servant who, on a daily basis, walks that delicate balance between protecting the interests of an individual in their health and safety and knowing very well that sometime the recommendations that he brings forward will put them in another situation that they find untenable, and that is where they're left with having to find new accommodations, often, with very short notice, as in the case which has been brought forward in this resolution.

I too listened to a number of news articles, including an article where CBC had interviewed one of the tenants and, frankly, on behalf of the government, we feel this person has been put in a difficult situation not through his own fault. But, we do have rules and laws

[Page 4752]

in this province that are designed to help people in that circumstance. The Residential Tenancies Act is one of those laws that will help resolve these issues.

As I said earlier, I want to thank the member for raising the issue, it gives me an opportunity to explain how it is my department used the Residential Tenancies Act to resolve literally thousands of disputes each year between landlords and tenants.

The Residential Tenancies Act exists to provide landlords and tenants with an efficient and cost-effective means for settling disputes. Each and every year our staff deal with over 50,000 inquiries and complaints and issues around tenancy matters. They deal with it the same way I described my friend and dedicated employee at HRM, Dave Bradshaw, deals with it often in a way that provides for balance, and that is they understand the needs and the issues and the concerns of both tenants and landlords and the fact that people need a place to live and the fact they need to be treated fairly. The Act is there to protect both the tenant and the landlord.

Both tenants and landlords contact the residential tenancy program to find out about their rights and help them resolve these problems. Often, by the time they've contacted us, they've been in a dispute or have had an issue for an extended period of time. Our staff really are dealing with people who have been trying to deal with these matters on their own for an extended period of time. So, therefore, it's already usually at a stage where it requires some delicate hands to deal with. When landlords and tenants can't find common ground on an issue, the Act provides for an effective dispute resolution process.

Close to 5,000 disputes are brought to government's attention each year and these are not the 50,000 inquiries that I have talked about, these are the ones that have then moved on to that next stage where people have actually moved forward to the process where they've engaged the support of our staff at the Residential Tenancies division to resolve this matter between themselves and their landlord, or vice versa. Out of these 5,000, about 1,000 of those disputed are mediated. They never get to a stage where they require any judicial input, where it's a matter of sitting down with the landlord and the tenant and resolving the issue on a face-to-face basis. This means that the parties are helped by staff to find a solution that is acceptable to both sides.

About 1,000 are withdrawn usually because the parties have resolved the issues on their own, or one of the parties has realized that the issue is not sufficient to warrant moving forward to the next step. That leaves about 3,000 that are settled by bringing the parties together for a hearing, collecting evidence and testimony, and issuing a decision on the matter. Those 3,000 issues are the ones that some would describe as the most difficult ones to resolve and often they are issues around the payment of rent, the provision of services to the tenant from the landlord, and matters like that.

[Page 4753]

The reason that I brought that background information to you and the reason that it's important is because it's relevant to the resolution. The Residential Tenancies Act is already structured to allow tenants to seek financial compensation when the landlords do not meet their obligations to them and they can do that through any one of the processes that I've outlined in advance. They can do that through our mediation process where we bring the sides together to try to resolve that and they can also do that through a board process or a judicial process that allows for a hearing for both sides and then a resolution to the dispute.

In extreme cases where premises become inhabitable, tenants have been awarded costs for moving, for temporary accommodation, and for loss of belongings and so on. That speaks directly to the "Therefore be it resolved" clause. The member opposite brought to our attention the fact that landlords assume the financial responsibility for housing-displaced tenants and, in fact, in Nova Scotia there have been cases that have been brought to the Residential Tenancies process where landlords, because of the structure of the Act and because of the laws we have here in Nova Scotia, have been required to do just that. So, therefore, I think, to some extent, this may be redundant. Maybe what it does speak to though, is the fact that maybe we need to do some more communication as it relates to this and maybe what we need to do is provide tenants with an opportunity that might be a little easier to move and more expedient so that they can have issues like this one resolved in a quick and painless manner.

An important point to make is that the Residential Tenancies process is complaint driven. It's up to the parties involved to bring their concerns to us and to let us know what remedy they're looking for. In many cases what we find is that the parties themselves aren't aware of the process and aren't aware of their rights within the Act and that speaks to what I spoke about just a few seconds ago, some work that we, as government, might need to do and that is to provide additional background information to tenants so that they're aware of their rights. We try to do that as often as possible in a way that it gets directly to tenants and the one thing I will commit to the member opposite and to all members of this House is that we will work, and I will work through our department and through our staff, to see that tenants and landlords get as much information as possible so that they know that when they find themselves in a circumstance such as this, there are remedies in the Act that will enable them to have a solution that is proposed in the "Therefore be it resolved".

[5:30 p.m.]

We know that in Nova Scotia the Act has provided for those types of solutions. However, I want to say that it's not clear whether the resolution means or suggests that a new process that operates outside of or beyond the current framework is necessary. I don't believe that's necessary. I believe that if we use the existing Act, we apply the Act as it is written, we provide tenants and landlords with the information, and we provide a timely process so that they are able to move through this process in a quick way - and we do have

[Page 4754]

occasions where we have been able to do that - that we will be able to resolve these issues in a way that is expedient, that understands the nature of the circumstance, particularly as it relates to this most recent one.

Claims for compensation would need to be justified. Some oversight would be necessary. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the current system already addresses these issues but if the member opposite has suggestions on how we can work with the system that we have so that we can make it better for tenants who find themselves in that extreme circumstance - and I do have a great deal of sympathy for the person that I heard on CBC Radio the other morning who found himself in an extreme circumstance. Something happened, no fault of his own, he did absolutely nothing wrong, he just happened to be somebody who was living in a property that the building inspector deemed not to be safe. The building inspector did nothing wrong. He was looking out for the health and safety of that individual.

If there are ways that we can work within the current law and the current system to make it better, more reactive, to make it so that it addresses issues, I think that we should do that and we can do that.

I agree that the system is not perfect but I would hope that landlords and tenants know that when they're in disputes, that we are here to help them and that we will do what is necessary to resolve these disputes. Am I out of time, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, the honourable minister's time has expired.

The honourable member for Victoria-The Lakes.

MR. GERALD SAMPSON: Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak on this resolution this evening. The member for Halifax Needham should be commended for bringing this resolution forward.

The issue has been brought forward after the incident on Cogswell Street where tenants were forced to vacate substandard premises. It's amazing that in this day and age that landlords are allowed to keep their buildings in deplorable condition, and some of them find a way to make that happen, Mr. Speaker, and it happens far too often with some residents. Luckily in this case, in particular, the landlord has been caught and will have to bring the building up to code. Unfortunately for the tenants, many have been forced to the street and forced to pay for accommodations for the second time.

In an ideal world, a change to the Residential Tenancies Act would not be needed, but human nature being what it is, Mr. Speaker, there is always that wish to operate outside of the law or vaguely within it. I think in this case, however, the House should adopt the resolution and work towards legislation that will protect displaced tenants.

[Page 4755]

Mr. Speaker, there are other ways to bring about the same protection but, at the very least, the House could pass this resolution on for further discussion. The member has brought forth an issue which affects her constituents but it is also one that affects, generally, a lot of people who rent from one end of this province to the other. Members in this House are limited in their powers but, in this case, we may be able to effect some positive change.

I am somewhat concerned that the government members couldn't see the merit in this resolution when the member asked for waiver. Just passing the resolution would not affect the law but it could force the government to address this very serious issue. Any bill that could be presented to the House must have better language than is contained in this resolution.

There has been some standard of proof that accommodations are substandard in the case on Cogswell Street. In this case, the building was deemed uninhabitable. Mr. Speaker, in this day and age, with rules, regulations and enforcement, as I said previously, there are always those who can seem to manipulate, one way or the other, and operate to the detriment, especially of these tenants.

At the end of the day, however, Mr. Speaker, it is important that slum landlords are not able to exploit vulnerable tenants. Long before it gets to this state, landlords should be compelled to maintain their properties in accordance with the municipal bylaws and provincial codes. Would these landlords live in similar or the same premises, I wonder? Maybe a good penalty would be to penalize the landlord and make them live in those premises for a week, to see what it's like to live in deplorable conditions. If there are deplorable conditions here in the Summertime, how much greater are these conditions in the Winter, when doors won't open properly, they won't close properly, and the snow is probably coming in under the doors.

Mr. Speaker, this is an issue of enforcement and accountability. Sometimes I wonder where is the enforcement and where is the accountability. Not all tenants are good tenants, some play the system to the nth degree, the same as the landlords do. I've had about two years experience as a tenancy officer, and it gave me an indication of both sides of the coin, when making rulings. We shouldn't need laws to get people to do the right thing, but in this case there is merit in bringing this forward.

Mr. Speaker, I would therefore support the concept of this resolution and recommend that the government bring forth a plan to deal with the situations where people are forced on the street by the landlords who do not live up to their obligation. I've commended the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations in the past for being proactive, and I hope he will adopt this resolution. I will conclude my remarks by repeating a statement that I included in a letter to the honourable Stéphane Dion, when I wrote him a letter to work diligently to end the provincial park employees strike. I hope that this resonates for this government, for all Parties and all members of Nova Scotia, because

[Page 4756]

I said to him that I would like to feel proud that we do the right thing, and when we stand and sing O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. That should let all people know we represent everybody and we're willing to fight for their needs and wants.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Halifax Atlantic.

MS. MICHELE RAYMOND: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations for his comments, although I wish that his comments had more closely addressed the situation that we are dealing with in the resolution brought to the floor here. This resolution actually pertains to a very real problem, and it pertains to a set of problems which are not really resolved after the fact in mediation or in dispute resolution of any kind or even in a court. The Residential Tenancies Act certainly does provide a tenant of any living space - rented accommodation - with the means to go to court and request financial compensation for things like finding lodging, moving, loss of belongings, all these things which may be the result of the landlord's failure to deliver what he has contracted to deliver.

Unfortunately, it is not always enough to supply financial compensation after the fact. Not all of the people renting accommodations, renting roofs in our society are people who are primarily worried about the restoration of their belongings after they have lost their accommodations. There are people who are worried, quite simply, about nothing more than keeping a roof of any kind over their heads. I can tell you from very personal experience that the worry, the fear of not having a roof over one's head is enough to leave a number of what we call the most vulnerable citizens of our society in a situation they are willing to stay in no matter how much it may endanger their lives, rather than risk losing that last tenuous connection (a) with the civilized world, (b) with their food and shelter allowance, and (c) with warmth, if that may be the case.

There are rental accommodations, Mr. Speaker, which could barely be described as accommodations, but there is certainly rent paid for them. When it's discovered that those are barely accommodations, what is happening at this point is that people are being put out of them, quite rightly, because their lives are endangered. However, the landlord who has been collecting rent for the provision of accommodations and accommodations of certainly very minimal standards, the landlord who has continued to collect rent is not obliged to provide new accommodation. This for a certain sector of our society is not enough.

I encounter people in my constituency, Mr. Speaker, quite regularly who have never contacted my office, who are not going to contact my office, who are not going to contact their municipal councillor, and who are most certainly not going to contact the Residential Tenancies Board. Yet, in conversation, it becomes apparent that they most certainly are in need of the help which ought to be provided by their government agencies, including their elected representatives, I should say.

[Page 4757]

In conversation, one discovers that the wires are exposed and dangerous. In conversation one discovers that there is not actually a roof on a shelter. One discovers at times that an apartment in the Springtime is an inch deep in water, and the rest of the year it is perhaps an eighth of an inch thick in mould as a result of the receding waters. But people do not want to report these things. The reason they don't want to report these things, is that, as I say, the good Residential Tenancies Board quite rightly and building inspectors quite rightly will insist that these quarters be closed down for repairs. The trouble is that when the quarters are closed, there is nowhere to go.

I can tell you too, Mr. Speaker, that the people with nowhere to go will turn to street corners, blankets, friends of friends of friends who will offer a couch for a certain amount of money, money in addition to the rent already paid to the owner of the inadequate shelter, I might add. They will engage in this phenomenon called couch surfing, something I had not heard of until recently. It's moving from couch to couch to couch. And I can tell you that the payment for that kind of accommodation is not something most would be able to recover in the residential tenancies board.

These people need roofs. They don't need the ability to go to court after the fact or to the Residential Tenancies Board after the fact and claim the money for the roof that they have tried to pay for twice. I can tell you again - it is another issue. But the shelter allowances provided by the Department of Community Services are barely adequate, and that is putting it politely, barely adequate to find any accommodation at all in this city. It is not possible to pay twice in a given week or month for accommodation because the first one is gone.

It is important that the Residential Tenancies Act be framed in such a way that it protects all tenants. Almost by definition, the people who are renting accommodations are people who have less equity, less security, less solidity in this world. Some have very little in the way of belongings, which they could mortgage, as in pawn as the case may be. You don't do that when you have received a notice of eviction 24 hours. You don't even get yourself to a pawnshop for the most part.

The landlords of these quarters need to be held responsible for the completion of the contract that they sign, no matter how vulnerable and how unable to bring their case that the other party to that contract may be. It is in fact our duty as a government to ensure that these contracts are fulfilled and not fulfilled after the fact, not fulfilled with cash after the damage is done, but fulfilled simply by completion of the contract.

Most landlords, I think, are in the business because they are gaining some sort of income. This is in some cases a fairly large-scale commercial venture. I think it is not too much to expect that if one is going to make money from this equipment, these apartments, rooms, whatever they may be, that some portion of that money should in fact be held in reserve for provision against damage, provision again failure of equipment. I can give an

[Page 4758]

example, you don't buy a web for a pulp mill and risk that there won't be a backup if that thing breaks. That's a very expensive piece of equipment; its failure is a very expensive phenomenon, so you provide against it. But if that roof, if that apartment is in fact vulnerable to fire, flood and other life-endangering circumstances and it is decided that equipment has failed, why is it that because the stakes are low, it's all right just to leave it, not to have any kind of a backup provision. I would have to say, Mr. Speaker, human lives don't have backup, and we really do need to be recognizing that fact. It is not too much to ask the owners of commercial premises to provide backup.

[5:45 p.m.]

More communication, mediation, dispute resolution. What is the cost of supervising and overseeing claims for compensation for loss of goods? This is an administrative cost, the provision of an overseer, a supervisor, someone who will ensure that there's not too much cash paid out. On the other hand, who will ensure that enough is paid out? Who will ensure that for these people who do not have reserves of cash that there is at the very least a reserve of shelter? These are basic human needs that we are dealing with.

Mr. Speaker, I hope that this minor provision, which would say owning and taking money for the provision of accommodations entails the responsibility to complete that contract, isn't too heavy a demand to place on the landlords who own these premises. With that, I will conclude and, once again, I hope very strongly that this resolution will be passed and that tenants who find themselves, through no fault of their own without acceptable shelter are provided with something in the interim. Thank you very much.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Minister of Community Services.

HON. DAVID MORSE: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable members who spoke previously to this issue for their input, I want to thank the Official Opposition for bringing it up, and I want to share a few of my observations as the minister responsible for Housing Services in this province. This was, I believe, triggered by the city's building inspector going and finding the conditions of a rooming house on Cogswell Street not to meet the health and safety standards, the minimum standards that are put in place by HRM.

This is something which is a perplexing issue, as my colleague, the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations, spoke to in his time as a municipal councillor. I too experienced a little bit of that Hobson's choice, I suppose you would put it. Earlier this year, I was taking a tour of some of the facilities in the North End. I met quite a number of people, I saw some of these rooming houses but, more importantly, I had a chance to meet some of the people who live in them and some of the people who do not have the benefit of having an address, as well, those who live in places like the Salvation Army and the Metro Turning Point, at least on a temporary basis until they can get some other sort of accommodation.

[Page 4759]

To say that there was one incident on this particular day that stood out above and beyond the rest of them, I'm not sure would be a fair statement. There were a number of impressions that I've been left with and I will carry with me for the rest of my life as a result of this particular day I spent on Gottingen Street and the surrounding area.

I am going to refer to the person who made the impression that would best describe the challenge that is faced here, as Holly. Holly is not her real name. I was down at a drop-in centre on Gottingen Street where people come to get camaraderie, get some shelter. When it's February, you would like to have some warmth. I met a lot of interesting people there but Holly was one that was particularly upset. She came to me and her eyes were dilated. I had no idea of her age but I understood afterwards that she was in her thirties, not in particularly good health, I would suggest. She was upset but she wasn't sure what she was most upset about.

First of all, she spoke about the conditions in her home, which was a rooming house, that the vermin would run over her sleeping bag, they would defecate on it, they would eat her food. It was not a particularly pleasant description of what she had to look forward to at the end of the day. I'm sure that that runs contrary to the municipal by-laws.

After Holly had rather passionately expressed how she had to live and how it upset her, then she got more upset again because the city had been by, they had inspected her premises, the landlord's premises - there were four units there - found them to be wanting and issued an order which was going to evict her in a week's time, in the middle of winter. So she wasn't sure whether she should be more upset about the conditions that she was forced to live in or the fact that she was not going to have a home anymore.

Now with regard to that, I do want to make it absolutely clear that there is provision with places like Metro Turning Point for men and the YWCA for women, where they can go for a short period of time. It is not what I describe as a home, it is not where I think anybody would necessarily choose to be, but it does give them an option other than being out in the cold on the street. That is very important, I think, to all of us to know that that's the case. It did shed, in technicolour, the dilemma that the Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations spoke to in his role as chairman of that committee on HRM.

What is the right answer? Well, I think the right answer is that we have to get in there and we have to assist these people to improve the rooming houses. That is why - as I was referring to yesterday in the late night debate about the importance of the rental preservation program which is going to commit money for that very purpose. I am getting a nod. I gather my time is up. I thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The time allotted for this resolution has expired, as well. I take it that's the end of Opposition Members' Business.

[Page 4760]

The honourable Opposition House Leader.

MR. KEVIN DEVEAUX: Mr. Speaker, that concludes our business for today and I will call on the Government House Leader for the hours for tomorrow.

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable Government House Leader.

HON. RONALD RUSSELL: Mr. Speaker, the House will meet on the morrow at the hour of 12:00 noon and sit until 8:00 p.m. The order of business will be Public Bills for Second Reading and we may do some Private Members' Public Bills on the order paper if time permits.

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.

The House is adjourned until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

We have reached the moment of interruption. [The subject for this evening's late debate was submitted by the honourable member for Kings North.]

[Therefore be it resolved that an elected Senate will better be able to advance the interests of the Province of Nova Scotia.]

ADJOURNMENT

MOTION UNDER RULE 5 (5)

MR. SPEAKER: The honourable member for Kings West.

SENATE - ELECTED: N.S. - BENEFIT

MR. MARK PARENT: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here to speak on the resolution that an elected Senate would better be able to represent the interests of the Province of Nova Scotia.

[Page 4761]

One of my colleagues joked to me that during the debate I would feel like I was in the Senate, where pictures of old politicians stare down at empty seats while a few people listen to what has to be said.

In spite of that, I think it's an important issue and one that I'm grateful to have the opportunity to speak on, but I have to admit to a bit of frustration in the format of how we do the debates in the House. In the traditional debating format there is a chance for rebuttal to the first speaker, but in this case there isn't. So I'm going to try and anticipate in my comments some of the objections that might be made to an elected Senate, and I think there are basically two.

The first is: Why is this issue being raised in a provincial Legislature when really it's a federal matter? The second objection is that the Senate really should be abolished rather than reformed. Those I think are the two main objections, that will come from the speakers after me, to this issue.

Let me respond to the first objection then. The purpose of the Senate when it was first formed was to provide a school of sober second thought. It was, secondly, to represent the interests of the regions and the provinces that make up this great country of Canada and that made it up at that stage. Since Nova Scotia is a very important province within this country and part of a very distinctive region, the Maritime and Atlantic Region, and since historically it was delegates from Nova Scotia and from this area that pushed for a Senate in order to protect the regional interests of the country, it does make great sense that we debate this issue in a provincial Legislature because we have a vested interest in a Senate and a vested interest in the Senate working well.

The second objection is perhaps a more substantive one nowadays - and that's the one I want to respond to more fully - and that is the fact that the Senate is beyond any hope of reformation, it's an archaic institution from the past and it should simply be abolished and there should be no talk of reforming the Senate.

I know that colleagues in my own caucus - somewhat misinformed perhaps, but nonetheless sincere in their beliefs - hold this view. It's not one that I hold, and I'll explain why. The problem is not with the Senate, the problem is that the Senate has become a chamber of patronage by the Prime Minister, where cronies are put, rather than a place where people who can represent well and fully the regions that they come from may be active on behalf of those regions, on behalf of those provinces.

The latest example is well-documented in the minds of Nova Scotians - the appointment by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, in the dying days of his reign as Prime Minister, of his friend Terry Mercer, who perhaps may have been born in Nova Scotia but hasn't lived in this province for the last 20 years and, to my knowledge, hasn't been active in representing the interests of Nova Scotians.

[Page 4762]

That's just one example - there are more egregious examples of senators that would come to mind which sparked these calls for the abolishment of the Senate. But really, I think, the sentiment that the Senate is not working should give call for the reformation of the Senate rather than for its abolishment, because if we have an elected Senate it can still play a very important role in representing the interests of the various regions across this great federation of Canada.

That was one of the original reasons it was set up for. It was set up, as I said, as a school of sober second thought. One doesn't see that function being as necessary anymore with the diversity of political Parties that we have in the House of Commons - although one could imagine a time when you had one Party dominating the House of Commons that you've had in the Legislatures of Prince Edward Island, for example, where you did need the balance of an elected Senate in order to slow down what might be hasty and ill-thought-out legislation, although nowadays with the multiplicity of Parties I don't see that function as being as important.

But I do see the function of representing the regions and the provinces being an incredibly important function, Mr. Speaker. When Confederation was talked about and decided and agreed to, the smaller regions such as Nova Scotia foresaw a very serious problem which has only gotten worse, and that is that the more populous regions would dominate the House of Commons and that there would be no counterbalance to that domination by the populous regions in the House of Commons and that, therefore, there needed to be some other mechanism that would provide the balance that would represent the less populated, but nonetheless I would argue, being a Nova Scotian, very important regions that make up the fabric of this country, and that's what it was set up to do and that's what it can do if it is reformed properly.

[6:00 p.m.]

That's why I'm arguing that if we had an elected Senate, a Senate that was elected by the people of Nova Scotia, the people of New Brunswick, and the people of the various regions, it could fulfill the function that it was originally set up to fulfill. The population dominance of the Provinces of Ontario, and Quebec to a lesser degree, but particularly of Ontario, will mean, Mr. Speaker, that always the House of Commons will respond more fully to the political interests of the populated provinces than it will to the provinces of the Atlantic Region and of the Province of Nova Scotia.

One even needs to look nowadays at the present makeup of MPs in the House of Commons to see this and compare it with the Senate as it's currently formed to see what I'm talking about. Currently right now in the House of Commons, 48 per cent of the MPs come from Ontario and Quebec - no, sorry, 59 per cent in the House of Commons come from Ontario and Quebec - and only 10.9 per cent roughly come from the Atlantic Provinces.

[Page 4763]

If you contrast that, Mr. Speaker, with the Senate, as is made up right now in representation, 48 per cent of the senators come from Ontario and Quebec while 30 per cent, three times the representation we have in the House of Commons, comes from the Atlantic Region. So in the Senate we have an opportunity to have a voice and a counterbalance to this domination of the House of Commons by the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec that we don't have any other way. If this federation is to exist, as our forefathers and foremothers saw earlier when Confederation was set up, we need to be able to balance the interests of the smaller provinces with the interests of the more populated ones.

Mr. Speaker, that was the history of this. We were one of the leaders in establishing the Senate for that very reason and I would argue to my opponents who say a Senate is not necessary, let's abolish it, I would say, are the interests of the Atlantic Provinces taken more seriously now than they were when Confederation was first established? I would argue, no, they're less important because of the dominance numerically of the MPs from Ontario. So this reason of providing regional balance is why we need to reform the Senate, keep the Senate, it plays an important role, but reform it by electing senators from the regions so that they will represent the regions and provide the balance that's needed to make this federation work well.

That's why I feel that an elected Senate, Mr. Speaker, a reformed Senate, will fulfill that role that was originally forecast and originally decided upon and that we need to reform the Senate so it fulfills that original role because it remains a very, very important function if the Canadian Federation is to exist. There's an old joke that Confederation was like a mail order bra designed to uplift and pull together. Instead, it has merely drawn attention to the cleavage and there is a cleavage in this country that needs to be overcome by an elected Senate.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please.

The honourable member for Halifax Chebucto.

MR. HOWARD EPSTEIN: Mr. Speaker, I've enjoyed the comments, the impassioned comments perhaps I should say, of my colleague and friend, the member for Kings North. He was correct in anticipating some of the points that are to be made by those of us who speak in dissent from his motion, but I had anticipated something myself which I didn't actually hear. I had wondered if indeed we were going to hear an announcement today from the honourable member for Kings North of his intention to run if indeed there were to be an elected Senate established in Canada. I think many of his fans will be disappointed to have failed to hear from him such an announcement. I'm surprised that he didn't make this statement and perhaps he's just holding his fire until some other day - one step at a time I suppose is the approach. First, get a groundswell going in favour of an elected Senate and then later on announce your own candidacy.

[Page 4764]

Well, Mr. Speaker, I'm not as shy as the honourable member, I'm going to say right here that I'm prepared to run for the Senate, but I have in mind sort of a slightly different set of circumstances. I'm prepared to run for the U.S. Senate. I wonder what's going to happen to us in the Atlantic Provinces should Quebec, in fact, ever leave our Confederation. The honourable member for Kings North suggested what are looked at as federal issues can't be discussed in a provincial Legislature, and encouraged us to do so.

One of the things that has been lacking in our Chamber is some debate about what might happen to us in the Atlantic Provinces should Quebec leave some day. One of the options, of course, is that we might end up joining the United States. If that happens, I am prepared to announce I'm going to run for the U.S. Senate. I don't know about our Canadian Senate though. Indeed, with respect to that, the honourable member did correctly anticipate the position that would be taken here. The position I think is to be seen very slightly differently than he stated it.

Our view is that there's a better alternative to an elected Senate, and the alternative is no Senate at all in Canada. This is official policy in my Party, and I have to say it is a policy that I endorse. I think that it makes a lot of sense. I would like to remind members here that at one point in our history in this province we had an Upper Chamber. There was a second Chamber; indeed, we don't have one anymore. I didn't hear the honourable member suggesting that we ought to have a second Chamber here. I didn't hear the honourable member suggesting that somehow the counties are not represented in our Legislature in a balanced form, and perhaps what they need is more equal representation, or perhaps a chamber of sober second thought is needed in the Province of Nova Scotia.

It was absent. If it makes sense nationally, it's not clear to me why it might not make sense in our province, particularly given the kind of complaints we heard last year when we went through the redistribution exercise, which we go through every 10 years based on the census done for the population. People move around. Some of the more remote areas in Nova Scotia are losing population, we know this, and therefore they are going to lose members in this House, his own county. Well his own county is probably one of those that is growing, but certainly yours, Mr. Speaker, is one of the ones that's losing population.

Down on the South Shore, counties are losing population. Cape Breton is certainly losing population. Those facts might have suggested a second Chamber here, but no, he didn't suggest it, and for good reason. We don't need it. We don't need it federally either. Why is it that it would be better to have no Senate at all? Well, look at what it is that we have right now. We have an entity that is, as I think was correctly said, something that is undemocratic, and it's unaccountable. When he recognizes those facts, the suggested remedy from the honourable member is that they could be more democratic, and more accountable if they were elected.

[Page 4765]

The trouble is it's not just that they're undemocratic and unaccountable, it's that it's unnecessary. We just don't need it. I didn't actually hear from the member whether he endorses the triple-E concept either, that is, whether the Senate has to be, as he said, equal. That is in the sense that each province has an equal number. If he said that, I missed it. There is perhaps some indication that maybe he endorsed the pure equality in the Senate. That would be an interesting variation, but it really would be undemocratic at that point if we really moved to that kind of situation.

Then we would have modelled the Senate in Canada the same way they have in the United States, where there are two senators for each state. That is virtually an untenable state of affairs. The Senate in the United States, although an interesting place, has served over the years to be a bastion of inaction. All anyone has to do is read the biography of the late President Lyndon Johnson written by Yale historian Robert Caro, particularly the volume that deals with Lyndon Johnson's years in the Senate, to realize what a negative force that Senate has been in the United States' political history. Robert Caro is a genius of a writer and I recommend to the member for Kings North, whom I know to be a learned man interested in reading, that he look at the three volumes that exist so far of a projected multi-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, particularly the volume on the Senate.

Well, I said it was unnecessary. I will start with the costs - $73 million is what our Senate costs. That's about $0.75 million for each member of the Senate in order to do, as I think we must recognize, virtually nothing. It has an undistinguished history in our nation. We know, as the member correctly said, that it's a place for former politicians and also for former fundraisers, let's be clear, and still active fundraisers for their Parties and, you know, they've got to go somewhere, I suppose, but perhaps somewhere else. I think that given the fact that the Senate has had some opportunity to do good work over the years, but has generally failed to do it, we have ample demonstration that it is really unnecessary to have a Senate in any form and in the end it won't be cured by making it elected. It simply will not. The tendency will not be towards adding something that improves the form of democracy in Canada, but something that will tend to hold it up.

We have an elected House of Commons that, even given some of its flaws, tends to be representative of all the regions and all the areas and, in general, all the citizens. I am not one who thinks that it couldn't be improved. I'm one who thinks we should look seriously at proportional representation, but I don't think that when we address our minds to a reform of Parliament, in fact I'll go further and, of course, there are internal reforms in the administration of the House of Commons that could be put in place, but I'm not one who thinks that our democratic form of government is going to be improved or would be improved by adding an elected element to our Senate. Abolish it, that's our official policy, but I'm happy to say I endorse it. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to speak to this resolution.

[Page 4766]

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

MR. BROOKE TAYLOR: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to rise and interject during tonight's debate on senatorial reform. I never thought I would say that the Liberal caucus had their priorities in order, but I have to say that the Liberal caucus does, indeed, have their priorities in order this evening. I say that because, obviously, nobody from the Liberal caucus is going to stand and engage in this debate and I would say with just cause and I commend them.

I further want to say that I have for a long time felt that this issue is not a priority for Nova Scotians and, in fact, Canadians. My honourable colleague, who is a good friend of mine, the member for Kings North, indicated early on in his presentation that not all members of his caucus agree with him relative to this particular issue and I happen to be one of those members, but I do welcome the opportunity because for a dead opportunity there's no resurrection. So, you know, if I was just to simply sit here and let the clock tick away, I don't think it would do justice to this issue and for an opportunity to give my two cents' worth, I will take it.

Now, the honourable member spoke about the Senate and how it should be reformed and it should be elected but, you know, Nova Scotians and constituents in Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley, and I would suggest in Kings North, in Cumberland South, in Halifax and so on, will tell you that we have school boards that are elected. We have municipal councils that are elected, we have provincial governments that are elected and we have federal governments that are elected. We have enough levels of government. Some would say we have too many levels of government, but what the honourable member for Kings North is really proposing is that we create another elected hierarchy, but my questions to him, and these are questions that have been brought to my attention, I don't propose to be any genius and I want to give credit where credit is due, these questions were brought to me by Nova Scotians about the Senate and, believe you me, I had to go and sort of elicit these types of comments.

But what Nova Scotians are saying to me is, Brooke, we have the mad cow disease and it's impacting farmers right across this great country. With $73 million we could do a lot to mitigate that concern for the farmers in this community, in this country, in this province. We have health care issues. Didn't the First Ministers and the Prime Minister just meet regarding health care, and the big tug of war that they had about health care in this great country?

[6:15 p.m.]

Do we really need the school of sober second thought that's costing at least - the honourable member opposite who spoke last said $73 million. Yes, that is the cost on an annual basis for the senators, but I would suggest that when you check the federal Public

[Page 4767]

Accounts you would find out that the actual cost for infrastructure, et cetera, is a whole lot more than just the simple $73 million, which is a lot of money that could go to the homeless in this country, the children who are in poverty (Interruptions)

MR. MARK PARENT: Will the honourable member entertain a question?

MR. SPEAKER: Okay, we'll revert to Question Period.

The honourable member for Kings North on a question.

MR. MARK PARENT: I'm wondering if the honourable member would agree that if we had an elected Senate that was able to represent the regions of the country that our senators from this area could argue, with a larger and bigger voice than our MPs can, the need to treat agriculture in this area in a manner distinct from the uniform policies that favour agriculture in the West and, therefore, an elected Senate would give us more clout in helping to form those national policies that would respond to our uniqueness.

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

MR. TAYLOR: . . . to that type of retort would be simply this, the Senate committee, the natural resources and agriculture committee - there is a Senate committee, they dealt with, for example, some 23, 24 bills - and according to The Hill Times, made one amendment to an innocuous bill. Further to that, they studied the mad cow crisis in North America, the BSE, this committee, and do you know what they came back with and told us, essentially to really summarize and condense what this great senatorial committee's conclusion was, that we have a problem in Canada. We have a problem.

They mentioned the cattle commodity, but nowhere, nowhere, I submit to the honourable member for Kings North, did the Senate committee introduce any concern on behalf of the sheep farmers in this province, not a reference. In fact, I e-mailed the chairman of the Senate committee and asked that any report or any subsequent report - they put their draft on-line, the draft findings of the natural resources committee on-line so people could make comment and never did they even mention the sheep commodity.

MR. PARENT: If they were elected, they would though.

MR. TAYLOR: Well, if they were elected, they would. Well, the people I talked to, again, say we used to have, as the honourable member opposite mentioned, I believe, a provincial Senate in every province in this country. We don't have any now. You have to ask yourself, why? Part of the problem with the honourable member's position is that there's such an imbalance today, an imbalance. This is no disrespect to the honourable senators, I

[Page 4768]

have a lot of time, this is about the Senate entity itself, that chamber of sober second thought. This is about the imbalance that is there now.

What would you do about the imbalance? Would you send all the Liberals home a-packing? Do you think the Liberals are ever going to agree to that? Maybe that's why there's no interventions tonight from the Liberal caucus. What would you do with all those patronage appointments that are presently there? I've been told that even if we started today with an elected Senate that it would be the year 2025 before the imbalance was even somewhat levelled out. But the honourable member never came within a country mile of speaking to the imbalance, and he never spoke about what about in the event, God forbid, a senator should pass away, would you go and hold a by-election? How would you deal with that? No. He clearly hasn't done his homework.

You know I have a lot of time and respect for the honourable member, but on this issue I think Canadians are more concerned about health care, education, transportation, agriculture concerns, the forestry and things of that nature.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I'll take that note for what it's worth, and maybe it is time that some of these senators were put out to pasture or pasture land. I want to be fair to the senators. I have said before, and this isn't disrespectful, I really mean that as far as I'm concerned the Senate today in Canada is nothing more than a glorified chat room where they sit back, and they will discuss issues, I will grant you that, but what clout do they really have and what clout would an elected Senate have? You know it's really hard to get the Prime Minister and the provinces to agree about anything today. What about the police forces in this great country, wouldn't they love to have more officers and more money on the streets, but we're going to spend $73 million, at least, on an unelected body of patronage appointments. (Interruption)

Unelected is what they are, that's what's happening today, and I would submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that it's an awful long shot to support an elected Senate. There's only one solution. I never thought the NDP caucus, because earlier in the session they supported a resolution that the honourable member brought forward, but to be fair to the NDP, I think they were a little asleep at the switch because I've been told I was the only one to say Nay to this resolution, but I know full well that they, like me, support the capital A word - abolition of the Senate. I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for your indulgence and other members.

MR. SPEAKER: I thank all members for taking part in this lively debate this evening.

The House will adjourn until 12:00 noon tomorrow.

[The House rose at 6:21 p.m.]

[Page 4769]

NOTICES OF MOTION UNDER RULE 32(3)

RESOLUTION NO. 2433

By: Hon. Christopher d'Entremont (Acadian Affairs)

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

Whereas the Congrès mondial acadien has and continues to highlight the 250th Anniversary and rich history of our province's Acadian community and has promoted very special aspects of the Acadian culture, still alive today; and

Whereas Dave Landry, owner of the Cottage Bakery and Tea Room in Isle Madame, is one Nova Scotian who keeps the tradition of meat pies alive by making all of his pies from scratch using a traditional Acadian recipe; and

Whereas Mr. Landry's meat pies helped to feed many of the visitors for the large Acadian family reunions held this Summer in Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature applaud Mr. Landry and all those who helped to raise awareness of the rich Acadian culture in Nova Scotia - whether it be through sharing of traditional recipes, music, stories or other cultural activities - during the Congrès mondial acadien.

RESOLUTION NO. 2434

By: Mr. Ronald Chisholm (Guysborough-Sheet Harbour)

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

Whereas the Sherbrooke Show & Shine was held earlier this month at the historic Sherbrooke Village, in Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia; and

Whereas the event featured antique and custom cars, a concert, dance, cruise and silent auction; and

Whereas Sherbrooke Village depicts a typical Nova Scotia village from 1860 to pre-World War I, with approximately 80 buildings, 25 of those open to the public, and is the largest Nova Scotia Museum site;

[Page 4770]

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate the St. Mary's Tourism Association and historic Sherbrooke Village on a successful event, and thank them for preserving and promoting local culture.

RESOLUTION NO. 2435

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Medal recognizes outstanding contributions made by students in high school throughout the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Heather MacFarlane was awarded a Lieutenant Governor's Medal for leadership and contribution to school life at Sir John A. Macdonald High School; and

Whereas Heather continues to show leadership in our community;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Heather MacFarlane on receiving the Lieutenant Governor's Award.

RESOLUTION NO. 2436

By: Mr. William Estabrooks (Timberlea-Prospect)

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

Whereas the Lieutenant Governor's Medal recognizes outstanding contributions made by students in high school throughout the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas Michael McCarther was awarded a Lieutenant Governor's Medal for leadership and contribution to school life at Sir John A. Macdonald High School; and

Whereas Michael continues to show leadership in our community;

Therefore be it resolved that the Nova Scotia Legislature congratulate Michael McCarther on receiving the Lieutenant Governor's Award.

[Page 4771]

RESOLUTION NO. 2437

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities plays an integral role in leading discussions forward between municipal units and the provincial government; and

Whereas Yarmouth Mayor Charles Crosby was chosen President of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities at their annual meeting in Truro last week; and

Whereas because of his experience and tremendous record on Council for the Town of Yarmouth, Mayor Crosby will bring great experience and leadership abilities to the table;

Therefore be it resolved that members of this House of Assembly extend their warmest wishes and congratulations to Yarmouth Mayor Charles Crosby, as he begins his year as President of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities.

RESOLUTION NO. 2438

By: Hon. Richard Hurlburt (Natural Resources)

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

Whereas the Yarmouth Gateways are a baseball team steeped in rich history dating back to the late 1920s and are one of the teams to have been inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame; and

Whereas in nine seasons, between 1929 to 1937, the Yarmouth Gateways were five times crowned the provincial champions (1929, 1932, 1934, 1937) and twice went on to win the Maritime championship topping the Charlottetown Abegweits in 1929 and the St. Stephen Milltown Kiwanis in 1935; and

Whereas the Gateways were also Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League Champions in the league's first three years of operation in 1977, 1978 and 1979;

Therefore be it resolved that congratulations be extended by all members of this Legislature to the Gateways, as they continued their streak in 2004 by winning the Southwestern Nova Scotia Baseball League Championship, defeating the Barrington Aces 3-1 in the league's Best of Five Championship Finals.

[Page 4772]

RESOLUTION NO. 2439

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas the Council for the Town of Port Hawkesbury has made an enormous contribution to the community thanks to its long-term planning and hard work; and

Whereas as an example, the residents of the Town of Port Hawkesbury will soon enjoy the benefits of the newly-constructed Civic Centre; and

Whereas recent developments in the local economy, such as the establishment of Stora Enso as a world-class paper mill, the reopening of the gypsum wallboard plant by Federal Gypsum, the success of the EDS call centre, and the groundbreaking for a liquified natural gas facility are pointing to a successful and prosperous future;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House commend the council members of the Town of Port Hawkesbury - His Worship Mayor Billy Joe MacLean and Councillors Jim King, Steve MacDougall, Hughie MacDougall and Joe Janega - for their efforts to create an environment of opportunity for their community and citizens.

RESOLUTION NO. 2440

By: Hon. Rodney MacDonald (Tourism, Culture and Heritage)

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

Whereas Federal Gypsum has recently acquired the rights to the former USG wallboard plant in Point Tupper; and

Whereas the reopening of this plant will generate approximately 80 jobs for local area residents and see local product utilized; and

Whereas Federal Gypsum has a history of operating successful gypsum wallboard plant operations;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House commend the Simpson family for its decision to choose the Strait area as the new home for this business operation, and send our wishes for a prosperous future.

[Page 4773]

RESOLUTION NO. 2441

By: Hon. Kerry Morash (Environment and Labour)

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

Whereas The Advance has been providing local news, sports and social information to the people of Queens County for 126 years; and

Whereas The Advance has long been considered "The Voice of Queens County"; and

Whereas earlier this summer, The Advance changed from a broadsheet to a tabloid format;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House recognize the outstanding work being done every week by the staff of The Advance as they continue to evolve and excel for the benefit of their readers.

RESOLUTION NO. 2442

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 Windsor Bluefins swim team recently won the 2004 Nova Scotia Provincial Swimming Championships in Bridgetown; and

Whereas the Bluefins swim team, under the capable direction of Head Coach Andy White, had 53 team members participating in the provincials; and

Whereas at the championship, the Bluefins placed in the top 10, 124 times, winning 48 medals - 20 gold, 11 silver and 17 bronze;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this Legislature commend Windsor Bluefins Head Coach Andy White and his dynamic team of Bluefin swimmers, for their dedication and true spirit of hard work in capturing provincial championship swimming honours for 2004.

[Page 4774]

RESOLUTION NO. 2443

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 collection of unique items is something done by thousands and thousands of people across the world, whether it be sports memorabilia, stamps, or, in the case of Hantsport resident Jamie Braham, hubcaps; and

Whereas the 21-year-old businessman has collected more than 15,000 hubcaps, along with approximately 500 licence plates, and has an amazing photographic memory of every hubcap he owns, where it is on his property and where it came from; and

Whereas Jamie's latest acquisition is a 2005 Hummer H2 Hubcap purchased from a fellow hubcap dealer in Tulsa, Oklahoma;

Therefore be it resolved that Jamie Braham be recognized by all members of this House of Assembly for his instinctive business mind and wish him continued success as the hubcap celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2005.

RESOLUTION NO. 2444

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 Town of Windsor recently lost a superior law enforcement officer with the transfer and promotion of RCMP Sgt. Harry Ullock to Halifax as a staff sergeant and watch commander for all of Halifax County; and

Whereas Harry Ullock first came to Windsor in 1978 and left via a transfer in 1984 before returning in 1998 and has a proven track record, no matter where he has been posted, with his jovial personality and organizational skills; and

Whereas despite his transfer and promotion, Staff Sgt. Ullock has decided to maintain his residence in Windsor, and commute;

Therefore be it resolved that MLAs in this House of Assembly commend Staff Sgt. Harry Ullock for his contributions to law enforcement with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and for his ongoing community interest in Windsor-West Hants.

[Page 4775]

RESOLUTION NO. 2445

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 Three Mile Plains Community Hall is an important hub of activity within the community; and

Whereas this Summer a number of local businesses joined together with the Nova Scotia Sport and Recreation Commission, to do almost $20,000 worth of much-needed renovations to the Three Mile Plains Community Hall; and

Whereas the Three Mile Plains Community Hall hosts a variety of events year-round, whether it be wedding receptions, dances, political meetings or a polling place on election day;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House commend Brian MacDonald, owner of Swinamer's Timber Mart in Three Mile Plains, along with contractor Tom Brown and hall Chairperson Richard Dauphinee on their diligent work toward ensuring necessary repairs were undertaken to keep the hall a mainstay of activities in Three Mile Plains.

RESOLUTION NO. 2446

By: Hon. Cecil Clarke (Energy)

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

Whereas Joseph O'Toole of Sydney Mines, a recent graduate of Memorial Composite High School, has been accepted into the American Musical Dramatic Academy in New York City, with a $20,000 U.S. scholarship over four years; and

Whereas Joseph started acting in local shows and theatre productions when he was 9 years old; and

Whereas Joseph has been in about 30 theatre productions at the University College of Cape Breton Boardmore Playhouse, the Savoy in Glace Bay and spent his Summers with the Festival on the Bay;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House join me in sending congratulations to Joseph O'Toole and wish him all the success in his acting career.

[Page 4776]

RESOLUTION NO. 2447

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Frank Joseph White of River Hebert was the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor Award for the Province of Nova Scotia; and

Whereas this award is given to students who show hard work, effort and dedication to their studies, community and family, while very few can claim being a recipient of this very prestigious award; and

Whereas Frank received this honour at the Lieutenant Governor's Awards Ceremony on May 20, 2004 in Sydney, Nova Scotia;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Frank White on receiving this outstanding award and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2448

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 students at West End elementary school in Springhill have learned the art of filmmaking this year; and

Whereas their work, based on the Springhill Mining Disaster of 1958, captured the top prize in the Novice Films category at the 3rd Annual Springhill High School Film Festival; and

Whereas all the 19 students who worked on the project in Dan Calder's Grade 5 class attended the awards ceremony and were elated when their three-minute film captured the much-deserved golden statue;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate Dan Calder and his Grade 5 students on capturing the first place award for this outstanding piece of film about an event that can never be forgotten.

[Page 4777]

RESOLUTION NO. 2449

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas John Caulfield of Oxford, Nova Scotia can now put a victory on his resumé from a national tennis event; and

Whereas the 16-year-old multi-sport athlete recorded a straight set victory in his singles match at the Under 16 National Tennis Championships; and

Whereas Caulfield cruised to a 6-1, 6-3 victory over his Team Atlantic competitor;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate John Caulfield on this victory and wish him continued success in the future.

RESOLUTION NO. 2450

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas John Caulfield from Oxford, Nova Scotia was instrumental in helping the Fundy Area Soccer Club win its first provincial gold medal; and

Whereas the gold medal game was the first time on artificial turf and only seemed to enhance the team's skills; and

Whereas the team was praised for not allowing a single goal against and for their discipline and sportsmanship during some very physical play while the team secured their perfect 4-0 record;

Therefore be it resolved that the members of this House congratulate John Caulfield and the Fund Area Soccer Club on their victory and wish them continued success in the future.

[Page 4778]

RESOLUTION NO. 2451

By: Hon. Murray Scott (Speaker)

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

Whereas Susan Clarke is the Manager of the Ottawa House By-The-Sea Museum and the Parrsboro Shore Historical Society; and

Whereas a plaque was presented to Susan in recognition of her outstanding service to the museum and historical society; and

Whereas the award was presented by society President Marilyn Smith at the annual Canada Day ceremony at the site on July 1, 2004;

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

RESOLUTION NO. 2452

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Danielle Grandy and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

[Page 4779]

RESOLUTION NO. 2453

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Sacha O'Regan and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

RESOLUTION NO. 2454

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Nicole Castilloux and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

[Page 4780]

RESOLUTION NO. 2455

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Sarah Charlton and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

RESOLUTION NO. 2456

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Julia Dean and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

[Page 4781]

RESOLUTION NO. 2457

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Alyssa Hennigar and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

RESOLUTION NO. 2458

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kaila Hoar and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

[Page 4782]

RESOLUTION NO. 2459

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ashley Johnson and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

RESOLUTION NO. 2460

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Lauren Keen and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

[Page 4783]

RESOLUTION NO. 2461

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Amanda Pilgrim and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

RESOLUTION NO. 2462

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Rachael Shrum and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

[Page 4784]

RESOLUTION NO. 2463

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ali Smith and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

RESOLUTION NO. 2464

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Amie Stevens and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

[Page 4785]

RESOLUTION NO. 2465

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Ashley Westhaver and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

RESOLUTION NO. 2466

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kim White and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

[Page 4786]

RESOLUTION NO. 2467

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Kayla Withrow and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

RESOLUTION NO. 2468

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Nicole Wright and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.

[Page 4787]

RESOLUTION NO. 2469

By: Mr. Stephen McNeil (Annapolis)

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

Whereas on September 4 and 5, 2004, Soccer Cape Breton hosted the Nova Scotia Provincial Soccer Championship for Under 16 Girls, Tier 2A; and

Whereas the team from Scotia Soccer Club had a very successful season winning gold at the Gunn Baldursson tournament, gold in the Challenge Cup and gold in their League Championship; and

Whereas the Scotia Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team, under the skillful guidance of Coach Jane Clark, represented their club with great team spirit, determination, skill and sportsmanship, and were victorious in their quest for the provincial title;

Therefore be it resolved that all members of this House congratulate Courtney Stevens and all members of the Scotia Soccer Club Under 16 Tier 2A Girls team for their triumphant season and their Provincial Championship victory.